Eating at Zuma is somewhat like eating at a nightclub. This is not a criticism, in fact when you want a fun dinner and maybe to head out on the town afterwards it is perfect. MTV boyfriend and I headed there on Friday night as a present from our fabulous friend Alice who says it is her favourite restaurant in London. Alice is a party girl at heart so the frivolous but fantastic atmosphere should have come as no surprise.
Located down a small laneway in Knightsbridge, Zuma is achingly hip. The decor is a swanky combination of interlocked wooden walls and granite benchtops. There is an incredibly popular bar in the middle of the room and towards the back a huge robata grill with a team of chefs at work. The women hovering at the bar are poured into their dresses – this is one of the few places in town where it seems people still get dressed up to come here. Loud music and an amazing cocktail selection completed the party atmosphere. The food is Japanese fusion and was all delicious and brilliantly executed.
These are my top tips for eating at Zuma:
1. Book in advance. To get a table on a Friday night will take at least a months booking. If there are just two of you, ask to be seated at the robata grill – it is amazing theatre.
2. Come with a fun group of people or in a party mood. The music is too loud and the atmosphere too bustling for a romantic tete a tete or in depth conversations.
3. Ditch the wine list and order the cocktails instead – they are fantastic. We tried out a few and the Pink Mojito was a highlight.
4. Don’t try and order entrees and mains. Just order a selection of dishes to share and leave it to your waiter to sort out the order they are served in. Highlights from the selection that we tried were the sushi which was super fresh and the tempura soft shell crab which was crunchy but still delicate and wonderfully addictive (we had two servings). MTV boyfriend and I were similarly enamoured with the spicy beef tenderloin with sesame, red chilli and sweet soy (pictured) which impressed us with the high quality meat perfectly cooked.
5. Skip the desserts. Lets face it, desserts aren’t really the strong point of Japanese food. The desserts at Zuma are mainly Japanese twists on traditional puddings. For example, I had the green tea and banana cake with coconut ice-cream and a peanut toffee sauce. This was similar to a sticky toffee pudding. While it was beautifully presented, I couldn’t help but think that a traditional sticky toffee pudding would have been superior. Try the tea menu instead to finish off your meal, the tea made with fresh peppermint was particularly good.
Details: 5 Raphael Street, Knightsbridge SW7 1DL (Ph: 0871 971 6497)
Damage: Budget breaking