Angelic Thai dining in Tollcross. Quality ingredients cooked to the real Thai deal.
A Hot Summer Day Spent Basking in Thai Sunshine
Reviewed by Euan Andrews
Sunday, August 7, 2011 - 6:13pm
A gloriously hot summer day, the kind that only comes along about once or twice a year in Edinburgh, if that, and the nearby Meadows is an ocean of slowly pinkening flesh. Unfortunately timed for our lunchtime appointment at Passorn, as it means once again M and I are visiting a deserted restaurant at 1pm.
Despite the lack of customers, and Passorn does happily begin to fill up with a few other enthusiastic parties, we are greeted upon arrival with great warmth and hospitality. Thai food is very much one of Britain’s popular food staples nowadays, making it a prime target for takeaway and ready meal providers. A restaurant like Passorn is the perfect counter to that, serving contemporary and traditional Thai food made from fresh Scottish ingredients, cooked to order and served by exclusively Thai staff.
Knowing Thailand well from her travels, M comments on how authentic Passorn feels in terms of décor and ambience, although some traditional or popular music from the region might have been more appropriate than the CD playing of George Harrison’s Greatest Hits.
Our waitress is attentive and courteous, agreeing with M amidst much laughter that the soaring Edinburgh temperatures outside would constitute a midwinter’s’ day in Thailand. Offering a great value two course lunch for £9.95, with the odd supplement of £1.00 for seafood, we begin with a couple of excellent starters. Kung Hea Ma for M, prawns in a perfectly light tempura with sweet chilli sauce, while I have the marvellously named Moo Ping. This is marinated pork on bamboo skewers served with a Northern Thai dressing of Jael spicy sauce. The meat is lip-smackingly cooked and the Jael sauce provides a terrific kick on the side.
For mains, M goes for the Kaeng Keow Wan, better known as the somewhat ubiquitous green chicken curry. This is very much a superior variant, however. Light, fragrant and served with aubergine and Thai baby eggplant.
For my main course, I have crispy sea bass in red curry paste with red chillies and Thai sweet basil, or Pla Ka Pong Prig Plow. It’s essentially a sea bass curry, the fish cooked perfectly crisp skin side with rich, luscious white meat on the other. Make no mistake, this is one hot dish, the red paste bringing a sweat to my brow. Yet it still feels light and satisfying for such a clement day.
There are no desserts on offer for the two course bargain menu, but so pleased with Passorn are we that we decide to share a deliciously refreshing Thai take on rice pudding. Fragrant coconut rice served with mango makes a perfect end for the meal.
Fragrant is the perfect word to describe Passorn’s wonderful food. You’ll leave this restaurant with such smells and tastes lingering around your senses that you’ll feel fully refreshed, vibrant and alive. Ready to step out into the joyous heat of an Edinburgh summer, safe in the knowledge that the next day will bring rain and a drop in temperature of 12c.