Zela: A Restaurant Backed By Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal And Enrique Iglesias - But Is The Food Any Good?
At Zela London the food is always at risk of being eclipsed by the celebrity names that are financially backing it — footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis superstar Rafael Nadal and singer Enrique Iglesias. Before we dined here the question on our lips was will this restaurant be our hero or will we be wanting to escape?
The meal starts off rather confusingly with some edamame and salmerejo — a cold soup. The two flavours don't work together and it's bit muddled and not sure what it wants to be — it reminded us of Enrique's fourth album.
An accompanying appetiser is a very salty calamari, too salty for our taste although our fellow diner loved it. Our favourite of the early dishes were the prawn dumplings that come with a delayed kick that zings across the tongue like one of Nadal's inside out forehands.
It's at this point that we get plied with a whole load of sushi. The scallops are a tad bland but the prawn and soft shell crab tempura are delicious. A special mention goes to the fried egg and tuna tartare sushi — it sounds all kind of wrong, but the bizarre mix of ingredients generates a lovely flavour explosion in our mouths. It's from here on that there's no looking back as this meal keeps getting stronger, much like Ronaldo after he won his first league title with Manchester United.
Our two mains are the best dishes so far. Tearing apart the Wagyu beef with our chopsticks and having it melt in our mouth is an experience that has us salivating as we write this. The miso halibut is equally delicious and the addition of gnocchi soaked in the miso soup is an inspired choice that adds some weight to the dish.
We end with a hefty macadamia brownie and we're stuffed. This meal may have started off slow but it accelerated with each course — like how Ronaldo speeds up when he spots a loose ball at the edge of the box.
Given this restaurant has had scathing reviews elsewhere our thoughts were: Am I in too deep? Have I lost my mind? Well I don't care, I'm here tonight.
Zela London is within ME London Hotel on Strand. The meal in this review was a modified version of the tasting menu which costs £85 a head.
Last Updated 12 March 2019