For many years, 26 to be precise, The Cavalry Club has ruled the roost as one of Edinburgh’s premier Indian dining spots. Mithas now stands alone atop the mountain of Indian greatness, but The Cavalry Club retains a sense of “old money” grandeur.
This evening was my first visit since it popped over the road from its original premises, which are now home to Chinatown.
The main dining room has a very homely feel to it. It exudes a confident elegance, with the well-turned cornicing typical of its elegant West End drawing-room style. The room was busy this evening, despite the calamitously rainy conditions, outside.
From the leather-bound menus, which radiated further opulence, I chose to start with their “famous” seafood soup, with a lamb bhuna to follow, accompanied by sides of naan and daal.
The soup was restrained and subtle, with pieces of prawn submerged in a gently spiced, coriander-rich broth. I’m not sure I would bestow upon it the title “famous”, but I found it a well-executed opener.
The main course was an excellent example of beautifully accurate cooking. The meat was fall-apart tender, and the spicing of the sauce was right on the money. It was as good a daal as I’ve been served outside Mithas. The naan was a little more pedestrian, but it played its role as the instrument of mop-up to the best of its abilities.
As is often the way, I’d ordered a lot more food than was strictly necessary, but I mopped the plates clean, as the quality, particularly of the lamb, was extremely high. I was full to bursting, but I was happy.
I can certainly see how The Cavalry Club has earned its reputation. What they offer is wonderfully accurate cooking of well-established favourites. Cheap it is not and innovative it is not, but for devotees of the Indian classics we’ve all grown up with, this place is a little nirvana in the West End of Edinburgh.
Blythe scores The Cavalry Club
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: seafood soup, lamb bhuna, tarka daal, plain naan
I drank: Kingfisher
I wore: Turnbull & Asser tie
Total bill: c.£35