Don’t be put off by the slightly new-agey sounding dishes. ‘A Loving Couple’, ‘Lady in the Garden’ and ‘Fleeing Fish’ might veer on to the Alan Partridge-side of naff, but they’re just a Zen-like reminder of the calm, sophisticated vibes this place is trying – quite successfully – to create.
Despite competition from other Thistle Street eateries, and the growing number of Thai restaurants in Edinburgh, this compact, stone- walled spot remains popular (it opened in 2002) because of the quality of the cooking. Beautifully balanced Thai, Japanese, Chinese, French and Vietnamese flavours are neatly dolloped over Scottish produce. Curry dishes runs through the menu; excellent roast duck, sweet potato or king prawns are mostly served in creamy, coconut sauces, while the signature Dusit Curry smothers Scottish sirloin steak in a ‘mysterious’ red curry sauce. Barbecue flavours also crop up a fair bit, the delicious ‘Tiger Cry’ barbecue beef salad is a tangy, sour highlight, with liberal helpings of hot red bird’s eye chillies thrown in (that’s the bit that makes even the tiger cry, apparently).
Besides the more poetically named dishes, the menu packs UK restaurant Thai staples, and pad thai noodles, tom yum, and tom kha soup are all delicately flavoured and enjoyably light. But Dusit’s real treats are best found by ordering more adventurously – and braving one of the more ludicrously named dishes. It’s not a great option for a spontaneous meal out, as its New Town location means it’s often booked up, even midweek.
On busy Friday and Saturday nights the restaurant operates a loose timetable of two sittings, (around 6pm and 9pm), so you may find yourself a little rushed. That aside, though, the staff do a good job of being attentive without overly fussing, and the high-quality cooking leaves little to be desired.