We used to come to EastzEast quite regularly until a couple of years ago. Then it closed – to be replaced by the sort of steak and burger place that you’d expect to see attached to a budget chain hotel. Which it is – the IBIS on Princess Street. But then a few weeks back I noticed that EastzEast was back. It still has its identity crisis – the website has it as the “home of desi Kashmiri cooking”, while the logo on the windows has it as the “home of Punjabi cooking.” The menu comes down in favour of it being Punjabi, not least as the “desi” section of the menu notes that the dishes are in a Lahori style. Being neither Kashmiri, nor Punjabi, I’ve never felt I could tell the difference and wasn’t fussed either way, so long as the food was good and we had a nice evening.
Chicken liver tikka was a knockout starter. I’ve had this at Akbar’s where it is pretty good – but this is better. Like everything else we ate, it’s a generous serving. Just cooked liver, still moist and very tender, dusted in tikka spices, fragrant with just a little background chilli heat. It comes on a “sizzler” plate with some slightly softened onions. Chana puri was more assertive in its flavourings. A large puri, folded over so it look a bit like a pasty, enclosed chickpeas in a quite spicy, clingy sauce.
For mains, there was an excellent version of aloo gobi – a good balance between the potato and cauliflower with both of them perfectly cooked so they were soft but not falling apart, in a well rounded sauce. Peshawari lamb came from the desi section. Small chunks of meat, long cooked, with a thick sauce, just coating the meat, made from tomato, ginger and big chunks of green chilli. There was a little “something” else in the background – fennel seeds maybe.
Carbs were excellent. Rice, tasty and fluffy. Tandoori roti, crisp in parts, soft in others, just as you hope it will be. As mentioned earlier, these are generous servings and we really didn’t need the second roti as well as the rice.
So, dinner was as good as we remembered it from before. It’s good to have it back.