"Inventive Indian cocktails at a sleek Dean Street bar – just what Soho needs?"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Blink and you might miss the subtle blue sign that advertises basement bar Zenna, as it shares its entrance with Indian restaurant The Red Fort. The entrance is not the only thing it shares with the eatery, as Zenna bills itself as London’s first Indian cocktail bar. Atmosphere-wise, this could be just the sort of establishment Soho needs for a casual-yet-chic after work/dinner drink; ultra dim lighting, long slim alcoves and an intimate capacity of only 120, however it remains to be seen whether the DJ booth will lead to raucous late night behaviour.
In terms of beverages, lemongrass, coriander, mango and lychee have been used to great effect – the Coriander and Lychee Daiquiri is a wonderful concoction of sweet and spicy; similarly the Bee Sting, containing peach liquor, honey liquor, honey vodka and jalapeno peppers. The recipe of the ultra saccharine House Nectar remains secret, but supposedly contains two of the world’s most popular flavours. For the brave (and the show-offs) there is the Illiana, billed as the world’s spiciest cocktail containing spiced rum, orange curacao, orgeat syrup and a secret spicy sauce, it even comes “with a fire extinguisher” of Bombay Sapphire, sugar and lemon, presumably to placate the inevitable burning sensation. Rather than singe our tastebuds we sample the Raspberry and Mango Margarita, with Cointreau, tequila and a salt rimmed glass that highlights the drink’s sweetness.
There is a highly interesting lassi selection which can be made alcoholic by adding liqueurs, vodka, spiced rum or cachaça; the super-healthy Super Fruits Lassi contains blueberries, pomegranate and acai berries should you feel guilty about the cheeky liquor. Prices are very reasonable, cocktails start from £6, while the non-adventurous can stick to a glass of Sauvignon Blanc for only a fiver. Food is prepared in the kitchen upstairs and is of the snacky variety, the hare kebabs are particularly moreish spinach patties that ooze melted cheese – delightful when paired with the aforementioned Daiquiri.
Leila reviewed Zenna on Wed 23 Feb 2011