Whilst it’s been a while since our last visit, driving out to the Palm Jumeirah is always something that strikes us as ‘so Dubai,’ and I wonder why we don’t make the trip more often. Similarly, upon arrival, the immediate opulence of Jumeirah Zabeel Saray is always breathtaking.
We make our way past the fountains in the lobby, Amala is located on the ground floor of the hotel, and opens into a stately dining room, with large columns and jewel tones throughout. Even better? During the cooler months, the restaurant has access to an expansive and covered open-air patio, something we wish more venues could offer. Promising “a sensory experience created by the rich flavors and exotic spices of classic North Indian Mughlai cuisine,” we eagerly open our menus to review the dishes. While there is plenty in Dubai in the way of Indian fusion and gastronomy, sometimes it’s best to enjoy original flavors and presentation.
After we cleanse our hands on the scented towels and enjoy a small glass of lassi, we’re served a range of poppadoms, with a variety of delicious chutneys. To start, we order the Murgh Tikka, which arrives sizzling on its own grill. The seasoning is spot on, and the chicken is juicy and tender. Throughout the evening, we see this dish ordered at nearly every other table, so it’s a clear winner for the team at Amala. We’re also served up one of the signature dishes, the Vattichattu Kanagoora. I love scallops in every form, and these four are presented simply, cooked well. Do I think there could be a few other elements to enhance the dish? Yes, but that’s just my opinion.
For mains, it would seem rude not to order a curry, so we request both the Goan Jhinga Curry and the Dal Makhani, served with Basmati Rice and two kinds of Naan, garlic and butter. While I enjoy the flavor of the Goan Jhinga Curry, I wish the consistency of the sauce had been just a bit thicker. However, I’m one who prefers more of a gravy texture when it comes to my curry. The Dal Makhani has plenty of depth of flavor and, like the prawn curry, is a generous portion. Both dishes would be easy to split between two people. Now, while I’m not a complete expert when it comes to the subject of Naan, I will say that Amala’s version might be my favorite in the city. Perfectly crispy, with just the right blend of garlic or butter, and not too thick or thin, only my attempt at a diet had me stop from ordering another round of this beautiful bread. While others might overlook the Naan, we feel that restaurants who put emphasis on all the details of a meal are often the best venues.
For dessert, we decided to split the Amala Signature Kesar-Malai Kulfi Ice Cream which is another perfect dish to share between two people. With saffron and other colorful ingredients, this vivid plating will have you grabbing for your phone before diving in.
Would we go back to Amala? During the winter season, this would be a cozy location to enjoy on the Palm. There was a good crowd, and the service was both friendly and approachable. As with any above average Indian restaurant, there will be plenty of options for vegetarians -something we appreciate. There are also special deals devised as ‘tasting menus’ where guests can choose from dishes and have access to unlimited amounts. We suggest asking your waiter to learn more about the special.
For those of you who haven’t visited Jumeirah Zabeel Saray apart from Amala they also have a range of other delightful dining options for you to try from, The Rib Room, boasting classic decor and prime cuts of meat, including Irish and Wagyu beef, cooked to order, Lalezar, Dubai’s first Anatolian restaurant, with authentic Turkish dishes, fresh salads and succulent meats, Plaj, a contemporary beachside dining venue with a menu of wood-fired pizzas and fresh Mediterranean flavors, The Crown, the only traditional British pub on The Palm, offering a selection of refreshing drinks and screening essential live sport and The Music Hall, offering gourmet international cuisine accompanied by nightly musical performances, ranging from jazz to rock, to name a few.
Murgh Tikka, AED 100
Vattichattu Kanagoora, AED 145
Goan Jhinga Curry, AED 120
Dal Makhani, AED 75
Basmati Rice, AED 35
Naan (3 pieces), AED 30
Kesar-Malai Kulfi Ice Cream, AED 55