Kensington’s much-loved Indian restaurant, Zaika, is this week adding an exceptional lamb dish, Nalli Gosht, to its menu to flag its support for British Lamb Week from the 1st September.
Sister restaurant to the Michelin-starred Tamarind of Mayfair, Zaika has a menu that is rich in Awadhi cuisine from Lucknow, Northern India, where lamb plays an integral role in the traditional offering. Lucknow-born, Shoeb Haider, head chef at Zaika and formerly head chef at the Michelin-starred Benares Restaurant and Bar, says: “Lamb is such an important part of our menu at Zaika – it is imperative we respect the industry. We insist on being able to trace our meat and need to be assured of its provenance quality and history.”
Nalli Gosht is one of the most famous and delicious of Lucknow’s traditional Nihari dishes –Nihari translates to ‘morning’ in Arabic and refers to an ancient tradition among the Nawabs of the Moghul Empire who would rise at dawn for the first prayers of the day and partake of Nihari food.
Haider adds: “Nalli Gosht is a wonderful lamb dish and unlikely to be found elsewhere in London. This is a dish from my home town where lamb is celebrated, so I’m very excited to add it to our offering, if only for a short time.”
British Lamb Week was set up to support the sheep farming industry, which has been thrown into crisis by the low pricing of supermarkets, which in turn has had a negative impact on ethical farming and the environment. Zaika sources its meat from Allens of Mayfair, one of London’s oldest butchers, who provide fully traceable, Home Counties fresh grass lamb, which they believe to be the best possible in the UK and also keeps food miles low.
To create the dish, the Gosht (Lamb) is slow-cooked overnight in a unique blend of spices using traditional earthenware pots. “Using this method, the meat is beautifully tender and the spices add a divinely subtle flavour that reaches right down to the marrow of the lamb,” adds Haider.
In the morning, the dish is finished with Ghee to take the bite out of the chilli and tempered to evenly spice the flavours. The Nihari dish is finished with a garnish of coriander leaves, fried onions, green chillies, juliennes of ginger, lemon and slices of white radish.
The Nalli Gosht is available from 1st September and will be available for the duration of British Lamb Week, longer if it proves popular. It joins an already impressive Awadhi lamb offering including: Peshawari Champen (Lamb chops marinated in papaya, paprika, fennel and star anise) and Gosht Dum Biryani (Zaika’s signature dish cooked under and served with Bhurrani Raita).
Zaika of Kensington is a 120-cover restaurant space. Located at 1 Kensington High Street, Zaika returned to its reimagined, old home in November of last year. It is a sister restaurant to Tamarind of Mayfair, the first ever Indian restaurant to be awarded with a Michelin star. Tamarind Collection took the reins of the new restaurant, assuring that the level of service and epicurean experience paralleled the Tamarind restaurants.
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. Banquet and booth seating is upholstered with taupe leather and over 150 pieces of artwork adorn the walls of Zaika. Chandeliers create atmospheric focal points in the main dining area.
The menu features appetizers such as Papdi Chaat (spiced chickpeas, wheat crisps, yoghurt, blueberries, tamarind chutney) and Jhinga Dakshini (Tiger prawns in a gram flour batter, ginger, paprika, curry leaves).Dishes from the Tandoor and grill include Ajwaini Macchi (monkfish chunks marinated with ginger, yoghurt, ajwain and turmeric). Signature main dish Grilled Lobster (Lobster tail with turmeric, garlic and raw mango with spiced tomato sauce). In addition to the a la carte menu, notable side dishes and accompaniments include Truffle naan, fig and mint-stuffed naan, Shahi Paneer (paneer with melon seed, onion, dried fenugreek leaf sauce), and Khumb kofta (mixed mushroom dumplings).
The drinks list at Zaika includes a wine collection designed to complement the bold flavours, spices and aromatics of Indian cuisine. A selection of Indian beers and innovative signature cocktails are also available. A designated bar area, seating 12, accommodates drinkers, and a bar menu of Indian snacks.