Category Archives: Restaurants

The Culpeper – a hidden rooftop destination in London’s City Fringe

Spread over 4 floors The Culpeper has a little something for everyone.  A great downstairs bar serving modern pub-grub, an upstairs restaurant with an innovative menu based around seasonal produces; a roof terrace with a kitchen garden and greenhouse; and five beautifully furnished rooms.

Pubs with rooms are nothing new but there is a new generation of trendy gastro-pubs that are reimagining this basic concept, upping the quality and making a stay in a pub all the more appealing.  To quote The Culpeper itself, “Our simply furnished and beautifully decorated rooms have been created with the intention of being a place to crash following a meal, for a weekend, or a week on business.”

Originally an old Truman Pub The Culpeper has been lovingly restored into a beautiful modern space.  The renovation has incorporated the building’s original Victorian features to get effect and retained the traditional signage and tiling.  Equal attention has been given to the food, which uses the rooftop produces as much as possible along with seasonally sourced produce from local supplies.  The wine list features natural wines from small growers and cocktails are based on herbs grown on the roof, and changes to reflect the seasons.

The first thing that strikes you about The Culpeper is the spaciousness and all the light.  The ground floor bar and eating area are flooded with natural light thanks to the large Victorian windows that dominate two sides of the building.  The Bar menu is short and offers an excellent selection of pub inspired dishes that change daily and always includes a vegetable-centric option and some light snacks.  From the downstairs dining area there is an elegant staircase that leads up to the first floor restaurant, here the menu is modern and inspired by seasonal produce.  Continuing up are the guest rooms and then the terrace, which operates a bar and hosts barbecues in the warmer months.  The terrace is also home to The Culpeper’s greenhouse and kitchen garden and has fantastic views across the city making it one of the best roof terrace destinations in the area.

To find The Culpeper you need to be brave, it is in London’s City Fringes.  At the currently unfashionable end of Commercial Road in Aldgate; about 10 minutes walk from Old Spitalfields market.  But don’t let that put you off; it is a true little gem in the ever changing area that borders the City of London and the traditional East End.

For more information and reservations visit:  http://www.theculpeper.com

Notes and Credits:  This is an independent review.  Photography is curtsey of The Culpeper website and Google images.

Advertisements

Terriors wine bar and restaurant – a wine lovers secret near Trafalgar Square

Terriors Wine Bar is a terrific little place on William IV St, which lies between Charing Cross Rd and the Strand in London. It is a plain little street and the main draw is Terriors, one of the capital’s little secrets. There is no way you can miss Terriors, just follow the buzz and the people, for this unpretentious little wine bar and eatery is packed every night.

In the summer people spill out onto the street crowding around a few chairs and barrel tables.  The inside has the feeling of an old style Bristo, with bare brick walls, bentwood chairs and French memorabilia.  The place has a warm and friendly atmosphere and attracts a loyal clientele, so if you want to eat at Terriors it is advisable to book.  Alternatively you can take your chances and hope for a space at the long zinc-topped bar that lines one side of the restaurant.

The food offering is simple and the menu focuses on seasonal produce, cured meats and fine cheeses from France, Italy and Spain.  Dale Osborne, of Chiltern Firehouse fame, is now in charge of the kitchen and the dishes continue to be carefully created to enhance the wine experience.  Choose from a small but tantalising selection of small plates, bar snacks and Plats du Jour.  Or an equally mouthwatering choice of charcuterie and cheese boards.

Wine is the main event at Terriors and its cellar is impressive.  The wine list is formidable with over 25 pages and focuses on natural wines from France and Italy, which are organically and biodynamically produced.  As Terriors explain themselves:

“The wines are sourced from small artisan growers who work sustainably, organically or biodynamically in the vineyard and with minimal interventions in the winery. Much of the farming is labour-intensive, often done with horses rather than tractors and all of the picking and selection is by hand. Yields, usually from old vines, are low. Fermentations tend to be with wild yeasts and several wines are made without addition of sulphur dioxide and are unfiltered and unfined. In style the wines tend to be light-to-medium bodied, fresh (even refreshing), savoury and delicious to drink – but even more delicious with food.”

