9 Duke Street, London W1U 3EG
020 7486 9699
zoilo.co.uk/ firstname.lastname@example.org. uk
In the last couple of years Marylebone has become home to a number of significant restaurant openings. Donostia and Roganic have brightened up London’s food landscape and are now joined by Zoilo, the new kid on the block that is making considerable waves.
Chef Diego Jacquet and his team at Zoilo are offering an alternate take on Argentinian food, showcasing a greater diversity of food and wine than the steak and Malbec that dominates the menus of many of London’s pampas pitstops. Small sharing plates are what is on offer at this sister restaurant to Jacquet’s other venture, Casa Malevo, which is situated in Connaught Village. There is steak on the menu but it’s not the main event here; instead you are presented with
octopus, mackerel and sweetbreads, with sides of endive and pomegranate or beetroot and goat’s curd. It’s enough to make any self-respecting gaucho cry, but for the refined inhabitants of Marylebone it hits the spot.
The room has dark wooden tables and chairs flanked by a bar where you can sit and eat. The rest of the room is a trendy mix of brick walls, industrial ducting and low hanging filament bulbs. It’s a functional space for eating and drinking but the real action at Zoilo is taking place on the plate.
We start with a couple of empanadas (£3.50 each)- Chicken, grilled peppers and cumin, and Spinach, raisins and pine nuts. The pastry was light and the fillings were a million miles away from the stodgy mess that sometimes masquerades as this most elegant of pasties.
I loved the Mackerel ‘Escabeche’ (£6.95) -Escabeche means pickled in Spanish and often the fish is then lightly fried, but in this case the mackerel was very lightly pickled with the unexpectedly subtle flavour of the fish coming to the fore.
Morcilla and Criolla (£4.95)-Morcilla is a blood sausage rather like a black pudding with a criolla (creole) garnish of tomato and onion. This was pronounced to be excellent.
Grilled Octopus, Leeks, Potato and Tuna Mayo (£9.25)-The octopus was simultaneously tender and deliciously charred which is the holy grail of grilling, served with an unctuous dollop of pimped up potato salad.
Ojo de Bife & Chimichurry Ribeye 150g (£10.95)-The ribeye was served medium rare with the parsley based pesto style Chimichurry sauce. it was tender and delicious.
Endive and Pomegranate Salad with Blue Cheese and Walnut (£6.95) was a great palate cleanser before dessert, the sharpness of the pomegranate cutting through the more cloying flavours of the cheese and nuts.
Dulce de Leche Creme Brulee & Banana Split Ice cream (£6.95) was so delicious that if you are in the area with a few minutes to kill, you should run and order one-bear in mind that you’ll probably have to fast for a week to work off the calories though!
To accompany our meal we had drunk a wonderful bottle of Ruca Malen Petit Verdot 2010. The grape Petit Verdot is primarily used as part of a blend in classic Bordeaux but it is bottled as a single varietal in several of the New World countries including Argentina where its late harvesting does not cause so many problems as in Europe.It tastes of plums and cherries with caramel and vanilla notes and is worth a punt if you see it.
In a crowded market place Zoilo is doing something different. The cooking is realised with a combination of finesse and passion in a space where you can have fun or take the eating more seriously as you wish.
The Hedonist was a guest of Zoilo.