9 Duke St, W1U 3EG
What? Argentinian food is dominated by the cow. In an interview with City A.M Magazine, chef and steak connoisseur Mike Reid ascribed the popularity of the country’s top beef to the mountainous terrain on which the cattle roam, giving the cows an intense workout that imbues them with what the experts call “huge legs”. Headed up by chef Diego Jacquet, Zoilo is as Argentinian a restaurant as they come, and serves some of the finest cuts of beef in London. But there’s far more to the menu than straight-up steak, especially when you’re after a lunch that won’t have you slipping into an afternoon beef-coma at an all-hands meeting.
What’s the set menu deal? Out of consideration for your post-lunchtime productivity, Zoilo’s set lunch menu mostly skirts around the steak, and instead offers a half-veggie menu that draws on cuisine from all corners of the globe. That means fresher, smaller dishes still served in the Argentinian style, like thin slices of duck ham with goat’s cheese and crumbled pistachios, and a lightly curried and hot weather beating gazpacho. Two courses go for £16, three courses for £19.
What should I order? Run down the veggie options of the set lunch menu and you’ll be treated to that perfectly spiced, cool gazpacho soup, served with baked feta and chipa, a kind of lightly toasted, cheesy cracker, and the dish’s singular nod to Zoilo’s Argentinian roots. The main is a mushroom and ricotta ravioli, about as far from South America as you can get, but comes in a tarragon butter so rich you won’t care which side of the Atlantic it hails from.
Beef gets a look in by way of the beef and bone marrow burger with braised ox cheeks and provolone cheese, served with a portion of awesomely garlicky chips. Deviate from the set menu and order a pair of Argentinian empanadas while you’re there – we had the spinach and goat’s cheese, which was just on the soggy side, and the minced beef and grilled pepper – they’re basically Latin America’s answer to Cornish pasties.
Need to book? Head to zoilo.co.uk or call 020 7486 9699 to make a lunchtime reservation, or for larger meetings you can book out their private dining room downstairs, which seats 12 guests.
What’s with the name? Zoilo is an old-fashioned first name, turned term of endearment given to old cowboys.