http://www.amayarestaurant.com/ $$ 416-322-3270
Chef Hemant Bhagwani draws his inspiration from his travels and experiences in India, and brings these rich authentic flavours into his kitchen. The locally sourced menu uses molecular gastronomy to put a spin on Indian dishes while keeping true to traditional flavours. The room is colourful and the service is warm. Wetting the appetite is an animated sugarcane mojito; the secret behind the curtain is dry ice.
Surrounded by fellow bloggers invited to a luncheon, the dishes start flying out of the kitchen and so the camera frenzy commences. A two part amuse hits the table first: a yogurt egg filled with a savory mix of spices, salt and sugar sided with a spoonful of white truffle and tart pomegranate. Prawn papdi chaat allows the star ingredient to shine: a mountain of aromatic spices layered with cumin, chutney and tomato. Crispy pakora’s packed with kale are less dense then the norm, sided with mint yogurt and tomato chutney – love it!
Amaya prawns succulently cooked are heightened and not overwhelmed by a rich spiced curry. A flight of Pani (fried bread) puri (water) are a bit of a project though super refreshing. The lamb is tender moist and wonderfully smoky, the sweet plum chutney really excites. Paneer tikka is a surprise, think flaming Greek Saganaki – yum!
Dry chicken tikka slathered in curry leaf, mustard seeds, mint foam and saffron is redeemed by creamy milk fritters. Gold medal scallops and lamb biryani, though beautiful, are dreadfully under seasoned. Another awesome dish is always the one you doubt; creamy eggplant steak surprise with a fragrant sauce excellently paired with the chili olive naan.
Desserts are a highlight. -200 liquid nitrogen cools milk, cream, rose water, cardamom and crushed pistachios creating one of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted.