Zaika of Kensington is owned by the Tamarind collection which also owns the world’s first Michelin starred Indian restaurant, Tamarind of Mayfair. Located in a former banking hall in Kensington, with many of its original architectural features still in place and over a hundred pieces of artwork on the walls, Zaika’s dining room is majestic and relaxing.
The menu is inspired by Awadhi cuisine, one of India’s finest, and is well represented here. Dishes are served in small copper pans. (Copper used to be the preferred material for cooking in India, due to its anti-bacterial, medicinal, and excellent heat conducting properties.)
We normally order the Tasting Menu but this time decided to order À La Carte. (Incidentally, the tasting menu includes refills of the mains and breads.) To start with we ordered the Seekh Kebab, Tandoori Chicken and Peshawari Champen (lamb chops). They were all beautifully flavoured, extremely succulent tender, and absolutely delicious. It is quite unusual to find such authentic flavours outside of India.
Next we ordered the Laal Maas, which was a boneless lamb curry in a spicy yoghurt sauce. The lamb was tender and the sauce flavoursome. The bread basket had an assortment of nan and melt-in-the-mouth paratha.
The second curry was Murgh Handi Lazeez, which was a version of butter chicken (boneless chicken pieces in a smoked tomato and garlic sauce. This was not as enjoyable as the lamb curry.
The Dal Makhni (slow cooked black lentils) was excellent. The famous version at the well known Bukhara in New Delhi is the yardstick to measure this by and this one comes quite close, being perhaps just a tad sweeter.
The Ghosht Dum Biryani was a lamb biryani cooked under a pastry covering. The pastry was lovely and light and the biryani was delicious.
The Gulab Jamun was freshly made and tasted amazing. It was served warm in a sugar syrup. The pistachio kulfi was the best I have ever tasted.
The spicy Masala Tea arrived with sugar on the side which is great as other restaurants often make it very sweet and after dessert you may not wish to have such a sweet beverage.
Chocolate with cinnamon and cardamom and sweet jellies were served complimentary at the end of meal.
It is always an absolute pleasure to dine at Zaika. The staff are warm and friendly and the manager, Jiten is a lovely person who runs the restaurant very well and is largely the reason we will keep returning to Zaika.
Zaika of Kensington
1 Kensington High Street
London W8 5NP
Tel: 020 7795 6533
Lunch – Tuesday to Sunday
12.00pm to 2.30pm
Dinner – Monday to Sunday
5.30pm to 10.30pm