Call 0131 337 5828

Table Reservation


   17 Dalry Road, Edinburgh EH11 2BQ


                      Wednessday 28th September 2002

Slatted wooden blinds and a swirling ceiling fan are reminiscent of the days of the Raj. (Picture Ian Munrow)

The Verandah Tandoori Restaurant
17 Dalry Road, Edinburgh
Telephone: 0131-337 5828

Quick critique:
Food: Ubiquitous Indian selection, with a better than average emphasis on fish dishes, such as pungash, and boat, flown in from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh.

Wine: Comprehensive range devised by Cockburns of Leith, including good value French classics such as Crozes Hermitage of some pedigree.

Ambience: Slightly weary stab at the last days of the Raj, with languidly swirling ceiling fan, floating candles and wooden-slatted venetian blinds along one wall.
Cost: £55.35, including wine and coffee

INDIAN restaurants come and go more frequently than the 33 bus. So it takes a certain determination and staying power to gain a permanent place in the hearts and minds of Edinburgh curryholics. The Verandah, opened by Wali Udin in 1981, has donejustthat. It may still be clinging stoically to the same wooden venetian blinds, circling ceiling fan, rattan-backed chairs and the, by now, somewhat jaded photographs of waiters alongside Clint Eastwood, Jmran Khan and Cliff, but the standard of food served is enduring. (A further judgment on that is the fact there was only one table unoccupied.)
We settled down to a Bangladeshi banquet that started with butterfly king prawns fried in butter and served with spices, and mach kebab, which is diced haddock cooked with garlic, ginger and coriander.
Next up, with a bottle of Crozes Hermitage 2000 Domaine de Champs Morel close at hand, we plumped for mixed tandoori, and methi gosht, with savoury side

portions of sag aloo, keema mattar, some rice, a chapati or two and one dessert, the ubiquitous gulab jamon. The last is home-made cottage cheese balls deep-fried in syrup and served with cream (if our dietician is reading this - yes, it is a cholesterol timebomb, but needs must).
The gorgeouslyfresh mach came in a dark red tempura-style batter that was feather-light, the fish falling apart on the fork, and the prawns succulent and huge. Overcooked king prawns can swiftly become cheugh, but here they were timed to perfection.
There is an expert hand at the tandoor too, with the mixed tandoori selection holding chicken, lamb tikka kebab, sheek kebab, chicken tikka and tandoori king prawn, all of it dripping with succulence, the dark, red torpedo-shaped sheek particularly standing out with an immense flavour-burst.
The mince lamb mattar dotted with green peas was also a texture revelation, as was the methi gosht, fall-off-the-bone tender lamb cooked to a sweetness in that wondrous herb fenugreek.
Endeavour to sample the Verandah nan. The time the tandoor-wallah gives these unleavened loaves the size of snowshoes is critical and the smoky, crispy result had.


Starters: Butterly king prawns, £5.25; mach kebab haddock in batter, £3.55

Mains: Mixed tandoori grill, £13.95; methi gosht lamb with fenugreek, £6.95; side dishes of sag aloo, £2.95, and keema mattar, £2.95; rice, £1.85
Desserts: Gulab jamon, £1.75 Coffee: £1.35

Wine/glass: £2.45 Wine: Crozes Hermitage Domaine do Champs Morel, £13.95

exceptional flavour. In fact, so delicious were they, we mentioned it to the manager, one Foysol Choudhury, who confided through huge grins that one woman customer makes the pilgrimage to Haymarket every Saturday for a curry, but she has told them it is their nan she cannot live without.
The Verandah menu holds all the usual suspects such as pakora, somosa, lamb pasanda and bhuna, pathia and dhansak. But explore further and you will discover dishes such as gingery murgh-e-ada, amer murgh (chicken cooked with mango pulp), kurma badami made with curd cream, and palok gagor, which is fresh spinach, carrots and cashew nuts in herbs and spices.
In fact, if you show enthusiasm for the menu, then genial Choudhury, who works the tables like the consummate pro he is, shows enthusiasm in return, even going as far as to offer us a gratis plate of one of the dishes chef Laba makes for the staff - a tangy, smoky, spicy sardines dish called sadin bhajee, with a devilish creeping heat that tookthe throat unawares. Spiced sardines? Believe it.
With more medals and awards to its name than Field Marshal Gaddafi, the Verandah thrives on consistency on the plate. And it takes its wine list extremely seriously too.
There is a huge range of liqueurs and spirits arrayed on the gantry, from mescal
to Royal Mint liqueur, Glayva to Tia Maria and even a bottle of Campari on an optic, which must say something about the place, if only to underline its colonial allusions.
Whatever you do, don't mention the Jambos - Choudhury is Hearts-daft and at the drop of a hat can give regulars a 15-minute dissertation on the subject. Without drawing breath.