I was mispronouncing ‘Zou Zou’ as ‘Zaw Zaw’, but I later came to know its ‘Zoo Zoo’, an affectionate feminine Arabic name. Perhaps this beautifully bronze-lit authentic diner is named after a beloved Zou Zou the owner happened to know, a brilliant cook who had a special penchant with Mediterranean flavors and loved to feed a large brood.
Such is the warmth and familial familiarity that exudes from this beautifully decorated ‘Turkish meets Lebanese’ restaurant, located in Insta-friendly La Mer, Dubai.
It was a cold, breezy night when we arrived a couple of weekends back. It was past 10 pm, and the place was packed with diners both inside and out. We found a quiet corner by the warmth of a torched flame on the deck. The night breeze had a delicious chill to it, making it perfect for alfresco dining.
The winter weather had us craving for soup. We tried both the traditional Lentil Soup and the Meat Soup. The lentil soup is lighter on the stomach yet beautifully blended, and a squeeze of lemon brings it to life. The Meat Soup is an authentic delicacy featuring a slow-cooked meaty broth and yogurt. It’s meaty-good with a tang of dairy, an interesting blend of flavors.
Like all things Turkish, the presentation of the dishes here is absolutely beautiful. The downside of enjoying the winter alfresco dining experience was that my photos just didn’t do justice to the gorgeous brass-ware that has come all the way from Turkey.
We started off with a serving of assorted cold mezze which included the traditional Hummus, Labneh and Baba Ghanoush, and the tart yet densely flavored Muhammara (a traditional Turkish red pepper dip). This was accompanied with freshly baked, fluffy soft pita bread.
We also had a round of hot starters that included a generously large plate of deep-fried battered squid rings and a platter of assorted mini Manakeesh.
My favorite starter was their beetroot and feta salad. Light yet filling, it whet the appetite for the mains.
For the main-course I had their signature Lokma Kebab, a traditional Turkish lamb kebab cooked in a tomato gravy and served with a side of rice and yogurt. The presentation was beautifully exotic as was the flavor combination of the dish. I cleaned this beauty up in record time!
My friend chose a more diet-conscious dish; the Zou Zou Salmon Grill. The chef has really nailed cooking salmon! The fillet has flecks of smoked char, yet the flesh is moist and pink, and the aftertaste of cracked pepper makes it all the more enjoyable.
We washed it all down with delicious mocktails. I had a fizzy strawberry, and my friend had a virgin pina colada.
When dining Turkish, it is almost mandatory to end the meal with their famous coffee or sweetened red tea. I decided to choose the later, and was very theatrically served this dainty glass cup that was swung up and down by the server before it hit the table.
We were far too full for dessert, but will surely be back for it next time round. Highly recommend this gorgeous gem! The ambiance is stunning, the service exemplary despite being a super crowded night, and the food and presentation takes you to another world altogether.