Below are notes from a meal in June 2009.
Even early on a Tuesday evening Zuma was humming with activity, with every table taken, every seat at the bar occupied and a throng of suspiciously good-looking people having a drink; it is almost as if I had strayed into an episode of “The OC", where all the girls are blond and all the men clearly work out at the gym every day. In a place as trendy as this, one might suspect the food will be a let-down, but it is not. Indeed if anything the food to me seems to be improving slightly with each visit.
Tonight we had “dynamite spider roll” (£10.80), essentially a soft shell crab sushi roll with a roll of cucumber, chilli mayonnaise and wasabi tobiko sauce. The soft shell crab was very nicely cooked, avoiding the greasiness that can sometimes happen, while the room temperature rice had excellent texture (16/20). Spicy tuna roll (£7.30) was a little less good, made with chilli miso and yuzo tobiko which for me rather dominated the tuna (14/20). Prawn tempura (£11.80) had a light batter and tender prawns (15/20). Grilled red piquant red miso quail (£13.80) was served on skewers and featured tender quail with lively spicing (16/20). A salad of seared tuna with chilli daikon and ponzu sauce (£11.30) for me was a little over acidic (13/20).
Salmon (£13.80) was served as a large, very carefully cooked fillet with teriyaki sauce and sliced pickled cucumber (15/20). Asparagus with wafu sauce (a mix of soy, sesame oil and garlic with a little mustard) and sesame was an example to others in how to cook asparagus perfectly (16/20). Pork skewer with yuzu mustard miso (£5.30) was the star of the evening, perfectly cooked pork belly with a beautifully judged dipping sauce with controlled mustard taste and a little acidity from the yuzu to balance the fattiness of the pork; I would have been very happy to have eaten this in a really top restaurant (17/20). We made it to dessert for a change, where I had superb lemon beignets (17/20) which were not quite as good as the near-perfect ones they used to do at the Square, but were again better than ones I have had at many a serious restaurant. Service was pretty much faultless, the waiter friendly and helpful, topping up good, and no trouble getting attention. No wonder the place was packed.