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Upmarket destination Zaika has become the latest addition to the Tamarind group. This former bank, popular with the expense-account brigade, has an impressive high ceiling that adds to its grandeur. The furnishings have remained almost the same under the new ownership, but the menu has been transformed. Pan-Indian inspired dishes are now less fussy in appearance, and more attention is given to distinctive spicing. We were pleased by the smoky tang of tender pigeon chunks, marinated in ginger-tamarind pulp and seared in a clay oven – a creative twist to a classic recipe. Creamy seafood curry, enriched with coconut cream and spiced with curry leaves, was crowned with tempura-style fried squid: a tasty update on the Keralan tradition. What looked like a scotch egg was a perfectly executed nargisi kofta from Lucknow; toasted cumin and coriander-spiced lamb mince had been shaped around a perfectly boiled egg before being fried and halved – a splendid partner to garlicky tomato sauce. Desserts weren’t quite as memorable. An overly sweet mango kulfi missed the mark, although the sweetly spiced chocolate éclair matched with guava sorbet did itself proud. Service, like the cooking, is first rate. In all, Zaika’s top-notch reputation has been restored.
1 Kensington High Street
|Transport:||Tube: High Street Kensington tube|
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