Monday, 18 August 2008

Restaurant review: Khublai Khans Mongolian Barbecue

When was the last time you went to a restaurant that placed you in complete creative control of your meal, leaving you just plain giddy for more? I think most dining experiences have an element of fun to them, but as I discovered tonight, Khublai Khans has every ingredient (ingredients like you wouldn't believe) to stir up a good time.
As my friend and I are led to our table, I'm already in awe of the buffet to my right that is the epitome of any cook's dream. It's covered with noodles and rice, raw vegetables of all sorts, bowls upon bowls of herbs and spices, at least a dozen different sauces and best of all, containers full of various raw, exotic meats and fish.
We both have the full feast (entire meal is £19.95, £21.95 Friday and Saturdays), which is the only way to do things here but we certainly are not complaining. To start, we share the ostrich enchiladas (oddly Mexican rather than Mongolian!) and fish balls in hot yellow bean sauce. My first ostrich taste ever is a mouth-watering one; the tortilla is full of the flavourful meat (consistency likened to beef), creme fraĆ®che and cheese. The fish balls don't quite stand up to the treat de ostrich but the accompanying creamy chilli sauce is stellar.
Next we're given a small bowl that is empty, but full of possibilities. Hopeful, we proceed to the buffet I drooled over earlier to construct a meal using any combination of the ingredients before us. We can follow one of the 12 recipes suggested (for the "culinary-challenged") or rely solely on our own creativity. We both trust the recipes (Nomad's Dish with springbok for my friend, Ogedai's Diet with rabbit for myself) on round one before proudly presenting our dishes to the hot plate chef for completion of the masterpieces. It's supremely good and it's all you can eat, so we return for seconds to discover the chefs within, loading up this time with wild boar and crocodile. There are also rarities like kangaroo and zebra that shall not be missed on my next (inevitable) visit.
Khublai Khans is a favourite for parties as they even provide costume, and also do a great pre-theatre menu.
Everyday 6pm-late
Fri and Sun noon-2.30pm, 6pm-late
Khublai Khans / 43 Assembly Street, Leith, Edinburgh 0131 555 0005 Also in the September 2008 issue of Bite Magazine

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