Zouk Cafe & Bar Opens for Biz

After much anticipation, Zouk Cafe & Bar opens TODAY at The Gardens, Mid Valley City. The first of it’s kind for the Zouk superclub franchise – in the world, last night JUICE was exclusively invited to check it out and sample the food and drinks. Read about it after the jump.

Originally scheduled to open before the end of 2009, somethings are worth the wait. Zouk Cafe & Bar is a lot larger than we imagined from the wooden hoarding that The Gardens had set up. Even the small outdoor area set up at mall entrance facing Mid Valley Megamall doesn’t hint at the considerable space inside.  The use of waist-height glass frontage separating the cafe and bar from the mall’s concourse area and glass dividers partitioning the eaterie’s 3 distinct areas lend to its open concept plan. And both the extraordinary lighting fixtures like alien eyes oogling you as you dine and amazing LED wall (exactly the same as the one in Zouk Club) reminds you where exactly this joint gets its name from.

While there are plenty of clubs and bars that put more emphasis on raking in the drinks dollars, you can tell that Zouk Club + Bar intend to take their casual dining experience seriously. Behind a well stocked bar is the open kitchen led by former KLIA Bunga Raya Lounge chef (so he’s used to working 9 kitchen and handling discerning VIP tastes) and the menu is modern and fresh and there are loads of vegetarian options.

The east-meets-west yakitori/skewers dishes are the signature here. Dining with Matt Armitage, host and Marketing and Communications Director Adam Mathews and lighting engineer Sebastian at one of the cafe’s first wet runs, we tried the grilled tofu skewers, the grilled tuna skewers, the Balinese satay and the beef bacon wrap. Each came with their own exquisite dipping sauces. JUICE came away impressed by the presentation and the complex explosion of delicate flavours. Really we were expecting some simple ready-to-go grub, what we got was proper gourmet quality nosh!

Skewers and tapas come in 2 portion sizes so you can sample, or indulge once you’ve found something you really, really like. There are also a small selection of soups, salads, Terrace Bar faves – like the bar’s superb burger and the gorgeously moist and spicy aglio olio pasta, bento sets and desserts.

We didn’t see them but we we’re told the placemats resemble turntables, while some of the menu items are served on dishes that resemble a vinyl record – an apt touch - and the bento sets are served in Zouk-branded bento boxes. Could a marketing spin off be in the offing? Judging by how popular these culinary holdalls were last night we certainly think so. More menu options are to come as the the team experiment with new ideas and get feedback from its clientele, and Zouk Cafe + Bar will also be offering takeaway too.

As for drinks, the bar has Heineken and Carlsberg on tap as well as Hoegaarden beer and a small selection of superbly mixed cocktails; my margarita was just the right side of tart. Happy hours are being planned but are yet to be confirmed.

There is smoking within the venue, both on the terrace and LED lounge. This area is also to have a flyer wall, featuring flyers from all 6 years of Zouk KL, and boy have these guys produced some of the best clubbing artwork around. No DJs are planned for the space, music is programmed by the Zouk team via iPod so you know it’s gonna be good, and there are flatscreens airing the latest matches and music vids. Watch this space keenly though as we’ve heard something very very cool is coming up on the visual front soon. Our lips are sealed. Also soon to come, more seating space located directly around the mall’s fountain – should prove to be prime real estate for people watchers.

Zouk Club members get 10% off their bills so if you’ve not yet signed up, do it. There’s an electronic membership booth near the takeaway area. Now open for business for now operating hours are 10am to 12 midnight, 7 days a week. An official launch is scheduled for end February. Happy eating! And congratulations Zouk team!

Zouk Cafe & Bar is located on the ground floor of The Gardens mall, Mid Valley City, facing Mid Valley Mega Mall.