Just round the corner from my ladyfriend’s flat is a small, unassuming shop face. Sometimes there’s a sign outside advertising that they’re open but, being in Scotland, more often than not it is blown face down on the floor.
On our way into town, we walked past the dark windows and the closest I came to bearing it any mind is that I sang “I love it when you call me Bluerapa” to the tune of Notorious B.I.G’s Big Poppa (and now you will too).
It wasn’t until we were looking for somewhere to eat that we found out that it was actually a restaurant. Not only that, it is a Thai restaurant. Noodle’s favourite food is Thai food and we had been looking for somewhere nearby that we could grab a meal from. So we decided to give it a go.
Holy mother of the lord, we are glad that we did.
Everything about the place, from the decor to the food, was utterly incredible. It felt like walking into a restaurant in Thailand. Actually, I’ve never been so I should say that I assume that’s what walking into a restaurant in Thailand feels like.
As soon as you walk in you see a wooden plaque with “Welcome” written in ornate gold in both English and Thai. Then you see the size of it. It’s like a reverse Tardis. There were about 10 tables that would have been uncomfortably close together had the place been packed. We got there late in the afternoon, before the rush, so we were the only ones in.
The delightfully polite young woman showed us to our corner table where the seats were covered in silk looking pillows and asked us if we wanted a drink while we decided. I ordered an Irn Bru (when in Rome) and we both ordered a Thai tea. I’ve never had one before and I was quite intrigued.
What arrived was a brick coloured liquid with a moutain of whipped cream on top and it was amazing. Imagine making a really good cup of tea, you know one that’s really strong but doesn’t get a weird film on top. Then you put loads of sugar and milk in and throw whipped cream on top. It was simple yet decadent and, as I later found out, the perfect choice for what I was about to order (I will elaborate further down the line).
Noodle ordered the Pad Thai (because that’s her favourite) and I ordered, and I quote, “A typical spicy Jungle curry dish”. To say that I was intrigued would be an understatement. What is a typical Jungle curry dish? Who the hell knows?!
We were pretty damn hungry so we also ordered a “Papapa salad” (Som Tam papaya salad) and sweet potato fritters to start.
Let me take a second to stop my mouth from watering just thinking about those fritters. Sweet Lucifer, they are incredible. Soft on the inside, crunchy on the outside and they came with an amazing homemade sweet chilli dip. Noodle and I nearly had a fight over who would get the last one…. she won.
The Papapa salad was the reason the Thai tea was such a bloody good idea. The dish was incredibly fresh with sliced green papaya, onions, tomato, carrot and the hottest chilli I have ever let near my face. I didn’t even think it would be that spicy, it’s a salad! How is a salad spicy?
It was amazing and utterly delicious but, Christ, it was hot.
After letting my tongue return to the land of the living, the main courses arrived.
Anna’s (that’s Noodle by the way) Pad Thai was perfect. It just looked like it was homemade by someone who had spent their entire life cooking this meal. And it tasted just as good. Sometimes these dishes run the risk of being “westernised” and either watered down or sweetened to make them more palatable for people in England. Bluerapa don’t play that. They make traditional Thai food and you will bloody like it.
My “typical Jungle Curry” terrified me after the salad incident. It was an angry looking bowl of reds and oranges and I couldn’t tell if it was steaming or smoking. The remarkably steady handed waitress brought it to the table and I sat for a moment, eyeing up my newest adversary. We both stared at each other and eventually, I blinked. (To be fair, the steam got in my eye, but that was pretty poetic, right?)
I tentatively picked up my spoon, scooped up a minuscule amount and cautiously brought it to my lips.
Success! It was only mildly spicy! It was amazing, in fact. An incredibly flavoursome bowl of curry. I had ordered rice on the side so I put it on my plate and tucked in. I ate until I was uncomfortable and then proceeded to have “one more spoonful” about 5 times. I was so stuffed by the end, when the waitress asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu the best I could manage was a slight chuckle and a wave of my hand.
We just sat there looking at the picture of the President of Thailand on the top of the glasses cupboard and the maps of Thailand that adorned the walls. It was like being in someone’s home. It felt so welcoming, warm and peaceful. I could have napped right there, if that wouldn’t be frowned upon socially.
So we paid our bill, packed up our coats and rolled back to nap on the sofa.
Since we have returned we have found that not only is the food incredible, the service is above and beyond. The lady who owns the restaurant greets us with a smile and remembers our names, even if we’re just grabbing a takeaway. It’s a BYOB type of place and if you arrive with a bag full of beer, she will insist that you let her keep it in the fridge for you. Then she will watch you like a hawk and bring another beer when you even look like you might want one.
We ordered a takeaway from there once and she had mixed up sweet potato fritters with sweetcorn fritters (an honest mistake, in my opinion). I called to inform her of this and, without a second’s hesitation, passing the blame or accusing me of lying she offered to replace it that second or to give us 50% off our next visit. We, obviously, opted for the 50% off.
So, next time we go in we’re going to order twice as much. I know that’s not how 50% off is supposed to work, but I don’t care. There is so much more I want to try from Bluerapa.
If you’re ever in Edinburgh and you are looking for an informal place to eat an incredible meal, go there. You will not regret it!