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Zaika: modern gourmet north Indian cuisine
257-259 Fulham Road, London SW3 6HY
29 November 2000
The red wine at the private art exhibition made us hungry. The Italian lady Miss Napoli we were chatting to turned out to be a London restaurant expert. She seemed to know every restaurant on Fulham Road. We were in luck.
No Russian, no Mexican, no Chinese, no Italian, no Japanese - we were too accustomed to the cuisines from our own upbringing. Instead, let's try Indian. Not your average incensed Indian tandoori - but designer Rajistan Indian - supposedly one of the best in town. Despite the full house, the management was very kind to accommodate us after we ssured them that we would behave. "Is this the food of the Kama Sutra?" I asked. They laughed and escorted us into the main dining area.
The menu itself painted a picture of exotica. Not only have I never heard of the dishes in Indian, the translations to English themselves read like some distant poetic journey. Miss Napoli informed us that the menu changed often - so she couldn't recommend anything she had previously. While we were deciphering from the extensive menu, we munched on the tiny papadom crackers and presumably home-made chutneys. Just the chutneys themselves would have satisfied my curiosity and hunger.
We eventually ordered several starters to share: Kala Murg (grilled black spiced chicken), Mulayam Rattan (lemon and chilli scallops), and something from the special menu. Mr B ordered two bottles of red wine and two types of mineral water in anticipation of entertaining three hungry women.
I cannot remember what we ordered. But each dish was a picture of a part of India. The service was impeccable. My only concern was that I wouldn't be able to eat at a "normal" Indian restaurant again after such a dose of royalty.