Sherman's Food Adventures: Zawa


Since I was at the Bombay Sapphire Speakeasy event, I had to miss softball. I must admit it was a difficult decision to make since that meant missing out on eating out afterwards. However, Boss Woman wondered why I couldn't attend both the event and join the team for eats. Great Scott! How come I didn't think of that??? Eating back-to-back is not a foreign concept for me. In fact, let's bring Mijune along as well! She's the queen of eating over and over again. Well... and she was a bit tipsy from the event as well. So, instead of getting in her car, she tagged along with my team for dinner. At first, our original choice was the Red Wagon; but it was closed. Fine, we'll try the Brave Bull. Nada. With people becoming annoyed at driving from one location to the next, we finally settled on Zawa on The Drive.

I've always wonder about this place. By the looks of outside, it's hard to predict what type of food Zawa serves. A peek at the menu and there is a Greek/Italian slant to it along with standard bar-type food items. In the end, this worked for us since we had a big group with varying tastes. Silent Bob was the first to receive his order which was the Lemon & Garlic Chicken. Visually, it was messily plated while looking appetizing at the same time. He thought the chicken was a bit overcooked since he could not cut into it without shredding the meat. On the other hand, the veggies and potato were cooked perfectly. Furthermore, the lemon & garlic sauce was flavourful which in turn made all of the components on the plate tasty. Silent Bob also brought along his significant other who we will refer to as Bumpkin. She ended up with the Garden Burger. She enjoyed it; but thought the edges of the bun were too hard. She ended up picking those parts off.

Milhouse also went for a burger in the Santa Fe Chicken Burger. Similarly to Silent Bob, he thought the chicken was dry; but he didn't mind it much. In the end he liked the burger. He substituted onion rings for fries and fried perfectly. They were crispy and rigid; but not overcooked. Mijune went for something a bit different in the Zawa Vegan Burger. Honestly, I was a bit shocked, since we are both meat lovers. Well, we all know Mijune loves her meat... Ahem... Her reasoning was that The Drive has a lot of good vegetarian options, so this burger had to be good. And you know what, she was absolutely right. At first, it looked like a big piece of fried dough. However, hidden inside was a delightful mix of chickpeas, green onions, parsley, dill, basil and garlic. The contrasting crunch of the exterior was a perfect balance for the surprisingly airy filling. For someone who loves meat, I really liked this burger. It had texture and flavour while being substantial as well.

Miss Y had the obligatory pasta dish which was Z's Lasagna. Reminiscent of the type you'd find at places such as Neighbours and Gigi's, this was a solid offering. No, it ain't gonna compete with more authentic Italian eateries; but it was cheesy, meaty and not wet. For myself, I had the Roast Lamb. Frankly, I wasn't expecting too much to tell you the truth. Imagine my surprise when the lamb was super juicy and moist. Practically the whole piece of lamb was uniformly tender. I am not afraid to say that this is one of the better roast lambs I've had in awhile. Now, that only refers to the texture. The one issue I had was the lack of seasoning. Sure, I could taste the rich roasted lamb flavour; but I could not detect enough garlic, salt, rosemary, lemon or anything else. If they could just be more aggressive with the seasoning, this would be almost perfect. With that in mind, the tzatziki was bland as well. It need much more garlic and lemon. On the topic of bland, I had a big issue with the rice. It was plain white rice which was hard and chewy. Fail. And that was the same for Judes' Prawn Souvlaki. She couldn't of cared less for the Minute Rice. The first prawn she ate was a little overcooked and almost rubbery with the rest being okay. The Greek salad was meh. It was basically washed and dumped onto the plate with barely any olive oil or spices. She liked the potato and was more accepting of the tzatziki than myself. In the end, she didn't think the dish was worth $16.00.

While I was ordering my lamb, I initially had the idea of adding a side of Poutine just to try. I didn't end up doing so because Bear got it instead. According to him, the poutine was very good, perhaps not authentic, but much to his liking. The waitress sold him on it by saying the fries were fresh cut and the gravy was "probably homemade". He couldn't verify the gravy was homemade, but he didn't get any allergic reaction to it as he would for pre-packaged powdered gravy full of artificial colour and thickeners. The poutine was a little light on the gravy, but it turned out to be good as the fries stayed crispy. He'd go back just for this. For me, I tried it as well and basically agree with his thoughts; however, I would've preferred the "cheese curds" to be less melted. Bear also had a burger and I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it. Fortunately, Boss Woman got the Deluxe Burger too and it was more or less the same - which was woefully overcooked. Boss Woman needed to add copious amounts of ketchup to eat the darn thing. As a public service announcement of sorts, be warned that the pop here is NOT refillable. The waitress asked us if we wanted refills without informing us that there was a charge. Not cool in my books. In fact, Judes was so choked, she vowed never to return. Now, despite some sub-par items, there were some surprises as well. So if you have a large group, this place can offer up a wide variety of food. However, there are many better options on The Drive.

The Good:
- Unlike many restaurants nearby, Zawa is large and spacious
- Inexpensive drinks (unless u want a refill with pop)

The Bad:
- Not informed of refill charge
- Food is mostly miss with some hits
- A bit pricey

Zawa on Urbanspoon


holly said...

Too bad Red Wagon was closed. I was just there yesterday and had an awesome mushroom burger with yummy home cut fries. I asked for medium done and it was a perfectly cooked thick and juicy patty.

Their house made pastrami on rye was out of this world too A friend who had a negative experience in the past with this sandwich, was surprised at how good a well made pastrami sandwich could taste. It also came with their own hand made potato chips which were light and crunchy.

Also, the apple pie was a winner. Just like grandma would make, except better. There was a drizzle of caramel sauce on top which took it to another notch. Add to it a scoop of home made ice cream and it was a winner.

I think I'll be working through the menu to try everything. It also doesn't hurt that it's steps away from East Village Bakery where they offer a brulee-like lemon tart. I'm swooning just thinking about it.

Mijune said...

Couldn't resist the meat comment could you?! Thanks for letting me tag along! It was fun! Thanks for babysitting :)

Sherman Chan said...

@holly, I still need to visit the Red Wagon for dinner and I won't give up!

@Mijune You love meat. Admit it...

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