The informal Japanese dining style Izakaya inspired the founders of Zuma and became the restaurant’s cuisine philosophy back in 2002 when the first Zuma was founded in London’s Knightsbridge. The Zuma concept has started its global expansion just as other informal restaurant chains, with contemporary Japanese cuisine. Zuma can today be found in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Miami and Dubai as well.
Zuma is the creation of German Chef Patron Rainer Becker and businessman Arjun Waney. Rainer Becker started his successful career in Germany working for some of the country’s most recognised restaurants and soon he became an important part of the Hyatt Corporation starting with the Head Chef position for Hyatt Regency Hotel in Cologne, proceeding with a couple of years as Executive Chef for Park Hyatt Sydney and finally six years as the Executive Chef for the prestigious Park Hyatt Tokyo. Rainer fell in love with the rich Japanese culture and the country’s traditional and contemporary cuisine. Chef Patron Rainer Becker was the perfect man to establish Zuma and the restaurant quickly became hugely popular, and the chef’s second contemporary Japanese restaurant concept called Roka was soon after established together with the Shochu Lounge.
The style of the Zuma restaurants around the world emulates the original establishment in London with its three components of a main kitchen for the contemporary cuisine, the Robata Grill that is inspired by an old Japanese cooking style and of course a sushi counter with sushi chefs. In addition to this you can have some signature drinks at the lounge bar with Japanese spirits as well and the restaurant also has its own sake sommelier offering you a wide selection of sake.
The interior and atmosphere of Zuma grant you a laidback, still classy and calm feeling that you will not find in many other restaurants in London and the style of sharing the dishes and order several at once works brilliant. There are many dishes that we can recommend, like the signature dish tsubu-miso gake hinadori no obun yaki that is baby chicken marinated in barley miso and oven roasted on cedar wood. Some other delicious dishes and good examples of Zuma’s cuisine are the wagyu gunkan no fuyu torifu with wagyu beef tartare and black truffle and the ise ebi no tempura that is lobster tempura with spicy ponzu.
Zuma is a great alternative when it comes to choose one of London’s best Asian restaurants and among the best and most gratifying restaurant experiences you can have in the city. The competition is fierce, but Zuma will always be a safe bet.
Image of Chef Patron Rainer Becker: Courtesy Zuma
Written by Andy