Eat out, drink up
'- it '9'
Thailand is no‘longer so . misunderstood by the west
Edinburgh has gone crazy for Thai food
A selection of Edinburgh’s Thai restaurants
Thaisanuk 2t Argyle P/ace. 073! 22/ 723/ 00..
Back after an arsonist's attack. this snug and unlicensed Far East bistro catntalises on fresh ingredients. a concise menu lWlilt Malaysian dishes. tooi and the handiwork of chef proprietor Madame Ae. A treat. and hitlisted in The List}; Eating 8. Drinking Gil/rte.
Erawan Oriental 14 South Street. 0/31 5:36 4242 0..
Another on our hitlist. this is the younger and much larger sister to the city's long-estah|ishe(l Siam Erawan. It combines Georgian elegance wrth traditional favourites and a few surprises.
Num Chai 42 St Stephen Street. 0/3] 22(9 538/7 .0.
Newcomer in Stockhrittge: small and friendly wrth a minimum of fuss or pomp. Sixty odd dishes. ‘.‘.’liil several versions of sea h; ss to complement more commonplace curries.
Ruan Thai 29 Cockhurn Street. ()13/ 22") /'()()/ .0
Open only a few months: good value husiness lunches but rather formulaic approach wrth standard menu complimented by cliched (tricor. Not offensive but not inspired. either. tBarry Shelhyi
100 THE LIST “8 It’, .Jah jl’i', -.
A Thai culinary boom has been ignited in Edinburgh. But why? Words: Anna Millar
‘ ut on blindfold and I teach you P something special.‘ he whispered in
my ear. Here we go again. I thought. linsavoury situations were par for the course since I landed in Bangkok. My American mate. Leroy. announced upon my arrival: ‘I don't like this spiritual travelling bullshit: it‘s all about the foreign booty.‘ But even miles away from him. in the laid-back confines of Phuket. I am face-to- face with a blindfold fetishist. Why not just liing me in a Thai jail and be done with it‘.’ But the fetishist in question is Zee. my cooking instructor.
Zee didn‘t want to tie me up — he wanted to wise me tip. Blindfolds aside. it soon became clear that. unlike other cultures. comestibles. Thai cooking is a process of living. Its cuisine — much like 'I’hailand itself —- is rich in not only liavour but also spirit. liliminating sight illustrated that cooking uses all the senses.
And without your eyes. accurate measurements become difficult as well. This was emancipating — the mishmash of ingredients. a sprinkle of this and a dab of that. The recipe is
secondary: it's only a guideline to the art of cooking itself. A seemingly disparate list of
ingredients are used to create everything from pad thin and tom yum goong to kow neuw dum peiak (a black sticky rice pudding with coconut
milk). to create a truly unique aroma. The best of
eastern cuisine in one huge melting pot: the stir- fried dishes from (him. coconut sauces from Malaysia and the sticky rice courtesy of Laos.
In lidinburgh. the appetite for Thai cuisine
seems insatiable. Raunthai opened this summer
in (‘raig‘s (‘lose following the arrival of five others: Mya. (‘haing Mai. Siam Thani. Mating Thai and J irada. Also 'I‘haisanuk. a List favourite. reopened after a fire on Argyle Place. And the boom continued: Num (‘hai opened in St Stephen Street and l)usit on Thistle Street. Then in November. Thai Lemongrass took tip residence in Bruntslield.
Because (‘hinese food has been around for such a long time. diners are ready for a variation and lidinburgh has the big Thai community to supply it. ‘People come simply because they enjoy it.~ says one of the staff at Muang Thai restaurant.
At l)usit. Mr Pom attributes the explosion to a realisation that simple. healthy cuisine is a valuable selling point. ‘lt's a healthy option.’ he says. ‘Thai food is successful because its light and not busy. It lies somewhere in the middle of (‘hinese and Indian food. You could say that it‘s an iii-between cuisine.~
But is it merely a fad'.’ Perhaps. But people like buying into lifestyles. It remains an age where eastern pastimes — whether meditation and yoga —- are popular. Why should cuisine not be part of the package'.’ And when it tastes this good. who‘s complaining‘.’
An extra helping of news
I THE KING’S BALTI restaurant in Edinburgh’s Southside says the notion that Indian cuisine is bad for your waistline is a hoary myth. Owner Sarfraz Mahmood has devised a range of low- cal curries and recently ‘decided to reveal the secret’. ‘We make our dishes as healthy as possible by using only lean meat and fresh vegetables,’ he says.
I IN GLASGOW.
Laurie's. at the corner of King and Parnie Streets. has opened. This is the sprawling location where Eat Drink Man Woman traded for a few years. Now owned by Cy Laurie. who once ran the Tron Ceilidh House in Edinburgh (and currently has the Riverside Club in Glasgow), the bar/cafes emphasis is naturally on the music scene. with folk and jazz. Chef Paul Maclure won the student chef of the year award a few years back. At Laurie's his noon—7pm menu includes dishes such as pan-fried scallops ($23.25) and sausage and mash with caramelised onions (€4.25). On Burns night. Laurie's plans to launch its rear performance space.
I WITH MONO VEGAN restaurant successfully launched in nearby Kings Court, owner Craig Tannock has renamed his West End operation: West 13th is now Stereo. Live music will be featured on week nights, while the weekends are devoted to a more traditional pub/cafe environment, with another all vegan menu.
I TWO CHANGES IN Glasgow's city centre. On West Regent Street. the Lomond Inn group has rebranded its two adjorning properties. La Cocrna Mexican restaurant is now known as Rosie's Cantina. while BOrgia bar is the Duke of New York.