Sunday, 7 March 2010
Britannia Spice, Leith, Edinburgh
Nautical but nice.....
When I first heard the name Britannia Spice, my first thought was Geri Halliwell in a Union Jack dress and thought it was maybe a Spice Girls tribute bar. On closer inspection, I realised it was a very classy, modern Indian restaurant located by the sea near the Royal Yacht Britannia. The restaurant has a nautical theme and on first glance, it does not look like your typical Indian,more like a sophisticated yachting club. The staff are dressed up in nautical uniforms, there are paintings of ships and the famous Royal Yacht adorning the walls, ornamental sails decorate the ceiling and separate tables, making them private, and the focal point of the restaurant is a ship's wheel. for a moment, I thought I was on a Caribbean cruise.
The staff were very friendly and weren't overbearing and pushy like the staff in Eastern Pavilion and Tippoo Sahib; they respect their guests.On the menu, there were a few surprises in store. I was searching for my trusted trio, the pathia, madras and vindaloo but they were nowhere to be seen! Instead, Britannia Spice had a few surprises up its sleeve and offered regional variations of curry instead of the curry house staples. The vegetarian selection was very inspiring, plus I spied some Nepalese Momos on the menu. Momos are a dish I had only ever seen in Berlin before, a dish not widely known in the UK. They are popular in Tibet and Nepal and they consist of a parcel with either a meat or veg filling and are particularly tasty with a satay dip.
To start, I had popadoms which were beautiful, fresh and crisp as I like them. Three dips were offered, a chutney, lime pickle and the onion and mint. They were chilled and fresh, unlike some restaurants I have mentioned on here. For the main, I had my beloved peshwari naan, pilau rice and Vegetable Korai. They were beautifully prepared, the Korai's vegetables delicate and spicy. The portions weren't as big as some other Indians in the city, but it allowed me to make room for dessert. The carnivorous meal of choice is the chicken Jaipuri, a gentle blend of spices so I was told.
The dessert menu looked so tempting with Kulfis and a range of exotic ices on offer, predictably I settled on a Mango Kulfi with a freshly brewed coffee to take the chill off. I had such a pleasant evening here and felt comfortable to take my time and enjoy the meal. Whoever thought the combination of Indian and Nautical wouldn't work was completely wrong. Rule Britannia!