This Greek-inspired restaurant in Notting Hill is a little pocket of London that feels sunny all year-round. It could be because of the bright and cheerful dining room with baskets of pineapples at the bar, and the late-night drinking den downstairs that doesn’t feel like it belongs on the always-busy streets of W11. Or it could be that the menu is combined with a hint of punchy South American flavours, as this restaurant is from the group behind Peruvian spot Pachamama East. Really, it’s all of the above. Come here for an early dinner when you’d rather be on a tiny island off the Mediterranean, but aren’t in the mood to track your luggage via AirTag. Because Zephyr is a welcome distraction from the grey skies that we have roughly 361 days of the year.
The atmosphere depends on when you visit. Arrive at the beginning of dinner service and you get the open, airy version of Zephyr. The bifold doors give it that half-in-half-out feel, and the lime green chairs, quirky artwork, and candles on each table are all little touches that make it somewhere you’d like to spend a solid couple of hours. There’s a contagious air of calm about the place, it’s spacious enough that you won’t be rushed out of your seat, and the food is laid out in the middle of the table in a casual, inviting way.
Come 8pm, the mood shifts to sleek and intimate. The lights are dimmed, the place fills up, and there’s a low, excited buzz. The kind of buzz that comes from groups of friends catching up over sharing plates like creamy mushroom orzo pasta, or a whole wild sea bass covered in dangerously good amounts of butter. A meal here will involve you discovering that tomatoes can be a main character, and that strawberry and ouzo sorbet could very well be your new favourite ice cream flavour. Dates might begin with truffle-topped, crispy potato terrine and end with a cheeky cocoaiquiri in the moody downstairs cocktail bar. Whatever you do, don’t plan for a quick in-and-out meal—because an evening here is all about taking your time.
On the short menu, you’ll find things like a lemon oil-heavy sea bass carpaccio, a nod to the South American influences, and tzatziki so light and refreshing you’d be silly not to order it. Especially because it’s a good excuse to get a portion of fluffy pitta. Whatever you order, just know that you’ll leave feeling charmed. Whether that’s by the friendly servers, or the fact that after an hour here you’ll feel like you’re closer to a sandy beach than a grey river. A meal at Zephyr isn’t just about fried calamari or taramasalata. It’s about a collective refusal to accept the fact that it’s raining outside.
You might be tempted to get the bread basket that comes with sourdough and bread crisps, but we’d recommend skipping that and ordering the pitta. It’s fluffy and warm, and goes perfectly with the dips.
Creamy, refreshing, and tangy, this is a really great tzatziki. Pair it with the pillowy pitta and you’re in for a treat.
We haven’t been this into salad since our brief Tossed phase in 2018. Simple and understated, this sharing dish comes with chunks of juicy red and yellow beef tomatoes with finely chopped onions in a citrussy, olive oil dressing. This bowl tastes like summer.
This is one of our Best New Dishes Of 2022. Check out the full guide here.
Although it might arrive looking a little deflated, this aubergine melts in the mouth, and is lightly seasoned with dukkha and parsley. The big dollop of refreshing yoghurt on which it sits elevates it to a must-order.
Mushroom Orzo Pasta
Creamy and comforting without being overwhelming, this earthy mushroom-heavy orzo dish is great for a winter day—or whenever you’re in the mood for a hearty, filling meal.
Whole Sea Bass
Not to be dramatic or anything, but this fish is almost drowning in butter. A perfectly grilled sea bass that’s flaky, tender, and ideal for a group to share.
Light and fluffy doughnut-like fried balls with a sweet dulche de leche sauce, these are a great way to end your meal.
Greek Yoghurt Cremeux
This is basically a Twister ice cream after a stint on America’s Next Top Model. Except better. The strawberry sorbet is creamy and sweet, with a tang from the ouzo and a welcome crunch from the dehydrated strawberry pieces. Don’t leave without trying this.