Zeen, 130 Drummond StreetPosted in Where to Eat & Drink Now
Bored of eating your curry on a plastic table in Brick Lane? Fancy moving upmarket to more sophisticated surroundings? Then why not give Zeen a shot.
Slanting mirrors, sunken skylights and a clever use of lighting ensures Zeen looks the part. The bold orange and black décor proclaims modern-contemporary-funk. But as with many restaurants in London, Zeen is caught in the crossfire between simplicity and the ostentatious.
Despite the swanky aesthetics, Zeen might not be the best of places if you’re expecting that important phone call or text as there is no signal in the underground restaurant whatsoever. But it’s not all doom and gloom.
Above: The Bar @ Zeen
The menu is extremely varied and has a dedicated vegetarian section consisting of both appetisers and mains. The little restaurant can hold up to 80 covers and is very intimate; it almost feels as though you’re eating somewhere secret or clandestine.
Serving contemporary Indian cuisine in mod-con surroundings is a flashy, yet appealing quirk. With an open kitchen it’s possible to watch your meal being prepared and cooked, which is always a bonus if you like to know your food is fresh.
However, there’s always a catch. We went for the soft shell crab and the fish chilli fry to start. Although the soft shell crab was a tasty and quite a unique dish to find at an Indian restaurant, it had been battered to within an inch of its former life. The fish chilli fry was so hot it almost gave my colleague a heart attack. Despite the overpowering use of chilli in this dish the fish was tender and supple and rescued the starters from almost certain doom. The again, having just hosted Masterchef the weekend before my visit, my expectations of the cuisine at this little Indian restaurant were perhaps a tad too high.
For mains we chose the lamb chettinad and the tandoori stuffed squid. The lamb chettinad was pleasant enough and the meat was delicious and flavoursome. Nevertheless, the dish doesn’t include a portion of rice so be prepared to pay for this separately.
The stuffed squid was different to say the least. An experimental offering, the tandoori squid is stuffed with fish and spices, karwari sauce and baby coriander naan. I struggled with the texture of the squid when it fused with the fish stuffing. It was all a bit too much and the flavours, instead of harmonising, verged on confrontation.
Above: The Dinning Area @ Zeen
Needless to say the desserts were a treat. The traditional falooda is a great choice for those with a chronic sweet tooth as the rose petal ice cream is rich, creamy and incredibly sweet; leaving behind a saccharine-floral aftertaste. The Indian carrot cake is original and simple. It uses the subtle flavour of almonds as a contrast to bring out the lovely flavours of the carrot.
In terms of curry houses in London, Zeen is like the attractive sister of your best friend. As a proposition it looks hotter than a playboy bunny, but in reality you know it’s lacking something extra special. Ideally, this is good place to take a client for a curry if you want to get away from the monopoly of Brick Lane and head for something a little more sophisticated. Just make sure they’re not expecting any important phone calls.
Price of meal per head: £15-20 excluding drinks
Top Tip: Take advantage of the £6.95 buffet lunch that’s served every Monday-Friday from 12- 3pm.
130 Drummond Street,
London NW1 2PA