The land of the rising sun, a country where the first rays of golden sunshine touch the land. A country of fiery culture and rich cuisine that has some of the best quality ingredients on Earth.
When I moved to London in 2010 it took time to see every hotspot in the city and it was years later, in fact just before I left for university in Buxton, that my husband and I discovered Zuma Restaurant in Knightsbridge.
We were wandering through some laneways between Kensington and Brompton roads, searching for an Italian restaurant we had spotted earlier in the day, when we rounded a corner just past the Tattersalls Tavern and saw what looked like a restaurant and cocktail bar frequented by the well-heeled of inner London.
What we saw was Zuma – possibly the best place to eat sushi in London, and because it was our first dinner date in London, and for me a great opportunity to try a new restaurant, our feet took us down that small road in Knightsbridge to its front door.
Although we didn’t know much about the place, actually nothing, we got our first impressions even before we walked in. Through the windows we could see Zuma was completely filled with customers waiting for a table and enjoying the bar. After we entered the lovely host at the front desk told us that the waiting time is going to be over an hour.
My stomach was already clamouring for something to eat, we had nothing to lose and so decided to stay at the bar and get a cocktail in the meantime. Every drink on the cocktail menu consisted of delicious ingredients, the drink menu was original and contained cocktails I had never heard of or tried before.
So, I decided to go for the passionfruit martini. I immediately fell in love with its flavour which has made it my must have beverage ever since! Before too long a wait – maybe 45 minutes maximum, or a two-cocktail wait – the hostess came to say our places were ready and escorted us there.
This was back in 2016, when we sat at the beautiful stone-top counter by the grill where all the magic is happening. Nothing can beat the seats in front of the grill because you can see exactly what they are preparing, what kind of skill is involved and what ingredients they cook with.
It’s a perfect harmony between revealing the secret and keeping it at the same time. You can see the preparations and the cooking, the expert sushi chefs and the teams of sous-chefs plating the dishes, but not in depth! An unbeatable way to maintain the level of excitement for a next visit!
Right after a host took us to our spot a waiter brought menus with 2 rolls of Oshibori on a dish. You are probably wondering what it is?! Oshibori refers to a wet towel that is used to clean your hands before eating that has been part of Japanese culture and restaurants for a long time.
Of course, to make most of that kind of meal you must order either hot or cold sake – an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice. After our 6 visits we would definitely recommend hot sake as the flavour is more intense and goes perfectly with fresh cold sushi or sashimi.
Another must have is undoubtedly Ika no kari kari age which is crispy fried squid with green chilli and lime that we always order as a starter. Its intense flavour teases your taste buds and the crispy crust in your mouth triggers you to want to eat a ton of them.
Our other favourite is the miso-marinated baby chicken with leek from their robota grill, and for a dessert the best choice, if you are full or just want something fruity, is Zuma’s colourful, juicy and exotic fruit platter served with a pink guava sorbet.
There is much more to sample, because they always introduce newbies either seasonally, or because a perfect new menu idea just comes up. Simply amazing!
Also, if Zuma has grabbed your attention but you don’t live in London or any close their restaurants are located all around the world and you can enjoy their dishes in other 13 destinations.
Apart from London, you can find them in Hong Kong, Istanbul, Miami, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Datça Peninsula, Phuket, Bodrum Yalıkavak Marina, Rome, New York, Las Vegas and very soon in Boston, too. So if this story inspired you, go and eat there. Once you take a bite you won’t want to stop eating!!!