Zest

Zest

9th October 2018 6.30pm

www.zest-restaurant.co.uk

I have no idea why I have not visited Zest before now. Not far from where I live, in a central location, it’s a perfect meet up place for curry. We’d been invited along to put it through its paces. We were seated in the window (great for people watching) and picked a few things from the menu. However, we were then offered to try a few additional things. Whilst we knew we wouldn’t be able to finish them, we couldn’t say no to such a generous offer either.

We started off with some poppadoms and chutney. I was pleased to see how large the chutney portions are. Mango chutney is always sought after and it was nice not to run out. All three offerings were great. We then each got a plate of assorted kebabs, onion bhaji and prawn Puri. Each item was delicious, going back and forth on which was our favourite. I think I settled on the prawn puri and my friend decided on the chicken. The bhaji could have taken a bit more spice but was still tasty. The lamb was great too.

Zest

Zest

Zest

Zest

We were brought four curries to sample – lamb rogan josh, chicken P297 (named after an Edinburgh taxi driver), spinach and paneer, and a green herb king prawn curry. Again, we went back on forth on which one was our favourite. Each curry had its own personality. The chicken had depth, the lamb some spice, the spinach and paneer had bags of flavour, and the prawn some mellowness. Somewhat surprisingly for me, I think my favourite was the spinach and paneer. We had a garlic and paratha naans which were also excellent. The garlic naan had shed loads of garlic on, just as I like it. The paratha naan was billowy.

Zest

Zest

There was no way we could fit in dessert but thoroughly enjoyed all the food we tasted. We will definitely come back for another visit.

Food – 8/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yup.

Complimentary but likely to cost around £40 for a meal for two without alcohol.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views expressed are my own. Thanks to Hotel PR for organising.

Rustom

Rustom

13th September 2018 5.30pm

http://rustomrestaurant.co.uk/

This place came as a recommendation from a work colleague who was new to Edinburgh. Rustom has recently opened on Haymarket and has really made an effort to look sparkling for its customers. I decided to try their pan fried garlic paneer followed by chicken bhuna. My friend opted for the fish pakora and then palak gosht. We both got some garlic naans to go with our curries and a couple of poppadoms whilst we waited (obviously).

img_3802img_3801The starters arrived with the usual salad accompaniments which most people leave. My paneer was cubed and tasted delicious with it. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. There was a dip on the side which also added a bit of flavour. My friend’s fish pakora was generous in size, with three large pieces. She thought it was excellent value.

img_3805img_3804The mains arrived in quite hot dishes and I had to use my napkin to protect myself when lifting off the lid. My chicken bhuna was full of chicken pieces which was a pleasant surprise. You usually have to hunt for the protein in curries but not here. The sauce was good, providing a decent curry flavour. The naan was excellent and lots of garlic goodness. Across from me, my dining companion was really enjoying her palak gosht. Consisting of lamb and spinach which was slow cooked in spices, this dish was really tasty and felt a little bit different.

img_3803The service was very good throughout – attentive without pestering. If you are in the area, it’s worth a visit.

Food – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

£50 for a couple of poppadoms and chutney tray, two starters, mains and naans.

Radhuni

The Radhuni

21st June 2018 6.30pm

www.theradhuni.co.uk

There is a little, unassuming frontage to this restaurant but it’s massive inside and even has an outdoor seating area out the back. We had a relatively early sitting but there were already diners inside and plenty more came in during our meal, indicating that this is a popular place. It’s not surprising considering one of their chefs recently won chef of the year at the Scottish Curry Awards.

RadhuniWe started our meal, as we often do with curry, with poppadoms and chutney. The poppadoms were of high quality and whilst devouring the mango chutney, I was also really impressed with the mint and yoghurt sauce, which was refreshing.

We decided to share a starter between us and opted for the assorted kebab selection. This consisted of two chicken pieces, one lamb and a pakora. Both the chicken and the lamb were succulent and all of the kebabs had some nice spicing.

I’d ordered a chicken tikka balti and my friend chose the garlic chilli chicken. We both got a garlic naan and shared some rice. The waiter place some of the rice on our plates and then we got stuck in. I think this balti is the closest I have found to those in the Midlands in the Edinburgh area. The flavour was great, the sauce was rich and there was plenty of meat. The naan was huge and scooped up the curry well. The rice was also great. Across from me, the garlic chilli chicken was juicy and full of heat. We both really enjoyed every mouthful we ate.

Garlic naan - Radhuni

Garlic naan – Radhuni

We were so full we couldn’t manage dessert but there are plenty of options on offer, should you wish to partake in one. The staff were lovely and friendly throughout the meal and were clearly liked by other regular patrons who were in that evening.

The Radhuni is on the 37 bus route so if you are not local to Loanhead, it’s really easy to get to and from the city centre. It’s worth it as the food is yummy.

Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Yes!

Cost complimentary but likely to be around £45 for 4 poppadoms, chutneys, 1 starter, 2 mains, 2 garlic naans, 1 rice and two beers

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views are my own. Thank you to Scott from Hotel PR for organising the visit.

Chicken Balti - Vinyasa

Vinyasa

10th April 2018 6.30pm

www.vinyasaedinburgh.co.uk

Midweek curry on a grim drizzly day is a definite pick-me-up. Vinyasa can be found just off the Royal Mile and we were warmly welcomed on arrival. We immediately got to drooling over the menu, with plenty of familiar dishes on the menu. We had to wait a little while to place our order but when we did, we decided to get a load of poppadoms to start (standard) and then picked a variety of curries. I chose the chicken balti, as I always do when I spot it on a menu of a place I’ve not been before as it’s a good yardstick for me. I also ordered a garlic naan to scoop up the curry sauce.

