Currently, Dishoom and The Pakora Bar appear to have a monopoly on Indian restaurants in downtown Edinburgh.
The new venue, Tantra, is hoping to change that, with a menu of âprogressive Indian cuisineâ, contemporary decor, and a few swish-like cocktails and mocktails.
If all goes according to plan, they will open on November 1 at the former premises of the Castle Street steak restaurant, Cau, which closed in July 2018.
The company behind this business is Mass Hospitality Ltd, made up of Manoj Kalappurackal, Chef Aji Kumar, Srikesh Gopisreesylam and Shamil Lateef, all of whom have spent the past 15 years running apart hotels and restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Their new venue will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and will seat 180 people with a private dining room for 30.
âWe’ve wanted a place in Edinburgh for a long time and a restaurant in Castle Street is a big plus. We couldn’t be more pleased with the location – it has a lovely view of the castle, âsays Kalappurackal. âWe want to make food that is tasty and presentable, simply assembled and accessible. We will take reservations, but you can still enter the street. Everything will be brought fresh locally, we will cook on site, cook over an open fire and we have reinvented our cuisine to adapt to this â.
While they keep most of the interior and menu a secret until launch, there are a number of intriguing signature dishes.
These include the Emperor’s Daal Shorba, which was inspired by the “Medieval Indian Royal Cookbook, Nimmatnama-i-Nasiruddin-Shahi, written in 1500”. This rich soup is made with lentils and chickpeas and served with bakarkhani, though Tantra’s fusion version of this spicy flatbread also has an Italian twist.
“This dish is indeed a soup of the royal family, but for this time”, explains Rossella Petta, responsible for the development of the brand.
Then there is the Black Gold Gosht, which was inspired by the restaurant team’s visit to the Kolar Gold Fields district in South India and the ore mined there.
“It’s deliciously delicious with a rich, velvety sauce and a tender-in-your-mouth lamb shank,” Petta explains. It includes a Hyderabadi-style sauce made from cashews, onions and “secret spices”, as well as edible 24k gold leaf stamps, all served with their homemade bread, manda (or roti ).
âWe aim to take traditional Indian cuisine to another dimension by drawing inspiration from renowned international cuisines and using modern techniques such as molecular gastronomy and deconstruction,â explains Petta. “We make sure that the soul of the food we serve has an authentic Indian flavor, but the execution and presentation will be mystical and magical in every way, just like our name.”
The cocktail list menu is currently under wraps, but appears to feature sculptural garnishes and other theatrical elements.
Those who fancy trying Tantra on the soft launch, when they plan to offer 50% off food, can sign up for their newsletter on the website below.