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!).


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!





A refreshing fruity sip of Morocco – Zayane’s new summer drinks menu

There’s a rhythm and a melody to a fantastic meal – and like any great piece of music it must begin and end in the correct fashion to unveil its lyricism fully and properly.

A refreshing fruity sip of Morocco – Zayane’s new summer drinks menu

With this in mind – not to mention the brilliant weather we’ve been having – Joe and I have decided to concentrate on an important, if more esoteric, part of our Zayane dining experience: the drinks menu. Too often cocktails at fine dining restaurants play second fiddle to the food, which shows in the insipid potables that result. At Zayane we want to offer our guests a genuinely exquisite cocktail and/or mocktail that exudes as much flair and creativity as our food. Beyond this, we want our seasonal drinks menu to evoke Morocco, which we are doing by paying homage to the utterly fabulous fresh fruit of my homeland by adding a fruity twist to some classic and cherished cocktails.


If you drink alcohol, the absolute best way to fully appreciate th
e Zayane experience is with one of our signature aperitif cocktails (if you don’t drink, we’ll get to our refreshing and delightful mocktails in a moment!).


ruity sip of Morocco – Zayane’s new summer drinks menu

Let’s start with the Zayane Signature G&T, based on the cool and crisp cocktail that defines the British summer for many of us. Our rendition is lifted to a more Moroccan dimension through pear and crushed ginger, and tastes amazing alongside our trio of smoked aubergine, olive tapenade and humus dips. For those who’d like to taste the most of Moroccan fruit, I’d recommend Summer Berries – an ultra sophisticated vodka tonic enhanced with muddled fresh mixed berries. Lastly, any conversation about Moroccan fruit must include watermelon, which is one of our favourite national ingredients when it’s in season. We’ve used this delectable fruit to spice up a traditional margarita for a gorgeous and lush cocktail that will delight your palate and get you in the mood for the delicious Moroccan feast that is to come.

If our cocktails are ‘Moroccan-inspired’, the truth is our mocktails are simply ‘Moroccan’. Blended, non-alcoholic fruit and veg beverages are almost as much a part of the Moroccan summer as couscous. As we have an abundance of beautiful fruit in Morocco, not only do we excel at fruit juices and mocktails, we drink a lot of them to cool off when it’s particularly hot. Something we Moroccans absolutely adore is milk infused with almonds and rose water – this isn’t on the menu, but if you ask nicely I might make you some! My favourite mocktail on Zayane’s new drink list is our Virgin Watermelon Margarita – it is so fresh and beautiful and I am grateful that that it is alcohol-free as I am prone to drinking several in one sitting during a hot summer Moroccan meal! This mocktail – as with all of them – can be enjoyed as an aperitif but is also delightful with food. Our other refreshing and yummy mocktails include Green (celery, cucumber, apple and spinach), Red (red mixed berries) and Yellow (pineapple and lime). They are all freshly blended to order.


Next time you’re at Zayane, ask me about our new cocktails and mocktails, and it will be my pleasure to walk you through our selection to help you begin – and sustain – your exquisite feast with the ‘music’ that will make your taste buds sing and your palate dance.


See you soon!


Meryem and Joe



Why Zayane Has Two Ears and One Mouth

When you create a restaurant, you better have a compelling vision to share with your guests if you want to stay open into your second year. Of course, said ‘compelling vision’ better manifest itself through delicious and captivating food and drink served with grace and elan. This ‘special something’ – your cutting edge – that will make your restaurant unique and worthwhile must burn from within the restaurateur to have any chance of making it on the grand culinary stage that is London.

And yet the restaurateur must recognise that her/his dining experience is in constant dialogue with customers, not merely the restaurant dogmatically sharing its own views on what is and isn’t delectable to eat and drink.

For this reason, Zayane has two ears and one mouth– metaphorically, of course.

While it is important for us to constantly improve and innovate our offering – and modern Moroccan cuisine – from within, it is doubly important that we listen to the expressed wishes, desires and criticisms of our customers.

Zayane’s Recipe for Moroccan Chicken Tagine 2

Until this year Zayane has fully subscribed to the orthodoxy of ‘seasonality’. It makes every sense in the world to tailor one’s menu to the ingredients that are freshest in the season in which you are serving them; it also makes sense that the dish in question agrees with the mood and ambiance of the season in question – cosy, warming dishes in winter, and light and refreshing dishes in summer. For all the academic and practical sense this makes, at Zayane we had a huge problem: our guests simply adore two of our winter dishes and love eating them on a hot summer’s day just as much as they do on a frigid winter’s evening – our lamb tagine and our vegan sweet potato tagine, respectively.

As a result, this spring and summer our lamb and sweet potato tagines won’t be going anywhere. If you’ve tasted our lamb tagine you’ll know what all the fuss is about as it is absolutely amazing.

If you haven’t tried it, know this – people travel from all over the country (and sometimes the world) just to eat it, and it is the dish that got Zayane recognised by the Michelin Guide. My son Chef Joe is the master of this dish – he marinates it in his homemade ras el hanoutovernight and then slow cooks it for five hours with seasonal veg. The sauce of bitter Moroccan honey and balsamic glaze is then added to the lamb, which is accompanied by an onion purée and prunes.  Those of a vegetarian, vegan or ‘reducetarian’ persuasion are always heartened to know that meat-free and plant-based dishes are always spectacular and full of flavour when it comes to Moroccan cuisine. The epitome of this is our sweet potato tagine, a delicate dish whose deliciousness is the result being cooked with love and some cinnamon and Moroccan honey. We are also keeping around our much-loved pear and goat’s cheese salad that is supposed to be enjoyed during the winter but will be available all summer long (our customers wouldn’t have it any other way!)! These three dishes are as scrumptious as they come and are made super ‘summery’ when paired with a chilled bottle of white or rosé wine!


Our customers have also confided that they are also expecting something refreshing and distinctly Moroccan from Zayane this spring and summer – as a result Joe and I have created some new zesty salads and a range of new mouth-watering desserts.

Our new salads – which can be ordered as a starter or a main – include a roast beetroot, roast peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, goat’s cheese and rocket salad with a balsamic vinegar dressing, a roast asparagus, poached egg and pecorino cheese salad with a preserved lemon dressing and his bulgur wheat, cucumber shavings, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives and broccoli salad tossed in a mint dressing.


Our new desserts are Moroccan-inspired and are ideal for the warm weather ahead – highlights include our rosewater cheesecake and our citrus sable served with mango caviar as well as our new range of parfaits that include chocolate and hazelnut, white chocolate and almond and meringue and lime.


At Zayane customer feedback isn’t just important – it literally guides us to new and improved levels of flavour and innovation. As such, we are always looking for more feedback – both positive and negative.

We would be delighted to hear from you, so please get in touch with us on Twitter or Instagram, or give me and Joe your feedback directly whilst you are dining with us!


We hope to welcome you to Zayane, very, very soon!