The Original Mosque Kitchen and Aroma Café
- Telephone 0131 629 1630
- Opening times Daily: 11.30am–8pm.
- Seasonal times During August: daily 11.30am–9pm.
- Average price £7 (lunch); £7 (evening meal)
Without delving too deeply into some slightly murky internecine politics, we can report that once again there's curry being served in the courtyard beside Edinburgh's Central Mosque. Previous occupants 'Mosque Kitchen' established a new restaurant under that name earlier in 2012 in nearby Nicolson Square; now the 'Original Mosque Kitchen' – a separate enterprise – is serving a familiar buffet array of lamb, chicken and veggie curries from back-door premises that have seen a mild cosmetic upgrade. You still have to eat outside – though a rough-and-ready dining room is available for adverse outdoor conditions, portions are belly-busting, prices are pinched, plates are paper and cutlery still plastic.
Debates over its actual ‘Originality’ rage on, with the (unconnected) Mosque Kitchen over the road claiming copyright, but the Original Mosque Kitchen remains a popular spot, still resolutely lo-fi, ladling curries from school dinner drums on to paper plates. Seating is either in the low-ceilinged servery itself, or on some decking under a tarpaulin outside. That it remains a popular spot, whatever the weather, is down to two things. Firstly, it’s very cheap and the servings are plentiful. Secondly, and more importantly, despite the old-school styling, the food is wholesome and satisfying in a way that puts many ostensibly finer Indian restaurants to shame. The chicken samosas are light and crisp and the lentil dhal is smooth and buttery, its richness offset with a deep and subtly warming spiciness. Your choice may be from a limited menu, but it comes served with plentiful pilau rice or a naan bread. [Not recently visited.]
- High point: Cheap, filling, tasty curries
- Low point: Popular with pigeons
- Provides: Halal options, Children's portions, Wheelchair access, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Capacity: 50
- Open since: 2003
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