It’s somewhat sad that Chinese food is often thought of as a cheap relation; a choice associated with takeaway food or cheap eat in food. This seems unfair, considering the riches a well prepared Chinese meal can bring. Kweilin, despite its ageing interior, can only be described as a more upmarket Chinese restaurant - the first thing you will probably notice about Kweilin is the prices, which range from ¬£9.90 for shredded chilli beef to a ¬£26.50 lobster. Seafood is something of a speciality at Kweilin with a daily specials board by the entrance, although it’s rare for the waiters to advertise them. Kweilin isn’t a restaurant I would dine in as a matter of course, but it is the Chinese restaurant I would choose for a special treat.
My starter of Shui My (pork and prawn dumplings) was delicious. The dumplings were packed full of succulent prawns and quality pork. The steamer was delivered to my table in good time - judged by the fact the dumplings hadn’t yet stuck to the greaseproof paper. At ¬£3.50 I was happy and would have remained so had I not tasted my dining partner’s wafer paper prawns. Also at ¬£3.50 this totally stole the show. Fantastically fresh and juicy prawns were scrumptiously packaged into the two parcels. Kweilin’s wafer paper prawns were the best starter I’ve ever eaten at any Chinese restaurant; infact they were so good I was still rekindling fond memories of them hours later whilst playing online bingo.
For main course my ‘eight treasures’ duck certainly lived up to its billing! This dish would have been gratifying enough with only the swathes of superb prawns, pieces of pork, other seafood and vegetables. However, lurking underneath these tasty treasures was the finest braised duck I have ever eaten. It was cooked to perfection and fantastically textured enough to convince me that ¬£15.95 for a Chinese main course isn’t unreasonable, especially when the quality of ingredients is so high. My only outstanding query was the sliced tomato encircling the dish: was this aimed at boosting the presentation or a genuine attempt to boost the fruit (or vegetable if you so wish) content.
Being something of a king prawn and cashew nut (¬£11.95) expert my dining partner could pick no fault with her simple main; with prawns this fresh and this tasty who could? We ordered two lots of egg fried rice (¬£2.70 each) which were delivered in one bowl. Personally I was a little underwhelmed by the quantity. Quantity wasn’t a problem for the next table who were working through Kweilin’s banquet menu (¬£23.95 per head). The food looked absolutely fantastic and judging by the positive murmurs we overheard, it surely tasted great too.
Kweilin won’t be to everyone’s budget and it’s New Town location won’t be to everyone’s convenience. This doesn’t bother the hordes of locals who have made Kweilin their Chinese restaurant of choice. Kweilin packs a heavy punch in high quality Chinese dining, with an emphasis on quality ingredients and simple, yet hugely effective, deliverables. And make sure you try at least one fish dish, as that’s where Kweilin concentrates the best of their fine efforts.
Kweilin is located at 19 - 21 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6QG.
Tel: 0131 557 1875