Scots and Brits have a long continued love affair with Indian food - we love our Tikka Masala!
But once you move past the British curry, you’ll find that like most countries, India has very different cuisine depending on the city and region such as Bengali, Goan and Kashmiri.
Now it’s time for Edinburgh to rejoice as Bangladeshi Street Food in the form of Tommy’s Banglacafe has opened in the East End and brings us food that’s as bright and joyful to eat as it is to look at!
First off, I LOVE the colours. I love the bright, vivid, splashes of oranges, yellows and pinks. It’s fun, its happy and you feel jubilant.
Which matches Tommy’s Banglacafe ethos - where an obsession of family and food are at the core of every day life - life is good!
At the front of the restaurant you’ll find two amazing and exquisitely decorated tuk-tuks. Over the next couple of months, this will become the retail area for a line of Tommy Miah’s food related products - from his mango chutney to curry sauces. Keep an eye out for this one.
Descend an orange colour swatch staircase (bright orange to pastel orange) to the more relaxed, informal dining area and where our communal table was situated.
Kicking us off ~ The Coconut Espresso Martini ~ Espresso, Black Cow vodka, Fair Café Coffee Liqueur, coconut and a hint of cloves. If you love coconut, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this.
We sampled many plates on the menu and each and every one was packed full of flavours. The heat was there but subtle and not overpowering, building with each bite and leaving a tasty lingering flavour.
They are open for breakfast too and have a decent sized breakfast menu including Spicy Pancakes (the chilli chocolate one sounds yum).
From the Breakfast Menu, we tried the Turkey Bacon Paratha (£6.90) ~ Fried eggs, crispy onions, turkey rashers with a hint of rocket leaves wrapped up in a soft bread. (Halal)
Egg Masala Toast and Chai (£7.95) ~ Scrambled, spiced infused eggs with their prepared house tea.
Lamb Laal Mirchi (£5.20) ~ Tommy’s signature dish. Minced lamb lightly spiced and cooked with herbs and spices on a bed of onion bhaji, with hot and sour sauce.
Coriander Fish £9.50 ~ A staple diet for any Bangladeshi is a fresh portion of fish and soft fluffy rice. Basa Fillet in a subtle yoghurt marinade, simple and so very satisfying.
Authentic Bangla Kosha Mangsho £10.90 ~ Saved for festivities such as the Muslim festival of Eid, this dish has been passed down through generations. Chunks of goat meat cooked in a rich gravy with handsome portions of tomatoes. (Dairy Free and Gluten Free)
Anchari Paneer Shahslik (£8.50) (Vegetarian) ~ Nice and light but satisfying for sure, a great vegetarian dish. Paneer marinated in pickle and char- grilled to perfection.
Bagerhat Prawns (£6.20) ~ Prawns lightly fried in gram flour and cooked in light spices and red chilli powder, finished off with lemon.
Tarka Daal with Roasted Aubergines (£7.90) ~ Wholesome and warm. Mixed yellow lentils slowly cooked with aubergines and tempered with garlic and cumin.
These dishes are tasty and definitely not toned down to suit the Western palate. They have small dishes on their menu as well as full sized and they do love seafood but you’ll find plenty dishes if you don’t. They cater for gluten freebies and vegetarians.
It’ll most definitely give Dishoom a run for its money, but it’s not in direct competition as the food and the atmosphere are completely different. There was room in Edinburgh for another excellent Indian Cuisine restaurant - and Tommy’s Banglacafe, just filled that void.
Tommy’s Banglacafe 8 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh.
Tel : 0131 225 5724 www.tommysbangla.cafe