We’ve had Nanyang on our scope for a good few weeks, but we haven’t been too successful in tracking down a suitable time for a visit. We’d hoped to let our friend Chris, who’s from Malaysia, guide us through the menu with her expert eye.
However, when our friend Tracey visited the other day and proclaimed the place to be very good indeed, and was quite insistent that we visited almost immediately, who were we to equivocate?
In addition to Tracey, we were joined on this evening’s quest by regular contributors Mary and Susie, whom we last saw for the excellent dinner we had at Auchingarrich.
Situated in the heart of the Quartermile, a development that has suffered somewhat from the downturn in economic optimism, the place is glass-walled and modern, clean and sleek, but with a sense that this is the territory of the chain restaurant.
Finding a new, fresh, independent Malaysian place, a cuisine rather under-represented in Edinburgh’s dining scene, inhabiting the premises was very good to see.
The menu is extensive. To get a really good sense of their offering, you probably need a table of eight with everyone ordering something different, or a couple of visits. But we were able to get some small insight from the range of dishes we sampled.
To follow my chicken soup, I opted for rendang beef. Mary followed duck rolls with a green curry. Susie and Tracey followed roti starters with prawns, and a seafood noodle soup from their “street food” selection, respectively.
Starters took a clear half hour to arrive. I was in lovely company, so it wasn’t an issue, but that’s a little too long to wait, I think.
When it arrived, my soup was good, but not much beyond that. My previous dealings with Malaysian soups has been that they were way too spicy hot to discern whether they were flavour-rich, or products of skilled cooking.
This soup was much the same. It seemed good, with nice fresh ingredients, but had way too much chilli in it to let the subtler flavours sing.
The rendang beef main course was better, with a profusion of well-seasoned meat. It was much more chewy than I would expect of marinated meat, but the flavour was good and the accompanying coconut rice matched well.
We rounded things out with a little vanilla ice cream and a good espresso.
So Nanyang is definitely worth a visit. I’m not sure you’ll get a routinely positive experience, when you visit, as certainly the service leaves a good bit to be desired, and I’m unconvinced you’ll find all the dishes quite to your liking. But this is a slightly unusual restaurant in a slightly unusual setting, and as such I’m very confident in recommending it to you, as these are the kind of places that should exist and must exist, to maintain Edinburgh’s diversity of provision.
Blythe scores Nanyang
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
2.5/5 for service
giving an overall 13/20
Today’s questers were: Tracey, Mary, Susie, Blythe
We ate: roti, chicken soup, duck spring rolls, green curry, salt and chilli prawns, rendang beef, spicy Penang soup, coconut rice, steamed rice (2), ice cream
We drank: lager, white wine, water, coffees
We wore: new brown suit, action footwear, denim earrings, silver trousers
Total bill: £100