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Thai Orchid
Thai Orchid
5 a Johnstone Terrace,
Royal Mile,
Edinburgh,
EH1 2PW
[View Map]
0131 225 6633
Seven days 12.30pm - 4.00pm and 6.00pm - midnight;Lunch served 7 days, noon-4pm

May 2007
Business Lunch with a Difference

THAI ORCHID OPENED ITS JOHNSTONE TERRACE LOCATION IN 2005 BUT ITS HISTORY GOES BACK TO 1996 WHEN IT OPENED ON GRINDLAY STREET. ONE OF THE OLDEST THAI RESTAURANTS IN EDINBURGH AND WELL KNOWN FOR ITS EXPANSIVE DINNER MENU, I VISITED ONE SUNNY WEEKDAY TO TRY THEIR BUSINESS LUNCH MENU.

Near the Hub and the castle, the streets surrounding Thai Orchid are bustling with tourists, taxis and buskers. Inside the restaurant, though, is an oasis of cool and lightness that pervades not only the atmosphere but also the menu.

At £7.95 for three courses, the price compares to other city centre lunch specials. Where it excels, however, is in the food and presentation. Fish and meat are locally sourced and vegetables and herbs imported directly from Thailand. This attention to detail is apparent everywhere. Starters of deep-fried wonton skins with prawn and crab meet with a sweet-chilli dipping sauce were presented elegantly with a pink-tinged orchid. The fried skins were crisp without being oily, and the dipping sauce had a depth behind the sweetness. My companion's starter of Thai-style chicken wings, pronounced delicious, endowed chicken wings with a classy elegance.

Our mains followed soon after and I chose the bean curd, stir-fried with fresh ginger and vegetables and served with rice. This was an example of perfect simplicity: the tofu was well cooked, not soggy or bland as it often can be. Slivers of ginger were plentiful and although they added a welcome power to the dish, they weren't so fiery as to overpower the other flavours. My partner ordered Pad Thai, a popular noodle dish with vegetables, ground peanuts and chillies. This one came with thick, fresh prawns and unlike many versions was light on the oil. Of the many Pad Thais I've tried in this city, this was one of the best.

We finished with the banana fritters, served with ice cream and toffee sauce. Again, the batter was light and the fritters were the perfect end to the meal.

Many city centre restaurants run lunch specials, but few are so elegant, well-planned and refreshing. My three courses left me full but not stuffed when I returned to my desk - and the whole experience took less than an hour.

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