Great Places to Eat in Scotland
- Ignite, Edinburgh

Indian cuisine is one of the most popular and widely beloved by Scots when dining out - probably to warm the blood in our cool climate - and Glasgow leads the way with the assured accolade for some years as UK's Curry capital. There are some excellent award-winning restaurants in the city, including Mother India (winner of the Auchentoshan Spirit of Glasgow casual dining award), and The Wee Curry Shop, best restaurant on a budget by the List magazine, 2004. Both offer high quality, traditional home cooking.

The Location
IgniteEdinburgh is competing well with a wide range of restaurants offering Indian, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan dishes. Ignite is the latest Indian restaurant, located at 272 Morrison Street, opposite Haymarket station (handy for the train to and from Glasgow or Fife) and just a few minutes walk from the city's west end. The name conjures up hot spices, sunshine and sunsets, with the slogan "Fuels the imagination, and sets your senses alight."

The Restaurant
The colour scheme and design too centres on shades of red, terracotta and burnt orange. It is all very stylish with a compact but well designed layout - a square dining area beside the bar and then a long narrow stretch of tables along one wall leading from the door with comfy banquette seating as well as high backed chairs. Linen tablecloths, fan napkins, rows of shining glasses and fresh flowers make up the formal table setting. All around are an intriguing display of objets d'art -carved wooden elephants, ceramics and coloured glass lanterns. An army of waiters will greet you at the door and lead you courteously to your table, taking coats on the way.

The Food
The cuisine is based on traditional recipes from Bangladesh and Northern India. There is an extensive menu so take time to browse through - although staff will be very keen to assist on explaining dishes, spice strength and suggested accompaniments. It is divided into vegetarian and non-vegetarian starters, main Chicken, Lamb and vegetarian dishes as well as a wide selection of Ignite classics, which are highly recommended. The very reasonable prices belie the huge portion size so go easy on the starter or share one or two with your companion(s). I tried the baby aubergine pakura but this was disappointing and not particularly tasty. Simply deep fried aubergine and despite the onion and spices mentioned, this was bland. Select instead Vegetable Samosa or Combi Chaat - mushrooms cooked in garlic and coriander, and for meat eaters, Assorted Kebabs or Bhari Combi, stuffed mushrooms with spiced minced lamb.

Ignite Then on to the (large) main course which comes in huge bowls and placed on heated trays to keep warm so that you can share all the selected dishes around the table. So the more friends you take along, the more choice! Rogan Josh is a medium spiced stew with coriander, tomato puree and garlic with your choice of chicken, lamb, prawn or vegetable. I had the vegetable with the suggested vegetable accompaniment, mushroom and potato bhajee, which provides an absolute feast. Other classics [with the same choice of meat, fish or vegetarian], include sweet and sour lentil and pineapple Dhansak dishes, Kurma, - mild curry with cream, coconut and ground almonds, and Vindaloo, fiery hot with red chilli and ginger. If that is not enough to tempt the taste buds, there is a selection of Tandoori barbecued specialities, Seafood dishes, and Biryanis - complete meat or fish dishes cooked with rice and clarified butter. Or what about a hot spicy duck recipe, Hash Jhalfrezie, cooked with green chilli? And on the side, of course, a choice of Chaiwal, (rice) dishes, Nan breads and chapatti. Forget the wine and sip a mild Tiger beer and a large jug of water. After all that, if you fancy a dessert to finish the meal, you could indulge in Jack fruit - Bangladeshi fruit with ice cream, or Gulab Jamons - sweet dumplings.

The Bill
See for current menu and prices.

The superb range of dishes, low prices, friendly attentive service, comfortable seats, soft lighting, stylish décor (especially the toilets downstairs), all adds up to a great meal out at Ignite. I would definitely return and recommend to all who enjoy a slap up Indian meal. The restaurant was very busy with many more people, (many looking like lost tourists in search of a good meal), who had not booked a table arriving en spec for a table. Best reserve in advance! The phone number is 0131 228 5666

Vivien Devlin
June 2004

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