Kensington’s much loved Indian restaurant, Zaika, has reopened its doors with a menu of Northern Indian cuisine, a new team with executive chef Sanjay Gour at the helm, and a revived look to the 120 cover restaurant space.
Located at 1 Kensington High Street, Zaika is a sister restaurant to Tamarind of Mayfair – aka the first ever Indian restaurant to be awarded with a Michelin star.
Mumbai-born, Sanjay Gour, has joined Zaika as executive chef having previously cooked in Dubai at Verre, under Jason Atherton, before moving to The Connaught, Maze London, the Savoy Grill and Murano where he worked under Angela Hartnett. Sanjay is supported by head chef Dayashankar Sharma, who has been with the Tamarind Collection for 11 years.
The new menu features appetisers such as Papdi chaat (spiced chickpeas, wheat crisps, yoghurt, blueberries, tamarind chutney) and Khasta jhinga (Tiger prawns in a gram flour batter, ginger, paprika, curry leaves). Dishes from the Tandoor and grill include mushroom and edamame seekh kebab, Ajwaini macchi (monkfish chunks marinated with ginger, yoghurt, ajwain, turmeric) and Kakori kebab (fine ground lamb with saffron, cardamom, mace).
Meanwhile signature main dishes on the menu include Mahi mussallam (oven baked fillet of sea bass, spinach, Awadhi sauce), Methi murgh (chicken with ginger, onion, fresh fenugreek leaves), and Gosh dum biryani (goat biryani with Bhurrani raita). Elsewhere desserts on offer range from ‘Old Monk’ rum baba, Chocolate Bounty bar (a gluten free ‘bounty’ with nougat, apricot and popcorn) and Poached winter fruits (in a spiced Xylitol syrup with nuts and frozen yoghurt).
The drinks list at Zaika includes a wine collection popular among the loyal customer base of the original restaurant and a selection of cocktails like The Bonfire (Bombay Sapphire gin, lychee juice, lychee liquor, red chillis: flamed, on the rocks), Khira martini (Hendricks gin, fresh cucumber, crushed black peppercorns) and Winter berries (Old Monk rum, blackberries, apple juice, manzana, red chillis, gingerbread syrup: served tall).
The restaurant space, a former banking hall, retains original architectural features such as wood panelled walls, high carved vaulted ceilings and double-height windows offering views over Kensington Palace Gardens. Chandeliers create focal points in the main dining area with spot lights used throughout to offer adjustable lighting from day to night. The tropics of India are reflected with an abundance of plants and fresh flowers around the room, including a living wall of greenery which screens a semi-private 20 cover dining area situated on a raised platform at the front of the restaurant.
Rahul Khanna, who is responsible for business development within the group, says: “It is a very exciting time for the Tamarind Collection to be launching the re-imagined Zaika. Sanjay is an extremely talented chef and brings so much life to his cooking and the project as a whole. Alongside Tamarind, the original Zaika was the first Indian restaurant to gain a Michelin star, we hope to recapture its popularity and work towards regaining such accolades.”