It seems to be competition with the sushi spot, Makani just one door down on 26 of July for the Asian food lovers market, but actually Zo's menu differs greatly from Makani's.
Makani specialises in sushi, but for the non-sushi enthusiast who was forced by the will of a group to go to Makani, they have your typical café food: sandwiches, pasta, etc. completely abandoning the Asian aspect in this half of the menu.
Meanwhile, Zo is Asian through and through, mostly Thai.
A tiny space, the entryway fits one little table. Upstairs, the tables just barely fit two guests and there is no room in the small floor for a bench. They make the best of their tiny space, instilling a sense of wealth by using deep purples and softening it up with wicker and wood. Although nicely decorated, the narrow cushion-less chairs and small square tables don’t make the customer feel at ease. That’s a bit frustrating considering that an average meal for two is LE200 - 250.
Their delivery menus are easy to grab from a table at the front entrance, so don’t hesitate to stick your head in, grab one and keep going.
You’ll see that an appetizer runs from LE16 for spring rolls to LE33 for shrimp rolls. The shrimp rolls are four whole shrimps, individually wrapped in the same dough as the spring roll. If you compare these spring rolls to all the others on the market, they are the mid-way version of the shrimp roll: the worst of the range are chopped shrimp mixed with veggies, while the best are rolled and fried in konafa, like at a restaurant called Fusion.
Zo’s mando (a sort of sambousek stuffed with noodles and veggies) was hot and crispy, but not creative enough to merit ordering twice.
Now if you ever have a cold and want a soup, ditch the typical chicken soup and get delivery from Zo. The soups are pretty amazing and their subtle use of lemongrass hits the spot when you’re sick, although you would have to order two of them to feel somewhat full at LE19-25 a pop. Hint: try the coconut soups.
Who doesn’t order sweet-and-sour-something when they go to an Asian restaurant? Their sauce is bright and tangy, and seems lighter than most. Not a bad choice, but their peanut-sauce-based phad thai chow mein makes me certain that anything on their menu with a peanut sauce is bound to be delicious. They didn’t overload the chow mein with the sauce, so it makes you gobble it up even faster just to get more of that underlying nutty butter taste.
Specifically, the fried crispy peanut chicken at LE42 looks great.
Entrees range from LE 42 for chicken, LE50 for beef to LE85 for shrimp.
For dessert? Sweet potato can be exotic and exciting! Warm it up, sprinkle it with cinnamon and douse it in coconut milk and you’ve turned hum drum sweet potato into something totally desirable.
Although Zo’s exotic Thai food can compete with other Asian restaurants in Cairo, the price is a bit steep. But then again, most restaurants who have hit up the Asian wave are in a similar price range.
The plusses are that it definitely quenches your crave for Asian food. The Zamalek branch is conveniently located, although the quarters are very, very tight. Keep in mind that it’s a bit overpricedconsidering that you will spend a considerable amount and not be able to enjoy a relaxing ambiance. However, the Oasis branch in Heliopolis/Sheraton area has a large Bedouin-style tent area where you can also order from Sitt Hosneya, Makani and a couple of other restaurants.
For the smoke-sensitive, the tight quarters and lack of ventilation won’t make it easy if someone decides to light up.
Review: Zo Asian Restaurant