CLOSE The Cuisine of Kings
At Zaika of Kensington we channel the culinary spirit of Awadh into refined, contemporary dishes perfectly suited to their cosmopolitan setting. We employ a team of Indian chefs and our bespoke kitchen allows us to replicate the region’s classical cooking methods, meaning each dish is stamped with centuries of Awadhi tradition and history. Read our love letter to Awadhi cuisine below.
The ancient state of Awadh, now subsumed into the Northern Indian province of Uttar Pradesh, is home to some of the finest cooking on earth. Originally influenced by the aromatic, spice-laden fare of its medieval rulers - Islamic Moghuls – the cuisine took on a new dimension once the Nawabs came into governance in the 18th century. The Nawabs were known for their love of finery and indulgence and their expert palace cooks (rakabdars) were encouraged to dream up lavish dishes fit for feasting on large ceremonial rugs (dastarkhwan). As word spread, their recipes started to be traded among Awadh’s aristocracy and in time filtered through to the streets of its capital, Lucknow.
The legacy of both the Nawabs and Moghuls remains clear in Lucknow. Present-day Awadhi cuisine is built upon rich and robust preparations such as minced kababs, breads, dals, kormas and biryanis, typically enriched and fragranced with cardamom, saffron and allspice. Vegetarian ingredients dominate, but meats like lamb and goat and river fish are also part of its repertoire. Low-and-slow cooking techniques are employed to tease out maximum flavour.
But the spirit of the cuisine transcends its tools. Nawabi tradition dictates that details such as where and how the dishes are served are key, as is the notion that food be at the heart of all social gatherings and celebrations. Traditions which we proudly and passionately uphold at Zaika today.