“ Type: Indian Cuisine / Address: 3-5 Infirmary Street / Edinburgh EH1 1LT / Scotland / Tel: 0131 524 980 „
*This review was written and posted elsewhere last month, andI haven't edited anything in it so apologies if anything has changed*
Luckily for me going out for a meal seems to have turned into a weekly thing, as I have been to a restaurant once a week for the past month or so. Last night I met up with a friend who I hadn't seen in a long time, and since both of us had bizarrely been thinking about curry all day, we decided to go to Mother India Cafe for some Indian tapas.
I live on South Bridge, so Mother India is just around the corner from me on Infirmary Street, though for some reason I have only been there once before. Often when I am walking along that end of South Bridge I can smell the delicious smell of curry wafting from the restaurant, and every time I do so I swear that I will go back again soon, so I was delighted when my friend suggested that we go there last night.
We arrived at about 8pm without having booked a table, and were surprised to find that it was remarkably busy and that every table was full. I know that 8pm is prime dining time, but I rarely find restaurants that busy on a Wednesday, but took this apparent popularity as a good sign of it being very good. The last time I had been here it had been fairly quiet, if I remember rightly, but I do recall thinking that the food was good enough for the place to be packed. We only had to wait for about five minutes before we were sat at a table for two.
We were brought food and drink menus almost straight away, and we decided to order a bottle of house red (£12) between us while we decided on food. The menu listed about twenty tapas sized curries, along with a short list of rice and sundries at the bottom, as well as another sheet of paper which had that days' three curry specials and a naan listed on it. The main menu suggested ordering three to four dishes between two people to start off with and ordering more if you're still hungry. We were both starving but decided to only go for three at first, along with rice and naan, knowing that we could order more if we wanted. We went for a Chilli Chicken Dosa and Butter Chicken off the main menu, along with a lamb and okra dish from the list of specials, as well as peshwari naan and rice.
We didn't have to wait long for the food to arrive (though drinking copious amounts of red wine probably made it feel like time was passing more quickly than it actually was), and the chicken dosa arrived before anything else. For those of you don't know (I didn't, anyway) a dosa is a 'crispy rice and lentil pancake', and this one was stuffed with spicy chicken and came with a small dish of lentils and a very small side salad thing. We cut the pancake in half and shared everything else roughly fifty fifty, and were impressed with all of it. The dosa was delicious and the chicken well cooked, with the lentils and salad making nice accompaniments. We really enjoyed it and it gave us high expectations for the rest of the food, which arrived shortly afterwards. I'm a massive fan of Indian food, and although I like almost all of it, I tend to go for a lot of the same things every time I have it. These include always going for peshwari naan and either lamb bhindi (okra) or lamb sag. I have had some really good ones in my time, therefore the naan and lamb okra at Mother India had a lot to live up to. Fortunately, they didn't disappoint. The lamb was soft and the okra had a perfect mix of crunchiness and softness, and the peshwari naan was so sweet and delicious that my friend and I ate it just by itself without dipping it into curry. The butter chicken, although good and tasty, was probably my least favourite dish of the lot, but my friend absolutely loved it and so I let her eat most of it. That's not to say that I didn't really enjoy it, because I did, but just that everything else as so amazing that it didn't quite match up.
We felt quite full after all that food, but after sitting for about ten minutes and perusing the dessert menu, we decided that maybe we could fit something else in. There were a few nice looking desserts to choose from, and we ended up sharing some Scottish tablet ice cream and mango kulfi (an Indian sorbet/ice cream type thing). They didn't take very long to arrive, and the amount was fairly generous. The kulfi was nice and fruity without being overly sweet, and was pretty much an exact cross between a sorbet and an ice cream. The tablet ice cream was in fact vanilla ice cream with small pieces of tablet mixed into it, which worked very well and tasted amazing. We were pretty full by the time we'd finished them, but it was definitely worth it.
So, after eating all of our food and wine we got the bill quite quickly as we had a party to go to (and therefore university to miss the next day due to a ridiculous hangover). We had eaten and drank quite a lot, so we pretty surprised to find out that it only cost £40 between the two of us. If we hadn't had a bottle of wine or desserts our meal would have cost less than a tenner each, which is definitely student budget friendly. I was still fairly impressed that it only cost £20 a head for the amount that we had, as we didn't feel like we could have had anything more.
In conclusion, our meal at Mother India Cafe was excellent in every way. It was very good value and tasted amazing, and I will definitely go again soon. I probably preferred the quality of the food as Khushi's Diner (which I reviewed last week), but if you fancy some Indian food tapas-style in Edinburgh city centre, then I would definitely recommend trying Mother India Cafe.