Edinburgh could never be blamed for not offering choice. Every type of food can be eaten in every type of place and you can be quite spoiled for choice there. Mainly, when tourists come, they tend to stick to the areas in the city centre but what delights await them if they wander away from the main streets and into the quieter areas?
One of these open secrets is Nilgiri Spice in the Tollcross area. Sitting bold as brass on Brougham Street yet seeming to hide in plain sight, the unassuming front of the restaurant not really revealing the delights waiting for you inside.
We decided to venture in one evening after passing it several times, not expecting much. For some reason its modest attire made us underestimate its worth, which can often be the case however, we were wrong. The food we were about to eat would change our perspective.
We didn’t want anything too spicy and many of the menu items were new to us, we also had a child with us who loves Indian food but if you have kids, you’ll know that sometimes they like things very specific.
The staff who served us were wonderful, explaining all the dishes to us and putting up with all our silly questions about what was in it and how it was cooked and even though we sounded a bit unsure of our menu choices, the chef made sure it was cooked and presented just the way the waiter said it would be. Part of being a good waiter is managing expectations and we were certainly satisfied that we had been served with the same dish we had ordered.
Everything was perfect, right down to the mango lassi (a yoghurt based drink) recommended to the youngest member of our group and we will definitely be repeat customers.
Nilgiri Spice is a family run business serving authentic South Indian food. The menu features choices for both meat eaters and vegetarians and comprises starters, main courses, special dishes and desserts. Alcohol can be purchased there and the wine list had some good selections to accompany your meal.
We would highly recommend this restaurant and please let us know if you enjoy it as much as we did.
The Meadows in Edinburgh is a popular, large green space in the City of Edinburgh that has parkland, children’s play parks, a running track and a cycling track, tennis courts and more. It is always brimming with life and all year round you can see locals and tourists alike enjoying all that it has to offer. However, once a year there is a very special occasion; The Meadows Festival, a free annual event run entirely by volunteers. To name but a few, the event hosts live music bands, dog shows, charity awareness stands, sports events, local food and service providers, bric-a-brac stalls and, not forgetting the fairground; a selection of fairground rides and attractions to suit young, old and everyone in between.
The Meadows Festival, 2019
This year’s festival has been tremendous. The Scottish weather has been kind and the volunteers, stall holders and musicians have all provided Edinburgh with a wonderful, positive atmosphere in which to enjoy the best of what this area has to offer. This year is the 45th year of this festival and the programme has been so varied and interesting that you can’t help but notice the diversity of Edinburgh, from those campaigning and raising awareness for a free Palestine to those campaigning for an independent Scotland.
There were also food vendors representing the various regions of the globe, such as Slumdog, the Indian Street Food restaurant and those promoting a healthy, plant based lifestyle, such as The Sly Fox and their vegan menu. Then there was the more traditional burgers and other Scottish fare.
We had a chance to chat with some of the people there who were campaigning or selling their products. A very friendly lady called Jean who was campaigning on behalf of Pensioners for Independence, wearing her Scottish Viking hat and giving information to those who wanted it about the great benefits of being an independent country. We had a very informative chat and we hope that her dream comes true.
We also spoke with Tony who was selling traditional sweets, such as soor plooms and cola cubes. We happily bought two packets at 2 pounds each and they sent me back to my childhood when we used to go to Peter Pender’s corner shop in Rumford and get a quarter of whatever he had available for a few pence. Of course, the cost is a bit different these days but well worth it. Tony has a shop in Portobello called Cake and Candy Tea Room and these lovely sweets and many like them can be purchased there.
The ethos seemed to be
very much on eco awareness raising. Stall holders have to sign a promise that
they will endeavour to use eco friendly, bio degradable containers when selling
food items, etc and we did notice that there were many stalls selling plants
native to the local countryside and also giving information about horticulture
and advising how to get the best out of your garden.
There were various charity stalls there too; Save Palestine, Sands, Cancer charities, etc. All raising awareness and collecting for a good cause. I had the pleasure of speaking with Kevin who was promoting his charity for single dads and dads with contact. Kevin’s charity was raising funds to help single and separated dads on a budget to take their kids on days out. He was telling me that he also volunteers at Bridgend Farmhouse and has even been nominated to receive an award for his voluntary work there. We wish him the best of luck and hope that he wins the award.
There is so much more to
the festival than can be written here, so please visit next year and experience
this wonderful event for yourself.
The Meadows Festival Association was founded in
1974 and the members, who are all volunteers, meet fortnightly throughout the
year and work towards organising this wonderful event that is there for all the
community. Everyone is free to attend their AGM and if you wish to be involved
as a volunteer, either on the day or to help with the organisation, you can
make an enquiry via their website.
Edinburgh is full to the brim with great eateries of all
kinds. You can buy fast food, traditional Scottish food, food from all over the
world and it doesn’t matter if you eat meat, are vegetarian or vegan, there
will be something for you in Edinburgh.
Tourists tend to stick to the city centre which is great, has everything you need and you will be spoilt for choice but what if you want to see something else? When we wanted to have a business meeting with the team from Keyholders International we went for a visit to Fort Kinnaird Retail Parkwhich is in the Newcraighall area of Edinburgh. Just off the city bypass if you are travelling by car or, if you are using public transport to plan your trip, there are plenty of options. Either way, this large shopping and entertainment site is very accessible.
Whilst there, we decided to eat in Chiquito , a very popular Mexican themed family restaurant. When we first entered, we found the staff who greeted us very friendly and our first impression was certainly promising. Guiding us to our table, our waiter handed us the menus and made sure we were comfortable before getting our drinks order which arrived in double quick time. Although part of a chain, the service felt very personalised and the staff were cheery and actually looked as if they enjoyed their work. The food menu was very good and varied. So much to choose from, we had to ponder for a while before settling on chicken fajitas. We also noted that there were gluten free options as well as vegetarian; well worth remembering if you are a large group trying to cater for various needs.
When our meal arrived, it looked mouth watering and it was a very generous portion so, for those among us that like a bit extra, this is definitely the place. The dips given routinely can be changed, which we did, requesting more sour cream and guacamole rather than salsa. Things like this seem small but you’d be surprised at how many eateries refuse to change even the slightest thing about their menu so, when we find somewhere that accommodates a request with a smile, we tend to go back again. Suffice to say, our meal was delicious, filling and the waitress even came to ask us if we needed any more dips or tortillas even though we had ample. It’s this kind of customer service that brings people back in your door and we will certainly be back to Chiquito at Fort Kinnaird.