9 Duke Street
Time Out rating:
Not yet rated
Time Out says
Mon Dec 3 2012
There was no escaping it: a distinct sense of déjà vu. Only a week earlier, we’d visited Garufin, an excellent Argentinian serving regional small plates. Now, here we were at Zoilo, a new Argentinian serving… regional small plates.
Let’s be clear: this Marylebone restaurant and bar is far from a bandwagon-jumper. If anything, its modish twists on humble dishes deserve to be copied. Here, melted provoleta (Argentina’s version of Italy’s provolone cheese) comes prettily presented in a dinky cast-iron pan, with wafts of oregano rising from the chewy, salty mass. Equally memorable are mandolin-thin slices of beetroot topped with shards of garrapiñada (candied nuts, a Buenos Aires street snack) and morsels of creamy goat’s curd (the cheese both ‘nude’ and as tiny breaded baubles).
Argentina’s Spanish heritage is evident in offerings such as morcilla (blood sausage), here served whole and perched over a slice of grilled bread, straining at its casing like an unexploded bomb. There are, of course, steaks from the Pampas – the ojo (eye) of beef was a small ribeye, deliciously charred on the grill, with a fragrant, lightly acidic chimichurri (an oil-and-vinegar herb salsa).
For dessert, the condensed-milk sweetness of a traditional ‘tres leches’ milk cake (a syrupy sponge, reminiscent of a rum baba) is nicely offset by a tart passionfruit sorbet.
There’s a brief selection of by-the-glass Argentinian wines – not just the must-try malbecs but also blends and the better-known grape varieties (cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay) from the Mendoza region’s many sub-areas.
Elsewhere, Zoilo is cleverly understated. Lighting is low and flattering. There’s exposed brick; a flash of racy red leather. Most of the ground-floor seating is high-backed wooden chairs along a bar. Downstairs is equally long and lean, again with diners at the bar, but with the bonus of being able to watch the chefs at work. Genial staff are passionate about the food and have a real knack for being attentive only when needed.
Perhaps the only drawback is that the small plates are, well, small. Go with a big appetite and don’t be surprised if you leave with an equally big dent in your wallet.
Zoilo 9 Duke Street
020 7486 9699
- Opening hours:
Meals served noon-10.30pm Mon-Sat; noon-10pm Sun.
Tube: Bond Street tube
Dishes £4.95-£20.95. Meal for two with drinks and service: around £80.
- 9 Duke Street
- 020 7486 9699
- 9 Duke Street
Food and drink
Eating and drinking facilities. Restaurant