3 September 2015

Review: Rivage, Easter Road, Edinburgh

I HAVE TO say that I’m embarrassed that I’ve yet to have reviewed Rivage, given it has been my most frequented restaurant in the last two-and-a-half years. Though a gastronomic hotspot, Easter Road is more associated with football than dining, but with the much-celebrated Manna House bakery, firmly-established Italian, Al Dente, as well as Cornelius wine shop in close proximity, this Indian restaurant could help change that perception further. Let me tell you why.

You could be forgiven for walking past this unassuming eatery at the top of the street, just off London Road. Tasteful teak tables and chairs adorn this spacious dining room with a nifty tandoor oven providing a definitive focal point; they still haven’t asked if I want a shot yet (hint, hint). This is one you will either regret overlooking or pat yourself on the back for giving it a punt. The restaurant is BYOB with no corkage charge, although it is licensed. I remember trying to order a bottle of wine on our first visit, only to be told: “You don’t need to buy a bottle. There’s a wine shop just up the road; there’s no hurry if you want to nip up and get something.”

Tonight, I start with probably my favourite starter from a menu that I can actually say I have worked my way through – the Rivage special (£3.75). There is no better description of this dish than that of fellow blogger Blythe (lunchquest.co.uk) who says this looks like “a Findus crispy pancake” but far more delicious and certainly unique to this restaurant. The filling is packed with precisely diced spicy chicken, onions and well-balanced spices. There’s a quenelle of tomato chutney on top with a fresh, dressed salad and cool yoghurt dressing to complete this exquisite starter.

Sarah usually favours the kebab-style option, be that the shikumpuri or, as in this instance, the Gulfan sheekh (£3.95). The juicy skewer of meat always has a distinct flavour, with a hint of chargrilled goodness, and you can taste the individual spices in this rather moreish dish. Again, it comes with a crisp salad and yoghurt garnish. A winner all day long.

The menu features an impressive range of vegetarian and fish options, but I fancied chicken jalfrezi (£7.95) on this occasion. It should be noted that we had half portions, as we had just eaten a big sharing platter but have priced as per menu. The tender chicken and crunchy peppers were sublime, coated in a light, mildly spiced and thick sauce. The rice, which we shared, was nutty and accurately cooked. The dish is well-seasoned, and again you can taste the different spices in there – often lost on many a generic Indian.

Sarah selected Murghi Malai (£7.95), which I couldn’t taste because of my nut allergy. She found the cashew nut and tomato sauce expertly blended, with the charred hints from the chicken offsetting the sweetness from the honey. I suppose it’s a more sophisticated version of a tikka masala-type dish. The one criticism is that we would have preferred the garlic naan to be reeking of the stuff, rather than a faint hint.

Rivage never fails to disappoint. It’s an Indian restaurant with personality and consistency that most restaurants can only dream of. Sure, you may have to wait a few minutes more for your dishes, but that’s soon forgotten when you tuck into the delectable delights on offer. The BYOB status is a pure bonus, so please give this one a bash.

Address: 126-130 Easter Road,
                Edinburgh,
                EH7 5RJ.

Web: https://www.zomato.com/edinburgh/rivage-leith

Phone: (0131) 661 6888



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