Cristiano Ronaldo-backed restaurant set for London

An Ibiza-based Mediterranean-Japanese fusion restaurant, backed by the likes of professional footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis star Rafael Nadal and singer Enrique Iglesias, is set to open a second site in London next month.

As reported by Eater, Zela’s first London outpost will open in Covent Garden this September at the ME Hotel on the Strand.

The restaurant is owned by entrepreneurs Manuel Campos Guallar and Abel Matutes, of the Mabel Hospitality group, and counts footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis player Rafael Nadal, and the singer Enrique Iglesias among its “VIP partners”, who have signed on as financial backers and ambassadors of the venture.

The 100-cover Zela restaurant in London will be the group’s first foray beyond the Mediterranean isle of Ibiza, where its flagship restaurant opened in May 2017 in the high-end Marina Botafoch neighbourhood.

The kitchen will be overseen by chef Ricardo Sanz, Zela’s “gastronomic director” who has created what he calls “Meppon cuisine” – Japanese techniques and flavours applied to Mediterranean ingredients.

Classic dishes set to arrive in London include tiradito of scallops with Ibizan sobrasada; butterfish nigiri with white truffle; Iberico pork gyoza and 48-hour braised Wagyu teriyaki.

Its cocktail menu, which seeks to balance Asian ingredients “with the zest of the Mediterranean”, includes the Santa Maria – a mix of Sherry, homemade spice mix, tomato, and basil.

Guallar and Matutes are also behind Spanish restaurant brand Tatel, which has sites in Madrid, Ibiza, and Miami.

Zela in Ibiza

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