This dinky Indian restaurant is located at 9 Dundee Terrace - not the most obvious spot for a restaurant of this quality.
This venue is close to Cineworld and a 10 minute walk from Haymarket. The decor is simple – white walls, dark wooden tables with Rennie Macintosh style chairs – this is an Indian with a modern and stylish twist. Although the restaurant seats about 50 people, the interior feels much bigger – due to one wall being entirely mirrored. Certificates with the chef and staff’s qualifications adorn the back wall, which is quirky and sweet.
The staff are very welcoming and the atmosphere is delightful. There is no waiting area – you walk in the main door straight into the rectangular dining area. It is always busy despite being a bit of a well kept secret by local balti lovers. Although the tables are fairly close together, there is still enough room for private conversation. This is a place to take your time enjoying a very sociable dinner.
The menu is amazingly varied and really good value. It is based on balti recipes – a balti is literally the Pakistani word for bucket, but in the UK it is better known as the name for the steel or iron vessel your food is served up in. The chefs’ here are specialists in this form of cooking, and if you haven’t tried it yet – you haven’t lived. Guru is simply one of the best balti restaurant in Edinburgh. For a bargain £13.95, Tuesdays-Thursdays, you can sample a three course meal – starter, main course (choose either rice or nan too) and dessert. The only way to eat this kind of cuisine is by sharing it – so gather up as many of your friends as you can and order a range of dishes. A must, but extra on this menu choice while you are waiting for your dinner to be freshly prepared, are a pile of fresh poppadoms (95p each).
Get a mix of plain and spicy (the tiny dots of spices will crackle inside your mouth as you bite into them) and don’t forget the pickle tray – small metallic bowls with mango chutney, chopped onion and a mint and yoghurt dip (£1.95). Tell your waiter you are going to share everything so they bring you individual small plates. Have chana puri – a mixture of chick peas and coriander, prettily garnished with chives and served with delightfully crispy puffy bread.
For a main course, try the authentic balti Calcutta prawn palak (£11.95). Fresh spinach hits your tastebuds along with the delicately steamed pink prawns in a medium sauce with an almost nutty flavour. The coriander used in this dish complements the blend of fish and vegetables perfectly. A good dish to try alongside this as a main is the balti sabzi kofta – light and fluffy vegetarian balls served in a medium strength curry sauce with fresh herbs (£8.95). To go with this dish, order a mushroom pilau rice – delicate rice grains cooked to perfection or a steaming hot garlic nan (£2.95). The ones served here are enormous. An extra, but well worth it, is the cucumber raitha to cool down your palate if you find anything a little challenging on the spice front (£2.50).The only dessert to eat after this banquet is kulfi – aromatic Indian ice cream which cools things down considerably. Even if you don’t see it on the menu, ask. It is the perfect ending to a balti meal.
Beer is the most popular alcohol to drink with spicy balti food. So the right choice here is a pint of draught Kingfisher at £3.25. Or bottled Cobra beer at £2.75 and £4.75 respectively. If you want to try another Indian delicacy, ask for a lassi – a thick yoghurt drink. Again, this will not necessarily appear on the menu – but if you ask nicely, you should be rewarded.
The Last Word
If you haven’t ever eaten this type of Indian cuisine then beat a path to their door.