Closest station – Ladbroke Grove
Food – 4.5
Ambience – 5
Service – 5
Location – 4
Website – http://zayanerestaurant.com/
Moroccan cuisine is highly regarded as rich colourful and flavoursome and my recent visit to Zayane in Notting Hill proved just that. Since it’s opening in early February, Zayane has been welcoming people to experience its authentic, warm and ambient atmosphere. The intimate and cosy restaurant in located on Golborne Road, just a short walk from Ladbroke Grove station.
We were welcomed into the venue by the owner Maryem and our waitress for the evening was the lovely and very attentive Elena. When we entered Zayane on a Thursday evening, a pleasant fragrance of incense was easily identifiable, and I felt that I was about to have a really relaxing spa-like experience. Light Arabic music was playing in the background, everything was very clean and there was lots of fresh, beautiful flowers. I was told that they often have live music and belly dancing.
We started our meal with some cashew nuts, almonds, olives and some really soft, freshly baked bread. These were followed by the Zayane platter which is a selection of six traditional morocco tapenades, puree and salad. The platter was served with bread and our favourites from this selection were the aubergine and the chickpea tapenade. The platter was tasty, textured and flavoursome, and also large enough for two people to share.
We followed the platter with our starters. First of all we had the pan-fried scallop chermoula which was cooked with chickpea, tomato and cumin. It was delicately flavoured, melt in your mouth, light, tender and heavenly. This was a really unique twist in way that a scallop is cooked, as this was the first time I’ve eaten scallops and chick peas together and it really worked! The second starter was the quail pastila and that was served with carrot and sultana slaw with a mango and orange blossom dressing. This was sweet, crunchy and a great contrast with the quail and slaw because when you took a bite there was an explosion of flavours!
Moving on to mains, we shared the sea bass en papillotte and poussin tanginess served with braised fennel and green olives. On the side we had quinoa and spinach which perfectly complemented both dishes. The poussin was sensationally tender, and the flavours were delicate and didn’t over-power. The sea bass was excellent! It was covered so we didn’t have to see the fish’s face (hehe) and was tender, fresh and flaky. It was served with lots of lovely onions and peppers, along with a harissa sauce with was spicy and tangy but very moreish!
For dessert we had the chocolate delice with pistachio ice cream and the set vanilla cream with poached rhubarb. The chocolate delice was rich, sweet, indulgent, almondy but not sticky or stodgy – it was like a big lush box of chocolates. The vanilla cream with rhubarb was like a panna cotta and was refreshing, sharp, creamy and felt cleansing after a flavour-filled meal.
We finished with some mint tea which was the perfect end to a perfect evening. Overall our experience of dining at the new, family-owned Zayane was an absolute unforgettable one and we could see the passion which has gone into the menu and the venue. Everything was nutritious and authentic. It is a place which is fabulous for meeting friends, dinner with family and also date night. We had a fabulous time and will definitely be visiting again.