Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Mother India Cafe - Edinburgh

Mother India Cafe in Edinburgh, despite the name, is a restaurant that serves Indian food in tapas portions. A brilliant idea. It enables you try many more dishes than you would at your standard Indian restaurant and sharing food is always a great way to try more things too. Win win. I know most people would be eager to try Scottish fare when visiting Edinburgh but we had already booked somewhere Scottish and were fearful of falling in to the tourist traps and eating substantial run-of-the-mill stereotyped food the whole time we were there.

A quick look through some Scottish based blogs and urbanspooon and we came across Mother India Cafe. There were some great reviews and having been pining for a decent curry for some time we gave them a call.

We were advised that there were no bookings being taken during the Fringe Festival but if we popped down we could put our name on a list and wait, the wait would be an hour long. So we did just that. It wasn't quite so simple though. When we arrived people were overflowing in the entrance and there appeared to be no one attending to anyone arriving. It took a good 5-10 mins before we could grab someone's attention, then the man attending to us flicked through his book and said he couldn't accommodate us, we explained we had called and could we write our names down and come back. He agreed and said it would be an hour, we asked if we could leave and come back and he said yes. I don't know why he didn't just say this...

When we returned an hour later people were queuing out of the door, knowing what it was like inside we scrambled inside apologising advising we had a reservation to meet. This was met with grumpy looks but we were never going to get anywhere stood outside. Once again we had the situation where there was no one to grab and had to wait again 5-10 minutes before a member of staff came over to the crowd near the door.

We advised the man we had arrived and he told us he would be with us in 5 minutes. So we waited. A few minutes later (by this point I was starting to get nervous that we wouldn't have time to eat and get to the show we had booked and paid for on time) he came and collected us telling us to follow him.  Just as we started to follow him some eager people trying to make a reservation and some people coming upstairs from the toilet blocked our way! We struggled to get through and had to run to catch up with the waiter man. 

Finally seated at our table we were given some menus. There was plenty that sounded good and we struggled to pick, using the guidelines on the menu were decided on four dishes, a rice, and some poppadoms to nibble on whilst we waited. 

The drinks menu wasn't extensive and I struggled to see any Indian lager/ales so we both chose a Peroni later realising there was some on the menu! Doh! 

With our poppadoms we ordered some mixed pickle. The mixed pickle wasn't your usual mango chutney etc but a Indian pickle of some sort which came in one pot that was sweet sour and spicy. It was mouthwatering good. We asked for a coriander yoghurt to help us combat the spice as a separate.

It wasn't too long before the first of our dishes arrived, surprised but also grateful for the speed we tucked in to our Aloo Saag Dosa which came with a small pot of daal. We chopped this in half to share. Oh my was this good! The lentil pancake was done exceptionally well with the spinach and potato perfectly balanced inside.

Next up came some more chana daal, I was more than happy to have another bigger portion of this as it was beyond belief good. So consuming I ate it as slowly as possible to let the flavours dance upon my tongue (nb this wasn't very slowly).

Next up came the meat dishes! We ordered a Lamb Karahi which came medium spiced with melt in your mouth lamb which slowly fell apart beneath my fork. I think the look upon my face as I tried my first fork full made D chuckle.

Next up was the chilli garlic chicken which was recommended to us by the waiter. The chicken in this was so tender and moist whilst having soaked up some of the flavour, a hard task to do. We wolfed this down too accompanied with the rice.

Then there appeared to be a mysterious dish on our table... I shifted closer to it and swore that it was fish. Taking a small piece to my plate and cutting into it I confirmed it was fish. D doesn't like fish and I was too full so we grabbed a waitress and explained there was a mistake. The original waiter appeared and he seemed to be insulted that we didn't want the dish and asked what the problem was... We told him we didn't order a fish dish, he asked if we wanted something else and we said we didn't.

Mysterious fish dish (best picture too dammit!) 

We were in and out within 40-45 minutes with the bill coming to £30 which I didn't think was bad at all!

When we left we both agreed that all the aggro at the beginning was most definitely worth it for the amazing food we had just consumed. I'm sure it was only so manic because it was the Fringe but considering it is a well established restaurant (opening in 2008) with a couple others in Glasgow I would have thought they would have had these things ironed out by now.  A place to go if you're visiting Edinburgh but be wary or at least prepared for the mayhem around festival season. 

Mother India Cafe
3-5 Infirmary Street


Mother India's Cafe on Urbanspoon

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