Premium house, next to First Bank, Jericho Ibadan, Nigeria.
The second edition of our Food Diaries took us to Zen Restaurant! Zen is another relatively new place. It was established two years ago as an extension of the Zen supermarket which has been around for about 15 years). One of the first things that you notice is the restaurants huge menu, which is directly sourced from their supermarket! On this edition of the Food Diaries, we were joined by Roy Ige (@roy_ige), Mr Damola (damouche01) of HUC, and the restaurant’s manager Mr Pikay (@zen_chops).
A brief welcome from the very polite waiter. We were ushered to a table nicely set up for us. Zen has a very calm ambience that’s unmistakably Indian. A lot of Indian paintings on the wall, blue lighting, an Indian as well as Nigerian flag, and a nice aquarium. One of the things you notice if you’re paying attention is the lack of any Television sets or display screens. There is only some nice music playing in the background. The reason for this, as told to us by the owner/manager Pikay, is to foster an environment of conversation between diners, and also one where the focus is on the food! This is meant to enhance the overall dining experience as it did while we were there, we all kept talking to each other the entire time!
We had the honor to meet with Pikay who took us through some history about Zen and suggested some meals off the menu. The menu is probably the richest in town with 150 different dishes (that took about 5 months to create) ranging from Indian dishes, to Italian, Chinese, Nigerian meals, and inclusive of vegetarian options. The menu is number coded and also with pictures and a full description helping to depict each dish. This is super helpful if you’re having something for the first time like our guest Roy Ige, as you will know exactly what went into the dish and how it’s cooked, to avoid any bad experience. The most accommodating thing of their kitchen is that special requests can be made if you would rather leave out some items of a dish, or ask to reduce or increase one ingredient over the other. It’s all about the customer over at Zen. Everything is cooked fresh and made using a special tandoori method.
A particular section in the menu got our attention. The HOT PLATE SIZZLER, in which special starters are prepared on a sizzling hot plate. You can’t have this as a take away as it’s best eaten sizzling. I haven’t seen this feature anywhere in Ibadan. They also have special provisions for vegetarians. We finally settled for the Peppercorn chicken. A specialty dish of boneless chicken cooked in white sauce and black pepper and served with some butter Naan (fresh oven-baked Indian bread). It’s apparently their most ordered dish. It took about 15minutes to get to the table, and we all dug in! It was super tasty. The white sauce was sizzling hot, thick enough with just the right amount of pepper.
Comments from our guests:
Roy Ige (IG @roy_ige): I’m so amazed with their 150 different menu list. The Naan bread and peppercorn chicken soup was awesome! It’s a cozy place where they love to cook and the prices are competitive. I’m definitely going back especially for the all you can eat buffet this Sunday (the buffet usually runs every Sunday and costs N4,000 per head – all you can eat! If you’re interested, be sure to call 08135978978 to reserve a space!).
Damola (IG @damouche01): When I go out to eat I hope for a place where it’s all about the food with a huge menu. I like what they’ve done here eliminating distractions like the televisions and other side attractions. The menu here is rich and I hope they are always available on request. Great meal service!
Price of what we had, Peppercorn chicken with white sauce and naan- N2700. To get a discount on this same order, simply CLICK HERE to go to our Facebook page to signup to our newsletter, and don’t forget to like and share our page! The first 3 sign ups win the prize!
Zen is a good idea if you’re looking to try something different. They offer a vast option of dishes so you can’t get bored. Ideal for dates, dinners, family get together and even birthday parties. There’s a bar section and once in a while discos! As to those claims about Indian meals being too spicy, we say “ Bandar kya jaane adrak ka swad” (Monkey doesn’t know the taste of ginger. Meaning: Those who don’t know, can’t appreciate)
To check out Zen’s menu with Jeun, click here: http://jeun.com.ng/product-category/zenrestaurant/
You can also go directly to their website at http://www.zenworld.net/
In collaboration with TOMEATS.CO (TWITTER/IG:Tomeats.co)