Zuaya, Kensington

The blurb

Billed as a pan-Latin American fusion restaurant, Zuaya was the first opening from Alberto and Arian Zandi’s Emerald Hospitality Group, who now count three top restaurants in their portfolio: Zuaya, El Norte in Mayfair, and Como Garden, conveniently located next door to Zuaya, on the same quaint cobbled side street in Kensington, just off Kensington High Street.

The Style

Dangling fringed lamps; tangles of greenery; and buzzing beats. All can be expected at the chichi Zuaya. It’s upscale and has personality, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously and isn’t at all stuffy. 

The Crowd

There’s a real neighbourhood vibe here. All outdoor tables and indoor tables were filled on a recent Thursday night. Because of the sharing concept, Zuaya is fabulous for groups and couples. 

The Food

While ultra-trendy, the concept of the sharing plate isn’t always easy to get right: it’s hard to please with so many dishes; however, Zuaya puts on quite the show. The menu is creative and exciting, and for my meal, there was no such thing as a bad dish, though there were certainly a few that really stood out as the stars. The Argentinian steak, served sliced and streaked in garlicky chimichurri, had a crispy, fantastic char and (my personal favourite) the wild rice mixed with shitake mushrooms and shreds of confit duck was a rich feast in itself. Served in the shell, the garlic prawns tasted fresh from the sea and were massive and juicy. Also, I adored the super creamy, velvety dulce de leche and coconut flan for dessert. I fought for the last bite—and won.

The Drink

The glam marble and gold bar is a design feature at Zuaya: it’s front and centre as soon as you enter, and it’s chic enough to warrant a dedicated pre- or post-prandial cocktail stop. As a pisco fan, I was taken with the signature London to Lima: a pisco sour-riff sweetened with falernum and prettily presented in a martini glass with an edible flower. There are plenty more cool tipples to try, as well as mocktails. Also, Mezcal aficionados should take note of the Añejo Huichol, which, in the UK, is exclusively available at Zuaya. Oenophiles will appreciate the South American-focused wine list.

In a Nutshell

An exotic find in Kensington with Latin American flair and jungle-chic interiors   

The Details

35B Kensington High St, London W8 5EB; 020 7938 3533


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