“ Address: 10 Drummond Street / EH8 9TU / Edinburgh „
One evening during our trip to Edinburgh, I was in the mood for a curry. My mum wasn't terribly hungry, she was just going to have a small portion from whatever I ordered, so the choice of takeaway and meal was up to me. There was a Nepalese-Indian restaurant and takeaway a few doors along from our rented flat, but having looked at the menu online, nothing appealed. I looked slightly further afield, and found the Red Fort Restaurant & Takeaway located just of Nicolson Street, near the end of Chambers Street. I phoned in my order, and then set off a short while later in the rain to collect it, aiming to be there 20 minutes after I phoned, which is how long they said it would be; the order was ready when I got to the restaurant.
As I didn't sit in the restaurant, I can't comment on the service or atmosphere, but I did have a look around while I paid. The front section seems a bit stark, and the restaurant doesn't feel like it has any separation from the entrance. There is a slightly raised rear section however, which looked more of a comfortable place to relax and enjoy a meal.
I chose a vegetable biryani, a portion of vegetable pakora, and a plain naan bread. Poppadums, sauces and salad were also added to the order by the restaurant, and I have a feeling I paid a bit extra for the poppadums, something which really annoys me when I haven't ordered them. The total cost was £13, which is reasonable given the amount of food we got, but seems a bit above average given that at home we get takeaway for around £14-15 for two meals.
It was just as well my mum hadn't ordered something of her own, as the biryani was huge. Of course Indian takeaways are always very generous in quantity, but this really was huge - a large carton of the vegetable rice along with a large carton of the vegetable curry sauce. It was very good, the vegetables just the right texture, the sauce spicy but not so much as to mask the flavour, and the rice was not dried out. One thing I did miss was the few pieces of cucumber or tomato which are often on the top of the carton of biryani rice - the Red Fort didn't do these. I like the few warm pieces of salad which have softened and absorbed the flavour of the warm rice. We were given a pretty large bag of salad, but that wasn't what I was looking for (those bags of salad always seem a waste to me, does anyone ever eat any of it?).
The naan was a little bit on the tough side, but it was nice and thick which made up for it a bit. I was comparing it to a frankly fantastic naan bread I had had just a couple of weeks before in a restaurant in London though, so by normal standards the Red Fort naan would probably be fine. The pakora however was really very good, quite spicy, oily but not too much, and with a crisp batter and soft inside. The only real disappointment of the meal was what I had assumed were spicy onions in a tub which accompanied the poppadums, a weakness of mine (it runs in the family - my dad, uncle and cousin are also very partial to spicy onions), but it turned out to just be a tub of chopped onions. Nothing wrong with onions, but disappointing if you are expecting spicy onions.
The food was very enjoyable and definitely satisfied my taste for a curry, but the lingering impression was one of quantity. The biryani was an immense size, and even between us (and I have a big appetite) we didn't even manage half of it. I would recommend the Red Fort if you are in the area and looking for a nice Indian meal, but consider sharing a main meal or you'll find yourselves with a huge amount of leftovers.