17th August 2015 7.30pm
For August only (hence the mini review), Tony Singh has opened a street food pop up in the Apex on Grassmarket. Although it’s street food, it’s almost tapas in style in that several dishes can be shared between people. We’d seen a recommendation that 5-6 dishes between two would be sufficient but we found that way too much based on what we ordered. This is probably ok if you order more fish and vegetarian dishes but the meat dishes are plentiful so order conservatively there. However, if you do over-order, I did spot some people getting their leftovers in a take-out bag, so nothing needs to go to waste!
The menu itself was split into meat, fish, vegetarian and desserts. The waiter seemed to over-explain this to us and kept focussing on what was not so spicy on the menu, even though we had not indicated that we were looking for plain food. Anyway, we ummed and ahhed over the menu as it all sounded great but we settled on steamed buns with pickles, a thai prawn omelette, pork ribs in a Jura BBQ sauce, lamb vuhra and flat iron steak. Being street food, we didn’t have to wait long before food started to come out.
The steamed buns with pickles arrived first. I loved these buns. They were soft but still had good flavour. The pickles were a nice variety and still had good crunch. The Thai prawn omelette was spicy with chillies but this didn’t overpower the dish too much and the omelette was yummy and light. Moving onto the ribs, they came in an excellent Jura BBQ sauce and the whiskey was subtle. No bones were on the plate and there was plenty of meat. A small side salad included fennel and apple. The lam vuhra was a parcel of minced lamb and shredded salad. At first there was overpowering mint in salad but the tamarind started to take over and balance it out. Finally the flat iron steak topped with chimmichurri. The steak was nicely cooked and again a very generous portion.
Whilst we didn’t really have space for desserts we decided that we couldn’t go without having something. I went for the milkshake with ice cream and jelly and my friend went for the churros. I had an option of rose or cardamom for my milkshake, so I went for rose. I knew this could be risky and be too perfume-y but it was delicious. The jelly was broken down into little bits so you could still suck it up through the straw and get little bursts of rose. One the other side of the table, the churros were going down a storm.
So overall we had a good time. Whilst venue lends itself to the style of food, it still had too much of a canteen feel, which is surprising for a hotel. Also, the plastic cutlery not strong enough and not everything on the menu works well eating with your hands. The staff came across a bit awkwardly at some points but can’t expect much from a pop up where there isn’t a long term training scheme. The food was decent and that’s why this pop up will do well.
Food – 8/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – 6/10
Value – 8/10
Overall – 29/40
Cost £50 for 5 dishes and 2 desserts