Shezan Indian Cuisine
This Indian restaurant is an Edinburgh institution and a little piece of local history. Shezan was opened by Abdul Ghani in 1977 and is now run by his grandson Shahid. The grandad has received lifetime achievement awards and created a legacy for generations. It's a beautiful story.
A pakora’s throw from the Omni centre attractions and The Playhouse, Shezan occupies a corner spot at the top of Leith Walk and is a favourite for pre-theatre deals, takeaways and a la carte Punjabi and Indian cuisine, all of which are easy on the pocket.
We visit one Sunday in late October as Scotland reaches peak dreich. The rain is persistent and bitterly cold and the sky is grey all day. If it weren’t for the promise of a pickle tray in the evening I may have just gone back to bed.
As we blow through the door we are welcomed by smiling waiters and families feasting and enjoying themselves. The theme is Bollywood glam with portraits of Indian actors and glittery walls. Shezan translates as ‘beautiful’ after all and we are grateful to be in such a hospitable place.
Mr Bite and I immediately dive into that colourful pickle tray we have been waiting for which has six dips: tomato and chilli, onion, lime pickle, mango chutney, raita and tamarind. I make a mental note to make such nibbles a staple chez Bite, we could have eaten the crunchy ground lentil Poppadoms and flavourful dips all evening but we needed to leave room for more menu delicacies.
Starters are Mushroom Pakora and Chicken Poori. Mr Bite polishes off the latter with gusto whilst on this side of the table I enjoy my very mushroomy battered bites.
We both choose lamb dishes for our mains which are presented in polished, traditional cast iron cooking bowls, kaharis, sitting on frilly paper doilies.
Mr B has the Special Karahi Bhoona which is prepared with onions, capsicums, tomatoes, fenugreek leaves, fresh ginger and garlic. It’s fruity and medium hot but all the flavours and veg shine through. I have chosen Lamb Jalfrezi as I love the way lamb combines with yoghurt and spices. Pilau has been cooked so that all the grains remain separate and the garlic naan has been blistered to crispy on the tandoori; neither sides are heavy nor stodgy.
After such light, fragrant fayre, all that remains is to enjoy our favourite Gulab Jamun, fried dumplings drenched in syrup with ice cream although Mr Bite can’t resist adding Chocolate Fudge Cake.
Shezan is an unpretentious, friendly curry house geared towards families, get-togethers and parties of any kind. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for too so as long as you all like Indian and Punjabi cuisine there should be something for everyone. It is a historic, independent restaurant with good Tripadvisor reviews and a clutch of awards including The Scottish Curry Awards (2019, 2018) and The SPICE Awards (2017, 2015).
An appropriate choice for Christmas parties or just drop by or book to sate that spicy craving.
Shezan Indian Restaurant - 25 Union Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3NQ - 0131 557 5098
shezanedinburgh.com. Open - everyday 2 pm- 11 pm