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  • jillbowie

February 2023 - Ka Pao - St James Quarter, Edinburgh

You can find Ka Pao on the third floor of the St James Quarter alongside Salerno Pizza. Ka Pao dishes are influenced by the cooking of South East Asia and offers a mix of Asia staples along with some nods to other influences – an example of this being the Arbroath smokie miang, galangal, spinach leaves and peanuts.

The Food

The Ka Pao menu is split into snacks and small plates and then large plates, sides and desserts. For me it’s a place to share food and try some new flavour combinations … but you don’t have to share.

The menu has a good range of different meat, fish and vegetarian options, with varying levels of spice. The menu also has little numbers against each dish which clearly mark what might be in it – for example fish / eggs / nuts so easier to navigate if you have specific dietary requirements.

For 2 people we ordered the below which was a good amount:
· Hand-dived scallops, pomegranate, shredded cabbage, lime leaf and lemongrass
· Crispy pork belly, sorrel, watercress and calamansi salad

· Green curry of minced venison and pork, banana chilli and green peppercorns
· Whole grilled sea bream, herb salad, and green nam jim
· Jasmine rice

· Gingerbread, pear, long pepper and white chocolate yoghurt
· Banana crème diplomate, peanut caramel and black sesame filo

Perhaps controversially, our favourite dish of the whole meal was the Banana Crème Diplomate dessert. The banana flavour was there but not too strong and the peanut caramel was to die for – we were both scrapping the plate to make sure we ate every last bit. If you visit Ka Pao order this – you won’t be disappointed.

The other dishes were good – the scallops were beautifully cooked and the whole sea bream is always impressive when served whole and just out the fryer. When we ordered the Green Curry, we were told it was one of the spiciest dishes on the menu so I was a bit apprehensive as I am korma person rather than a vindaloo however, I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived – it was spicy but it was delicious. The curry didn’t blow your head off and ruin your tastebuds it had a bit of a kick but it was good so don’t let the fact its spicy put you off.

The AF Alternatives

Ka Pao does have a small mocktail selection on the menu – I chose the Hibiscus Nogroni which was surprisingly spicy and “cocktail like” – I did have to check it was AF which has to be a good sign. I did only manage one as all the flavours became a bit muddled once the food arrived but recommend for an interesting pre-dinner drink.

Final thoughts

I like Ka Pao – if you’re in the St James Quarter it’s definitely worth checking out. I actually noticed the do a lunch menu which looked like incredible value through Mon to Fri from noon until 4pm and they also do a group menu for groups over 4 at £27.75 each (more details on their website).
Dishes are reasonably priced but do vary depending on what you order.

For more details around the menu, reservations, opening times etc check out their website: Home | Ka Pao (


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