Located in Knightsbridge, Amaya is a Michelin starred Indian restaurant by the same people as Veeraswamy, Chutney Mary and Masala Zone. After a recent incredible meal at Indian restaurant Gymkhana, I was really excited to see what Amaya had to offer – but sadly the whole experience from start to finish was a total disappointment.
The restaurant was an attractive space which was flooded with natural light and the open plan kitchen gave the place a relaxed atmosphere. The chairs were bloomin’ uncomfortable though. We were seated next to a giant colourful painting, which on closer inspection, had food splattered across it – lovely.
We decided to order the ‘Amaya Favourites’ menu priced at £35 per person. A mandarin and goats cheese salad was the first to arrive and it was exactly that; a bit of rocket, some sliced mandarin and some crumbled goats cheese. Pleasant at best.
The black pepper chicken tikka was one mouthful – more of a canapé than an actual dish. The letter ‘A’ had been written on the plate in a flavourless sauce which, other than being pointless, was a bit naff. There was nowhere near enough of the accompanying (and cold) satay sauce either.
The ‘Amaya naan’ which were in fact just naan, quickly followed. They were fine, but I’d expect fine if I was sitting in that Indian restaurant above the Blue Eyed Maid on Borough High Street – where was the finesse? The invention? The wow? There was also a distinct lack of dips/sauces/chutneys. When we finished, they replenished the bowl but with only one naan this time for us to share, which seemed awfully miserly.
The spinach and fig tikki followed which were, and I hate to use this word, disgusting. Luke-warm balls of dry, flavourless stodge. I was in desperate need of a sauce so I could actually swallow the things.
The tandoori ocean wild prawn was a big bugger at least, but so overcooked that the flesh no longer resembled anything that had come from the ocean. The tomatoey paste that covered it was also dry and dull in flavour.
The tandoori chicken chop was presented alongside an unappetising smear of green stuff which looked quite positively gross. The plate also had a huge thumbprint on it too – I hate to sound pernickety, but we’re talking about a Michelin starred restaurant here. The attention to detail was non existent.
The grilled lamb chop was overcooked, chewy and dry which wasn’t helped by the fact it was covered in crushed nuts, which really weren’t a great companion for the lamb. There was yet another smear of that green concoction here too but no sauce – a sauce would have made the chop so much more manageable.
The best thing we ate was the final dish; chicken biryani with raita – only because it was filling and had some form of flavour. Served inside a little pot with a candle underneath, the rice and chunks of moist chicken thigh were tasty but the accompanying raita simply tasted of yoghurt; it could have done with some seasoning.
We couldn’t bear to look at the dessert menu so paid up and made a swift exit. I can quite honestly say our meal at Amaya was one of the worst I’ve ever had. The place was absolutely packed though (mind you, so is Angus Steakhouse), but with a certain type of clientele. Fellow diners spent their whole meal on their phones, in silence, barely looking up even to order. Amaya obviously appeals to those people – it well and truly doesn’t to me.