Friday, 15 June 2012

Review: Home Taste

A friend of mine has recently moved house, and therefore takes a walk from Tollcross along the Grassmarket on a daily basis on her way to work. It's not an area I frequent particularly often, unless looking for a specific 'something' that I know i'll get there, which is daft, because there's lots of lovely little independent shops and restaurants in the area. Home Taste is slightly round the corner on Bread Street. Knowing my love of small and local restaurants, my friend suggested it as a perfect antidote to a horribly rainy Edinburgh evening.

I knew I was going to like this place when I walked in. My glasses steamed up, and one of the waitresses brought me a tissue. That's a good sign right there. I was seated, smack bang in the middle of the room, and she brought over a hotpot plate. I got excited. I should probably warn you - there is nothing fancy about this restaurant. It is probably the Chinese equivalent of a greasy spoon, and they have Tesco smart price tissue boxes on the tables rather than napkins.
We ummed and aahed over whether to have hotpot, or whether to go for a different dish from their menu - and after seeing the table behind us have their food delivered, we decided to go for the menu. It was vague in its descriptions, but we ordered well.
We decided to share some beef skewers (which actually turned out to be pork, probably a translation issue on our part), which were amazing. They were salty and spicy in a hot way, lots of spices coating them, and a slight cumin seed taste. They appear to have been slow cooked over charcoal, which made them really tender. Delicious.
My friend went for a pork belly and pepper stirfry dish, with a side of rice. The pork was, again, gorgeous, nice and freshly flavoured, and not too greasy. Very spicy though - lots of green chillies.
I went for a hotpot soup, which was amazing. It contained a little bit of everything that you'd get if you had a hotpot - seaweed, mushrooms and fungi, glass noodles, chunks of fish, fishballs, and a generous middle dollop of glass noodles. I'd asked the waitress how hot is 'hot', and she laughed and said she'd ask for a not-so-hot version. Even though I'm a fan of heat, it was on the spicy side for me and I was glad I'd whipped out as many of the dried chillies as possible when it arrived.
I have to also mention the 'condiments' trolley in the middle of the restaurant. It was one of the first things I saw when I arrive, and both bemused and excited me. Here we have bowls of fresh herbs, a massive bowl of peanut sauce, diced garlic, diced chillies, soy sauce, chilli sauce, and vinegars. It was brilliant, and I got quite carried away using the little bowls on the tables to mix away and dunk my seafood.

I love restaurants like this - they are so much more relaxed, and provide tastier, healthier food than most of your average Chinese restaurants. I was a little alarmed to see the chef hacking into an enormous box of meat when I went to the toilet (which was as functional as the dining room), but for food this good, I can forgive the basic kitchen and bathroom areas. Strongly recommended.

Meal for two, with rice for one, a side order and soft drinks: £20-£25

Home Taste
27 Bread Street


  1. Sounds great Gwen,must try it. On a similar note if you like cheap and cheerful, try Mothers Kitchen in Newington, great food and so cheap.

  2. I'll add that one to the list, thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Oooooh I want to go there. I love going to lovely places, but the ones where the food is more homecooked are my favourites. Also, I love peanut sauce, so I am swayed by that!