Lothian Road, Edinburgh

We’ve had a fun day. Philip’s been visiting schools in North Lanarkshire as part of the Read to Succeed author tour, and, as I’m not working today, I’ve been acting as his chauffeur. We’ve been blessed with glorious sunshine, and have managed to squeeze a lunchtime walk around Drumpellier Park into our itinerary, as well as a quick visit to sculptor Andy Scott’s fabulous Kelpies, that loom over the motorway on our way home. So we’re feeling great, and want the good vibes to continue. Why not pop out for dinner?

Mexican restaurant Topolabamba is a two minute walk from our flat, but – thanks to its location, right by Byron, Wildwood, Nando’s, etc. – we’ve always assumed it’s part of a mega-chain, and so dismissed it as “not for us.” But a chance remark on someone else’s Facebook post makes me realise this is not the case. Topolabamba only has two branches (the other is in Glasgow), and, what’s more, the menu looks exciting. We’re sold.

Inside, the restaurant is a cacophony of colour: it’s a lively place, full of quirky wall-art and vivid lighting. The service is friendly and efficient, relaxed and unfussy. So far, so good.

We spend a long time choosing our dishes. There are ‘mains’ (called ‘The Big Boys’) but the majority of dishes come under the headings ‘Street Food’ and ‘Classics,’ and there’s a note on the menu recommending an order size of three to four dishes per person. We take this as gospel, and do as suggested, which leads me to my only real complaint: it’s too much food. It barely fits on the table. And if it’s too much food for me and Philip, then I’ll wager it’s too much food for most people (we both have hearty appetites).

Thankfully, it’s all delicious.

We share a range of dishes as eclectic as the decor: guacamole with tortilla chips and salsa; two lots of tostadas (prawn, cucumber salsa & guacamole and crab ceviche); quesadillas with smoked chicken & Oaxacan onions; classic queso fundido (basically a cheese fondue); Baja surf chowder, and some chipotle honey ribs. They’re all delicious and absolutely bursting with flavour. The standouts include the chowder, which is packed full of fish; it’s rich and intense and very more-ish. The smoky quesadillas are the very definition of comfort food, and the prawn tostadas are fresh and zingy with lime.

We’re pleasantly surprised by the bill. All of that mouth-watering fodder, as well as a large glass of house white and a pint of El Borracho, comes to a grand total of £65.39 – and that includes service!

We leave, smiling. How lucky we are to have such a fabulous eaterie on our doorstep. We’ll definitely be back. Next time, however, we’ll order as we go along – making sure there’s enough space on the table as well as in our bellies.

4.3 stars

Susan SIngfield


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