The arrival of Konkana seems long overdue. Even though Indian food in Scotland has modernised to offer more small plates and reflect more of the sub-continent’s distinctive regional dishes, it’s fair to say that fish hasn’t been in the forefront of menus. 
Of course there are always easy-to-source prawns, the ubiquitous farmed salmon that I studiously avoid eating, and anonymous, white ‘fish’ that came out the cash and carry freezer, like tilapia, or panga- its more colourful description is Vietnamese cobbler fish- that’s been farmed in disquieting ways in faraway countries. 
I’m fond of Mother India’s haddock baked with Punjabi spices, but there hasn’t been an Indian place to date that takes fish seriously enough to operate a flexible catch-of-the-day approach, seeing what’s fresh, wild, and prime on any given day. 
Now Konkana, named after the  Konkan region of Goa renowned for its seafood specialities, has, excuse the pun, nailed its colours to that mast with its ‘coastal collection’, ‘a selection of handpicked dishes from each major coastal region of India, each one with a unique list of ingredients and cooking styles of the respective regions’.
Now the decor at Konkana, although I think it is largely inherited from the previous enterprise in these premises, is swish, consciously designer-y, glittery with beaded glass curtains and artfully lit in lilac and green tones. That might sound naff but it’s rather smart. Even so, I’m wondering how much of this menu is just patter. Are they really using fresh fish? Is each dish really a quite distinct recipe apart from any other? 
But now that we’ve dipped into the Amritsari fish- it’s made with hake today, we’re told- inside its crust, which tastes as though it’s been made with chickpea flour, and is dotted with thyme-like ajwain seeds- my suspicion fades. This is lovely fresh fish, excitingly and precisely cooked. 
There’s no missing the freshness of the squid; these are not defrosted elastic bands. Each curled tentacle and ring is pearly, yielding. Its coating, light, dry, not deep fat fryer oily, tastes like ground-up poppadoms. 
Ajwain seeds are used in a totally different way to aromatise juicy prawns so large, they almost qualify as scampi, but this time the seafood has been marinated in lime juice, tangy tamarind, and fresh chillies, briefly fried, then capped by a mulch of softened onions and ripe tomatoes.
Sadly, the crab curry ‘marinated with special Goan spices tempered with mustard seeds and curry leaves’ is off the menu. That’s the problem with a real fish supply: it fluctuates unpredictably. But any fledgling grudge disappears when the Badami plaice arrives, a Northern speciality, thick fillets nestling in a rich cashew, almond, and cream sauce that orange-gold with turmeric. 
This harmonious paste-like sauce with its concentrated richness is three-D with spices, yet we can still quite clearly taste the fish. Rice, sautéed with cumin seeds, urad dal, fresh curry leaves then cooked in coconut milk and grated fresh coconut wafts perfume fit to awaken the most sluggish appetite. 
Finely layered rotis drip with butter, maybe ghee, all black and blistered at their extremities. Like everything here, they smell amazing. It’s a bit embarrassing when our highly professional waiter comes to clear the table: barely a grain of rice, a drip of sauce, or even a strand of the enticing side salads remains. Service here is intelligent, well informed and on the ball. 
And our meal isn’t over. The presentation of the desserts is overwrought, but each element is sound. Carrot halwa bears witness to hour after hour of patient reduction. It didn’t need to be encased in pastry, but it’s nice pastry. Ice cream, a hybrid of mango and nut kulfi, is flanked by fleshy mango cheeks, tinned most likely, but full of that characteristic Indian Alphonso flavour, and liberally dusted with ground pistachios. 
Gulab jamun- not the usual sickly sweet confection- is light and dry until you bite into it, when it releases buttery cardamom syrup into your mouth.
Konkana works on two levels, both as a good Indian restaurant and a proper seafood restaurant. Natural partners, it would seem.

30-32 Leven Street, 
0131 228 6694