New restaurants are always being added to 5pm Dining in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Based on Haymarket Terrace in Edinburgh’s West End, Navadhanya is one of the latest to join 5pm dining.
The original Cambridge branch opened in December 2014 with the Edinburgh outlet following the next December.
Both branches underline some of the new trends which are emerging among some of the UK’s Indian restaurants. They are part of a move towards more contemporary Indian cuisine.
Of course, there are still plenty of places serving old school rogan josh and Anglo-Indian favourites such as chicken tikka masala. And there is a market for them.
By contrast, Navadhanya offers a more modern take on Indian food. It is a more refined version of Indian cuisine.
Navadhanya: seven course tasting menu
You could book in for a two course express lunch for £9.90 at Navadhanya. Or you could settle back and order the seven course tasting menu at £39.90.
In general, the spicing of the dishes is more subtle than in the more traditional Indian restaurant. The dishes are lighter than has been prevalent in the UK.
Some of the ingredients are more luxurious. For example, scallops and lobster put in appearances on the Navadhanya a la carte menu.
There is much more emphasis on precise presentation. The dishes make use of contrasting colours and textures.
It is an approach which led to the Edinburgh restaurant being awarded an AA Rosette over the festive period.
The kitchen team is led by Chef Tharveskhan. Chef Khan started in luxury Indian hotels and then worked in the Michelin starred Tamarind Mayfair in London.
Now, no-one wants to second guess award inspectors but the kitchen brigade is happy to work towards more accolades.
Earlier this year, before the restaurant joined 5pm, this blogger booked in for dinner.
It was very enjoyable. I wasn’t there for work so didn’t take notes. However, I do remember lots of fresh flavours, new ingredient pairings and thoughtful plating.
Having eaten more than my fair share of traditional Anglo-Indian dishes, the spicing was familiar enough to be instantly recognisable. However, it was also different enough to be refreshing and new.
An analogy might be seeing a much-loved and familiar painting recreated with an altered palette of colours.
Paired wine flights
Another way that Navadhanya differs from many other Indian restaurants is their wine flights.
For £24.99 per person, they will pair wines to go with the tasting menu.
Many people are still to be convinced that wine rather beer or cider is a better accompaniment to Indian food.
Madan Gosain, the Restaurant Manager, is happy to suggest wine pairings that match Navadhanya’s take on Indian foods.
He suggests that wines with lower alcohol levels and a little sweetness can tame alcohol’s tendency to amplify the heat of chilli and ginger.
Some Indian sauces are made with onions and/or tomatoes which produce a certain sweetness. This can clash with the tannins in red wine. To avoid this, Madan recommends red wines made with the Pinot Noir or Gamay grapes. Still or sparkling rosés also work.
If you want a traditional curry house, you might be better looking elsewhere. If you want to experience innovative and contemporary Indian cooking then you can book in to Navadhanya with 5pm Dining.