September 19, 2012 Chinese, Closed, noodles, Old Town, soup 4 Comments

MJ’s Verdict
I admit, I’ve been scoping out Meadowood Café for a while, even going along on a ‘reconnaissance’ trip a few weeks ago. But on that visit, I only had a dumpling or two to tide me over for a night of celebrating a friend going to Turkey for a few months.

This trip, we arrived on a Friday afternoon, back into the neck of the woods that I am comfortable and familiar with: the West Port/Lothian Road. I was there first and was greeted by the lovely man who owns it and does most of the cooking. Word has it that he learned to make the food and famous Bubble Tea while living in Asia and even brought back one of the machines that seals the tops on the cups.

The café is very much what you would expect for a cafe that deals in no nonsense, simple and simply good Asian food. They specialize in dumplings, noodle soups, and bubble teas, which are a special milk tea made with tapioca pearls in the bottom.

Hong Su Beef Soup

When my companions arrived, I knew I wasn’t terribly hungry, so I opted to go for the starter size of Hong Su Beef Soup and a pot of jasmine tea.

It took a bit of time for the tea to arrive, but when it did, it was fresh and fragrant and served on a wee tray with delicate cups and what felt like an unspoken ritual that needed to happen.

Soon, our food was whisked to the table by the chef who was in the kitchen, making the dumplings for their noodle soups from scratch. My bowl of beef soup was rather large, but nothing compared to the big bowls of dumpling soup that Blythe and Danielle had. I was glad of my tempered order. And the taste! The taste of the soup was perfect. It was rich and the large chunks of beef in the bottom were soft and melted in the mouth. The shredded carrots and onion gave a bit of freshness and the heat of the soup sneaks up on the back of your throat, not enough to burn, but just enough to let you know its there.

It was a lovely, warming and ideal lunch that I will be repeating as the weather gets cooler. And, I know the dumplings are really well flavoured, so I suggest that get to trying, cause once you go, you’ll keep wanting to return.

Blythe’s Verdict
Another brisk walk across town, today, took me from the workaday drudgery of a busy morning to the charming lunchtime confines of the Meadowood Café, a gem from the orient transported to Bread Street.

As regular readers will know, we have bestowed this part of town with the moniker “the noodle district” given the preponderance of noodle outlets (Kanpai, Yummytori, Wagamama, etc) in the neighbourhood. This has proved rather handy for our regular lunches with Danielle, from Edinburgh Foody, who joined us, today.

After having a little discussion about how we’re going to help Danielle with the upcoming Savoury not Sweet events, we turned our attention to the menu. It offered an extensive range of options, with a panoply of soupy choices that made me almost giddy with joy.

MJ was in light eating mode, so contented herself with a beautiful bowl of soup, which turned out to be richly meaty, and entirely filling enough. Danielle and I opted for the combo soup dumplings, which featured a lovely light broth containing ten dumplings.

The dumpling selection comprised all of their pork, chicken and vegetable varieties. These were all hand prepared, as we sat, then beautifully steamed before being added to the soup. These were of the highest quality; easily the best I’ve sampled in Edinburgh, with each parcel of joy full of wonderfully flavour-packed filling.

Mixed Dumpling soup

The soup was light and lovely, with big slices of crisp vegetables bringing an additional textural detail.

As we wolfed this down, we also sampled some excellent tea. MJ stuck to traditional jasmine, while Danielle and I tried some PMT (pearl milk tea) bubble tea. Danielle opted for coconut, which was a touch too vigorous for my tastes. My slightly subtler jasmine was really good. The black tapioca pearls which were sucked up with each strawful were unusual, but really quite fun.

So overall, I thought the Meadowood Cafe was really rather marvellous. I could see myself spending a lot of time here, working my way through their extensive menu of delights. I’d strongly suggest you join me in that pursuit.

MJ scores the Meadowood Café
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15.5/20

Blythe scores the Meadowood Café
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15.5/20

Today’s questers were: Miriam, Danielle, Blythe

We ate: hong su beef soup, combo soup dumpling (2)

We drank: coconut bubble tea, jasmine bubble tea, jasmine tea

We wore: stylish garb

Total bill: £26

Meadwood Oriental Cafe on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR