Zuaya Kensington – Review

Last Updated on December 29, 2022

Just in time for the party season, we headed to Zuaya in Kensington to try their latest creation – a festive cocktail that promises “hangover healing properties.” We were also treated to a tasting menu which offered the chance to try dishes with tropical flavors from all over Latin America.

Exterior of Zuaya Kensington

Zuaya can be found just off Kensington High Street. There’s an outdoor terrace for warm weather eating and drinking and a stylish bar upstairs for those who need a cocktail rather than food. A sign above the stairs leading to the restaurant announces in neon “Welcome to the Jungle”. A tropical theme runs through the décor and food and drink at Zuaya. Expect abundant greenery, moody lighting, fringed and feathered lampshades, flamingo and parrot shaped fixtures and Latin American music.

Zuaya's Drunk Cocktail

For the festive season, Zuaya has added a special “medicinal” ingredient to their signature cocktail – London to Lima – essentially turning a Pisco Sour into a hangover cure. The idea is to combine dog hair with the healing properties of vitamin B12. Apparently, this vitamin is known for its role in the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Thankfully, I didn’t arrive at Zuaya drunk, so I wasn’t able to test the cocktail’s healing powers. However, I find it very drinkable. London to the Five combines pisco, falernum, lime, agave syrup and egg white. It’s strong and delicious, with a refreshing lime flavour, and blends sweet and sour in just the right way. This drink certainly has a kick. With or without Vitamin B12, I will be ordering this cocktail again.

Beginner Zuaya Kensington

The emphasis at Zuaya is on sharing dishes and sampling flavors from all over Latin America. With inspiration coming from Brazil, Peru, Argentina and Mexico, for example, the menu offers a variety of tapas, sharing plates, ceviche, grilled meats and fresh seafood.

We started with guacamole which was really good. These are served with crunchy homemade sweet potato chips for dipping, striking for a nice balance of sweet and savory and an even more hearty combination.

Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad beautifully presented with flowers on top. I have to admit I’m still on the fence when it comes to quinoa (I know it’s good for me) and find pomegranate takes away some of the more subtle flavors in salads.

Zuaya Lamb Tacos

The Lamb Taco is a great picture – slow cooked lamb chops sitting on a deep purple soft taco. Combined with a sprinkling of juicy spiced pineapple and micro coriander it was intense.

Zuaya duck confit rice

We then put in two Zuaya main dishes. Wild Rice with Shitake Mushrooms and Duck Confit served with a fried egg. This is my culinary path and the kind of food I would love to cook at home if only I had the patience to make duck. Again a glass of pineapple juice flowed through this dish, marrying the duck well.

Iberian Zuaya Pig

From the grill we tried the Iberian Pork Chops. This is probably the most pink pork I’ve eaten in England, so long the terror of undercooked pork. It’s a revelation, so soft and meaty. The pork is served on a bed of delicious butternut squash and mojo verde (a coriander-based green sauce).

Zuaya Kensington dessert

We finished with two tempting desserts, both of which bring tropical fruit flavors to a European classic.

The Passionfruit Creme Brulée was a hit with both of us. The custard – very creamy with a strong, tangy passionfruit smell – and the crunchy top make for a smooth, cool custard.

Dulce de Leche Flan is a Latin American variation of the traditional French creme caramel but with a denser, sweeter custard. It’s served with lime-infused pineapple seeds, but it’s the brulée that wins this dessert battle.

Zuaya Kensington Bar

Zuaya is the place to go if you want to broaden your Latin American food horizons beyond the ever-popular Mexican without leaving London. This is a friendly and atmospheric place with friendly service. And also worth a visit for delicious London to Five Pisco Sours.


35B Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 5EB

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