Top-quality Thai food at absolute rock-bottom budget prices
- Pretheatre special 5.30pm-7.30pm
- Two Courses: £12.50
The pre-theatre menu is becoming increasingly popular amongst city restaurants hoping to attract clientele inside during the potentially dead early evening hours, sometimes regardless of whether there are any theatres of any sort within a two-mile radius. Restaurants in the Tollcross area, however, need no such excuse due to the imposingly grand old edifice of the King’s Theatre.
In recent years, Tollcross has welcomed a massive upsurge in global eateries, particularly those of an Indian or Far Eastern persuasion. Tucked away down a side street directly next to the King’s and wedged between Bennet’s Bar and a pre-school nursery is Absolute Thai, a small establishment which looks in external appearance to have little to say for itself.
This somewhat muted disposure extends inside also. Enter through the door curtain and you walk into a relatively plain room with little in the way of decoration and around eight small tables. Polite but slightly hesitant black-clad waiters seem unsure as to how to greet us on our arrival, but M and I are swiftly shown to our table. It’s 6.30pm on a Thursday, and Absolute Thai quickly fills up with clear regulars eager to take advantage of the pre-theatre deal, always a good sign. Our pockets are further cheered by the BYOB policy, with corkage at just £2.50 (although, it must be said, I did end up having to open our bottle myself).
There are so many Thai restaurants in Edinburgh these days which pile on the gloop and flavourings willy-nilly, that it comes as a huge relief to find one which specialises in sheer simplicity. My starter of steamed prawn and pork Dim Sum parcels are fresh and perfectly formed objects of delight, although a little soy-based dip would have gone down well, and M’s prawn tempura is equally well done, coming with a side of sweet chilli sauce which, happily, doesn’t neglect the chilli in favour of the sweet. When I return, and I most certainly will, I’ll be trying their tom yum soup to start, that most authentically Thai of dishes.
There’s an excellent choice of eight dishes for mains, a vast selection for a pre-theatre menu. M has a wonderfully vibrant stir-fry of chicken with cashew nuts, mushrooms, peppers and spring onions while my roasted duck is beautifully succulent with crispy skin and excellent hot sauce topping (which, admittedly, could have been slightly less sparingly applied). Both dishes come with separate accompaniments of perfectly cooked jasmine rice, meaning we’re able to share our dishes. By now, Absolute Thai is humming with pleasure from all our neighbouring diners. I only hope it remains so deservedly busy later in the evenings.
No desserts on offer on this menu but, frankly, we don’t need them. When the bill arrives at just under £30, it seems astonishing. This has been top-quality Thai food at absolute rock-bottom budget prices. Go check Absolute Thai out.