A few years ago I had a brilliant night at Mother India in Glasgow, an Indian restaurant in Glasgow’s West End which dates back over 40 years. The Mother India brand has a solid reputation for great Indian cooking and friendly service, so it’s inevitable they would look to grow their nest. The Mother India expansion started with Mother India’s Cafe on Glasgow’s Argyll Street and, much to my happiness, has now spread to Edinburgh’s Infirmary Street. Whereas the Glasgow restaurant is still the destination for the traditional curry experience, the ‘twist on tapas’ approach to food at Mother India’s Cafe ensures you can order a range of inexpensive dishes and enjoy a varied Indian feast.
For someone like myself who nearly always orders the same food at an Indian restaurant (chicken balti, or bhuna if that’s not on the menu) the Indian tapas of Mother India’s Cafe provides a welcome opportunity to try something new. And that’s exactly what we did as we devoured the chicken tikka chasni (¬£4.30) and the coriander lime trout (¬£4.50) from Mother India’s specials menu. The trout was lovely and a reminder that I should try more Indian infused fish dishes. The chicken tikka chasni was a disappointment, just a few pieces of mildly flavoured chicken with some chopped peppers as an accompaniment.
Four or five dishes is enough for two people at Mother India’s Cafe, so we completed our selection with Aloo Saag Dosa (¬£3.75) and Channa Dall (¬£3.80). The former was a quite delicious rice and lentil pancake stuffed with potato and spinach, while the latter was the delicious Indian beans in an equally delicious sauce - I could easily become addicted to this.
Deliciously crisp poppadoms at ¬£1.20 were a treat, especially as we ended up with four for this amount. However, I much prefer a mixed tray of accompaniments to be served and preferably for them to be provided at no extra cost to the poppadoms. But Mother India Cafe charge for each individual accompaniment so while spiced onions and mango chutney are only 95p each, the per item pricing structure does restrict the variety I ultimately chose.
We also ordered a pitta bread (¬£1.65) which was lovely - although they bore more of a resemblance to naan breads than the pitiful pittas I’ve often received with a late night kebab. Boiled rice was ¬£1.75 a portion. As we visited Mother India’s cafe during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe reservations were not being taken and there was a little queue forming at Mother India’s entrance by the time we left. Some waiting mistakes were being made elsewhere, but our service was very good. Thankfully the waiters kept their composure and friendly manner. Even though Mother India’s Cafe in Edinburgh is fairly large, it still has a nice feel to it.
And crucially Mother India’s Cafe serve my favourite Kingfisher lager (¬£2.70 a pint) on draft. I’ll definitely be back - recommended.
Mother India’s Cafe is located at 3-5 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT
Telephone: 0131 524 9801