Last Updated on October 4, 2021
Latin American vibes from Zuaya
Nestled in a quiet side street a stone’s throw from swish Kensington High Street, Latin American restaurant Zuaya offers an excellent, thoughtful menu amid a stunning décor.
Greenery is clearly the theme of the decoration with plants adorning the walls, and most impressively, foliage hanging from the ceiling, so diners enjoy their meals beneath a lush canopy. Guests can enjoy being seated by the bar where a wide range of tasty Latin American cocktails are prepared or enjoy another of the restaurant’s three ‘ambiences’ which includes an outdoor terrace. Zuaya offers lunch, drinks or dinner and on certain nights also hosts a DJ for Latin American music.
The varied menu at Zuaya is divided into sections: snacks, ceviche, tiraditos & tartars, salads, tacos, robata grills, stews, and desserts. We began our meal by enjoying two of Zuaya’s signature cocktails, prepared by mixologists at the stylish bar. The Black Forest cocktail, made with tequila, wild berries, apple, lychee, grenadine and lime, was sweet and fruity but not overblown – offering a fresh tropical flavour. The second cocktail was a twist on the Peruvian classic the Pisco Sour, and in keeping with the restaurant’s stated mission of transporting diners away from the British capital, is called ‘London to Lima’. The cocktail, composed of pisco, falernum, lime, agave syrup, and egg white, was an exciting new take on the famous Latin American cocktail.
We then enjoyed a bowl of guacamole with Zuaya’s homemade sweet potato chips. The guacamole was rich and full of flavour and the sweet potato chips were firm and not overly salted. We also enjoyed the bright colours and exciting flavours of the tomato, avocado, and pomegranate salad with was served with a topping of pistachio, lime, and yuzu sauce. The pistachios were a nice touch with their distinctive flavour.
Continuing our starters, I was especially excited to try the Brazilian cheese bread balls made from maize, cheddar, cassava and topped with marmalade. The bread balls were warm and chewy with the marmalade adding a sweetness and tang. Also beautifully presented was the burrata on Peruvian corn cakes. The burrata was deliciously rich and creamy and well complemented by the corn cakes. The corn cake was fresh and a different beast to what one would expect to find in the supermarket – each individual ripe kernel could be tasted.
As one of my favourite tapa, I always order patatas bravas when given the opportunity, and the offering at Zuaya was excellent. The aioli sauce was excellently spiced and well-matched to the saltiness of the potatoes. At this juncture, my guest and I also enjoyed a glass of Recoleta, an Argentinian Malbec.
For meat-eaters, the wagyu beef short rib bao is not to be missed. Presented on a leaf upon an elevated wooden dish and served with a pickle, the beef is succulent and melts in the mouth. From the small bites section of the menu, the beef bao is still a decent-sized portion and we were impressed that for many of the dishes on the menu, the servings are a very good size for tapas. Before our desserts, we also enjoyed the goat’s cheese and pumpkin empanada accompanied by an excellent coriander sauce which my companion remarked that he wished he could bottle up and take home.
To finish off the meal, the passionfruit crême brûlée was a tropical interpretation of the French dessert which got the balance of sweetness just right was wonderfully presented with edible flowers – another consistent theme at Zuaya. The chocolate tart was rich and multi-layered, and the accompanying mango sorbet was cool and tasted just like taking a bite of the fruit.
Transporting visitors across continents, Zuaya takes diners on an invigorating culinary trip across Latin America. Offering bold, exciting flavours amid luxurious surroundings, Zuaya is a highly suitable environment for parties or a dinner for two.
35B Kensington High Street
London W8 5EB
Looking for something different? Kitchen W8 offers classic Michelin starred dining in their nearby elegant restaurant