Review publishedon: www.pleaseaddsalt.com/amaya/
When asked which one is my favorite Indian restaurant in London I found it difficult to decide. The city is full of very good places that range from small delis, traditional or new style cuisine restaurants. All of them are worth a try, especially the Masala Zone chain that serves authentic regional dishes in contemporary Indian popular art settings.
But, if I had to choose one it would be AMAYA. An Indian grill and cocktail bar, serving new, innovative dishes awarded a Michelin Star. Tucked away in the heart of Knightsbridge, a few steps away the main department stores Harrod’s and Harvey Nichols, it’s the perfect place to end a shopping day or simply to taste chef Camelia Panjabi’s cuisine.
Soft lighting, black tables, pink sandstone panels, and the open-kitchen, create a vibrant atmosphere. One part of the dining area features tables facing the chefs and the cooking brigade at work, which in my opinion are the best ones. But if you don’t want to look at the kitchen then you have a wide choice of other tables placed all around the dining room.
The bar area is at the entrance so you won’t be disturbed by noisy drinkers. For those seeking a more private atmosphere, there is a private room available that seats 14. At Amaya you will meet glamorous locals mixed up with large Indian families. I wouldn’t define it as a trendy or “to-be-seen” place, such as Nobu or Zuma, but still, there is a chance you will spot a celebrity mingled with the crowd.
The menu, consisting in a selection of Indian “tapas” and grilled dishes, is meant to be shared. Each dish comes in tasting portions, which is perfect to try as many specialties as possible. The staff, friendly and well trained, suggest you share at least five different appetizers and finish with a curry biryani each. I prefer sharing everything, as portions are small, starting with six or eight “tapas” and finishing with two biryani, if at the end you have a sweet tooth, desserts won’t deceive you.
Here is an examples of the kinds of dishes you can choose from: minced chicken lettuce parcels with coconut and lime dressing, Tandoori black pepper chicken tikka rich pepper marinade, Rock oysters flash grilled with coconut and ginger moilee sauce, Shalgam gosht lamb osso buco slow cooked with baby turnip. Food is stylishly presented, some dishes are served over a small slate tray, others come with elegant vegetable garnishes, the biryani is wrapped into a bread crust to be eaten warm, scallops are served inside their shell with small gravels sustaining them.
Though the tab at Amaya is a little expensive, what you get is really worth the price and the change of scenery very amusing. It’s a definite winner on my list of fun places to go.
London SW1X 8JT
Tel:+44 (0) 20 7823 1166