In the mood for some extravagant North Indian cuisine? Team TMN has found just the place…
What: Amala tasting menu
Where: Amala, Zabeel Saray, Dubai
When: Every night from 6pm to 1am
The promise: “Every evening Amala serves an exceptional a la carte menu where guests can choose from an abundant array of indulgent dishes freshly prepared from an open style kitchen.”
Did it deliver? There are few entrances more grandiose than that of the Zabeel Saray – the opulent hotel oozes high-octane glamour from every fibre in its structure. In Amala – luxurious space dedicated to cuisine from North India – the chandeliers and intricately tiled floor offer a more subtle nod to the glamour, creating an atmosphere that is altogether more relaxed. Soft lighting adds to the ambience, making the cavernous space seem less imposing and, somehow, warm.
Once we were shown our seats, Team TMN were immediately immersed in Amala’s main event – the food. Hailing from the North of India, Mughlai food is influenced by flavours from Persia and Turkey, and is notoriously rich and creamy, often incorporating exotic spices and dried fruit. As the concept of the set-price menu was explained to us, we were asked if we would like to select the dishes we sampled, or leave this in the capable hands of Amala’s head chef. Opting to try the chef’s selection of food, we tucked in. The selection of starters we were presented with were delectable introductions to the cuisine – salads were refreshing and crisp, and smaller hot places were tasty and well-spiced. The tandoori that followed was even better, with meat cooked until tender and full of flavor – the lamb chops were a definite winner with us, with meat so beautifully cooked that it fell from the bone.
Following the selection from the tandoor grill, we were presented with three types of bread to accompany the curry dishes. The naans were soft and pillowy, proving an exceptional accompaniment to the standout dish on Amala’s menu; butter chicken. Amala’s version is rich without being overwhelming, well spiced and completely delicious. Other curries – notably the Goan prawn curry and the jalfrazi, – were also fabulously flavourful and incredibly moreish.
By the time we were presented with a small selection of deserts, even the most sweet-toothed of Team TMN found it difficult to find the room to properly sample them following such generous mains.
The Verdict; Amala is the perfect restaurant for someone who loves Indian cuisine and is looking to sample a variety of dishes. The restaurant’s grand yet casual feel makes it a relaxing venue and the value for money the menu represents is exceptional. For AED 325, the selection of dishes and quality of ingredients is hard to beat. The sharing style in which food is brought to the table makes it the kind of menu perfect for a large group yet it is equally welcoming for a romantic meal.