Food & Drink

Eat out, drink up ' v


The word ‘namaste’ is a traditional northern Indian greeting or salutation and so sets the tone for this Indian restaurant on Edinburgh’s West Preston Street near the Meadows. A homely space divided into three rooms, Namaste uses understated décor imported from the upper reaches of the subcontinent: teak carvings, rough-hewn wooden beams and shutters, incense burners and colourfully upholstered scatter cushions against the cream- coloured plastered walls.

The second restaurant from the owners of Coconut Grove, Perdip and Indira Singh, this one comes closer to fulfilling their aspirations in the trade. ‘I have the passion and dream,’ Perdip says, ‘and she knows all about the food.’ Indeed with her scholarly dietician background and a particular interest in vegetarian cooking, Indira has

been working with the chefs to perfect the dishes, with

the proper balance of spices and oils.

At Namaste the menu is minuscule by lndian restaurant standards, with six starters and a dozen or so main courses. While that may mean you won’t find your favourite curry, it should inspire you to try something new. Every morning at Namaste, chefs blend their own garam masala - the signature spice combination added shortly before a dish is served. With the emphasis on using fresh ingredients, the menu may well change


Currently it includes lamb rogan josh, murgh makhani (butter chicken), palak paneer (with home-made cheese) and navrattan korma (with nine vegetables). All are prepared in the traditional handi or brass pot. Flavours produced by the tandoor or charcoal fired oven are


The Jerusalem artichoke is neither Semitic nor an artichoke. although its flavour does resemble the latter. A relative of the sunflower. the plant produces juicy tubers which serve as excellent fresh oft-season substitutes for potatoes. The subterranean fruits of the Jerusalem artichoke can be lifted thr0ughout the winter. Usually sown in March. the plants can tower at easily six to eight feet tall eight months later. producing single black-centred yellow flowers if you're lucky by mid-autumn. But it is not a plant grown for its decorative effects (although it makes a

114 THE LIST 1—15 Nov 2001

Select Indian cuisine for those seeking something new

highlighted in starters such as malai murgh tikka

(marinated chicken) and fish tikka as well as the naan


Curries under consideration for future introduction include crab banjara (which offers a latent kick that doesn’t interfere with the more-subtly flavoured crab) and slow-cooked raani dum leg of lamb, as well as shorbas (yoghurt-based soup). Although prices are not particularly high, Namaste is among those Indian restaurants raising the bar a bit: to make us reconsider

the curry house as something more than the last stop

useful wind block). It has a tendency to take over any spot in which it is established. returning annually as long as not all the tubers are harvested and the site is well-manured in spring.

With a generally smooth thin skin loaded with iron, Jerusalem artichokes are especially well-suited for soups. Chef John Quigley of Quigley’s in Bath Street. Glasgow. recently featured cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup with pancetta and thyme. Here is a succinct recipe that offers a variation on the theme.

'For a superior soup that sings with deep. rich and robust flavours and is unmistakably home-made I always recommend a good chicken stock. using seasonal ingredients.‘ Quigley says. ‘The following recipe combines the two for a real winter warmer.’ (Barry Shelby)

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

1202 (3509) Jerusalem artichokes. peeled

202 (509) butter

two small leeks. trimmed and chopped 10H 02 (275ml) whole milk

1 pint (570ml) chicken stock

after the pubs. (Barry Shelby)

I Namaste, 47/47 West Preston Street, Edinburgh, 0737 466 7067. To introduce people to its style of cooking. Namaste is offering a £9.95 buffet Sunday to Tuesday evenings for a limited time.

3fl oz (75ml) single cream juice of one lemon salt and pepper


two slices white bread. crusts removed

1—2 tbsp olive oil


After peeling the Jerusalem artichokes. submerge them in water to cover. with the lemon juice to prevent discolouring.

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Cook leeks until soft. Add milk. stock and Jerusalem artichokes and seasoning. Bring to simmer and cook uncovered for fifteen to twenty minutes or until artichokes are very tender.

YOU will notice the milk separating during cooking. This will disappear once the soup is blended. Transfer the soup into a blender or use a hand blender and process until smooth. then gently reheat with cream and adjust seasoning to taste.

Cut bread into Cubes and fry gently in olive oil until crispy. Sprinkle with salt and scatter over soup.

Side dishes

An extra helping of news . . .


Scottish dining pub of the year by the Good Pub Guide 2002, the Wheatsheaf restaurant in Swinton is playing a central role in the ten-day Border’s Banquet food festival that begins on Friday 2 November. An AA award winner, the Wheatsheaf will be serving up a special seafood feast with fresh fish landed in nearby Eyemouth harbour. Some 28 bars, inns and restaurants are hosting events during the festival, which hopes to draw people back to the Borders. The region is still recovering from the foot and mouth crisis, which cost it millions of pounds in lost business. Although many of the venues are only about an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, it’s worth remembering that some - such as the Wheatsheaf, Burts in Melrose and others have overnight rooms. For more information, call Jedburgh TIC at 01835 863435 or visit

BROUGHTON STREETS Outhouse in Edinburgh has launched Workers Wednesdays. offering disc0unts on drinks fOr anyone working in and around the licensed trade. from clubs to cafes and restaurants to pubs. Just show proof of employment or come in yOur uniform from 8pm onwards every Wednesday.

GLASGOW’S CAFE SCENE has a relative newcomer in the form of Massiff on Parnie Street, just around the corner from the Tron Theatre. Formerly the Italian Aroma Coffee House (and before that Café Bembo), Massiff’s motto is ‘small phat: massiff taste’. Awaiting the eminent transfer of an alcohol licence from the previous owner, the cafe currently serves a variety of healthy alternatives from 8.30am until 6.30pm Monday to Friday, from 10am on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Massiff’s menu includes things such as banana, raisin and ginger toast (£1.75); mozzarella, sweet roast pepper, aioli and basil pesto sandwich (£2.75); and a ‘Hong Kong fuey wrap’ with marinated chicken, hoi- sin sauce, shredded cucumber and spring onion (£3.20). Massiff. 25 Parnie Street, Glasgow, 0141 552 7999.