Restaurant Review: Amaya, Belgravia

Date of visit: May 2021

I made a last minute booking for Amaya in the first week after lockdown when we were allowed to dine indoors. It was pretty much the only place on my list that was available and I was quite surprised to arrive at 12.30 to find the restaurant completely empty. During my lunch (which only lasted about an hour) I think 5 or so other tables were filled. Interestingly, given the size of the dining room they managed to seat someone so close to me that their chair almost backed into the side of mine.

Amaya is an Indian restaurant in Belgravia, where the idea is to have a series of small grilled dishes followed by a Biryani, so not a typical approach. There were no curries, for instance, nor any poppadoms. Some people might not like such a concept but I am fine with any sort of concept if the food is delicious. I’ll get onto that shortly.

For lunch, as well as the a la carte, there are set menus at £45 (vegetarian at £42) which seemed to follow the above approach. There is also a lunch platter available for £29 which includes 7 tasting portions of different dishes. The £45 menu was only available for 2 or more diners so I thought I would just give the platter a go. This turned out to have been a poor decision and I should have just gone for the a la carte. My review might seem harsh given I went for this option but I do think that if a starred restaurant can’t provide a meal that lives up to its Michelin starred standards at a cheaper price, it shouldn't have such an option available. What I ate also didn't make me think that the wider menu would be much better given the platter had elements from the a la carte.

The Menu

The platter supposedly consisted of 6 items although I think one of them went missing. I can’t remember though as I didn’t have the menu to refer to. I assume therefore that the 6 items were broken down as follows:

  1. Daal - this was pretty bland. Dishoom does much better than this (although I’ve only had a different type of daal at Dishoom)
  2. Naan with raita. The naan was very good - fluffy and crispy on the bottom. I would have preferred a bit more though! The raita contained pomegranate but was again bland
  3. Paneer of some sort - tasted of absolutely nothing so I smothered it in the chutneys provided (see below)
  4. Spinach cake which I think was with potato. The menu mentioned fig but I didn't notice this in the flavours. This was quite nice, but not especially memorable.
  5. Chicken tikka with pepper - very succulent and perfectly cooked. The second best thing on the platter.
  6. Lamb seekh kebab - delicious and super tender. If only the rest of the platter were like this!

The platter also came with a plate of chutneys:

There were two seasonings; one with rose and another I can’t remember. Both very tasty and added something interesting to the meal. Then there was a tomato and lentil chutney which was so delicious I ate it from the spoon! Finally what I think was a tamarind chutney, but this was nothing special. This came with the platter but I think separately can be ordered with the a la carte for £4. It should be free in my opinion as makes a big difference to the meal. 

In terms of presentation… well, you can see from the photo that there was no effort made here. Possibly the worst presentation I have ever seen in a Michelin starred restaurant. I don't think there's anything I can salvage for an Instagram post.

This was not Michelin star quality food and it’s amazing to me that certain excellent restaurants don’t have stars when this restaurant does.

In terms of wine I just had a glass of Sauvignon blanc which was very nice, which deserves points as it was the cheapest on the menu at £10.50. I loath it when a restaurant only has terrible wine at the cheaper end of their menu as there are many acceptable wines that could be served.

The Service

I had one waiter looking after me during my lunch, but the service wasn’t especially attentive. I had to wait a while to ask for a glass of wine, for example. The meal was served in one go so there’s not really much to say here about service.

The decor of the dining room, which is quite large, is not bad. However the chairs and tables are a bit old and tatty. One of the tables had a massive chunk of the top laminate broken off but was still set up for service.


Food: 2/5

The food was bland in many places and the presentation was really quite poor.

Service: 2.5/5

The service was fine but not at the level of other Michelin starred restaurants, and the decor was a little tatty.

Value for money: 2/5

Despite this not being an expensive meal, I thought it was still pretty poor value. A la carte might end up being better value.

Overall score: 2.1/5


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