We sashayed into Midland for lunch at a newish Asian spot we had read about – alas despite their website it was dark and closed – our fault for not calling ahead I guess. So somewhat disconsolately we headed back to the railway station, but then we thought instead we would go to somewhere that we knew was open and where we had enjoyed the food on our previous visit; so we ended up at Zaika.
In Spring Park Road opposite Centrepoint, Zaika has been around for four years or so. The menu is similar to many Indian restaurants around town, and is BYO. Sitting in the one large dining area – although there are a couple of tables on the footpath out front – we started with a serve of vegetarian samosa.
These are baked in the tandoor with a doughy pastry – rather than the crispy fried coating that many other places serve –filled with tender potato, cashews, raisins, green peas and coriander; mildly spiced and served with mint chutney the three large triangles were more than enough for two.
Our mains – dill salmon tikka from the tandoor selection and prawn Madras, along with steamed basmati rice and a garlic naan were quick to arrive.
The fish was excellent –although perhaps not a classic Indian dish – the soft and tender salmon fillets had been marinated in yoghurt and dill and had a smoky flavour from the oven; the flesh was succulent, luscious and the skin crisped and crackling. The delicate spices married with the salmon to produce a memorable tikka dish.
Prawn Madras, was much spicier. The rich red sauce made from tomato, onion and peppers had a chilli lift – enough to have Lady FWO reaching for her wine (although truth be told that doesn’t take much). The prawns retained a crunch to the bite and again all of the spices were beautifully integrated. It was another very enjoyable dish.
Our naan was fresh, hot, charred and doughy with a lot of garlic aromas and flavours – perfect for mopping up the sauce; while the basmati was well cooked the grains firm and separate and topped with a few strings of fried onion.
The service at Zaika is very friendly and welcoming; and the food is of very good quality and generously proportioned. Zaika is among the better Indian restaurants we have visited around town; and importantly it is open when it advertises it to be! It is recommended.