It was a pleasure to be invited to East Z East’s launch of their Christmas menu a few weeks ago; as you are well aware I love all things spice and can’t resist a decent cocktail. This place has plenty of both – as well as wide range of milder curries & mocktails for the more faint-hearted (or designated drivers!)
Their Riverside branch is in a great city-centre location on Blackfriars street. They even offer a convenient valet parking/concierge service free-of-charge, which is a great asset if you’re a non-city dweller. The building is modern, trendy, well-lit and has a sophisticated feel to it. It’s not your average curry house, it kind of has an elegant, luxurious twist to it which I liked. We were greeted by the manager and shown to our table, seated in the large private dining room upstairs, where we could play our own choice of music through the sound system – great to add an instant party atmosphere!
To drink, I decided on a mocktail, (sadly), as I was driving… but I must say, it was deliciously fruity, refreshing and hand-prepared in no time. The rest of the cocktails all looked really impressive, each featuring different fresh fruits and funky shaped straws (pictured above, top left: the East Z East Touch Mocktail – Strawberry, raspberry and blackberry shaken with elderflower and cranberry juice).
So – the food. First of all I think 3 courses for £21.95 is excellent value for money from a Manchester city-centre Christmas menu. To start we were greeted by the BIGGEST tray of chutneys, pickles and yogurt selection I have ever come across, along with a couple of poppadoms each – just enough to get the taste-buds tingling. There were 8 different chutneys to choose from; and the plum chutney and chilli pickle were amazing. The lamb chops were meaty, well spiced and morish, the chicken tender, juicy and had just the right amount of charcoal grilled goodness on the outside. Yum.
Next were the curries… Pictured below are the two curries I tried; the Balti Seafood and the Murgh Tikka Makhani. The seafood curry featured huge king prawns and was in a medium-spiced balti sauce, similar to a bhuna in heat and intensity. The Makhani was like a tikka-massala but without the coconut. Instead it featured the more ‘grown-up’ flavours of cream, pistachios, almonds and tomatoes. An altogether more delicious answer to the overly-common ‘tikka masala’ – and I liked it. Garlic naan breads, cooked to perfection, thin, bubbly, crispy – just how I like them (as the last thing you want o do is fill up on thick bread, especially if you’re on the cocktails!)
Finally, the puddings. I must admit, I don’t usually go for puddings when I go for a curry. I usually find I’m too full so don’t bother. However, when the place has it’s very own ice-cream bar, featuring flavours such as Ferrero Rocher… I could not resist. Pictured below are just two desserts from the Christmas Menu; Gulab Jamun (a sort of sweet dumpling, served warm with madagascar vanilla ice cream (a really delicious, sweet, light option – I would highly recommend) and a Swiss Chocolate Cheesecake served with (any) scoop of ice-cream from the ice-cream bar… 😀 both desserts were an absolute delight. They have both made me think twice about desserts in an Indian restaurant, the perfect end to a mini-culinary adventure!
Click here for more information about East Z East and to enquire about Christmas bookings, contact 0161 834 3500.