After an afternoon paddleboarding, we were ravenous so I thought this a good time to check out Mt Eden newcomer Zool Zool. And am very glad we did. Zool Zool a great space with a lively atmosphere and super-friendly staff. It’s a new venture by Kazuya Yamauchi and Toru Hirae from Kazuya and Soi with that kind of culinary grunt behind it, it’s no surprise the food is fab and the business already doing such a roaring trade.
Zool Zool is essentially a ramen bar with a lot of isakaya-style extras so it would have rude not to try the noodles. We had a miso based broth with chicken and pork mince, bean sprouts, cabbage, carrot, onion, spring onion ($14) and it was totally addictive. The broth had a wonderful depth of flavour – umami ahoy – and was generously loaded with vegetables to provide variety in texture and flavour. It was gorgeous on a summer day and I imagine it would be comfort food personified in winter.
We were intrigued to find edamame ($7) with a variety of flavoured salts – curry, spicy or garlic so made sure we got some of that action too. I would highly recommend the garlic flavour and we loved the fact they came quirkily-served in a brown paper bag!
Keen to investigate some of the other sharey-type plates we ordered Soft Shell Crab ($12), Ebi Chilli ($16), Squid Tentacles ($7) and Sea “Gem” Vegetable Salad ($10) – this came to $22/head between three – perfect. We loved the salad with its five different kinds of seaweed and bold citrus vinegar dressing but in contrast the dressing that came with the Soft Shell Crab was more to my liking as it had less sweetness but still enough tang to contrast the fried taste of the crab.
The Squid Tentacles were standard but tasty – with that slight firmness to bite I became addicted to when living in Japan. It tasted exactly like it did then, with its wonderful crunchy ‘secret herbs and spices’ style coating. The Ebi Chilli was great too and while I’m not usually a sweet chilli fan this clever contrast of textures and flavours worked really well (creamy, crunchy, rich, fresh all in the same mouthful) The prawns were perched atop lettuce and covered in a crunchy topping of what I can only assume was deep fried vermicelli or something similar and the sweet chilli aioli finished the picture perfectly.
Not much more to say except go, soon. Before everyone finds out.