By Amy Nicholls from the North East Eats blog. Read her previous reviews of: Port of CallChilli Mangoes, The Palm’s Liberty Brown, Bellinis Seaburn808 Bar and Kitchen and Mexico 70,

As a lover of the beach, House of Zen has become a regular for a lunchtime meal that offers great prices, delicious food and spectacular scenery.

Located in the centre of Whitburn Road, this restaurant’s interior is immaculate and modern, yet still has many authentic touches, immersing you in Asian culture. The exterior is as beautiful as the interior, with the whole back end of the restaurant boasting floor to ceiling glass, offering perfect views of the beautiful beach. Surrounding the restaurant is not only the beach, but also amusement arcades, The STACK and Minchellas, meaning, with Spring and Summer fast approaching, this restaurant becomes a perfect place for food following a lovely coastal day out.

Every lunchtime, between 12-4, this beachfront beauty offers 2 courses for £14.95. Compared to their usual, full price evening menu, this bargain is not one to be missed.

The lunch menu provides an extensive choice of dishes, where you find classic flavours such as salt and chilli, satay, black bean, Thai green, and honey-chilli to name a few; each dish packs a punch and the generous portions mean you leave the restaurant full and satisfied.

For starters, if you are a fan of satay, then the satay chicken skewers are highly recommended. The chicken is juicy and the sauce thick and rich, a perfect start to a meal. Similarly, the salt and chilli prawns are also succulent and flavoursome; their salt and chilli crumb is spicy and crispy and I am yet to find another salt and chilli dish so full of flavour and texture. Having been here many times, the duck salad and duck pancakes are also delicious, with the duck pancakes being shared between two – an intimate treat between partners, friends, or family.

Now to mains. Having tried honey-chilli chicken from countless Chinese takeaways, I have never found one that compares to House of Zen. The chicken is perfectly cooked, soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, and soaked in a sauce that is spicy yet sweet, subtle yet bold. In addition to this legendary main, we also tried the satay prawn curry, and this was equally delicious and well worth the money, considering the quality and quantity of prawns provided. During previous visits, I have also tried the Thai green curry and if you’re after something fragrant and spicy then this is also a fantastic dish.

As part of the set lunch menu, you get the choice between having your mains served with rice or chips and can of course upgrade to salt and chilli chips which I would recommend. However, if pushing the boat out, my ultimate recommendation would be to pay extra for the garlic potatoes, as they are the best garlic potatoes I have had: crispy, salty and garlicky – a must try!

Another must try would be the ‘Royal Buddha’ cocktail, or ‘Can’t Believe it’s not Buddha’ mocktail alternative. This exotic creation rivals some of the best cocktails I’ve had in swanky cocktails bars all around the North East; it’s refreshing and invigorating and a perfect accompaniment to a delicious meal surrounded by sun, sea, and sand.

You can of course visit this restaurant outside of these lunch hours and still have an impressive meal; however, if you are after great food, and a bargain, then this is the perfect place to fill your stomachs after a walk along the beautiful coastline of the up-and-coming Seaburn strip.

By SGM

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