I’d been told to go to Tanjore, absolutely ages ago, by Meena from Chai Lounge Supper Club. With my usual lightning response time, I finally made it along there, today.
I was joined on today’s quest by Killian, who had just started working in an exciting new role with Roomwise, one strand of which will look at building an online presence to include little guides to the Edinburgh neighbourhoods. We had a good chinwag about some potential ideas around this, particularly in terms of tips on good local restaurants.
Tanjore is a canteen style place, with an open kitchen area that allows you to have a good look at what the chefs are preparing. Their lunchtime menu is strong on dosas and idli, so it was from that type of thing that we selected. They recommend two to three dishes per person.
We soon settled upon four dishes to share, then thought we’d let the waiting staff advise on what might be a good fifth option, if we needed one. Our lovely waitress was confident that our selection of fried chilli idli, lamb masala dosa, onion rava dosa, and onion uthappam would likely be enough for us, so we were happy to take that steer and stick with those four dishes.
It took a wee minute or two for dishes to appear, as they’re constantly making things from scratch, but that suited our purposes very nicely, as we had plenty to chat about.
The first dish to appear was the idli, which looked simple and tasty. It proved to be both, with each fluffy piece nicely crisped on the outside and packing a nicely warm spice punch. This was a good opener.
What followed had considerable wow factor. The lamb masala dosa looked absolutely spectacular, and the other dishes looked highly impressive, too.
We worked our way around the dishes, which for me meant starting with the onion rava dosa. This was light and crispy, and I soon found was best handled by diving in with fingers, and using it to scoop up the accompanying sauces, which were both excellent.
The uthappam, which was much like a light, fluffy, savoury crumpet had lovely flavour and substance. Again, it was ideally suited to fingers and dipping, and proved as good as the rava dosa.
The lamb within the final dosa, which itself was expertly made, cooked to perfection, and extremely elegant, was packed with flavour and really satisfying.
These dishes were accompanied by really good lassis, mango for Killian, and salt for me.
I’ve been for dosas in another place in Edinburgh, namely Mezbaan, in Tollcross. I found them rather underwhelming. The experience in Tanjore was so completely and majestically different that I can comfortably now declare myself to be a dosa lover.
So overall, I was highly impressed by Tanjore. For this style of South Indian food, it was as good as I’ve experienced in the city. This is definitely a place that I’ll be visiting again, in the future, so if you like the sound of it, do give me a shout when you’re planning to go, as I’d be happy to join you!
Maybe it was my Lunchquest-rookie nerves or the battering weather, but for some reason on entering Tanjore, a bright and unpretentious space, my subconscious mind conjured an erroneous “table for
I was duly seated at a long table, only to be tailed through the door by a bemused Blythe, explaining that it was just the two of us. I knew that. Why did I forget that? But the staff at Tanjore didn’t scowl, growl, tsk or tut; they just smiled and seated us at a (frankly better situated) table for two. This was a good, solid start.
Do I look like a food critic? Does Blythe? Did we give the game away? Good service shouldn’t be a complicated thing, granted, but I couldn’t help but wonder at the exceptional courtesy and attention
to detail from Boon and her staff.
We ordered a reasonably modest selection of dosa,
idli and uthappam from the lunch menu. Salt and mango lassis
passed the time well, and my only flicker of concern, accompanied by an admittedly rude glance at my watch, arose when some twenty minutes had passed while our food was being prepared.
But the feeling was one of overwhelming approval when our first course arrived, with plates for sharing and a salad that was prepared with eating as well as decoration in mind. Subsequent dishes didn’t disappoint.
Good things are definitely worth waiting for, and clocking in the whole experience at just under an hour (okay, there were some additional minutes during which I held B. back from work with blog talk) completed a delicious and punctilious filling for a lunch-shaped hole in our diaries.
Blythe scores Tanjore
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 16/20
Today’s questers were: Killian, Blythe
We ate: fried chilli idli; lamb masala dosa; onion rava dosa; onion uthappam
We drank: mango lassi, salt lassi
We wore: lunch wear
Total bill: £20.85