For 20 years it has been taking regulars and tourists on a gastronomic Thai adventure...
Thai Orchid is a wellestablished restaurant in Edinburgh celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and if you have not sampled the authentic Thai cuisine yet, you really should. When it first opened in 1996, Thai Orchid was one of the first Thai restaurants in Edinburgh. Now, from its prime location just a stone’s throw away from Edinburgh Castle, on Johnston Terrace, it continues to serve delicious meals to regulars and tourists alike. Walk in off the cobbled street and you are transported from Scotland’s capital city and taken on a tantalising Thai adventure. On entering, you are greeted with a smile from friendly staff in beautiful traditional clothing who invite you to your table. When we visited on a Monday evening, there was a buzz about the place – unlike many other restaurants – as tourists and locals flocked through the doors to tuck into delicious dishes from Thai Orchid’s extensive menu. There are no fewer than 66 dishes on offer (not including desserts), so making a quick choice is impossible! Often Thai food has a reputation for being too spicy for those with a delicate palate, so Thai Orchid has introduced a ‘spice guide’ allowing you to select the dish of your choice according to its mild/medium spicy/spicy rating. The family-run restaurant prides itself on bringing diners the best cuisine from Thailand using the finest locally-sourced produce. All its chicken, beef and pork are from Shaws Fine Meats of Edinburgh. And, as the menu points out, not one dish contains MSG (monosodium glutamate) – a flavour enhancer – because there’s no need, for every dish packs a flavoursome punch!
You cannot visit a Thai restaurant without trying dim sum to start. Packed with prawn and pork mince, Thai herbs and sesame oil, the steamed wonton skins of the dim sum – Kanom Jeep Goong – were served in a mouth-watering garlic and soy sauce. My dining companion also opted for a Thai classic – chicken satay sticks – and staff were only too happy to serve extra sweet chilli dip on the side.
Next, we opted for two very different dishes for our main courses. One was the medium-spicy chicken Panang (£10.50), a dish that can also be prepared with beef or prawns. This aromatic curry was served with a sweet pineapple, peach and coconut sauce – a must for those with a sweet tooth! Also being served was one of Thai Orchid’s many fish dishes, the Pla Todd Kha-min (£14.95), which consisted of crisp monkfish topped with turmeric, garlic, chilli and tamarind sauce. The flavour combination was sensational! Besides its authentic Thai cuisine, what sets this restaurant apart from others is its service. Staff are courteous and attentive, making sure you leave the restaurant happy. After exchanging the wai gesture with staff (a traditional Thai way to say ‘thank you’), we leave the restaurant with full stomachs and smiling faces.