The much loved modern Indian restaurant, Zaika of Kensington (sister restaurant to Tamarind of Mayfair, the first ever Indian restaurant to be awarded with a Michelin star), has re-opened its doors with a menu of Northern Indian cuisine and a revived look to the 120 cover restaurant space. Located at 1 Kensington High Street, the reincarnation of Zaika return by popular demand with a new team with executive chef Mumbai born Sanjay Gour (previously cooked in Dubai at Verre, under Jason Atherton, before moving to The Connaught, Maze London, the Savoy Grill and Murano; working under Angela Hartnett) at the helm and supported by head chef Dayashankar Sharma, who has been with the Tamarind Collection for eleven years.
At Zaika, Sanjay returns to his culinary roots, with a menu inspired by the techniques and flavours of Northern India’s Awadhi cuisine which is traditionally influenced by the middle-east and uses cooking methods resembling European techniques. The bar team were armed with a large selection of cocktails however we asked them to make an Indian twist on an expresso martini, the result was a light and fluffy martini, seasoned and shaken with cumin, nutmeg and a blend of their house tequila, it was perfectly aromatic, with crunchy sweet cumin seeds sprinkled on top.
The menu features appetisers such as Papdi Chaat (spiced chickpeas, wheat crisps, yoghurt, blueberries, tamarind chutney), this is a traditional dish’s which combines sweet, sour and bitter with a assorted texture from whipped yoghurt to smooth, creamy chickpeas. It was generously portioned and delicious. We also tried Khasta Jhinga (Tiger prawns in a gram flour batter, ginger, paprika, curry leaves), they were large, spicy and juicy, kick-starting our taste buds, we also sampled the seared scallops, which were delicious light bites.
For the main we tried the Chicken Tikka curry, a rich and slightly sweet curry. We complimented this with a selection of sides including their ladies fingers (okra), Baingan Masala (perfectly, melt in your mouth slices of baby aubergine, slow cooked and tossed in ground spices). Make sure you order the cucumber Raita, it was a thick and creamy yoghurt with cucumber, mint and toasted cumin. To be scooped generously, also the perfect mouth cooler for the chilli sensitive diners. We didn’t order their Lamb Biryani but there was a case of serious food envy as 3 arrived on the table adjacent to us. It comes in a circular pot, baked with a pastry later on top. Enough to share between two!
Dessert was a selection of favourites including Chocolate Bounty Bar (a gluten free ‘bounty’ with nougat, apricot and popcorn) Nimboo (lime) tart and pistachio ice cream.
Website: http://www.zaikaofkensington.com/ Facebook: Zaika-of-Kensington Twitter: @ZaikaLondon Address: 1 Kensington High Street, London, W8 5NP Reservation Line: 020 7795 6533