Location: South Kensington
I was invited to try out the newly refurbished ZeeZain, a casual and modern Indian restaurant in South Kensington. As you walk in, you’re greeted by an elegant decor. The restaurant was busy, which is unsurprising given it’s location right by the museums, in a tourist hot spot, but it’s definitely not a tourist trap restaurant. A window seat is perfect for people watching. It is a family run business with a long history in the area that is owned by Akhtar Miah and is named after his two sons – Zee and Zain.
The menu is wide ranging, there’s something on there for most people (curries, kebabs, vegetarian food). Compared to the other modern-Indian spots that keep popping up in London, the food is much more traditional – think classic curries, and mixed grills. For an Indian restaurant, the food isn’t overly spicy. Considering you’re in the heart of South Kensington, on one of the most touristy streets in the city, the prices are really reasonable, especially for the large portions. It’s a great place for sharing a meal, family style.
To start, I was given a mixed grill starter with samosas and lamb and chicken kebabs. All were simple, yet tasty. I then tried a few curries – the lamb curry and the fish bhunna. I’m not a massive fan of tomato-ey curries (I generally as a rule never cook with tomatoes in my own curries!) so wasn’t a huge fan of these, the ingredients are definitely high quality, but I think they needed more flavour to counteract the overpowering tomato taste. The highlight of the meal for me, was the garlic naan, they were light and fluffy and perfect for dipping into curries.
The service was good, the staff were friendly and attentive and we got to know them well throughout the meal, which is always nice. We ended up sitting next to an American couple and got chatting to them, they actually thought the service was a bit slow, I suppose this comes down to cultural differences, the service in restaurants in America is always exceptional!
In my opinion, ZeeZain has all the foundations for a great restaurant – the location, decor, menu and vibe, the food just needs a bit of improvement in terms of flavour. It has the potential to be a great addition to the usual touristy restaurants in the area.
Address: 38 Thurloe Pl, Kensington, London SW2 7HP