Nestled on the corner of a quiet cobbled street in Leith is Hardeep Singh Kohli's latest venture V Deep; a curry and beer bar with an edge, and home to the city's Deep Heat Chilli Challenge.

It's the first of four competitive eating events which will take place in each quarter at the Indian restaurant in a fun attempt to introduce people to the transcendental - and very testing - world of spicy cuisine.

Restaurant owner and comedian Hardeep Kohli explains that V Deep have taken Scotland's love of Indian food to the next step - carefully curating the menu and pairing the meals with beer from his sister company, Drygate Brewery.

"You go to these Indian restaurants in town and they have mix and match meats and sauces.. That's not how we Indians eat at home,” Hardeep said, adding: “There are meals that are not on our menu, and never will be. We’re also selective with our craft beers, which are great to wash down with a curry.”

So what is it like to eat some of the hottest chilli peppers in the world?

He said: “I’ve tried ghost chillis and Naga chillis, and it’s not very pleasant. Hot chilli at the expense of taste isn’t a nice night out, but this is a fun way of showing people how it works – the different levels of hotness.

“Spice is a hugely personal experience for everyone. I’ll be really impressed if one manages to finish the challenge.”

The aim of the game is to finish plates of chicken wings doused in chilli sauce over four levels named Let the Burn Begin; Go Home Or Go Hotter; The Almost Final Wing and the dreaded ghost pepper test, the Wings of Mass Destruction – with the slowest man eliminated in each heat.

Four brave men stepped up to the plate to be crowned the ‘Hot Wing King,’ buoyed by the presence of two pretty ‘chilli cheerleaders’ and the crowd of spectators that had gathered around the table.


Now down to the final two for the Wings of Mass Destruction round, Ally and Mark were now going head to head to win the title – and were given red wigs to wear for the occasion.



After he won, Ally took several minutes, a full jug of cooling yoghurt smoothie and multiple napkins to mop up the pouring sweat from his face before he was able to speak after eating the ghost pepper chicken.

When he announced that his second name was 'Burns' through spluttered breath, the place erupted in laughter. 




A 35-year-old web developer from Edinburgh, the bearded victor went home with a £100 gift voucher for V Deep, a chilli pepper tree and a toilet roll with a ribbon around it.

We asked him how it felt to be crowned the Hot Wing King?

"The second round felt weirdly spicier than the third round - but the last one was a league of its own. My face is still numb, I can hardly speak... But I think I could probably manage one more level," Ally said, still panting slightly.

Could we dismiss that claim as a lot of hot air? Maybe we’ll find out at the next chilli challenge.