News and Events happening at Zayane Restaurant in Notting Hill

How much do you really know about tagines?

Let’s have a pop quiz. What does the word “tagine” refer to? Most of the people we asked replied that a tagine is a traditional Moroccan dish, and they were right. Unfortunately, they didn’t win the game simply because a tagine is not just a dish, it is also an essential piece of cookware in Moroccan cuisine. In this post, we will explore the historical origins as well as the uses of the tagine both as cooking equipment and as a traditional dish.

tajine -moroccan restaurant london

Tagine – the dish
Originating from the Berbers, tagine is a traditional Moroccan stew, made of various types of meats and vegetables. It is slow cooked in a clay pot (tagine), which is placed on top of thick coals that are kept hot for several hours until the meal is prepared. Chicken, lamb or fish are most commonly used when making an authentic tagine, together with many vegetables providing colour and aroma to the dish. Several spices are also part of the recipe giving the meat strong, unique flavours. The preparation of any kind of tagine is long. Whenever a tagine was prepared for lunch, the woman of the family started all preparations right after breakfast was served to have everything ready on time. Tagines are the pride of Morocco, a fragrant, zesty delicacy, a tasty mixture of ingredients like meat, onions, carrots, potatoes and spices like saffron, cumin, ginger and cinnamon. At Zayane, we cook all tagines the traditional way. In our spring menu you can find chicken and monkfish tagines as well as our Chef’s specialty, the lamb shank tagine served with carrots and potatoes.

Tanjine plates in Marrakech
Tagine – the cookware
Tagine is a conical clay pot consisting of two parts – a flat, circular base with low sides and a cone shaped cover that is placed on the base while cooking. The conical part traps steam as the dish cooks but simultaneously allows it to circulate within the pot so that the food is cooked evenly. Therefore, due to the moisture created by the steam, a minimal amount of water or liquid is required to cook all ingredients. When cooking a tagine meal, the clay pot should be placed over hot charcoals, allowing some space between itself and the coal to avoid having the temperature rise too quickly. Apart from a very useful cooking tool, a portable oven as many describe it, the tagine is also a decorative piece. Sometimes the cone shaped cover is painted or glazed with wonderful colours and Moroccan drawings adding some colour to the kitchen. At Zayane we have a large collection of authentic tagines both decorated and plain! We are more than happy to show you what they look like and how they work whenever you come in for a bite!

Tanjine plates in Marrakech

Tagines are a delicious meal, great for any time of the year. The possibilities when cooking it are endless, given the various combinations of meat, vegetables, fish and spices that can be created. However, a large percentage of the deliciousness of this dish is attributed to the equipment used to cook it, the tagine. The unique way steam flows around the clay pot allows all ingredients to slightly caramelise and create a sweet and spicy flavoursome combination.

Zayane’s perfect family fun day in Notting Hill

 

Monday the 20th of March was the first day of spring and with Mother’s Day just a few days away we are really excited to receive your booking at Zayane. Since it’s the first Sunday of Spring, why not spend the day in Notting Hill with the family rather than just coming in for a delicious and fragrant Moroccan meal? With the sun shining there are plenty of activities and things to do around Zayane… so what are you waiting for?

notting-hill-zayane

Start your day in the park

A morning walk by the lake in Hyde Park is a great way to kick off the day. Children can feed the ducks, geese and swans while playing around the grass. Kensington Palace is just a few minutes walk from Notting Hill and there are several exhibitions and family activities worth trying out. Make sure to check the website and book in advance for the “Explorers mission” where children participate for free! If you are looking for an outdoor experience, the Diana Memorial Playground is also a great option featuring a huge pirate ship where kids can climb.

 

Portobello Road

While walking down Portobello road you will find some really nice shopping opportunities. From antiques and jewellery to children’s clothing, the market’s stalls are definitely worth visiting. While you are browsing the stalls, your little ones can enjoy some of the market’s food specialties and all time children favourites like waffles or crepes with chocolate.

Zayane Restaurant family

Visit the Electric Cinema

If you are a fan of the theatre, make sure to catch the afternoon kids movie show at Electric Cinema. It is located on Portobello Road and it will definitely give you an unforgettable cinema experience, since this is no ordinary movie theatre. Its interior decoration is really special and when it comes to the seating plan you can choose between an armchair, a bed or a sofa! This time of the year tickets for “Beauty and the Beast” are available.

Family Restaurants in Notting Hill

Moroccan Feast at Zayane

As your walk down Portobello Road comes to an end, it’s just about time you’re your Mother’s Day feast at Zayane. Our new Spring menu is made from seasonal and locally sourced ingredients and offers fresh, spring flavours like the fish tagine with carrots, peppers and potatoes or the chicken tagine with olives and carrots. If you ask our Chef, his recommendation would be the lamb tagine, one of his specialties. There are plenty of vegetarian options available that would also make great dishes for children, especially our sweet potato tagine. For dessert, the apple crumble with vanilla ice cream is a spring classic and for the little ones we have 4 different flavours of biscuits.

Notting Hill best Restaurants

So parents, what are you waiting for? Book your activities in advance for a Mother’s Day of fun and let us take care of your meal!

