It’s been a feature of the Knightsbridge landscape for more than a decade, but ultra-trendy Zuma seems as fresh as the day it opened: “the consistently excellent food doesn't seem to have faltered over the years”, drools one fan. Prospective diners have to negotiate the doormen and by-pass the perma-posse of beautiful people hanging round the grotto-like bar before reaching the ‘industrial-Zen’ dining room.
Serious foodies and singletons head for the sushi counters surrounding the open-plan kitchen, but most people elect to sit in the comfortable, bustling main room, where the music is just the right side of loud, the lighting is kind, and the famous (and infamous) can be seen and admired.
This may be a social destination, but it would be nothing without the food, and the kitchen sends out wave upon wave of “amazing” food. Clusters of small plates are ferried out when they’re ready and the idea is to share all those different taste sensations. Crispy squid with chilli and lime is a deserved menu favourite, while the steamed spinach topped with sesame sauce (which has been on the menu since Zuma’s opening night) is beguilingly simple. There’s also expertly cut and exquisitely garnished sashimi, as well as spot-on nigiri and maki.
Elsewhere, the house version of black cod (cutely wrapped in a hoba leaf) is a supremely flaky and soft delight, while the crispy shrimp tempura with shiso and citrus mayonnaise is the kind of dish you’ll want to return for again and again. East/west crossover desserts include the pecan pie and kokuto caramel sundae, but the melting cherry-blossom flourless chocolate cake is the pudding that has our heart, not least because of its impossibly glam chocolate coating, complete with Zuma branding.
Given the clientele, the wine list is unsurprisingly pricey, and it’s backed by premium sakés and some really sexy cocktails, while the green tea is spot-on for those not indulging. “You can’t go wrong with the food here” concludes one fan.