Amala means pure in Hindi and is the name of the Indian Restaurant in the recently opened Zabeel Saray Hotel on the West Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah. (turn left when you exit the tunnel at Atlantis) The Zabeel Saray is the second of three hotels on the Crescent and unlike some newish hotels already has a buzz about it with a very crowded lobby at midnight on a Thursday.
I was expecting Amala, it’s Indian fine dining restaurant to be fairly quiet, but while it was by no means full, it had a few people eating at tables inside but the brightly lit terrace area was quite busy. The large menu is deceptive, how will I choose you think, but don’t worry, as there are 17 pages dedicated to beverages (both alcoholic and non alcoholic) and 4 to food ! The interesting thing about this menu is not in it’s choice of Northern Indian regional cuisine (fairly standard) but in it’s pricing. For Dhs 225 per head you can order whatever you want from the menu as many times as you’d like ! And the system seems to work quite well.
We opted for some classic Tandoori dishes to begin with, lamb chops, tandoori prawns and Hammour (these appear later in the menu so do read till the end) and we selected some South Indian prawn curry, lamb shanks, daal and bhindi (ladies fingers or okra) with a selection of breads for our main course. There is also a choice of biriyanis, we chose lamb.
Portions are sensible, not too large or too small, well presented and authentic in appearance and taste, the lamb chops were excellent and my favourite out of the starters. The sauce of the prawn curry was also very well made as was the biriyani, my dining partners raved about the lamb shanks but I can only take so much meat !
Importantly you feel as if you’re getting value for money from this a la carte buffet type menu, so I would definitely go again, but if you want to feel you’re in a high end, fine dining type of place perhaps opt to sit inside where the ambience (especially the lighting) is more subtle than out on the terrace.
While puddings are not mentioned in the menu, they are available and included in the price, I recommend the mango kulfi and ras malai.