Zenobia (Lebanese) – South Kensington
THIS RESTAURANT HAS PERMANENTLY CLOSED DOWN!HALAL STATUS Fully Halal food menu • Alcohol & Shisha served
In any case, once we did find our way there, we couldn’t help but be struck by its lavishly dark and extravagant decor. With a flight of stairs immediately descending to the ground floor via the entrance, the main dining area on the ground floor extends and revolves around a large and opulent chandelier that enjoys center stage.
Having opened in November 2015, Zenobia is named after a third century “Warrior Queen” of the Palmyrence Empire, who is said to have conquered Egypt and challenged the might of Rome.
A lounge room adjacent to the kitchen downstairs can accommodate up to 70 and offers electronic Shishas which, Zenobia’s website peculiarly states, “is the closest yet healthier alternative to smoking tobacco” (italics ours)!
Be that as it may, upstairs they have a posh private TV and dining room with a seating capacity of 10, and which can only be booked with their à la Carte menu.
We, on the other hand, were here to try some of the newly added dishes to a menu that was updated in August of last year.
Unfortunately, with no ice available on the evening, the option of trying any juices, let alone their mocktails, was apparently off the table.
On to their Mains then!
The chicken was decently cooked enough, with a nice springiness to it, and a subtle marinade.
However, and despite some light charring, it didn’t quite deliver on that distinct charcoal grilled taste one would hope for.
Additionally, the light, whispy garlic sauce tasted a little like garlic yoghurt more than anything else, while the rice was al dente.
Average at best!
We weren’t all on the same page with this Chicken Tagine.
While one enjoyed it far more than the others for its perceived fragrance and intensity of flavour – the soft chicken literally falling off the bone, the sauce packing a solid punch, and the potatoes and carrots incredibly soft and complementary – the others thought it was good without being equally overawed.
Each to their own, as they say!
While the presentation wasn’t quite up to the mark, this gorgeous piece of chargrilled fillet of Sea Bass was not only beautifully cooked, but delightful in taste too.
Soft and flaky with a lemony base and a hint of salt, the edges were lightly charred enough to offer that crispy contrast.
What’s more, it went really well with the earthy spinach ball filled with pomegranates which themselves provided that burst of sweetness to offset the heat generated by the thin slithers of red and green chilli.
Mezzes – literally “taste” or “snack” as it’s called across Eastern Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Arab countries.
Though not the best Moutabbal you’ll ever have, this was tasty in its own right.
Fresh with that familiar smooth, gooey consistency, this didn’t deliver on the charcoal grilled taste promised on the menu, but with a tasty lemony undertone, the surprising addition of pomegranates had you coming back for more.
Beautifully smooth, almost paste-like interior, with a squeeze of lemon over the earthy vine leaves.
Standard Tabbouleh comprised of fresh parsley, bits of tomato and the squeeze of lemon juice running in the background.
Can’t go wrong can you with hommous? Decent with a smooth consistency.
Managing to retain a bit of a bite, these really well cooked chicken livers – soft and pink on the inside – were incredibly tasty, enjoyed even by the Lion who’s generally not much of a fan.
They had a mellow lemony hint to them and were resting in a fairly rich pomegranate molasses sauce.
The usual garnish of pomegranates and coriander gave this some much needed colour too.
Soft and succulent with a hint of garlic, and some heat from the chilli that was well tempered by the lemon and coriander base.
Very satisfying indeed!
A little chewy, though incredibly crispy, these calamari were the same as any others you might find here and there.
The sauce was sharp and vinegary.
We received an assortment of cakes that ranged from the decent to the sublime.
Since the mille-feuille wasn’t in-house made, the pastry base and top tasted stale with lots of subtly sweet cream inbetween.
The Carrot & Date Cake was better with an overall semi-soft texture and with bits of soft date interspersed therein.
The Vanilla Cheese Cake was, however, sublime – soft as you like, with the vanilla coming through well resting atop a delicate biscuity base.
The Lebanese Rice Pudding With Rose Molasses, however, was by far and away the best dessert dish, and, quite possibly, the dish of the evening!
The strong honey syrup on top sprinkled with almond flakes provided that initial kick of sweetness that was cleverly counteracted by the rose water to allow one to enjoy the subtle sweetness of the soft and creamy, large-grained rice.
Uniquely different and absolutely delicious!
Finally, do not forget to assist your digestive tract before exiting Zenobia without downing some of this incredibly rich and crazily brewed Moroccan tea.
With an almost creamy consistency evidently achieved by the addition of condensed milk, this was deep and thoroughly comforting.
- YES/ NO
- CHILD SEATING
- UBER EATS
- JUST EAT
And though its lavish interior gives it a touch of sophistication, its food, barring a couple of dishes, doesn't quite reach the same heights.
While it serves alcohol and houses a shisha lounge, the latter conspicuously located downstairs in the basement, it also offers live Jazz music on some evenings.
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1 Gloucester Rd, London SW7 4PP.
T: +44 (0)20 7581 0022 | W: www.zenobia london | E: [email protected]
Opening Hours: Mon-Thu: 10:30 – 23:30 | Fri-Sun: 10:30 – 01:30