New place, Tantra, is hoping to change that, with a menu of “progressive Indian cuisine”, contemporary decor and some swish-looking cocktails and mocktails.
If all goes according to schedule, they’re opening on October 28, in the former Castle Street premises of steak restaurant, Cau, which closed in July 2018.
The company behind this venture is Mass Hospitality Ltd, who consist of Manoj Kalappurackal, chef Aji Kumar, Srikesh Gopisreesylam and Shamil Lateef, all of whom have spent the last 15 years running ApartHotels and Restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Their new venue will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and will seat 180 covers with a private dining room for 30.
“We wanted a place in Edinburgh for a long time and a restaurant at Castle Street is a big plus. We couldn’t be happier with the location - it has a nice view to the castle,” says Kalappurackal. “We want to make tasty and presentable food, simply put together and approachable. We will take bookings, but you’ll always be able to walk in off the street. Everything will be brought in fresh locally, we will be baking on site, cooking over an open fire and we have reinvented our kitchen to accommodate that”.
Although they’re keeping most of the interior and menu secret until launch, there are a number of intriguing signature dishes.
These include Emperor's Daal Shorba, which was inspired by the “royal cookbook of Medieval India, Nimmatnama-i-Nasiruddin-Shahi, written in 1500”. This rich soup is made with lentils and chickpeas and served alongside bakarkhani, though Tantra’s fusion version of this spiced flatbread also has an Italian twist.
“This dish is indeed a soup of the royals, but for this era”, says brand development manager, Rossella Petta.
Then there’s the Black Gold Gosht, which was inspired by the restaurant team’s visit to the Kolar Gold Fields district of South India and the ore that’s mined there.
“This is lip-smackingly delicious with a rich velvety sauce and melt-in-the-mouth lamb shank,” says Petta. It features a Hyderabadi-style gravy of cashew nuts, onions and “secret spices”, as well as stamps of 24k edible gold leaf, all served with their house bread, manda.
“We aim to bring traditional Indian food into another dimension by taking inspiration from renowned international cuisines and using modern techniques such as molecular gastronomy and deconstruction”, says Petta. “We ensure that the soul of the food we serve will be authentic Indian in flavour, but the execution and presentation will be mystical and magical in every aspect, just like our name”.
The cocktail list menu is currently under wraps, but looks to feature sculptural garnishes and other theatrical elements.
Those who fancy giving Tantra a try at the soft launch, when they plan to offer 50 per cent off food, can sign up to their newsletter on the website below.
15 Castle Street, Edinburgh, www.thetantra.co.uk