Zaika of Kensington

The Blurb

Zaika of Kensington is part of the small-but-respectable Tamarind Collection, which also includes Tamarind of Mayfair and Soho’s Tamarind Kitchen. Zaika is already a highly reviewed fixture in West London, but recently the favourite Indian restaurant revealed a new menu by Tamarind Collection’s Executive Group Head Chef Karunesh Khanna, whose resume features a 13-year tenure at Belgravia’s Michelin-starred Amaya.

The Style

Housed in a former historic bank (The London County Bank, London’s first high street bank), the stunning Zaika has a theatrical open-plan layout and retains Victorian and Gothic architectural features throughout, including its stunning entryway. Corniced ceilings are bedecked in glowing light features, and traditional and contemporary Indian artwork adds playful flair to the historic space.

The Crowd

Zaika of Kensington is the place to be! On a Friday night, the place was humming with big groups, friends, families, and couples. Guests were eating and drinking at the bar, and nearly every table was filled. The staff seem used to this – the service was attentive and faultless, and the vibe was spot-on.

The Food

Let me cut to the chase immediately: The food at Zaika is outstanding. Truly outstanding. Every single thing I put in my mouth was almost ridiculously delicious. Now, to be more specific (and please take notes): You must order the well-charred, meaty Wild Madagascan Tiger Prawn, pulled right from the grill and coated in a bright, spicy green marination of coriander, mint, and chilli. For the mains, the Hyderabadi Lamb Shank is a thrilling, smoky dish of lamb, simmered overnight in fragrant stock, and then wrapped in phyllo pastry and served with a rich thick sauce of black cumin and rose petals. The suburb, slow-cooked Kerela Chicken Biryani with pepper chicken is another fine dish and pairs well with sides of Southern Spiced Crispy Baby Potatoes (double-fried potato rounds with fiery mustard seeds and curry leaf) and Smoked Aubergine Bharta (creamy Tandoor-roasted aubergine with green peas in a marsala and tomato paste). The blistering garlic nan was also exceptional. No dish disappointed, no dish even came close. I’m so happy that I live nearby so that I can become a regular!

The Drink

At the centre of Zaika lies a gorgeous leather bar topped in marble, spearheaded by Carole Brown whose previous roles included Bar Manager/Head of Mixology of the Hakkasan Group. Brown’s menu of clever, Instagram-worthy cocktails takes inspiration from Indian and English gardens and tastes even better than they look. With swirls of edible shimmering powder, the Electric Elixir stands out and stands up well to spice, in particular.

In a Nutshell

An upscale, pitch-perfect Indian that goes far above and beyond.

The Details

1 Kensington High St, London W8 5NP

020 7795 6533

Restaurants |