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Mother India Cafe
Mother India Cafe

A frequent visitor to our capital, I was keen to try a new eatery over Valentine’s weekend last month, and thanks to an online list of the ‘best’ Indians in Edinburgh I stumbled across this total gem.

Mother India’s Cafe opened on Infirmary Street, just over the road from the National Museum, in 2008, following the huge success of the company in Glasgow.

We were lucky to get a table, having discovered it was completely booked up right over the weekend – a sure sign of what was to come.

Being big fans of Indian food anyway, what attracted us to this establishment was its unique take on tapas – small, sharing portions of Indian classics with a few unique dishes thrown in for good and delicious measure.

Shirking the usual starters/mains/desserts format, the menu advises diners to start off with three to four dishes between two ‘and take it from there’.

Poring over the expansive menu, my tastebuds were tingling with excitement (and my belly groaning with hunger having not eaten since breakfast) as we decided on our chosen dishes.

With the other half not being a massive fan of lamb, which features quite a lot on the menu – alongside a huge array of vegi dishes, thumbs up on that one – we decided on the chilli chicken dosa, chicken pakora, butter chicken and chilli garlic chicken.

We added a couple of naan breads (on reflection one would have been enough!) and two portions of rice.

The chilli chicken dosa consisted of crispy rice and lentil pancakes stuffed with spicy chicken, and having never tried them before, I was intrigued. The pancakes weren’t too thick, and the chicken not too spicy, while the lentils were delicious.

The chicken pakora wasn’t your average bright red chunks; Mother India’s Cafe tries to make you go all healthy by chucking a few vegs in there too, and while I’m not a huge fan of big chunks of onion, it was still tasty.

The butter chicken was a compromise, as the other half is more keen on creamy dishes, while I tend to go for tomato based sauces, and while many other places have suited both our tastes, I would say this particular version was much more creamy than the others.

The chilli garlic chicken definitely had quite the kick to it, and the naan bread was a welcome addition to tone down the spice. Despite that, it was definitely my favourite dish out of the four.

While I stuck with a garlic naan and plain rice, the other half had a cheese naan, which was demolished with great enthusiasm, alongwith one of the special rices for the day, lime and cashew.

I’m sorry to say, there were leftovers when we settled the bill, and if we hadn’t been going to the pictures, we might have taken a doggy bag which I witnessed a few customers do.

It’s no surpise this place ended up on one of the ‘best’ lists – I fully endorse it and urge you to head home to mothers.