Restaurants / Openings

The Woodlands’ Royal Restaurant Experience — Amrina Showcases Indian Food In Bold New Ways

A Spectacular Setting, a Star Chef and Two Brothers With a Vision

BY // 04.14.23

Amrina (Hindi for “princess”) upgraded the fine dining scene in The Woodlands to a royal level when it opened last summer. The restaurant from brothers Preet and Surpreet Singh, and executive chef and managing partner Jaspratap “Jassi” Bindra made a grand splash on The Woodlands Waterway and it’s still going strong.

Eater Houston chose Amrina as its 2022 Restaurant of the Year — and that wasn’t a fluke. The Singh brothers have years of high-end restaurant experience. Bindra came to The Woodlands from India via the competitive Washington, D.C. international dining scene.

According to Preet Singh, Amrina is a “chef-driven team, but everyone works together,” and that partnership, from the kitchen staff to management, is geared around making every diner feel like royalty.

Bindra started in the kitchen at age 19 in his native India. After several years, he led a culinary program with 200 employees across 11 restaurants and a hotel in India. Then he moved to Washington, D.C.

He moved to The Woodlands after the Singh brothers spent significant time getting to know him and vice versa. They flew to D.C. and met Bindra at his restaurant. He flew to The Woodlands to see the proposed location.

While in Texas, the brothers put him through the paces with a Chopped style challenge.

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“I showed him a bunch of ingredients and said, ‘You have to use all this,’ ” Preet tells PaperCity The Woodlands. ” ‘ Create three courses, you have one hour and you can use only this equipment.’ I gave him the most obscure ingredients: German noodles, meats, wild vegetables. Very random.”

The attention to detail is evident in every aspect of the restaurant. There’s custom-designed furniture in the social space. The place settings in the private dining area are Versace. Each dish has a specific RAK plate. You’ll find Sambonet cutlery throughout. Even the choice of ice cube molds for drinks is a nod to thoughtful design.

No matter where you look at Amrina, you’ll find something that has been carefully selected to create a truly luxurious dining experience.

“Every inch of the place is customized,” Preet says. “We went to each warehouse to see each stone.”

Planning for this space started about 18 months ago when Preet and Surpreet Singh, themselves Woodlands residents, drove past the unoccupied space.

“We realized this was our opportunity. We saw the space and fell in love,” Preet details.

Surpreet Singh, Jassi Bindra and Preetpaul Singh are the team behind Amrina.
Surpreet Singh, Jassi Bindra and Preetpaul Singh are the team behind Amrina.

With an 8,500-square-foot bespoke interior and a 1,500-square-foot outdoor patio and cigar area, the Singh brothers had plenty of room to stretch Houston-based Curve Hospitality’s design skills. Prior to opening, the Amrina team met weekly to prepare the space.

Anchoring the entryway is a mural by Kavi, depicting a pigmented and bejeweled princess, setting the royal theme for the space.

With nearly 1,000 bottles of wine, Amrina won Wine Spectator‘s Best of Award of Excellence in April 2022, two months before it even opened. It has the third-largest wine list in the entire Greater Houston region.

If wine isn’t your thing, the bar is well-stocked with top name bourbons and tequilas too.

Dining Like Royalty at Amrina

In the elegance of the main dining room, Chef Bindra presents food with its own distinct personality. It’s Indian-inspired cuisine, but caters to the American palate “with an Indian soul,” Preet says. “We have steaks and seafood that tie into our chef’s Indian upbringing, and use Indian staples like cardamon and star anise.”

Amrina’s signature menu items include sea bass and steak. The queen’s duck, which is especially popular, is carved tableside.

But the only constant is change, and Amrina’s menu is now shifting to spring. Bindra is adamant about using the freshest ingredients available. This Woodlands restaurant menu reflects that ethos.

Holidays are an even more hallowed time at Amrina, where Bindra creates one-of-a-kind offerings specifically for the occasion. “Chef goes all out for these, sourcing special ingredients because he gets excited,” Preet says.

So what is a meal like at the majestic Amrina? The savoy spinach and goat cheese kulcha is a melt-in-your-mouth disc of bread stuffed with mild cheese that is slightly tangy and delicious. The garlic naan is loaded with garlic but surprisingly light.

From the small plates menu, the burrata is spicier than expected but leaves your mouth with a warm afterglow.

Amrina brings inventive dining to THe Woodlands.
Amrina brings inventive dining to THe Woodlands.

The charred octopus is served with pickled onion, small zaffrani potatoes and a vinaigrette. The texture is delicate and paired with a sauce that was flavorful and complemented the octopus perfectly.

The tender, juicy rara lamb chops with crispy eggplant, spiced ground lamb and mint were exquisite. The lamb was rare enough to perfectly balance the eggplant — crispy on the outside, succulent on the inside. The ground lamb base has an inviting spice that lingers on the tongue.

Complete your meal with a cardamom chocolate mousse with jaggery caramel — Indian sugar with a smooth interior and a rich, buttery taste — and a 24-carat gold kiss. This delicacy is not to be missed.

There’s Even More to Eat and Drink at Amrina

If you expected to have a singular experience at Amrina, think again. Four other areas of the restaurant offer entirely different menus.

The Social Area

Diners can sit comfortably at high-top tables for four and a long bar. Listen to live Latin music on Thursday nights or vibe to an assortment of bands on Fridays and Saturdays.

A happy hour menu is also available Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 pm to 6 pm.

The Tapas Bar

With 12 spots at an immaculate white stone curved table, diners have access to an exclusive menu. Diners can also interact directly with the tapas chef.

The tapas bar offers a rotating seasonal street food menu with the option of wine pairing, and individual dishes are also available. It has vegetarian options and features chef-curated cocktails specific to the tapas bar.

True to its street food vibe, cocktails are served in pouches.

The Garden Room

The six booths in the secluded, quieter area off the main dining room are perfect for family gatherings. Diners can enjoy the same menu options in a more private setting, away from the hustle and bustle of Amrina’s main dining room.

Private Dining Area And Semi-Private Dining Area

Want to dine like a king? Here’s your spot. The private dining area is perfect for groups that want a more exclusive dining experience. With its unique Versace tableware and folding doors that can be closed for total privacy, it’s a lovely place to celebrate a special occasion.

If you’re looking for something a little larger, the restaurant can also create a semi-private area just outside the private dining room for groups of 40 to 50 people.

Happy hour libations are available Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 pm to 6 pm. Dinner is served Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5 pm to 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 5 pm to 10 pm and on Sundays from 5 pm to 9 pm. Reservations are available for each area of  Amrina on Open Table.

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