The restaurant has been open for a few weeks now and currently has an offer on until the end of June - 25% discount on all food, which gave me the push to try out their menu. This review is based on one visit only – but I couldn’t keep my findings a secret whilst I tried to fit in a second visit around forthcoming holidays. You can book a table online or phone ahead.
We were warmly welcomed into this beautifully decorated restaurant that seats 50 people. It may be a basement building, but is furnished to make it feel bright and airy, with ample light in the dining areas. Fresh flowers and tea lights in glass are on each table with cloth napkins and fine cutlery. Stunning pictures of India have been hung on the walls in a subtle manner and my dining partner who normally doesn’t notice his surroundings, was blown away with the decor. Word has obviously spread quickly through the streets of the New Town about the quality of food on offer here as the restaurant was fairly busy despite it being a Monday night.
Kids are also welcomed to this family run restaurant with a special menu featuring various simple curries with chips/rice in small portions (and an option of chicken nuggets) giving adults an opportunity to eat Indian food together with their children.
The wine list is reasonably priced with glasses of house white, red and rose available from £2.95 and bottles of house wine starting from £11.95. My preferred choice with an Indian meal is beer and a pint of Cobra will set you back £3.50 and £2.95 for a bottle of Kingfisher, with other choices available. We leafed through the comprehensive – but not overwhelming menu and our mouths began to water. Vegetarians are well catered for here and my dining partner chose this route, but I decided to have a meat based dish.
Large poppadoms started our Indian feast at £1 each (including ample chutneys and pickles) and they were extremely light and crispy and most definitely fresh. We shared a generously-sized starter of garlic mushroom puree on fluffy bread, £3.95 which did well to whet our appetites for what was yet to come.
Our main courses soon followed and the beer I had requested with my main course, arrived in perfect timing with a silver trolley containing our mains. Plates had been heated and we were ready to tuck in.
I opted for the Kashmiri Murgh chicken, £8.95 and a side of peshwari nan, £2.75. The dish was nothing short of moist chicken curry-perfection which left my taste buds tantalised.
My dining partner had and a portion of Sabzi Achar at £6.95 which is mixed steamed vegetables in spicy sauce and a side of chickpea rice, £2.50. I also tried this dish and it was the enhanced spices that made this dish so good without an overpowering taste.
At the same time our plates were cleared (and table swiftly cleaned) we were served a hot moist towelette to freshen up with. Just when we thought this dining experience couldn’t get any better, we were each offered a selection of their desserts as a thank you for our custom (free for everyone until the end of May) and we loved the Indian style ice cream the best.
Fans of the more traditional curry can opt for the classics such as jalfrezi, korma, bhuna and rogan josh. There are several dishes that I will be ticking off on the menu on my next visit – such as the Shajani vegetable biryani and my dining partner has already eyed up the Tale Mache Ka Salan which is cubes of sword fish with coconut and mustard seeds. The Spice Pavilion also serves up a tandoori quail dish as well as a steak that has been cooked tandoori style as opposed to the usual frying. There are just so many fabulous dishes on offer here, the difficulty will be choosing which one to have.
Business lunches are available Monday – Saturday between 12 noon and 2.30pm and the Spice Pavilion offers a starter, a curry with rice or nan and tea or coffee for £8.95 – which is a fantastic deal to get indicate the quality of their evening a la carte menu. The business lunch is also 2 for 1 until the end of May. The restaurant is open in the evening 7 days a week from 5pm to 11pm and takeaway dishes are available at this time. Wifi is also offered and the bathrooms are spotless. Italian is fluently spoken here should you wish to order your meal and practice your foreign languages at the same time.
The only reason that this restaurant does not get the ‘Edinburgh Spotlight Recommended’ award at this time is because it has only had one visit. We are booking the rear area for a private party in June (solely off the back of this visit) and know we will not be disappointed.
Verdict? The Spice Pavilion is a welcome addition to the New Town which offers authentic, creative and good value Indian dishes served with a genuine smile.
Suitable for disabled? Unfortunately not as the restaurant is set down a set of stairs, but the staff indicated they would be more than happy to help any customers into the restaurant.