Such a large wine list can be daunting at the best of times and one that focuses on produce from small growers even more so.  However the staff know this and have been well trained.  They are extremely knowledgeable and guide you adeptly to a wine to suit your taste and accompany your food.

Terriors is a rare beast in London and there are few places at the moment that pull of the mix of exceptionally good wine, seasonally selected food and a casual dining experience so well.

Terriors Wine Bar, 5 William IV St, London, WC2N 4DW  www.terroirswinebar.com

Photographic credits:  Photography is from Terroirs website.  Photographer:  Paul Winch-Furness

Terriors Wine Bar London

The Cinnamon Club – a Westminster institution is still going strong

The Cinnamon Club burst onto the London restaurant scene well over a decade ago.  Owner and executive chef Vivek Singh transformed our understanding of Indian Cuisine and paved the way for a new generation of Indian restaurants such as Gymkhana and Trishna.  Over the years Vivek Singh and his restaurant have become a Westminster institution.  So when The Cinnamon Club closed its doors for 7 weeks in 2015 for a refurbishment, London’s foodies held their breath, horrified at the idea of change.  But they need not have worried, when the restaurant reopened the changes were subtle and a glorious new menu revealed.

For those who don’t know The Cinnamon Club is located in the old Westminster Library, a historic Grade II listed building that retainsCinnamon Club restaurant the old Westminster library many of its original features and which gives the restaurant the feeling of an old gentlemen’s club.  Post refurbishment much remains the same, although the interior has been freshened up and soft seating in stylish teal has been introduced to add a modernist touch. The books are still there, but they now line the main dining room and gallery, which adds a layer of colourful warmth to the main dining space.  The bars still have the rich wood panelling, which ensures that they are as snug and cosy as ever.  The cocktail menu has been re-imagined and has the perfect balance of old classics and Indian inspired creations and now there is a Gin Trolley Experience.  This three-tiered walnut gin trolley, which appears at your table for a dash of close-up mixology, has over 20 gins on offer along with a bewildering (but tempting) number of exotic gin based cocktails.

The menu is mouth-watering, Singh and head chef Rakesh Ravindar Nair have introduced new signature dishes, tasting menus with seasonal options and a whole section dedicated to celebratory sharing dishes.  However they have not abandoned the all time favourites of their well established clientele and the game classics and delicately-spiced fish remain.  We enjoyed the vegetable-centric option from the sharing section, the Morel Malai Kofta (paneer and royal cumin dumplings of stir-fried green pea and morels with tomato and fenugreek sauce and green pea pilau) which was incredibly good.  The wine list is outstanding with little something for every budget.  The dessert menu is nothing less than memorable and we couldn’t resist the Green cardamom brulée with rose petal biscotti which was perfectly paired with a glass of Recioto di Soave, Pieropan, Veneto, Italy, 2009.

The service is flawless and the staff deal superbly with a varied and demanding clientele.  Although if you are not a regular it might be worth noting that you may need a little patience and accept that you are there for the food and ambience not the attention of the staff.  Remember The Cinnamon club has a lot of regulars, a lot of high rollers and a lot of big names coming through its door.  And whilst every guest is important and is treated the same it is tricky for the staff to deal with such a demanding and varied crowd.  If you don’t expect to be pampered all the better and if you feel your neighbour is getting a bit more attention, well don’t be jealous just accept that that’s life in London.  Many use The Cinnamon club as a canteen and it has such a loyal following that it is hard to be a regular.  So just park your ego and let yourself go in the experience.  It is well worth it and you’ll enjoy your visit all the more.

For more information and reservations visit: http://cinnamonclub.com/

Photography is from The Cinnamon Clubs website.

