Itihaas reviewed by Gerry’s Kitchen

Matin Khan, who runs two restaurants on the outskirts of Edinburgh, has been named the UK’s top curry chef by the industry’s trade magazine.

Executive Chef of Itihaas in Dalkeith and The Radhuni in Loanhead, he was given the accolade on Sunday 15 October in front of an audience of 500 at the Curry Life Awards at the Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair.

In a double triumph for Scotland, Radhuni was awarded the title of the UK’s best curry restaurant.

Since Matin opened the 80 seat Itihaas in 2007 its titles have included Scotland’s Curry Chef of the Year, Best South Asian Restaurant, and Restaurant of the Year in the Midlothian and East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Awards.

His son Habibur, who accepted the award on his behalf, has managed Radhuni since it opened in 2011. At the age of 23 in 2019 he became the youngest person to win a major award in the British Curry Awards.

The audience at the awards, which celebrate the best of the UK’s multi-billion-pound curry industry, included Minister for London Paul Scully, former UK Health Secretary Baroness Virginia Bottomley, her MP husband Sir Peter (longest serving Member of the House of Commons), four other MPs and Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer and a former President of the Confederation of British Industry. The event was hosted by ITV news presenter Lucrezia Millarini.

A chef for over 40 years, Matin was born in Bangladesh.  After his family moved to Cambridge when he was a teenager, he began honing his cooking skills in the family home.

“It’s a great honour to be described as the finest curry chef in the United Kingdom,” he commented. “There are so many wonderful chefs working in thousands of restaurants all over the country that I am truly humbled and very proud. My emphasis has always been on developing authentic recipes and working with the finest kitchen and front of house staff.”

The 120-seat Radhuni (its name means ‘passionate cook’) is one of only three Indian-style restaurants in Scotland to have been awarded an AA Rosette for culinary excellence.

Regularly placed in the British Curry Awards’ “Hot 100”, it was named Scottish Curry Restaurant of the Year in 2020 and 2021 and in July this year took the same title in the Scottish Restaurant Awards.

Habibur Khan commented: “These are remarkable achievements for my father and the restaurants he established. His legacy is assured. Helped by my father’s guidance, the team at Radhuni have worked tirelessly and with great skill to create a constantly first class dining experience. We are overwhelmed by this latest honour.”

Curry Life magazine reaches 10,000 Indian, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Pakistani restaurants serving millions of customers a year.

The ‘curry industry’ is said to account for two thirds of all eating out in the UK. Indian-style restaurants get through more than 200,000 tonnes of rice a year.

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Read a great review by Gerry Haughian of his lunchtime experience at Itihaas! Read the full review at Gerry’s Kitchen website.

“Starting with a chana on puri that we shared between us. Just as well we shared because it was a huge starter that would have defeated Nicola if she had to take it on herself. The puri, a deep fried puffed bread, was light and airy and despite being deep fried it showed no signs of greasiness. The chick pea filling was immense. Hot and spicy, sweet and sour with a good handful of fresh coriander mixed in to help ad a fragrant balance. This was one of the tastiest Indian starters that we’ve had in a long time.

Itihaas don’t scrimp on portion sizes and the main course that Nicola received was packed with giant chunks of tender, well seasoned chicken breast. The sauce had a good balance of spice without being too hot, preserved lemon had been added to add another dimension to the sauce and there was a noticeable amount of garlic present round the dish off whilst keeping the vampires away. The pilau rice was another delight, heavy seasoned with star anise and topped with preserved orange peel, helping add further levels of flavour to an already tasty curry. The lunch menu costs just £7.95 for two courses which I think you’ll agree, offers great value for money.

I had opted for the Lamb Thali lunch experience – a new offering at Itihaas (Thali is an Indian meal made up of a selection of various dishes, the word Thali means a round platter used to serve food) – and was delighted with the value for money that I this offered.

Again, the portion size was a winner and I knew that we would be taking home a ‘doggy-bag’. The onion bhaji was crisp and well seasoned, the curried vegetable were fantastic, especially the broccoli that seemed to soak up the spices with ease. As for the lamb curry, it was wonderful.”

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Indian Restaurant Edinburgh

17-19 Eskbank Road, Dalkeith, EH22 1HD | 0131 663 9800

Monday – Thursday || 12pm-2pm || 5pm-10:30pm
Friday – Sunday || 12pm-2pm || 4:30pm-10:30pm
Closed Tuesday

17-19 Eskbank Road, Dalkieth, EH22 1HD
0131 663 9800

Monday – Thursday || 12pm-2pm || 5pm-10:30pm
Friday – Sunday || 12pm-2pm || 4:30pm-10:30pm
Closed Tuesday

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