When I arrived at the Blue Parrot on the evening of Cinco de Mayo, I was ready for the beginning of a crazy night out that would see us eating, drinking, dancing and then karaoking till the wee hours. Fortunately, I am a dancer and not a singer and was content to remain dancing (badly) while my co-diners went off to sing earlier than planned.
Nonetheless, this meant that I walked into the Blue Parrot feeling a bit rushed and ready for the night. I entered through what looked to be the only kitchen area and was seated in the small dining room to the right. The place was decorated in an understated Mexican fashion that I connect to some of my favourite Mexican restaurants back in the States. Now, their menu isn’t big, but it is well chosen and I knew from the get-go that I was going to opt for the vegetable fajitas.
When the rest of my cohorts arrived, we balked at the cost of the margaritas and the size of the small jug, but ordered one anyway. Then we placed our orders. Kathryn went for the cheese stuffed peppers, Blythe had a soup (thank goodness things were back to normal) and I ordered a bowl of olives to munch on while the others ate their starters.
One thing that lets the place down a tad is the service. Don’t get me wrong, the waitress was lovely and efficient, but seemed a bit too over-stretched once the place filled up.
The starters looked delicious and I got a good laugh at Kathryn’s watery eyes when she bit into a particularly hot pepper, but alas, my wee bowl of olives never materialised. Eventually, out came heaping plates of food and I was able to quiet my grumbling belly. This is the first time I’ve ever been served fajitas (aside from a posh Tex-Mex place outside of San Antonio, TX) when they didn’t come on a sizzling skillet. Is this a detriment to the dish? No, but it lacks the theatre I was expecting, but the plentiful mix of veggies were well cooked and tasty. It was a mass plate filled with rice and salad with a few tortillas served on the side, which could have done with a wrap of foil or one of those tortilla caddies to keep them soft and warm.
Kathryn’s picadillo beef was big and bold, but I think Blythe was smug in his chicken choice, and just when i thought he might not get through it, he finished it, AND helped Kathryn with hers!
We decided to skip more drinks and head off to the pub, and (*random fact alert*) though I didn’t make use of the restaurant’s facilities, I was assured that the fact that they are outside made no difference to their cleanliness and comfort.
Overall, I enjoyed the Blue Parrot. The fact that they are a small restaurant working quite hard to bring us authentic Mexican-style food always bodes well. Though there drinks were a bit on the pricy side, I’d go back should the craving for Mexican hit me.
Saturday night, Cinco de Mayo, the company of two lovely young ladies, a Mexican restaurant in Stockbridge, and the promise of karaoke later in the evening. If ever there was a recipe for a fun and frolic-filled fiesta, surely this was it.
Joining MJ and I on this fine evening was Kathryn, who had previously dined with us at Divino Enoteca. Once we were all assembled, we first contemplated our surroundings, which were very much in the cantina style. Rather unusually, the toileting facilities were outwith the restaurant proper, involving you popping out to what I guess is a little converted cellar. Quirky is the word, I think.
The menu covers a range of traditional Mexican delights, cooked up in the open kitchen that greets you upon arrival. We took a minute or two to decide, at which point the place had filled to near full, meaning service was a little slow, although the one waitress who was managing service was friendly and responsive as she whirled her way around the room.
Following a week of painful soup absences, I was delighted to see a nice sounding bean soup available. I chose to follow this with one of their chicken and cashew chiminchangas. Kathryn opted try a plate of chillis, then some picadillo beef to follow. MJ matched a plate of vegetable fajitas with some marinated olives as a side, although I have a nagging suspicion that these didn’t actually appear.
My soup was really very good. It had a nice light heat to it, and was full of good flavour. I wolfed it down, mopping up the remnants with the accompanying flour tortillas. Kathryn’s plate of chillis proved almost fatal, with an unassuming green item making her gasp for mercy.
My main course was really good. I’m not sure it would have won any beauty contests, but it combined generous portions of rice, cheese-topped re-fried beans, and a chimichanga that was absolutely packed with succulent chicken. The cashews added a good additional texture.
MJ’s fajitas looked good. Kathryn didn’t quite fully recover from her chilli torment, so I got to sample some of her beef dish. It was good, but I think my dish was the pick of the bunch.
We washed all of this down with good magaritas, as befitted the occasion.
Overall, I was impressed with the Blue Parrot. It served me two good dishes, in quirky surroundings. Our scoring system hasn’t treated it too kindly, but hopefully the words in the review give a better indication of the place’s strengths. I’m not the world’s biggest fan of Mexican food, not least because over the years I’ve eaten in some very ropey Mexican places around Edinburgh, but I’d happily head back here the next time I’m feeling the need.
MJ scores the Blue Parrot:
3/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
2.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 12/20
Blythe scores the Blue Parrot:
4/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
2.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 13/20
Today’s questers were: MJ, Kathryn, Blythe
We ate: bean soup, chillis, picadillo beef, vegetable fajitas, chicken and cashew chimichanga
We drank: margaritas, water
We wore: LBD, red tights, two-tone brogues
Total bill: c.£60