Last week I had the sheer excitement of a delivery man showing up at my door with £70 worth of Chinese take away from Zing Zing, the North London restaurant whose philosophy is that ‘Chinese dishes should be made with great ingredients, no added chemicals and great customer service’. The no added chemicals are what made me most eager to try out Zing Zing’s menu (no MSG hangover? Yes please!), and what arrived at my door were 11 dishes from the already huge menu available to either order online for delivery, or to collect/eat in from either the Islington or Kentish Town branches. Zing Zing have a little section on their website explaining how they use top of the range packaging in order to seal in the heat when en route to the customer, and I’m glad to say their technique worked pretty well! Here’s what I thought of the mountains of hot food that arrived at my door:
Thai Prawn Crackers
Hands down, these have to be some of the best prawn crackers I think I’ve ever tried. Anywhere. They were bone dry, crunchy and full of flavour whilst avoiding that typically strong fishy taste I have come to know of standard prawn crackers. I would never normally order prawn crackers because all I imagine in my head is those typical polystyrene-like, white crackers but my god were these the almighty antithesis! Unfortunately they were so good that I had wolfed them all down before remembering to photograph them for you guys, so apologies on behalf of my greedy self for that one!
Duck Spring Rolls
This was one of my favourite dishes that I tried from Zing Zing. The pastry was crispy and dry (I cannot stand how many Chinese takeaways deliver oily pastry, or oily anything for that matter), and were filled with a generous amount of shredded duck breast that had a good flavour. These were accompanied by a hoisin sauce which was pretty much as you would expect a hoisin sauce to be.
Pork and Goji Berry Dumplings
These shumai style dumplings were a hit with me. The steamed dumplings were filled, again generously, with delicious pork belly and topped with goji berries, although I felt the flavour of the goji berries was lost given the intense flavour of the pork. The dish was accompanied by a sweet sauce which I felt paired well with the dumplings.
Edamame Egg Fried Rice
Unfortunately I did not enjoy this dish whatsoever. I felt the rice was incredibly stodgy and in desperate need of extra seasoning. I wouldn’t recommend adding this to your order when dining with Zing Zing.
Korean Hot Wings
These tender chicken wings coated in Zing Zing’s homemade Korean sauce were pretty delicious. They had a good heat to them, which I was glad to find given that I’m quite the fan of chilli, yet I so often find that what restaurants deem ‘spicy’ on their menu only just tickles my taste buds. If you’re going to make something spicy go hard or go home, right?! I’m also a massive fan of sesame seeds (I put them in pretty much everything and use toasted sesame oil wherever I can), so the fact that the wings had been rolled in the seeds earned a bonus point from me!
Sticky Pork Ribs
The meat on these ribs was tender and fell easily off the bone, as anticipated. I enjoyed the sweet char siu barbeque sauce that they had been marinated in, and although I’m not screaming from the rooftops about them, I thought they were pretty good and I wouldn’t mind eating them again.
Visually, these did not excite me. It’s a shame that the florets were limp and soggy because the stems were cooked al dente and the soy and sesame dressing was enjoyable. Unfortunately I’m a firm believer in feasting first with your eyes, and ringing in at £5.50, I didn’t feel this dish was good value for money.
Yet again I’m happy to report back that Zing Zing remained true to their spicy word! This dish had a good heat to it, although to be honest it’s a style of dish that I would never normally order from a takeaway. The menu describes ‘crunch coated chicken thigh’, but there was nothing crunchy about this meat. I’m aware this is common in dishes with sauce, especially takeaway delivery that has to stand the test of time before arriving at your door, but it just wasn’t for me and I wouldn’t order it again. On the plus side, although the onions and red peppers looked limp, they were surprisingly well cooked with a nice crunch to them.
I’m glad we were sent over a vegetarian main course option since my poor mum was just staring at me scoffing all this food while her little veggie self couldn’t join in the feast. I asked my mum for her opinion on this dish since she is the veggie connoisseur. She enjoyed the ginger, chilli and garlic sauce the aubergine was served in, although described it more as having a sticky consistency as opposed to the ‘light’ description given in Zing Zing’s menu. She wasn’t mad about the dish but enjoyed it nonetheless and felt the portion size was good.
This dish confused me. When plating up, the meat was falling apart and so I was excited to enjoy the tender, melt-in-the-mouth pieces of beef typical to a rendang. Unfortunately the meat was somehow still quite dry and therefore took a lot of chewing, despite swimming in a sauce that I’m afraid to say was also a bit of a let down. Described on the menu as a ‘fragrant Indonesian curry’, I felt the sauce was pretty bland and lacked any sort of excitable flavouring that should be expected from a rendang curry. There was also a layer of oil on top of the curry which just confused my mouth even more when matched with the dry yet somehow tender pieces of beef. Basically, I would advise skipping over this when ordering.
Nutella and Banana Spring Rolls
These are pretty much what it says on the tin. Four mini crispy spring rolls filled with a Nutella and banana mixture. I love sweet food and so this satisfied me pretty easily (I’ll quite happily just eat Nutella out of the jar), but I mean you can’t really go wrong mixing a classic combo of chocolate and banana and then wrapping it in a crispy pastry! I was surprised to find that the flavour of banana still came through well; I was expecting to lose it in among the richness of the Nutella but alas, ‘twas thankfully not the case!
Jasmine Milk Tea
I was thrilled to receive such a fun drink in my delivery! This freshly brewed ice tea mixed with soya milk and strawberry popping boba (little pearls of strawberry flavoured liquid that burst in your mouth) was enjoyable and a great antidote to the especially spicy firecracker chicken!
Overall, I ended this feasting experience feeling that there were some hits but also some misses. I would order again from Zing Zing but feel like you need to know what you’re going for. Hopefully this review has given you a good idea of some of what’s on offer but as for the rest, you’ll have to go and try it out yourself!
Zing Zing is open every day 12.00pm – 11pm (10.30pm last orders) and food can be ordered from either their Kentish Town or Highbury & Islington branches :
81 Kentish Town Road
London NW1 8NY
0207 284 4432
142 Blackstock Road
London N4 2DX
0207 226 6664