Zoilo, West End, shonky service

This was an odd experience indeed. I was getting some Christmas shopping in early whilst Baby G was at grandma’s and my lovely wife was getting her Christmas hairdo at Daniel Galvin. I finished my purchasing and had an hour or so to kill and was feeling in need of sustenance. The previous week I had a good meal at Casa Malevo and remembered they had a new place up in the West End called Zoilo. Apparently it was more tapas like so that sounded a perfect fit to my dining brief! I wandered in at about 2:30 through some very exclusive type curtains into a dark wood panelled bar. Now though I was greeted with a hello, it was quickly explained that the kitchen would be closing so I had to order quickly. I was a bit put out by this and about to walk out in search of a more welcoming hostelry but the manager prevailed on me to stay. So I sat at the bar and perused the menu. I ordered the prawns al ojo, which were prawns and pork belly, some bread and butter, a portion of empanadas and the lovely Papas Fritas Provenzal I had at Casa Malevo. The bread was very dry, I don’t think baking is an argentine forte based on this. The prawns al ojo was nice enough but it was a bit overcomplicated for me, I don’t go in for these over-elaborate show off tapas dishes. Empanadas was very tasty and the chips were great which goes without saying.

So I’m sat at the bar and though the manager was very friendly, the guy behind the bar is definitely not. I try to strike up a conversation being a lone diner but nothing doing. I finish my glass of wine and ask for a recommendation for another. He just points at the wine list. I’m getting really annoyed now but then in come the chefs to save the day. They pop up from the main kitchen downstairs to prep for the evening service. They see my discomfort and helpfully suggest a hearty white which they let me try. It turns out to be bang on and I’m happy. The manager would be better off leaving them in charge of the bar instead of the sullen waiter. The food they were preparing looked nice but again quite elaborate.

The bill came to about £30 which was OK if I take into account the wine but tapas is never as cheap in London as it should be. I really feel the service lets this place down. Whilst I was there, a couple came in obviously regulars from Casa Malevo and the manager couldn’t do more to accommodate them. 5 minutes later a family came in looking for a bite to eat and were told the kitchen was definitely closed. This is meant to be a casual tapas type café so all day dining should be offered. This sort of attitude has really put me off returning. Anyway I chalked it down to experience and went out to compliment my lovely wife on her lovely Christmas hairdo.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Overall rating
Food 6 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 6

Dukes Brew & Que, Hoxton or Dalston I get confused, a good start to Villa Steve's "not stag do"

Casa Malevo, Marble Arch, nice spot