Over the past few months, we’ve started to gain an appreciation of what Edinburgh has to offer in terms of Chinese cuisine, with a number of highly enjoyable meals. My visit to Kweilin, this evening, was another one to add to that growing list.
Kweilin is one of those classic New Town places where you get the impression that the patrons have been attending, on whichever evening you happen to have chosen to attend, with metronomic regularity for time immemorial.
It takes a rare place to inspire such adulation and fidelity, and from my brief exposure to the place, it’s fairly easy to see the attraction. Kweilin offers a really attractive blend of the best of Scotland’s larder, incorporated into classic Chinese dishes.
Their homely dining space is a smart New Town drawing room, with neat touches of Chinese culture to suit the context. It’s stylish in its own way, but it’s nearing the time when it will need a refresh.
For my dinner, I opted to start with their fish, vermicelli and egg white soup, followed by their mixed seafood in garlic sauce, served in an intriguing sounding nest. The waiter advised, correctly, that I would want some rice or noodles with that. I opted for fried rice.
Prawn crackers appeared. I toyed with them, as one does. The soup soon arrived, shortly after, looking very neat in its tall soup pot. It was one of those subtle and elegant soups that Chinese cuisine is very adept at producing. It pleased me, in no small measure.
The main course was every bit as good and better. The selection of accurately prepared seafood was extremely impressive, with a profusion of scallops, lovely juicy prawns, very tasty squid, and soft and firm white fish. Served with crisp asparagus and carrots, this was a highly elegant dish. The nest, which was formed from crisp potato batons, was great fun. The blend of textures worked beautifully, with all the elements coming together to create a very accomplished overall dish.
Very decent coffee rounded things out, then the excellently helpful and friendly waitress was soon bringing me the bill, then warmly bidding me goodnight.
So overall, Kweilin was a real joy. Their seafood main course was as good a main course as I’ve been served in a good while. Quality ingredients, sensitively treated and smartly presented is pretty much 100% what I’m looking for, every time.
New Town Edinburgh is sometimes stolid and set in its ways, without discernible reason. Sound adherence to Kweilin’s winning formula is an occasion where its calm devotion to a favoured son is both commendable and admirable.
Blythe scores Kweilin
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 15.5/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: fish with vermicelli and egg white soup; mixed seafood in nest; fried rice
I drank: house white; coffee
I wore: regulation pinstripes
Total bill: £30.70