REVIEW Tani Modi Osteria, Edinburgh

Located downstairs on Hanover Street, Tani Modi is a cafe and brunch house. I love the sound of a brunch house, don’t you?? And recently they have added a new dimension to their cafe, and now open in the evenings as an Osteria.

An Osteria is an Italian restaurant that serves wine and simple food that’s inexpensive, homemade with small menus and an emphasis on local food.

And that is the perfect description of Tani Modi Osteria, Edinburgh except that the food is local to a region in Italy, Emila Romagna, and cooked from recipes that were handed down to through the generations.

WARNING – this is simple, homemade, rustic, delicious dishes that are served in a very relaxed, easy-going cafe. The surroundings suit the food – there are no bells and whistles here but you can most certainly be guaranteed of a fabulous evening where you are not rushed, where you indulge in  big plates of gorgeous food and glug down several glasses of wine.

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Look out for the Tani Modi Owl on Hanover street and head down the stairs.

So whats on the menu? The menu is small, approx 10 dishes, some with variations to them. Know that the portions are decent and this is good hearty food, so you won’t be leaving hungry. We tried a bit of everything so I’m just going to rattle on through the menu.

The wine menu is small but decent with some good choices – you’ll find Chianti, Primitivo, Chadonnay and a Pinot Grigio.

Pinzimonio di Verdure – Vegetables crudites cut in to bite size and served with dipping hummus, yogurt and lime sauce, and olive oil and vinegar accompanied by granary bread.

On this side of the platter, the porcini muchrooms were a favourite, deep with umami and retaining their woodsy flavour.

 Taglere Misto –  A selection of fine cured meats, cheeses and vegetables served with Piada, their flat bread. Cured meats included spek, salami and mortadella which was quite peppery.

Tagliere Formaggi – A wide selection of their cheeses served with preserve, honey and granary bread.

Burrata in Foglia – A semi-soft cheese made from mozzarella and cream, served with cherry tomato glazed in fig jam and served with granary bread.

Part of the platter was the sourdough served with thin slices of spek lard. It doesn’t sound too appealing but believe me, you’ll lick your lips afterwards. It smells like bacon and fat, and its greasy but by gosh does it hold some flavour.

Taglere Piada – Typical flat bread filled with cured meats, cheeses and vegetables.  Served in wedges, it is a good main or ideal to share as a starter.

With the platter utterly destroyed (I think we may have left a crumb or two), we were brought three of their main dishes to try. Sometimes when dining in a non-Scottish restaurant, I leave it up to the owners or managers to bring me a selection of, or dishes they think I might enjoy or dishes they want to highlight on their menu.

And so to kick off the three dishes we have : Passatelli Dei Nonni. A non-menu item but on the specials menu. This would cure any hangover; make any day better and you could slurp down a vat full of this soup. Essentially it’s parmesan and bread crumb soup. The parmesan and bread crumbs are combined and pushed through a ricer to form the squiggly long shapes and the broth is predominantly cheese. It’s a cheese soup! Outrageously good.

On the menu is the Home made gnocchi served with their Bolognese Ragu or with Porcini and Chestnuts mushrooms sauce.

We choose the Bolognese Ragu and it didn’t disappoint. The ragu is rich in beef flavour rather than the British version where it’s more tomato flavoured. The beef is fine and there is just enough to coat the lovely bites of soft gnocchi. Super more-ish.

Third main dish was the Polenta which has its roots in the peasant cuisine of northern Italy. It is made by grinding corn into flour or meal. It has a rich yellow colour and a slightly sweet flavour and it is served instead of pasta, rice or potatoes. It’s creamy and thick and served with either Italian sausages and pork ribs slow cooked with Borlotti beans in their tomato and laurel sauce; or with Porcini and Chestnuts mushrooms sauce.

Most definitely a large hearty belly busting filling dish.

For dessert we were treated to their Chocolate Salami. They have a lovely wee selection of cakes daily but there is also three desserts to choose from :

Cantucci e Vin Santo – Classic almond biscuits from Toscany served with sweet white wine.

Caffettiera con Biscotti – Selection of Italian biscotti with coffee served in the classic Italian coffee maker.

Mascarpone a Modo Mio – Home made Mascarpone cream in a cruncy cannoli pastry and served with a shot of Baileys.

Our Chocolate Salami was served with two shots of Limencello and Montenegro (a blend of 40 botanicals, including vanilla and orange peels and eucalyptus).

So to sum it up, Tani Modi is a genuine hidden gem (but not for long); a basement cafe on Hanover Street. They serve up rustic, homemade, authentic and traditional Italian fare like Nonna use to make. The atmosphere is super relaxed, the staff are friendly and helpful and the music playlist great. It’s the kind of place you want to kick back, eat delicious food, drink good wine and have the space and time to enjoy the evening with friends. They also cater for vegetarians and vegans.

A must visit Osteria right in the heart of the city centre.

Tani Modi, Hanover Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1DJ. Tel : 0131 466 3289 www.tanimodi.co

My Spoon Award : Tartan Spoon 9/10

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