27 Bread Street, Edinburgh, EH3 9AL
Ladies and gentlemen, I have discovered the cure for the common cold.
I’ve said it before, so after this I probably won’t tell you again as you should really know by now. The best restaurants aren’t the big bright shiny ones on the main road. They’re not the ones that you read about in The List. Nope. The best restaurants are have steamed up windows, mysterious clientele, and only appear on side streets after a certain time of night.
Google ‘Home Taste’ Edinburgh. I bet you won’t find any information, aside from what I’ve written here, about this hidden in plain sight gem. Just off Lothian Road (on Bread Street, beside a sort of casino with very creepy porcelain dolls in the window) we somehow managed to stumble into Home Taste at half 9 on a Monday night just as a large group of young Chinese students were leaving.
Inside, a fairly grotty little place. Harsh strip lighting did nothing for the greasy tables, which were being wiped down with a box of Tesco Value tissues.
We were handed two menus: regular and hot pot. We decided due to the late hour that we’d forego the hotpot. The waitress arrived to take our drinks order and when we asked for water she asked if we wanted “regular or cold”. I thought maybe something had been lost in the translation, and she meant “tap or bottled” so I said regular. She brought us a pot of hot water, with little mugs.
That’s when I knew I was in for a treat.
When she came back to take our food order, our first option was completely sold out. As the chef came upstairs and barked something at her: it could have been in Mandarin, it could have been in Cantonese: I dunno. She was able to update us on what was available and recommended the chilli pork. We also ordered som kung pao chicken. I’ve had kung po chicken from Western style Chinese takeaways before so was interested to see what it would be like here.
Two big, vintage esque china plates were soon plonked down in front of us. Although the plates were nice and kitsch in a pretty way, the food was less visually appealing. But then Chinese food often isn’t. The Kung Pao chicken was a bit of a revelation, with abundant pieces of chicken and fresh peppers in a tasty spicy sauce that was miles away from what I’m used to. But the stand out dish for me was my new go to cure for the common cold.
Seriously, the next time I even feel a hint of a snuffle coming on, I’ll be heading up to Tollcross. Thinly sliced pieces of pork are mixed with fresh vegetables and big chunks of ginger and chilli. I’d been suffering a head cold for about a week before eating here, and this sorted me right out. My sinuses have never been clearer. Not to mention it was pretty delicious.
One thing to mention: they don’t take cards. The only other patrons when we were in were another Scottish couple, and the man had to nip out to the cashpoint after eating.
As we departed, happy with our little discovery, our waitress helpfully called after us “you try hot pot next time!”
You know, I just think we might.