Tucked away in a basement in Stockbridge lies a real gem of rustic charm known as the Blue Parrot Cantina. No larger than a sitting room and with a fireplace to boot this small but perfectly formed cantina offers a range of delicious Mexican dishes to tantalise the tastebuds. While the menu focusses on the more commonly known Mexican fayre of fajitas, enchiladas, nachos and the like, these are executed with confidence and reliable home cooked charm.
On our most recent trip we kicked off with stuffed chillies; firery but flavourful with garlic and cheese along with a welcome side serving of sour cream to cool the tongue. Paired with a sharing bowl of home fried tortilla chips (light and crispy and quite unlike anything that comes out of a bag) with a creamy and very fruity guacamole that definitely needs emphasis on the sharing – there was more then enough here for four!
For mains we both plumped for burritos, Mr Stovies taking chicken and cashew, Mrs Stovies, Beef. Both were accompanied by a heap of refried beans, brown rice and fresh salsa in by no means stingy portions. The beef version was filled with delicious spiced beef, cinnamon and nuts with cheese and sour cream, very moreish and wrapped in a warm hug from the flour tortilla. The chicken and cashew was moist, flavoursome and warmed with chilli heat. Had there been any space for seconds we’d have had them.
Although on this trip we stuck to the main drag we can thoroughly recommend the Ceviche (fish and prawns cured in lime) and Baja Pescado (baked haddock with a chilli and lime crumb) for fish eaters or crispy chimichangas for meat eaters or veggies depending on the filling. Not to be missed are the Margaritas – either lime or strawberry – which will blow your socks off into tequila merryment pretty quickly.
For a simple and cheap treat the Blue Parrot is well worth a try. Starters come in below £4, main courses under a tenner. At the weekend you will want to call ahead and book as the small dining room means that it fills up quickly. It’s worth bearing in mind that the rustic charm of the Blue Parrot extends beyond mismatched furniture and accessories – the toilets are outside! Not a problem on a summer evening but perhaps not the best adventure if the weather is bad.
The Blue Parrot Cantina, 49 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 225 2941