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Tuk Tuk, Edinburgh, review - we visit the new branch of this Indian street food restaurant

This is the third branch for this business

Published: May 27, 2023

My octogenarian mum is probably slightly too old to get a lollipop and sticker after a doctor’s appointment.

Not fair, so I made up for that by taking her to a restaurant review. It’s the lump of sugar to help a Covid booster appointment go down and I’m Mary Poppinforlunch.

As her favourite Edinburgh restaurants include Mother India and Dishoom, I knew she’d love Tuk Tuk, where spice, street food, BYOB and small plates are the order of the day.

At the end of last year, they opened a place on Drummond Street.

There’s another on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, and the original branch at Tollcross.

It’s been a while since I reviewed that venue, way back in 2013. Whenever I pass by, it’s always busy inside, and with Deliveroo cyclists, collecting bags of food from their hatch onto Gilmore Place, so I’m glad that they’re still trucking (or tuk-tuk-ing) along. That’s despite the fact that the team’s Caribbean venture, Trenchtown, which was just across the road, has shut down.

Anyway, you'll need sunglasses inside the new space. It’s joyously bright, with peachy and green walls, as well as Bollywood posters. The staff wear bright orange T-shirts.

Although they suggest that you order a single dish from Street Curries and two of the Roadside Plates, we did one from each category per person, and it was plenty for our fledgling appetites.

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The puri yoghurt bombs (£4.90) appeared first. (They’re just one of an excellent vegetarian selection, and there are loads of vegan options too).

Although these weren’t one of mum’s orders - they were MINE - she was in a thieving mood.

Once she popped her first crispy globe, which was filled with the billed ingredient, plus a dab of chutney, red onion, tomato and potato, with sev sprinkled on top, she couldn’t stop. After gathering momentum and managing three out of five, she still managed to polish off her trio of fist-sized onion bhajis (£4.80). These had an earthy beetroot in the mix, and a crispy caramelised carapace, plus a creamy chilli dip on the side.

We also tried the set of two Bengali fish cakes (£6.85), which featured dense white fish that had been dyed turmeric yellow, with hints of a warming spice, garlic and fenugreek, plus a minty yoghurt dip on the side.

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For her main course, mum had chosen lamb biryani (£9) - a mound of fragrant and gorgeously buttery pilau rice with loads of meat and flecks of veg. We also took delivery of my iron rich and garlicky spinach-y railway station lamb curry (£8.25). I’ve had this before, but I couldn’t resist. I can’t even think about it without my mouth watering.

My other half feels the same about his Tuk Tuk wallah staff curry (£7.50), though it was his first time trying this comforting dish of on-the-bone chicken chunks in a soupy, tangy and tamarind-y sauce.

He'd be happy to take this as part payment, if he was to follow up the “we are hiring” sign that’s currently hanging in this restaurant’s window.

Carb-wise, he’d gone for a chilli cheese naan (£3.50) and we shared a portion of pilau rice (£2.95). After worrying about under-ordering, we ended up taking away enough for a bonus lunch for one person (he scored, lucky boy) the next day.

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There’s a cheery selection of puddings, and the mango mastani (£3.50) is ideal if you don’t want anything heavy. It came in a wine glass, which was half full of sunshine orange mango puree, then a layer of whipped cream and chopped pistachios. There was more of this fruit, with a slice of mango and coconut cake (£3.70), with a mousse-y and fruity middle, desiccated coconut on top and a soft biscuit bottom.

I tried the naughty chai affogato (£3.20). I like the concept, and the scoop of vanilla ice-cream, but I’m not sure that cold chai tea does it for me, in the same way that espresso does. 

Anyway, mum had been near silent throughout her entire meal, which usually means she’s in the zone and really enjoying something.

You don’t get any decent chat when she’s in Dishoom or Mother India either.

We headed to the surgery, all feeling replete.

A booster in more ways than one.

16 Drummond Street


(0131 228 3322,


Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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