Zayane now on the MICHELIN GUIDE!

We are very excited this week. We have been visited by the Michelin Guide inspectors who seem to have very much appreciated our food so here is what they said and wrote about us word by word:

 

“An intimate neighbourhood restaurant owned by Casablanca-born Meryem Mortell and evoking the sights and scents of North Africa. Carefully conceived dishes have authentic Moroccan flavours but are cooked with modern techniques.” – The Michelin Inspector

Michelin Guide Zayane

Click Here to read the original listing

This is the very first step for us and we plan to put all our effort as we always do and make our way to restaurant stardom. We really thank all our client for their feedback and for constantly helping us to push our cuisine forward and for their loyalty. The whole of the Zayane Team is always going to be committed to provide great food and a great experience.

Come visit us soon.

Everything a foodie needs to know about couscous.

 

London foodies – you have tried couscous but do you really know what it is? Zayane does and we will share it in this post! Couscous has a fascinating history, it’s extremely healthy, it can be enjoyed in many ways and it’s suitable for vegetarians! If you haven’t tried it yet, we hope you will after reading our blog.

 

Couscous is made of steamed semolina and is traditionally served with meat or vegetables spooned over it. Even its name is exciting. It derives from the berber word “seksu” which means “well formed”.  The pronunciation of the word changes among different countries and languages.  “kuskusi” (Arabic), “seksu or kesku” (Moroccan) “taam” (Algerian) and “koski or kuseksi” (Libya) are just some of the existing versions.

semolina couscous

History

Even though couscous’s exact origins are uncertain the Berbers cooked the dish back in 238 BC, probably because it was easy to prepare in the desert by nomadic and agricultural tribes. It was during the 13th century when the first mention of couscous was written on an African cookbook Kitāb al-tabǐkh fǐ al-Maghrib wa’l-Andalus “The cookbook of the Maghreb and Andalusia”.

 

Nutritional value

Couscous is a great source of protein, fibre, and minerals. One cup of couscous provides you with a great source of protein, 2 grams of dietary fibre and around 61% of your daily selenium intake.  Couscous is an unprocessed whole grain food, which means that all essentials vitamins such as thiamin, niacin and vitamin B are kept in the grain and are not lost during processing. It also contains lots of trace minerals such as selenium and magnesium, which boost metabolism of thyroid hormones.

 

 

Types of couscous

There are three different types of couscous, Moroccan, Israeli and Lebanese. The difference between them is in the size of the grains. Moroccan couscous is the smallest one and therefore cooks very fast.  The Israeli is medium in terms of size and is usually steamed with a traditional cooking method. Finally, the Lebanese one is the largest of the three types, and each grain is about the size of a pea.Couscous

How to enjoy couscous

Couscous is not usually enjoyed on its own.  A great way to add couscous in your diet is by incorporating it in your salads. It also goes great with stuffed vegetables and as a side dish with stews and grilled meats.

 

At Zayane, we believe that couscous is a vital part of Moroccan cuisine and we make sure to cook it traditionally, to maintain its flavours and taste. Our whole wheat couscous, tomato, mozzarella, parsley, basil and balsamic dressing super salad makes a great choice for a light lunch or dinner. It is perfect during the spring weather and will definitely keep you full and energised for the day. It is nutritious, healthy and low in calories.

Veal and Couscous Zayane Restaurant

“The Story of Zayane Restaurant”. Fine in the first instance

It was two years ago when Moroccan-born Meryem Mortell had an epiphany – Having tried everything London had to offer – some good, some less-good – none managed to give her the feeling of home. In this very moment, the seed that would germinate into Zayane was planted and sprung up in London’s Little Morocco, in Golborne Road”.

Zayane opened its doors for business about a year ago, and if you are wondering where the name comes from there is quite a story behind it. The first inhabitants of Morocco were the Berbers and Zayane was one of the tribes. Meryem’s grandmother comes from the Zayane tribe and some of her most precious childhood memories are from the mountains, where the Zayanes cooked food that was original, fresh and full of Moroccan spices and flavours. “I want everybody to experience that”, she mentions, “Morocco is not just big towns like Marrakesh – there is so much more to it (Morocco) and Moroccan food”.

 

Trying to keep Moroccan traditions alive, Meryem has created a fusion cuisine mixing Moroccan and British ingredients, always maintaining the balance between the flavours. How she has managed to do this? Her secret is simple: The meat is cooked traditionally with all the spices and exotic Moroccan ingredients but the side dishes are inspired by British cuisine and do not include any spices. Meryem has created a new culture by introducing a fusion Moroccan-British cuisine, which her son and head chef, is now following adding his own personal touch after training with a Michelin star chef.

The ingredients used in all Zayane dishes are either locally sourced seasonally or imported from Morocco. Using the best quality seasonal ingredients is not reflected just on the taste but also on the menu. Each season, customers can find different dishes in both meat and vegetarian options.

