Often accused of being postcode snobs, the Social Bitches have headed south – by all of ten minutes – where they’ve discovered the delights of Indian & Bengali cuisine, as well as a neighbourhood restaurant that’s clearly on the rise.
Voujon, we’re reliably informed, means invitation to dine. Walk through its doors, and you’ll discover a minimalist decor, white linen and fresh flowers on every table, as well as waiters dressed head to toe in black.
So far so good. We’ve almost, very nearly gone to the suburbs for dinner, but we’re loving the hints of fine dining. Time to explore what seems a pretty decent wine list, and of course, order a shedload of food.
We begin with the Chicken Pakora, which promises succulent chicken, deep-fried in batter. So wonderfully crisp, there really doesn’t seem to be slightest trace of oil. Even better, it comes with a delicious sauce made from an old family recipe.
The waiter seems a little shy [ or maybe just scared? ] so we’re not quite sure if he says it contains mint, mango, or maybe “You want ANOTHER bottle of wine??!?”
Whatever the case, it’s cool, it’s sweet, and it seems to go exceedingly well with not only the pakora, but also our Minced lamb samosas.
But the stand-out starter has to be Lamb Tikka stir fry with peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and fresh coriander. Most definitely bigger than the sum of its parts, this dish is incredibly tender, and full of flavour.
Now well into our second bottle, tut tut, we decide to see what the rest of the menu has to offer. And it seems the choices are endless. Well, not literally endless, but definitely figuratively …
You can order a banquet for two, vegetarian if you must, or perhaps an entire leg of lamb marinated in herbs and spices, then barbecued. Oh … my … god!
Or you could go for curry, kebabs, fish & seafood, vegetarian, fusion, or maybe the more traditional meals like Rhogan Josh, or Jhal Bhuna – said to be moist, and capable of making your mouth dance. Well, we definitely like the sound of that …
Slightly overwhelmed, we decide to order more wine instead. Ahh, drinking on a school night, there’s really nothing quite like it.
Eventually we focus, and put together an impromptu feast that kicks off with the Lamb passandra. A classic North Indian dish that boasts marinated lamb, a series of apparently secret ingredients, and an extremely creamy almond sauce.
Teetering between savoury and sweet, it’s a subtle flavour, but proves to be the perfect contrast to our rather spicier picks.
Like the Katmandu Chicken Delicacy – which sees chicken tikka kebabs combined with a spicy mix of spring onion, cinnamon, coriander and lentils. An absolute winner!
Be warned, it definitely has a kick, but it’s also deliciously addictive. The lentils give it real body, and not quite knowing when the wave of heat is about to hit just adds to the adventure.
It’s also where the cool, sweet taste of the previous dish comes in handy. As does a tall glass of Lassi, a sweet mango and yoghurt drink that Isaac can’t get enough of.
Despite the large amount of food we’ve already ordered, we also insist on the Aloo gobi massala – a lovely mix of potato and cauliflower; as well as the Special fried rice – which uses saffron bismati, and feels like it could be a satisfying meal on its own.
Another very happy discovery is the Saag Bhaji. While its ingredients – spinach, onion, herbs & spices – sound simple, amazingly it has a gorgeous smoked, almost barbecue flavour. However it’s achieved, we are big, BIG fans.
By meal’s end, we are utterly stuffed. The white linen table cloth is also looking a little worse for wear, oops. But, determined to give a full and comprehensive review, we make ourselves order dessert … and another bottle of wine.
Here, thankfully, the menu gets a little simpler, offering a varied selection of ice cream dishes, and a cheeky chocolate mouse, should you have the room.
Our pick is the Coconut Supreme – a rather pleasing coconut ice cream packed into a coconut shell. We love the kitsch factor almost as much as we do the taste.
While it has to be said Voujon doesn’t quite offer the knockout performance of some of Edinburgh’s culinary heavyweights, there’s definitely potential here, and some amazing dishes in the mix.
Suffice to say, the Social Bitches are happy they ventured south.
In a pre-theatre nutshell:
Festival Theatre 14 minute walk / The Queens Hall 6 minute walk
Lunch / dinner
Starters £4-6 / Mains £10 – £13 (on average) / Sides £4.50
107 Newington Road
0131 667 5046