The Cinnamon Club Restaurant
Cocktail from the cinnamon club’s Gin Trolley

Skye Gyngell’s restaurant, Spring, is well worth a visit

Since opening its doors at the end of 2014 Skye Gyngell’s restaurant Spring has been dividing critics and diners alike.  You either love it or hate it, it seems.  We loved it, unlike the poor table next to us who hated it and seemed to hate it with the same passion we loved it.  We visited Spring in March and simply liked everything from the food, to the location, to the decor and even the much criticised and definitely quirky staff uniforms.

Spring is located in the New Wing of Somerset House and for those that don’t know, Somerset House is the spectacular neo-classical building that sits between the Strand and the River Thames in London.  The New Wing was originally designed by Sir James Pennethorne, in 1856, to house the Inland Revenue and has not been open to the public for over 150 years.  Spring has taken over the elegant 19th century drawing room, which has been completely refurbished to its former glory.  There are large windows on three sides, high ceilings, a long marble bar at the far end and an equally long wooden service counter with vast floral displays along one side.  The tables are graciously spaced apart, a real treat in London, the chairs comfy, the lighting gentle (and flattering) and there is no music (another treat).  In fact there is no need for music since the acoustics are excellent.

Much like Gastrologik, in Stockholm, Spring’s menu is guided by the changing seasons and the availability of the best possible seasonal ingredients.  The results are simple and delicious.  In March we were treated to the season’s first asparagus, cooked to perfection and served with fonduta and borage, followed by roasted fresh garlic with goats curd and bruschetta. This was the only veggi-centric main dish on the menu and the idea of a whole garlic bulb in any form is not for the faint hearted, but it was undeniably excellent.  The garlic had been slow roasted so that it was deliciously tender and delicately sweet; and it was perfectly tempered by the tartness of the goat’s curd.  On the side we had Jersey Royals with poached celery, radicchio and lovage oil, this was excellent and a perfect accompaniment to the main dish.  Desserts were equally good and the Citrus tart with crème fraîche, which looked unassuming and even a little dull, was anything but boring – it was exquisite.

The wine list is as comprehensive and as well thought out as the food.  There is a good balance of old and new world wines along with a handful of more unusual wines into the bargain.  Our main dish (the garlic) was going to demand a lot of any wine and our sommelier was knowledgeable (and friendly) helping us to find a wine that was robust enough to cope with the dish.  He made excellent suggestions and our meal was all the more memorable for it.

Recently Spring opened The Salon beside the main restaurant.  The Salon is composed of an intimate trio of spaces including the beautiful atrium garden that sits enclosed at the room’s centre with flora and fauna designs by acclaimed landscape designer Jinny Blom.  In contrast to Spring, where it is advisable to book ahead, the Salon does not take reservations.  Instead it offers small plates, cheeses, seasonal ice creams and wines by the glass, that reflect Skye’s signature ingredient-led style.  It is a lovely place to relax with a drink, enjoy a quick lunch or light supper.

For more information and reservations go to:  http://springrestaurant.co.uk/

Notes:  This is an independent review.  Images have been sourced via google.

The Salon in Somerset House London

Gymkhana – exceptional Indian cuisine in London

Gymkhana is a relative new comer to London’s Indian gastronomic restaurant scene. It is the brainchild of owner and chef Karam Sethi and since it opened last year it has earned itself an enviable reputation and a Michelin Star. Anyone who has spent any time in India will know how disappointing the food can be outside the sub-continent and it seems that Karam Sethi not only saw this but decided to do something about it. Sethi made his mark on the London restaurant scene in 2008 with his first restaurant Trishna in Marylebone. He set a new standard for contemporary Indian cuisine and continues to challenge the traditional views and concepts surrounding Indian cuisine in Britain.

The name and concept of the restaurant references the old colonial clubs of the British Raj India, where The Gymkhana would usually be the local gentlemen’s sports and social club. An impressive green wood panelled door opens into a dark interior, where 1920’s jazz plays in the background and staff in Nehru styled uniforms glide silently past with trays laden with food. There are two dining rooms and a bar decorated with old colonial Raj furniture and trophies. Diners sit in oak booths with marble tables and rattan chairs or against the wood panelled walls on comfortable leather banquettes. It is refreshing to go to a restaurant that has decided to define its own personality and style rather than be dictated to by the latest tends or a designer’s contemporary style book.

