Zara - North Somercotes, Lincolnshire

Keeling Street, North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, LN11 7QT
Telephone: 01507 358 139 
Opening Times:
Sun - Thur 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Fri & Sat 5:00pm to 11:30pm

"Zara… A Curry Oasis"
Date of Visit: Saturday 18/10/14, 5:30pm

Zara – Of Hebrew / Arabic origin meaning Eastern Splendour; Princess.

Seekh Kebab (2 pieces) £3.50 – freshly made, good quality, good size, though not spicy enough for my liking. However, they did produce a small amount of back heat. The accompanying salad was perfunctory, the sauce, sweet.

Naan £1.95 – good size and quality.

South Indian Garlic Chili Chicken £7.50 – “Barbecued pieces of chicken cooked in a fresh garlic and chili sauce with coriander and crisp red chili” 
was how this dish was described on the menu. Two asterisks lay beside the description, the footnote adding or maybe warning... “Very Hot”.

The chicken pieces were of good quality, good size and had been skewered and cooked in the tandoor. I think that they had ran out of red chili’s as both cooked and uncooked green ones were used. There were slivers of fresh garlic cloves in the dish and I guess that crushed garlic may have also been used. The odd seed and the garnish dressing of the leaves evidenced the coriander. Powdered coriander may have also been integrated in to the cooking process. Good meat content and portion size.

The dish was a decent dish, which I enjoyed. Having said that, for me it didn’t match its Zara health & safety warning of being “Very Hot”. I managed to eat both my starter and main course with no accompanying drink of any description. They rather let themselves down by not providing me with a glass of water. I didn’t ask; it was a test that I thought the 3 amigos serving would fail… and, they did.

The 3 young waiters / waitresses are a little na├»ve and don’t offer the support that the chef and owner deserve. Initial conversations with them were hard work and unfruitful in garnering information.
The young waiter seemed startled that I was dining alone; on occasions, I do! Twice (by different waitresses) I was asked if I would like any poppadoms; when I queried if they were complimentary, I could tell that no one had previously asked the question. At 60p a poppadom and £1.80 for a pickle tray (3 dips/pickles)… I literally wasn’t buying it.
The sometimes wearisome question of whether I would like an alcoholic drink was asked… at £3.80 for a pint of nitro kegged lager or £4.50 for a bottle of (non) authentic Indian beer/lager; they didn’t tempt me.
When ordering, I was asked if I wanted any rice. This always annoys me. I know staff are encouraged to sell add ons such as a side dish, beer and deserts but if I order a Naan then please don't enquire if I want rice as if I have forgotten to order it. I'm a big (ok, old) lad and know exactly what I want when I dine out. It's not my first time in a restaurant and I don't really need any help. After all, I've being eating Indian food for 35 years now. Thank you.
The music was a tad intrusive too.
I glanced at the desert menu and as expected, there were no Indian offerings; just ice cream from central supplies.
Finally (in the grumbles section), the least the 3 young matadors could do would be to know that the owners are of Bangladeshi origin. One of the waitresses had to pop in to the kitchen to ask my question of the owner.

Post-meal, I had a ten-minute chat with the owner. He confirmed what I have been commenting on for a while on here now. That is, that he serves his food, targeting the 90% of Caucasian (my word, not his) customers who don’t want their food too hot and who like it a little sweet. He stated that it would not be how he would cook at home. He was an affable fella and I enjoyed our chat about curries and Indian food. I learned that he gets all of his meats from his brother’s butchers shop in Hull.

The restaurant is bigger than the frontage portrays and a conversion (maybe to an old barn or something?) to the rear gives a tardis like feeling. It is bright, spacious and has a modern, contemporary image.

Licence Revoked In July 2014 (Lincolnshire Echo) - They must have won the appeal, as it was available on Saturday night.

I was the only diner during my visit, though take-away service was brisk. 

In summary, I thought the Seekh Kebab’s (£3.50) were over-priced (£1.80 at Mangla, Sheffield) and the main dish probably a quid over priced too. However, at an Oasis, you pay the asking price, or, go un-curried.

The nearest Indian Restaurants are 11 miles (Louth), 11 miles (Mablethorpe) and 16 miles (Cleethorpes) – Zara really is a Curry Oasis.

I’d return and I recommend this restaurant to you.

Awarded August 2015

RAF DONNA NOOK is based at North Somercotes.

North Somercotes - The village's name means "North Summer Grazing Area" as only in summer would it be dry enough for sheep and cattle to be able to graze in the area.

WW2 Bomb Scare - Keeling Street - North Somercotes (Lincolnshire Echo) Unexploded Ordnance is often discovered on the beach at North Somercotes as it is owned by the MOD and is an RAF and NATO bombing range.

Beautiful but potentially deadly!