It was great to have a lunchquest early in the new year at a place I had been meaning to visit for a while. Saboteur is a sister restaurant to Ting Thai Caravan which is only a couple of doors along on Teviot Place.
The concept of the place is not too different to Ting Thai and the menu has a very similar style and price point, but with a focus on Vietnamese rather than Thai food. £6 – £8 for most of the main dishes with sides coming in at around half that.
I opted for the prawn bao buns (£6 for two) and a side of satay chicken (£4.60). Our dishes arrived very quickly in brown cardboard takeout style boxes and the portion sizes were pretty decent.
The bao buns were excellent – massive prawns which would make Stewart Lee proud and a really super fresh and spicy tamarind chilli sauce. They were right up there with the excellent bao buns from Mamasan’s in Leith.
The chicken side was nothing fancy and the sauce lacked much punch but a nice helping of salad came with it.
So overall, I really enjoyed my lunch which I thought was excellent value. Worth noting that when we arrived at 12.30 on a Monday lunchtime we were one of only 3 or 4 full tables. Half an hour later it was packed so it certainly looked like it is building on the popularity of Ting Thai.
Ting Thai Caravan remains an absolute powerhouse, regularly drawing in punters queued out the door at all times of the day and night.
Accordingly, it came as no surprise when a second site in the same ownership opened, but I suppose the choice of Vietnamese cuisine and the former premises of Tapame within twenty yards of the mothership were both somewhat surprising.
Called Saboteur, it is decked out in similar style to the other place with an informal feel and stripped back aesthetic.
I was joined on this escapade by regular guest quester Dan whom I usually make endure some of our city’s more down at heel spots. Saboteur practically represented fine dining by those standards.
The menu packs in familiar Vietnamese dishes with pho and banh mi central to things. It also broadens into pan-Asian territory with the likes of bao buns, satay and Thai curries.
Dan quickly settled upon the king prawn bao buns with a side of chicken satay while I went for the seafood pho with a side of salt and chilli tofu.
Dishes arrived promptly, predominantly in takeaway boxes. Things looked very promising.
The buns were warmly received by Dan. We both agreed that the satay and tofu were very decent with good sized portions.
The pho was similarly very good. A light and aromatic broth was packed with nicely cooked seafood with prawns and squid to the fore. The noodles gave it good body making it a very hearty and enjoyable dish.
So overall, Saboteur served us a really good quality lunch. Everything we ate was smartly executed and full of character and charm. I’d recommend it to you next time you’re looking for smart Asian dishes for a very competitive price.
Blythe scores Saboteur
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20
Today’s questers were: Dan, Blythe
We ate: seafood pho, prawn bao, salt and chilli tofu, chicken satay
We drank: Ting, water
We wore: traditional Vietnamese hat (2)
Total bill: £23.70
Address: 19-20 Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH1 2QZ