Restaurant Review: ZELA, ME London Hotel, The Strand in London
Backed by Mabel Capital, the private investment firm with partners such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, and Enrique Iglesias, Mediterranean-Japanese restaurant Zela made a splash the moment it arrived in London late last year. Located inside the ME Hotel on The Strand, the venue brings a taste of the Ibiza haute dining and party lifestyle to the capital.
The team at Zela has created what it calls “meppon” cuisine; taking the best ingredients from the Mediterranean and using Japanese techniques to deliver innovative, out-of-the-box dishes. The venue looks like a mix between a club and a flashy restaurant.
Diners are surrounded by tropical décor, a well-stocked bar, and smartly-dressed staff. There is a DJ booth next to our table, which was concerning at first, but soon a harpist with a flower crown appears and performs beautiful acoustic versions of pop hits.
Service is friendly and accommodating without being overbearing. Our server recommended trying their bestseller from the cocktail list, the Matilda. With a combination of gin, bergamot liqueur, lime juice, yuzu juice and shiso syrup, the Matilda is refreshing and the perfect accompaniment throughout our meal.
The menu is long and varied with sections for starters, mains, sashimi, nigiri, maki, desserts, and even caviar. They also offer a number of Japanese wagyu dishes. However, the dish we sampled, the 48-hour wagyu teriyaki, split the table.
I am a big wagyu fan, but prefer it seared and served medium-rare to really enjoy the beautiful marbling that the beef is known for. I found that, unfortunately, the teriyaki sauce masked the rich and flavourful beef. Zela does serve an A5 Japanese wagyu finished at the table, which I would recommend instead.
Some standout dishes from our meal were the smoked salmon on rice chips with burrata and tomato, the quail egg nigiri with truffle, and the toro nigiri with caviar. When it comes to being unique, inventive, and using high-quality ingredients, Zela absolutely delivers on its promise. With its location in the heart of the West End, Zela would be great for a post-theatre meal or a fun dinner out before heading to the clubs.
Address: ME London Hotel, 336-337 Strand, London WC2R 1HA
Phone: 020 8089 3981