8th April 2017 8pm
Somehow I seem not to have visited many Chinese restaurants in Edinburgh, which is odd as I like Chinese food. In an attempt to rectify this, I took a friend’s recommendation to try Karen’s Unicorn. Situated a couple of minutes walk from St Andrew Square, Karen’s Unicorn is easy to reach. The restaurant itself was simple in its black theme but was spoilt a touch with the weird blue lights, which were not far off ultra violet as well as some pink lights higher up the wall. It gave an odd mood lighting to the place and felt a bit harsh. The friendly staff were on hand to sort out drinks whilst we eyed the menu, a lot of which was what I would consider standard Chinese offerings, all of which sounded scrumptious. In the end I went for sesame prawn toasts followed by chicken satay with some boiled rice. My friend chose the soft shell crab to start, followed by the ‘original’ roast duck with a side of noodles. The starters seemed a bit expensive to my eye in relation to the mains (prices are not on the website but many of the starters are £8-£9), so I was intrigued to see what we got for our money.
The food came out really quickly, weirdly with hot towels at the same time. My sesame prawn toasts looked a bit underwhelming. The bread was small and with four less than generous triangles, I was a bit disappointed. On eating, they tasted lovely, but not enough to warrant the price tag. The chilli sauce was nice but the accompanying salad was limp and a bit brown at the edges. However, on the other side of the table the soft shell crab was going down a treat. A bit hotter than she was expecting but could not take the shine off her very pleasing starter.
We were offered a choice of a short break before our mains or to have the food straight away. We opted for the latter. Served on a hot plate, our mains were delivered to the table. My satay looked cute in its bowl but the duck really did look amazing. My satay wasn’t too strong on the peanut flavour but it had a nice subtle heat to it which you don’t often get with a satay, so that was pleasing. The chicken was incredibly tender, almost melting in my mouth. The peppers still had a little crunch to them and the onions were soft. The accompanying rice was cooked to perfection. My friend was having a field day with the duck. She kindly let me try some and it really was delicious. There was so much of the duck too. Sadly I think that was my friend’s downfall as she ate past the point at which she should have stopped. A valiant attempt to finish it all, which she almost achieved. The noodles were also great, with onions scattered throughout.
All in all, a bit of a mixed bag with some notable highlights.
Food – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Value – 7/10
Overall – 30/40
Would I eat here again? Possibly
Cost £70 for two starters, two mains and two glasses of wine