Thursday, January 29, 2015

Bar, lounge, restaurant – is there anything Zinnia, Chelsea hasn’t got?!

Looking for a super cool new hangout?!  Look no further than the beautifully lavish Zinnia at 86 Fulham Road.  No expense has been spared on this decadent new bar, restaurant and VIP lounge which reminds me very much of the Manhattan Bar within the fabulously glamorous Regent Hotel in Singapore.

Set across 3 floors in a huge beautiful Georgian building, the bar on the ground floor offers up a stylish and comfy area with leather banquette seating, opulent black and gold decor and the main feature - a stunning long bar with a stone counter which is ready to serve up any kind of cocktail you want.  Literally anything, because if what you fancy isn’t on the menu, then the handsome bartenders will be sure to rustle you something up – just tell them which spirit you like and whether you fancy sweet, sour or something in between, and leave the magic to them.  Or if you want to get right into the Japanese fusion vibe, then go for a Japanese whisky or a sake cocktail which is what they specialise in.

Through the bar and to the back of the building is the restaurant - a gorgeous dining area, just the right amount of atmosphere and ambience, wonderful lighting and quality furnishings.  Serving up amazing Japanese cuisine, it’s very Hakkasan-esque, with an edge…  (We’ll get onto the food very soon and it’s most definitely worth waiting for!)

Downstairs in the basement is a huge area and bar space, which you can book your VIP pre-club tables in - perfect for groups to relax and chill out.  It has the air of a hidden speakeasy and a private members bar and would also make a fantastic late night club, lucky there’s a DJ booth down here too then!

Upstairs, more restaurant space, mezzanine stylee, so all tables and booths fitted around the balcony overlook the main bar.  Soak up the ambience below with a great view of the bartenders doing their thing and it’s great for people watching too.   

Zinnia is an all day affair... Bento boxes and sharing platters at lunchtime, cakes and pastries in the afternoon and then dinner and drinks in the evening.  It’s fast become my favourite haunt.  But as with all swanky venues, the food has to deliver.  I’m pleased to report that beyond all the opulence comes exceptional fusion cuisine and impeccable waiter and waitress service to match.  A fountain of knowledge when it comes to the menu and indeed suitable sake pairings for your dishes, I could’ve chatted to our server all night.  (In fact I would have, if the date I was on had been anything less than awesome!

To start, a stunning plate of sushi and sashimi.  Scottish salmon, Ahi (yellowfin) tuna and yellowtail was served up nigiri style – clumps of rice with the fish pressed on top.  Smoked eel which tasted absolutely divine came layered on top of rice parcels with a cheese, avocado and teriyaki filling.  Reminding somewhat of smoked bacon, the eel was packed full of flavour, meaty without being too tough – definitely one of my favourite dishes.

Prawns and soft shell crab coated in tempura batter came next, followed by a mouth watering-ly amazing chicken teriyaki from the robata grill – slow cooked and barbecued, marinated in an absolutely deliciously thick and sweet soy terriyaki sauce.  I easily could’ve eaten another plate of this... until the miso glazed black cod came out served with mash and tiny asparagus spears!  Followed by roast duck breast, miso carrots and a maple flavoured sweet and sour sauce.

 Of course, no Japanese dinner would be complete without a few glasses of sake to bring out the flavour of the dishes.  We started with a Tamon Sawayaka Honjozo – meaning a lighter more delicate taste to begin with and very easy to drink with our sushi and sashimi, before moving on to a Shindo Uragazanryu, with refreshing notes of pear and pineapple on the palate, which made it a great accompaniment to some of the stronger flavoured dishes.

 An exceptional dinner, with fantastic ambience and a gorgeous bar area, and with 3 floors which all ooze glamour and decadence, I’d say Zinnia most definitely delivers on every level...

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