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Trenchtown, Edinburgh, restaurant review

The vibrant Caribbean food at Trenchtown is more than irie, says Gaby Soutar

Published: October 27, 2017

This eatery was formerly The Killer Restaurant.

A couple of years ago, a reader wrote in to ask if I planned to visit it.

“If it fulfils its name then we won’t expect a review from you appearing in The Scotsman Magazine!”

Anyway, I didn’t ever make it along, partially because I knew I’d have to try their signature super hot Killer Curry.

It turns out that other people, unless they were on a stag party or wanted to sign a disclaimer before having their organs immolated by a Kim Jong-un level of nuclear heat, didn’t fancy it much either.

Thus, their welcome skeleton, Skinny McGee, who used to sit outside on a deckchair, has presumably been re-employed at Surgeon’s Hall, in a Ray Harryhausen remake or on a ghost train, while this place has been taken over by the team behind Indian street food restaurant Tuk Tuk (now sold on to new owners), right across the road.

They’ve given it a Caribbean theme – brave, considering it’s a comparatively untested genre of food in Edinburgh (further along Gilmore Place, Jamaican eatery Jam Rock 876 only seemed to survive for a few weeks).

Also, according to a waiter, they also already have plans to open a Cool Runnings-inspired speakeasy-style bar.

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Most excitingly, on painting the exterior, they uncovered the lovely old “Ice Cream for Health” signage from sundae parlour Mr Boni’s (RIP), and have preserved it.

However, there has been no holds barred when it comes to the new interior, with Jamaican reggae-tastic murals and fruitily bright colours, which desperately fight with the daytime darkness of this shady side of the street.

The food is colourful too.

We shared a Trench platter (£12.95), which featured spicy jerk wings, with a “supa salad” element of rocket, cucumber, carrot shavings and a minty dressing – the Savlon to the medium heat.

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There was also a metal pot of bhaji-like and satisfyingly light, despite their craggy look, sweetcorn fritters, a sticky set of four orange-y pork ribs, and coiled tapes of not-very-garlicky garlic flatbread.

An additional starter of fox-coloured and fiery fried squid (£5.10) was a humongous portion, like a whole Kraken or a postie’s round’s worth of bands.

The Panko crumb made for a good crumbly texture, with nuclear hot coriander and lime mayonnaise sloshed over the pyre.

Our kid enjoyed the goat curry (£9.95), with small chunks of meat, no gristly bits, in a gently spiced, cumin-y, gingery and warming gravy, as well as potato dollops and onions.

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Its accompaniment of coconut shavings and watermelon-chunk-topped rice and peas was rich and stocky, with plenty of kidney beans, and all this came with a plateful of dumplings, like tiny baguettes, for a slump-inducing carb overload.

I went for a half (£10.50) of their bone jerk chicken, available in various sizes depending on the strength of your pangs.

I’d also been offered three different types of jerk dressing and had gone for the fluffy newborn kitten lowest heat level – pineapple – which, plastered all over the char-lined chook, was still quite heady for a lightweight likeme.

This huge plateful also came with a decent cabbage-y slaw and more of the rice and peas. Way better than Nando’s (yes, I ‘fess up, I’ve been by accident – ONCE!).

Our red snapper (£12.50) dish wasn’t bad, with a meaty fillet of foil-wrapped fish topped by a sedum roof of green salsa-verde-ish chopped herbs. This came with a large bowlful of steamy rice and, best of all, an electrifyingly hot chow made from pineapple chunks, lime and coriander.

After all the heat (but nothing unmanageable for our delicate little maws), we fancied some ice cream, purely for health reasons.

Thankfully, there was a big scoop of a silky-as-suntan-lotion coconut version alongside our fruity hoops of barbecued pineapple (£4.95).

While, the fluffy banana and toffee cheesecake (£4.95), splotched with plenty of dulce de leche, was a good example of its ilk. Despite this, not much thought seems to have gone into the dessert menu, which features just four standard offerings. Where’s my rum cake?

A visit to Trenchtown involves plenty of good tings and I happily survived to tell the tale. (That may or may not come as a disappointment to a certain reader).


4-8 Lochrin Buildings, Gilmore Place, Edinburgh

(0131-623 6788,

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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