Food: Zima, London

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Russian nibbles in central Soho

12717962_1041940405867208_3886955726061068011_nAn invitation to central London’s latest Russian street food offering ‘’, left a lot to my imagination! Having never visited our Soviet cousins, I thought that meat would rate highly on the menu- however I wasn’t quite expecting the quality of the caviar! But the owner/founder is Russia’s most celebrated chef, Alexei Zimin, so I was prepared to be impressed.

Stepping out of my (fake) fur coat, I nestled into the basement venue, below Ronnie Scotts Jazz club in Soho, on one of our freshest evenings this year, to sample the new menu, pre the official launch on 31st March.

The question on my lips was ‘was it a restaurant, was it a bar?’ as the décor, bar stools and candle light suggested intimacy, but the open kitchen and social atmosphere created more of a speakeasy vibe. With a drinks menu covering many types of vodka, Iberian Crown beer and of course, vodka-based cocktails, it was a school night, so I stuck to champagne! And I awaited the first platter with anticipation.

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Choosing from a small but perfectly formed, wall menu of intriguing sounding dishes, the ambience was buzzy with a similar sociable vibe to a tapas bar.
It would be easy to get carried away with ordering, but the great thing is you can stop and start and get more plates as the night progresses (and the drinks go down). Bar snacks the Russian way!

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As I might have mentioned, I seem to have cultivated a bit of a caviar addiction! So my favourite dishes would be a toss up between the crab claw with bread crisps and red caviar, and the black caviar and Russian bread cakes, both of which were the perfect accompaniment to crisp chilled champagne.

With herrings, scallops and venison also on the menu, I predict this hidden gem will be a one port call for after work drinks, that you end up feasting out on too- just mind the steep stairs on your way out.

Zima opens on 31 March at
45 Frith St, London W1D 4SD.

Sara Darling, is Fashion and Content Editor of 55Factory, a freelance stylist and fashion, lifestyle and travel writer. Having worked with a cross section of celebrities including Ana Matronic, Alexandra Burke, Eliza Doolittle, Craig Roberts and Will Poulter as well as for Channel 5’s CBB and E! Entertainment, she also regularly shoots fashion both here and abroad. . Her commercial clients include Reebok, Gossard, Godiva and Foot Locker and an array of videos ranging from The Arctic Monkeys, The Freemasons, VV Brown and Vanquish. No stranger to the media, Sara was featured in a 'Women in Fashion' TV documentary on Sky and participated in Twiggy's reality show "Frock Swap" show on BBC2, gaining the top title "Top of the Frocks"; She has also been filmed for a “A day in the Life” for cable TV. With her written work featured in Fault, Drafted, Beige and MSN Style, you can follow her on twitter @fashion_darling

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