The food is full of fresh flavours and the complex spice mixtures are beautifully balanced, it is a treat you want to make an everyday luxury. The menu is divided into sections: Gymkhana bar and Nasta, are small dishes perfect for sharing and nibbling, such as chaats, tikkas and pakoras. I am a big fan of Chaat and their Potato Chaat is one of the best I have had in the UK. Kebabs & Tikkas and Game & Chops, also excellent for sharing, are slightly larger plates from the tandoori oven and grill, this season look forward to the likes of Lasooni Wild Tiger Prawns with Red Pepper Chutney or Wood Pigeon Pepper Fry. The main fare comes in the form of Curries & Biryani with specialities such as Suckling Pig Vindaloo or Asparagus, Pea and Mushroom Pilau. There is a tantalizing Sabzi section too, these are accompanying vegetable side dishes and if you have never understood peoples passion for okra then this is the place to give it a go, their coastal spiced okra is fantastic, as is the Dal Maharan, which shouldn’t be missed.

Sethi and his team have created 3 special menus around the themes of: Game, Vegetable and Tasting, each is offered with a wine pairing menu and as you might expect it is exceptionally well-done. As we couldn’t decide what to have, everything sounded so good, we decided to put ourselves in the hands of Sethi and his team and went for one of these specially crafted menus. It was an excellent choice, every dish being memorable.

Footnotes and credits: This is an independent review. The writer dined as a mystery guest and paid for their meal. Photography has been sourced via Google images.

www.gymkhanalondon.com
Gymkhana, 45 Albemarle Street, London

Bargeriet cafe and bakery – one of London’s hidden gems

The Bargeriet is hidden away on a once little visited street at the back of Covent Garden, between Floral Street and Long Acre.  In fact blink and you will miss Rose Street and that would be a tragedy.  However tune in to your senses and the smell of fresh baking and cinnamon will lead you to The Bargeriet.

Bargeriet literarily means bakery in Swedish and that is exactly what it is, a Swedish bakery with a tiny cafe.  The space is beautifully designed and comfortably seats 8 people; but such is the demand for seats in this hidden gem that most visitors happily squidge together to make room for a couple more people so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the delicacies and perhaps even make a few new friends along the way.  Actually this is essentially what it is to “fika” – getting together with your friends to have a coffee and cake.  Yes the Swedes take their coffee breaks so seriously that they have a verb for it.

The bakery offers a range of traditional Swedish cakes, biscuits and savoury sandwiches.  A stack of freshly baked cinnamon buns has centre place in the window and is steadily refreshed throughout the day.  There are mazarin – a sweet almond tart, vanilla hearts – a sweet pastry with a vanilla cream filling, coconut pyramids, chocolate balls and Hallongrottor – raspberry caves, just to name a few of the delicacies on offer.  Visit the Bargeriet during Lent and you will have the opportunity to try the Swedish Semlor cake, this is a cardamom-spiced wheat bun filled with almond paste and topped with whipped cream (the description may not do it justice, but the numbers certainly tell a tale – the Swedes get through 40 million of these little cakes a year in the run up to Easter and local newspapers run features comparing and evaluating the Selmor cakes produced by the local bakeries).

Daniel and Sven-Gunnar also bake their own bread and crispbread, which are fantastic and the cafe offers a selection of traditional Swedish open sandwiches such as Swedish meatballs with home-made beetroot salad; smoked salmon, anchovies, onions, eggs and fresh dill; and prawn salad.

