VDeep Leith

This review first appeared in April 2015

At the start of the year, I was disappointed to see that The Vintage, which used to be located at the end of my road, was to close. It did one of the best brunches in Leith and, as the baby of the Williams Bros, had a great beer selection. The promised city centre version of The Vintage has yet to make an appearance, but down by The Shore, VDeep has taken up residence.

Claiming to be the country’s first craft beer and curry bar it’s the brainchild of former(ish) TV presenter and stand-up comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli. He has decided to give up the media spotlight, becoming co-owner and executive chef of the new restaurant. And bar a few spicing issues, he might just have found his calling.

The emphasis at VDeep is on sharing, so between us we ordered four dishes and three sides. The mixed pakora – our sort of starter – gave the traditional opener a completely new spin, comprising haggis & apple, confit coconut pork and cheesy peas. All were utterly delicious, and as usually happens when I have to share, I wanted them all for myself!

I would wholeheartedly recommend the Kerelan Rainbow Trout if you are looking for something a bit different.  It never ceases to amaze me what Indians chefs can do with fish, achieving the perfect level of spice without overpowering the delicate fish. The spicing of our other two mains provided slightly problematic though. Our vindaloo was slightly lacking in heat, whilst our korma was too hot. This might be how the dishes are ‘supposed’ to be, but without any indication on the menu, diners might opt for something which is either too hot or too bland – either way, potential spoiling their meal. However, I’ve no complaints about the pork cheek (vindaloo) or venison meatballs (korma) themselves.

Our sides comprised of a refreshing raita, unfussy boiled rice and likely the best peshwari naan I’ve ever had. Too often in Indian restaurants, the naan turns out to be a claggy mess that is cold by the time it reaches the table. This was fresh, crispy, and best of all, warm! Our saag aloo was equally vibrant, although a stray chili – which I don’t think belonged in the dish – almost brought my night to a premature end. Careful next time please guys!

It seems like VDeep has maintained its relationship with the Williams Bros, as the bar had a cracking selection of beers. When the restaurant first opened, the concept didn’t convince me – could the big flavours of Indian food and craft beer mix or would they cancel each other one? I’m pleased to report that it’s the former, with my enjoyment of the meal heightened by the fact it was accompanied by some smashing beers.

You won’t be surprised to learn that there was a heavy emphasis on IPAs. Both the aptly named Thornbridge Jaipur and the Alchemy Citra Burst were soft and smooth, with medium bodies and a big burst of citrus. Both went well with our mains, giving a zingy yet refreshing edge to the spicy food. With dessert (more of which in a sec) in had one of the best beers I’ve ever tasted – the Drygate Steam Beer. A product of the Glasgow brewery’s experimentation kitchen, the red ale was full bodied, sweet, sticky and hoppy, whilst still maintaining a cool freshness.  It would be great to see this Drygate roll this beer out as one of its regulars, as I think it could be a smash hit!

As mentioned above, we all decided to go for dessert and it was great to be in an Indian restaurant which actually offered Indian-inspired desserts. My two companions went for Rasmali – black cardamom and butterscotch paneer balls, served with chocolate and ginger soil. I managed to snaffle some of their dessert and it was beautifully light – the perfect end to the meal. My eyes were probably bigger than my stomach when I ordered the Masala Chai Spiced Doughnuts, and although I enjoyed them, one would have been plenty; three was simply, too much!

Along with the delicious food, great beers and quality service, what raises VDeep above your standard Indian restaurant is the atmosphere.  We went on a Wednesday night and the whole place was buzzing, with a friendly vibe which reminded me of Glasgow (sorry Edinburgh).  Definitely a great addition to the Edinburgh food scene, and The Shore especially, which has seen a number of restaurants shut down over the past 18 months.  And it turns out VDeep does a cracking brunch, so I’m sure I’ll be back again before long.