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June 11, 2014

“Indian food but not as you know it” is the phrase which seems to be repeated most in descriptions of Mithas, a fining dining Indian restaurant at Leith dock.

Described by critics as  “bold, exciting and unimaginable within Indian cooking,” you won’t find chicken tikka masala or vegetable pakora on Mithas’s menu.


Instead the restaurant offers favourites with an exotic twist, such as whole tawa Lobster baked in a vine tomato based sauce with honey and cashew nuts or Samudri Khazana (Sea Treasure) which is made up of scallops, monkfish, mussels, prawns, seabass and langoustines served in a spring onion and coconut gravy.

Mithas’ chefs use three Indian cooking styles to prepare their meals: tandoori (clay ovens which have temperatures of up to 390C), sigri (cooking over a coal flame) and tawa (searing and griddling on a hot plate).

Watch Mithas’s chef cook wild smoked salmon smoked on the Sigri in the video below.


From the same family who launched Edinburgh’s first Indian restaurant Kushi’s, Mithas was born from a demand from customers seeking something more adventurous.

“Kushi’s was the first Indian restaurant to open in Scotland in 1947,” Mithas General Manager Jaimon George said. “When I joined the company much later, they told me there was always a demand for something different. They thought there was an opportunity in the Scottish market for something which was not available. Thus, Mithas was born.”

“We did our research, visited places in London and outside the UK to understand the Indian segment market and opened in Leith in 2011.”

Learning curve

It was a restaurant unlike any other which had been seen before in Edinburgh, and it took locals some time to get their heads around Mithas’s ethos.

Watch George talk about the dishes at Mithas in the video below.

“When we first opened we did have a bit of difficulty with people coming through the door and asking for popadoms and tikka masalas. We have to tell them politely, sorry we don’t do that however we do have something different.”

“Some people took it on and some people were disappointed. It was a bit of a learning curve and educating the market is always difficult. Because we use the freshest ingredients our price bracket is not exactly what people thought it would be for an Indian restaurant so we lost that market of people coming in for a curry and a naan. However, we managed to attract people who liked something different, who want to celebrate Indian cuisine in a different way altogether, and now most people have welcomed us warmly into the city.”


Also extending a warm welcome were restaurant critics who showered in Mithas in an awards; they are the only Indian restaurant outside London to have two AA rosettes and the only Indian restaurant in Scotland to be recommended in the Michelin Guide.

The day 5pm arrived to visit, Mithas had won the CIS Restaurant of the Year the previous evening (the first Indian restaurant to do so, there seem to be a pattern emerging) and Scotland’s press were swarming the restaurant taking photos of George showing off his award.

But it’s customers not critics which continue to motivate Mithas.

Watch George talk about Mithas in the video below.

“With awards piling up what we still focus on is the happy customer walking home and returning to us,” George said. “That has always been our focus and always will be our focus. We are very happy where we are at the moment and look forward to the challenge of pleasing every guest. Not many guests, not 99% of guests, not 98%, but 100% of guests.”

“We always tell people, when you come to Mithas leave behind the perception of what you think of Indian food and come in with an open mind ready to be delighted.”

Watch George talk about Leith in the video below.

£19.95 for 2 courses on seasonal menu + glass of wine or bottle of beer at Mithas when booking on 5pm Dining.