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The Perfect Afternoon in Notting Hill

Even for the lifelong Londoners among us, there are pockets of our great city that we simply don’t give the full attention they deserve. This is the case either due to London’s vast, sprawling nature which makes it difficult to make each of its vibrant, interesting and/or quaint districts our own, or simply because our busy schedules get in the way of our exploring. While walking to Zayane the other day I thought to myself what a shame it is that many of our customers journey to the one-of-a-kind Notting Hill just to feast at Zayane. Not that I’m not delighted for their custom and flattered that my customers believe my restaurant is so good it is worth journeying to, but instead my train-of-thought was more that

I wanted to help Zayane’s existing and prospective customers embrace the multitude of wonders and treasures Notting Hill offers to enhance their Moroccan culinary experience.

With this in mind, Joe and I put our heads together to come up with what we would imagine as the perfect afternoon in Notting Hill.

Zayane Notting Hill

Portobello Road

 

Your fabulous day out begins on Portobello Road, which is considered by many to be London’s premier district for antique shopping, of course, aside from being one of the loveliest places to take a stroll in London or anywhere else in the world. On a slow day, this famous street is lined with a range of compelling and cosy shops selling antiques and vintage clothing, as well as old books and records. Not only are they brilliant for meandering through but if you choose to buy something, not only will it be a noteworthy artifact to enrich your home, style or brain, you’ll also be supporting the businesses that make Portobello Road the special place that it is. But get this: if you can make Saturday your afternoon of fun, your Portobello Road experience will become exponentially more rewarding as it is the day of what is dubbed ‘the world’s largest antiques market’!

 

The Porchester Spa

After the benevolent mayhem of Portobello Road, time to relax, unwind and build up your appetite for the Moroccan feast to follow at Zayane. The Porchester Spa is my favourite in London not just because it is within walking distance of Zayane, but because it offers one of London’s great escapes into a world of peace and tranquility within an art deco maze of steam rooms, Jacuzzis, Turkish hot rooms, saunas and a cold plunge pool. Not only that but there is a large swimming pool ideal for swimming laps and a chilled out relaxing room in which to enjoy a novel, some music or even some shut-eye. Of course, the Porchester offers a range of rejuvenating and reinvigorating treatments. One word of caution – each day caters to exclusively male or female patrons, so if you are travelling in a mix gender entourage, those excluded from the Porchester can drown their sorrows with a beverage and cake at the alarmingly amazing Chaya Teahouse.

Notting Hill best Restaurants

The Main Event

At this point your belly and palate are calling out or something delicious to sate and please it – Joe and I have you covered at Zayane. Our cuisine is authentic Moroccan with a modern twist and we’ve been recognised for our excellence as we are the only UK Moroccan restaurant included in the Michelin Guide. Our a la carte menuoffers a gourmet experience and it is very vegetarian- and vegan-friendly. You can also take advantage of our Gourmet Moroccan Summer Dining menu offer– 2 courses with a glass of wine for only £18.

 

Joe and I would like to invite you to enjoy London’s finest Moroccan restaurant this August (and beyond) and we sincerely hope that you take our advice and get to know to spectacular Notting Hillwhilst you do so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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.”

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?