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Tani Modi - From Rimini with Love
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Tani Modi
103 Hanover St,
0131 466 3289
Dinner service: 17:30-23:00 Fri/Sat

Everyone remembers the Friends episode where Monica and billionaire boyfriend Pete go to Italy ‘for dinner’. Without a private jet and, apparently, a time machine, visiting another country for the evening would be rather a hassle. However, authentic Italian dining can be found in Edinburgh if you know where to look.

By day, Tani Modi is an excellent café, serving delicious cakes, breakfast, brunch and lunch. By night, it becomes a cosy osteria, a type of restaurant in Italy that focuses on wine and simple local dishes. Hailing from Rimini in the Emilia-Romagna region, the owner’s ambition is to share the food of her childhood with a new audience.

The food is all based on traditional recipes from the Emilia-Romagna area, from the piada (flatbread filled with cured meats, cheeses and vegetables), to the tomino cheese (cooked till its rind turns crunchy and inside melts to gooey heaven), and the creamy polenta with Italian sausage, pork ribs and Borlotti beans.

There is a good selection of Italian wines by the bottle and the glass, all carefully chosen to complement the food. On our arrival, the owner, Nicole, recommended an excellent off-menu Cabernet, which was perfect on a warm evening and really did bring out the flavours in the dishes.

A range of platters are available, offering a variety of meats, cheeses and vegetables served with piada and granary bread – the ideal accompaniment to fine wine and a relaxed night with friends. The atmosphere is lively and cheerful, adding to the feeling of being in an informal, local restaurant.  

If a main course is needed after such a feast, the aforementioned polenta is also served with porcini and chestnut mushrooms, while other larger dishes include homemade gnocchi with bolognese ragu or mushrooms, and porchetta, which is stuffed with garlic herbs and haggis and served with poached apples. The gnocchi was especially good with its slightly spicy ragu, which was utterly different to any bolognese sauce I'd had before.

The dessert options are sensibly fairly light, though cakes are also available. After thoroughly indulging in the savouries, we just had space to share an incredibly delicious cannoli pastry with Mascarpone cream. A selection of obscure and wonderful Italian digestifs are available to finish if your digestion needs some help or just to make the evening last a little longer before you break the spell and head back to Scotland. (D. Spencer) 

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