Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The New ‘Pay What You Like’ Tapas Menu

By Naheen Madarbarkus

The press release said that it was ‘an invitation to treat’ so it was simply too good an offer to ignore. The central Greek Street location of Zebrano in the West End can be found in the hub of local restaurants vying for a potential customer’s attention, so low cost food in the middle of a double dip recession seemed like a good idea to say the least.

Zebrano’s red and black colour scheme was the first thing to stand out as the comfy leather sofas and mirrored walls added ambiguity to its appearance; was it a club, bar or restaurant? Situated on the ground floor, the heavily stocked bar was an invitation in itself for a good night out. A handful of high tables lined the wall opposite the bar but it wasn’t until a walk to the back of the venue that the dining tables were noticed in their entirety.

My date and I were welcomed as we entered, and were then seated at the front near the main entrance. Sitting opposite the bar, the hustle and bustle of the customers coming in and out was somewhat distracting. We were given the menu and explained the deal: (on Wednesdays) order your chosen dishes, eat, then receive a bill with nothing on it. We were then to fill in what we wanted to pay and that’s what we would be charged. Sounds simple enough.

With a glass of white and a nice cool beer on the table, the new tapas menu looked appetising and well, inviting. We opted for some chorizo sausage, grilled meatballs, vegetable gumbo and calamari rings. The food was quick to arrive and the service was pleasant. The gumbo was by far the most delicious tapas but the sausage was overpowered by its soy sauce complement, making it a little soggy. Another beer and wine later and it was time for the bill. No fuss, no demands, just what we wanted then an exchange of pleasantries and we were on our way.

A great idea for a midweek treat and an ideal invitation just before pay day that will keep tummies from rumbling – just stay away from the chorizo.

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