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Zayane Gives Back Through the Magic of Fresh and Healthy Food

When we first opened Zayane 3 years ago, we did so with the expressed desire of
wanting to be a contributing member of the local Notting Hill community. Of
course, the foodies among us might suggest that we did that the moment in
which we began cooking gourmet, authentic Moroccan food with a modern twist.
While I certainly like that thought, the truth is that if we were to lean merely on
that significant aspect of Zayane, we’d be prioritising exclusivity over inclusivity.

Zayane Gives Back

For instance, not everyone can afford to go out for a meal at a restaurant like
Zayane, high value for money though our prices certainly are. Beyond that, not
everyone likes Moroccan food (no matter how delicious it may be!) and some
people don’t even enjoy going out for a meal.

At Zayane we wanted to cast our net as far and wide as possible to get to know as many people in the community
as possible – not just our happy, well-fed customers.

The way we began doing
this came from an idea that sprouted from my son and co-Executive Head Chef
Joe’s beautiful mind: Zayane’s Junior Chefs School.

When Joe was seven years old I had the idea of one day teaching children how to
cook, but crucially the importance of enjoying fruit and vegetables for one’s
health. The idea was inspired by Joe’s favourite childhood activity – a Saturday
junior chef course he took at the University of West London. He loved it so much
that he decided to go back when he was 18 to follow his dream of becoming a
chef. Upon opening Zayane, Joe told me he wanted to share a similar experience
with the children of Notting Hill.

The Zayane Junior Chefs School not only teaches
children how to cook, but as we work with kids who suffer from a range of
eating-related mental health issues who are patients at Chelsea Hospital, it is
also part of their treatment to help acquire a healthy and positive relationship
with food.

For the past 3 years our children have come to Zayane each week for
an hour-long cooking class where we prepare and eat a healthy dish. We make it
as fun as possible and they absolutely love it. The children come with their
therapists and Joe, who is a real sensitive soul, is absolutely brilliant with the
young ones. The dishes the children most enjoy cooking are popcorn chicken and
pancakes!

We tend not to cook Moroccan food with the young ones as children tend to be
fussy eaters – so we teach them how to make dishes like homemade fish fingers,
pasta, risotto and biscuits.

Truth be told, while our children love Zayane’s Junior
Chef’s School, overcoming an eating disorder is a tall order. But we are proud,
happy and grateful to have the opportunity to provide a small aspect of these
beautiful children’s treatment through the magic of fresh and healthy food. The
vast majority enjoy eating the dishes they cook at Zayane, some even bring their
newly-found skills home to cook for their families!
An idea we are toying with is doing a charity fundraiser with our Junior Chefs
preparing a delicious meal Watch this space!

A Splash of Morocco in Notting Hill Carnival 2018

 

There are many perks to having a restaurant right in the middle of Notting Hill– we are surrounded charming architecture, inundated by London’s best antique and vintage fashion shops and there is a compelling bohemian air that one can almost grasp… And then – each August – there’s like the most amazing party ever right on our doorstep. Not just any party… No, no, no.

The largest free street party in Europe.

I’m talking, of course, about the Notting Hill Carnival that will take place from Friday the 24th through to Bank Holiday Monday the 27th (I heard we’re expecting over 2 million people!).

notting-hill-zayane

This year Zayane won’t just be partying – we’ll also be cooking something hot and tasty, namely our ridiculously delicious Notting Hill Carnival sandwiches!

 

We’re making three scrumptious options, all served in our homemade and freshly baked Moroccan bread. The first is my son and co-Executive Head Chef Joe’s favourite – the Pulled Lamb. This delectable party bite has quite a journey from our kitchen to your belly. We begin by marinating lamb shoulder overnight in salt, cumin oil and garlic. We then cook it in a tagine on low heat for 5 hours and once it is falling off the bone, it’s party time and we serve it with our homemade harissa sauce and crème fraîche. This is a very popular dish in Morocco called meshwi and now you get to try it with some calypso and a Red Stripe!

 

At Carnival this year when I’m not in the kitchen, you’ll see me moving to the samba beat with our second carnival sandwich – and my favourite: merguez sausage with smoky harissa. But we haven’t forgotten about our vegetarian friends! For them we’ve prepared a Moroccan-inspired sandwich with zaalouk (smoked aubergine purée) and halloumi. For those after something even lighter, Joe and I will be preparing a Moroccan summer favourite – pasta salad!

 

So how do your wrap your palate around Zayane’s delectable Notting Hill Carnival sandwiches? They will be made fresh to order inside our restaurant where we’ll be selling drinks, too. If you ask me, a cold beer and a Moroccan sandwich will be a big slice of Berber heaven! This is the first time our range of sandwiches is making an appearance at Zayane and once Carnival is over, that’s it (until next year at least!). So join us or risk the despair of having missed out!

 

Notting Hill Carnival 2018If you’re passing Zayane and you are craving some Moroccan flavour, join Joe and me for special, delicious and extremely portable sandwich!

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gourmet Moroccan Summer Dining – 2 Courses with a Glass of Wine Only £18

I love London, but that doesn’t mean I don’t frequently miss Morocco. An image that has fluttered in my mind during this rather hot summer we’ve been enjoying (or, as the case may be, enduring!) is the last time I visited my homeland. I was sitting in our family garden, relishing the summer heat from the refuge of a shady patch caused by a parasol and network of palm trees. The shade cooled my body; a glass of Sauvignon Blanc refreshed my palate. As I sat there, a medley of delectable fragrances wafted off my son, and Zayane’s co-Head Chef, Joe’s barbecue, which eventually meandered near me where I could fully embrace their aroma.

Suffice it to say, I was fully in the midst of a Moroccan barbecue-induced trance, from which I was awoken when Joe cheerfully announced the food was ready. He made delicious sea bream, spicy sharmoula chicken, melt-in-your-mouth lamb kofta and delectable halloumi skewers. Of course, it was served with a tasty and light Moroccan couscous salad: couscous tossed with concasse tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, fresh mint, feta cheese and with an amazing lemon dressing. Delish!

 

When I think about this barbecue – and the many, many other ones enjoyed back in Moroccan and in our garden in London – I am faced with the truth of Moroccan cuisine: our food is much, much more than tagine! I personally cannot imagine a more appealing summer dining experience beyond a sumptuous Moroccan barbecue and a selection of salads all washed down with an ice-cold beer or chilled glass of wine.

Moroccan Summer Dining – 2 Courses with a Glass of Wine Only £18

We want our customers to experience this more estival side of Moroccan cuisine, which is the inspiration for our Moroccan Summer Dining Promotion – 2 Courses with a Glass of Wine Only £18!

 

At Zayane, Joe and I are always coming up with new ways to shed light on the brilliance of Moroccan cuisine.

Not that one ever could get bored of our flavours, but we do our best to constantly push the boundaries and give our customers something even tastier and more authentic. We invite you to come join us for this fabulous and scrumptious offer between now and the end of August. Available for lunch and dinner and we recommend booking in advance!

Moroccan Summer Dining – 2 Courses with a Glass of Wine Only £18

Hope to see you very, very soon!

 

Meryem and Joe

 

Summer Dining Set Menu

2 Courses with a Glass of Wine, Beer or Soft Drink for Only £18

 

Mains

(Served with our freshly made Moroccan couscous salad)

Sharmoula Chicken

Kofta Lamb

Halloumi Skewers

 

Dessert

Caramel Cheesecake