Thursday, 4 October 2012
Vegan MoFo VI - Day 4 - Restaurant Review - Ann Purna
A few months ago, my boss took me and the other admin on our team to dinner at Kushi's (omni place with vegan options). I decided then that Mike was gonna have to suck it up and learn to like Indian restaurant food (he'd eat curries I made, but they were hardly authentic) because I was tired of limiting our restaurant choices so much. Since then, he's finally realised that Indian food is awesome, so we've been going to a lot more Indian restaurants.
Tonight, we went to our favourite - Ann Purna. Ann Purna has been around for a while - I'm not sure how long, but at least since well before I moved here. The first time I went there, I wasn't too impressed, but I also still didn't like vegetables, so I wasn't the best judge of quality then. They've since come under new management, but it's still within the same family that owned it originally. I think they've changed up the menu since my first visit, because I want to eat everything on it.
The first time Mike and I went there, we got the vegan thali. It was alright - the highlights were the poori (fried bread), the chana batata (chickpeas and potatoes), and the kofti (vegetable dumpling). But I've always found that thalies are hit and miss since it's up to the discretion of the chef to decide what to put in it, and I'm far too picky to let someone else make my food choices.
We've now been there enough that we've settled into a bit of a routine, as you do (well, I do) - pretty much the only thing we change up are the starters. I always get the saag aloo (greens and potatoes), Mike always gets the chana dhal (dhal made with split chickpeas), and we usually go for the chana batata as a side.
Tonight we started with the kachori - potatoes and lentils in a thin pastry shell, fried and served with tamarind sauce. It was the best starter we've had there - a bit of crunch from the pastry, soft potatoes, and mildly spiced lentils, with just the right amount of sweetness from the sauce.
We then had what we always have, served with pulao rice and a poori to split between the two of us (though I totally could've eaten one by myself). They make the absolute best saag aloo in Edinburgh. OK, so only one other place has a vegan saag aloo, and it's good, but Ann Purna's is better. Though we get two chickpea dishes, they're prepared in such a way that it doesn't feel like you're eating chickpeas twice. The chana batata is a bit tomato-y, while the dhal is creamy.
The only vegan dessert they have is basically mango puree. But that's OK, because we usually leave full and with leftovers. That's the only thing my other favourite Indian restaurant, Kalpna, has over Ann Purna - Kalpna has a vegan dessert that isn't just pureed fruit.
I would absolutely recommend Ann Purna. The food is wonderful, the prices are reasonable (and they're doing 20% off Mon-Thu this winter), and the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful. If you find yourself hungry in Edinburgh, check them out.