Thursday, 20 November 2008


This new high end Indian is equidistant from where I work and the rather gimmicky La Porte des Indes. This part of Mayfair (yes it technically is, well at least the broken heel of it) is also rather ambitiously known as the Portman Village (where for years they’ve been trying to emulate Marylebone Village to little or no avail). It’s also an area that’s close to one of the busiest KFC restaurants in the world, lost bewildered tourists and millions of Primark customers collectively championing the two words ‘what recession?’

Zayna is probably the third incarnation of Indian restaurants occupying the premises within ten years or so. Attentive details to the interiors suggest this is a comfortable and stylishly under-lit dining room, designed to reflect the haute dining nature as well as a well-heeled retreat from Oxford Street. Service, as you might expect from a place like this is attentive and thankfully not too over bearing.

As a way of testing the water I came here on my own for the ‘should-be-called’ CC (credit crunch or congestion charge, call it what you may) set lunch. Just be forewarned that the set lunch is a bargain, however if you do come here for dinner, reckon on at least £35.00 a head to include wine. It maybe early days yet, but it was a bit of a dampener to see only one couple dining when I was there.

My starter of Papi chana chat (small wheat crisp, spiced chickpeas, yoghurt, tamarind sauce and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds) looked more like a pudding. It was in fact a beautifully balanced and refreshing starter; the coolness of the yoghurt calming the spiciness of the chickpeas and the sweetness of the pomegranate countering the sourness of the tamarind.

The chosen mains of Lahori Pusli (lamb chops marinated overnight in a combined fenugreek, pepper and garlic yoghurt sauce) was pretty much triumphant, perfectly pink and tender; pity there were only two chops. This dish was served with some perfectly cooked Pilau rice, dry veg curry and some of the best dhal I’ve had.

I know it was only lunch that I had, but there’s a strong inner belief that I’ve tasted and sensed enough to indicate the potential is indeed there. Whilst not trying to speak too soon, I think the Chef/Proprietor is a star in the making.

25 New Quebec Street


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