Zan Zi Bar Pub and Restaurant – review

[This venue is now closed]
Zan Zi BarThere are plenty of good restaurants in Central London. Easy transport links and familiar territory, but there are sometimes gems to be found at the far reaches of the tube network. Edgware is the terminus of the Northern Line and that was our destination one hot summer evening.

Zan Zi Bar Pub and Restaurant is worth the ride. Yes, we travelled from West London for the honour of eating there, but there are those who have come from as far afield as Coventry. It seems this establishment has a cult following and a sample or two from the menu will give you the reason why. You’ll get something a lot more interesting than a limp cheese sandwich and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.

It’s a pub. A bar with plenty of space, light and airy with tables sporting vinyl cloths. Several large TV screens for the sports fans and Bollywood film devotees. The outside offers seating for those who want to bask in the sun of the all-too-short English summer or even indulge in smoking the increasingly sought-after Shisha. You might know it as a hookah or water pipe offering a much more visually appealing smoke than a packet of Marlborough. There is an enclosed courtyard at the back of the pub for those seeking some alfresco dining or for the kids to play in safety while the grown-ups enjoy a cocktail and some food.

It’s a restaurant. The atmosphere is casual and the staff friendly. They are the winners of Customer Excellence Awards 2007/2008/2009. It has its regulars, many of whom are Indians and that’s always a good sign. Both the drinks and the food menus offer favourites and innovation. Don’t let the informal surroundings fool you. Zan Zi Bar peanutsYou’ll find some of the most robust and striking food here. The owners, Sameer and Sheetal Malik cut no corners. Zan Zi Bar has been their passion for 9 years or so and their hard work has resulted in a truly unique concept – and it works.

Zan Zi Bar has a good selection of non-alcoholic cocktails. I chose the Fresh Lime Soda with salt. (The wine menu has a very decent house red for under £13 a bottle and £4.30 by the 250ml glass.) Clean-tasting and thirst-quenching, and helped down by a large bowl of spiced peanuts. It’s seldom you’ll find a restaurant reviewer mentioning the bits that go with drinks, but these were exceptional. Those over-salted and stale snacks offered as nibbles in lesser establishments have been banished and replaced by a dish that could be addictive. Fresh unsalted peanuts with onion, chillies and spices combined to create a sweet, hot, crunchy introduction to the temptations to follow.

Chicken in an Egg-Roll Wrap is such a popular item here that it is requested even when it’s been taken off the menu. This is a substantial and moreish Indian burrito stuffed with chopped chicken and tangy sauce. aZan Zi Bar decoreChef J.P. Bhatt presents delicious and inspired dishes and that should be no surprise, as he has worked for India’s famed Taj hotel group which has sired so many of London’s best Indian chefs.

Dal Bhajia Chaat is a must-try vegetarian starter. Light and fluffy lentil dumplings bathed in traditional yoghurt and tamarind with a garnish of fresh coriander; but for carnivores the Chicken Tikka on the bone is a sizzling rendition of the Indian restaurant favourite, but a cut above. Succulent meat and tantalising aroma will get the taste buds working. Tandoori King Prawns were juicy and flavourful and indeed king-sized, aromatic with a bite of heat.

Chicken Bhuna has long been one of the most requested dishes at Zan Zi Bar. The meat was tender and the sauce vibrant. Dal Makhni made a rich and creamy side dish. A comfort food in every regard. Just the addition of some freshly made breads completed a memorable meal that could shame some celebrated high-end restaurants.

It’s a neighbourhood bar but it could just as easily be described as a restaurant offering amazing food. A restaurant where everyone knows your name and where the phrase “I’ll have my usual” will find the habitué with a plateful of Punjabi Chole rather than a pint of Guinness. Zan Zi Bar deserves its reputation as a friendly, casual pub with fine food… or is it a lively restaurant with a great bar?

Open 7 days a week.
Monday to Thursday: 12pm – 3pm and 5.30pm – 11pm
Friday: 12pm – 11pm (kitchen closed between 3pm and 6pm)
Saturday: 12pm – 11pm (kitchen open all day)
Sunday: 12pm – 10.30pm (kitchen open all day)

Zan Zi Bar
113 High Street, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 7DB

[This venue is now closed]


Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018