Zilouf’s is a Thai restaurant near Highbury tube – it does brunch, lunch and dinner, and offers a great mid-week dinner deal of 2 courses for £15. The menu is pretty mixed from soup and steak tartare to chickpea fritters and pad thai. You could maybe describe it as British Asian fusion. It’s very decently priced with mains from £10 to £14, and rib eye steak at £16. The decor is trendily mismatched with charity shop furniture and old rugs, with the atmosphere cheered up by the handsome staff who are bouncy, friendly and great at keeping you topped up. We opted for the mid-week deal and there were about 5 starters and 5 mains on offer (expensive items like scallops were obviously not included).
I chose the cuttlefish salad with wasabi, sesame and thai basil – this was the first time I had tried cuttlefish (possibly because I associate it with smelly fish hanging in bird cages) but I really enjoyed it. The texture was similar to squid and it had been cooked so it still retained a nice crunch. The thai basil was very light and fresh, and made a great pairing with the fish.
For main, I had the veggie pad thai which featured a few varieties of wild mushroom, bean shoots and peanuts. I really hated this – it had been cooked with too much tamarind so it had a bitter taste and it seemed under-seasoned (or maybe I am used to eating pad thai covered in msg). I had a taste of the confit duck leg with panang curry which was delicious and made me regret choosing the veggie option. All in all, a fun place with good service but a rather mixed up menu.
Verdict: decent cooking but I’m not sure the British Thai concept really worked for me.