Friday, 26 November 2010

New Indian Restaurant in Leeds

VIP Launch Night

AM Kitchen and Bar

AM Kitchen and Bar isn’t the most obvious name for an Indian restaurant and the iconic Dyson Clockworks Building probably isn’t the most obvious location.

From the outside it doesn’t look like an Indian restaurant - the main feature of the building being the magnificent Dyson’s Clock. Inside the restaurant is a combination of contemporary styling with the original clockwork features. Glittery black walls combined with the original chandeliers. The old cashier’s officer has been turned into a VIP dining area and instead of jewellery and clocks the display cabinets are filled with champagne.

Last night’s event, the VIP launch was invitation only and was billed as a Bollywood glamour red carpet event. A pre-event write up promised bollywood dancers, celebrity guests and an evening full of entertainment. And although there was indeed a little red carpet out on the pavement in front of the door and some red table runners and glass diamond style table decorations that’s where the red carpet style ended. The only celeb I saw was a glimpse of Galaxy radio’s JoJo as she was walking out the door. In between courses there was some bollywood music being played but from our table upstairs in the corner there were no dancers to see.

But enough about that on to more important things…the food!
The evening's menu was mouthwatering in descriptions.


Seekh Kebab - minced lamb with special herbs and spices
Chicken Tikka - marinated and mildly seasoned, cooked over charcoal
Masala Fish - marinated with our special marinade and deep fried
Onion Baji - deep fried onion and potatoes in a mild spicy batter

The Chicken Tikka was my favourite, lovely tikka flavour with a good kick of spice. The Fish Masala went down very well with my fellow diners, good quality white fish with a nice flavour. The kebab was nice enough, a bit greasy, I’ve had worse, I’ve had better. The bhaji was a bit disappointing, cold and chewy but given the fact that they were serving 150 people at the same time – you can’t expect everything to perfect. Based on the rest of the starters I would go back and try the bhajis again on a regular evening.


Chicken Karahi - cooked in a rich dry sauce with herbs and spices

Saag Gosht - lamb in spinach cooked in traditional Indian style

Tarka Daal - lentil dish tampered with garlic and ginger

Accompanied with pilau rice and naan

Now the mains were very tasty, good quality meat, tender and succulent. All 3 dishes had a lovely blend of spices and a full round flavour. The karhai was my favourite because it had a bit more spice to it. Personally I like a hot saucy dish, so these were a bit mild and dry for me, especially after the spicy starters. But I still really enjoyed all the dishes and got to try ones I wouldn’t usually pick for myself, I was especially surprised by the tarka daal, I wasn’t expecting to like a lentil dish but the sauce was really quite tasty. Nice soft naan bread, next time I’d like to try the garlic version.


Matka Kulfi - kulfi with saffron sauce and specially flavoured chopped almond and pistachio nuts served in  a ceramic bowl (matka).

What really made the evening for me was the dessert. I’ve never had dessert in an Indian restaurant I’m usually far too full (and I’ve had a few disappointing prepacked frozen desserts in Chinese restaurants that have put me off Asian deserts). This icecream was served in cute little individual pots and was totally delicious. Soft creamy purely indulgent icecream topped with crushed pistachios and almonds was the perfect ending. I will definitely be eating this again!

AM Kitchen and Bar has actually been open for quite a while, this wasn’t their opening night, just their launch night. And I’m glad they launched on such a large scale otherwise I would’ve never known it was there. The couple at my table were regulars and raved about the food and the service. They always start with samosas and the lady’s favourite dish is Lamb Passanda whilst the gentleman recommended the Lamb Nehari as a hotter dish. Based on their previous dining experiences I will definitely return to the restaurant and for a true review I need to have my usual dish Lamb Madras to benchmark it against my favourite restaurants. I’d also like to see if the service improves with fewer diners.

A bit more about the venue...John Dyson installed the ornate clock in 1865 when he founded his jewellery business. The second smaller clock was added in 1910 with the Latin inscription ‘Time Flies’ to celebrate his wife’s birthday. The clocks were a popular meeting place for courting couples in the first half of the 20th century and they have become a famous Leeds landmark. Not forgetting the story of the beautiful chandeliers hanging inside, rumour has it they were won in a bet in Monte Carlo! (But some internet research instead claims that Mrs Dyson bought them at the 1890 Paris Exhibition with money won on the gaming tables in Monte Carlo.) The Clockworks building was home to Dyson’s jewellery business for 125 years, can this new contemporary Indian restaurant compete with the history of the building and live up to its landmark status? Probably not – but we can still enjoy the food and the dining experience for as long as it lasts.

On leaving the restaurant we were given a little goody bag. In it there were a generous amount of vouchers for a free bottle of wine when dining before 21 Dec. And as much as I love free wine even I can’t drink that much before then. So I’d like to offer them to my readers, try the food for yourself and enjoy a free bottle of wine. The first 10 people to e-mail me with their address will receive a voucher in the post  (I promise to destroy addresses after use and will not use them for any marketing or other purpose.)

To see the menu visit

AM Kitchen bar is also part of the Leeds Marriott Hotel and apparently you can order room service from the restaurant – eating curry in your pyjama a true guilty pleasure!

If you’ve been to AM Kitchen and Bar I would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts, what dishes you would recommend?

Because i love curry so much I went to back to AM K&B on Saturday night to try the madras, read the update here.