On a recent Friday I sat nursing a drink at Zazatam, waiting for two friends, while they searched for a parking space. The second district around the Vorgartenmarkt is not blessed with easily available parking. The drink, named Sissy Americano, an apple infused Vermouth, Campari, and organic cider, helped to pass the time. That and staring at the curtains with huge flowers on a black background.

dining room @Zazatam

Sissy Americano @Zazatam

Since we couldn’t really decide on what we wanted to eat (and the waiter came by three times to ask if we were ready), we ordered all seven starters to share. First up were the ‘Popcorn Prawns’ with jalapeño, black sesame, and tomato, and the ‘Tuna Tataki’ with rice crisps, mango mayonnaise, and nori. The two prawns looked delicious, quite big with a crunchy outside and a lovely green sauce on top. Unfortunately it tasted rather bland. I missed the jalapeño completely, there was nothing spicy. The prawn had a satisfying crunch though and was still juicy.

Popcorn Prawns @Zazatam

The ‘Tuna Tataki‘ was perfectly seasoned, the tuna seared just right. The rice crisp provided another nice crunch and also made it possible to eat the tataki by hand. A very good starter!

Tuna Tataki @Zazatam

Then we got some ‘Smoked Beets’ with pear, mustard, and crumble, as well as ‘XO Beef’ with Bao buns. I had great expectations for the beets and was indeed surprised. Not red but yellow and white beets arrived at our table, the pears were in the sauce underneath and the crumble gave it all a handsome texture. It’s always interesting to see what can be done with only vegetables. Only the smoky aroma I didn’t detect.

Smoked Beets @Zazatam

The ‘XO Beef ‘ got my unrestrained admiration. Hand-cut beef, well seasoned, spring onions, and fluffy Bao buns. Too bad that my bun vanished after two bites. I could have easily eaten another one.

XO Beef with Bao Buns @Zazatam

Before the last three starters I got another drink, this time the ‘Smoking Dove‘. Tequila, Lime & Grapefruit, Agave, Mezcal, with a smoky Ancho chili & sea salt rim. Such an excellent drink, I had to switch to wine after otherwise I would have ordered another one. And that is never a good idea to drink more than two cocktails.

Smoking Dove @Zazatam

The last three starters came at the same time. Tamales with a pumpkin aligot (a cheese – mashed potatoes dish), spicy mole, Añejo cheese, and coriander. The Tamales came in form of a corn on a dried corn leave with a good helping of mole on top. Despite the mole being tasty, it was just not intensive enough to spice up the whole dish. Unfortunately the tamales were a bit boring.

Tamales @Zazatam

Mo:Mo, a dish I know as Momos from Nepal, was the other meat dish on the starter menu. The dough was filled with boar, came with a carrot ginger chutney, and some parsley oil on top. Just perfect!

Mo:Mo filled with boar and carrot ginger chutney @Zazatam

Last but not least was the ‘Zaza Crunch’, a cress salad with broccolini, quinoa, and broccoli dressing. That’s how the menu described the dish. I couldn’t find any cress though, the salad looked rather like lamb’s lettuce. I am also not sure what the broccoli dressing should have been, but overall the salad was tasty and the quinoa cracker worked well with it.

Zaza Crunch salad @Zazatam

Overall it was an entertaining evening, with in parts really great food. I loved that the food was interesting, even the dishes I didn’t like so much. All of them were exciting combinations. The drinks and the service also get a shout out. Our waiter was attentive throughout the whole evening and very charming. On the downside was the volume level of the music. Zazatam is not only a restaurant, it has a lounge and bar atmosphere. Which is definitely achieved in regards to the interior design and the music.

I only wish the noise level would have been a bit lower. With the three of us at the table we had to speak up all the time to hear each other over the music and the ambient noise. Next to us was a table of six, and they had to yell to be heard by all on their table. So it was not only us. I guess we would have stayed for another drink if the music would have increased only after the meal. But by then we were all tired of the noise and rather talked for another 15 minutes outside of the restaurant before going home. Sometimes less is more. Yours, Pollybert


1020 Wien, Hillerstaße 11
Tel: +43 670 6022997
Thu-Sat: 17:00–02:00

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