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236 King Street
The main attraction at this “upmarket Indian” is “high-end food” carefully prepared and presented by chef Manoj Vasaikar, who worked at top hotel restaurants in his home country before making his mark on London. Designed in line with the principles of vastu shastra – the harmony of earth, fire, sky, water and air – Indian Zing is a chic, relaxed and unassuming space, done out with crisp white tablecloths and stylish artefacts. Vasaikar’s cooking is refined and flavoursome, with deft, confident spicing and fragrance in dishes such as Goan-style clams poached in subtle green herbs and coconut broth or succulent chicken pointed up with dried fenugreek and griddled in the tandoor. There are classy renditions of the classics too: rogan josh is a marrow-rich version, thanks to slow-cooked lamb shank on the bone, while a variant on the kofta theme involves gamey seared venison meatballs. A well-judged wine list includes two Indian options from Maharashtra (Vasaikar’s home turf).
To celebrate the Year of the Woman, SquareMeal is running a series of interview profiles with top female chefs. Read here about Marianne Lumb’s colourful career as a private chef and the benefits of operating one of London’s smallest kitchens.
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236 King Street
Ravenscourt Park Tube Station 155m
Ravenscourt Park Station 347m
The Polish Social & Cultural Association 20m
Cineworld Hammersmith 212m
Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 6-11pm Sun 1-4pm 6-10pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 2
I can only say that this place has the attitude that is super cool, like an urban hipster drinking his craft beer surrounded by his meeja friends in an post-industrial chic, Dalston hang out. Sadly, it’s in the heartland of the Chelsea Tractor suburbia and done out like a 90s Living Room. Remember those?
There were 5 of us for dinner, my parents, uncle and aunt. We were ushered to a table at the back rather unceremoniously so as not to disturb the “cool” and it went downhill from there. Three of us asked for the thali and we were told that they would take 25 minutes (!) to prepare. OK, we were warned, so we agreed. After 40 minutes, the food finally arrived for the entire table. Two of three of the thalis were stone cold. When this was pointed out, they argued that it wasn’t possible. They finally capitulated and sad that they would return it to the kitchen. I, at this point, expected them to go to the fresh pots of food and replace the cold elements. When we had been waiting for a further 10 minutes, I enquired as the whereabouts of our dinner and they told me that everything was being cooked again. They also expected me to swallow the idea that they cooked each tiny portion individually and that’s why it takes so long. I laughed, queried incredulously and finally had to swallow it due to lack of anything else of substance. If this is truly the case, this has to be the only Indian restaurant in London cooking this way. I have a good mind to send the chef in from Woodlands (who have perfect thalis) to give them a crash course. We finally got our meals and hour and a half after arriving. By which point I had gone past hungry.
To add insult to injury the manager of the place was so supercilious I honestly believe that if my father was 10 years younger, he may have ended up with a bloody nose. He either spoke down to us, looked down his nose at us or made it plain that he really didn’t give a shit if we were happy or not. The bill came in with 3 beers and 2 glasses of wine along with our meals at almost £300, so it is incredibly expensive on the “Value for Money” scale. My parents are a 5-minute drive from this joint and I know that they have bad-mouthed it to everyone they know. I would say avoid it.
Food + drink: 1
It was special in its first year. Overcrowded, chaotic table arrangements (especially the overspill area), friendly but harassed waiters but all of that was forgiven by dishes that had a stand-out quality compared with other Indian restaurants, even those in the same street, which set a high standard. However, two further visits in subsequent years confirm my worst fear, that Zing was a flash in the pan and, once you take away the excellence of the cooking, the place just became an underwhelming and unrelaxing experience. It's not as if the food had shifted from stellar to ordinary; it descended into mediocre. Meanwhile the Anarkali, a few hundreds up the road on the opposite side, remains a traditional comfortable, inviting spacious Indian restaurant, the kind that can be found anywhere (you imagine it has flock wallcovering even though it doesn't) where the quality of the cooking has more than stood the test of time and the waiting staff are gentle and professional rather than overloaded with zing and disappearing up their own fundament.
I had a hearty meal, for which I paid almost £100 for myself only !
Following comments :
Onion Bhaji – Very poor. I like my bhajis “fluffed-up”. Crispy on the outside & soft & voluminous inside. This one was compressed & hard. Very small portion
Cheese Naan – Not cheesy at all. Not even warm & small portions again.
Raita – Excellent. Probably the best I've tasted.
Vindaloo side sauce – Not spicy at all. Tepid & uninspiring.
Main Meal :
NZ bottle of Pinot Noir – Disappointing. Overly acidic, too fruity & did not “open-up” as a Pinot Noir should. Cost almost £40 inc. service charge.
King Prawn curry – 4 prawns served in (again) a tepid & uninspired sauce.
Mushroom pilau rice – small portion & quit heavy, sticky & starchy.
Mushroom bhaji – variety of mushrooms & quite good.
Saag bhaji – Heavy, tasteless & uninspired.
So, there you go. I am amazed at how divergent my experience was versus the hype. Don't believe the hype !This was a mediocre/nothing-special Indian (5 points i.e. would come again, if I could find nothing better) but so grossly over-priced (& over-hyped) that I have to mark it down to only 2 points only (i.e. avoid).
Want a superlative curry ? Try Rajasthan II in the City. No rave reviews by the critics, but always full of punters (although, not cheap either, but absolutely worth it).
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