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Spice up your life with a trip to Cilantro


Eating out has definitely become more expensive as the hospitality have understandably had to increase prices to cover their own costs and the markup on wine has become eye-watering in some establishments. But play your cards right and pick one of the BYOB establishments and eating out doesn’t have to break the bank.


Luckily for me, and living near Leith Walk, there are at least four BYOB restaurants within striking distance, including the authentic Cilantro restaurant serving Indian-Bangladeshi cuisine. It has quickly established a name for itself and within three weeks of opening last year, won the Best Newcomer in Scotland Award at the Asian & Restaurant Awards 2022. And in September 2023, it took the top accolade and won the Best Asian Restaurant Edinburgh. It’s not difficult to see why.

They promise ‘their culinary experts are masters in blending aromatic spices with fresh Scottish produce to create mouth-watering dishes.’ And Cilantro delivers just that, along with faultless service from our friendly, and helpful waiter, Ratul, a Master’s graduate in International Banking and Business. He even waited outside for my dining partner, Caroline, whose Google Maps had somehow had her walking the length of Leith Walk to find the restaurant. Well, at least she got her steps in, to compensate for the feast we were about to consume.

Starting with a tray of homemade pickles and poppadums, we asked Ratul for his recommendations as my curry choices can be somewhat predictable, with Butter Chicken being a favourite.

While Cilantro has the usual curry staples on their menu, including Korma, Rogan Josh, and Dansaks, I’d advise veering off your beaten path and taking the waiter’s recommendation and trying something different. For mains, we opted for the Shatkora Lamb, tender marinated lamb cooked in a medium spiced sauce with rinds of special Bangladeshi citric fruit, herbs and coriander. I’m not sure what the fruit was exactly but the dish had a refreshing lemon taste.

Caroline declared her Karai Chicken, a chicken curry with a tomato gravy, as ‘the best curry she had ever eaten’ and loved its spicy bite.

I’m not sure if this was the wine talking as we were a bottle of our BYOB wine down by this stage, but I concurred that her choice was delicious.

Prepared in a karahi, a type of wok, cumin, green chillies, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and coriander are the key to the flavour of the dish. We also shared a filling yellow Tarka Dahl made with stewed lentils and split peas, Pilau Rice and a Peshwari naan.

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