East Market Street, Edinburgh, has always been a bit of a desert in the past where food is concerned.
Thankfully this is changing with the arrival of the New Waverley Arches last year, where you’ll find Chop House. Then Food and Flea Market on Sibbald Street opened, with its permanent food stalls every day (including my favorite Umami Spice, who have some delicious new eats brought back from their travels).
The latest new kid on the block is Ronaq, who describe themselves as Edinburgh’s Premier Indian Restaurants; a brave claim indeed. In my eyes that was held by Mithas in Leith, which is sadly now closed.
One of the best dining views in town
Ronaq means luster, brightness, elegance, beauty. One thing for certain is this venue certainly has all those elements including views to die for, looking out towards The Balmoral, Calton Hill and Waverley Station.
Ronaq is the new kid on the block at the New Waverley
Ronaq Restaurant first opened its doors in May 2014 in Comely Bank, taking over the site that was the Far Pavillions, a restaurant that received many celebrity guests based on its reputation for fine Indian cuisine.
Ronaq has now opened its second venture in the heart of Edinburgh’s £150 million New Waverley development. Opened 10 weeks ago, the restaurant includes a large ground-level bar leading upstairs to a stunning first-floor dining area, with floor to ceiling glass panels providing the views across the Waverley Valley.
Waiting on FR, who was taking a dip in the Balmoral pool, TC and I started with some poppadoms and the pickle tray, taking in the views from the bar area, with its comfortable leather, bucket seats.
Beware the lime pickle, it certainly had a kick to it, making TC choke and cry tears, it was so hot.
Now joined by FR, as the sun started to set, we took our seats upstairs at one of the prime window tables with the fabulous views. The setting’s modern and contemporary, with ‘Kenny G’ type music playing, rather than the more traditional Indian music.
Traditional and contemporary Asian cuisine
The menu aims to provide the best in contemporary and traditional Asian cuisine.
TC started with the black pepper machli, sea bass garnished with salt, black pepper, garlic and lemon, whilst I chose the puri, fried Indian bread topped with curried chicken. Both bizarrely came garnished with shredded lettuce, my pet hate and some random black and green olives, which had no place on the plate.
For TC, her starter was the only negative part of the evening with the fish being overcooked, which was such a shame as it was sea bass, not a cheap ingredient, and should have been amazing.
For mains, there’s the traditional curries including kormas, rogan josh and tikka masalas but we decided to choose from the Ronaq signature dishes.
I plumped for the Punjabi murgh biryani, chicken breast pieces marinated overnight in a spicy sauce, then barbecued, before being tossed in rice prepared in a special blend of spices, which was served with a vegetable sauce.
Tor chose the garlic chicken chilli balti, which was marinated chicken barbecued with light spices and then cooked in a wok, with marinated chicken barbecued with light spices, which is then cooked in a wok, using onions, peppers, garlic and green chilli.
We also ordered some sides of my favourite tarka daal, curried lentils; and matter paneer, Indian cheese with peas.
Whilst TC and I shared, FR meanwhile savoured her own choices of tandoori chicken shashlick, chicken breast, cooked with chunky pieces of onions, peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms, served with a separate creamy sauce, resembling Heinz’ cream of tomato soup.
FR doesn’t eat many carbs so she ordered some sag paneer, spinach with Indian cheese and a salad on the side, a rather unimaginative offering again of shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and cucumber, garnished with three olives. Please ditch those olives.
The dessert menu is not extensive and whilst it does offer some traditional Indian ice-creams (kulfis), there are also more Western offerings of chocolate fudge cake, cheesecakes and ice cream sundaes, which I suspect are all brought in. Our mango kulfi was disappointing with a cloying texture; I rather wished I’d gone for a mango lassi instead.
Ronaq’s staff and management are very attentive and aim to please and whilst they are still finding their feet, this is a restaurant with a big heart, who want to be at the heart of the community, through their youth related sporting sponsorships.
All in all we had a lovely evening. If you’re looking for a dining experience with a superb vista, I’d recommend giving Ronaq a consideration. The views certainly won’t disappoint. Alternatively as TC commented, it’d be a great starting point if you’re planning a karaoke night out at Electric Circus. This was a new one on me, but I suppose if that’s your thing, then why not, especially as it’s only a stone’s throw away.
Kerry dined as a guest of Ronaq