- Telephone 0131 667 5214
- Food served Sun–Thu noon–midnight; Fri 2pm–2am; Sat noon–2am.
- Average price £11 (lunch); £11 (evening meal)
- Website www.kebab-mahal.co.uk
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This review is taken from the current (2013) edition.
There’s a reason why Kebab Mahal has been a part of Edinburgh’s dining scene since 1979, and that is its adherence to the maxim ‘keep it simple’. Its cafe feel and hard-worn chairs and tables give the room an air of the late-night takeaway, an impression re-enforced by the doner kebabs revolving next to a large charcoal grill. But what is also noticeable about the restaurant is its popularity, and that isn’t solely thanks to the low cost of the meals on offer. Rather it’s because the food is simple, unpretentious and satisfying. A starter of lamb tikka makes the most of the smoky grill, citrus-spiced and crisply charred, with gloriously tender lamb. Vegetarian dishes such as mushroom pakoras or vegetable kebabs are a little workaday. However, confirming that this is more of a meat-eater’s den, the chicken madras is tender, with a surprisingly delicate texture, while the sauce delivers a rich and robustly spicy kick. Desserts are plentiful, sticky variations on Indian and Greek classics.
Unfairly overshadowed by the cheaper, more student-friendly Mosque establishments across the square, Kebab Mahal has long been an excellent location for budget curry in a hurry. You can also takeaway (there's no delivery service), though off site their side dishes seem a little lacking in flavour, with undercooked aloo ghobi, bland naan and cheap-tasting veg. Curries such as lamb biryani and a suitably coconutty korma are better executed, with a good, creamy texture to the korma and tender chunks of meat in both. Those with delicate palates beware, though, as each dish packs a surprising level of heat, especially those traditionally considered mild.
- High point: Cheap and authentic
- Low point: Vegetarians may not be wowed
- Provides: Children's portions, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables
- Music on stereo: Background sound from TV
- Capacity: 26
- Largest group: 26
- Open since: 1979
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