I was disappointed when I heard the The Vintage in Leith had closed its doors but then when I was invited to attend the opening of VDeep I was curious as to how it would compare. VDeep is a new concept combining craft beer and curry. Two things I enjoy; but do they go together?
The interior has completely changed since the Vintage moved out; large communal benches which have the logos of the various beers on offer, graffiti style paintings on the walls and a large projector screen which will show sporting events and movies. This raised another question. Is VDeep a bar or a restaurant? Hardeep Singh Kohli is the face behind this new craft beer and curry house and when speaking to him he explained it is predominantly a bar and the food comes second. However, after reading previews and press interviews before attending VDeep, I felt that a lot of the emphasis was on the food.
I do not feel that the concept has been communicated clearly enough. Although the owner himself says it is a bar first and a restaurant second, I think this place may struggle to find an identity. Many friends I have spoken to have spoken about VDeep as a restaurant and they may be disappointed if they book a table one day only to be surrounded by large groups who have turned up for beers and to watch the football on the big screen.
I enjoyed the food samples we had and there are a lot of nice beers on offer, but if I want to go out for a curry I want to go to a proper curry house. Conversely, if I wanted to go out to a bar for some craft beers, I would choose to go to a bar.
As far as the food goes we were given various samples of the dishes that will be on the menu. The dishes are recommended for sharing and use local seasonal produce. They are not the usual curry dishes that you find on your takeaway menu. They try to create a fusion of Indian and British cuisine.
We were given a bowl of lovely crispy popadoms with three chutneys; Smoked Tomato, Apple and Coriander and Coconut. All three chutneys were excellent and full of fresh flavour.
We then got to try a selection of the mains. The Confit Coconut Pakoras and Mutton Achari were delicious. Normally I am not the biggest fan of Dhal but the Three Lentil Dhal we were served was also very tasty.
Then there are the dishes on the menu that take the British classics and add Indian influences. The Beef Bhuna Stovies, for instance, was nice; but personally, I felt that the hot green chilli ruined the taste of my nice craft beer. Which made me wonder, is this craft beer and curry concept really a good idea, or is it a case of piggybacking on some popular trends?
Other samples included a slice of venison on a small piece of naan topped with coconut chutney, Tandoori chicken and Pork Cheek Vindaloo.
The staff were all casually dressed in Adidas tracksuit tops and were chatty and helpful. When chatting to the waitress she explained how VDeep is in partnership with the men behind The Vintage and in fact the space is their ‘Leith Lab’ where they will try new restaurant ideas. If successful they will then open the restaurant elsewhere. So if you thought VDeep could be your new local don’t get too cosy as it might move to another location.
Overall I feel VDeep is a bit confused. With quiz nights, sports playing and even movie nights are they trying to do too much? In the future there is also talk of them doing takeaways. The food was tasty but may be overshadowed with everything else going on. There is also the question of whether or not expensive craft beers are somewhat spoiled by strong spices and flavours. Can VDeep pull all this off? I really wish them all the best with this bold idea but I guess only time will tell.