On Saturday night, we dined at Zoilo in Marylebone as some friends of ours had recommended this Argentinian tapas restaurant. We were able to get a reservation the day of, but were warned that we'd have to be seated at the counter. Typically, "counter" seats are thought to be less desirable, but at Zoilo, this ended up being a bonus. We were seated in the basement level at the kitchen counter, which meant that we could scope out all the dishes before they went out and converse with the chefs. One of our favourite restaurants in town, Kitchen Table, is particularly appealing for this reason.
The bar seating at the basement level
Between the three of us, we shared eleven dishes, including the obligatory bread & butter basket and two desserts. We say the bread & butter was obligatory because 1) they were all homemade, 2) the focaccia ended up being a great addition to the provoleta dish (see below), and 3) the chipás are supremely addictive.
Here are some of the dishes we devoured:
Scallops, sweet potato, caramelised pork belly & chorizo
What an amazing dish! The best part may have been the crisp on top, which we later learned was chicharron, fried pork rind...no wonder!
Grilled octopus, leeks, potatoes & tuna mayo
Perfectly cooked octopus, with a delicious light-on-the-mayo potato salad underneath.
Provoleta, almonds & oregano honey
The honey may have taken too much of the cheese's saltiness away, but it still served as a reasonably good dip for the focaccia.
Empanada with spinach, goat's cheese, raisins & pine nuts
The contrast between the crispy pastry and moist spinach and goat cheese was delectable. Next time, we'd like to try their other empanada offerings (braised beef skirt potatoes, onions & olives // chicken, grilled peppers, shallots & cumin)
Roast & pickled beetroot, goat's cheese & almond's garrapiñada
I am sure this would have been a perfectly nice salad without the fried goat cheese balls - but these added a unique dimension to the dish. Still, the salad could have used a little less dressing.
Asado - flank steak, celeriac & bone marrow
The asado was outstanding. We were told the steak had been cooked for four hours then put on the grill, so we were pleased to find that it was so pink. It turns out that they cook the steak in a vacuum pack with extremely low heat.
Milk cake, passion fruit sorbet & toasted almonds
What a wonderful combination of sweet, sour, airy, milky and crunchy.
Alfajores de maizena
These Argentinian cornstarch cookies with dulce de leche filling and a bit of coconut dusted around the sides were addictive. We'll have to find a recipe for this one.
Needless to say, we are coming back to this place and trying the rest of their menu. And we'll definitely be requesting a seat at the downstairs counter next time. Including a bottle of wine and service, the meal cost just over £40pp.