Having heard MANY a glowing review, Cutting Chaii has easily been on the Social Bitches’ radar for the last year. After all, everything on the menu sounds exquisite, with intimate decor and staff to match. The only thing slowing down our inevitable dinner reservation? Well, that can be summed up in two words: twenty-twenty.
Taking a novel approach to classic Indian cuisine, Cutting Chai finds inspiration in the old style Bombay cafes. In other words, smaller dishes and lots of them. In fact, the restaurant’s name literally means: cutting in half.
But don’t panic, these dishes also come with a smaller price tag, and the thinking is thus: those of us with insatiable appetites can actually explore MORE of the amazing menu, rather than less.
Well, we whole-heartedly approve! Endless courses, many a bottle of wine, perhaps a flirty waiter, and a dining experience that lasts for absolutely hours. It’s got Social Bitches written all over it.
Sadly, twelve months in & out of lockdown have put our vision of this spicy, somewhat saucy banquet on to the back burner. Though in much, MUCH better news: dining in is returning soon, and in the meantime … Cutting Chaii also delivers!
While the takeaway portions definitely aren’t cut in half, or for that matter come with a flirty waiter, we can assure you: they’re bursting with flavour, generous in size, and arrive at one’s Georgian abode piping hot.
Soon we’re taking our first mouthwatering bite of the Chilli cheese naan. Crispy, but wonderfully soft, it’s subtle on the cheese and strong on chilli. In other words, this is sheer perfection.
It also a great match for the cheeky bottle of merlot we happen to have at the ready, and is soon followed by Mini Masala papads. Deep-fried poppadoms brought tantalisingly to life by gorgeous chutneys: onion, mango, and chilli & coriander.
After a quick refresh of one’s wine glass, our next stop is the Chicken sixty-nine. As you can imagine, it’s a name that definitely grabs our attention.
But popping our juvenile senses of humour to one side, these deep-fried strips of incredibly moist chicken with mixed spice, batter and a rather addictive chutney are seriously good.
Though as it turns out, the sexual experience we joked about having, actually arrives with the next dish – the incredible Tamarind chicken wings.
Marinated in more of chef’s special spices, they are chargrilled, then tossed in tamarind sauce and sesame seeds.
The taste is utterly sublime. The chicken just melts, the sauce is super thick and sticky, with a dash of sweetness and a gorgeous twist of lime. Heavenly and soon devoured, to the point of a plate literally licked clean.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: is it possible to squeeze in yet one more appetiser before embarking on the main course?? The answer is: YES! OF COURSE!!
Say a fond hello to the Crispy Lamb Samosas, which really are exceptional. The lamb is so, SO tender, and even better, there’s loads of it. Though the real star might actually be the pastry.
Flakier and much crisper than your average samosa, it enhances the filling without ever dominating. For us, this twist is a total game-changer. Add a little chutney, and WOWSERS!
So … now on to our second bottle of merlot “at the ready” we finally arrive at our main course. Naturally we’re not hungry in the slightest, then again we probably haven’t been since the late nineties.
Our point being: this is an enormous amount of food, amazing value for money, and all of it absolutely delicious. Three great reasons for us to carry on. Which brings us to one of Cutting Chaii’s most popular dishes: Maa’s Butter Chicken.
A single bite, and it’s not hard to see why. Thick sauce, plenty of spice, caramelised onions, and a lovely hint of cream combine to lush effect. Though be warned, it’s a dish much spicier than we were expecting, but there’s no denying it dazzles!
A few “sips” of merlot to cool the palette, and our long awaited banquet comes to a close with the wonderful Saag Lamb.
Fresh baby spinach leaves, cooked in garlic and ginger, and then served with tender lamb that boasts both quality and quantity. We are officially impressed!
Mind you, we feel this is only the beginning of what could be a beautiful friendship. As we’ve spent the last year saying, we are definitely looking forward to dining in, and discovering how many different dishes we can experience in just one meal.
Already we’re thinking Lochfyne chilli salmon, Amritsari lamb chops, Tiger-prawns cooked in garlic-ginger-soy, and the list goes on …
Reviewed April 2021
18 – 20 Salamander Street
0131 553 1000