Saturday, 27 February 2010

Eastern Pavillion, St John's Road, Edinburgh

First impressions don't count.....

I spotted the Eastern Pavilion while driving by and thought it had the ingredients of a good curry house- nice prices, decent menu, popular. I was newish in the city and wanted a good old traditional Indian. We were warmly welcomed and I was amazed at the extensive menu. Popadoms and lassi were order of the day, the popadoms fresh and crisp, the way I like. For the main, I ordered a Vegetable Pathia which had a pleasing taste but the quality of the veg left a lot to be desired. Shredded, small carrots and courgettes which had either come pickled out of a jar or frozen from Iceland. The crowning glory was two potatoes on top to make it look decent.

As the staff were pleasant, I decided to go back a month or so later and give them a second chance, however, a new member of staff was on that night. This new member of staff was from the school of hard-sell. 'Buy this, buy that, what, you don't want a starter? etc etc'. He tried to persuade us to pick different meals from the menu than we'd originally chosen. When the meals came (I had vegetable madras), the sauce tasted like last month's pathia but not mixed very well, and the same pickled veg. Their over bearing sales technique had definitely put me off going back any more.

PS if you need any further persuasion not to visit the restaurant, can I just add that when I flew back to England the following day, I was in great discomfort and I owe the toilet cleaners at Manchester airport my sincerest apology for any mess I may have made.

Eastern Pavillion on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Impressive on the outside, disgusting on the inside.....

The Raj is a beautiful, quaint looking restaurant inside an old cottage in Liverpool's historic Woolton Village. Outside is an ornate fountain with carp and the restautant looks like something from a fairytale on the outside.

Inside, it looks like a traditional curry house with a migraine-inducing, sticky carpet and -yippee- booths! I sat down in a booth and took in the surroundings. The table was grotty, the wood panelling was chipped and the menu had the remains of someone else's dinner on them. The menu looked okay though, I chose onion bhajis, pops and a Vegetable Madras.

The pops were soggy and the dips warm, they should be refrigerated. When the bhaji came, this was cold and tasted like it had been lying in fat for hours. I was dreading the main. The naan was also soggy and my vegetable madras was absolutely revolting. It had separated into layers like a lava lamp and the powder hadn't been mixed and the veg were my worst nightmare- a Netto frozen bag of diced carrots, broadbeans, corn and peas. Vile.

Oh have i not mentioned the toilets? It was December and they had no heating on, the locks were broken and above the sink were wires where a light had been pulled off the wall. This restaurant is a no-go. What a shame, as many tourists pass this restaurant as it's on the Beatles trail.

Raj on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 14 February 2010


Here goes, my first review.....

A cold February Saturday night in Edinburgh. After a long walk around Rose Street, George St and those little streets in between, it was proving difficult to get in anywhere without booking. We jumped in the car and decided to head towards home and see what restaurants we could find on the way. all I saw was pubs and Italian food but I needed something more substantial than pub grub and pasta. Then I saw a yet undiscovered nook and cranny in my new home city where a fanfare of restaurants called out to me, in the midst of which was the Mezbaan. In a story reminiscent of the Nativity, the Mezbaan was the only one with 'room at the inn' on this frosty night- I took this as a positive omen!

We were welcomed by 3 lovely members of staff and found us a cosy table in the window. It wasn't your typical feet-stick-to-the-floor Indian with booze, popadoms and stag parties, but a more intimate, welcoming place. You can bring your own booze here, but I was more interested in the traditional Indian drinks on offer and opted for a pistachio lassi. They also offered Indian coffee and tea, guava juice and many more delicacies that brought a ray of sunshine to a cold Edinburgh night.

I was pleasantly surprised at the vegetarian selection. For once, I was spoiled for choice, this restaurant was made for me. I decided on a Bindi (Okra) dish that was delicately spiced and had a warming after-effect. Vindaloo Queen doesn't need to eat ridiculously hot curries to have a good curry night out! The Peshwari Naan was lovely and beefy, the biggest, fluffiest Pesh I have seen for a long time. The waiting time in between courses is longer than your bog-standard curry house, but when you see the chefs at work making masterpieces from their raw materials, it is well worth waiting for.

The desserts sounded tempting,such as Gulab Jamon and good old Kulfi, but after such a substantial meal, I couldn't make room. Spice up your curry night with a South Indian twist and visit Mezbaan!

Mezbaan South Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon