Beating the winter blues, with an award winning curry, Cat Thomson discovers an award winning Midlothian curry hotspot.

At this time of year the forecast is for temperatures to plummet, and the big freeze is to make an appearance very soon.

It might be chilly outside but inside our house it was utterly Baltic, resembling a location from new movie Frozen 2. The reason? Simple, “the fella” had launched an enthusiastic one-man energy-saving campaign.

He checked our account recently and emitted a shriek, so chilling it would turn you to ice. As a result, the lights were being switched off at every opportunity and the thermostat was turned down permanently.

Please spare me a thought, folks, it might be all warm “Hygge” or cosy “Coorie” round your place, but I had blankets pulled up over my knees, just to stop my teeth chattering with a room temperature hovering about minus two.

A direct consequence of all his economising was that our once cosy cottage now felt as if it was on the outskirts of the Arctic Circle, with our living room illuminated only by the dim twinkling of the Northern Lights.

Jumpers and thermals were ranking highly on the Christmas present list.

However, I had a cunning plan to thwart the big chill – to turn our internal central heating up to the max by visiting an award-winning restaurant for a tasty dose of winter warming spices.

Our in-house Ebenezer is partial to a good curry so he was easily persuaded to go to Loanhead in search of the ultimate Ruby Murray.

The Radhuni Loanhead, Midlothian

The family-run Radhuni restaurant has been voted Scotland’s Best South Asian Restaurant, best curry restaurant in the Edinburgh area, while owner Habibur Khan, 23, has just become the youngest winner of the British Curry Award.

The name means ‘passionate cook’ in Bengali, and this establishment first opened here in 2011, so I’m confident we will be in safe culinary hands.

The logo features a flame, so perhaps that was what subconsciously lured me here. This establishment came highly recommended and had the bonus that we didn’t have to brave Edinburgh’s Christmas chaos in town.

The exterior looks minute, but it is Tardis-like inside as it magically opens up into a sizeable dining space, which features a large group dining area and designated family zone.

The interior is a mishmash of styles, walls painted in tropical but earthy hues, with hookah pipes on show along with country house-style rustic deer antlers adorning the wall.

We had barely time to remove a few thermal layers before a blizzard of efficient waiters came over to cater for our every whim, offering up a plateful of poppadoms.

Lime pickle for my palate has a touch of washing up liquid tang about it, but the fella simply cannot get enough of it.

The Radhuni Loanhead, Midlothian

I much prefer the smooth but tangy mango chutney on offer and the delightfully moreish green yogurty sauce which I happily drizzled copious amounts of over a pile of diced onion.

Too late, the retro Orbit chewing gum advert campaign catchline sprang to mind – “you’ll love my onion breath.”

Oh dear.

Decision-making was tough with such a great selection of dishes on offer, and I eventually opted for a hot to trot aloo chat.

Not blow-your-head-off stuff, but fiery fun none the less, it features dainty mouthfuls of potato cooked with tomatoes and cucumbers in a spicy sour sauce.

Obviously we over ordered, with a portion of cod fishcakes, tasty buttered potatoes all breaded and spiced and served with more of the special yogurty sauce, and while the fella plumped for a Scottish fusion dish of haggis pakora, which put him in a good mood, he was also tempted by the sound of the belly-warming fiery squid.

His normal go-to dish is a lamb madras, but to ring the changes he opted for a Milly Jilly, which features both chicken and lamb covered in a tomato-based, bhuna-style sauce mopped up by a snowshoe-sized garlic nan bread.

His verdict: “Two for the price of one – bargain hunting never tasted this good.” He also sampled a successful chicken badami bhuna, while we both dived into a side order of the tarka daal, which got our pulses racing.

The ingredients of my vegetarian sabzi Malayan read more like a pudding recipe, but this delicate dish had balanced flavours made from almonds, coconut, pineapple, fruit juices and cream.

Mild but heated to a volcanic temperature, it made for a distinctive vegetarian pleaser, accompanied by a wholesome chapati and pilau rice.

I may have to patent my idea of repurposing the metal tea light prison, so beloved of curry houses, to make a useful hand warmer at home.

Leaving in good humour with a warm food glow the fella eventually conceded that the heating could go back on.

So if you want to curry favour with the loveable scrooge in your life, then Radhuni is the hot spot to head to.

 

 

 

The Radhuni 

93 Clerk Street

Loanhead EH20 9RE

Midlothian (0131-440 3566)

 

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The Radhuni, Loanhead, Restaurant Review
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About The Author

Catriona Thomson

Catriona is Deputy Picture Editor at the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday.

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