We were invited to check out hip Camden bar Zen Sai and their new cocktails and summer season menu of Malaysian and Indian fusion dishes. Don’t you love the name Zen Sai? Sounds like a great spot to chill for an evening… or to Kill Bill!
Zen Sai offers some outside seating, a mezzanine level restaurant and a main bar area downstairs. Inside the bar, the mood lighting is so moody I knew I wouldn’t get any good snaps with my camera phone.
But we were feeling the ambience: very ‘urban retro’ with funky music, mirror balls, iconic album covers and artists lining the walls.
The Zen Sai cocktail bar web site serves up cheeky drinking quotes by everyone from Dorothy Parker to that well-known literary genius, Flo’ Rida!
I asked the barman to surprise me and he whipped up two glasses of Sir Henry’s Punch: Captain Morgan spiced gold rum, Kwai fei lychee, fresh passionfruit, lime and cranberry. Basically a passion fruit mojito. My first taste wasn’t all that but after a couple more sips I was all over Sir Henry.
Next we enjoyed Hibiscus Bellinis (champagne, syrup, Hibiscus flower) and rounded things off with a Tamarind Mint Julep: Jack Daniels, mint leaves, tamarind pulp, sugar, crushed ice, fresh tamarind. My favourite. Just so refreshing.
The waiters came around regularly with tasting platters filled with chicken kebabs slathered with a variety of delicious sauces, spicy vegetable pakora (yummy), prawn tempura, marinated chicken wings. It was all so good we ate everything at least three times (who’s counting?).
We would have stayed much longer but the Argentina v Holland match was calling and we hopped a train to The Wick Hackney to catch it on their giant screen.
But Abiye and I agreed we would come back to Zen Sai for more cocktails and to sample the full menu that includes signature dishes:
A celebrated dish that dates back to the 16th century with diced flank steak, slowly cooked in a blend of fresh spices and coconut milk.
A Persian delicacy adopted by Malaysians, chicken on the bone is cooked with lentils, green chillies, mangosteen and tamarind.
Spicy Whole Seabass
A succulent Seabass infused and cooked with lime, chilli, garlic and ginger.
Zen Sai is at 16 Inverness St, NW1 7HJ (Camden Town tube/Camden Rd overground). Tel: +44 20 74249527 / 07956 685 970