If you are hardpressed for time, but need a quick break with the family, drive down to Amaseena, off Jayamahal Main Road, for a leisurely meal. Or, if you are scouting for the perfect place to date, this is it. Honestly, we weren’t expecting it to be more than a typical North Indian restaurant, but the ambience stole our hearts rightaway.
Set fairly deep inside the green cover of Palace Grounds, Amaseena has the vibe of a resort. In fact, that was the plan, we’re told. Trees dot the huge land it stands on, and the restaurant, which is shaped like a big canopy, is dressed up with rice lights. As you walk in, the chandeliers, stained glass fixtures, music, and the seating arrangement will remind you of a scene from The ArabianNights.
The menu features delicacies from the North West Frontier, and cover a decent range of dishes. We were served a welcome drink of mango and pineapple (called aam aur ananas ka panna), a virgin mojito, and blue lagoon. If not for the extra salt, the panna would have been a delightful drink. However, given the weather, it’s probably best to begin with a shorba instead. The paya shorba for non-vegetarians, and the tomato-coriander soup for vegetarians are two good choices.
Good company came in the form of appetisers — the paneer gulfam, mutton keema kebab, and tandoori khumbh khajana. The paneer is first marinated with curd and cheese, and then cooked with malai, khoya, and cashews. Yes, it’s decadent, but you can’t be counting calories here. The khumb khajana had mushrooms stuffed with finely chopped capsicum, ginger, and cheese. And the shrooms were as juicy as they could get. The mutton keema kebab, our third appetiser, was served piping hot, spiced just right, and was an absolute treat.
Now here’s a word of advice, the restaurant is a little open on the sides, so don’t linger with the food because it will grow cold before you know it.
We took it a notch up with the main course, with dal bukhara, nalli nihari, and bhindi amchur wali. These were served with khameeri roti, khasta roti, and lal mirchi paratha, and saffron rice cooked dum style. The khasta roti can be a snack by itself, it’s that good. The dal bukhara is rich and creamy, and goes well with the rice. The bhindi amchur wali has coconut in it, which we thought is a nice way to balance the tanginess of the amchur. And the lamb shanks in the nihari were deliciously tender. Since we went all the way, there was no refusing the dessert, and the lychee ki tehari is a perfect choice.
It’s a good place to go back to for special occasions, and we do hope they fix some lights along the five-minute stretch from the entrance at Chamundi Hotel gate till the restaurant, it can get uncomfortably dark at night.
Rs 1,200++ (for two).
Noon-3.30 pm and 6.30-11 pm. Details: 8951604371
— Barkha Kumari