Venerable Edinburgh institution which has fed loyal fans simple Indian food since 1979.
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.
This review is taken from the current (2016) edition.
Forget Kebab Mehal’s understated appearance, this is a venerable Edinburgh institution beloved by generations of locals, students and fans of simple Indian food. Trading for more than 35 years, the shopfront supports an active takeaway, glass cases displaying piles of pakoras and samosas, while tall doner kebab rotisseries dominate the wall behind. But step further inside and a clutch of Formica tables and counter areas host a busy turnover of committed fans. Sizzling hot, juicy mushrooms, chicken or fish coated in thin, crunchy batter make an excellent start, as do crisp vegetable-filled samosa. Mains cover the bases. Mild chicken curry is a popular favourite, but the slightly spicy chicken tikka karahi is lighter and punchy. Lamb biryani with accompanying curry sauce is wetter than average but filled with tender meat. Nothing is fancy, but dishes are ample, well prepared and feel as though there’s family in the kitchen intent on nourishing their guests. If you’ve still room, a tender piece of honeyed, nutty baklava is just the ticket for rounding off the meal.
- High point: Simple food delivered with charm and kindness
- Low point: Popularity may mean waiting for a table
- Notable dish: Chicken tikka karahi
- Delivery: Free
- Provides: Halal options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables
- Music on stereo: Nothing
- Capacity: 26
- Largest group: 26
- Open since: 1979