Zuma, Knightsbridge

Zuma is a stone throw away from Harrods department store in Knightsbridge. It’s tucked away on a side road, so you’re not in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the main street.

When I first saw the building where Zuma is located I was quite surprised. For some reasons I expected brand spanking new shiny building with massive sign with “Zuma” on it.

The building looks like an old run-down hotel, with a modest restaurant sign. But once you step inside, it’s an entirely different place. The decor is all elegant light wood, very airy, and very luxurious.

This place is well staffed. Four or five people were at the counter to take care of reservations, taking your coats, and taking you to your table. As you’re being lead to your table, you notice lots of waiters & waitresses taking orders, topping up drinks, and serving food. Then you walk pass a grilling station and sushi & sashimi station, again fully staffed, busy grilling and preparing food.

This seems to be popular with the Knightsbridge crowd. Think lots of Harrods shopping bags, prams, prams full of Harrods shopping bags, suit-clad gentlement, sizzling hot ladies in expensive looking clothes, kids with their heads down in fron of an iPad Air oblivious to anything that goes on around them.

Feeling out of place aside, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Zuma. Service was slow at times, but we didn’t mind it because we had good company. Most importantly, the food was to die for.

What we ordered…

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  • Deep-fried soft shell crab served on a bed of salad, and a side of wasabi mayonnaise. You can’t really go wrong with soft shell crab – here, it’s fried in light batter, each bite is crispy & airy, and goes really well with wasabi mayo. Great start.
  • Gyu tataki – seared beef with ginger-lime-coriander soy sauce. I’m not a big fan of raw meat, but I love a good gyu tataki. Unfortunately it wasn’t done well at Zuma. The sauce is very sour, and each thin piece of rare beef is sitting on so much shredded vegetables you can hardly taste the beef. You can skip this one.

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  • Warm eggplant salad with sweet miso, topped with bonito flakes and served with a side of thinly sliced seaweed. OUT OF THIS WOLD. Eggplants, smeared with miso paste, are grilled (I think) to perfection, and goes so well with bonito flakes (but then again, everything goes well with bonito flakes). It’s so good that we went to Japan centre afterwards and picked up some ingredients in the hopes to replicate this at home. Watch this space for recipe if we succeed.
  • Vegetables tempura, because ever since I learned I have high cholesterol and should avoid oily food, this is the only thing I crave. Not good for my health, but great for my mental well-being. Great tempuras – pumpkin, green beans, enoki mushrooms, okras, potatoe, asparagus, and capsicum. Perfect batter.

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  •  Crispy fried sole with spicy ponzu sauce – chunks of great quality fish, deep fried in light batter. The bowl is made from fish “skeleton” – very neat. Beware the white mound of what looks like mash potato underneath the bowl, it’s actually pure salt paste, and very unpleasant when you take a big bite. Learn from me. Served with wasabi mayonnaise and spicy ponzu sauce.

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  • Oh, we need drum rolls for this one…. ladies & gentlemen, meet the STAR OF THE SHOW, the gorgeous, the incredible MISO-FLAVOURED BLACK COD!!! This is the most beautiful piece of fish I’ve ever tasted. The cod is cooked perfectly, the fish meat is very moist, the miso flavour has the right amount of subtlety. You don’t even need the sauce it comes with. Worth. Every. Single. Quid.

It turned out we over ordered slightly, and we should not have ordered the deep fried sole. We made the usual complaints to each other, “I’m too full”, “Me too, I’m stuffed”, “I don’t have room for dessert”, “We need to go to the gym after this”, “We’ll just ask for the bill”

Then the waiter came to clear the table, and asked the ultimate self-control question: “Would you like to see the dessert menu?”

The correct answer is? “No thanks, just the bill please”

But because we’re such polite people and don’t want him to feel rejected…. “Oh alright then”

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  •  “Bamboo” Earl grey ice cream with kinako cake, served in the coolest dessert design ever. It looks like a pot plant – in the pot is a layer of cake, earl grey ice cream, fresh whipped cream, and crunchy chocolate soil. Great texture combination. Salted caramel sauce comes in a separate bowl, which you pour on. The “tree” branch is actually edible – tastes like plain cookie. The salted caramel was a bit too sweet for us, but otherwise a great dessert.

Incredible food, good service (a bit slow at points, but they were quite busy, so it was understandable), amazing piece of black cod. Food is on a pricey side, but you pay for quality, and bear in mind it is in Knightsbridge.

If I was made of money I would go here once a week. I would order a bowl of rice, miso eggplant, their amazing black cod, and a cup of bottomless hot green tea. Just thinking about it make me very happy.

Menu, location, etc: http://www.zumarestaurant.com/

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