Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Lunch from Amaya Express Lunch

Amaya, the Indian restaurant on Bayview Avenue is celebrated for the freshness of its ingredients and subtlety of its spicing. With a new location of its Express Lunch recently opened around the corner, it is time for an Indian lunch.

Who can resist onion bhaji?  Beautifully gilded, these are more like a chickpea patty with finely minced onion rather than the more usual coarsely chopped onion dipped in a thin chickpea batter.  The salty exterior contrasts with the rather bland interior.

We try two curries--sweet and sour eggplant and masala lime lamb.  The menu card claims pilaf basmati is included. It is nowhere to be seen. When we lift the lids on these dishes, there is another notable absence.  There are no puddles of fat, so common to Indian takeout.   At first inspection, the sauces on the two dishes look remarkably similar.  On the tongue it is a different matter.  In a town where sweet and sour usually translates to a whole lot of sweet and not much sour, the tamarind-laced eggplant is a refreshing revelation of sourness. Remarkably, the eggplant has retained its shape and offers just a little resistance when bitten.

The masala lime lamb with a coconut base is a perfect example of Amaya's subtle seasoning.  Though no one element is discernible, the whole is rich  with a spiciness that does not overwhelm the lamb.  In many curries, the sauce is used to obscure gristly, fatty meat.  Here, the lamb is lean and tender.

Fortunately, a double order of butter naan makes up for the lack of rice.  These pliable breads have just a little crispy charring making them a great scoop for the curries.

With a meal so high on the satisfaction and flavour scale, it is only the price that will keep us from becoming frequent customers.

Price:  $40.40 for one order of bhajis(four patties), two curries, and a double order of naan.

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