Indian in Edinburgh: Khushi’s

Man, there are a lot of Indian restaurants in Edinburgh. On our second day I began to photograph the exteriors of each one we passed but had to stop because I was doing nothing else. That’s only a slight exaggeration. Of all the Indian restaurants in Edinburgh, Khushi’s is the oldest. It was opened in 1947 by the eponymous Khushi, though it was not called Khushi’s then. It was then the Lothian Restaurant and operated under that name until the mid-1970s. Its location has changed more often than its name, and as far as I can make out, it has only been at its current Antigua St. digs for a few years. I would imagine that when it opened in the new location it featured an all-new look. I say this because their aesthetic is now very much in the post-Dishoom vein. (And, yes, there’s a branch of Dishoom in Edinburgh too.) The walls are loaded with an eclectic mix of images: from reproductions of classic Bombay film posters to pictures from the Indian independence movement to pictures of random urban scenes. 

The menu too is a mix of classic curry house fare—ye olde kormas, tikka masalas, karahis and jalfrezis—and nods to modernity in the shape of a few South Indian dishes. There were six of us dining, four adults and our brats. Our party included an Indian friend who now lives in Iceland (she’d flown into join our panel at the conference). Her standards for Indian food are also high and so there were two picky Indians at the table. Thankfully, the food was all pretty tasty. We liked our meal here more than our dinner on our first evening at the far trendier Mother India’s Cafe.

We got a pretty random mix of things. The highlights included the kababs (words I can almost never type or say in the US) and the dal tarka (simple but right). The chilli squid starter and the seafood moilee were acceptable as was the chicken curry. And the boys enjoyed their children’s meal of grilled chicken with chips. The naans were of the quality we’ve found across most of the UK, that is to say, below par. Why it is that Indian restaurants in the UK can make very good kababs but not naans, I don’t know.

Service was very friendly and attentive. Due to complicated check splitting for academic reimbursement reasons, I cannot tell you the exact amount we paid. It was on par with Mother India’s Cafe.

I have no idea where Khushi’s ranks in the Edinburgh Indian restaurant scene. I wouldn’t say it’s anything special—though it’s far better than most Indian restaurants of its ilk in the US—but if you’re looking for a decent Indian meal in the city you’re not going to be unhappy here.

Coming up next on the restaurant review front will be another St. Paul Vietnamese establishment. After that I’m going to try to catch up on my Scotland and England trips from June. Maybe another recipe soon too in advance of Thanksgiving.

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