Edinburgh Indian restaurant tussles with sister West Lothian venue for title of Scotland’s best newcomer
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Last May, Mohammad Abbas opened up the first Indian-style eatery in Bo’ness, and followed it up 13 months later by unveiling Cilantro in Leith Walk.
Both are among four restaurants shortlisted for the Newcomer title in the Asian Restaurant Awards, which will be announced at a presentation dinner at the Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa in Edinburgh on November 1.
Abba said: “It’s a great and possibly unique honour to have my restaurants named as two of the best newcomers on Scotland’s Asian restaurants scene.
“Bo’ness Spice and Cilantro are small but our teams believe in quality rather than size.
“Both have already proved very popular but that has come as no surprise to us because our menu features only the finest Indian-Bangladeshi dishes, freshly made with authentic spices.”
During the Covid pandemic his first restaurant provided free meals to front line workers including ambulance crews and ran a fund raising event for Ukrainian refugees.
Before opening it, Mohammad was front of house manager at a multi award-winning restaurant in Midlothian.
Bo’ness Spice has only 14 seats and Cilantro (named after the leaves of the coriander plant) has 20.
Neither restaurant is licensed but diners can bring their own alcoholic drinks with a small corkage charge added.
Yawar Khan, Chairman of the Asian Catering Federation which organises the awards, said: finalists “showcase some of the best dining establishments from across the nation.”
According to the ACF Asian restaurants contribute £5bn a year to the UK economy and employ more than 100,000 people.