Monday, August 10, 2009

BM Review: Zoe

Last Friday I had the opportunity to visit the resto-cafe lounge Zoe in Indiranagar to review it for Bangalore Mirror. The review can be read here.

The lung fung soup was not the usual fair we get at Chinese restaurants that dot the city. The flotilla of beaten egg whites was the stand out in the dish.

Lung Fung Soup

The spicy lamb chimichanga, a Mexican dish that is like a deep-fried burrito, was really good, served along with a spicy sauce and the lettuce salad in the middle.

Spicy Lamb Chimichanga

The best dish of the evening was the mushroom fritters, stuffed with Fontina cheese and chicken, served with a peri peri sauce.

Mushroom Fritters

The crispy chicken fritters also came with a spicy peri-peri sauce. I only wish they had used a different type of sauce rather than the same one where ever something spicy was required.

Chicken Fritter

My favourite - the mini lamb burgers, especially since I"m on the lookout for the best burgers in Bangalore.

Mini Lamb Burgers

The Mediterranean cheese wrap was probably the only dish that wasn't all that great. That said, the muhammara dip that came along with it was fantastic.

Mediterranean Cheese Wrap

Chicken with mushroom sauce - simple, yet perfect.

Chicken in Mushroom Sauce

Moroccan Lamb with couscous. Nice.

Moroccan Lamb with Cous-Cous

Spaghetti Primavera - could have done without the extra olives (a few is OK, but not too many).

Spaghetti Primavera with Chicken

Blackout - Simply superb!


Yankee Doodle Do - Nice name, nice ice cream, no need to have added watermelon along with the other cut fruits.

Yankee Doodle Do

Food: Very good
$$$:Not very expensive for the quality, quantity and type of cuisine served. Our bill, with taxes, came to a touch over 2400, that's 4 adults who pigged out and 1 extra dish for the kids.
Service: Good, although the condition of the menus needs a drastic redo
Verdict: A place you certainly must try out.
Extra info:No alcohol served. Also, someone told me they were put off by the location - it's opposite Anbhedkar College, and the surroundings after Zoe aren't all that great, but hey, once you're inside, why your mind should wander out beats me. You can park in an of the lanes nearby.

Zoe, 3790, HAL 2nd Stage, 7th Main, Opp. Ambedkar College, Indiranagar, Bangalore. Phone: 42115257

The full review can be read here:

Pleasure drives out pain, and excessive pain leads men to seek excessive pleasures.”
— Aristotle

It’s been a while since a restaurant would turn out to be a panacea to my predicament of a happy dining experience. Almost at the end of a quiet street is Zoe, like the elusive Leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Although I just cross-pollinated Greek and Irish cultures in the opening few lines, Zoe does a bit of the same — with food — with Lebanese, Mediterranean Greek, Spanish, Italian, Algerian, Moroccan, and a little bit of Mexican in its cuisine within the confines of it modern resto-lounge setup. Zoe is a Greek word which means ‘God-given life’ or ‘abundant life’, unlike bios, which refers to natural life. One look at the vibrant colours inside should be enough to bring some life (and colour) back into you after a hard day at the office.

Health and vibrancy being the theme, owner Ravi’s message is made clear with no alcohol being served here, and no smoking inside. No points then for guessing why he chose Mediterranean cuisine to be served here. My guests were Deboshree, a broadcast professional who’s also doubled up as a food critic in the past, and her daughter Zoe (coincidence, huh?) and a couple of friends. We started off with a lung fung soup and a chicken and cilantro soup, the chicken cilantro being great. The chicken fritters were nice and crispy, while the runaway hit was the mushroom fritters stuffed with Fontina cheese and chicken, served with a spicy peri-peri sauce. Another well presented and equally tasty dish was the lamb chimichanga rolls, a type of deep-fried burrito, served here with a spicy sauce. The presentation was good, and in spite of having oodles in terms of types of cuisines, neither taste nor presentation is compromised.

Apart from the food, the layout of Zoe makes it very friendly for kids, as Zoe the kid exemplified, almost tearing the place apart along with a couple of other kids. Thankfully there weren’t too many reservations from the staff. Another snacker on the menu is the mini lamb burgers — a set of 4 mini burgers served in small buns that somehow instill a sense of being homemade, and couple that with a perfectly cooked lamb patty with some caramelised onions, and presto! you’ve got yourself a first rate snack.

Along with the mini burgers, we also ordered a Mediterranean cheese wrap. This was probably the only dish there wasn’t anything to rave about. However, the muhammara dip that came with it had a lot going on inside it. The Lebanese muhammara is a dip primarily of walnuts, red chilies, and garlic, and had a really interesting taste that complemented the slightly bland cheese wrap. My only concern was that the menu didn’t explicitly mention what the dip contained (not everyone would know what a muhammara dip is), and since there are a lot of people who have violent allergic reactions to walnuts, which could be fatal, it would serve them well to mention this explicitly, or at least inform the patrons while the order is being placed.

For the main course, we ordered a spaghetti primavera, a Moroccan lamb with couscous, and chicken with mushroom sauce. At first, going only by looks, the spaghetti looked a little dry, but once we started to dig in, we realised that it was indeed good, although the chefs seemed to have hammed up the whole Mediterranean thingy by throwing in a good number of olives, which a classic primavera wouldn’t have. The chicken in mushroom sauce was fabulous. Simple and unpretentious, the sauce had the perfect consistency, neither too runny nor too thick, and the chicken was seasoned and cooked just right. Lastly, the combo of the lamb with the couscous was as good as it’s made out to be. Although it’s a standard dish and not one ‘cooked’ up by the chefs, the fact that it was done well earned them points.

For desserts, a chocolate cake with ice cream called Blackout, and an ice cream called Yankee Doodle Do multiple flavours of ice cream with cut fruits. The watermelon should have been omitted. That aside, the desserts were a delightful epilogue to conclude the saga called Zoe. “If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world” — JRR Tolkien. Go figure.


Confusious said...

Hey Karthik, read reviews at ur blog and checked out Zoe.. Somehow not one dish came out grt...Wish I could have got to taste it the way u had ur meal.. We had a pumpkin soup, ratatouille, loaded skin and cheesecake. Not even cheesecake was perfect. Maybe standards have dipped off late... But I love ur blog ya. Keep ur the grt work.

Karthik Shetty said...

Very surprising! But yes, it's quite possible that the standards have dipped. I haven't been there in a while. Also, none of the dishes you had were tried by me, so I can't really comment about them.


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