the saidpur village of my childhood has disappeared, replaced with a mini-food park of restaurants. it is now home to des pardes, hotspot, polo lounge and the recently opened zizou's. as a child i had spent many an afternoon here with my mother roaming through the tight and cramped streets to watch the potterers create earthenware vessels. i was fascinated by the potters wheel that spun in opposites with the hands moulding and creating shapes. the potterer still remains although hidden behind the numerous eateries. i ate at des pardes in the summer of june twenty o nine and didn't bother reviewing it as i wasn't very impressed.
zizou's is run by a family friend and i had heard much about it so was very happy to try it out. a very cold december night found my sibling, hubby and i at zizou's. we were joined by p and a friend s. the restaurant itself is split level with seating on the roof and in a little room off the main courtyard. it's beautifully put together with a bar counter modelled out of salt bricks. the coloured glass panes in the doors behind it lend colour breaking the nude and neutral shades. the cold can't contest with the heating arrangement essentially personalised little anghiti's (heaters) that radiate heat. we had two of these in the room downstairs and were toasty warm.
i didn't bother with the menu instead relying on recommendations from p who helps run the place. it turns out that zizou's is famous for its steak, fish entrees and red curry. i love steak and don't get to eat it much in london so decided to go for it. o loves thai and went for the red curry and my sibling m ordered the balsamic fish. my steak came with a mound of mashed potatoes and a medley of vegetables. the meat was tender and perfectly medium rare. the vegetables were surprisingly good as they had a good bite and a light glaze and the mash was smooth. the seasonings were perfectly balanced. i had a bite of o's red curry. it had a lovely and very rich coconut taste whose mellowness was broken by the strength of the red chilli. the rice was perfectly steamed. m felt that his entree was a bit heavy on the balsamic. i didn't try his but i can say that you'd need a meatier fish to be able to withstand balsamic. white fish is quite mild and fares better with herbs and milder flavours like lemon or white wine vinegar.
despite being very full we had to conclude on a sweet note. p suggested a warm italian bread and butter pudding and a chocolate explosion. the bread and butter pudding came with a crown of spun sugar and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, the chocolate explosion with a squiggle of strawberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. despite the cold the ice cream was a lovely contrast. the bread and butter pudding is a twist on the classic as the individual serving was moulded and stood steady without the slight wobble that i associate with bread soaked in custard and then baked. it had a sweet caramel flavour which was tamed by the vanilla. the chocolate explosion is basically a molten cake which predictably oozed after the first bite.
i'd love to come to zizou's on a sunny afternoon as winter progresses into spring and one can sit outside on the top floor. the food here is hearty and the liberally sized entrees are well seasoned. its evident that much thought was put into the way zizou's looks. oh, and in case you are wondering zizou's is named after p's nephew. o and i would definitely recommend zizou's and we'll be back there whenever we are in town next.