Leven Street, Edinburgh
Tuk Tuk, located at the top end of Leven Street, offers what it describes as ‘Indian Street Food.’ In essence this means that the diners select several small dishes (they recommend three to four per person) along with the usual sides of rice and naan, and everyone tries a bit of everything. The restaurant is spacious and roomy and there’s no licence, which means you’re encouraged to take your own alcoholic drinks (no corkage is charged.) This is refreshing because we all know that buying beer or wine on the premises can generally double your bill. There were four of us to dine on a Sunday evening, so the place wasn’t particularly busy, but it took a while to get the attention of a waiter. When he came, however, he was perfectly affable.
We decided just to select two items per diner, which we would add to if needed and after a short interval, the dishes began to arrive. It quickly became apparent that some of them were very good, others average and one or two of them, rather unpleasant. The good dishes first: the Butter Chicken was deliciously creamy and satisfying, as was the Paina Lamb Karahi and the two Lamb Chops we were served were succulent and deliciously spiced. Rather less successful were the the Bengali Fish Cakes, which were stodgy and flavourless, while the Bun Kebabs (two mini-burgers served with chips) had the consistency of fried hockey pucks while the chips were greasy and overcooked. Worst of all was something called Golgappa. The menu described it as a ‘very famous dish from Benares, you will have to taste it to experience it!’ Well, we followed the advice and that’s an experience we won’t be repeating any time soon.
The sides were rather average as well. The steamed rice was just so-so, while the naan breads (both plain and peshwari) were of the thin and disappointing persuasion. The bill, when it came, was very reasonable, around £15 per head, but I left with the conviction that with some attention to detail, this could be a more satisfying dining experience than it was.