Bakers (and owners) Daniel Karlsson and Sven-Gunnar Appelgren earned their stripes working in an impressive list of prestigious restaurants both here and in Sweden before opening the Bargariet. In fact they have the well deserved reputation of being two of the most sought after bakers in the city.  With an ever increasing number of cafes and restaurants opting to buy in their food from larger suppliers it is refreshing to find a cafe that bakes on the premise and takes so much pride in everything it does.  Not only are Daniel and Sven-Gunnar introducing the British to the delights of Swedish baking and reminding us that there is no substitute for freshly baked goods, they are also encouraging us to break down our natural reserve and “fika”.

The Bargeriet
20 Rose Street (off Long Acre)
London
http://www.bageriet.co.uk

Footnotes and credits:  This is an independent review.  The author visited as a regular customer and paid for their fika.  Image is care of the Bargeriet website.

Café Murano Covent Garden

For decades Covent Garden has been associated with tourists and its offering as such has done little to encourage locals to visit.  If anything it has been an area that people who live in London avoid, circumvented or scuttled through on the way to somewhere else.  Now things are changing and there is a steady growth of independent restaurants and cafes that make Covent Garden worth a second thought.  There is the charming wine bar come bistro the 10 Cases; the excellent Swedish Café Bakery, the Bageriet; and Dalla Terra, which has the largest selection of Italian wine in the country.  More recently Sky Gyngell has opened her restaurant, Spring near Aldwych and now Angela Hartnett has brought Café Murano to the Opera Quarter.  This will be her third restaurant and the second Café Murano.

For those who don’t know Angela Hartnett is something of a celebrity on London’s gastronomic scene. Not only does she have a Michelin-star for her Mayfair restaurant Murano, she has built a devout following of diners in St James’s since opening Café Murano there.  It is fair to say that most foodies and food critics are rather fond of Angela Hartnett as she is a mighty very fine cook and nice person too (apparently).  Her specialty is Northern Italian cuisine and the menu at Café Murano Covent Garden reflects this.  As you would expect from someone with a Michelin-star and restaurants in places like Mayfair and St James’s the ingredients are of the finest quality and as fresh as they can possibly be.

The restaurant is beautifully designed, thanks to Russell Sage the designer behind many of London’s most iconic restaurants.  The ground floor has a trattoria feel to it with a dark interior of wood walls, terracotta leather banquette seating and a Carrera marble dining counter. The upstairs is completely different; the space is flooded with natural light thanks to a modern ceiling made of a lattice of wood and glass, which allows the light to stream in.  Both floors are lovely, as is the service which is extremely professional but still warm and friendly.

The whole menu is mouthwatering and as someone who is enjoys vegetable-centric food Café Murano is an absolute treat. The menu is simple, although it seems to pack an awful lot of choice into its concise offerings of snacks, antipasti, pastas and mains. Our favourites included the Mammole artichokes with parsley, the Green bean, fresh almonds & peach and the Broad bean and rosemary arancini, which everyone who’s anyone on the gastronomic scene seems to be describing as sublime. The pastas and mains are equally simple and imaginative, we had the Farfelle, peas & girolles, which was superb.  And yes the deserts are divine (save space for the muscavado tart with Crème fraîche) and the wine list excellent.

When we visited, Café Murano had been open less than a month and it was already buzzing. Give it a few more weeks and I imagine diners will have to book well in advance to get a table.  But the good news is that next door Hartnett has opened Pastificio – or ‘pasta factory’ – here there are a few stools around a low communal table for drop-in customers and a whole selection of salumi, fresh pasta, sauces, oils, bread and wine to take away, so even if you can’t get a table you won’t have to go home too disappointed.

Café Murano, 36 Tavistock Street, London, WC2 7PB

www.cafemurano.co.uk

Trishna London – Indian dining so fine it has a Michelin Star

Since opening its doors in 2008, Trishna has been wooing diners with contemporary Indian dishes from the coastal regions of South West India. It won its first Michelin Star in 2012 and has gone on to collect one each year since. Like its sister restaurant, Gymkhana, Trishna is the creation of chef-proprietor Karam Seth and last year Seth and his team returned their focus to Trishna. The interior has been revitalised, new dishes added to the menu and the wine list revamped.

