River Views, Wine and Passion at Zorita’s Kitchen:
I do like restaurants and bars that look out over water. Zorita’s Kitchen, in Broken Wharf House at the foot of the Millenium bridge on the banks of the Thames, is perfectly positioned to sit and watch the world go past. The downstairs bar is warm and comfortable, with zinc topped tables and comfortable bar stools (complete with spittoons for the wine tasting events that are run here periodically). Upstairs, there’s a club room and a large meeting room, both with outstanding river views.
Despite the views, I suspect if you visit you may be more distracted, as I was, by the wonderful food and wine. Members of the Duero Valley Slow Food Convivium, Hacienda Zorita is an organic farm estate that produces a range of traditional Spanish produce including cheeses, meats, olive oil and wines. And, Zorita’s Kitchen is a showcase for their Spanish produce in London.
Our meal started with bread and olives and some of the estate bottled olive oil.
And wine…the Hacienda Zorita Natural Reserve Syrah, a single varietal from the vineyard in Arribes del Duero Nature Reserve. A lovely smooth wine which holds a deserved Decanter gold medal and 5 stars.
Meats and cheeses served on slate platters were all sourced from Hacienda Zorita.
First the cheeses:
The one in the bottom left hand corner is the Syrah – sheep’s milk, aged for six months in Syrah wine – rich, nutty and very subtle. I believe working anti-clockwise round the platter the remaining cheeses are Tomillo – a goat’s milk cheese, with thyme, followed by Queso Curado – a hard ewes milk cheese that reminded me of the Pecorino a Latte Crudo Della Montagna Pistoiese that I’d enjoyed up in the mountains in Tuscany. Torta de Dehesa was a light, piquant soft ewe’s milk cheese, and Payoyo, a blend of ewe’s and goats milk. All the cheeses are made from raw milk and have that complexity that comes from careful artisan production. I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite. This type of selection works best for me for the contrasts in flavour and texture.
A selection of estate produces meats were every bit as delicious. We all loved the lomo, the lean cut from the pata negra pig (bottom centre). The jamón was delicate and complex. Neither the chorizo nor the salchichon were too fatty for me, a common problem I have with this type of meat.
Fabada asturiana, a white bean stew, was rich and full of flavours I remember from eating in the Boqueria in Barcelona.
And the salad with figs, jamon and torta de dehesa was both beautiful to look at and to eat with a wonderful balsamic dressing complementing the perfectly ripe fruit.
The Tostas are the sort of morsels of deliciousness I really enjoy at lunch time. There were three of us and I have a sneaking suspicion that the ‘extra’ tosta ended up on my plate.
Now, at this point we met the smiling Portugese chef who is in charge of putting together the simple but effective menu served at Zorita’s kitchen. He explained a little more about the philososphy of the kitchen and their sourcing. That they brought in bread rather than baking their own in the small kitchen for logistic reasons. And that the Torta de Santiago I’d set my heart on for dessert was shipped over from Spain to ensure that the quality was exactly right because they couldn’t find a UK supplier who could deliver.
Lunch at Zorita’s Kitchen was memorable both for excellent food and wine. A place with a menu of foods that have been prepared slowly and with love and passion. And somewhere I will certainly return to.
Thank you to Zorita’s Kitchen for inviting me to review: