On a miserable and cold wintry night, there can sometimes be nothing better than a vibrant curry to bring some heat.
Even if you’re not a huge spice fan, the rich garlic and ginger flavours or creamier concoctions will warm you up nicely.
My boyfriend Doug and I spent a long time trying to work out our favourite Indian takeaway in Aberdeen, and we like to think we have finally pinned one down. But for some reason, we’ve never been to an Indian restaurant together before.
So when we heard about Kohinoor, a new open-kitchen Indian restaurant in the city, we were intrigued.
I booked us a table at the restaurant on Bridge Street, excited to try out something new.
It was a miserable and drizzly night, with strong winds battering us as we made our way down Bridge Street.
Walking through the doors, a collage of newspaper clippings on one of the golden walls immediately caught my eye.
As far as I knew, the restaurant had just opened in August this year. But, it turns out the owner had previously run an open-kitchen restaurant in the same building around 30 years ago.
This felt like a good sign, so we hurried up the red tartan-carpeted stairs, which upon closer inspection, had little printed elephants dancing along them.
We were warmly welcomed by a friendly waiter, who offered to take our soaked coats before showing us to our seats.
I was surprised to see we were the only table at the time but chalked it up to the dismal weather and the fact it was a Wednesday night.
Doug ordered himself a Cobra beer (£6.50), meanwhile, I was on driving duties so opted for an Appletiser (£3.25).
We were brought over some complimentary poppadoms served with the usual trio of dips — mango chutney, onion chutney and mint sauce — which was a nice touch.
The menu is quite extensive — with the more traditional “Golden Oldies”, as well as the chef’s specials and some signature dishes.
Being a seafood fan, the spiced monkfish mela (£9.95) caught Doug’s eye, while I went for my go-to dish, some vegetable pakora (£5.25).
There’s a large window looking through to the kitchen, where you can see the chefs preparing your food.
If you pick a decent seat with a good view, you will be able to watch as the flames dance and flicker while the chefs work away.
When our starters arrived, they looked beautiful and bright.
There was plenty of marinated monkfish on the plate, as well as onions and peppers. Doug said it was perfectly seasoned and freshly made, but the fish was slightly dry — which we put down to the fiery cooking method.
My four pakora were all perfectly crisp and aromatic, it was a great portion size and tasted fantastic — everything you’d expect from freshly-made pakora.
As we’re eating our starters more tables start to arrive, and more sporadic flames brighten up the kitchen.
Curries with flair
Doug plugged for his favourite Indian dish, a lamb bhuna (£11.95) and mushroom rice (£3.95).
Deciding to try something new, I went for a chicken tikka chasni (£12.95) and pilau rice (£3.70). Where better to branch out than in a fine-dining Indian restaurant?
We also ordered a garlic naan (£3.95) and Bombay potatoes (£4.95) to share.
I won’t lie, when the dishes came out on individual plates, although very pretty, I thought they looked quite small.
But, I soon realised the small plates were deceiving and we were given more than enough.
The lamb was tender and flavoursome, while Doug said the rich curry “packed a punch.”
The chasni was described on the menu as “bubbling with flavour”, and now that I’ve tried it I get it. It was similar to a chicken tikka masala, infused with spices but with a tangy ginger flavour making it both sweet and sour.
The soft, garlic-buttery naan bread tasted fresh and was perfect for mopping up the lashings of curry sauce, while the salty and fluffy Bombay potatoes were the perfect little extra to accompany our dishes.
After being quick to judge the portion sizes, I couldn’t even finish everything on my plate, despite it tasting so good.
We both descended the tartan-carpeted stairs impressed and satisfied.
Kohinoor brings something a little bit different to Aberdeen.
We were served by some of the friendliest people, who are very passionate about the food they serve and looking after their guests to give them the best experience.
The food was delicious, rich and aromatic, and we both enjoyed being able to watch the chefs expertly prepare our food through the window.
Next time, we’ll be asking for a seat closer to the kitchen for an even better view — and I’ll maybe pick something new to try once again.
I’m also keen to see if their takeaway experience is just as good as the one we had in the restaurant.
Address: 62 Bridge Street, Aberdeen AB11 6JN
T: 01224 580999
Price: £66.40 for two starters, two mains, two sides, a pint of Cobra and an Appletiser.
- Food: 4/5
- Service: 5/5
- Surroundings: 4/5