Angela Jacobs samples the new spring menu at our favourite takeaway
Nobody’s particularly fussed what I do in the evenings any more – one’s at Uni in Leeds, the other is too cool for school (literally, unfortunately). Even my husband prefers to go to any meeting with Israel in the title to sitting at home with me. So when I got invited to a blogger’s event at Zing Zing to taste the spring menu, I didn’t say: “Why would I want to schlep all the way from north west London to eat Chinese takeaway food standing up, squashed in a small space with a load of tattooed, top knotted, vegan hipsters?”. I said: “Lovely, what time?”
Unlike the aforementioned teen, I did my homework. Zing Zing is a takeaway with four branches – Kentish Town, Kensal Rise, Elephant and Castle and the most difficult to get to and one to which I was invited – Blackstock Road in …. Arsenal. The event was to launch their spring menu. They even have a manifesto, which is, get this, even longer than my reviews. Basically their thing is good quality, non-gloopy, fresh Chinese food, WITHOUT MSG.
And, of course, they accept The Restaurant Club Card.
But who would accompany me on this adventure into hipster hell? There was only one possibility, my most unmiddle-aged, festival going friend Amanda. We found the venue and guess what – it was full of tattooed, top knotted, vegan hipsters. I was glad that I had decided not to wear my Mum Coat and donned my trusty denim jacket as we were indeed squashed into a small space. ( By Mum Coat I mean one of those parka things from Next, not my mum’s actual coat.) The team at Zing Zing greeted us warmly and immediately directed us towards food and drink. Now that’s what I call customer service. But where to stand to get first dibs on all the lovely food coming out of the kitchen? After all, we weren’t the only serious eaters there and the trendy bloggers probably had a strategy too. We gravitated towards the serving bar. Here we could also have a good look at what was going on in the kitchen. Zing Zing’s manifesto states that their hygiene is transparent and indeed, we watched the food being prepared and it was all spotlessly clean. Furthermore, our position meant that we could chat to the kitchen staff…. And ask them to get us more beer from the fridge. (I really really did intend to try their bubble tea, but I had one of each beer, Asahi and Tsing Tsao and couldn’t decide which I liked best so had to start again.)
We kicked off with spring rolls which were fresh and tasty. I nearly dipped mine into the bubbles for the bubble tea as they were the same colour as the chilli sauce. There was some mushroom toast which was delicious, prawm crackers and prawn toast. The dishes came out after another, and like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolate, you didn’t know what you were gonna get. Zing Zing’s dishes are modern and creative – coconut cauliflower was my particular favourite – katsu curry, sweet potato curry – tons of food. 2018’s answer to beatniks were loving it and so were we. More food came out, this time baos. (I want to put an apostrophe in there so that it is pronounced correctly but it would be just wrong.) I made a terrible faux pas of trying to get my greedy mitts on a mushroom one before they were photographed and I still feel ashamed.
Dessert was a stroke of creative genius. The modern English answer to the Scottish deep fried Mars Bar – the creme egg wonton. It tasted as beautiful and calorific as it sounded. Thanks Zing Zing for hosting us – your food is delicious and your manifesto has integrity and relevance to the world in which we live. Please open a takeaway that delivers ‘up Northwest’ where I live, or even better a restaurant or two.
Click here to see the exclusive special offer that Restaurant Club cardholders get at all branches of Zing Zing