We’re a bit reluctant to review Kampong Ah Lee in such a public way but in the end have decided to share this hidden gem. Situated at 28 Clerk Street with a very low key shop front, you would be forgiven to walk past this place assuming it was just another Asian restaurant.
Take a step inside, ignore the paintings on the wall, (a large pineapple poster beside a selection of painted horses!?) grab a seat if you can and peruse the menu. It’s very comprehensive but is missing descriptions apart from the name, leaving you expected to know what the dishes are such as ‘Ho Fun’ and ‘Drunken Chicken’. You can ask one of the friendly staff who will explain what the dish is, how hot it is (if at all) and what best accompanies the dish you choose. The menu is also written in Malayasian.
Having travelled extensively throughout Asia, this place is nothing short of heaven for me – bringing back all the smells and tastes of Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia. Lemon grass, ginger, spicy fish to name a few.
There were three of us dining on a Sunday night and every table was full at 6pm. As a joint plate, we opted for Chinese style vegetables, £5, which were beautifully cooked and slightly spiced (can request hotter if you wish).
You are only given chop sticks and a soup ladle as standard, so if you wish to use a fork, you will have to ask the staff for one. I plumped for Malaysian style lemon chicken, £7, which was tangy and refreshing with chilli flakes.
One of my dining partners opted for the spicy Malaysian fish special at £9.80 which was a feast in itself.
The fish can be eaten completely, although my friend passed on the eyeballs. The chillies were of course very hot, but the fish itself was fine to eat. This was washed down nicely with a tiger beer, £2.80.
My other dining partner opted for Jiang Nan chicken, £7 which was fried and spiced to give it a wonderful Asian flavour. We shared two portions of boiled rice at £1.60 each.
I highly recommend the Malaysian dry curry and morning glory as a vegetable side.
Whilst we were dining, I would say that 80% of the other diners were Asian. The food leaves no room for complaint, and the prices are reasonable. You can be in and out within the hour – it’s not the kind of place that you would relax for hours in.
The star of the show is definitely the food and for that reason alone, this will always be my preferred choice when re-living authentic dishes from Asian countries.
No website, but telephone number is 0131 662 9050
Suitable for disabled? The restaurant is on the ground floor, but the bathrooms are down the stairs