Old School Indian at Kahani
A Scottish love of spicy food does not start and stop with haggis. Chicken Tikka Masala was invented in Glasgow in the nineteen sixties and according to a Scotsman interview in 2012, Mohammed Khushi spotted a market for curry following the India/Pakistan partition in 1947 as many Indian students arrived in Scotland. He started a restaurant in Edinburgh with just six dishes on the menu. To attract Scottish and Indian appetites he included mince ‘n’ tattie curry and lamb curry.
More recently, Khushi’s on Antigua Street has been reborn as the brightly decorated Kahani (note the telephone number ends 1947) and Old School Lamb Curry is still on the menu. When I meet my friend Eleonore for dinner one Wednesday evening I am intrigued to try this heritage dish and discover it is the perfect combination of tender meat, heat, and flavour. The lamb is served in a rich gravy and the pilau is turmeric yellow with each grain separated. I am only disappointed that I can’t scrape the handi clean of its contents but we have already indulged in nibbles and starters. I am impressed, however, that the waiter offers a ‘doggy bag’, which is a great way of reducing food waste.
Rewind to those nibbles. Complimentary poppadoms', blistered crispy, plus chutneys, raitas and pickles whet our appetites. Their vibrant colours and differing textures see us scooping up hungry mouthfuls. Wine is our libation of choice and a USP of Kahani is that it is BYOB with no corkage charge making this restaurant cost-of-living friendly.
For starters, we share the Triple Platter comprising Aloo and Chana Chaat, Chicken Pakora and Chilli Squid. We both agree, the chicken is ultra juicy and enjoyable and we both like the potato and chickpea dish; legumes are cooked to just the right consistency and the soft potatoes absorb the sauce. The squid, however, divides us. Eleanore thinks the batter is too heavy for the mollusc whereas I find the crispy bites moreish.
Eleanore’s main course is from the grill Tandoori King Prawn with the prawns marinated in mustard, fresh green chillies, ginger and garlic. They are big, juicy and nicely charred. For desserts, we have the national dish of India - Gulab Jamun. Soft, warm and syrupy with a scoop of ice cream this is a sweet, cardamom-perfumed, light finale to our spicy meal.
Kahani is an old-school Indian restaurant where you will find a wide range of dishes to suit all tastes. It is located centrally and just five minutes from The Playhouse and St James Quarter. The 75-seater makes it ideal for any size of dinner or party and there are excellent vegan and vegetarian options meaning everyone can enjoy a full-on Indian feast. Moreover, it has recently been awarded the Winners of the Special Recognition Award at the Scottish Curry Awards 2022.
One for the Christmas party?
11 Antigua Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3NH - 0131 558 1947
Opening hours: Sun -Thurs 12 noon – 10 pm, Fri 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sat 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sun 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm