Group operations manager Peter Clucas told BigHospitality that owner Andrew Zilouf was inspired to overhaul the venue after the success 100 Hoxton, which opened last summer.
“We wanted to bring some of the lessons we have learned in Hoxton to Zilouf, create a more dynamic flow inside the space and make some changes to the food,” he explained.
Rather than throwing money at the project, the team decided to refurbish the space using reclaimed and recycled materials and vintage furniture.
The bar was constructed using old ship pallets, with a bar top made from a ship’s deck and old submarine lights. The main restaurant light fittings were created from antique cocktail shakers and ice buckets and the walls have been decorated with vintage advertising reworked to advertise Zilouf’s, 1930s mirrors and blown up recipes from vintage cookery books.
“We have created a huge impact for what we consider to be a relatively little amount of money,” said Clucas.
“Pretty much everything you see is something we have built ourselves or recycled or reclaimed.”
The new menu, conceived by executive chef Tim Yates and head chef Francis Puyat, follows 100 Hoxton’s lead in offering primarily small plates, with a few larger plates for sharing.
“Asian fusion has always been at the heart of the kitchen at Zilouf's,” said Clucas.
“Tim is a Thai trained, Aussie chef so the main courses have always had an Asian influence, but we decided that instead of offering a starter, main course and dessert we would go for a more sharing plate vibe.”
Meat and fish dishes include San Choy Bau - spiced beef & lamb mince with baby gem; Zilouf’s hand cut steak tartare with soft poached egg, prawn crackers, black chilli mayo and Torched salmon with cucumber, daikon, salmon roe, nori crisp rice.
Vegetable plates include Sprouting broccoli with Sichuan soy butter and Snake beans, bean curd, roasted sweet potato, turmeric coconut milk.
The two house sharing puddings are Sticky date pudding, chilli popcorn ice cream and Cardamom shirkhand, pickled mango.
Mixologist Niall Downey and head bartender Max Dennis have also created a new cocktail menu to build on Zilouf’s reputation as a post-work drinking establishment.
“The cocktail culture here has always been really strong and so we just looked at how we can build on that and re-engage with the new generation of people finishing work late,” explained Clucas.
“Some of our classics are still there but we are using more spicy flavours and more homemade and fresh ingredients.”
Clucas said the team have just got a license for their third North London venue, an old greasy spoon café which will be completely renovated.
“After that we will look at doing something a bit more central, perhaps in Soho,” he said.