Savvy diners may have reached peak Peruvian, but this classy newcomer shows a broader view of Latin American cooking courtesy of Spanish chef, Francisco Lafee. His back story includes world-famous Basque restaurants such as El Celler de Can Roca and Michelin-starred Barrafina, but this Kensington outfit features creative tapas and sharing plates. Expect clever riffs on ceviches and tacos, along with prime fish and meat dishes and a whole host of exciting vegetarian and vegan options such as raspberry gazpacho with feta, and patatas bravas.
The cooking is ambitious, but also skilful and modern: try tuna tartare with crisp seaweed, avocado and a Chinese-influenced dressing involving hoisin, lime, garlic and ginger oil. Sea bream ceviche with Peruvian corn is served warm to contrast with sweet-potato ice cream, while Zuaya’s version of crispy duck salad involves slices of Ibérico duck in a super-light tempura with watermelon, raspberry and a sauce of cloves, fennel, cinnamon and Szechuan pepper.
Elsewhere, a mighty piece of sizzling grilled octopus arrives with smooth potato cream and vibrant chimichurri sauce, followed by lamb tacos flavoured with ras-el-hanout and smoked pineapple. For pudding, we suggest ‘quindim’, a medley of coconut textures presented in the shell. Weekend brunch is also available, with classics such as organic granola and eggs many ways sitting alongside more adventurous dishes including carrot pancakes, and pumpkin toast.
Service is as slick as the interiors, on which no expense has been spared. Jungle foliage and a handsome cocktail bar of brass and marble give the ground floor an instant wow factor that’s ideal for special-occasion dining, while the larger downstairs is full of romantic details and cosy corners that are perfect for post-work cocktails and tapas with friends, date nights or celebrations. Be sure to check out the peaceful outdoor terrace on warm days too.