When you regularly dine out and about in the city you start to notice a few things. For example, those in the know will tell you that high prices often mean better quality and experience rather than bigger quantities. They will also vouch for the fact that the same dish can taste completely different depending on the restaurant you’re dining in; but most significantly, they will reveal that the majority of high end restaurants serve halal food.
Yet many of these restaurants fail to advertise this. A Google search for Halal restaurants will not disclose any of these high end restaurants, and neither is there a mention of it on their websites.
This naturally raises the question as to why? Are they not aware of the USP value it holds? Are they unaware of the sheer number of people they could be attracting? Can it really be put down to sheer ignorance about the market value of a restaurant serving halal food when so many of them are falling short at the same hurdle?
I can only really contemplate the answers here. But what I can do is tackle this lack of advertising on the restaurants’ side by uncovering those that serve halal food here and revealing what they are really like.
One such restaurant discreetly serving halal food is Amaya. Serving Indian grill in the heart of Knightsbridge, this place manages to cater to all tastes quite well. Although it has a bar, this is completely separated from the rest of the restaurant. Rather than serving the standard Indian dishes, Amaya fuses Indian spices with the non-conventional grill to create something very different.
A nice addition is the fact that the food is prepared right in front of the diners, everything from grilling the chicken to chopping the onion, meaning the diners will receive occasional tantalising wafts of the cuisine. Amazingly, unlike some Indian restaurants which claim to be serving ‘authentic’ Indian food yet never actually live up to this claim, Amaya actually manages to serve up some authentic flavours without shouting about it.
The décor adds another level of attraction to Amaya. It’s not overdone or overpowering but still has its own character. Additionally the place looks dramatically different depending on the time of day, meaning you could lunch and do dinner in quite different surroundings.
Reflecting this contrast are two main spaces: the centre of the restaurant has a lighter feel to it as there are lots of chic mirrors bouncing off the aqua greens and sky blues; the latter section is more oriental and composed of dark reds, dim lighting and candles, creating a very atmospheric dining experience.
So what about the cost? Although it is in the centre of Knightsbridge, dining out regularly also teaches you one more crucial thing: London is full of high end restaurants and many of these are not just the abode of the moneyed as long as you know where to look: Amaya is one such place.
Amaya can cater for those aiming to spend high, but they also have options which work for the not so financially ambitious. The Amaya platter in particular allows diners to taste 7 different dishes including a decently sized salad to start and a rather large dessert to end – definitely worth the £20 it cost. In a similar way they have many more deals such as the Lunch Express which will allow you to experience the best of Amaya without forking out a fortune.
So, looking to dine out in style without being restricted in what you can eat? Amaya would be an apt location and you won’t be left counting the pennies afterwards.
Of course there are many such restaurants clandestinely catering for halal tastes and I shall be unearthing them all through this platform.
Snita SP has an avid interest in dining out. She currently works in Marketing in London.
Photography exclusively for The Platform
Reclaim Your Stage:
The Platform is a groundbreaking blog that provides current affairs and cultural commentary. Our pieces offer challenging opinions from a range of spectrums; that’s why we love hosting a platform for them.