Over the year’s I’ve watched restaurants struggle to find success in a bind spot between Newhaven Harbour and Leith. It’s too far from both to be an accessible or prominent location for many.
In my mind, it was the Peacock Inn, long after that venue closed because the building had a resplendent piece of fantail decoration out front. Even when one of the sequent owners pulled the plumage down, I still remembered it as the Peacock.
Several names, businesses and attempts later, it’s now Rishi’s Aroma.
How come? Why has the Peacock finally been unseated as default in my mind’s eye? Rishi’s is that good.
I thought I was being a supportive local when I first popped in for dinner. Ha! The place was pleasantly packed! I was lucky to get a table.
Families and couples had clearly travelled to come to eat the Indian food on offer. It was a good sign.
I’m delighted to say that I’ve been back numerous times since had something different each time, and it’s always been exceptional.
I’ll be back. Really, it’s hard to weigh not going to Rishi’s against trying where new. For dinner, Rishi’s is my favourite Indian restaurant in Edinburgh.
Dinner is a medium-sized menu, enough to be interesting. I mean, it’s not a lightweight, changing every week, street food menu. Nor is it multiple pages of options where you wonder how any quality kitchen could deal with so many choices. Rishi’s gives you one large page of British favourites and some suggestions from the chef for dinner. I recommend being adventurous.
There’s a small starter section that is a gateway to large starter portions. The chilli chicken is delicious.
For after meal drinks and desserts, there’s an additional menu. That’s some Indian options and some ice cream. Both are good. Everything on the menu is good.
Veggies and vegan eaters, though, aren’t exceptionally well cared for, but there are a half-dozen options. Guess what? They’re delicious.
There’s also a tapas lunch menu active from 12 to 4 pm, and I’ve never tried. I want to, trust me, but that would mean going to Rishi’s Indian Aroma and not having dinner there. I’m not sure I’m down with that.
The presentation is elegant and straightforward. Sometimes in metal bowls and sometimes served in that food-as-art style, all those cooking shows tell us we should expect. I don’t, but I concede it does look pretty.
Service and Atmosphere
Inside, the building is very much as it was under previous owners. It’s clean and spacious. You walk in to see the bar, and then, to your right, a large room stretches to a fireplace.
It’s light and modern, the loos are clean. You can hang around at the bar, in small numbers, or take a more casual table at that end. I’ve seen families with prams on a few times, generally towards the start of the night.
There’s even an outside eating area, albeit a small one.
The staff are quick and pleasant. I see the same faces again and again among Rishi’s team.
I wouldn’t describe Rishi’s as cosy. It’s too open, modern and clean for that it. It’s more homely. I think you could take a date there. You could certainly take your parents there.
Value for Money
Starters are about £6 and mains about £11 for chicken and £12 for lamb. The veggie curries are £9, and the most expensive thing I’ve ordered is the £15 Railway Lamb Masala; I’ll try it again, but only once I try everything else at least one time.
Tapas are about half of the cost.
For the quality and flavour; I think it’s worth every penny.
If it’s not clear, I’m very impressed.
I’m not surprised it gets busy or that people now travel from wherever to come to eat in this spot on Linsday Road between Leith proper and Newhaven.
Rishi’s Indian Aroma is worth your time.