Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Khushi's Diner

Many years ago, when I first moved to Edinburgh, T and I went to see March of the Penguins (it was my birthday and I demanded the cuteness). On the way back we stopped at Khushi's by uni for a curry. We had a nice evening and made a note to go back again some day. A few weeks later while on my way to class, I noticed it was boarded up.

Later that term, we went out on Victoria Street and saw that Khushi's had relocated. T was very excited as he loves a good curry. We hurried along to try out the new Khushi's. The back of the menu explained the history, with each incarnation of the restaurant (Victoria Street was the 5th location) the business had adapted and grown.

The interior of the Victoria Street restaurant was almost palatial, with huge chandeliers and glass staircases. It was far more upmarket than your average Indian restaurant, with no flocked wallpaper or dodgy sitar music. Although it was a bit pricier than your average Indian, it was smart enough to impress visitors without totally breaking the bank. Virtually every relative, friend and randomer that turned up to visit us got dragged along to Khushi's.

Last Christmas, I saw on the news that there had been a massive fire in central Edinburgh. I'm always curious to see if it is somewhere I know, but usually it's a warehouse in some random suburb. This time, it was Khushi's.

When T and I returned to Edinburgh after Christmas, we walked past the shell of what remained of Khushi's. It was completely burnt out and didn't look like opening any time soon.

We'd heard rumours that Khushi's were planning to move on and open in a new premises, and while scouting for lunch near uni one day, I saw that Belgian themed Centraal had become Khushi's Diner.

Unlike Victoria Street, the Diner is more cramped, and without luxurious chandeliers and plush banquettes. It's based around the principle "jaldi jaldi" (or "quickly quickly") with cheap and cheerful decor in a clash of bright colours. While Victoria Street sometimes seemed styled by a subcontinental Bond villain, the Diner is more along the quirky Indian style portrayed by the Darjeeling Limited poster in our hallway. The menu is slightly smaller than before, but all our favourites were there. The smaller space also meant we had to wait around 10 minutes for a table, but we were directed to a neighbouring pub to pass the time. The waiter came and found us in the pub when our table was ready!

We started with complimentary poppadoms, and we ordered a selection of chutneys to go with them. The poppadoms were dryly crisp, and the mango chutney nicely chunky. The spicy onions were potent, but tasty in small doses. It's still BYOB, and the beers we had brought with us had been kept refrigerated while we waited for our table.

Tandoori Fish with Raita

T browsed the menu, but it was pointless as he ordered his favourite dish anyway; tandoori mushrooms. When it arrived a few minutes later, he tucked in eagerly, proclaiming it was as good as he'd remembered and that he'd missed it! I went for tandoori fish which had a lovely charcoal crispy crust, and juicy flesh inside. The only downside was that the fish was a little mushy (rather than flaky) in places. It came with a cooling raita and some moreish shredded cabbage.

Next up we shared some plain rice and a garlic naan to accompany our main courses. The naan had a crisp "crust" with a doughy inside, with just a hint of garlic. T had a lamb jalfrezi, while I went for Methi Palak Gosht. Everything came in little bowls, so it made sharing easy, although I found that my second helping was a bit cold by the time I got round to scooping it on to my plate. The lamb was so tender you could cut it with a spoon, and the sauce had enough spinach in it to pretend that it was healthy, but the spices were a bit lost at times.

Methi Palak Gosht, Garlic Naan and Boiled Rice

I have never been much in to Indian desserts, but decided to give them another try. I ordered Gajar Ka Halwa, a carrot pudding with cream, cherries and nuts. The carrot element was promising, but I was put off by the lumps of cooked cream spread throughout the dish. The cherries and almonds went well, although they were quite sparse. I preferred the baklava style pastry T got with his coffee, but next time we go I will try buttermilk dumplings instead.

Gajar Ka Halwa

They also do a lunch menu, with Indian style sandwiches made with puri. It's a shame I've finished uni now, otherwise this would be a regular lunch time stop off, especially when it's to rainy and cold for the Mosque Kitchen.

Khushi's Diner on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Waiter in the pub! Beers in the fridge! This is indeed service. We must, must make an occasion for eating curry in Birmingham, though I think it might be too exciting for T to take.

Jenny said...

I really don't know if he could handle it, it would be like taking an addict to a crack den... ;-)