12th January 2017 7.30pm
My friend Emma at Vegan Edinburgh took a photo of a lovely looking thaali at Kalpna some time ago, so when she suggested we visit, along with Ann from A Quirky Lifestyle, I didn’t need any persuading!
Kalpna is a vegetarian restaurant serving Indian food but has many vegan friendly dishes. The walls are decorately beautifully inside and made for an impressive interior. After a bit of debate between a thaali and a dosa, I felt I had to try the thaali and opted for the thaali raj bhog. Emma went for the vegan version of this. Ann picked a starter and a main and went for the bateta vada followed by the mysore masala dosa. We obviously had some poppadoms too- we are not idiots!
The food came out very quickly. The thaalis are massive (there is a mini option if you prefer). The platter had a couple of starters, a tiny bit of salad, a couple of dips, 5 small main dishes, rice, naan, poppadom and a dessert. The starters were bhajis and a really nice potato pakora. These could be dipped into the raita or the tamarind and date sauce. The tamarind sauce was definitely my favourite of the two. The mains were all curry based, three of which were brimming with vegetables. One was green bean based and was thick but had a lovely, vibrant flavour to match it’s beautiful green colour. Another had lots of sweetcorn and mushrooms in, which was unusual but nice. Another was a spicier green bean curry but has a strong tomato base instead. There was also a paneer butter masala and a tarka dhal. The dhal was way too salty for me but Emma, who had the same in her vegan thaali, found hers to be just right, so it could just be my salt-sensitive palate. The paneer butter masala was my favourite of all the dishes. There was plenty of paneer in it for such a small dish and the sauce was creamy and delicately spiced. The rice was great and the naans nicely fluffy. The dessert, whilst nice, was a bit too sweet for me, being rice based but in an over flavoured milk. Emma enjoyed her thaali. With most of the dishes being the same as the vegetarian, there were only a couple of substitutes, mainly for the paneer and the dessert. Ann enjoyed her starter of bateta vada and in the end preferred this over her dosa. She felt her dosa, whilst massive, wasn’t quite what she expected. She was also a little underwhelmed by the coconut chutney that came with it.
So, overall Kalpna was good. It isn’t going to set the world alight but you will leave feeling you enjoyed your meal.
Food – 7.5/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Overall – 31.5/40
Would I eat here again? Probably
Cost £63 for two thaalis, one starter, one main and two diet cokes