Mother India Cafe

3-5 Infirmary Street, Old Town, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT, United Kingdom

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Mother India is generally reckoned to currently be the best Indian restaurant in Glasgow, and in 2008 they opened a branch in Edinburgh. Just off South Bridge, the restaurant has two dining areas and a menu with portions designed for "sharing", as is the fashion these days. It is quite a casual place, with no tablecloths and service that was so relaxed it was practically horizontal. The menu had a fairly long selection of familiar north Indian dishes. There was a short wine list too, with seven choices ranging in price from £17 to £21. Example labels were La Farfalla Pinot Grigio at £18 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £7, and Coin des Coquins Sauvignon Blanc/Gros Manseng at £21 compared to its retail price of about a tenner.

The best dish was fish pakora, fried fish in this case using haddock rather than tilapia, and with a clean tasting coating. Haddock has enough flavour to work well in this dish and hold its own with the spices, and was accurately cooked (14/20). This was better than garlic chilli chicken, whose small chunks of chicken lacked inherent flavour, and with a sauce that was just one dimensionally hot, though there were a few shreds of fresh ginger (11/20). Aloo gobi came with green beans as well as potato and cauliflower, and was a reasonable rendition of the dish, though the vegetables were cooked a little longer than ideal (12/20). Paratha is a difficult bread to do well: it can easily be too buttery and greasy, or go the other way and be dry and crumbly. This was a good balance, and was served fresh and hot, which it often is not (13/20). As noted, service was barely functional despite this being a very quiet early lunch with only a couple of other diners. I actually had to get up and head off to the bar to get a top up of water, the waiters being otherwise engaged with, well, something other than actually serving customers.

The bill came to £17.40 before service with just water to drink, though if you had alcohol and a dessert then a more typical cost per head would be around £40 all in. The food itself was quite reasonable overall, if rather variable in standard, but if they struggle to serve two tables of diners competently then I dread to think how slow things must be on a busy evening.


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  • Tom Brown

    Was here a couple of weeks ago and had a really good meal. One of the party was vegan and this was well catered for with plenty for them and the rest of us. By contrast with Andy's visit, we were there on a packed out Friday night and the service was very goos. With a couple of beers each (probably a better choice than the wine list) and fast too much food came in at £25 a head.