I STUMBLED across this Edinburgh restaurant by accident whilst meeting my girlfriend after her work on York Place. The rain was pouring down and we were in no mood to trudge around the streets of Edinburgh, so after quickly glancing at the menu outside, decided this was the most logical place to eat.
I must have walked past the Hotel Indigo (The Turquoise Thistle is the hotel restaurant) hundreds of times and never really thought of trying it; not because there looked anything wrong with the place, just circumstance I guess.
It was early in the evening so the place was fairly quiet, bar some sort of commotion outside which warranted three police cars; anyway the receptionist sat us in the bar where we ordered drinks.
Sarah asked if they had a wine list but the gentleman waiter instead rattled through the menu verbally.
I had to try and not burst out laughing as he incorrectly pronounced half of the wine list, whilst I sat staring at the floor.
Anyway, the young waitress was a little more competent I’m pleased to say and seated at a table by the window with all the police cars outside. I couldn’t help but be nosey and ask what happened as I peered out the window, but that’s another story.
We had both decided on a very reasonable priced pre-theatre menu before coming in, but I looked through the a la carte menu as always.
Now there are a few good restaurants popping up down this end of the town (notably Restaurant Mark Greenaway) but some of these prices seemed a bit ludicrous to me; £8-9 odd for tomato soup with fresh crab meat?
I could see this restaurant being very pretty at night with some nice lights and the soft turquoise blue walls creating a nice ambience and freshness to the dining room. It's a spacious, unimposing dining room too, with a touch of 'being in your living room' to it.
We were served our bread, which was well, just okay and not warm and awaited our order of potted smoked haddock with horseradish butter, soda bread and tomato salsa whilst Sarah opted for their home-made haggis, neeps and tatties.
I was a little confused why they went to all the effort of making their own haggis but not advertise it on the menu but never mind, the waitress had done a good job of upselling it.
The presentation of both dishes was very well done and looked appealing, whilst you could see the baby veg on Sarah’s dish had been carefully prepared and cared for.
Taste wise, my potted smoked haddock was well decent let’s say, although I couldn’t for the life of me taste that fiery horseradish or any seasoning for that matter. I didn’t get why there was baby basil on the plate either; it just didn’t go for me. The salsa was however nice and zingy and fresh.
I’m not overly a big fan of haggis, although this did taste pleasant. The baby veg had a good crunch and earthiness and the turnip puree was pleasant. The deep fried straw potatoes were sadly a little soggy but a nice take on this Scottish classic.
I very rarely order chicken from a menu but I love chorizo, so went for chicken stuffed with chorizo with sautéed potatoes, kale and sweet corn puree. Sarah opted for pan-fried cod loin with mashed potato and peas.
The dishes again were neatly presented on nice clean plates (I hate finger marks on plates, our chef used to go nuts if he saw them). My chicken was moist enough, with the lovely spice of that chorizo coming through and combining well with the iron-rich kale, which possibly could have been prepared a little bit smaller if I’m being picky. The sweet corn puree was beautifully flavoured and smooth as silk.
Sarah’s cod looked a little over done, although it was fine in the middle but the soggy skin let it down. The peas and bacon is a classic combo with cod and were very tasty, as was the smooth and well-seasoned mash.
I’m glad I stumbled upon this restaurant as I would definitely like to give the full a la carte menu a go. The pre-theatre menu represented good value for £12.95 so if you’re looking for a decent dinner after work, by all means give The Turquoise Thistle a bash.