First Impressions – Amaya

Amaya is a Michelin starred Indian restaurant in Knightsbridge, which Shiima found about six months ago during her thorough search for fine dining restaurants for us to visit, and maybe eventually write about. After going to Trishna and Gymkhana, both incredible Indian restaurants, we were excited to go to Amaya. But for countless reasons, we kept rescheduling the dinner, probably did four times. But eventually we did go for dinner last Monday.

The Restaurant

Amaya is roughly 5 minutes walk from Knightsbridge Station – it’s an entertaining walk past several high-end stores and opulent homes. The restaurant itself isn’t entirely visible from the street because it’s behind a corner, but there is a clear sign letting you know where you are. One of the two maître ds checks us in and the other led us to our table. Our table was close to the open grill and kitchen, which was a sight to behold – lots of fresh fruits and vegetables on display, and several kinds of grills including a charcoal grill and a tandoor. The restaurant’s decor is modern and stylish with sculptures across the room.

First we were given the drinks menu, and ideally left to choose from a vast array of wines, spirits, beers, and cocktails. But as we don’t drink we flicked through to the non-alcoholic cocktails and ordered a pair of cocktails and some still water. Then we were giving the food menu, which initially was hard to understand, but our kind waiter talked us through it. Essentially, everything on the menu (probably besides the curries and rice) is grilled and so the menu is set up according to cooking time. So your starters will be dishes that arrive first, and main dishes will arrive last, solely based on the cooking time. And most dishes come as a small plate or big plate portion. So far, so exciting for me, especially with everything grilled!

What we ordered

Shiima ordered a Black Pepper Chicken Tikka small plate, and Shakarkhand Chaat as “starters”, and a small plate of Rampur Chicken Biryani, Dal, and Raita for her main. I ordered the Punjabi Chicken Wing Lollipops, and tandoori chicken chops for “starters”, and Duck Tikka with Tandoori and Smoked Chilli Lamb Chops for my main.

Shiima’s Starters

Shiima’s Black Pepper Chicken Tikka, was really well cooked, although Shiima wasn’t very enthralled with the seasoning, I did like it although I was hoping for it to be spicier. The Chaat was predominantly indian white sweet potatoes cooked to perfection and then doused in tamarind and yogurt. The dish was really nice, although rather very sweet for my palate. I was expecting some chickpeas in the dish as in my limited experience of Chaat dishes there are always some meaty Chickpeas. The Chaat really went well with the Naan bread we ordered to share, in fact the naan bread was good with everything, so much that we ordered two more portions lol.

Shiima’s Main

Shiima mixed the Chicken Biryani with the Dal and Raita and enjoyed the combination. Individually, she wasn’t a big fan of the Raita; the biryani, which I had a bit off was really tasty, and the chicken was cooked really well, although with minimal seasoning; and the Dal was done like her mum’s, which I’m sure is a compliment.

Amen’s Starters

My Punjabi Chicken Wing Lollipops were absolutely fantastic, again it was somewhat sweet and lacked the kick I was expecting based on my past experiences with Indian grilled cuisine, but regardless it was special. The Tandoori Chicken Chops seasoned with chilli & curry leaf was what I’d have put all my chips in for the dish with the expected kick, but no, no kick, but again, perfectly cooked and tasty.

Amen’s Main

The Duck Tikka with Tandoori was sweet, which I really wasn’t in the mood for at that point. I just powered through it, hoping the Smoked Chilli Lamb Chops will save the day … but, no, the Smoked Chilli Lamb Chops weren’t at all spicy, at least not in my estimation. But, it tasted good, so good that I unconsciously pretty much licked the bones when it was done.

Dessert?

We looked at the dessert menu, but as we expected nothing really tickled our fancy, so we asked for the bill.

Verdict

The dinner took about two hours, which is rare for us as we are usually in and out quite fast, but I think most of that time was due to the particular cooking times of the dishes. Amaya is in Knightsbridge and is Michelin starred, but it’s relatively less expensive than expected, but still, it’s expensive lol. In conclusion, Amaya is a good Indian restaurant with a great USP. It’ll be ideal for a date, special occasions, and large group dining.

Dress Code: Smart Casual
Cuisine: Indian grills.
Shiima’s & Amen’s Star Dish: Punjabi Chicken Wings Lollipops.
Price: £40 each
Rating: 4 out of 5


Amaya
http://www.amaya.biz
Halkin Arcade
Motcomb Street
London SW1X 8JT
02078231166
Book at OpenTable or Call to Reserve

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