Edinburgh restaurant review: New Indian street food restaurant Masti done out in smart style - but how was the food?
Reviewers Gaby Soutar takes a trip to Morningside's latest dining experience.
“Here in Edinburgh people have fun everyday and we have added one more place to have fun,” it says on the website of the new Indian street food restaurant, Masti.
I feel like such a party pooper, but as much as I love my home city, I’m not sure I experience this sensation daily.
The commute is a giggle, but the daily office grind isn’t, unless we’re using the acronym version of FUN (finally understanding nihilism).
Perhaps I need to spend more time in this BYOB venue’s location of Morningside.
Maisie certainly had a jolly time here. There’s also a potential Cotton Eye Joe-style hoedown in the wild west style street off Springvalley Gardens, and I’m sure there are shenanigans to be had amongst the cheeses of IJ Mellis, where you can play truckle peek-a-boo or boules with their Scotch eggs. It’s always amusing to guess the prices of geegaws in the charity shops, ride in a shopping trolley round Waitrose until the boring security guard escorts you out, or order all 63 choices of smørrebrød at the Canny Man’s.
Although, you might be less likely to be arrested if you visit this restaurant, which is in the former premises of long term resident The Clay Oven and whose name translates as fun in Hindi.
It’s been done out in a smart style, with bare brick walls, a checkered floor and teal livery. The lengthy menu consists of shareable small plates, so we go for a couple each.
First to arrive are a large pair of dahi kachori (£4.95) – two sea anemone-sized puffy dough balls, with a slight chew. These are filled with dal and topped by abstract splashes of yogurt, a sweet and tamarindy red sauce and a green spicy liquid, plus chickpea flour noodles, a handful of whole chickpeas and chopped coriander.
Next to arrive are a small pair of lamb chops (£6.95) – bright tandoori scarlet and charred on the nibbly blackened edges. Along with a rather pedestrian iceberg and cucumber salad, these are served with a bit more of that verdant and vibrant sauce on the side – as green and hot as a caterpillar in a sauna.
We’ve also gone for a “traditional dham biryani” (£6.95), which is nice enough, if a little dry and ordinary. However, we do find lots of crispy onion and chicken nodules in the rice mixture, though 30 per cent of this option is displaced onto the table, since the small metal dishes are filled to capacity.
They do a good saag chicken (£6.95) here, with a decent amount of meat in the irony spinach stew, and a whole dried red chilli draped across the top. We also rated the lamb bhindiwala (£6.95), which featured a rich tomatoey sauce and small chunks of okra, like dark green drill bits, in the mix. Our mustardy Goan fish curry (£7.95) was decent too, thanks to chunks of white fish in the sandy-coloured and thick coconutty creamy sauce.
I felt a bit underwhelmed by their garlic naan (£2.95), which was a bit flatter and more ascetic than the usual steamy and bubbly pads of bread. Instead of being buttered all over, as if getting ready to swim the Channel, these triangles had a stripe of opaque garlic butter across their middles. We also had some pilau rice (£2.95), which was a decent portion to feed two frugal faces.
Don’t bother with pudding. We ordered a dry memory foam-like wedge of Sara Lee-ish chocolate fudge cake (£4.95), with moisture provided by chocolate sauce, vanilla ice-cream and a blob of cream. Their mango kulfi (£3.95) is served in a novelty cone shape, topped with sprinkles and squirty cream, and is generally sugary rather than tangy. While, two chipmunks’ cheeks of golden gulab jamun (£3.95), rather than being served in syrup, were pressed onto another bank of ice-cream in a sundae dish and dotted with more cremated unicorns – aka rainbow sprinkles.
Babyish, or maybe the amusements at the pleasant and reasonably fun Masti started to peter out towards the end of our meal.
I shall have to fill my tank with a game of truckle peek-a-boo.
How much? Lunch for three, excluding drinks, £59.45
86-88 Morningside Road, Edinburgh
(0131-447 4777, www.masti.uk)
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