Zayane, a Moroccan restaurant that claims pride of place on Goldborne Road, has been open for over a year; pretty good innings for the unforgiving ‘restaurant-eat-restaurant’ world of Notting Hill fine dining. On ducking through the door, the interior is cosy and almost akin to a cafe [admittedly there aren’t a lot of cafes decorated in swirls of oceanic blues, fuming orange accented with silver and terracotta but perhaps there should be]. One look at the menu however dispels any concerns that Zayane doesn’t pride itself as a serious establishment. Moroccan cuisine is somewhat in vogue in Notting Hill, so the modern twist on offer here helps set Zayane out from the pack. Head Chef Josh Mortell has created a menu [well two menus to be precise the full manger of the dinner option alongside a ‘working brunch’ that we didn’t try] that fuses seasonal British ingredients with unique spices imported from Morocco, the end result being exciting Moroccan cuisine that is tangibly rooted into new traditions.
By the time I arrived [to be constantly 5 minutes late is actually enshrined in the journalistic code of ethics. At least that’s what we tell people] my guest had already ingratiated himself with the charming staff and barely had I sat down before I was bombarded with recommendations for our order; delivered with the confidence of a man who has spent the majority of his life in a souck. Considering that I knew for a fact that grew up in Malvern, I soon gathered his suspicious knowledge had its origins in the fact that he’d been well and truly briefed by our waitress, who would soon prove herself indispensible as a guide for our staid palates. We began with Roast Artichoke Hearts which only be described as revelatory. One doesn’t really look at artichoke as a flavour sensation but Mortell had outdone himself in making the borderline mundane vegetable taste lush and exotic. For our mains I sprang for the Lamb Tagine served with prunes, roast almonds, sesame seeds whilst my deceitful tablemate dove in with the lemon and ginger marinated whole Seabream which came with a serving of dill mayo potato salad and sautéed samphire. The seabream was mouth wateringly flavourful and soon became a battleground between my guest and I, as we fought to claim as much of it as possible. Thankfully full on warfare was just about avoided by later arrival of my Lamb Tagine which truly proved the strength of the modern twist on Moroccan cuisine that Zayane have achieved. To call the West London restaurant scene competitive is a bit like insinuating that Siberia gets a bit chilly in winter, going by present form however Zayane should be sticking around for a good while.
Address: 91 Golbourne Road, Notting Hill W10 5N
Phone: 020 8960 1137