Price: Moderate/Expensive (approx. £65/person inc. drinks)
Zoilo has a central London location (just behind Selfridges), interesting looking menu and swanky premises. I like trying loads of different things, so a tapas style menu suits me. I like being pampered by friendly and attentive staff. I like having decent wines and cocktails to choose from; so why only a 3 rating?
There really isn’t anything wrong with Zoilo, there were simply more dishes that I thought were okay compared to ones I liked (at this price point, I couldn’t help but be more critical). This meant that there were moments when I could really see myself going for more of the one dish. But, that kind of defeats the point in tapas where it is very tempting to order everything on the menu.
It is slap bang in the middle market for restaurants, where it is not cheap but lacks a Michelin star which would bump its credentials up by about £5-£10 per dish. It is relatively good value, however it looks like better value is to be had at lunch time (see picture below). I visited for dinner and the venue was dimly lit (which wreaked havoc with my camera’s focus) with a feel of romance in the air (I went with a mate – sorry buddy, I like you but you’re not my type), so using this for date night would work well. Otherwise, as a cool and laid back place to get some grub on a boozy night out, this place fits the bill.
Going with company that isn’t adverse to sharing is the way to go with this place for sure.
Provoleta (at the back) was salty, sweet (from the honey) and crunchy (almonds). While I liked this dish, I wouldn’t be able to have one of these on my own, it can get a little too much after a while (especially when it starts to cool and harden). The empanadas were okay, both having a decent filling to pastry ratio; I preferred the beef to the chicken.
Start eating the provoleta quickly, otherwise when it hardens, it’s like chewing on rubber.
On the whole, the fish dishes were my least favoured on the menu…
…with the scallops my pick of the bunch. They were perfectly cooked, served with chorizo and a chunk of pork belly. The pork in fact turned out to be a massive rectangle of caramelised fat (firm yet soft) which I surprisingly liked, a lot.While this picture isn’t very flattering to the plates of food (it was so dark, I didn’t have a choice but to use the flash), the chimichurri burger (if only it was bigger!) and “asado” flank steak (also served with the ubiquitous Argentinian chimichurri) were very good served at the recommended medium rareness. For those not too familiar with flank, if you can’t take a very rare bit of meat, it would be best to choose a different cut as it will be too tough any other way.The kitchen, located in the basement is lively and loud, but is not the best place to sit on a hot day.The lunch menu appears to be very reasonable value.