George Street, Edinburgh

We are having our kitchen replaced and there’s clearly no way there is going  to be any cooking going on at home tonight – so isn’t it fortuitous that a friend has recently bought us some vouchers for Tigerlily? And we haven’t been up that end of town for ages, so it’s all fallen together really nicely. There’s always a great buzz at Tiger Lily – we love the OTT decor, the cheerful friendliness of the staff and the fact that  there’s generally some kind of special offer available. (Well, we have a new kitchen to pay for.) Take tonight for instance: two courses for £15. What’s not to like about that? There’s a popular expression that is often heard bandied about: ‘You get what you pay for.’ But it ain’t necessarily so.

I certainly enjoy my starter, chargrilled calamari served with saffron butter sauce and  a crispy salad. The calamari is nicely cooked and, I’m glad to note, doesn’t come encased in batter, which always serves to obscure that delicate flavour. Susan’s duck liver mousse is also beautifully done, rich and creamy and served with a tangy apple chutney. Our only criticism here is that there’s not really enough of the delightful gingerbread crisps for such a  generous portion of mousse but, as we later discover, we could simply have asked for some more, like the people at the next table did. What shrinking violets we are!

For the main course I choose the grilled Balinese chicken satay, which is a glorious treat, served with a mound of glutinous sticky rice, pickled cucumbers, prawn  crackers and a gorgeous peanut dressing. Susan is feeling gromphy, so she opts for the Scottish steak burger on a brioche bun, served with shoestring fries and kimchi  ketchup. We’ve said it before and we’ll doubtless say it again, but a burger is a  burger is a burger. This one is a decent example of the species, though the frozen  chips that accompany it are pretty generic.

The special menu offers only one pudding, a sharing plate of gooey chocolate chip cookies, with a couple  of scoops of vanilla ice cream, and pouring jugs of chocolate sauce and caramel sauce. You also get your choice of coffee to go with it. And how much for this little delight? Just £5. Yes, you heard that right. £5 for the two of us. Inevitably, we find ourselves wondering how they can do it for so little, but all that really matters is that they do it and it’s pretty irresistible.

So, a great value meal that presents like a much more expensive one, served in a lively, relaxed setting, culminating in a lovely indulgent pudding that costs less than you’d normally pay for the coffees that accompany it. As I said before, what’s not to  like? Form an orderly queue, please.

4.2 stars

Philip Caveney


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