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


Indigo Yard


Charlotte Street, Edinburgh

Indigo Yard is a a lovely pub/restaurant, owned by the Montpelier group, and just as delightful as the rest of their venues. Tucked away in a little lane at the end of Princes Street, it’s all wooden panels and candlelight. On this particular Sunday afternoon, it’s relatively quiet, but there are still enough punters to generate a buzz.

We’re here for a pre-theatre dinner, so we don’t experience the evening vibe. I imagine this place has a very different rhythm as the night draws in, and we’ll certainly be back some time soon to check this out.

Make no mistake: this is a long way from fine dining. This is ‘gromphy’ comfort food, and it’s very keenly priced. As well as the à la carte, there’s a set menu, where two courses cost just £10, and we decide to sample this.

To start, Philip opts for the smoked haddock fishcakes with hollandaise sauce, which are tasty and satisfying and nicely cooked. I go for the grilled halloumi and roasted red pepper salad with basil oil, which arrives on a bed of rocket with a sticky balsamic dressing. Yum! It’s simple, but it works, and the roasted peppers are deliciously sweet.

For the main, I choose an Indigo Orkney steak burger with fries. It’s not exciting – it’s a burger – but it’s exactly what I fancy and a decent plate of food. The burger is sturdy and well-flavoured, and the tomato relish adds a welcome piquancy; the fries are frozen, but they’re serviceable. There are sides of Mac N Cheese  on the menu, and the bacon with smoked Applewood cheddar version sounds so good, we decide to share a portion, just because we can. And we’re glad we do, because it’s pretty damned amazing. A bowl of this alone would constitute a perfect lunch, especially for diners nursing last night’s hangovers.

Philip’s main is more interesting than mine: it’s chicken and noodles with ginger and cashew nuts, and it’s lovely – all warmth and crunch and succulence.

We’re feeling greedy so, although we’re full, we decide to have dessert. We share a trio of sweet treats, which comprises small portions of banoffee pie, salted caramel & dark chocolate cheesecake and a lemon tart. The standout is the lemon tart, which is sharp and sweet as anything.

Even with a pint of beer and a bottle of Chilean sauvignon blanc, the bill comes in at just £63 – which is quite impressive for what we’ve had. Even more impressive is the fact that Indigo Yard is working with Scottish homeless charity, Social Bite, so we’re offered the chance to ‘pay it forward’ and buy a Christmas dinner for a homeless person. Who could refuse? £5 is a small addition to our bill, but it’s one that makes a difference.

All in all, our experience at Indigo Yard was an extremely positive one – and we’re happy to recommend it to anyone who wants to eat and enjoy themselves in Edinburgh.

4.2 stars

Susan Singfield