Zeen
REVIEW March 16, 2009
Overall Value
out of 5
Food 
Service 
Ambience 
£28
Zeen, 130 Drummond St, London, NW1 2PA

Comfortably decorated in style imitating the coffee bars of the ‘swinging Sixties’, this Little India basement restaurant offers food that’s perfectly acceptable, but not obviously better than at many neighbouring establishments.

The Noon family has a bit of a name for its curries (available in supermarkets everywhere). So far as we know, however, this is the family’s first stab at an actual curry house. The eponymous Zeenat Harnal is ‘the daughter’ of the family.

This is a smart and professionally turned out basement operation, whose rather late-60s orange-themed décor nods elegantly to the period when these streets to the west of Euston station first became known for inexpensive Indian restaurants (especially of the veggie variety). Staff were pleasant too, and trying hard. Prices are not demanding.

The food, however, consistently failed to excite. And not just on the palate. Our lunch companion was one of those obsessives who photographs dishes, and we particularly couldn’t help noting that our array of starters – veggie fritters, and a soft shell crab – made a totally unrelieved symphony in brown. Not much of a picture, you might say.

For the main courses, a whole poussin maintained the sepia theme, so the odd glimmer of colour in evidence on the vegetarian platter – also a main dish option – was especially welcome.

This last plate turned out to be the highlight of the meal. Even here, though, those dazzling moments when texture and spicing can come together – allowing the best Indian cuisine to transcend its often-humble ingredients – were notable mainly by their absence.

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