ANT and Dec, fish and chips, salt and pepper, Wallace and Gromit ... Some things are just meant to go together.
But curry and cocktails? It certainly rolls off the tongue, but this isn’t a combination I had ever heard of, and nor was I convinced it would work.
However, when date night rolled around, my boyfriend and I decided to venture to Amaya – Westhill’s new and intriguing Indian restaurant and cocktail bar.
And we were very pleasantly surprised to discover how well the two blended.
The chic style of a cocktail bar accompanied by the delicious aromas and exquisite service of the restaurant were a unique juxtaposition that blended into brilliance.
The restaurant's interior was spectacular – with colour-changing glass water feature walls down the centre of the room. Clever black blinds let in ample light but hid the restaurant’s surroundings (a main road, car park and supermarket), which added to the illusion of the cosmopolitan feel.
Unfortunately, as I was designated driver, I could only gaze longingly at the cocktails being served in the bar.
With service so exceptional it rivalled any I've ever received in Aberdeen, we were made to feel welcome in Amaya and were never without drinks or popadoms.
To start we both went for Amaya’s take on our old favourites – my other half opting for alhabadi chicken pakora, that were succulent and full of flavour with a divine light, crispy batter.
With the same heavenly batter, my marchli pakora almost melted in my mouth. Despite the slight spice to the batter, the flavour of the fresh, flaky fish shone through.
Both dishes came with a perfectly spiced and wonderfully flavourful pakora dipping sauce that was so good the dish was almost emptied.
The side salad was also a welcome addition to cleanse our palate.
When it came to choosing a main course, it took a lot longer than our starters. We both pondered for a long time over the menu's huge and mouth-watering selection of dishes, and each decided to take a break from our usual selections and try something new.
I think I might have found a new “usual”: the shahjani chicken passanda was so tasty. The rich, creamy sauce was milder than my usual choice, but offered so much flavour my taste buds were dancing. The powerful nutty flavour was enhanced by the addition of toasted almonds on the top of the dish, and the lightly spiced chicken in the sauce provided a more savoury hit.
Ewan's murgh tikka manganite was mild too, but provided a completely different array of tastes. Though the sauce was creamy and smooth, it set the palate tingling with all the individual spices and flavours. We spent a while pondering over what was in the buttery sauce and couldn’t guess – but concluded that they made an excellent combination.
As lovers of coconut, we were on cloud nine sharing coconut rice and peshavari nan bread.
Amaya’s quirky interior and delicious food certainly won us over – in fact I think it might have become our “go to” Indian restaurant. One thing’s for sure, though, the next time we go my boyfriend can drive – I want to sample one of those cocktails!