Restaurants can't be all things to everyone, but Britain’s unwavering love of Indian food already offers Amaya an advantage when it comes to being universally likeable. Aside from the small issue of Knightsbridge pricing - which, granted, could serve to alienate some - Amaya is one of those London gems that proves pretty hard to fault.
In the place of faddy Instagram interiors is a theatrically lit, glossy dining room decked out in blacks and reds that’s oddly comforting despite its vase size. It stretches right back through various levels to a semi-open kitchen where the smell of roasting meats escape from the grill to greet you. The staff are unbelievably endearing too, cocktails are bright and fun, and the menu doesn’t shy away from fan favourites, while managing to offer up some more unusual takes for jaded foodies.
A crispy noodle salad exemplifies the kitchen’s knack for combining unexpected ingredients, in this crunchy, fresh appetiser that they say is so popular that they can’t ever take it off the menu. Golden-crusted scallops follow in a verdant herb sauce and then there are little peppery chicken skewers kissed by a smoky char on the outside, and perfectly soft on the inside. Everything preluding the curries is petite to allow you to try a range of the team’s offerings which run from shellfish platters and grilled game.
For mains a biryani is cranked free from its dough seal in a puff of steam which clears to reveal fluffy bejewelled rice with unbelievable deft spicing. A Smooth butter chicken style curry brings back familiar but finessed flavours and a fluffy garlic naan allows you to wipe up every last bit of sauce. Dessert arrives - sticky syrup soaked dumplings and rose-flavoured mini kulfi - and inevitably prompts complaints that you’ve eaten too much, but sadly there’s nobody to blame but yourself. And that’s the thing, the food here is too good not to enjoy with gay abandon.