Yes, yet another post about Indian food. When I’m not cooking it at home, I’m eating it at restaurants – I just love it! Especially this brand new fine dining spot on the outskirts of Durham City…
Amaani is the most recent restaurant to take residence at the Pumphouse, a historic building between Houghall and Shincliffe. Having opened in January 2018 by established chefs and tucked away in the most beautiful rural surroundings, Amaani at the Pumphouse is the epitome of a ‘hidden gem’.
Except it seems that the word is spreading and absolutely everyone is paying one of the latest boutique Indian restaurants in Durham a visit. Including me!
We paid the new venue a visit mid-week as part of Lon’s birthday celebrations. We made a reservation as it was advised when I got in touch, although when we arrived it wasn’t overly busy (but still buzzing for a Thursday evening!).
My favourite part of our arrival, possibly even the entire evening, is the welcome you receive as you step out of the car. There are speakers set up around the entire building humming away as you approach it. Playing traditional Punjabi music and with dim, welcoming lights entwining the leafy walkway, it set the scene perfectly.
The restaurant interior is beautiful too. Of course, it’s been recently renovated so everything is fresh, clean and light but the decor itself is elegant yet understated – we immediately felt under-dressed in jeans and Doc Martens…
We were welcomed by a pleasant team of staff who seated us straight away and took our drinks order whilst we pondered the menu.
It’s an impressive book of delights, the menu. Some traditional, well known dishes mixed in with some unusual and unfamiliar numbers too.
To start, I settled upon the salmon. Since visiting Sachins, I’ve became a huge advocate for seafood at Indian restaurants.
Baked in charcoal and marinated in an olive oil and coriander sauce, it was a simple yet stunning dish. It was served with grilled asparagus and a citrus salad, both complimentary to the flaky, soft fish.
Ooh’s and aah’s from around the table confirmed that the rest of our party were thoroughly pleased with their choices too.
Moving onto the main meal, I’d ordered the Goan Lamb that came with a spice warning. A classic northern Indian dish, slow cooked with aromatic spices, garlic, chilli and coconut (£9.95).
The curry was divine! A perfect balance of light, creamy coconut and the pungent heat from the Goan chillies. The lamb too was perfectly cooked – I really recommend this dish.
I teamed it with a garlic pilau rice (£2.85) and the Bombay Aloo, a spicy fried potato side dish (£3.95).
Also served up was the Balti Garlic Chicken Sag, a delicate and mild curry with spinach and full of flavour. This dish came with your choice of rice or a naan (£13.50).
As well as the monster that was the Thali Tandoori. Almost like an Indian mixed grill, it included sheek kebab, tandoori king prawns, tikka chicken, lamb tikka and a masala sauce. As well as a portion of pilau rice and a Keema naan! For £14.95, it’s quite the bargain.
The total bill came in around £120.00 for four people, including starters, mains and a couple of Cobras each. As far as Indian restaurants go, we were pretty pleased with the price per couple.
The food was incredible, great service and not even the slightest sign of teething problems, securing itself as my new favourite Indian in the local area. I can’t wait to go back and make my way through their menu…
Let me know if you give it a go!
Lots of love, LB x