Zuaya in Kensington is a lovely place to try original, high-end tapas from chefs with a vision

Nestled stone’s throw from Kensington High Street, Zuaya is in equal measure as eclectic as it is elegant: with lush green canopy, pastel high-backed chair and checkered parquet flooring, it oozes a kind of modern-yet-welcoming glamour. 

My companion and I started off our feast with champagne and a small portion of mouthwatering sweetcorn-lime-and-ginger soup. It works wonders as a starter, not only because of its marvellous golden colour. Not too salty and very fresh, it genuinely stimulates the appetite for the tapas parade.  

Wagyu beef short rib bao was an interesting fusion of Asian and Latin American cuisine, whilst taco (a purple one!) filled with slowly-braised lamb was distinctly Mexican. In both dishes, the meat was succulent and slightly sour and melted in our mouths. Plus, the rib reminded me somewhat of a juicier version of meat floss, which definitely accounted for an interesting experience.  

Cassava crisps were possibly the best I have ever eaten – and I do love cassava. Crispy outside and soft inside, salty but not too salty, served with a sauce full of flavour. Then, Argentinian sirloin (my friend and I opted for medium-rare): it was tender, flavorful, juicy and perfectly seasoned, accompanied by a splash of chimichurri sauce and cooked to perfection.  

I must admit I have never had tiradito before, but as a raw fish aficionado, I couldn’t help myself. The tuna was delicious: mild and buttery, accompanied by yuzu and mango sauce, it leaves a delicate sour-fruity aftertaste.  

Quinoa pomegranate salad offered an interesting blend of sourness, freshness and sweetness. I haven’t had quinoa in ages and it was a pleasant reminder of what I was missing. 

If my companion and I weren’t enjoying ourselves enough (and we most definitely were), the desserts stole the show – and our hearts. Both chocolate fondant tart and dulce de leche were pretty much perfect – creamy, sweet and sumptuous.  

Service was commendable too, with knowledgeable, friendly and discreet waiters.  

Overall, Zuaya is a lovely place to try original, high-end tapas from chefs with a vision. Really worth wandering these couple of yards off the high street.