Amani, Chelsea Harbour

amani-thumbSituated within Harbour Yard by the Chelsea marina is the location for upmarket Indian restaurant group Amani which launches its first culinary venture in the capital.

Combining their respective talents together, Amani is the brainchild of Managing Director Azad Miah and Executive Chef Rajeev Kumar. Azad is an experienced hand in the restaurant sector with a keen and experienced eye on culinary innovations. The chef who’s from the renowned Indian Oberoi Hotel Chain as well as London’s Cinnamon Club, draws his inspiration from the regional cuisines of India combining the flavours of the north such as pomegranate, rose and fenugreek with the tastes of Western India - Goan red chillies. The food is authentic Indian cooking with fusion elements plucked from Rajasthan, West Bengal and Kerala. The menu is changed seasonally in order to refresh the flavours and to keep in line with food trends.
Amani’s menu is clear and concise clean menu with enticing descriptions of various dishes.

Amani 2-resizeThere are innovative starters such as the Trio of infused Chicken Tikka, Mint and Garlic Tikka, Reshmi Kebabs with moong bean sprouts and Grilled King Prawns in a Lime and Cheddar Marinade. The Smoked Fennel Lamb Chops hark back to the days of the Moghul Emperors of India and the Gilaafi Seekh Kebabs are served on slates for an earthy feel when eating.
For the vegetarian palate, there’s plenty of fare including a sumptuous Vegetable Grilled Kebab, Malai Paneer (Indian cheese skewered) and Stuffed Tandoori Aloo (potato). The chef has put a fun element in his cooking too with a Bombay Street Food Chaat consisting of scrumptious Samosas, a Potato and Pomegranate Cake and Pani Puri (a refreshing mini puffed deep fried bread filled with spiced tamarind water).

The main courses provide a seafood lovers’ feast with four different dishes to satiate the appetite such as Baked Halibut Fillet with a Garlic Spinach in a South Indian Moilee Sauce. There’s Seared Fillet of Red Mullet in a Spicy Classic Goan Sauce served with Roasted Vegetables and Tandoori Freshwater King Prawns in a Creamy Malai Curry Sauce with Pickled Shrimp Rice and Dill, Mustard and Honey Salmon Tikka.
The popular choices are the Delhi style Butter Chicken Curry made with tomato, fenugreek and cream with a Coriander Naan, Chickpea cooked with Dry Mango and Garlic, the hearty Kadhai style Paneer and Babycorn, the fresh Spinach Koftas or dumplings and my personal fused favourite the Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Fried Okra in Five Spices and the Tandoori Roasted Aubergine Crush.
However, if you’re spoilt for choice and want to try almost everything, a tasting Tapas Cocktail Menu is available and during the day, you can’t go wrong with Amani’s abundant Lunchbox Special for £6 with a choice of 3 menu meals including Biryanis and a Grilled Mixed Meat Platter of kebabs. Another sought after selection is a Business Lunch of two courses at £15.
There are plans afoot for masterclasses in engaging and educating diners about flavours and spice and set against the breathtaking backdrop of the most exciting city in the world, who could say no to that?
Amani is by the marina at Unit G6, Harbour Yard, Chelsea Harbour, Chelsea, London SW10 0XD.

Tel: 020 7352 9444

Chakra Restaurant, Notting Hill, London

Chakra 3-thumbIf you’ve lamented the loss of the much loved and all time best Indian restaurant in London known as Vama, you’ll be pleased to know that chef Andy Varma and his brother Arjun have come up with another culinary creation. Nestled in the heart of London’s Notting Hill is Chakra.


