Open since 2006, Zouk has become one of my go to Indian restaurants in Manchester and for good reason. An alternative to the traditional Rusholme scene, Zouk Manchester offers a modern yet relaxed take on Indian and Punjabi cuisine. The open kitchen and spacious surroundings are a far cry from the dark, uninviting Indian restaurants of old. Fresh and contemporary are the order of the day.
When we were invited to the Zouk Spring Showcase, I jumped at the change to try out some of their latest offerings. They invited us down in return for our honest opinion and to try some of their vegetarian dishes.
Zouk Spring Showcase
On arrival, we were greeted warmly by the staff, before making our way to the bar area, where we were served Indian style canapés and cocktails with fellow bloggers to get the night started.
As well as onion bhajis, the canapés included some delicious panipuris, a popular Indian street snack served in many regions of India. Each fried flour ball was stuffed with seasonal vegetables and served with a pour-on sauce – a great starter to get the night going.
Starters at Zouk Spring Showcase
The first starter served was Chickpeas in Spicy Masala, with tomato and onion. For the night, the chef served extra yoghurt and pomegranate and I recommend you ask for the same if you go for it. Perfect for chickpea fans, although I would have liked it with a bit more kick.
Also served was a tasty Vegetable Pakoras – the dish includes seasonal vegetables (in Spring that’s veg like Courgette, aubergines and spinach) served with a spicy tomato relish. Easily my favourite Indian starter I’ve had for a long time.
Mains At Zouk Spring Showcase
After the excellent starters, it was onto the main show. Our first main was Bindi Dupiaza – or okra, as it is more commonly known in the UK (I’ve yet to hear anyone call them lady fingers). A dish gaining a lot of popularity recently, the Okra was cooked in a sauce of garlic, ginger, tomatoes, onions and fresh green chillies. Not fried or overcooked, the okra maintained its taste and texture to great effect. With just the right amount of kick, it was a real winner of the night and comes highly recommend.
Our second main was the Aloo Gobi, a Punjabi style dish of potatoes and cauliflower. Excellently spiced, it’s a dish that utilises simple seasonal produce to its best. I absolutely love potatoes in Indian dishes too so for me this was a fantastic dish.
Zouk a la Cart Menu
If you are visiting in the evening or weekend and ordering off the à la carte menu I do have a few suggestions for you!
The great thing for vegetarians going to an Indian restaurant is the choice of starters – few other styles of food can match it. At Zouk, I usually go for the Alloo Paratha, mashed spicy potato cooked inside a chapatti.
For main, I highly recommend the Chilli Paneer, a Delhi style stir-fry of delicious paneer cheese in a spicy chilli sauce. When ordering its best ask for it medium spiced unless you know what you’re doing.If you don’t mind ordering off the menu, you should ask for a Paneer Karahi – probably the best interpretation I’ve ever had (Due to the origins of the dish it does vary widely). Just make sure that you ask nicely :-).
It is also worth keeping an eye out for the seasonal specials board. Where Zouk excels over the competition is their use of seasonal produce to create an ever-changing menu. The Specials boards utilise what produce at its freshest (for example in March Sweet Potatoes are in). The passion for seasonal produce comes out in the quality of the food coming out from the kitchen.
P.S if someone in your group is celebrating a birthday in your group it’s worth letting them know…
Zouk Tiffin Menu
For those lunching in Manchester City Centre, the Tiffin menu is perfect. Far better than a drab sandwich meal deal, Zouk offers the Tiffin menu, a different taste experience every day of the week. It’s served fast, yet it’s not fast food.
The lunch offer comprises of a different option (they always have a veggie option) every day. Available from 12-4 every day, you’ll get a starter with two mains with rice and naan for just 7.95. For me, It’s an absolute steal!
Whilst the food is served fast, for those really in a rush you can call in your order from 10 am so it’s ready when you arrive.
Cocktails at Zouk
As well as the food for the night Zouk put on our own cocktail waiter, serving an array of cocktails from the drinks menu. My favourite of the night was the Spring Fling, a tequila-based cocktail (not something I usually go for) mixed with orange juice and topped off with Prosecco. For gin lovers I would opt for the Elderflower Frost, that includes Gin, cucumber and lime finished off with elderflower and soda. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a spring evening.
Overall, the night was a great success. The level of service was excellent throughout and truly added to the experience. I’d like to thank them all personally for making it such a great night.
Zouk Manchester comes highly recommended.