The interior still has the pared back aesthetic of old but the rough walls and contemporary furniture have been joined by antique mirrors, bronze pendant lighting, marble top tables and banquette seating adjacent to the bar. It is a pleasant space with an informal air to it.  And it attracts a diverse range of diners: locals, Londoners, business people and tourists, all who have one thing in common: an appreciation of innovative Indian cuisine made from the highest quality seasonal ingredients.

We have been dining at Trishna for a few years now and it has never disappointed, offering a diverse and well balanced menu of south Indian coastal classics and innovative new dishes. This time we decided to leave everything to the experts and chose the seven course Koliwada menu.

New for us within this tasting menu was the Aubergine Rasma, which offered an innovative twist on the classic rasam by adding smoked aubergine, curry leaf and fennel pakora. A Broccoli samosa that took the humble samosa to the next level, this Indian stable was transformed into a thing of great beauty, the crisp pastry wrapping held an unbelievably flavoursome broccoli filling. The Aloo Chat, another classic snack, gave my current favourite made by the team at Gymkhana a run for its money. However the two were sufficiently different and equally delicious, so there could be no clear winner. We also enjoyed a couple of our old favourites including the Paneer Tikka which remains mouth-wateringly good and the Kuska Tarkar Biryani, an aromatic dish of rice, jackfruit, lotus roots and pink peppercorn raita that is simply exquisite and provides the diner with a creative alternative to the traditional Biryani.

Wine is a big deal at Seth’s restaurants and the wine list here is extensive and full of classics and lesser known surprises. At Trishna every dish on the menu has a wine matched to it and our sommelier made some memorable suggestions by the glass, as required throughout the meal, adjusting them according to our personal taste as well as the demands of the dish. We were treated to the rather nice Billecart-Salmon, Brut Reserve; an interesting and delicious Viognier from Greece; a refreshing Rotgipfler from Austria and a superb Pinot Noir from Germany. Alternatively, there is a wine pairing menu to accompany the Kouwada menu, which comes highly recommended.

Trishna continues to be one of the best Indian restaurants in London and it deserves all the praise it gets. There is good food and excellent service here but more than this, there is a real sense of heart and passion in the place.

For more information about Trishna London please visit: http://www.trishnalondon.com/

Footnotes and Credits: The blogger dined at Trishna as a regular paying guest. Images are via Google images and credits go to Trishna. Trishna interior

Cantina La Veinte, fine Mexican dining in Miami

Art Deco meets Mexican folk art at this waterfront restaurant on Brickell. Cantina La Veinte opened in the summer of 2014 and is one of the first restaurants in Miami to offer fine Mexican dining. The menu focuses on authentic Mexican dishes and regional specialities that are rarely found outside of Mexico itself.

The restaurant was designed by the renowned Mexican architect company Niz and Chauvel and fuses art-deco inspired design with colourful Mexican folk art. The restaurant is spread over two floors. Upstairs has a sleek 1920s glamour feel to it, the dark interior is lit up with touches of gold, frosted glass and splashes of colour from traditional folk art and textiles. Downstairs is open on two sides and looks out onto the waterfront and Brickell Park. The blue-gray decor and tiled floor gives the space a light and airy feel and whilst it lacks the visual impact of room upstairs it has a much more laid-back feel to it and is the perfect place for large groups and private parties.

Whilst the decor is impressive, it is the food that really captures the attention. The menu is elaborate, offering a wide range of dishes that focus on regional meat and seafood specialities. There is a whole section dedicated to stuffed chillies and whilst there is a taco section the main event is the big plates to share with specialities such as Huachinangos al gusto, Langostinos al nojo de ajo and Albondigas al chipotle. This food has little in common with the standard Mexican fare that has been exported across the across the world and is as plentiful in Miami as in most big cities. The focus here genuinely seems to be on the ingredients, many of which are brought in directly from Mexico. The end result is food that speaks for itself and keeps people coming back again and again. There is also a formidable drinks list that includes over 200 varieties of tequila and 100 kinds of mezcal which are mixed into a seemingly endless selection of cocktails. If that sounds overwhelming, then one can’t go wrong with a classic margarita and Cantina’s margaritas are some of the best you will taste outside of Mexico. In fact the drinks are also causing quite a stir and are rapidly gaining the reputation as being some of the best in town making the restaurant’s stunning black onyx bar a destination in its own right. So far, Cantina La Veinte, seems to be carving out a niche for itself in the ever changing Miami gastronomic scene, its ability to offer consistently good food and pretty good service too is making it the destination of choice for Miami’s demanding clientele.

