UPDATED 4 JUNE 2011
Zuma – no need for introduction. Izakaya bar + food. Bustlingly rich in Knightsbridge. Hot tables of this side of town. So hot that we never manage to get a table book. It is a relief, however, as Zuma does take walk-in. In that case, you’ll be seated either at the sushi bar or next to the open flame grill. A lot of theatrical. An absolute love!!
Not my first time there, and it won’t be my last. That said, Zuma is my kind of three-times-a-year-or-so restaurant as it’s bloody expensive. Can’t afford to go often. I’d say this is among my top 5 Japanese restaurants in London (alongside Sushi of Shiori, Koya, Yashin Sushi) and the priciest. After my 5 years of experience at eating at Zuma, I’d say their highlights are (1) sushi and their inventive rolls, (2) rotaba grill – aka charcoal and open flame – and (3) Zuma signatures and creations (which change regularly).
Today (4 June 2011) I sampled their new Pop Corn Tempura with Salt and Lemon (£8.60). A rip off price for so cheap ingredients. But it was a winner recipe and I never had anything that light, appetising and greaseless!!! The corn looked as if abstract art and popped on my tongue. I highly recommend it. Mackerel Roll (£8.80) was a new addition to Zuma’s range of hip rolls. An inventive take on traditional Battara but rice-free!! Juicy, cooked mackerel wrapped in ribbons of cucumbers. Served submerged in pickled juice.
First bite = salivating very madly and badly.
Texture perfect. Fluffed mackerel and crunchy cucumber to contrast. Never quite remember a dish so good and fresh.
Followed by Dynamite’s Spider Roll (£11.60). My old love. Crispy battered soft shell crab + chilli mayo, cucumber and tobiko sauce. Velvety dot of chilli mayo spiced up the luscious crab and roe sauce. Cucumber balanced things off well. This time we did not ask for the Wagyu Beef Sushi with Daikon and Truffle (the one I used as featured image). It is another sublime dish and probably the best wagyu beef creation in the UK. That said, it cost £20++ for 5 pieces. Traditional sushi are great too but for the price you can get something as amazing at Sushi of Shiori or Atariya.
The grill. We came across the supersized tiger prawn with yuzu pepper. Bouncy with a touch of refreshing citrusy but our real favourite are these scallops. Scallops with umeboshi, shiso and mentaiko dressing (£14.80).
Umeboshi = Plum; Shiso = Citrusly, Minty Leaf; Mentaiko = Cod Roe.
Fireworks. Scallop medallions, 2- 3 inches in diameter, were creammmmyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Sour, pickle-y plum hit first and then unctuous mentaiko cream. Perfectly cooked scallops with their natural flavours enhanced by the combination. And the invigorating freshness of the shiso came … aarrrggghhhhh!!!!!!!
Other stuff we had..
Grilled (four) chicken wings (£4.90). Superbly cooked dish. Juicy. Came with lime and salt. You wouldn’t die of food envy if I didn’t order this. Rib Eye Steak with Yuzu, Soy Dressing (£17.80). Grilled upon request and cubed before serving. I loved it. Made more sense to order this than £60 (Japanese) Wagyu. Great acidity from the yuzu. Fragrant, crispy garlics were the match made in heaven. Iberico Pork with Sweet Miso (£25.80). Another new dish. Smoky scent and a delight to eat. Greasy in a good way when I ate but in a bad way when I dipped it into the glowing miso dip. The fatty pork made all the dip slip away… Nice thick consistency from the sauce though and rather delectable. But there are better dishes.
We find desserts at Zuma not particularly their strong points. Not bad but not that memorable for the price I pay for. Sorbet is usually the safest choice. Today I opted out as both of us were already pleasantly stuffed.
Can’t wait to go back.. the bill was not that shocking when I didn’t order the Wagyu Sushi.
Next time (won’t miss it) :-9
My head rating says, “8 out of 10″.
My heart rating says, “9 out of 10″.
5 Raphael Street
Tel. 020 7584 1010