Indian restaurant group the Tamarind Collection has taken over former Michelin-starred restaurant Zaika of Kensington from Claudio Pulze, Caterer and Hotelkeeper can reveal.
The company, which includes the Michelin-starred Tamarind in Mayfair and Imli in Soho as well as Tamarind in Los Angeles, California, has acquired Zaika in Kensington for an undisclosed sum. The restaurant will close later this year for a complete refurbishment, details of which are yet to be finalised.
The kitchen will be headed up by Navin Prasad under the guidance of Tamarind Collection director of cuisine and executive Alfred Prasad (unrelated). Navin previously worked as consultant chef for Atul Kochhar at the Zaffran in Dubai as well as head chef at the Michelin-starred Benares in London. At Zaika he will serve a menu of modern Indian food.
Commenting on the acquisition, Rajesh Suri, CEO of the Tamarind Collection, said: "We see the huge potential in Zaika of Kensington and we are delighted to now count it as one of our own. We believe in blending the finest traditional and innovative cuisine across a range of atmospheres in the very best setting for our customers.
"With Zaika of Kensington now in our stable, our group takes another step forward, delivering on our business strategy for both UK domestic and international expansion. We are setting our sights on bringing Zaika of Kensington the success it deserves."
Alfred Prasad added: "An opportunity to showcase different facets of our vast Indian repertoire is always exciting and inspiring. At Zaika of Kensington, we will present adaptations of Indian food that will be quite new to our European diners, whilst retaining its traditional heritage and flavours."
Zaika first opened on the Fulham Road in 1999 with Vineet Bhatia in charge of the kitchen. Together with Tamarind it became the first Indian restaurant to win a Michelin star in 2001, before moving to its current location housed in a Grade-II listed building on Kensington High Street. Bhatia left the restaurant in 2004 to open Rasoi Vineet Bhatia and Zaika lost its star the following year.
Claudio Pulze was unavailable for comment.
By Kerstin Kühn
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