Ka Pao Edinburgh

South East Asian·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Ka Pao Edinburgh

Silver Award

Wonderfully irreverent to authenticity, Ka Pao presents a menu packed with plates influenced by the cooking of South East Asia in foliage filled, slightly industrial surrounds. The beauty of slighting traditional recipes is that there’s a freeing sense of invention. Here you’ll find Arbroath Smokies (smoked haddock) tumbled around with the hum of galangal, plam sugar and green chilli, all to be wrapped up in fat spinach leaves like Scottish Asian tacos. They’re great. Joining the ranks of unconventional but delicious morsels are padron peppers seasoned with tamarind, soy and a sprinkle of spice mix.

By now we’re well on our way to enjoying a meal of joyful abundance. Whether that’s the liberal use of herbs, the tangle of colours on every plate or the see-saw of sharp, salty and sweet notes that play out across the menu. Caramel fried chicken is a fan favourite, doused in fish sauce caramel, and while undoubtedly unnuanced, it’s delicious. A proper crunch to the coating, with sticky, sweet sauce flying everywhere. Curries are mild and warming, while a whole grilled sea bream makes a handsome centrepiece, stuffed with a herb salad, a spiky green nam jim on the side. It’s the mild temper we need to the big, shouty flavours elsewhere.

Doing their best to keep up with the food are the cocktails, which are delivered by efficient, sweet staff. Properly made and fresh, they present complimenting profiles that work alongside the big flavours nicely. Think rum, lychee liqueur, pineapple and lime shaken together until frothy. It’s a little slice of holiday heaven in the heart of Edinburgh.

Speaking of the city, the restaurant is found in the slightly soulless St James’s quarter, with one side looking out in the shopping centre itself. Skip to the back instead for views of the open kitchen and Edinburgh townhouses.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
South East Asian
Cool, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
All day dining, Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegetarian options
Celebrations, Child friendly, Group dining [8+]


Ka Pao in Edinburgh is the second opening of the same name in Scotland, with the first found in Glasgow. Having discovered success on the west side, the team spread their wings to find a home in the heart of the capital.

The menu is similar, in its focus on South East Asian flavours mixed with the occasional rouge Scottish ingredient. You can dine a la carte or leave things to the chefs with a sharing menu for the table. The latter offers a line-up of the kitchen’s hero plates and is available for four diners and up. At £27.75 per person, if offers stacks of food for a very reasonable price point. Kick off with pork and bone marrow chipolatas with coriander and shallots before moving onto slow roast belly pork with burnt tomato sambal and a coley and clam red curry. Altogether you’ll try 13 different things that are balanced to take you on a well-balanced culinary journey.

From the a la carte, favourites include hand-dived scallops with a shredded cabbage and lime leaf slaw and a green curry of minced venison and pork with chilli and green peppercorns. Come dessert there are a couple of options – like a gingerbread, pear and white chocolate yogurt creation and a banana creme diplomate with peanut caramel and black sesame filo - as well as soft serve. The latter comes in coconut and pandan or mango and calamansi flavours, or you can opt for a ‘twist of both’ if the fomo gets too much.

Interiors-wise, there’s a contemporary, industrial feel to the furnishings. Leather booths are illuminated by frosted hanging globes, while metal grid detailing across the back wall is softened with plenty of foliage.

Drinks offer a range of interesting cocktails packed with Asian flavours, plus a complete list of premium beers, spirits and wines.


Are allergies catered for?

Yes, the menu covers off most allergens at the bottom.

Helpful? 0

Ka Pao Edinburgh is featured in


St James Quarter, Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH1 3AE

0131 385 1040 0131 385 1040


Opening Times

All day
Mon 12:00-00:00
Tue 12:00-00:00
Wed 12:00-00:00
Thu 12:00-00:00
Fri 12:00-00:00
Sat 12:00-00:00
Sun 12:00-00:00


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0131 385 1040 0131 385 1040

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