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Vama, London SW10

Louise Elgin eats Himalayan - in Chelsea...

Phew! Untamed Northwest frontier Cuisine, eh? Well that's what it says on the menu. Sounds like we're in imminent danger of a deadly spice attack  But no! Chef Andy Vama knows just when to pull his punches, and his imaginative use of a wide spectrum of his native spices is really breathtaking. One of the most exciting developments over the past few years, certainly in London, has been the emergence of a new kind of Indian destination restaurant, light years away from the traditional Anglo-Indian curry house. Though to be fair there are many toiling worthily in that particular vineyard, unsung, sometimes even abused, as they feed the ravenous hordes at pub closing time, working long hours that no English restaurant workers would put up with.

So, Indian fine dining, what's it all about? There are various approaches - you can go the strictly regional route, like Vama (North Indian), La Porte des Indes (Pondicherry), and Quilon (Kerala). Or you can try to give tastes of the whole sub-continent as they do at the Bombay Brasserie, (in spite of its name). The fusion route is another trend: the principal exponent being perhaps the Cinnamon Club, where French chef Eric Chavot jazzed up the presentations and hybridised the ingredients in a somewhat variable but often creative manner.  

Whatever route is taken, there have to be certain compromises between cultures. The Indian way of dining is quite different - as I understand it, they do not have the strict demarcations between courses that we have in the West. Although that in itself is a relatively recent fashion: it was called service a la Russe, first introduced in Paris by the Russian Ambassador in 1810. 

Vama's dark and softly lit dining room has an intimate feel, making it a good choice for a cosy 'tete a tete' or a romantic dinner 'a deux'. Indian artefacts and oil paintings create an exotic ambience whilst waiting staff are well informed and professional. To begin, there was a great choice of starters and accompaniments, for all palates. Unable to decide from such a plethora of choice, we opted for one of the 'platters'. These came in various assortments including a mixed grill and a vegetarian variety. We decided on the meat and seafood platter, an opportunity to taste four of the starters from the menu. Kali Mirch Ke Tukre, chicken breast cubed and marinated was wonderfully flavoursome and delicately spiced. Mahi tikka ajwaini, cubes of salmon, were succulent and tantalizing. Rogani champen, tender baby lamb chops came marinated in yoghurt, and served with a subtle cheese and garlic paste. Tandoori jhinga, tiger prawns cured in a yoghurt base marinade and then roasted in a tan door left me with wonderful taste of superb flavours.

To follow, there was a wide range of both meat and vegetarian based dishes. We shared a selection of both, which came served appealingly in elegant china bowls. Vama's own version of chicken tikka marsala, we found adequate rather than sublime. Adaraki gosht, cubes of tender lamb marinated in ginger and coriander was accompanied by a delicate tomato sauce, which lingered on the tongue. Matar methi malai, a house speciality, of pureed spinach, peas and green fenugreek leaves, was very well received, as was our choice of baingen ke tukre, roasted baby aubergine cooked in a creamy spicy sauce. Along with some superior Nan bread and Himalayan basmati rice, our curries proved a cacophony of spices, lingering flavours, and creamy textures.

After such a feast, I was surprised to find the puddings could still tempt me. Nine choices were offered and we shared a selection of three. Gajjerella, a very sweet carrot and milk halva, bright red in appearance yet gentle on the palate, had a satisfying tang and came served with a very good subtle and creamy cardamom ice cream. Kesrai ras malai, (dumplings), were sweet and milky despite a rather rubbery taste and texture. Jamun special had a smooth exterior giving over to a soft moist interior, whilst surrounded by a crisp caramel base, proving the least sweet option, this, like so much of the food on offer here, being imbued with luxury.

Dining at Vama's is a sensory and pleasurable experience for body and soul alike. I think it deserves its awards and many accolades and, at around £45.00 a head including service, makes it somewhere to relish and spoil yourselves.

Louise Elgin  May 2005

Vama
483 King's Road
London SW10
Tel: 020 7565 8500
: www.vama.co.uk

UK Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001 - 2008


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Copyright © 2007 MidasCode Ltd

Views or opinions expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publishers, Midascode Ltd.
While every care is taken in compiling this publication, the publishers cannot assume responsibility for any effects arising therefrom.

MidasCode Ltd
5 & 6 The Azure Suites, Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, W Sussex BN16 3DA
Tel: 01903 779538 International: +44 1903 779538 - Fax: 01903 856683 – Mobile: 07860 899235 – International +44 7860 899235

Want your Restaurant Reviewed? Send requests to

Registerd Office: Highland House, Mayflower Close, Chandlersford, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 4AR - Company No 05916096

Grape Seed Extract | Collecting Debt | Food Gadgets

 

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UK Restaurant and Hotel Reviews

London Hotels
GastroPub
Family Restaurants
Press Contact

Vama, London SW10

Louise Elgin eats Himalayan - in Chelsea...

