The Khukuri has been an Edinburgh favourite for almost twenty years, but over the last few months this much-loved Nepalese restaurant has undergone a makeover: new owners, new décor, and a new menu. Our verdict: It’s more fabulous than ever …
After enjoying a quick bottle of fizz with Edinburgh Foody Kerry Teakle, the three of us announced in unison: “MY GOD, I’M STARVING!!”
We repeated this slightly dramatic chant several times on the tram, and while jostling down the street, before finally arriving at our salvation – the recently refurbished Khukuri in Edinburgh’s west end.
Walking through its doors, we discovered an intimate space with quirky touches, and an incredibly friendly staff. Moments later, we were welcomed by Mukesh, the new owner.
Having invited us to experience his menu, he explained he’d also taken the liberty of ordering on our behalf. His intention being: to make sure our culinary tour of Nepal would be a thorough one, something we very much approved of.
So happy days: our much-discussed hunger would soon be no more, and our recent feelings of thirstiness could easily be addressed via the reasonably priced wine list.
The first dish to arrive was a stack of poppadoms, and a rather exciting selection of sauces. Among them mango chutney, vine tomato chutney, and yoghurt raita – persuading us in turn that each was better than the last.
Then, just a few bites later, we were also enjoying the Bara – a traditional black lentil pancake with a distinctly spicy sauce. And yes, we loved that too.
This was followed by the Thukpa Soup with King Prawns, which were both enormous and utterly bursting with flavour. An extremely popular dish in the Himalayan regions apparently, it’s not hard to understand why.
Our brush with starvation now a VERY distant memory, soon yet more
dishes presented themselves.
But despite even our inherent greed, we started to doubt whether we could eat everything Mukesh wanted us to try.
“It’s a marathon, not a race,” Kerry reassured us.
Inspired by her rousing choice of words, we immediately picked up our cutlery and launched into the next dish:
The Piro Piro – which comes with lamb, chicken or King prawns – and is cooked with ginger, garlic, cinnamon and two spices exclusive to Nepal – Jimbu and Timur.
Accompanied by Mushroom pilau rice, and some of the best naan bread we’ve ever tasted, it is truly divine. As is the Lamb chop curry we devoured next – cooked in a special sauce with potatoes, tomatoes, and coriander.
But the real star in our eyes, is the Chicken Nauni Masala. A Nepalese take on butter chicken, this most wonderful of birds is cooked in the tandoor and mixed with lightly spiced tomato gravy cream, ginger, garlic, almond and cashew.
Oh … my … god, it’s amazing!
Its warm, creamy, but at the same time oh so delicate flavour is a thing of beauty. We consumed every single drop, then wondered if the Nepalese people would see licking the bowl as rude. Well, they didn’t seem to mind …
But seriously, you MUST try this dish!
Anyhoo … then the unthinkable happened. We realised that somehow we were completely full. But, we thought, as long as there’s still food in the kitchen, it seems such a shame to stop eating.
Oh yes, it’s the dilemma of the greedy fat bastard. And adding to our distress, Mukesh appeared and asked if we’d like dessert. Struggling to breathe, we begged for a small intermission, perhaps half an hour.
He smiled, and asked if in the meantime we’d like a another bottle of wine. What remaining oxygen we had left, we used to scream, “Yes please!”
Suffice to say, we love wine, but more importantly we LOVE the food at Khukuri. Incredible flavours, exciting combinations, and portions that are deceptively filling. Add to that the great atmosphere, and there really is nothing more you could ask for.
Fortunately, when we did finally agree to dessert, it seemed to ease our pain rather than add to it – a traditional Indian ice cream known as Kulfi. Pistachio in flavour with crushed cardamom, it provided the perfect finish.
Something else that really impressed us is the fact Mukesh bagged up our leftovers, and asked if we would be happy to give them to a homeless person.
Suffice to say, these greedy and social bitches will be back!
In a pre-theatre nutshell:
Edinburgh Filmhouse, usher Hall, Traverse Theatre – 10 minute walk
Lunch, dinner or takeaway / also good for big groups
Starters £5 / Mains £10 – £15
8 West Maitland Street
0131 228 2085