5 months ago

We need talk about Amrutha Lounge

One Google review said that they “would have rated them 6 stars if I could” and yeah, you know what? Us too.

Credit: @thelittlelondonvegan

We’re going to level with you: when we visited Amrutha Lounge in Earlsfield we weren’t going with any intention of reviewing our experience. We were going with the intention of having a relaxed Sunday evening dinner with a friend and it was a bit of a stab in the dark. Neither of us had been before and the website is brief, but our friend had been recommended the restaurant and, heck, we will always try something new. Thank goodness we did. Our experience was one that we’ll not be forgetting any time soon and let this be our chance to pass on the recommendation to you. 

Amrutha opened its brick and mortar site in Earlsfield, Garratt Lane, in early 2018 and just last year they expanded to Honor Oak where their second site is. It’s a bit different to a typical restaurant for a few reasons. First things first, it’s fully vegan, it’s BYOB, the majority of the menu is all-you-can-eat and the food is a hybrid of lots of different cultures and cuisines. It’s not conventional and a few of those points would put a lot of people off because London is currently in the grips of buzz words like small plates, nose-to-tail, curated wine list… Amrutha are carving their own path and sticking to the way they’ve been doing things since day one. But when you consider they’ve been open for 6 years (and survived Covid!) you can deduce that they’ve got to be doing something right.  

Walking in you get a hit of a convivial feel that immediately makes you drop your shoulders. And, sure, the lights are pretty bright and the tables are sort of higgledy-piggledy, but that doesn’t take away from the comforting atmosphere that oozes from the walls. If anything those casual elements add to it. Sitting down we were quickly welcomed by our server Zach (more on him later) who grabbed us some wine glasses for the bottle we bought along and explained the menu to us. Here’s how it goes. There’s the regular menu where there are starters (beetroot gazpacho, kale salad, falafels) and mains which are big, diverse plates of different combos of grains, rice, curries, sauces, chutneys… They all looked extremely tempting. Then there are two options for all-you-can-eat. The original selection (£25pp) and the grandé selection (£30pp). The latter has an additional 3 dishes to the originals 9 and, considering we were already warned that there was a lot of food and it was complimentary refills, we went for the OG. 

Credit: @thelittlelondonvegan

When it came out our table was suddenly a rainbow of different pots of things: Buddha curry, Thai green curry, basmati rice, sesame slaw, Chinese salad, pakoras, coconut and tamarind chutney, sprouted mung beans and cashew cheese. It really was a feast for the eyes before we even tucked in and when we did? It was all fantastic. The Buddha curry was a gorgeously coconutty dahl which had a nice spicy punch from a hit of chillis on top and the fragrant Thai green curry was packed full of vegetables with a sauce that went incredibly well when it was soaked into the rice. Some surprising big hitters were the slaw and salad; each had bold flavours that were well balanced and both added a bit of freshness to the rest of the meal. The pakoras were a dish we had to double down on; they were fantastic. And though they would have been just lovely by themselves, the satay and sweet chilli sauces that they were having a bath in elevated them to top spot in our ranking of the best pakoras we’ve ever eaten. The dinky pots of chutneys, sauces and sprinkles made everything come together perfectly on our plate. What a feast. And when you’ve finished one of the dishes? Zach was ready to refill whenever we wanted. The chef came out at one point with a taster of the beetroot gazpacho, just because. How good can beetroot gazpacho be we hear you ask? Well let’s just say that we have been Googling recipes since the moment we left and currently have a fridge full of beetroot…Order this one. 

It’s not just us who is enamoured by Amrutha. At the time of writing this, out of a total of 942 reviews, the Earlsfield location has an impressive 4.9/5 rating on Google, which is practically unheard of. The comments were things like: “Visited Amrutha Lounge 3 or 4 times now and never been let down. The only disappointment is in myself for eating so much” and “ …This is a place with food for the tummy and the soul. And this is from a staunch non-veggie. The warmth of the philosophy of Amrutha is only matched by that of the amazing wait staff…”. In fact, almost all of the reviews we looked at mentioned the service. Which brings us back to Zach. He was a complete delight. He was happy to answer all the questions we had, wanted to chat and left us alone for just the right amount of time before asking if we needed another top-up. He piled us up with take out boxes of the evening’s leftovers that had us fed for days. At the end of the meal he offered us a cup of their own blend of herbal tea to help with the digestion (much needed). And then he offered us another one. He’s been working at Amrutha for almost as long as it’s been open and what an asset he is. 

Credit: @thelittlelondonvegan

On their website they call their food ‘vegan soul food’ and they’ve got it bang on. Amrutha’s food reminded us of that feeling you get after a trip to En Root which will leave you feeling full in the stomach and heart. It’s the kind of food that you just really want to keep on eating. It goes just beyond the menu. They offer work in the restaurant to those who cant afford to pay in exchange for food. The atmosphere of the restaurant lives in the staff that work there- the staff clearly love the place- which says enough about their ethos than any sweeping statement could. 

What we are saying is: we need to talk about Amrutha Lounge. And we need you to talk about it with us, so book your table.

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