Real Mexicans living in Mexico eat chillies in large quantities every day. build up a tolerance. and can appreciate the genuine subtleties of Mexican cuisine. Pale foreign types living in Scotland. who don’t eat chillies for breakfast, will not thank a Mexican chilli-head for imposing his dosage on their occasional evenings out.
The first strictly Mexican and Mexican-run restaurant in Edinburgh was Viva Mexico. The owner. Mr Gonzalez. comes from Mexico City and keeps a close eye on what comes out of the kitchen. Nothing served here will severly test your machismo unless you supercharge it with the various chilli sauces provided on the side. There are over sixty varieties ofchilli available in Mexico. about a dozen ofthem used regularly. sol wondered if it was necessary to import obscure varieties to achieve the authentic taste of Mexican food, also whether the famous festive Mexican dish ofchicken cooked in a chocolate and chilli sauce (the ‘mole’ pronounced mow-lay) ever appeared on the menu. I was told that yes. moles are often on ‘special’ or Christmas menus. and yes, some of the chillies required for dishes such as moles. including strongly flavoured smoked chillies, pasilla and mulatto varieties, do have to be specially imported. Cold Mexican
RESTAURANT Tue—Sat (evenings only) Table d‘Héte and a la Carte menus
BRASSERIE Seven days: lunchtimes and evenings. Wide range of meals available.
7 OLD FIST-[MARKET CLOSE EDINBURGH 031 225 5428
beer is popular, but they are soon to add six Mexican wines to the Californian wine list, which must mean that Mexican food and wine are supposed to go together.
Indian food is another thing again. A certain sort of Indian restaurant has always tended to boast of ‘delicate spicing’ and there should be no reason to avoid drinking wine with this sort of food. Not that chillies are considered crass these
days. but ifa request for ‘your
hottest curry’ is not met with a frown you’re in the wrong place (although
you re obvrously the wrong person to
start with, sorry). The Shamiana is a good example ofthe right sort of place in Edinburgh. The chef. Mr Mansoorie, is from North India. and the menu is composed of North Indian and Kashmiri dishes — the hottest dish they do is Kashmiri. and derives its heat from black pepper, curry leaves and vinegar with only a touch ofgreen chilli. In fact. it is more the word ‘curry’ than the request for heat that is likely to turn your waiter of f - properly spiced Indian food can and should sometimes be hot enough to make your ears tingle.
The other major chilli-using cuisines are starting to gain a toe-hold in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Authentic Thai, Szechuan. Malaysian and Indonesian food is all to be had for the asking— see listings. (Lucy Bailey)
Cockbu Pm street:
LUNCH — 12—2.30pm EVENINGS — 6—11pm (last orders 10.30pm)
EDINBUPGH 2'26 5145
Hot tips for spicing up chilli nights out.
I Prices in brackets reierto cost of dinner tortwo.
I Balbir's Asholta Tandoori 408 Elderslic Street. 221 1761 . Mon—Thurs noon—midnight; Fri/Sat noon-12.45am; Sun 4pm—midnight. Green chillis rubbed into any part of the body will bring instant heat. For a more conventional approach. however. try the Punjabi Massalas. served in scorching cast iron Karahi — green chillis optional here for extra warmth - or a Gujerati Korma Flavoured with ground chanas and yoghurt. An extensive menu caters for all faiths. fads and beliefs. 20% discount on carry-outs. (£20)
I Shish Mahal 45 Gibson Street. 339 8256. Mon—Sun 11.45am—11.30pm. If you‘re unfortunate enough to have to stand in the long. cold queues at weekends you'll be ordering the Madras or Vindaloo. For those with a more delicate palate may we suggest booking. worth the effort for the feast that follows. (£22)
I The Bombay Club Pumphouse Complex. 100 Stobhouse Road. Queen‘s Dock. 221 5222. Deeked out Thirties-style. one of the new breed ofeurry houses. sorry. Indian Brasseries. in the city. More pricey perhaps. but cher of the customers do tricks with the nan bread. (£26)
I Chimmy Chungas 499 Great Western Road. 334 0804. Food served in this cantina is definitely not for the faint-hearted nor the lily-livered. However. ifit all gets too much for you help is at hand in the form of some appropriately chilled beers. a wide selection on offer includes Lone Star. Dos Equis and Soperiore. (£18)
IJohn StJam 18John Street. 552 3801. Mon—Sun noon—2.30pm. 6.30—1 1.30pm. John St
PLUS! SUMPTUOUS SWEETS & HOMEBAKING
. V.) a): :27 ._ .- serves a large selection of cajun cooking. from their own recipe for popcorn to Jambulya and gumbo. Even the more down to earth steaks are marinated in a cajun sauce. (£20)
I Amber Regent St) West Regent Street. 331 1655. Mon—Sat noon—2. 15pm. (mm-midnight. This intimate (‘hinese restaurant . one of the best of newer arrivals. serves (‘antonese and Szeehuan cuisine as well as a large selection for the vegetarian. (£18)
’ I Ho Wong 82 York
Street. 221 3550. Mon-Sat noon—2pm.5.30—l1.30pm Sun 5.30—1 1.30pm. A small restaurant with a large menu covering many regional varieties. Service good. informative and friendly.
I Mai Tai Sauchiehall Street. Mon—Sat noon—3pm. 6.30—1 1pm. The latest arrival from the East is thisThai establishment. With a wide variety ofcooking methods and stylesof food. Mai Tai encourages the diner to sample a few dishes to learn the complexities of a food relatively alien to the Scot's palate. A set menu for four at £12.50 a head is a good introduction. Otherwise take a lucky dip
- THE TRAVERSE THEATRE -
EXPERIENCE TH E DIFFERENCE The NEW TRAVERSE CAFE overlooking the courtyard SATISFYING YOUR PALATE & YOUR POCKET ALL DAY LONG
A variety of homemade soups, with Italian or wholemeal bread 90p
STARTERS & APPETISERS
Freshly baked filled rolls from 50p Patés & hummus with salad £1.20 Cheese, cashew and avocado with tomato dressing and salad £1.20 Ouiches with salad £1.50
SPECIALITIES OF THE DAY
Beef & Mushrooms in Guinness All with salad £1.95
Tues—Thurs11am—midnight Fridays & Saturdays until 2am
Sundays 6pm—1 1 pm
62 The List 27 January - 9 February