Yesterday I met up with Fran and Sophie in Manchester. Although we talk daily on Slack we realised that a year had gone by since the 3 of us met up IRL. Actually, I made a little video about that day which you can watch here. Allowing a full year to go by without seeing some of my favourite people is not good. I won’t be letting that happen again. It was fantastic to finally get together for a day of business chat, good food, a little shopping at Thunderegg and of course, gin at Allotment Bar.
The awesome team at Zouk Tea Bar & Grill treated us to a delicious meal and a bottle of red to get our biz mastermind going. The last time I went to Zouk (read about it here) I had a fantastic vegetarian meal. As it’s Veganuary and because I’m having to live a dairy free life I decided to stick with vegan dishes.
Let me start by saying that the staff at Zouk were more than happy to point me in the direction of the vegan dishes on the menu and there was no problem when I picked a dish and asked for it to be made without the yoghurt. Just a quick reminder for any of you who’re dairy free, as a standard Zouk make their meals with ghee so it’s important to let them know if you can’t or choose not to eat dairy. They won’t mind at all and you can even check out their website where they say that dishes can easily be made without ghee.
For a starter I went for the Masala Mirch. It’s a Jalapeno chilli stuffed with herbs, spices and topped with fresh grated mango. It was delicious and had a real spicy kick to it. The chilli had a very slight sweet taste to them which worked really well with the fiery sauce. It’s a much lighter option for a starter and I would actually really enjoy this as a main dish with some bread to scoop it up.
I’ll definitely be ordering the Masala Mirch next time I’m at Zouk. The other vegan options included a Hummus or Falafel, both of these would make for a tasty starter.
For my main dish I went for the Palak Alloo which is a mix of spinach, potatoes and lots of coriander and fenugreek. It’s one of my all-time favourite dishes. It’s usually made with yoghurt but the chef made it without for me. The Palak Aloo was full of flavour and I almost didn’t need any bread or rice with it because the chunks of potato were so fluffy and filling. I did of course fully enjoy my bread however. I love scooping up the curry with the bread, who needs a spoon. I opted for medium spice but if I have this again I think I’ll go for hot as I really enjoy a good kick of spice to my food.
Other alternative vegan options included the Mili Juli Sabzi, Bindi and Vegetable Tikka. All of these dishes really appeal to me and as much as I love the Palak Aloo at Zouk I think I’ll give the Veg Tikka a try next time.
I won’t lie, I was gutted that I couldn’t have their delicious naan bread, I believe it’s made with yoghurt. But as an alternative I had a roti with my meal which went down very well. They also have a really good variety of rice on offer, I didn’t have it on this occasion but I really recommend their mushroom rice.
I ended my meal with an espresso, the best way to end any meal. Fran and Sophie went for ice cream which looked tasty. Ice cream was the only dessert option, their main focus is is in their staters and mains. I’ve also heard they do a good selection of cocktails, just look at that fully stocked bar. I’ll have to give the cocktails a try on my next visit.
It was nice really nice not to feel awkward about asking for vegan choices, the staff were approachable and happy to help me out. I’ve often felt awkward just checking that dishes are dairy free but you’ll have no problem with this at Zouk. It’s better to confirm that your meal is suited to your eating habits and/or allergies. That way they can give you the best options and ensure that you’ll enjoy your time at the restaurant.
I want to say a big thank you to the team at Zouk for another fantastic meal. I used to visit Zouk regularly when I was living in Manchester and it was my always go to place for an evening meal. If you’re vegan or dairy free then make sure you pay them a visit, they won’t disappoint.
I had a fab day with Fran and Sophie, I always do! I left on my train to Sheffield feeling inspired and motivated by my creative and hard-working friends. I’m hoping that this year we all manage to meet up on a more regular basis. I know a lot of your run your own business or blog so I recommend finding a group of people you can have a business mastermind with. It’s such a good way to get constructive feedback on your business, blog or life decisions.