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The Indian Kitchen, Amstelveen – review

Having posted various articles and photos about Indian restaurants in Amsterdam lately, one follower responded that the best place (in her opinion) was The Indian Kitchen in Amstelveen. My hopes were not high (I’d been to Tulsi on the recommendation of another follower and had a fairly dismal meal) but there was something about her words that stuck with me. My first opportunity to go was last Saturday, when I’d been in Amstelveen during the day for another reason. I also happened to be with a friend who had a car, so that made the journey in this endless February rain and wind a lot more appealing.

We arrived just after 7 o’clock and the place was heaving, as was Indian Street Food & Co next door. The waiter serving us didn’t seem to speak Dutch, and had that British-Indian accent I’m so used to from London; I took it as a good sign. Clearly when it comes to Indian food, Amstelveen is the place to be – and I’d been missing a trick. The menu was as unnecessarily long as every other Indian restaurant menu, and I didn’t recognise many of the names of the dishes, so after much deliberation we settled on a few that we liked the sound of.

The Indian Kitchen, Amstelveen
Foreground: Bharwan Shimla Mirch. Background: Hara Bhara Paneer Tikka.

First up was the so-called Hara Bhara Paneer Tikka – essentially a skewer of paneer cheese and vegetables, grilled in the tandoori oven and served with a mint and coriander dipping sauce. It sounds simple, but you could taste the tandoori grill in the cheese, while the sauce tasted every bit as fresh and green as it looks. Our second starter was a whole red pepper, stuffed with a spicy, potato-based filling and baked. The sauce it came with was sweet from tomato, but creamy and ever so slightly crunchy from nuts. I’d never eaten anything like the Bharwan Shimla Mirch but I’m still daydreaming about it four days later.

It took us even longer to decide on main courses, but we eventually chose the Murgh Makhni, which described itself as “proudly known as butter chicken worldwide”, and the Pindi Channa – a type of chickpea curry. But neither of those descriptions do the dishes justice at all. We’d been asked if we wanted the curries spicy, so naturally we said yes, and for once these genuinely were. Laced with small but potent green chillies, they blew our heads off but never to the detriment of the flavour. The chicken dish was creamy with cashew and slightly sweet – but not in a way that resembled Campbell’s tomato soup like so many disappointing butter chicken variations I’ve eaten before. The chickpeas had the perfect textural contrast of smoothness and bite, while their sauce was warmly spiced with ajwain seeds. We cooled our mouths down with perfectly cooked rice and the lightest, crispiest garlic naan I’ve eaten this side of the channel.

Indian restaurant in Amsterdam - The Indian Kitchen
The Indian Kitchen’s answer to butter chicken, chickpea curry and garlic naan

My only criticism is that, despite ordering two starters, two main courses and two glasses of wine, our waiter was very, very reluctant to serve us tap water. He begrudgingly gave us one glass, but given the spice levels of everything, we burned through that pretty quickly and had no choice but to sink an extra €5 into a bottle of Sourcy. In 2020, with everything we know about the climate crisis, using yet another disposable bottle seems pretty criminal.

That one gripe aside, The Indian Kitchen is without a doubt the best Indian restaurant I’ve visited in Amsterdam. Apart from it’s not really in Amsterdam – and it doesn’t deliver to Amsterdam either (I checked). So for now, it’s time to top up your OV card and hop onto whichever metro, bus or tram will get you closest to Karel Doormanweg. Or wait till the weather improves and get on your bike – all that pedaling must deserve an extra curry, surely…

all the info

The Indian Kitchen (Indian)
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