Zapote, a contemporary Mexican restaurant and bar, will open in London’s Shoreditch on 9 February and will be the first restaurant from chef Yahir Gonzalez and Tony Geary.
Independently owned and operated by the pair, the restaurant has been named after the Mexican fruit whose bright orange flesh inspired the restaurant’s vibrant colour palette. Zapote takes over the site which previously housed Iberian restaurant Eyre Brothers and St Leonard’s.
Chef Gonzalez has created a menu that is both innovative and traditional, with highlights including:
Tortillas will be made in-house using native Mexican corn varieties, while Mexican chillis, spices and other dried goods will be imported quarterly. A mostly European winelist will start at £24 a bottle and include several organic, biodynamic and skin-contact varieties. Cocktails will mirror the seasonality of the food, with a focus on tequila and mezcal.
The all-day bar menu will include small plates like crispy pork skin, pico de gallo (£6), totopos and guacamole (£8) and whitebait with habanero ali-oli (£7). The full restaurant menu can be ordered in the bar during lunch and dinner.
Hailing from Aguascalientes, Mexico, in 2010 Gonzalez relocated to London to be executive chef of Aqua Restaurant Group’s Aqua Nueva restaurant, where he worked until last year.
Zapote will be managed by Geary, who has managed restaurants in London since 2001, including Sketch in Mayfair. He spent 14 years at the Aqua group – where he met Gonzalez – and worked the past four as global managing director, overseeing the group’s 20-plus restaurants in four countries.
The pair said: “After decades working in some amazing restaurants around the world, it’s a dream come true finally to open our own, in our home city. We love the energy of Shoreditch and the diversity of its restaurant scene, and truly believe that Zapote will bring something welcome and new to the area.”
Zapote will have an open charcoal grill, a 65-seat dining room, a 45-seat cocktail bar, and 12 counter seats, with a private dining room to be added in the coming months.