We are very lucky in Midlothian to have some excellent Indian restaurants such as the award winning Radhuni in Loanhead and Itihaas in Dalkeith to name but two, but there has been an Indian takeaway sized gap on Bonnyrigg High Street for quite some time, so the appearance of the Bonnyrigg Spice was a very welcome sight indeed! This newly opened Indian takeaway is quickly making a name for itself in the Midlothian culinary scene, and it’s easy to see why.
From the moment I stepped inside, I was given the warmest of welcomes by owner and chef Shahin Khan. Shahin has a wealth of experience in the Indian restaurant trade and moved to Edinburgh in 2003 to open and run what proved to be the very successful Gandhi’s restaurant. After taking some time out to spend time with family, Shahin is now keen to seize the opportunity to bring his experience and culinary creativity to Bonnyrigg.
The menu at Bonnyrigg Spice is an enticing collection of traditional and innovative Indian and Bangladeshi dishes, each freshly prepared with meticulous attention to detail. With a wide variety of vegetarian, meat, and seafood options, there’s certainly something to satisfy every palate.
We started our meal with the assorted kebab and pakora selection, all cooked to perfection and full of colour and flavour. The chicken and lamb kebabs, which are baked in their traditional clay oven, were so tender and beautifully spiced, and made for a perfect introduction to our meal.
For the main course, we opted for the Chicken Tikka Biryani and the lamb Rogan Josh. The lamb Rogan Josh was a succulent delight, with tender lamb pieces swimming in a rich, spicy sauce that had just the right balance of heat and spices. The Biryani was a meal in itself and combined the flavours of tender chicken tikka pieces with perfectly cooked basmati rice and a blend of aromatic spices. Absolutely delicious!
Accompanying the mains were mushroom rice (my personal favourite) and freshly baked garlic naan bread. The rice was fluffy and aromatic, providing the ideal canvas for savouring the flavours of the curry. The naan bread was light as air and was generously filled with a pungent mixture of fresh garlic and coriander, an excellent accompaniment for scooping up every last bit of the delicious Rogan Josh sauce.
What truly sets Bonnyrigg Spice apart is their commitment to using high-quality ingredients and their dedication to authentic flavours. Shahin is clearly a very talented and passionate chef who takes pride in all the dishes that he creates and is dedicated to providing the highest levels of customer service.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal and felt we had been treated to an absolute feast. Whether you’re a fan of Indian cuisine or a newcomer to its many delights, Bonnyrigg Spice is a Midlothian must-visit destination that will leave you wanting to go back for more. A very welcome addition to Bonnyrigg High Street.
For more recommendations, reviews and questions head over to @eatsleepgreet on Instagram.
Blossom, an American XL Bully, trained by Midlothian Dog Trainer Nick McMechan.
This View has been written by Midlothian Dog Trainer Nick McMechan.
The last couple of weeks have been interesting! In fact, no they have been amazing, literally amazing!
It started with an unexpected call, two weeks ago on Tuesday Morning, I’d had a short notice cancellation as a Client had taken unwell with Covid. She’s absolutely fine now, gladly. I found myself with a bit of unexpected free time and decided to get some boring business admin out of the way. Sometime after 8am, the phone is ringing and it’s “No Caller ID”. I never answer these as its often someone asking me if I wanted help with compensation after the car crash I never had or something like that. You know those calls. For some reason I answered.
And, it was a Producer from BBC’s Radio 5 Live. Could I come on the Nicky Campbell Show this Morning. They had seen my article in The Midlothian View – “Why the American XL Bully should NOT be the next banned breed” (if you haven’t read the article the extremely short summary is (1) Breed Specific Legislation is already in place for other breeds and it hasn’t worked (2) Society needs to regulate Dog Breeding (3) Society needs to regulate Dog Ownership).
So, I was to be on the show in less than two hours. Terrifying. I’m not the sort of person who puts themselves in the limelight. I shy away from it to be honest, it’s not my thing. For some reason I said, “Yes, okay”. Inside, I was running for the Hills!
Less than two hours later, I’m on Zoom on the Nicky Campbell show. I was nervous, really nervous. I’m telling myself “don’t screw this up”! It quickly became apparent that I’m at the head of the show with Emma Whitfield. Emma was the Mother of Jack Lis, the 10 year old boy who was sadly killed by an American XL Bully in 2021, in Wales. As I listened to Emma and Nicky talking, which was extremely difficult to listen to, I found myself going through a lot of emotions. Not only were my nerves going through the roof, but I also felt a deep sense of empathy for Emma and what happened.
