Who would have thought that a bank turned into an Indian restaurant would be cool - and bag itself one of the first Michelin star given to an Indian restaurant in the process?

Who would have thought that a bank turned into an Indian restaurant would be cool - and bag itself one of the first Michelin star given to an Indian restaurant in the process? Although acclaimed chef Vineet Bhatia left to set up his own venture earlier this year, Zaika has retained its glory, glamour and gorgeousness. Decorated in shades of plum, ash, terracotta, cream and khaki, the stunning interior encompasses judiciously placed carved antiques, marble pillars, statues of elephants, and drapes. There's also a small but stylish split-level bar by the entrance. The menu showcases two techniques pioneered by Bhatia - and now de rigeuer in all upscale Indian restaurants in London. First, biriyani cooked with a puff pastry lid studded with fennel, onion and watermelon seeds, which is a modern twist on a traditional Indian cooking technique. Second, trios of small dishes unified by a common ingredient, such as duck, cheese, or vegetables. Seafood dishes are particularly notable, especially own-smoked salmon marinated in mustard and dill which highlight two trends: smoking - food - and Scandinavian flavours, although mustard and dill are also used in Indian cookery. And don't leave Zaika without trying the legendary, and much imitated, chocolate samosas.

Zaika, No1 Kensington High Street, London 020 7795 6533 www.zaika-restaurant.co.uk, Mon to Fri - lunch 12-2.30pm, Mon to Sat - dinner 6.30 - 10.45pm, Sunday - lunch 12-2.45pm, Sunday - dinner 6.30-10pm. Meal for two, excl wine: £60

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