Posh Spices and Currying Flavours
Amaya, meaning ‘the end of delusion’ in Sanskrit, is designed by Jeffrey Wilkes, (creator of the Vilas hotels in India) in keeping with Camelia and Namita Panjabi’s vision. A seductive bar, encased in rosewood, complete with shimmering crystal chandeliers, serves exotic cocktails and flavoured vodkas. A glazed atrium allows in natural light and the focal point of the room is spotlit with bottles of infused oils. The seating is cosy and I like a restaurant that attracts dates over business conversations; everything sounds quieter and more exciting in a sleek, low lit mahogany environment. An open-plan glass kitchen depicts cooking as theatre, with no barriers between the kitchen and the customer, exposing the variety of Indian grills such as the tandoor, sigri and tawa.
Namita explains: “Indian food is one of the most exciting cuisines in the world, in terms of balancing the complexity of various tastes and spices together, with the sweet, sour and hot flavours, giving each dish a body and a nose, rather like wine.”
Must try: The cocktail ‘Lucknow Lust’, the Hamour fish tikka and dori kebab which is brought to the table on a skewer and unzipped on the plate with a string. Also, the spiced clam cakes and nalli barra (shanks of delightfully tender lamb in a rich, dark, spicy sauce). Some dishes can be ordered in smaller portions and you can try a signature three course calorie-controlled meal of under 400 calories!
Been there: Gwyneth Paltrow, Brad Pitt, Chris Martin, Christian Slater, David Tang, Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, Richard Dreyfuss, Albert Finney, Bob Hopkins.