Aurora curryalis

Zin Zeera, Norwich
(Review by Scott of Norwich Curry Club

It’s all about the lights. You can see them as you drive past Zin Zeera in the evening and they look great. I’m sure that they’ve picked up a lot of business by people drawn in by the light show, but it’s only good food and service that will keep them coming back and at least on one count, they have a chance.

Zin Zeera opened last year on the old Bottoms Up site in Hellesdon. The opening night was by all accounts a bit of a disaster with cold food and big delays causing some diners to walk out. We went as a party of eight (including four children) on a Saturday night and apart from the lights, the first thing you notice is that it’s massive. The dining area is huge and although it is very impressively finished, all sparkly floors and chrome; cosy it is not. This will be their biggest challenge: filling the place. We arrived at 7 and by 8.30, prime time for curry eating, the restaurant was at best a third full.

Because of the size they have employed lots of staff; in fact they have a girl whose entire job was to hold the door open for people arriving and leaving. Bizarrely though, service was slow and inattentive. The waiter taking our order appeared totally distracted and kept looking back over his shoulder at the bar staff. No surprise that two dishes were missed from our order completely.

However, when the food did arrive, it was excellent. We had ordered a wide range of dishes from Korma (chicken £5.95, king prawn £9.95), through Bhuna (meat £6.45) and Dhansak (chicken £5.95) to Vindaloo (meat £6.45). My Dhansak was the best I’ve had – rich, full of flavour and not floating in a pool of oil like some I’ve had. The rest of the party also enjoyed their dishes.

Once the staff had finally noticed we had finished, egged on by my fellow diners, I even broke the cardinal rule and ordered a dessert! I didn’t believe they actually existed, I thought the whole dessert thing was just a game where you looked at a plastic menu full of frozen stuff before saying no and sticking a hot towel on your face.

The bill came to £150 for eight which included plenty of drinks so value was good and we were even given a discount card for 10 per cent off future bills and 20 per cent off takeaways.

So in all, it was a thumbs up for Zin Zeera. If they can improve their service and find some way to fill the place so it creates a better atmosphere, they will survive. They may even make enough of a profit to pay the light bill.

Zin Zeera, 2 Boundary Road, Norwich, NR6 5LA. Tel: 01603 408888. Open: daily noon-2.30pm, 5.30pm-11.30pm.

Zin Zeera snapshot

Food ① ② ③ ④ ⑤

Decor ① ② ③ ④

Value ① ② ③ ④

Atmosphere ① ②

Service and friendliness ① ②

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