Zapote only opened in February 2023, but within a month became the kind of gem that Londoners keep their little black books stocked full of. Positioned in the heart of Shoreditch, Zapote sits on a dimly-lit street, hidden amongst the heaving warren of bars and restaurants. This sophisticated anonymity only makes it cooler and exudes a neighbourhood feel, likely to attract locals as well as those sniffing out the next big thing.
The menu’s concept comes from Mexican chef Yahir Gonzalez, who spent many years working throughout Spain before moving to London to open Aqua, formerly in Soho. At Zapote, he uses authentic Mexican ingredients to create contemporary dishes. First off, it’s worth noting that everything was delicious, so in our eyes, you really can’t go wrong. But, stand out plates include taut parcels of melt-in-your-mouth chorizo, amongst fried spheres of potato (done just right – crispy on the outside, pillow-soft on the inside) and topped with spiralled fragments of burnt cheese which felt a bit like scraping the pan for moreish leftovers. The yellowfin tuna and spicy crab tostada provides one of those ‘oh wow’ moments as you take a minute to appreciate the dizzying flavour hit. The satisfyingly thick texture of the tuna contrasted with the crab’s creamy consistency worked beautifully, and the tostadas are baked fresh using traditional methods and heritage corn. Equally, veggie dishes such as the smooth aubergine dip, studded with baby radishes encourages you to get your fingers involved and offers a pleasing crunch with each bite.
Desserts have been designed with creative flair. A pool of coffee Mezcal ganache forms the base for the pistachio pastel, topped with a faux cob of corn, moulded from white chocolate; while the coconut crème with delicate chunks of pineapple and sprigs of coriander is actually served in a coconut shell.
The restaurant is split into two halves – on one side a smattering of stools and smaller tables for enjoying a cocktail, the other, plush velvet banquettes set up for larger tables to order a full meal. The restaurant gets booked up pretty quickly already, but there’s plenty of room to try out the Mexican-inspired drinks list on a whim.