Zuaya for Latin Flair

Jungle in Kensington High Street

There are neighbourhoods famed for glitz; there are areas beloved by well-heeled visitors; and then there is High Street Ken. That’s where we Londoners in the know head for smart shopping and polished restaurants. Zuaya is here.

Zuaya is an independent family-owned Latin American restaurant set just off the High Street and a short walk from the Underground station. They have been open since 2018 and have garnered plenty of regulars. The street-level bar and dining room sports a green plant ceiling, and one might even spot a white monkey (no, dear reader, not a real one). There are beautiful lamps giving the restaurant the calming ambiance of a cosy room in the Amazon – and one with a well-stocked bar too!

Zuaya Cocktail

Yes, this is a unique restaurant, but it’s the well-priced food which will ensure many happy returns. There will likely be unfamiliar dishes on the tempting menu, although there is nothing challenging here. Every item we tasted was flavourful and well balanced. Foods are well-seasoned rather than being hot with spices.

I did mention that welcoming bar? There are plenty of classic mixed drinks along with wines and beers, but why not try one of the exotic signature cocktails. We were tempted and we were not disappointed. I ordered a ‘London to Lima’ that had my name on it. Served in a coupe and garnished with a pink bloom, this drink was well designed and well crafted. It’s made with pisco, Caribbean falernum, lime, agave syrup, and egg white to give a creamy texture. A sweet and sour confection and well worth a rerun on our next visit – for next visit there will surely be.

A worthy libation

My guest chose a ‘Black Forest’, although this cocktail offered more of a nod to Hawaii than to Germany. This tall drink was served in a Tiki glass and was mixed using tequila, wild berries, apple, lychee, grenadine and lime. A refreshing and worthy libation. Both cocktails paired perfectly with our first plates.

Zuaya empanada

I have had plenty of bowls of guacamole in my time. Success has as much to do with texture as taste … and that is just a matter of taste. This guac was slightly chunky and deliciously spiced and, served with addictive, crunchy and sweet potato chips, was memorable. This is a simple preparation but can easily become bland green wallpaper paste without care.

We continued our culinary Latin tour with Burrata on Peruvian Corn Cake. This was unique, delicious, creamy with sweetness from the corn. We continued with a Beef Empanada garnished with a pot of red pepper sauce. The little pastry was filled with hearty chunks of well-spiced beef. So tender and flavourful. We will order a couple of these next time. It will avoid the fight.

Grilled Octopus with Baked Sweet Potato would gladden the heart of any lover of Cephalopoda, and I include myself in that number. This is a beautiful dish and perfect for a celebration. The sweet potatoes are pure comfort food.

Seabass Ceviche with Wild Berries was another seafood speciality. The fish was fresh and sweet and exotic when garnished by the fruit. An Instagrammer’s dream and a gourmet’s delight. But no meal is complete without dessert.

Zuaya dessertIt’s the festive season so there were extra sweets here. Alfajores are small crumbly biscuits filled with chocolate and floating on dolce de leche sauce. A real treat, and popular in Latin America at this time of year. Decadent Chocolate Cake with Mango Ice was a classic finale and emblazoned with an artful Z to remind one that you have visited Zuaya.


Opening Times

Monday to Saturday: 12noon – 12.30am

Sunday: 12noon – 11.30pm


Visit Zuaya here https://zuaya.co.uk/