18/20 Victoria Road, Elland HX5 0PU
Venue Zam Zam
Tel 01422 311488
Opening hours 5.30pm to midnight weekdays and 5.30pm to 1am at weekends.
Disabled access Yes
The bill Starters, mains and accompaniments for three £46.80
IT’S quite unusual for a restaurant not to have a website these days.
I guess then Zam Zam would operate by word-of-mouth – which means a guaranteed loyal following.
No bad thing as if people return on a regular basis then they must be happy chap(atti)s.
It was just over half full when three of us trooped in on a gloomy Saturday night.
We were shown to a table by an efficient rather than ebullient waiter and almost as soon as we sat down a plate of complementary poppadums were wafted under our nose and onto the table top.
A pickle tray appeared a moment afterwards and was swiftly followed by a big bottle of chilled water.
Crikey – it’s like they read our minds.
Impressed, we munched on our crispy poppadoms and perused the menu.
All the old favourites were present as well as a smattering of ‘house specials’.
We took the top from our first wine bottle (the restaurant doesn’t sell alcohol but diners are welcome to bring their own) and selected our dishes.
In no time at all I had four lamb chops (£4.20) on a sizzler plate in front of me, my girlfriend was confronted with a mixed sizzler (£5.80) plate and my friend a mixed starter plate (£5.80).
Worried, we eyed the vast portions of grub laid in front of us.
Two of my lamb chops were bigger than the others (maybe it had a limp?) but they were cooked well with the flavour boosted by sizzling onions and peppers on the plate.
My dining companions tore into their starters – but were soon defeated!
Seekh and shami kebabs abounded as did tandoori chicken pieces.
It was all a bit of a carnivorous blur but my friend decided an onion bhaji counted as one of his five a day.
Plates (semi) cleared we awaited our mains with trepidation.
In a fit of exploratory bravado, I’d picked a chicken vindaloo.
My girlfriend went for the chicken and chilli (a hot ’un) and my friend the chicken and mushroom.
Plus we’d added pilau rice, a portion of chips, one garlic naan and a cheese naan. Belts were loosened.
My vindaloo was first on the table. It was red and bubbling. The parallels between it and the inside of a volcano didn’t stop there.
Plenty of fresh chilli pieces boosted the heat to a ho-ho-ho-hot level I told my companions as I glugged water and fanned my open mouth.
My girlfriend’s chicken chilli was delicious but a little hot apparently – but to be fair, it’s marked as hot so it’s unfair to moan.
Both dishes had medium chunks of chicken in thick, flavoursome sauces.
The chicken and mushroom was described as ‘jalfrezi-like’ by my friend who enjoyed the ginger-yness of it.
The pilau was a whopping portion and the chips were nice and crisp.
But the naans were unlike any naan I’d had before.
The garlic one was a dry affair while the cheese one just had cheese melted over the top of it.
It was an undercover pizza and the breads were the let down to an otherwise decent meal.
Dining finished, our plates were whipped away and the (reasonable) bill appeared unasked for.
Either a hint or an efficient touch. We chose to be believe the latter.
Portion size, reasonable prices and decent quality – plus a take your own option on the booze – means that Zam Zam’s word-of-mouth success will continue for a while yet.