People watching should be an Olympic sport.
Ten points for a hat wearer, 50 if they’re walking a cute dog (350 if it’s a ferret), a couple who aren’t speaking to each other wins you 40 points, somebody who vaguely resembles a celebrity – 70.
It seems, thanks to the beard trend, there are a lot of Che Guevara doppelgängers in the capital, so you could win big on the last score.
One could play all day from the vantage point of this box-fresh Indian restaurant, part of the New Waverley development, and which has another branch on Edinburgh’s Craigleith Road.
Up on the first floor of their East Market Street corner, they offer eyrie-like views of a Jeffrey Street tier of tourists, mainly taking pictures of the Governor’s House (all that remains of the Calton Gaol).
Then there’s a lower layer of pedestrians below, who have recently emerged, blinking into the demi-light like freshly dug lugworms, from Waverley Station.
15 points for a bald spot (ker-ching).
And what better sort of food to accompany this marvellous game but curry?
We visited this place for a late lunch, and were ravenous, as, oddly, it doesn’t open until 2pm, so we had to kill time a-wandering. The menu isn’t hugely inspiring, but I settled on the king prawn puri (£6.95) and my dining partner chose the fish tikka (£5.95).
My option was OK – very homely (in contrast to the glamorous surroundings, which included an impressive chandelier dangling above our table).
It consisted of a large disc of bubbly puri topped by a feistily hot turmeric-injected sauce with chunks of onion, carrot and a shoal of prawns, all clenched tightly like angry commas.
On the side – shredded iceberg, half a cherry tomato and a green olive that looked a bit bashed about and past its prime. I felt a little underwhelmed, but my other half disagreed. He liked this dish as well as his own – two toastily-spiced chilli and onion-flecked hunks of haddock, plus a fruity hot sauce on the side (and the prerequisite salad).
We were also split by the mains, in that he enjoyed them about 27 per cent more than I did. My peshawari gosht (£12.95) featured fibrous and feral tasting lamb chops in a medium spiced tomato-based sauce with peppers and onions. There was a bit of depth to the sauce and it was nicely savoury but, meh, it just didn’t seem very vibrant or exciting.
Our other course of garlic chicken chilli balti (£11.95) was supposed to feature barbecued chicken, but you wouldn’t know it. There were plenty of meaty pellets, but no particular chargrilled flavour.
Still, decent enough, with an extreme garlic hit from almost raw chips of this bulb, plus a zingy tomato sauce.
Our side of garlic naan (£3.45) might have been better if it had been served whole, rather than sliced and stacked so that the ghee irrigated onto the soggy bottom layers. But, aside from that, it was fine, as was the decent-sized portion of pilau rice (£3.25).
Their desserts menu, with chocolate fudge cake and strawberry gateau (£3.95 each), wasn’t really floating my boat, so we made like a banana split (also £3.95) and, well, split.
It’s a pity that the food at Ronaq is slightly forgettable, and not quite up to the standard of its peers, Tuk-Tuk, Khushi’s, Navadhanya, Mother India or Dishoom, especially when the interior promises something special.
However, an early escape didn’t mean we’d be skipping dessert. As. If. Instead, we headed to Baba Budan (www.bababudan.coffee) – a coffee shop and donutterie a few doors along, where we had excellent flat whites (£2.50 each) and two bath sponge-sized sugar-powdered donuts, one injected with chocolate custard and another engorged by banana and golden syrup cream (£2.50 each).
There goes any semblance of a healthy diet, destroyed in a controlled explosion of deep fried dough.
Worth it though, and we saw a few of the people we’d been spying on had made it along here too.
Wait a minute, is that...Che Guevara?
31 East Market Street, Edinburgh
(0131-558 7683, www.ronaqrestaurant.co.uk)