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From its spectacular gothic setting (formerly a bank) to its regionally accented cooking, Zaika has carved out its own niche among the capital’s Indian restaurants. Dominated by high ceilings and wood panels, the interior has a whiff of Hogwarts about it, albeit with a large central cocktail bar. It makes a suitably regal setting for the kitchen’s speciality, the Awadhi cuisine of Lucknow in north India. Many dishes are cooked slowly over charcoal flames, giving a gentle smokiness to the likes of fish curry with ginger and coconut or murgh handi lazeez (a creamy chicken speciality flavoured with tomatoes and cashews). Elsewhere, expect Awadhi-style kebabs loaded with lamb, cheese, and garlic, plus fine-dining riffs such as seared scallops with puffed rice or grilled lobster with garlic and mango. All the usual sides and naans are present and correct, while wines have been picked to withstand the spice.
The old banking hall which houses Zaika is an imposing building. Despite having been restored less than two years ago, inside it feels as if you’ve stepped back into the days of the Raj. The dining room is lush with plants, traditional Indian art is complemented by wood panelling and ornate plasterwork, seating is on comfy leather chairs or banquettes. There’s a well stocked bar serving some amazing cocktails and, even when it is busy, high ceilings and careful table layout stop the place feeling crowded. I’d been to Zaika before, but this time I was invited to try the Vegetarian Tasting Menu – a special for National...
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Every so often, I visit a restaurant that has the perfect combination of good looks, great food and friendly service. Zaika of Kensington ticks all these boxes, fusing contemporary Indian cuisine with the Awadhi traditions of Northern India. Awadhi cooking is characterized by elaborate dishes with a refined mix of flavours and spices. Zaika is housed in a spectacular 19th century former bank, which retains many original features yet has comfortable modern seating. It first opened in 1999 and joined the Tamarind Collection in 2012. The group is well known for its sister restaurant, Tamarind in Mayfair, which was the...
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Zaika has been serving since 1999, and is one of only a select few Indian restaurants to be awarded two prestigious AA rosettes. Joining with the famous Tamarind Collection in November, 2012.The building is an incredible spectacle, and the opulent interior is a marvel to be surrounded by. Dining in Zaika is more than just an experience of the cuisine, it’s an insight into a beautiful and rich Indian culture.
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