Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Review - The Star Sea

FINALLY a meal out. I really wanted to go and find some proper Scottish fare (why else would I reheat risotto in broth?) but since I wasn't paying, I didn't complain about being taken for Chinese food. In an unfamiliar setting with no recommendations, Chinese food is a good call. While it might be difficult to stumble across a particularly good one, all the salt and fat and MSG of a bad Chinese makes it its own kind of enjoyable even if it's not worthy of a commendation from my more discerning (pretentious) food blogging self. After rejecting the one we'd settled upon because it smelt of toilet (not naming for fear of a libel accusation), we wandered towards Grassmarket and came across The Sea Star. Not impressive looking from the outside but my companion was hungry and I know better than most that hunger quickly leads to crankiness. And people (me) are predisposed to cranky after almost 168 hours together. Turns out we chose pretty well though. I insisted we chose mainly from the 'home style' dishes which were accompanied with unappetising pictures from the back. So we settled upon kung pao chicken (home style) and pork belly braised with sweet potato. The mixed seafood with rice 'in a sauce' was our only nod to the front of the menu. I might be berated for choosing poorly but I find going for a seafood based rice dish means you tick the prawn and rice boxes in one swoop. Two birds with one stone. And it's nice to try new things but still remember that you must be economical because that's only polite when you're spending someone else's money. (And makes good sense when you're spending your own.)
I think we did well. Kung pao was still a bit sweet and sticky for my liking but the home style whole red chillies and fresh peanuts endeared me towards it. The pork was the dish of the day, dark and soft and almost charred. I might have confused it for beef if it hadn't been for the unmistakeable texture of the belly fat glowing with the mix of flavours. Very enjoyable. Even the seafood didn't let us down - just cooked prawns, scallops and razor clams. The only criticism I might make is the fact that the white seafood had a bit of a texture issue going on. But everything worked cohesively and the mysterious sauce had a mellow quality which nicely brought together the vegetables (still with bite), rice and seafood. I regretted not eating more of it and woke up craving it the next morning. An altogether pleasing experience. It didn't blow my mind but that might've been messy.

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