Curries - Vinyasa

Curries – Vinyasa

The poppadoms and chutneys were great and as usual, we all had to restrain ourselves from devouring them within seconds. The chutney tray was pretty standard but as usual, the mango chutney was the one that was demolished.

Chicken Balti - Vinyasa

Chicken Balti – Vinyasa

Next, the curries. On delivery to the table, you may feel they appear on the small side, appearing in small but deep dishes, but actually I found this meant that I could completely finish my curry rather than having to admit defeat three quarters of the way through. Also, it meant there was a greater meat and vegetables to sauce ratio, which was mightily satisfying. I think everyone around the table enjoyed their curries. The rice and naans were also delicious.

Naan - Vinyasa

Naan – Vinyasa

We had to wait again to get and pay the bill but we felt it was worth it for the quality of the food. A nice place if you are around the Royal Mile vicinity.

Food – 8/10
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31.5/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

Cost £131 for 12 poppadoms and chutney, 6 curries, 4 naans, 3 rice, a bottle of wine, a beer, two diet cokes

Roti

Roti

10th January 2018 12.15pm

http://roti-edinburgh.co.uk/

Situated on South Bridge, Roti offers Indian food, with tapas being a specialty. A colleague had suggested lunch here as they had some good lunchtime deals. These consisted of a few different thali options along with some Indian fast-food fusion hybrids, which sounded unusual to say the least. I am a big fan of thalis so I ordered the non-vegetarian one and one of my dining companions chose the vegetarian version. The last of the three of us went for one of the slightly more unusual options and picked a tikka burrito.

Non-vegetarian thali - Roti

Non-vegetarian thali – Roti

We had a bit of a wait for our food, but unsurprisingly, the thalis looked great on arrival. Each had three different curries. On the non-vegetarian tray, one was lamb, one was chicken and the last was vegetarian. Additional to this were a couple of pieces of chicken with a dip, a naan and some rice. Each of the curries were different rather than being various meats with the same sauce and all had their own personalities but worked well as a meal. On the vegetarian version, the curries again were all different and came with naan and rice but had bhajis instead of the chicken. We were both suitably impressed and filled by our thalis. The tikka burrito did look a little bit sorry for itself in comparison. Certainly a size for those who like a lighter lunch but at a cheaper price, this makes sense. The burrito came wrapped in foil and had a sauce to dip into or pour. My friend enjoyed the flavours and gave it the thumbs up, even if she did have a bit of thali envy.

Vegetarian thali - Roti

Vegetarian thali – Roti

My two friends decided to order a mint tea and a latte. After what seemed like an inordinate amount of time (I’d say at least 15 minutes) the tea arrived and we were informed that it could be another 10 minutes for the coffee as the machine needed to warm up. We decided to wait but only because the tea had already been delivered. All very odd.

Tikka Burrito - Roti

Tikka Burrito – Roti

Roti offers value for money and the food was nice. However, don’t consider this a place to fit a lunch into an hour lunch break as there won’t be enough time.

Food – 8/10
Service – 6/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 10/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? If I wasn’t in a hurry

Cost £26 for two thali, a burrito, a tea and coffee.

Chicken Chasni - Ronaq

Ronaq

20th September 2017 6pm

www.ronaqrestaurant.co.uk/new_waverley/

Ronaq recently opened a second restaurant by Waverley, their first being in Comely Bank. Inside, this restaurant was decorated in a slick, modern style, with the main restaurant area based on the upper floor. We were seated by the window, which although overlooks the council building, also does have views of Calton Hill. We were offered some poppadoms whilst we looked at the menu, which we obviously agreed to. We ordered a couple of cocktails and I decided to skip a starter and go straight to ordering a chicken chasni and my friend chose fish pakora to start, followed by the Ronaq special curry.

The poppadoms were lovely, with good crunch. The chutneys were also excellent. The fish pakora arrived and I have to say we were a little disappointed in how they looked, as they resembled more of a frozen battered fish fillet than pakora (apologies that the photo is only showing two rather than three pakora – my friend was very hungry!). They tasted ok, as I got to sample one, but it really wasn’t anything special and lacked the texture I would normally expect.

The curries came next and both looked and smelt great. The service dishes seems a little shallow in comparison with other restaurants, which isn’t really a problem in terms of volume as I usually struggle to finish a curry, but seems a little stingy based on price. The chasni had peppers, onions and mushrooms as well as the chicken in it. The Ronaq special consisted of a mix of chicken, lamb, mushroom, prawn and lentils. Both were pleasant enough but lacked a bit of personality and depth of spice, resulting in neither of us being wowed by them. The garlic naans we both had were delicious though and stood up to the curries well.

Ronaq is pleasant enough but a little underwhelming overall.

Food – 7/10
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – 7.5/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 29/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe but it wouldn’t be my first choice

Cost £60 for poppadoms, chutneys, one starter, two mains, two garlic naans and two cocktails.

Kalpna

Kalpna

12th January 2017 7.30pm

www.kalpnarestaurant.com

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!

Vegetarian Thaali - Kalpna

Vegetarian Thaali – Kalpna

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.

Dosa - Kalpna

Dosa – Kalpna

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
Value- 9/10

Overall – 31.5/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

Cost £63 for two thaalis, one starter, one main and two diet cokes