by the Munching Mariner (published in East End Life, 11 July)
Zain’s is a reincarnation of The Milestone, next to Mile End station. The Munching Mariner enjoyed a meal there once but noted with surprise how quiet it seemed to be. Zain’s is Bengali-run with a very different theme to before.
The menu is halal throughout. That means, as my Thirst Mate noted with eyebrows raised, no alcohol. There is an excellent selection of mocktails and milkshakes along with other soft drinks.
We opted for Snickers and Bounty milkshakes. They tasted wonderful, but a little warm for our liking and the waiter was happy to bring us ice.
My Thirst Mate ordered a chicken bhuna along with garlic naan bread. I selected the mixed grill and steamed rice. We also ordered dum aloo to share. That’s sweet and spicy new potatoes, fried in spices and tomatoes. The potatoes were cooked to perfection and the spice was nice.
My Thirst Mate’s chicken bhuna was tasty, but I should have left it well alone as I simply couldn’t find the space to finish my mixed grill. This was a selection of chicken tikka, lamb chops and sheek kebab which also came with a small side salad.
The waiting service was appropriately attentive. The front-of-house staff were obviously keen to please and quick to take care of our needs. Without prompting, our waiter offered to pack the remainder of my mixed grill to take home and it formed a welcome part of our meal at home the next day.
Zain’s is simply decorated with a red trim and dark wood. It is named after the four-year-old son of the owners, who claim to devote as much “care and effort into the preparation of food and service” as they do “into looking after Zain”.
Our meal came to £33.60 but there are savings to be made for students, NHS workers and lunchtime visitors.
Zain’s is at 588 Mile End Road, E3 4PH. Telephone 8981 4100.