Zuaya – Welcome to the Jungle (In Kensington)

October 2, 2018

If you’re the kind of diner who gets excited by restaurants who offer something different from the norm in a quirkier than your average restaurant, then you’re going to love Zuaya.

New, on High Street Kensington, Zuaya is tucked down a side street with a cute al fresco area at the front doors.  Inside, and down the stairs over which hangs a neon sign – ‘Welcome to the Concrete Jungle’, you’re immediately transported into a space which is filled with greenery and foliage, exposed brick walls, hanging monkeys, flamingo lamp stands and luxurious green velvet seats.

Zuaya’s exotic, ambient backdrop is the perfect place to sample dishes from head chef Francisco Lafee, which will take you on a journey through Latin America.  Start with an epic Zuaya cocktail which mix together fresh and fruity ingredients for drinks which really hit the spot.  We loved the refreshing Pink Rainbow (£13) made with chunks of mouthwatering watermelon, rose petal gem, vodka, rhubarb liquer and lemon and the boozy, bang-on-trend Chicano – a balanced blend of dried fig marmalade, pisco, lychee, lime and limoncello which really had a kick.

Pão de Queijo came first – ‘cheesey bread’, soft, squishy and delicious with a dollop of jam on top – almost like a warm savoury doughnut.  This was just a taster, but enough to get our tastebuds really excited for the starter.

The Purple Tacos (£10) were a beautiful combo of Peruvian purple taco – soft rather than crispy like a Mexican taco, stuffed with soft, juicy slow-cooked lamb shank and smoked coriander.  The fillings’ great flavour comes courtesy of the Moroccan Ras El Hanout – a mix of exotic spices, which depending on the blend can contain up to 100 different spices!  My friend chose from the Ceviche starter menu – the Ceviche A La Brasa which of course I also just had to try, was a mixture of beautifully cooked sea bream with a sweet potato ice-cream, red onion, Peruvian corn, rocoto pepper and tiger milk.  The fusion of flavours was really exciting, while the textures of all the elements worked really well together.

I love a rib eye, so was delighted to see a Peruvian steak on the menu.  Cooked to perfection, the rib eye at Zuaya is actually a take on the Peruvian dish – Lomo.  This dish is cooked in Peru as a stew with all meat, onion and tomatoes all thrown in together.  However, to cater to the London diner, the meat comes in thin strips with a separate bowl of Lomo containing the veg and  slices of cooked tomato.  The amount of flavour was incredible.  My friend loved the Wild Turbot with Thai basil, coriander and mint – a very different way to eat Turbot, but again the combination of flavours just married together as they were meant to.  Next time I’ll definitely be going for one of the many stews – from pork belly to duck, they all sounded amazing.

Surprisingly, it was actually dessert which stole the show.  The Jungle Cheesecake was just literally out of this world.  Without saying too much as it’ll spoil the surprise, it’s presented beautifully and you’ll be sure to scrape every last morsel from the plate!

With live djs on Thursdays – Saturdays and an interior which will really wow along with really delicious food, Zuaya really is a fabulous dining experience.

Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Ashleigh Whittled

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