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 London outing features creative tapas and sharing plates from clever riffs on ceviches and tacos to prime fish and meat dishes and a whole host of exciting vegetarian and vegan options.
The cooking is ambitious, but supremely 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.
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, 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 too.