As far as Asian restaurants in Malta go, the era of just serving sushi is pretty much over.
Unless Jiro is about to set up shop in Ta’ Xbiex, Maltese diners want to see a selection of hot and cold foods, with meats and ramens and all sorts of funky dumplings on the menu.
Amami is a Mellieħa seaside restaurant that, on the label, sets out to fulfil that need. They offer a host of interesting-looking sushi rolls (see the sushi volcano below), but we wanted to try some of the other Asian cuisine they had on offer.
Tempura vegetables are always a light, refreshing dish to start any meal right
Restaurants offering fresh tempura generally vary greatly when it comes to the size – and freshness – of the vegetables used in their tempura.
Amami went with large chunks of vegetables. Not exactly the most suitable for sharing with friends, but easily shared once sliced up a bit.
The batter was soft and fluffy, as it should be, and the vegetables included broccoli, eggplant, corn and a surprise slice of orange pepper, which really hit the spot.
While fluffy, the batter could have used a bit more seasoning, and the accompanying soy sauce seemed purposefully bland… but the vegetables themselves were quality enough to make up for that.
Sizzling teriyaki beef skewers, crunchy chicken katsu curry ramen and wasabi fries
The skewers are brought out on an ornate Asian-themed sizzling box, with the charcoal still lit.
Three skewers were positioned atop the grill, ensuring they are piping hot when you bite into them. The sweetness of the teriyaki sauce went surprisingly well with the smokiness of the charcoal, and it was a bit of a battle to see which of the two of us sitting at the table would be taking the third skewer.
Chicken katsu is a simple but elevated form of chicken, with the panko-encrusted poultry being sliced into these tasty little morsels, and thrown over a bowl of delicious vegetable rice with curry. You don’t hate yourself for the carbs, and you even feel a tad healthy by the end of it.
This dish is great comfort food that will nearly always hit the spot.
As soon as we saw wasabi fries on the menu, we had to try them.
In recent years, Malta has been inundated with a multitude of fry forms, from the classic sweet potato fries to sweet potato fries with bacon, sugar icing and truffle.
But covered in wasabi and seaweed flakes, we had never seen before. And accompanied by a super tasty ramekin of wasabi mayo, these fries are the perfect side order for anyone who loves wasabi and doesn’t mind their mouth casually burning for 15 minutes.
Banana cake and a very unexpected cronut
When it comes to dessert in Asian restaurants, the French-American Cronut is probably not what you’re expecting to see at the end of a meal.
However, we aren’t complaining, with the chocolate-filled creation bringing the right mixture of crunch and softness to end the meal. If you haven’t yet tried a cronut before, this is definitely a place worth checking out for just for the experience.
The banana cake was soft and chewy, just like mama’ makes it.
A tasty toffee creation is placed atop the cake like a calling flag, and the salty, slightly burnt kick of the toffee works hand-in-hand with the sweet banana.
In-house made sake infused with green tea and honey
As we were about to leave, we were offered a taste of the house sake. The waitress, Ghana, who was super helpful throughout, explained that it was infused with green tea and honey, giving the Asian alcohol a super smooth texture.
She was totally right – if honey and lemon tea is your go-to drink when you are down with the flu, then this sake is for you, with practically none of the characteristic burning that comes with alcohol. Plus, a little bit of green tea never hurt anyone.
Our bill came to about €60 for two people, which is a good price considering we had three courses of some very stand-out food.
If you have an appetite for Asian but want to go beyond sushi – and maybe even throw a cronut in the mix – then Amami by the sea might be the place to be.