Feast from the Middle East at Pomegranate (Edinburgh)

When my parents come to visit, it can mean only one thing. We eat. We stuff our faces like it’s our last meal, until we are so full we just about slide under the table in simultaneous food comas; my mum starts quietly snoring in the car back to the flat, my dad rubs his belly and groans. Tonight we decided to finally try Pomegranate on Antigua Street and eat all the food in their kitchen. There is a chance we caused a chickpea shortage tonight, and the global aubergine market is probably in trouble now. Sorry.

The first thing you should know about Middle Eastern food is this. Chefs understand how to deal when confronted with a vegetable. Pulses? Yeah, spice that baby & fry it. Rice isn’t just something that migrates to the edge of the plate only serving to mop up a sauce. There’s more on the menu than just one lonely vegan option thrown in to placate those of us who don’t eat animal products, so because I’m that way inclined, and because I’m super greedy…I ordered pretty much one of everything.

Batata harra. Has anyone ever thought about the fact that the word for “potato” in pretty much every language sounds very similar to…potato? This version was fried with fresh coriander, chilli and garlic.

Papa Bear hates potatoes. He tells me this every time we go out to eat, just in case I accidentally spike him with an errant Jersey Royal or a rogue King Edward. So because I’m an utter bitch, I *forgot* to tell him these were tatties. He loved it. Batata harra got a big thumbs up from my dad. Maybe there’s hope yet. MAYBE HE DOESN’T HATE ALL VEGETABLES!!

Pomegranate’s falafel have a bit more texture than your average joe falafel, so none of that supermarket BS that makes an appearance in every vegan wrap. Crispy on the outside, and more delicate in flava than my go-to falafel at Area C in Leith..

Bayengaan surocrau. These slices of aubergine were marinaded & fried, and again these were a huge hit with my vegetable-hating dad. This went perfectly with my pomegranate rice, which was the secret reason I dragged my poor long-suffering parents across town. I don’t know what kind of witchcraft was worked on that rice, but it was incredible. Savoury and slightly tart, with both a hint of pomegranate molasses and fruity seeds. I could eat this by the bucketload on its own.

For my main I went for Tapsi, a dish of aubergine, potatoes & peppers in a tomato based sauce. It was delicious, but seriously did you see how much food we had on the table? I was starting to struggle at this point, especially as I’d made a rookie mistake by filling up on flatbread. My mum was starting to lose the battle against her whole seabass, and my dad was still wrestling with his chicken. “Maybe we ordered too much”, Mama Bear squeaked.

We shared a bowl of rosewater sorbet and then waddled to the taxi, leaving empty plates and shocked gasps from the kitchen in our wake.

I will probably still be full by morning.

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