Phew! Untamed Northwest frontier Cuisine, eh? Well that's what it says on the menu. Sounds like we're in imminent danger of a deadly spice attack  But no! Chef Andy Vama knows just when to pull his punches, and his imaginative use of a wide spectrum of his native spices is really breathtaking. One of the most exciting developments over the past few years, certainly in London, has been the emergence of a new kind of Indian destination restaurant, light years away from the traditional Anglo-Indian curry house. Though to be fair there are many toiling worthily in that particular vineyard, unsung, sometimes even abused, as they feed the ravenous hordes at pub closing time, working long hours that no English restaurant workers would put up with.

So, Indian fine dining, what's it all about? There are various approaches - you can go the strictly regional route, like Vama (North Indian), La Porte des Indes (Pondicherry), and Quilon (Kerala). Or you can try to give tastes of the whole sub-continent as they do at the Bombay Brasserie, (in spite of its name). The fusion route is another trend: the principal exponent being perhaps the Cinnamon Club, where French chef Eric Chavot jazzed up the presentations and hybridised the ingredients in a somewhat variable but often creative manner.  

Whatever route is taken, there have to be certain compromises between cultures. The Indian way of dining is quite different - as I understand it, they do not have the strict demarcations between courses that we have in the West. Although that in itself is a relatively recent fashion: it was called service a la Russe, first introduced in Paris by the Russian Ambassador in 1810. 

Vama's dark and softly lit dining room has an intimate feel, making it a good choice for a cosy 'tete a tete' or a romantic dinner 'a deux'. Indian artefacts and oil paintings create an exotic ambience whilst waiting staff are well informed and professional. To begin, there was a great choice of starters and accompaniments, for all palates. Unable to decide from such a plethora of choice, we opted for one of the 'platters'. These came in various assortments including a mixed grill and a vegetarian variety. We decided on the meat and seafood platter, an opportunity to taste four of the starters from the menu. Kali Mirch Ke Tukre, chicken breast cubed and marinated was wonderfully flavoursome and delicately spiced. Mahi tikka ajwaini, cubes of salmon, were succulent and tantalizing. Rogani champen, tender baby lamb chops came marinated in yoghurt, and served with a subtle cheese and garlic paste. Tandoori jhinga, tiger prawns cured in a yoghurt base marinade and then roasted in a tan door left me with wonderful taste of superb flavours.

To follow, there was a wide range of both meat and vegetarian based dishes. We shared a selection of both, which came served appealingly in elegant china bowls. Vama's own version of chicken tikka marsala, we found adequate rather than sublime. Adaraki gosht, cubes of tender lamb marinated in ginger and coriander was accompanied by a delicate tomato sauce, which lingered on the tongue. Matar methi malai, a house speciality, of pureed spinach, peas and green fenugreek leaves, was very well received, as was our choice of baingen ke tukre, roasted baby aubergine cooked in a creamy spicy sauce. Along with some superior Nan bread and Himalayan basmati rice, our curries proved a cacophony of spices, lingering flavours, and creamy textures.

After such a feast, I was surprised to find the puddings could still tempt me. Nine choices were offered and we shared a selection of three. Gajjerella, a very sweet carrot and milk halva, bright red in appearance yet gentle on the palate, had a satisfying tang and came served with a very good subtle and creamy cardamom ice cream. Kesrai ras malai, (dumplings), were sweet and milky despite a rather rubbery taste and texture. Jamun special had a smooth exterior giving over to a soft moist interior, whilst surrounded by a crisp caramel base, proving the least sweet option, this, like so much of the food on offer here, being imbued with luxury.

Dining at Vama's is a sensory and pleasurable experience for body and soul alike. I think it deserves its awards and many accolades and, at around £45.00 a head including service, makes it somewhere to relish and spoil yourselves.

Louise Elgin  May 2005

Vama
483 King's Road
London SW10
Tel: 020 7565 8500
: www.vama.co.uk

UK Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001 - 2010


Your comments please!

Email us your suggestions, reviews, comments.

We very much want to hear your comments on restaurants you have visited, wines you have tried. Maybe you disagree with us, or perhaps you want to recommend a place we haven't yet covered. Email us at with all your suggestions, reviews, comments.

Back to Dine Online Home Page


Copyright © 2007 MidasCode Ltd

Views or opinions expressed by authors are not necessarily those of the publishers, Midascode Ltd.
While every care is taken in compiling this publication, the publishers cannot assume responsibility for any effects arising therefrom.

MidasCode Ltd
5 & 6 The Azure Suites, Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, W Sussex BN16 3DA
Tel: 01903 779538 International: +44 1903 779538 - Fax: 01903 856683 – Mobile: 07860 899235 – International +44 7860 899235

Want your Restaurant Reviewed? Send requests to

Registerd Office: Highland House, Mayflower Close, Chandlersford, Eastleigh, Hampshire, SO53 4AR - Company No 05916096

Grape Seed Extract | Collecting Debt | Food Gadgets