Fine dining at Michelin star Amaya impresses Sabuhi
By Sabuhi Usmani
To celebrate our anniversary, we decided to head to Michelin-starred Amaya.
Located on Halkin Arcade just off Motcomb Street, this place is an Indian fine-dining restaurant that offers a variety of grilled and tandoori dishes, biryanis, and yet not a single curry dish.
Visiting on a Sunday afternoon, the place was buzzing. Boasting a very sophisticated interior, and with light reflecting from the glass ceiling, we were lead down the corridor and towards the main seating area.
Amaya has the philosophy of serving food straight from the grill to your table as soon as it’s ready. Its main feature is the open kitchen, which has an array of ingredients on display along with a team of chefs cooking away in front of you.
And with very alert, friendly and helpful staff, we had the option of either going for our own selection of tapas or the set menus.
We opted for the ‘Amaya Favourites [Set] Menu’, as recommended by the staff – a five stage meal made up of seven dishes including two accompaniments (naan and raita) – to be enjoyed by the whole table.
At £45 per person, with the choice of a starter, meat, chicken and vegetable dishes, and a biryani, we were looking forward to it.
After ordering a glass of lemongrass and ginger drink to go with the lunch, it wasn’t long before we were introduced to our starter – an iceberg lettuce topped with the most unusual toppings of rhubarb chutney and cox’s apple salsa.
But the chutney and salsa were so refreshing. While this was something I had never had before, I will definitely like to have it again.
Big juicy pieces of chicken cooked to perfection, followed by naan breads and a peach chutney that arrived along with a spiced tomato dip, ground nuts and ground rose petals with coriander and garlic.
The tandoori prawns were soon served thereafter, and were some of the biggest I have ever seen! Massive, vibrant, meaty prawns, which were a delight to eat.
Then came the beetroot patty, which, while being full of flavour, had the most unusual flavours of sultanas along with heat from the chillies, followed by the chicken chops.
Perfectly cooked, these had a delightful coating of green herbs and spices with really nice flavours.
These were followed by the smoked chilli lamb chops (below). Good quality meat that just melted in your mouth, and was so juicy, tender and succulent.
Last, but not least, and accompanied by a raita and mixed with with pomegranate, chillies and rose petals, was the biryani.
This arrived on our table in a pot, was cooked fresh, and therefore took the longest to be prepared.
The lifting of the lid released the most lovely aromas. Not only was the rice cooked perfectly, with juicy pieces of chicken, but also had very well balanced spices.
In addition, the raita helped cool off the heat of the biryani. We thoroughly enjoyed this.
After finishing our main course, we decided to satisfy our sweet tooth by ordering a miniature trio of desserts comprised of blackberry kulfi, damson brûlée and chocolate rasmalai. It was a perfect end to a beautiful meal.
Although the dishes arrived one after the other as soon as they were ready, we never felt rushed at all.
And as mentioned above, staff were there to look after us at all times, making us feel very relaxed while allowing us to enjoy our meal in a friendly environment.
I should admit at this point that we were a bit apprehensive about Indian fine-dining. We were afraid that the flavours might become over complicated or get lost in the effort of creating something unusual.
But to our pleasant surprise, we were proved wrong! While the food was unusual, it showed a perfect combination of flavours, had well balanced spices, and was presented elegantly with attention paid to the finer details.
An extremely delightful and pleasant experience over all, with a big selection of halal meat available.
Halkin Arcade, 19 Motcomb St, Belgravia, London SW1X 8LB.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat (Lunch) 12:30-14:15, (Dinner) 18:00-22:45 | Sun (Lunch) 12:45-14:45, (Dinner) 18:30-22:15