By now, everyone and their nan knowns about brunch. Whether it’s bottomless, sweet or savoury, it’s become a bit of an institution.
It’s the sort of meal you revel in. One for those slow Sunday mornings where you’ve just crawled out of bed, maybe a little hung over, maybe a lot, and you’re craving something with plenty of eggs and a hot drink to wash it all down.
Zouk have just launched their new Nashua menu. It means breakfast in Urdu, and it’s East meets West in the very best way. The tea bar has swiftly bolstered Oxford Road’s brunch offering with a focused and concise menu filled with unusual flavour combinations that dance on the taste buds. Think Bombay baked eggs, Maharaja breakfast platters and Bollywood benedicts. Quirky.
We took our seats in the gloriously laid out booths and perused the menu whilst our charming and smiley server, Ali, took our drinks orders. Watermelon sling for myself and the desi tea for my brunching partner.
First up, the Bombay baked eggs, which were moreish to say the least.
These delicious little morsels really surprised me. They came on a fiery flavoursome pot of potatoes, spinach and tomatoes, all seasoned perfectly with a kick of chilli. The flavours were bold with layers of spice and herbs. The chucky eggs were soft and so delicately baked that, at the touch of a knife, that satisfying orange yolk oozed out into the rest of the bowlful.
For those who feel brunch is not complete without something on a toasted muffin, there’s the Bollywood benedict. It’s a classic benedict but served with turkey rashers instead of bacon and layered with spinach and a tikka style Hollandaise sauce. This comes on the side for those who don’t want to mix and match. It’s a dish filled with a symphony of flavours and one that I’d certainly recommend getting in line for.
For me, the paneer burj was certainly a show stealer. The crisp skinned paneer cheese is stir fried, scrambled and prepared slowly so that the flavours mingle and hug together in each mouthful. It’s an addictive mixture of onions, peppers tomatoes and spices that encase the cheese in layers of flavour. A warming dish that’s sure to keep you cosy in this jalfreezi-ing weather.
I was slightly apprehensive about the lamb nihari. I do love a good slap-up curry but wasn’t sure about its positioning as a brunch dish.
It came served over pillows of pilau rice, punchy and aromatic. I soon came to see why it featured on the menu. It’s simply too delicious to leave off.
The slow cooked lamb fillet quite simply melted in the mouth. It was succulent and moreish. The clay pot dish came with a selection of aromatic spices and a side of sliced ginger for you to season to your taste. It looked glorious, with an artful chilli, and lamb shank slices sitting in a thick, glutinous curry sauce which was perfectly seasoned. The heat was a slight slight lip burner, without feeling like a roundhouse kick to the mouth. Sublime.
I wasn’t shy in ordering an extra slice of garlic naan to mop up the delicious meaty gravy. Order the desi classic lamb nihari and you’ll know what I mean.
The staff are attentive and the prices are reasonable. It’s all this and big enough to never feel overly packed, even on a busy weekend.
This Bollywood-style brunch at Zouk has come along to surprise, delight and transform the experience. It has only just launched and word’s already getting round. I’m not surprised. Because I want to shout about it too.