We can’t deny it, we were pretty devastated to see The Vintage go. As our favourite neighbour and local watering hole, it was a sad moment when we found out that we could no longer pop over for a delicious meal and a glass of wine.
But, as they say, every cloud does indeed have a silver lining…
And so appeared, VDeep. Owned by the team behind The Vintage and new partner and comedian, Hardeep Singh Kohli, this Curry and Beer establishment is a hybrid of a Scottish pub and an Indian Cafe and certainly brings a sense of humour to the area.
The atmosphere is welcoming, whether customers are popping in for a schooner of craft beer (they even have their own Vindabrew IPA), a full feast or just a lunchtime snack. Kohli can be seen everywhere; looking down at diners from the walls, in the Adidas that adorns the staff, or in person, wandering around entertaining guests and making sure that everyone is having an enjoyable experience.
The team is constantly trying to better themselves and while the menu is improved regularly, surprise desserts are introduced from time to time, curry and quiz nights are held on occasion, and craft beer workshops, tasters and guest blend popups appear frequently.
While communal tables (inspired by Kholi’s Sikh upbringing) are crafted out of recycled windows and doors, the comedian’s quirky sense of humour can be found throughout the restaurant. From the menu, where puns course through the menu like the house Sangiovese through our veins, to the muraled walls. No mango chutney here!
Dishes can be shared, or the small, Indian Tapas sized plates can be enjoyed by one. We know that people might turn their noses up at the idea of Butter Chicken, but the Tikka Chicken in a creamy masala sauce is always perfectly spiced and a winner for us. The Kohli Fried Chicken (KFC) is a firm favourite of regulars and consists of spice baked chicken drumsticks and a coconut chutney style dip.
The naan is made in house in the tandoor oven and is as buttery, as light and as delicious as you always hope that naan is; perfect for dipping into your chosen selection of curry. (Note: The naans are sizeable, to say the least.) A Staff Curry is always available and has yet to disappoint.
While the “Reincarnation” section provides diners with a modern take on the classics, like Green Chilli Butter Crab and Bhuna Beef, the “East v West” section gives people options including Bubble & Sikh (a take on a traditional potato aloo tikka), Punjabi BBQ Wings infused with whisky, honey and cumin and, a personal favourite, garam masala spiced Cauliflower Cheese.
I’ve heard rumblings that the Pork Cheek Vindaloo is one of the best curries around but, given a certain weakness in the heavy spice department, we can’t testify to this personally. We can, however, commend Chef Ruairidh Skinner on his delicate touch in the kitchen. Flavour is generally spot on, with each and every bite presenting hints and kicks of chilli, cumin, coriander or tomato, and dishes relying on produce as much as spicing.
The Scots Indian (or ‘Scindian’, a term coined by a visiting Indian friend from Curacao) take on traditional Indian dishes is evident. From black pudding pakora to Indian Cauliflower Cheese, from raspberry beer marinades to whisky infused BBQ wings, VDeep has taken Scindian to the next level.
The recipe for the KFC seems to have changed, and the crisp, lightly spiced skin has been replaced by something similar to a baked crust of spices. We can’t deny that we preferred the initial recipe, but it still remains the perfect dish for sharing and a firm favourite of customers.
Our only disappointment to date has been the masala chai-spiced doughnuts. We had high hopes for these, but despite their heavenly smell, the huge doughnuts were heavy, dense and altogether very doughy in texture. Smaller, lighter bites rolled in masala chai sugar would be preferable. If you are craving an after dinner treat, we recommend the Rasmali, black cardamom & butterscotch paneer balls served with a chocolate soil. #heavenly
The menu presents an interesting take on Indian classics, made with fresh and local ingredients in the heart of Leith. The team is as friendly and bubbly as ever, and with a house red than makes our toes curl, we pose the question; “Hardeep is your love?” Ours is very deep indeed, and we are not planning on going anywhere. Now…pass the bhuna beef and the naan, please. All this chat of food is making our mouths water.
VDeep is open all week, for lunch and dinner from 12pm-midnight (and until 1am on a Friday and Saturday).
Find them: 60 Henderson Street, Leith – just opposite the Whisky Society.