Thursday, November 18, 2010

London - Amaya

Michelin-stared Indian restaurant? And it serves small plates?! Um, yes please! There's really none of that curry-heavy cooking at Amaya. This is primarily tandoori-based, which is great when you either (a) are nervous about Indian food or (b) you don't want to have an Indian food baby in your tummy after your dinner. I was the latter.

Cocktails were in order as neither AG nor I could imagine drinking wine at this restaurant - sleek, modern and glitzy. Me gusta! I rarely remember which cocktails I order but they were good. One of mine had tequila and lychee and the other one was a passionfruit caipirinha.

We stuck to only small plates (no biryani) and it was fairly easy deciding what we wanted from the veggie dishes (although it was difficult to limit ourselves). But we had difficulty in the fish/poultry/meat section. Do you get the chicken tandoori lollipops? Or lamb grilled on a skewer? Or how about some chicken chops? Or does one pick scallops (no because I don't eat them) or an actual fish? Luckily, our waitress gave us fantastic recommentations. We hadn't even thought of ordering the tandoori-spiced monkfish but this may have been the best part of the evening - two meaty pieces of fish on a mini-skewer, rubbed in spices and grilled. I've heard that monkfish is easy to overcook but this was perfection. And it's not as scary looking here as when it's whole.

The second recommendation from our waitress was to get the chicken or lamb chop. I think we picked wisely. The two fat golden-brown lamb chops came with a surprise - they were stuffed with spiced minced lamb! Genius and delicious. And if you're wondering whether they always give two to an order when you order the "small plate" version, the answer is no. AG had gone to Amaya with her parents and they gave them three pieces on a plate, which is actually very thoughtful because it's always awkward when there's not enough pieces for everyone.

Following our meat dishes were the dal, which while quite plain in and of itself, was livened up by the set of spices (coriander, salted peanut, masala and plum sauce) that accompanies the meal and a raita. It would've made more sense had they served us the raita at the very beginning as we would've like to have tried it on the lamb but regardless, it helped elevate some of the less-interesting dishes. The least interesting was probably the little cakes made of spinach and fig. I didn't detect any fig in there and these were so uninspiring that I forgot we ate them until I came across the picture.

We had almost forgotten to order the simple broccoli dressed with yogurt (and our only "large plate") but so glad we remembered as this was the standout vegetarian dish that night. The other veggie dish, smoky grilled aubergines at first fell flat but once livened up with the (pomegranate?) raita were actually somehow addicting!

Ending our meal was probably the stand-out dessert of the week - an eaton mess. Typically British, it's essentially pieces of meringue, some whipped cream and red berries. The juice from the berries softens the meringue, which in turn adds a pleasant sweetness and the cream adds a hint of richness.

This was most definitely my favorite meal of the weekend and I'd go back and eat there again any day. As long as I can have the broccoli.  

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