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January 27, 2010

London: Zuma

Filed under: Food, Space Invader, The List, Travel, UK 2009 — anotherheader @ 6:52 am

Lunch at Zuma

Saturday, early evening, we’d head to Edinburg by train.  Before that, there was time for one more Michelin caliber lunch.  Just after noon, we’d meet G&C at Zuma in Knightsbridge, a Michelin single-starred restaurant and, arbitrarily, number 92 on the San Pellegrino list of the world’s best restaurants.  (If we visited the Zuma in Hong Kong, it would have been number 51 on the list.)

Iron work on a Hyde Park gate

Before lunch, we packed our bags, stowed them with The Zetter’s front desk, and headed out to find a couple more Invaders.  Our last search came up empty.  The Invader at the southwest entrance of Hyde Park had been removed.  At least, on our high-paced appetite-building walk, we got to see Hyde Park tinged with autumn colors end to end.

Lunch at Zuma was excellent.  It is one of the best Japanese restaurants that I have been to.  The fish was fresh, the flavor combinations worked well together, and the presentation was beautiful.  Maybe the experience and quality gap between your favorite Japanese restaurant at home and Zuma is not as large as the gap between the best restaurant in your neighborhood and, say, The Fat Duck.  Nevertheless, Zuma provides an excellent dining experience.

After lunch, we stopped in nearby Harrods Department Store.  It was close to Christmas.  Much too close, I’d say.  We all nearly died in the crush of people inside.  I’m not sure many of the people in the store were actually shopping.  There were likely many tourists, like us, contributing to the rock concert quality, elbow-to-elbow, sardine pack of people snaking through the aisles.

Sashimi at Zuma

Soon enough, we fought our way outside, said our goodbyes to G&C, and headed back to The Zetter.  On our way we passed again through the Kings Cross Station that we had learned to associate as the stop for the Monty Python-esque “Royal National Institute of Blind People.”  As usual we heeded the seemingly existential request to “Mind the Gap” as we switched subway trains to take us to the Farringdon station near our hotel.

During our visit, we noticed a number of differences about London compared to cities elsewhere.  While there are closed circuit cameras everywhere tracking your every movement in London, there are very few garbage cans.  We were told that the lack of “rubbish bins” was intentional and stemmed from the Irish Republican Army bombings of the past.  Thank God the IRA did not place the bombs in toilets!  That could have been seriously inconvenient.

At our hotel we had time to kill before our train to Scotland departed.  We sat and fretted about the coming Scottish-English language barrier in the bar.  After all, I did have to turn on the subtitles to understand the Scottish movie “Trainspotting.”   The cocktails at The Zetter were good; our choices were certainly on the level of what we tried at The Lab earlier in the week.  Too bad we needed to leave before we could taste them all.

St. Pancras Station




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