Comedian and TV presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli has launched a bar in Edinburgh that brings together craft beer and curry.
VDeep has opened in the former premises of bar and restaurant The Vintage in Henderson Street in Leith in partnership with the team behind The Vintage.
It offers drinkers and diners a menu of 10 craft keg beers, three craft cask beers, over 20 bottled craft beers and seven canned craft beers alongside 21 contemporary Indian dishes.
For the food, Hardeep and head chef Ruairidh Skinner (pictured) have developed original recipes such as Bangras & Mash, Cauliflower Cheese Curry and Pork Cheek Vindaloo – all inspired by Hardeep’s childhood, craft beer culture and classic British cuisine.
Hardeep said: “My whole life I’ve heard people saying ‘I’m going out for a beer, then for a curry’ but nobody has ever put them in the same room.
“I was always nervous at the prospect of trying to reinvent Indian food while remaining authentic. Then I began to question ‘what is authentic?’ Food has developed and changed for centuries. VDeep is the next dynamic change in Indian food.”
Although Hardeep has never opened a bar or restaurant before, he has been a consultant chef for a number of high-profile restaurants such as Glasgow’s Koolba and London’s J Sheekey and was a runner-up on Celebrity Master Chef in 2009.
He added: “I’ve worked with some of the best chefs in the world but Ruairidh’s ability to devise revolutionary dishes is just inspiring. There isn’t another chef I would have collaborated with on a project that fuses curry and craft beer so closely.”
Ruairidh was formerly head chef at The Vintage in Leith, which won awards such as Budvar Top 50 UK Gastropubs and runner-up in the Observer Food Awards in 2013.
A limited-edition guest beer, called Vindabrew, has been created especially for the launch of VDeep by Hardeep, Ruairidh and operations director Darren Blackburn. The 5.5% ABV cardamom-infused IPA is the first in a series of small-batch craft beers that the team are developing to pair with curry.
Hardeep hopes VDeep’s communal dining style will encourage visitors to engage in conversation and even share one another’s curry and beer choices. “When you go to the pub, you always end up having a chat to the people next to you – that’s the pub experience. At the heart of Punjabi dining is a shared experience too.
“We don’t have food served to us on individual plates, we have empty plates and bowls of food for sharing. Everyone just gets piled in. VDeep is very similar. It isn’t just about craft beer and curry, it’s about a real shared experience.”
Hardeep, who grew up in Glasgow, is best known for his work as a comedian and a broadcaster on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 2 broadcaster.
VDeep has 80 covers and is open Monday to Thursday from midday to 10pm, Friday midday to 1am, Saturday 11am to 1pm and Sunday 11am to 11pm.
Picture by Paul Johnston at Copper Mango