Visit 1- May 2010
Since living in Edinburgh, I have experienced nothing but disappointment with the city's Indian restaurants. Back in England, I was spoiled for choice but here, they were either too touristy, too expensive, too bland, too rude or were quite simply, a lost cause. After my last disappointing visit to my former favourite Abida, I challenged myself to find a decent Indian restaurant that ticks all the boxes.
I discovered Kebabish, a name already familiar to me from my Manchester curry crawls, had opened a new restaurant close to my place and after scouring the menu, I decided to give it a go. I had nothing to lose, I still needed to find a good Indian in this city.
After such a great meal, I can safely say I have found 'my' Indian!
Kebabish is extremely modern inside, no sticky carpets and dodgy wallpaper here! The restaurant focuses on its open-plan kitchen, so you can watch your meal being prepared with much excitement, an artwork in progress if you will. After a warm welcome by the staff, I approach the menu like some people would approach a gossip mag, devouring every word. Wow- old favourites and new surprises. This time, I vowed to have a Kulfi so passed on a starter, heading straight for the main event, a vegetable pathia. I am becoming increasingly bored with Peshwari, so instead I opted for the lighter chapati and pilau rice. The smells emanating from the kitchen were promising, a party of cardamon, cumin and other exotic Eastern spices. My Pathia arrived and was absoultely stunning; a quality I haven't experienced since my old-school Liverpudlian curry crawls. The curry was of supreme quality and consisted of beautiful chunky potatoes, peppers and wedges of carrot (none of my old enemies the frozen veg in sight- I breathed a sigh of relief!). The chapati made a welcome change from the hard-to-digest peshwari and was a great accompaniment to mop up the remainders of the Pathia. My mum had a veg Jalfrezi which I cheekily helped myself to, this was chunky, peppery and not watery like some of the past jalfrezis.
Cleverly, I made room for dessert and treated myself to mango kulfi and an Americano coffee. The Kulfi was huge- two big scoops of velvety mango heaven and the coffee was of a high standard, none of this instant rubbish that some Indian restaurants torture their customers with.
Visit 2- August 2010
It was my birthday this week and as I have friends and family scattered everywhere (a legacy of my former jetset life), my first celebration took place this week in Kebabish with my ex-colleagues. I spoke highly of Kebabish, its great portions, affordable prices and smily staff won a place in my heart. However, I would come to eat my words.
There had been a slight staff change since my last visit and a new attitude reminiscent of Ryanair when it came to sales technique. We were asked 4 times if we wanted a Mocktail, a non-alcoholic cocktail. Being a teetotal, I ordered one and when I saw it winging its way to me, I regretted it. Served in a doll-size tumbler, the cocktail consisted of two Rubicon drinks mixed together and was charged 3.50 for the pleasure. No brollies, no glitz or glamour on this wee chappy. It was like being promised Emirates and getting Easyjet. My friends learnt from my mistake though so thankfully, no further Mocktail profits were made that night and tap water was the name of the game.
Here is the 'service' that ensued.
'Would you like popadoms?'
'How about popadoms and pickle?'
'NO THANKS, WE'VE BEEN ASKED ALREADY!!!'
So, after that hard sell experience (my God, am I in Tenerife getting flogged a time share?), we settled down to or mains, which admittedly were delicious. But as soon as the plates were cleared, a similar hard sell routine ensued. Simply replace the word 'popadoms' with 'dessert,mocktails,coffee'.
When the table was cleared, the rude young lady who cleared it stood those darned mocktail menus up on the table, thus blocking our view of each other. Hello, we are on a night out and want to have a conversation, learn some basic etiquette and leave the menus flat.Oh sorry, Miss Kebabish, you are not interested in customer service, are you? Just hard sell, profit and those damned mocktails with their hefty profit margin. Readers, listen up. Rubicon costs 50p a can. The mocktail glasses are approx 250 ml, a can 330 ml. So roughly, the mocktail costs 30p, but remember, Kebabish will buy in bulk which means the mocktail might actually cost 10p. You do the maths. I have sure done mine and will be avoiding Kebabish at all costs.