In fact the restaurant’s success in Miami is paving the way for its expansion. Cantina La Veinte Miami is the first restaurant outside of Mexico, there are three in Mexico City, and it is rumoured that the group has plans for openings in New York and Vegas. Let’s hope they put London in their sights soon.

Mexican Fine Dining at Cantina La Veinte
Cantina La Veinte is located at the Icon 495 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131
http://lano20.com.mx/

Click here to read our other posts about 6 other neighbourhoods in Miami (scroll to the bottom of the Miami post to access all links).

Footnotes and credits: This is an independent review. The writer has always dined as a regular guest and paid for their meal.

Zuma Miami – amazing food with a cool view

Zuma specialises in contemporary Japanese food and nowadays it is an internationally recognised brand that is found in some of the world’s hottest locations including London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai, Bangkok and New York. Zuma has made its name by being the best. The food is outstanding, the service impeccable, the wine selection superb and the locations always jaw-droppingly gorgeous.

Zuma is the brainchild of Chef Rainer Becker and Arjun Waney. Becker, who originally hails from Germany, fell in love with Japanese food whilst living and studying in Tokyo. His menu is based on authentic Japanese dishes to which he adds his own modern twists. He opened the first restaurant in 2002 in London and has gone on to create a unique experience that has kept Zuma at the forefront of trends for over 10 years.

What is particularly commendable is that as it has expanded it has managed to keep its high standards. This is an achievement in itself, particularly in places like Miami where many brilliant restaurants fail. The market in Miami is tough, the transient crowds are unpredictable, the seasonal high and low periods extremely challenging and the customers fickle and fussy. Yet Becker has succeeded where so many others have failed and his restaurant is full every night.

Zuma Miami is located in the Epic Hotel on Brickell overlooking the Miami River. Walk quickly through the vacuous, marble lobby that seems to be the unimaginative design choice of hotels these days and enter the world of Zuma. The interior is sleek, the zen inspired design is by the famous Tokyo designers Nori Yoshi Muramatsu, who integrate natural local products and textures with the very distinct look and feel of the Zuma brand. The Miami restaurant is a large space of calming neutral tones, the pale pistachio green chairs add a hint of colour against the sandy flecked marble, blond wood and gleaming steel. But it is the view that will hold your attention (until the food arrives anyway), for the terrace and main restaurant have an enviable views across the water.

The menu is similar at all locations, with local twists added in to differentiate each restaurant and here in Miami the seafood is the jewel in the crown. Although those vegetable-centric folk who pilgrimage to Zuma for the finest ingredients from the vegetable and tofu world will not be disappointed either, Zuma continues to serve up its fantastic vegetable focused selection of dishes even in Miami. The ingredients are, of course, top quality and the dishes are so beautifully presented that they appear like edible works of art.

Zuma is incredibly popular and if you want to eat here it is best to book well in advance. The good news is that Miami isn’t like London, so you don’t need to plan three months ahead to get a table. That said it is best to plan ahead. It is also worth mentioning that Zuma attracts a well-heeled crowd and enforces a smart casual dress code.

Zuma – 270 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131 (located inside the Epic Hotel)
http://zumarestaurant.com/

Click here to read our other posts about 6 other neighbourhoods in Miami (scroll to the bottom of the Miami post to access all links).

Footnotes and credits: This is an independent review. The writer has always dined as a regular guest and paid for their meal. Photography has been sourced from the website and via Google images.

Zuma entrance