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Restaurants & Bars

ZUI LA, 115 Times Avenue, Thornhill - Relatively new kid on the block with an interesting menu, high hopes and aspiration!!

Charles Yu | Oct 24, 201910:52 AM    

Question: What is a French restaurant 'ALO' and a Chinese restaurant 'ZUI LA' has in common?

Answer: They were/are both nominees in Air Canada's best new restaurant list!

As an avid foodie, it is only natural for me to give a new restaurant with such credential a try... especially when the place is just a short drive from my home!

Hearing from friends that this place is always busy and bustling, we decided to pick a quieter, mid-week day to visit. Yup! my friends were correct. We arrived at a half full restaurant at 6.30 pm, but by 7.30 pm, the place was packed.

Upon entering the brightly lite restaurant, we were welcomed by one of the weirdest and most artistic mural to adorn the wall of a Chinese restaurant - " Michelangelo's Pieta Mary cradling lovingly a giant, golden chili pepper "!!

The menu, by Chinese restaurant standard, was a relatively short one but made up of some intriguing choices.

The three of us selected the following:

- Stirred fry fatty Angus beef slices, King mushrooms and Zucchini with Teriyaki sauce.

- Tiger shrimps with salted duck egg yolk batter topped with salty black Tobikko.

- Casserole of Chinese Gourd, fish maw, mushroom and sun dried shrimps in a dense chicken broth

- House special seafood fried rice.

Overall execution and presentation of the food was of high quality, polished and with a touch of elegance by Chinese measure. Wok-hay component was nicely present where needed....stirred fry dishes (beef and fried rice). One of my favorite savory, fried dishes....salted duck egg yolk batter prawns were crunchy, grease-less and seasoned well. The salty black Tobikko topping was a nice touch. The fried rice has ample of wok-hay aroma, the rice grains nicely defined, seafood ingredients were fairly generous. A surprising component that kicked the dish up another notch was the addition of 'bacon'!! However, for me, the stand-out dish of the evening was the ultra-delicious, mixed casserole of Gourd, Fish maw, Mushroom, Sun dried shrimp and chicken broth. Simple, delicate and packed with umami level that was way off the chart!!

Food-wise, it was an enjoyable and tasty meal. Whether it is worthy as a nominee on the best new restaurant list is debatable?! (Considering the wonderful ' FRILU ' is also on the same list!)

Unfortunately, there was one glaring down-side that put a damper to an otherwise fine evening......the agonizing long wait of around 30 minutes from placing our order to the arrival of the first dish!!

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