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Chris Bower is head chef at new London Moroccan site Zayane

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Chris Bower is head chef at new London Moroccan site Zayane
Written by:

Chris Bower, formerly Michelin-starred chef at Kent site Thackeray’s, has taken over the kitchen at newly-launched Moroccan restaurant Zayane in west London.

The 68-cover restaurant in Portobello, which opened with a soft launch in February and is now completely open, has a menu that blends Moroccan spices with British ingredients, offering Moroccan-inspired dishes with a British touch.

The restaurant is owned by Casablanca-born Meryem Mortell and serves a 60-minute lunch option, an a la carte dinner menu, afternoon tea with mint tea and Moroccan biscuits and a bottomless brunch on Sundays.

Typical dishes designed by head chef Bower include smoked octopus salad and merguez sausage with quail pastilla; lamb mechoui with aubergine caponata, butter-poached Cornish lobster with carrot and cumin cream, saffron-marinated sea trout, cauliflower with couscous, and desserts such as raspberry clafoutis with vanilla ice-cream, and saffron poached pear with honey ice-cream.

Brunch will include Moroccan eggs with tomato confit, bell pepper hash with grilled asparagus and double-yolk fried egg; chicken tagine with braised fennel and green olives, Beghrir pancakes with raspberries and honey butter syrup; and pink grapefruit gratin with lemon and ginger sorbet.

Decor-wise, the restaurant features leather and fabrics in colours such as burnished orange and midnight blue, with Moroccan pendant chandeliers and tealights in silver and brass. There are also carved wooden screens, terracotta details, and antique cutlery and crockery.

Bower commented: “Cooking with real Moroccan dried spices has definitely added a new string to my bow. Zayane is a new adventure for me.”

Mortell said: “Zayane is the coming together of my Moroccan roots and London, my adopted home. With chef Chris Bower leading the kitchen, [this] is a new and exciting take on Moroccan cuisine that I have not found elsewhere in the capital.”

Bower previously worked at the formerly Michelin-starred (2003-2005 and 2013-2014), three-AA-rosette restaurant Thackeray’s, as well as at the Ivy in London and at Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor.

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