Have heard loads about Zuma being THE japanese restaurant in London to go. And when we were told we were having a business dinner there, was quite excited to see what the fuss is all about. Zuma prides itself as the informal izakaya where executives, professionals i.e. white-collars gather after work to catch up. I was expecting a restaurant that’s more relaxed and casual based on that but the atmosphere was much more chaotic than I hoped. “Bustling” is what comes to mind when I first stepped into the place. I could barely see past the group of people waiting at the reception area.
When we were seated, could finally have a good look at the restaurant. The bar area was packed! And then we were told that the sake & cocktails here more sought out than the food. Heh. As the interior was done by super potato, naturally it was very clean with lots of wood and stone accents.
We started off with edamame, which was lightly dusted with salt.
Then maguro no tataki, which is seared tuna with chili daikon and ponzu sauce.
Next, some ika no kari kari age. crispy fried squid with green chilli and salt. Served piping hot, it had none of the rubbery texture but I felt I preferred the chinese style of cooking squid with pepper & salt more. Also had arjun cho toro which is prime tuna with thinly sliced spring onions.
This is tenagaebi no tempura or fried langoustines with red chili dashi & onions. The langoustines, or more known as scampis was succulent and juicy. Probably my favourite for the night.
Our London associate highly recommended the marinated black cod in hoba leaf. The fish is very tender and rich to taste. Love the glazed skin.
Suzuki No Osashimi, thinly sliced seabass with yuzu and truffle oil.
Ise ebi, lobster with spicy ponzu sauce. I think was expecting a bigger lobster, but the sweetness and succulence of the meat on this baby sure made up for it.
The highlight of the meal was definitely the dessert boat. Look at that spread! Their most popular desserts along with tropical fruits are all featured in one setting. It’s indeed an explosion of flavours and textures. One could try all their signature desserts such as the molten chocolate cake, tropical chawan mushi with exotic fruits, sorbet, green tea & banana cake etc. Most of the exotic fruits were of course not so exotic to us Malaysians as it’s what we get over here all the time – rambutans, dragon fruit, passion fruit etc. But I can understand their appeal to the Londoners.
Overall, I applaud Zuma for having beautifully presented dishes. But I believe the tastiest sashimi is still best served fresh, with no frills. In fact I believe for the same price, we can get fresher seafood with more choices back here or even in Japan. Service wise I applaud our waiter for his patience with us. But for the others who served our dishes, the food was just plonked on the table without a single word. I guess they are so overwhelmed with the crowd that they are trying to serve everyone in time? The tables were cleared quickly which seems to nudge us to making way for the next party. As we were leaving, we were barely given a glance by the cloakroom people even. How’s that for being “memorable”? Lol. But still, it was interesting experiencing Zuma…
5, Raphael Street,
London SW7 1DL