Emma is amazing. Emma could have understandably went on the show with a great deal of anger, calling for a breed ban. People would have undoubtedly listened. And who could argue? But Emma didn’t. Emma is calling for changes in legislation that don’t target breed but targets the things that will actually make a difference to dog ownership in the UK. A positive difference.
Emma is part of the APDAWG. She is a Guest Speaker this year, on Tuesday 6th June, at the Parliamentary working group. Emma and I are aligned in our thoughts about what needs to be changed. To go through what Emma has, and come out the other side with such a proactive and positive attitude towards making a change, making a difference, for the greater good of everyone is absolutely inspiring, awesome and simply amazing. For me, it was a privilege to be on the show with Emma.
So, I presented my expert opinion with Nicky Campbell. For me, legislation change is only part of the solution, and it could have a chance to work if it can be enforced. I believe effective Dog Licensing should be introduced. It needs to be done carefully and with consideration for all parts of society.
There is the potential to support funding (through a potential Licence fee) and training of additional Dog Wardens to support Breeding for Health & Temperament and to ensure Breeders put Dogs in suitable homes. Good Breeders do all of this but bad Breeders, simply put, don’t. We also need to ensure that when Dogs arrive in those homes the new Owners are responsible Dog Owners. There’s ways we can do this including mandatory training. There’s a lot more to this than I can write in this single paragraph, but that’s for other articles in the future.
LBC saw me on the Radio (there’s something I wouldn’t have said a couple of decades ago – being seen on the Radio!). They got in touch to say Nick Ferrari regularly covers Dog related issues and could I come on. Again, to my amazement, I said “yes, okay”!
One week on and I find myself on LBC with Nick Ferrari. There had been a horrific incident at the weekend in London, where two beautiful Dogs had been shot dead by an Armed Police Officer. It was all caught on video by a resident of the flats overlooking the place where it happened. I would encourage you to NOT watch the video. It’s extremely upsetting and I found myself with the odd tear rolling down my cheeks as I put myself through the pain of watching the video footage a number of times in preparation for the show. I love Dogs and to see them shot dead has put images in my head that I will likely never forget even though I want to.
There’s lot of speculation about what happened. I saw there was a Vigil in memory of the Dogs in London, held where it happened. There’s an online petition to hold the Officers involved to account. And, there’s outrage on Social Media, directed towards the Officers.
I’ve heard that the Dogs had attacked a Woman shortly before. This is confirmed in the statement by the Met Police. I’ve heard that the owner was banned from owning Dogs. There’s footage online of the Owner with the Dogs on The Underground cuddling in to the Owner. We don’t know what is true and what isn’t and we certainly don’t have all the facts. As our emotions rise when we watch the footage, we must allow the appropriate investigations to take their course so that they are completed properly by the Police. I don’t disagree with putting some pressure on to ensure the right outcomes, but I also believe that that should not overwhelm the investigations taking place.
I offered my Expert opinion on the Nick Ferrari show. I could only comment on the Video in relation to what I saw with the Dogs and their behaviours. Please skip by reading this paragraph if you’d rather not know some details of what happened.
With the first Dog, the owner goaded the Dog, jerking it back several times and released it to lunge at the Officer. This was an extremely irresponsible act by the owner to do this, with his Dog, to anyone, Police Officer or not, and he endangered that Officer. The Armed Officer had no choice but to shoot. The second Dog was successfully detained using a Catch Pole. As this happened several Officers were apprehending and detaining the Owner, who had been Tasered.
The second Dog escaped the catch pole (the catch pole appears to fail?) and ran towards the Owner. In this situation the Dog’s instincts would likely have kicked in to defend its owner from the perceived attack (by the Officers). The armed officer had no choice, he had to stop the Dog.
Questions must still be asked. Why was there only one catch pole for two Dogs? I don’t know what the Met Police’s operating procedures are but surely you would need two catch poles for each Dog? Why was there not? Whilst the Armed Officer had no choice in those tiny moments of time, could the Officers have had better equipment and the right amount of equipment to protect both themselves and the public?
These shows, and the subjects covered, are highly emotive. They were difficult to be on, but I do hope that, on both occasions, in completely different ways, my tuppence worth has given a valued and balanced contribution that leads to better dog ownership in society in the long term.
Nick specialises in Loose Leash Walking and Reactivity as well as everything you would expect from a great Dog Trainer. You can find out more here: eskvalleydogtraining.co.uk
Edinburgh's Court of Session.
Edinburgh Council has defended its new rules for short-term lets, telling a court they “meet the test of lawfulness”.
