Japanese fusion food doesn’t really do justice to what Zinnia produce. I can say, with some certainty, it’s one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. The discreet restaurant has just opened on Fulham Road, a short walk from South Kensington station.
The chic interior, largely done out in black and dark wood oozes class and sophistication, without being off-putting or pretentious. The staff play no small role in this combination; they are friendly, informative and above all, superb professionals. Judging the level of small talk and detail required to a tee, ensuring that we felt comfortable, well-informed and genuinely excited to be there.
The food itself features a mix of traditional Japanese food a preparation, combined with a modern twist and presentation that works perfectly. Accompanying the beautifully displayed array of sushi we were presented with as a first part of our taster menu, was the sushi chef Richard who talked us through the different kinds of sushi, what went with them and also explained why they recommend not covering everything in soya sauce and wasabi. When such attention is paid to the presentation of the food and the standard of the ingredients, one has to take the professional’s advice and just savour the freshness and melt-in-the-mouth fish on offer.
Going from raw, cooled fish, to tempura’ed prawns and crispy squid was a lovely contrast and one that eased us in nicely to the remaining courses to come. Swiftly followed by chilli prawns and some of the best steak I’ve ever eaten, both grilled on a robotaka grill, soaked in a sauce that complemented the already delicious meat and fish, the courses kept coming in perfectly judged quantities.
One final main course of lamb cutlet, roast duck with miso carrots and sweet potato puree, and pork belly with lotus root and a wafered crackling ensured that the meat fiends out there will be well looked after. And I challenge you to find a better combination than pork belly and lotus root. It was a very pleasant surprise.
The desserts were pineapple sponge and a mango sphere. Yes, a mango sphere. Imagine a mochi, but rounded and softer and you get something of an idea. A sweet end to a meal of amazing flavours and variety.
The cocktails and drinks deserve a mention of their own, featuring a wide range of gin based cocktails, as well as a fine selection of vodka, whiskey and other spirit based cocktails, mixed by the well-trained bar staff. The wine list is extensive and well matched with the delicate fish flavours and more robust meat flavours, featuring some of my personal favourites, including some more obscure wines for the connoisseurs out there.
All in all Zinnia is a fantastic restaurant that I sincerely hope will do well and make its sister restaurant a fine East Asian companion. They also have plans to open a bar in the basement that will cater for private functions and corporate events with a late opening license soon to be secured. The restaurant also features an upper floor, similarly set up to cater to groups and private events. All done out in a beautiful modern and elegant style.
Reporter: Pete Churchill @PeteJChurchill