Zaika London restaurant review – halal fine dining in Kensington
Having tried a fair few Indian restaurants in London, from Benares, to Trishna and Veeraswamy, it was time to add another fine dining experience to the list. Cue Zaika London Restaurant in Kensington.
So with date nights numbered, hubby and I decided to get a nice meal in the diary. Well in fact it was more my idea, as it was hubby’s birthday.
Anyway when it comes to fine dining, we tend to opt for Indian cuisine. And this occasion was no exception, as we visited Zaika London Restaurant in Kensington.
Zaika London Restaurant review – the decor and service
With an old Indian feel, Zaika is an open plan space. There are no booths or sectioned off areas. Leather studded seats, Indoor plants and a central bar complete the decor.
In terms of service, I have mixed feelings about Zaika London. Upon arrival, we’d asked for water. My rather large, overheated pregnant self often gets dehydrated. But we had to repeat our request around three times to different staff before we finally got some water. Given that it wasn’t so busy, this was slightly disappointing.
However, this was only one hiccup. The rest of the service was timely and spot on. Plus I’m glad to report my water was continually topped up throughout our meal.
We also asked to swap tables, as we were initially put in a rather too cosy area. We were next to a full table and our seats were slightly raised, so it felt like we were leaning over our food.
They were happy to swap up and bring our food over.
So service aside, here’s what we had at Zaika London.
The complementary popadams, with their beetroot, mango and green chutney were delicious.
The waiter took time to describe each relish. This is something synonymous with fine Indian dining, you just get that extra attention. We had the same experience in Benares (read my review here), and Trishna, and it really is a nice touch.
We ordered from the lunch menu, and also got some a la carte additions.
The starter of aloo tikka, with its bed of chickpeas was a nice starter. Being an Indian vegetarian fiend (you can see my summary of the best Indian restaurants here), it was right up my street.
The achari (pickled) chicken was off the regular menu so came in three pieces. It was succulent, tender and very lightly flavoured. I never quite know how these upmarket Indian places get their chicken so on point. Perhaps it’s because they don’t cook their chicken to a crisp like I do.
The main from the lunch menu was lamb maas, a dish of slow cooked meat curry. The sauce was very thick and rich. My preference was the chicken curry we ordered from the main menu. Like a jalfrezi, it came with chunky onions and peppers.
However, one thing I have to note with Zaika Kensington is that all the dishes were a bit mild. This is similar to all the Indian fine dining restaurants we have been to. I think it’s perhaps because they have a broader range of clientele so want to appeal to all. However my bugbear would be that I prefer some more heat in my curry.
The set lunch menu along with the additional starter, curry and rice was more than enough for both of us. We were practically stuffed before dessert.
Dessert at Zaika London
Before our dessert arrived, hubby was surprised with a very small birthday treat. It was a cheesecake bite dressed with rehydrated raspberries and chocolate. It was a nice touch and hubby, despite protesting he doesn’t like birthdays, appreciated the sentiment.
For our actual dessert, we ordered a mango kulfi from the lunch menu. It was a tiny morsel. However, as we were so full, we wouldn’t have been able to stomach a proper sized dessert.
So stuffed and satisfied, here are my thoughts on Zaika London.
Zaika London in a nutshell
Price: Lunch menu is three courses for £21 per person. Off the menu is pricier.
Halal: Yes. But alcohol is served.
Great if… you want a relatively budget fine dining experience where you get to try a few different dishes.
Not so great if… you like your curry hot. Also, with its open plan seating, it’s not the setting for a cosy intimate date.
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I’m not a makeup artist, chef, lifestyle guru or stylist. I’m just me. And like you, I’m trying to make the best of most things, only I’m sharing my warts-and-all thoughts along the way.