Cilantro is a gem of a restaurant situated at the start of Leith Walk, in prominent position for pre-theatre dining, before a show at Edinburgh Playhouse. Not to mention a fantastic spot to enjoy an incredible dining experience in-between Fringe Shows this August.
With a cosy but classy interior, the restaurant has 6 tables – 3 for two diners and 3 for four diners. You can bring your own bottle, we opted for soft drinks and complimentary water.
We had a great table at the window watching the passers by on Leith Walk. We were promptly asked by the restaurant’s owner Mohammad if we would like poppadoms and dips to start. An array of mango chutney, lime pickle and a spiced cucumber, tomato and onion salad were presented to us. The freshness of the ingredients are second to none. The flavour experience begins as soon as you start to eat the food here.
To start, I was originally going to go for Cilantro’s Special Chicken Chilli – small pieces of chicken tikka cooked with tomatoes & naga chillies in a hot and very spicy special sauce enhanced by fresh cilantro leaves. However, Mohammed saved me from myself by offering the Murghi Chatt as an alternative, as although I like to think I can handle spicy flavours, it sounds like my original choice was next level! It’s good to have variety, from spicy to mild to vegetarian, fish and meat options so everyone’s preferences are catered for here and flavour is not compromised.
The Murghi Chatt is small pieces of chicken cooked with tomatoes & cucumbers in a hot & spicy sour sauce. While the King Prawn on Puri is king prawns in a subtle sauce enhanced by fresh coriander on a bed of puffed fried bread & accompanied by green salad. Both starters were an explosion of flavour in my mouth, I couldn’t get enough of them! The puffed fried bread was a good addition for scooping up the excess sauce on both dishes.
The Biryani dishes are described as ‘grand festive dishes prepared from basmati rice, chicken, lamb, king prawns, cooked in Ghee (clarified butter) with delicate herbs & spices,
served with a mixed vegetable curry sauce. My husband opted for the King Prawn Biryani, it was a good sized portion and neither of us could finish our main courses, the Biryani would be nice served as a main to share with some starters in addition.
I opted for a vegetarian main, I love paneer and it works well with the full bodied balance of ingredients in this dish. The way it was garnished and the freshness and colours made me happy with my choice.
I’d always been on at Gavin to try something other than plain naan bread so I ordered the paratha – fried layered whole wheat bread which sometimes contains potatoes (aloo). Gavin said he thought it looked like a tattie scone which I had never thought of before! All the same, it tasted good as a different option to naan bread for dipping into all the succulent flavours of the curry sauces.
Mohammad and his team made us feel welcome and accommodated, friendly customer service, a great location for exploring Edinburgh and the food is the icing on the cake – fresh, delicious Scottish produce with authentic Indian & Bangladeshi cooking that’s had time and effort put into it. I visited Cilantro’s sister restaurant ‘Bo’ness Spice’ last year and I’d recommend both restaurants for their hospitality, depending on which part of Scotland you’re in.
*I was invited and gifted my meal, all opinions are my own.