If you had told me a month ago that I was going to a restaurant that serves Russian street food, and massively enjoy it, I might be a little sceptical. But I made a vow to myself recently to step wider outside of my comfort zone when it came to trying different cuisines, which is exactly why I jumped at the opportunity of testing out renowned Russian chef Alexei Zimini’s new London eatery, Zima. And I can tell you one thing: it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Even on a rainy Tuesday night, Zima is rammed. The loud music, the interested and interesting waiters and the excitable diners all make for an eclectic atmosphere. The mood lighting is perfect and there’s nothing dingy about the place, even in the basement. The dark oak interiors and the large light windows make for the perfect mix to make you feel right at home, in the best way possible.
Russian street food with a European twist is at the heart centre of the menu, so it’s bound to be interesting. The tapas-style food changes daily, ensuring the freshest produce from the best suppliers, and ranges from classic Russian meat heavy dishes, to more delicate and delicious pickled vegetables.
The food at Zima is nothing short of amazing. We were left to the devices of our wonderful waitress who gave us incredible recommendation after incredible recommendation, and our meal ranged from crisp, cold pickled cucumber and peppers to start, a mix of a classic and succulent beef stroganoff complete with tender bulgar wheat, to a light, flavoursome smoked salmon dish, all accompanied with a famous Russian side salad, lashings of potatoes and so many herbs and spices that it was hard to know when to put down the fork. Each course was also complimented perfectly with a vodka infusion – either a shot of a cocktail – and for us, the horseradish infusion won the game.
For food of this calibre, the damage is surprisingly little. The restaurant follows a tapas style format, so the price of each dish is obviously varied. Rest assured, though, you’ll never spend above £15 on one course.
This was the perfect setting for a casual, weekday date night but could equally be a wonderful way to a Saturday night with friends. The whole experience was amazing, from the food to the drinks to the incredible knowledge by each and every member of staff that we spoke to. I can still taste the deliciousness of the beef stroganoff and would highly recommend getting yourself to Zima before it becomes yet another over-populated Soho restaurant with queues around the block.
Visit Zima at 45 Frith Street, Soho, London W1D 4SD and here.