With over 2500 places to eat in Edinburgh (and that number is growing daily), we are spoilt for choice. We have eateries all over the city and it was a nice change to venture down towards Haymarket and the far west of Edinburgh City Centre.
Just past the West End (Lothian Road/Princes St) and before Haymarket, lies Atholl Place and the a new Indian Restaurant called Mumbai Diners Club. From the outside, it looks very swish, with large windows and a few stairs leading up to the entrance where you are greeted with a large wooden, beautifully crafted sign with MDC engraved into it.
As soon as you step in the door, you’ll receive a very warm welcome and shown to your table in a very pleasant and quite plush surroundings. The previous restaurant was a Chinese and luckily it didn’t require a massive refurbishment. The tables are covered in crisp white linen, pleasant and slightly upbeat Indian music plays in the background and it has quite a warm cosy feel due to the heavy drapes.
Mumbai Diners Club is run by the same folk that previously owned Mumbai Mansions and Mithas down in Leith. The menu is extensive and there are many dishes to tempt, but we left it up to our waiter to guide us through and happily accepted his recommendations.
Firstly our popadoms, crispy onion salad and cool yoghurt dip arrived as did my Singha beer. Curry and a beer – you can’t go wrong.
As per our waiters recommendation, we choose three starters.
Firstly the Seabass with coconut crust grilled on tawa (frying pan). I lost a little faith when we asked the waiter where the seabass is from and he replied – the sea! It might seem funny at the time, but I genuinely wanted to know and this is basic information waiting staff should know.
The fish was slightly overcooked and it tasted like toasted desiccated coconut smeared ontop. I thought the flavour was pleasant enough but it had no lingering taste or depth of flavour.
Next was the Lamb Chops marinated in ginger, garlic and honey. At £8.95 for two lamb chops, this is slightly on the expensive side. They were spicy enough and the lamb meat was tender.
And then the Venison Boti, marinated in honey with a hint of pineapple. The venison was unfortunately tough but quite more-ish. I’m not adverse to a bit of a chew on my meat but again at close to £9 for three chunks of venison, I’d expect more. There was no hint of pineapple.
Moving onto our mains, we ordered the Lamb Makanwala, lamb in a rich buttery sauce with over ten ingredients. It’s mild, rich and smooth.
For me the sauce could certainly have had ten ingredients used to make it but the lamb tasted like it hadn’t been cooked, long and slow in the sauce. Don’t get me wrong, the lamb was tender but it didn’t hold the flavours of the sauce; almost as if the lamb is cooked separately then added to the sauce as per your chosen dish! Not a bad way to do things, it’s just not convincing.
The Chicken Koliwada with cashew nuts, peanuts, coconuts, curry leaves and mustard seeds – again the sauce was quite nice but for me, the well cooked chicken had been added to the sauce.
Peshwari Naan bread was large, warm and delicious.
The rice was well cooked.
For me, Mumbai Diners Club is not fine dining. It’s a nice restaurant serving Indian food and I think they have a ways to go before they can claim the title of fine dining Indian Restaurant.
This was a hard review to write as other reviews are consistently good; either I went on a bad night or I’m a super fussy eater.
My overall verdict – the food is fair to good but at the prices charged you’d want them to be excellent. Their plating up skills are quite old fashioned but I kinda like that as most Indian restaurants are quite old school. The food isn’t overly spicy and some dishes lack a depth of flavour. If you read my blog, you will know that I am not a fan of hot dishes but I do like layers of flavour and spice.
Mumbai Diners Club have everything at their fingertips to make this place stand out – the venue, the location, the staff but they just need to work a little harder on the food. I’d give it a couple of months and no doubt they’d be up there with the best of them.
Mumbai Diners Club, 3 Atholl Place, Edinburgh. Tel : 0131 2298291 www.mumbaidinersclub.co.uk
My Spoon Award : Bronze Spoon 7/10. Food and service are good.