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Sunday, 26 February 2012

The Bizarre Za Za

   Curiosity can be a foolish thing. For human as well as feline. So it was when a father dragged his exhausted wife and child halfway across a deserted Bristol to inquire as to a table at the biggest restaurant in the country: Za za Bazaar.

  'Fully Booked' they informed us, of a restaurant with seating for seven hundred. Quite where this multitude came from, on a cold january sunday afternoon was a mystery. "I know, lets all go to an Asian-food-market-themed-tapas-style restaurant this afternoon" they all thought in unison; and booked a week ahead for a resto serving Chinese, Indian, Italian, American, British, and Thai cuisines. Our feet did not ache long as we found a waterfront café serving roast dinner with all the trimmings. Reflecting on the matter, we knew Za za was never for us.

  ZZB is quite an immense folly. It can only fail but for a giant nationwide fervour for  hot dogs with curry. It is almost postmodern. There could be ZZB artists who've found Thai green curry goes brilliantly with chips dipped in creme brulée. Yet one doubts that a place with a terrible reputation for service will survive long enough for the avant garde to gain traction. For that matter, why offer a waiter service at all? You don't get it in fast food places. Certainly the chap with the falafel van up the road isn't offering it.

  It is one of many ZZB bizarrenesses [bizarrities? bizarri?]. Like the fact you have to book. There is apparently a system to the booking based on hours and having to be present for one hour before the waiting staff get agitated. This may explain why we couldn't get a table at a place serving a potential 700 covers. Yet it does make you wonder at how this bizarre figure was arrived.

  But the last, most baffling and bizarre element that turns my brain into a puffball of spores is the fact someone wants to do it all. Someone is willing to hang their reputation to the ability to cook a multitude of world cuisines really well, without being a Fat-lipped Essex boy with an eye for phony moral crusades. On the real Asian food markets, the chap selling fermented fish with salted rice works for himself. His livelihood stands on that one dish and if the guy next to him selling fried crickets is doing a crappy job it doesn't matter. And if everyone decides fermented fish and fried crickets are so 1993 then it doesn't threaten the whole market. Meaning those guys can sell broccoli and stilton soup instead.

  I could be wrong. I almost hope I am for the time five years hence, when a little boy wants to see Spiderman 8 at the IMAX and wants chocolate and sausage nachos afterwards. But I also doubt that 'Falafel King' - that Bristol institution selling delicious, fresh, tasty, healthy and cheap falafels with a smile- are troubled by this new development up the waterside.  Maybe ZZ isn't quite the bazaar, but a TGI Angel Café Nando's. Meaning it'll be very successful and I will never attempt a trip ever again.

1 comment:

  1. And with such a large menu what on earth is the quality of their cuisine like? I was in Bristol in Jan myself for the opening of the Norman Parkinson exhibition in the new museum and well,we ate in The Loft, also bizarre though fun, afterwards.

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