Zela London in Covent Garden: Sushi and cocktails for a weekend night out
You might have heard of Zela London as the new addition to Rafael Nadal, Enrique Iglesias, Cristiano Ronaldo and Pau Gasol’s restaurant group. The first of its kind in the UK, Zela’s dishes stand out for proposing a fusion of Japanese techniques with Mediterranean ingredients and influences.
Crafting a menu that satisfies the tastebuds of foodies and night-life visitors alike, Zela has created a well-balanced proposition that translates into an extensive list of sushi (including nigiri, hosomaki and uramaki), sashimi and usuzukuri; some elaborate mains and starters; and a great variety of drinks. Everything from classic cocktails to more imaginative mixes of spirits is part of the menu, which also includes well-picked wines, sakes and sangrias (for those looking for a Spanish kick).
We waited for the starters sipping some of Zela’s signature drinks: a Johnnie Walker-based Golden Sunshine and one of their gin-based creations, Matilda – suitable for those looking for something less sweet than your traditional cocktail, with a hint of bergamot aroma.
The chef guided us through the menu with a nice selection of starters, sushis, mains and some of their best desserts. The first dish we tried was a fishless Hawaiian Mango Poke Tartare: fresh, crunchy and very light. Immediately followed by this, we got to taste the shrimp and vegetable gyozas and the Edamame with Salmorejo – a nice twist to the traditional Cordoban tomato soup that uses it as a sauce for the edamame instead.
The raw fish dishes were the protagonist of the night. We got a beautifully presented plate of sashimi, with two pieces each of salmon, tuna, fatty tuna and yellowtail. As expected, all the sashimi had an incredibly buttery texture and an even better purity of flavour. In addition to these pieces, we got the chance to try some of the salmon hosomaki, as well as one of their vegetarian versions, filled with shredded cucumber.
As part of the mains we were served a fantastic Miso Black Cod. The tender fish was incredibly rich in umami thanks to the sauce. At the bottom of the plate, a little surprise: gnocchi, just the right consistency to match the cod. Quite a contrast, then, was the Wagyu Ribeye with Soy Garlic Butter. Excited to dig our forks into this premium meat, we found the beef was slightly overcooked. The slices were unexpectedly combined with pesto-boiled potatoes, which didn’t feel the right accompaniment for it.
Last but not least: dessert. Sous-chef Marta prepared for us their Halloween special. Although not yet baptised with a name, the roasted pumpkin pudding shone in its presentation, which attempted to mimic a spider under a spiderweb. Quite spooky and creamy, it’s topped up with a colourful caramel crust under a bed of spongy cake and vanilla ice cream. Our favourite, though, ended up being their White Chocolate “Cremoso”: an explosion of exotic fruit wrapped up in jelly texture and cream glory. We can’t wait to get a chance to eat it again.
Zela’s imprint is certainly different, sweet and well played, and the restaurant can easily leave a stronger mark by going the extra mile. Overall it’s the place to go for sushi and coktails on a fun weekend night out.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at Zela London, 336-337 Strand London WC2R 1HA, call 020 8089 3981 or visit their website here.