Veal and Couscous Zayane Restaurant

When it comes to the menu, the lamb, accompanied by onion puree and caramelised vegetables is a must-try at Zayane. There are also lots of vegetarian and gluten free options available. If you are into a small meal, the light bites are perfect for lunch or dinner. Moroccan tapas, great for sharing while enjoying “The Zayane”, the restaurant’s signature cocktail made of infused Moroccan tea and prosecco. Alternatively you can try one of the other low calorie cocktails offered. If you are around the area on a Saturday, make sure to stop by and try the shakshuka (eggs cooked in Moroccan tomato sauce), a perfect breakfast or brunch dish. There are no Moroccan desserts at Zayane, but the traditional almond biscuits will definitely compliment your tea.

 

What Meryem and her son are trying to accomplish is to make every customer feel like home in Zayane and give him/her a traditional, authentic experience, a real taste of Morocco.

Why should you visit Zayane? “If you want to eat well and have a good, full meal come here” she explains. “Customers come here because they feel like home.”

Our New Low-Sugar Cocktails!

When it comes to getting healthy, we all have that one thing we find especially difficult to cut out or cut back on. For some it is bread, for others processed food – but one of ours will always be sugar. This is often because sugar is one of those sneaky ingredients which sneaks into food without you noticing it – from allegedly “healthy” breakfast cereals to burgers, sugar is everywhere. So, we have decided to help you out here at Zayane, by introducing our new range of low-sugar cocktails.

The Zayane

Iced Green Tea scented with Jasmine & Mint, Orange Blossom and Sparkling White Wine

This light, fresh cocktail is full of aromatic flavours and, as a result, goes perfectly with our Chicken Pastilla and Roast Almonds Starter, so why not pair them together for a truly refreshing experience?

chicken pastilla

Ginger Elixir

Gin, Ginger, Lemon juice and Honey

The perfect pick-me-up for a cold London day, this truly is an Elixir. Enjoy with our starter of Fried squid with chilli and fresh herbs for a pairing which is sure to wake up your tastebuds.

No. 2

Scotch, Grapefruit, Pomegranate juice, a dash of Orange Bitters, Orange peel

Beef and scotch is a classic combination, so we recommend pairing our Number 2 cocktail with our spiced fillet of Beef with wilted spinach and prunes. The sweet fruits complement each other and the whiskey marrying beautifully with the spices on the meat.

Low-sugar cocktail, orange

No. 3

Rum, Kale, Iced Pineapple

Matching this cocktail to our Sweet Potato tagine with carrots, shallots, red pepper, tomatoes, prunes is a deceptively delicious combination, considering how nutritious it is!

No. 4

Vodka, Pineapple juice, Lime juice, Agave nectar and fresh Tarragon

Russian vodka and seafood are a match made in heaven, so we recommend enjoying a Number 4 with our Fish of the day Tagine, with Moroccan ratatouille and Red Charmoula, the freshness of the pineapple and the lime, cutting through the rich spice of the chermoula marinade.

No. 5

Vodka, Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce, Lemon, Ginger, Apple juice

The clean, fresh flavours of the Number 5 make it a perfect pairing for our sautéed King Prawns starter with garlic and chilli. So vibrant, it almost tastes like Spring!

Which of our low-sugar cocktails would YOU go for? Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!

 

 

Escape to Morocco this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, the day of love and romance, of intimacy and warmth…is ironically in the middle of the greyest month in the British calendar! Yes, February in the UK can be cold, wet and dismal – not exactly conducive to a great date. So, this year, we recommend you throw convention out of the window and take a trip to Morocco for Valentine’s Day – or, at least, pretend to!

Head to Greenford, in North-West London to start the day, and be transported to a slice of Casablanca on the Central line. Here, on an unassuming slip road off the A40, you will find Moroccan Bazaar, a magical marketplace filled with Moroccan home furnishings. One of London’s best-kept secrets, the Moroccan Bazaar is a treasure trove of lighting, soft furnishings, and furniture – the perfect place to stock up on beautiful things for your home. If you plan in advance, why not also book an appointment with Moroccan Fine Art? This lovely gallery specialises in North African and Middle-Eastern Art and could be the place to buy the perfect gift for your Valentine.

From Greenford to Golborne Road, often known as “Little Morocco”. This street in Notting Hill is a great place to browse for Moroccan ceramics and kitchenware, especially if you take a look in Fez, at number 71. This beautiful shop is the perfect place to find carpets and fabrics, tagines, lanterns, and leather goods – including comfy slippers and stylish pouffes.

Once you have finished perusing, make your final stop for today and enjoy a romantic, Moroccan meal at Zayane. Begin with a selection of tasty filo parcels, known as “Briwats”, dipped in spicy harissa, with seafood, Merguez sausage, and cheese and olives, which you can enjoy with a glass of Prosecco. For your main course, there is a choice of succulent lamb shank with winter vegetables and a flavour-packed lamb jus, perfectly-cooked black cod with porcini mushrooms and pea purée, or our delicious couscous with mixed vegetables and harissa. To finish, opt for our decadent chocolate tarte or our light, yet indulgent pistachio and white chocolate mousse.

And there you have it – a wonderful Valentine’s Day spent exploring London, looking at beautiful things, and eating delicious food – what could be better?