I’ve been meaning to try Turquoise Thistle, since it opened as part of Hotel Indigo, earlier this year. It’s a modern, stylish place, with a nice feel to it. Staff are welcoming and attentive, and the menu sounds fresh and intriguing.
One thing that could immediately use fixing is that they should have a sample lunch menu on their website. There was no indication of cost or likely range of dishes online, but when I phoned to enquire, these were emailed on to me, straight away. The very reasonable £12.95 for two courses and £14.95 for three would hook in some more lunchtime trade, if it was more widely known.
I had a conversation on Friday evening, at the launch of the West Port Book Festival, where there was a general bemoaning of the lack of vegetarian options on some restaurants’ menus. I think this is a cause that I’ll take up with more vigour, in 2013, as while I have a keen adoration for soup and risotto, I’m aware that this oft-tread approach to vegetarian options does not meet with universal approval.
Today’s menu, did quite well. Of the three starters and three main options, two of the starters and one of the mains was vegetarian. OK, we were in soup and risotto territory with the two starters (I dare say a main course portion of the risotto would have been available, on request), but the main course of cauliflower and coconut dhal sounded like a fresh idea. So in the first “vegetarian option ratio” test, the score is 50%.
From the totality of options on offer, Jane opted for the mushroom soup, and I went with the risotto. The soup proved to be lovely and thick, and full of tarragon goodness, but it did become a trifle salty towards the bottom of the bowl. My risotto was decidedly lacking on the moisture front, which was a shame as it was a good, seasonal offering. The chef would do well to pay a visit to Zucca, where pumpkin risotto is their signature dish. The pickled wild mushroom topping was a good idea, though, so the dish certainly had promise.
Main courses were much better. Jane’s hake was highly intriguing looking. It turned out to be beetroot cured, hence the pinkness. The accompanying elements were nicely judged. My slow roast shin of beef was the star dish of the day. It had perfect fall-apart tenderness, with the root vegetable and celeriac puree accompaniments working well.
Jane couldn’t resist the apple pie dessert, which was good, though the balance of flavours was a little too heavily towards almond than apple.
So overall, Turquoise Thistle was pretty decent. I get the impression that there’s a really good restaurant waiting to happen here, but things just need to be approached with a little more confidence. Dishes were well thought out, but lacked a little in the execution. The place is likely to suffer from lack of lunchtime footfall, while the tram works are going on in York Place, but will serve its hotel patrons rather nicely. I can imagine that I’ll be back in the future. I hope to see them building on the success of their friendly service and stylish premises, as well as that excellent beef dish, which was a real winner.
Blythe scores Turquoise Thistle:
3/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Jane scores Turquoise Thistle:
3/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
2.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 12/20
Vegetarian option ratio: 50%
Today’s questers were: Jane, Blythe
We ate: mushroom and tarragon soup; pumpkin risotto with pickled with mushrooms; slow braised beef shin; beetroot cured hake
We drank: water, espresso
We wore: navy cardigan; red and blue www.tieclub.co.uk tie
Total bill: c.£30