food & drink

Zainab – A delicious new Indian gem in London E11

Written by Naomi

It isn’t every day that a gorgeous Indian comes into your life, but I’m glad Zainab has.

It isn’t every day that a gorgeous Indian comes into your life, but I’m glad Zainab has. No, I’m not writing an article on internet dating, I’m referring to one of the best Indian restaurants I have ever eaten in – and I’m no spring chicken tikka. 

Ever since I tasted my first onion bhaji I have always ordered that particular starter whenever I try a new Indian restaurant. If they get that right then I feel I’m onto a winner. Imagine my delight last Friday when I ordered this dish and it arrived, crispy and flavoursome. I knew the meal at Zainab would be first class.

Zainab is a relatively new restaurant facing George Green on Cambridge Park, Wanstead, E11. It has a courtyard at the front, with potted planters, where customers can enjoy eating outside should they wish – and very inviting it looks too with white linen tablecloths. Inside tables are smartly dressed and it lives up to its claim of being set in an ‘aesthetically pleasing environment’. Zainab prides itself on the ‘human element’ of its organisation and it does not disappoint. The waiters were friendly and showed the correct amount of interest in us and our needs. I do find it irritating when you are constantly badgered to order other dishes such as bread or rice when you have completed your order. This did not happen in Zainab. They know how to treat their customers; they were polite and helpful. Once they had checked that our meal was to our liking we were left in peace to enjoy it. And enjoy it we did.

There is a varied menu to choose from including Indian old favourites such as korma, bhuna, rogan and vindaloo. Their signature curry dishes include balti, massala, dansak and pasanda. If that doesn’t appeal there is a selection of biryani dishes along with a tandoori selection. There is a choice of innovative dishes such as spicy shepherds pie or sea bass cooked in medium spices served with chana dall or spinach bhuna. The family being an important part of Indian culture the children are not forgotten, with their own menu available too.

There are 16 starters to choose from and needless to say the onion bhaji and deep fried calamari, with a particularly light batter, hit the spot. When it came to our mains choice we both ordered a pathia dish, a vegetable and chicken. The flavours were sweet and sour and the dish was beautifully cooked. The restaurant does not use any colour or preservative and uses only cholesterol free oil. They are also happy to be informed if you are allergic to any food stuffs and will do what they can to accommodate your needs. I can recommend highly their vegetable side dishes particularly the Bindi Bhaji; perfectly cooked and unlike some restaurants the vegetables were the main ingredient and not swimming out of their depth in a vat of oil. 

There are plenty of drinks to choose from their licensed bar, but I have to say the Cobra beer always goes down well. What with this and their good value menu, I can recommend a visit to Zainab. With it being less than a minute from Wanstead tube station it definitely lives up to its claim that it ‘infuses London with an exciting taste of the East.’

The restaurant also caters for lunchtime diners and is currently offering 40% off their everyday lunch menu. The takeaway menu offers a 10% discount on collection and free delivery if your order comes to over £13.95.

Check it out for yourselves.

t: 020 8989 1977

17 Cambridge Park, Wanstead, London, E11 2PU