Despite being in an upmarket location, Chakra through its ethos has the essence of good food in relaxed surroundings. The dishes are sophisticated yet possess an air of Indian regality. 
Chakra derived from ancient Sanskrit is the energy points of the body according to Hindu and Buddhist traditions. And it’s that very energy which Chef Varma and the team bring to the dining table. Their interpretations of Indian dishes are vibrant with starters such as the unusual Butternut Squash Galouti - vegetable kebabs made with yellow chilli and black pepper. This makes the most of seasonal British vegetables. Something which is very close to Chakra’s heart. Innovative dishes encompass another vegetarian delight called the Lucknow Plate that’s well worth ordering purely for it’s simplicity and genius combination of a delicately spiced lentil and mint kebab, red kidney bean patty and a spinach and nutmeg infused kebab.
Chakra 3-mediumA signature speciality is the Lamb Seekh Kebabs marinated in a homemade spice blend and then grilled on an Indian coal barbecue known as a chula. There are several classic main dishes to choose from including the popular Chakra Black Cod that’s roasted in a tandoor (clay oven) after being marinated in lime and cracked black pepper. The Patiala Chaap gets its inspiration from the Royal Kitchen of a King in Northern India - Maharajah Bhupinder Singh of Patiala and consists of fresh English lamb chops cured with a touch of cardamom and lemon.
My personal favourite is the Cucumber, Pomegranate and Tomato Raita that sits comfortably with a bread platter assortment of unique Okra Naan, Lamb Naan and Peshawari Naan. The varied choice of curries include the Jalandhar Chicken - a clever Chakra version of a Punjabi classic of tandoor cooked chicken simmered in a tomato and cream masala. You can also savour the fresh flavours of Spiced Sauteed Greens of baby asparagus and beans and the warmth of Chakra Chana which are chick peas tempered intake-away-medium cinnamon and clove. 
The desserts also have that Chakra touch. From the Mango Kulfi with a rich and tart Raspberry Coulis through to the fluffy and light Lemon Cheesecake, there is something for everyone to sweeten the tastebuds.
Chakra’s clientele is like a who’s who of Hollywood, Bollywood and the British glitterati so you wont be surprised to find yourself rubbing cutlery with the stars. The staff are incredibly warm and hospitable making sure your visit is enjoyable and informal and with the Varmas at the helm, Chakra is not an award winner for nothing.  
157-159 Notting Hill Gate
W11 3LF
Tel: 020 7229 2115

Shampan - a new a la carte menu to start the new season

AuberginesTucked away in an idyllic pocket of Kent is the fine dining restaurant Shampan. Executive Chef Sadek Miah with the help of his kitchen team has managed to come up with fresh ideas using British ingredients, some even sourced locally from the ‘Garden of England’ as Kent is so affectionately known.

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Coriander - Hatch End

Coriander 4resizedHatch End near Pinner may not be classed as a culinary hub but nestled along a high street teeming with other eateries is Coriander. It’s classed as a fine dining restaurant serving the local clientele with a selection of Indian dishes inspired predominantly by Northern Indian and Bangladeshi delicacies.

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Bayleaf Restaurant

bayleaf-takeaway-slider-1Bayleaf in North London has just launched its new a la carte menu. Opened over three years ago in Whetstone, the owner Toffozul Miah wanted to mix well-made traditional dishes with refined Indian regional delicacies with a modern twist. The restaurant on the High Road has a light, bright  and airy interior with the glazed, panelled entrance divided by bisected glass walls highlighted by a waterfall feature, giving a heightened sense of privacy and one side of the dining room harbours gilt back-lit screens whilst the other has pendant lighting, creating an attractive and intimate environment. 

The menu is comprehensive with all the favourites that one would find in a contemporary Indian restaurant. There's a Chutney Tray with homemade relishes including coriander and fresh mint, coconut chutney, yogurt mint sauce, tomato salsa and mango chutney. The Lajawaab Lamb is a lightly and simply spiced; a piece of sheek kebab and two cubes of lamb grill-barbecued in a traditional clay oven and served with fresh salad. For an unusual vegetarian option, The Gobhi Tree is a centre piece of a cauliflower lightly spiced with black pepper, coated with semolina, shallow-fried and garnished with pomegranate seeds.

5-indian-food-bayleaf-restaurant6-indian-food-bayleaf-restaurantThe seafood section has a notable dish called Kerala Style Red Snapper, a grilled fillet of fish served on a bed of spicy cassava served a spicy sauce of mango, mustard seeds, curry leaves and coconut milk. Amongst the other mains are the highly flavoursome Laal Maas (a popular Rajasthani dish - cubes of lamb simmered and smoked with whole spices and Kashmiri red chilli paste) or even he Patrani Machli (cod fillet marinated with ginger, garlic, fresh mint and coriander, steamed and served in banana leaf).
The Maharani Daal is a combination of five types of daal including toor, yellow moong, red masoor, white urad and chana daal. All cooked on a slow heat in turmeric then tossed with fried garlic and red chillies. Or you could go with the perennial favourite the Punjabi Daal Makhni - black lentils cooked with fresh tomatoes and red kidney beans in a luxurious creamy sauce.

All the dishes are noted for their presentation and the staff are warm, friendly, extremely efficient and always at hand to meet your needs. Tofozzul Miah says, “Bayleaf has built up a great reputation for itself in a relatively short space of time since it opened. We have a tremendous following both from locals and in and around North London. A customer loyalty that will last for a very long time.

1282-1284 High Road,
N20 9HH
Tel: 020 8446 8671