They boast an impressive portfolio of worldwide Zuma restaurants and Private Dining London take a look at the London experience. Just a stone’s throw from Knightsbridge, the location is ideal for SW air searchers and tourists alike whilst the international reputation proceeds itself for travellers to return repetitively without the threat of Zuma boredom.
Zuma offers a twist on the traditional izakaya style of informal dining and drinking that was developed in Japanese culture and translated into the Zuma concept by Restauranteur Arjun Waney and Chef Rainer Becker who saw the opportunity for more Japanese restaurants in London.
The slick welcome, bare wood and buzzing atmosphere really take over at first impact and as we moved to our table, we could not keep our eyes away from the hubbub of activity and smells emulating from the robata grill and open kitchen. The Sushi counter takes diners’ fresh fish choices from eyes, to prep and to plate.
Our table overlooks Tosho or the Chef’s Table, which is surrounded by books personally chosen by Rainer Becker himself. Seating 10, the table gives guests the chance to experience the buzz of the sake bar and lounge whilst being semi-private to give an element of exclusivity.
We are shown the two private dining rooms or Kotatsu Rooms as known within Zuma which are two areas that are separated from the restaurant by an antique wooden frame which constructs a private feel but maintains the buzz of the restaurant.
This informal izakaya culture lends the diner well to experience Zuma in a series of small plates and so that’s how we recommend approaching dining in their private dining spaces or Chef’s table in order to let your guests enjoy the variety of shared dishes. The plethora of dishes that followed included Crispy Fried Squid with Green Chilli and Lime (Ika No Kari Kari Age) and freshly sliced Yellowtail with Green Chilli Relish, Ponzu and Pickled Garlic (Hamachi Usuzukuri Pirikara, Ninniku Gake). It was our first time tasting the deliciously delicate Yellowtail which was bettered by their Scallop dish which was outstanding in taste. The surprising size of the scallops themselves were indicators to us as to just how fresh and sustainably sourced their fish supplies are. We would recommend the classic Japanese selection of Zuma Nigiri and Sashimi which stick with the Japanese common ground but with a premium standard whilst the Black Cod is large and falls apart in the mouth.
One other hint would be to go rebel and order “off the menu” for delicious cocktails influenced by the guests’ favourite spirits and treat yourself with the dessert platter which consists of a delicately oozing chocolate fondant, fresh fruits, sorbets and a sweet Japanese custard, Chawanmushi, with exotic fruits.
The Bar Manager was able to recommend cocktails to match the tasting plates and our individual palates with international cocktails taking a special place within the drinks menu. Personally I chose the Zuma Miami cocktail with Lychee and Elderflower notes.
Our experience and that of all Zuma diners really does reinforce why Zuma is over 10 years old and is still a strong dining institute for families, business men and foodies in London. Book their Chef’s table for a full on dining experience next to the robata grill and open kitchen or take it more private with a sharing feast for 12 or 14. With just a minimum spend and no room hire, Zuma will not fail to impress guests through quality, institutional tradition and adventurous Japanese authenticity.
Zuma, 5 Raphael St, London SW7 1DL
Natalie Ellen Cobb, Private Dining London