Britannia Spice

Everything about Leith's Britannia Spice is that little bit extra-special. And that means everything from the grand opening by Sir Tom Farmer and the Lord Provost, down to the royal blue logo, gold- stamped plate and drink mats. There aren't just a couple of regions represented on the menu; there are five countries, each with their own speciality chef. You can‘t fail to be impressed when you see five chefs from Bangladesh, northern India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Thailand beavering away in the kitchen.

‘We broadened out into Thai cuisine because it ties into the modern health approach to cooking, lots of stir-fried dishes full of fresh tasting ingredients,’ explains manager Mr Wali Tasar Uddin, who is also an MBE and keen amateur medical herbalist. An example of such a light hand is Paenang chicken, delectably sizzled with coconut and lemongrass leaves.

Another unique ingredient is calamansi, a very flavoursome citrus fruit only grown in the Sylhet region of Bangladesh. On its own, it's as sour as kumquats, but combine its rind and juice in small quantities to dishes such as the delicious shatkora gosht, and it works a unique magic. And its benefits are not only the overall well-rounded flavour of the dish, but also on the digestion.

And there's the odd surprise, too. The very popular Bangladesh special chicken, for example, is described on the menu as tender pieces of chicken and king prawn cooked in a rich mild sauce. If you don't see any prawns when the dish arrives, that's because they are hidden inside the chicken.

Shipshape: Britannia Spice

The interior's shipshape clean lines borrow from the dining salons of Scotland's finest shipping lines. No white tablecloths, no harking back to the Raj, this is a contemporary vision of luxury in royal blue, cream, claret and glowing cherry wood.

The buffet lunch (£7.95 for two courses) offers a simply stunning array of unusual dishes, or for something a wee bit different, check out the charity night on Tuesday 14 March or the Bengali New Year celebration dinner on Tuesday 18 April. (Gabe Stewart)

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