The council’s defence of its licensing scheme was heard as part of a judicial review lodged by a group of accommodation providers who have railed against the policy.
And a lawyer representing the council insisted that concerns of ‘risk’ over the requirement for a licence to be renewed every year were not unique to the policy, and said applying for a licence would be an “interactive process” between the council and operators.
The case has centred around petitioners’ opposition to a presumption against allowing entire flats within the city’s tenements to be used as holiday lets. Their lawyer said this was “in essence why they are here” and added her clients were seeking a “level playing field”.
Taking to the floor on the second and final day of the hearing at the Court of Session on Friday James Mure KC presented evidence before Lord Braid on behalf of the council in support of the scheme which was approved in September.
Rolled out in response to concerns about the impact of a rise in properties being used as short-term lets (STLs), particularly in the city centre, the scheme requires hosts to apply for a licence by October. Those who list entire properties on Airbnb and similar sites also need to seek planning permission from the council, or just a ‘certificate of lawfulness’ if used as an STL for more than 10 years.
Mr Mure KC said the rebuttable presumption against holiday lets in tenements was agreed by councillors with a “very firm basis”.
The policy states that “secondary letting in tenement or shared main door accommodation is considered as unsuitable” and the burden would be on the applicant to demonstrate why they should be exempt from the rule.
Morag Ross KC, counsel for the petitioners, said this element of the scheme was “perverse” and could see a licence refused despite the planning department already deeming the property appropriate for use as an STL.
But Mr Mure KC said it was “simply a presumption which is rebuttable by the applicant,” adding that exemptions could be based on letters of support, length of time operated for and the volume of complaints amongst other factors.
He said applicants would be invited to submit evidence to the licensing sub-committee to support their case.
“That’s what the policy is,” he said, “to require of applicants to engage with the council to understand what steps have been taken to address the neighbour concerns which the Scottish Government says is on rationale for the introduction of the licensing scheme.”
He said it was “important to distinguish between a certificate of lawfulness and planning permissions”.
He added: “If one were applying for planning permission then the planning application would be required…it would be a normal planning application for change of use. The planning authority can impose conditions on planning permission should it be granted.”
He said a “sizeable number of existing hosts” would be granted a certificate as many have operated in the sector for more than a decade and therefore planning policies would “simply not be considered” in these cases.
“It’s important that one understands that,” he added. “For many of the operators in Edinburgh the issues of amenity won’t be examined by the planning authority.”
However Lord Braid said the difference between planning permission and certificate of lawfulness “doesn’t seem to be reflected in the policy”.
Mr Mure KC said the licensing and planning systems – which work in tandem under the STL scheme – serve two different purposes, adding the former is “far more flexible”.
He said: “Planning permission and its conditions are not appropriate to control how one operates its premises.
“Just because you have one permission, you don’t automatically get the other.
“There are matters that licensing can look at that could be matters that as planning authority it is separately looked at. But that does not mean they are not relevant considerations or shouldn’t be taken into account.”
Picking up on the petitioners’ concerns about the requirement for secondary let licences to be renewed every year, Mr Mure KC said: “It was said yesterday that a duration of one year creates uncertainty.
“There is an inherent uncertainty in any [licensing] scheme…I’m simply making the point, my lord, that once you’re in any licensing scheme there is uncertainty about renewal.
“Risk is inherent in any legislative scheme.
“Businesses do operate successfully under different comparable licensing schemes.”
He told the court that renewal of licences by an authority “tends to be a different process from the application initially”.
He added once the council granted one it would be “extremely likely to renew on the same basis unless there has been a material change of circumstances”.
He said a “good reason” would be required to refuse a renewal application which could include “serious of complaints or an objection to the way the activity has been carried out”.
Lord Braid interjected that the policy “doesn’t distinguish between new application and renewals”.
Mr Mure KC said it had also been suggested during presentation of the petitioner’s evidence that if a licence application is knocked back then “nothing could be done” for another year.
But he said the council provided “reasonable advice and guidance to applicants”.
He said: “It’s just the beginning of a process, the licensing service checks applications that come in and will advise if further information is required.”
He added councillors on the licensing sub-committee “often enter into a dialogue with the applicant” and can “continue application if more information is needed”.
He said it “is not a one attempt application online then months later you get a refusal or a grant,” adding it was an “interactive process”.
Lord Braid said it would be “rash” to predict how long it would take him to make a final judgement on the case but would deliver the ruling “as soon as possible”.
The petitioners have said it could “potentially take up to three months to receive the judge’s decision”.