I’M A longmenuophobe. Short food lists, I can handle. However, faced with something beyond two pages, I get bamboozled.
By the time I reach the mains, I’ve forgotten what I wanted as a starter. By the time it comes to side dishes or trimmings, I’m mumbling about visiting the local chippy.
Ahmed Saleh, owner of recently refurbished Bangladeshi eatery, Voujon, must’ve been concerned about people like me when he designed its new Fusion menu (badly named, as it suggests a hybrid style of cuisine, which it doesn’t offer, but let’s try to ignore that).
It means that, when you order a main course, it will come with whatever Chef has deemed suitable. So, for example, the salmon tikka (£14.95) will be presented with ghee bhat and salad, while the sea bass’s (£15.95) sidekicks are jeera rice and mango chutney.
Convenient. Or you could always get your efficient PA/dining partner to do the ordering, as I did. Claire got out her clipboard, and narrowed the list of options down to three starters from the lengthy à-la-carte menu for us to share.
Service was super-friendly and supersonically fast, on a busy weekday lunchtime.
Our trio of first courses was a winner. The sardine bhorta (£4.25) was served on a chapati and consisted of a large dollop of mashed, boneless sardine meat in a rust-coloured tomatoey sauce, with chopped spud, fresh coriander leaves, cumin, and a warm hit of turmeric.
Murgh chatt (£5.25), meanwhile, featured a generous clutch of chicken bits, in a zesty tamarindy gravy which contained struts of cucumber.
Fab, though presentation of these two dishes was basic (lumped onto the plate alongside shredded iceberg and a slice of tomato), in comparison to our elegantly presented sextet of panee puri (£3.25). These were lined up symmetrically on either side of a rectangular plate, like neat topiary alongside a stately home’s driveway. Each was a light, puffy and hollow ball of deep-fried puri (bread), stuffed with a smooth mulch of cold chickpeas and potatoes. On the side, a jug of sour tamarind and mint sauce, which lacked a bit of punch, but was pleasant enough.
Our waiter pouted a little when he cleared away our plates, as we’d left quite a bit (don’t worry, we got doggy bags later). But just as well, as the main of Lahori lamb curry (£10.95), part of the Fusion menu and teamed with pilau rice (included in the price), was a belter of a portion.
The meat was soft and blushing pink inside. It was blanketed by a thick brown gravy, which contained ribbons of onions and peppers. This made for a rich, sweet and fragrant concoction, with a herbal tang from the addition of fenugreek seeds and methi.
The shatkora chicken (£9.95) wasn’t quite as successful as our lamb, as the meat was a little less yielding. However, it was good enough, with lumps of the zesty Bengali lemon (or shatkora) rind in a coriander and tomato-based sauce, with a medium-temperature chilli kick.
A single peshwari nan (£2.85) was a beauty – billowingly fresh out of the oven. However, a side dish of aubergine bhuna (£3.95) tasted fine, despite being as oily as Peter Andre’s pecs.
We couldn’t see any sweet things on the menu, so shared a sunshiney mango lassi (£2.95) instead.
And I managed to order that one myself, without flaking out.
See, I can do it when I try, and Claire and I have made another decision; that (with or without its new Fusion menu), Voujon is rather nice.
107 Newington Road, Edinburgh
0131-667 5046, Voujon, Edinburgh
Lunch for two, excluding drinks, £40.45
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west