Review: The Basement, Edinburgh
Restaurants tend to come and go on Broughton Street but The Basement is one that has stood the test of time. As its name suggests this authentic Mexican-style restaurant is located downstairs in “the basement” of 10a-12a Broughton Street, Edinburgh.
Recently refurbished and with a revamped menu, we were keen to go along for a visit as it’s been a wee while since we last visited.
Once you descend the outdoor staircase you enter a very cosy and colourful restaurant, busy on the night we visited with folks enjoying a mix of cocktails, sharing platters and larger plates. Fajitas seemed to be very popular as there was a constant sizzle of red hot dishes making their way through the restaurant to expectant diners. I can’t resist the sizzle of a good fajita and had decided on my main course before I even sat down.
Choosing a starter was also very easy as The Basement has a house special guacamole made to your specification at the table. Out came all the ingredients and a pestle and mortar and within minutes our waitress had whipped up the freshest guacamole served with tortilla chips – an absolute bargain at £4.95 and plenty for two people to share.
While I had already decided on Fillet Steak Fajitas (£15) for my main course, Raymond’s decision making took a little longer but he eventually decided on the braised beef cheek chilli. This was 12 hour braised beef cheeks with chocolate and chilli sauce, green rice and jalapenos.
The fajitas arrived on an elaborate stand sizzling as expected and with all the usual accompaniments – grated Monterey Jack cheese, sour cream, salsa and more guacamole. Sitting on top of the stand was the hot skillet filled with beautifully tender medium cooked fillet steak and an abundance of sautéed onions and mixed peppers. I moved the skillet to table level as it was easier to maneuver the chunks of steak into the floured tortillas, but the stand looked so inviting and impressive when it arrived. Just the right number of tortillas were also present ensuring every last bit of meat was parceled up and enjoyed.
Raymond’s braised beef cheek chilli was also very tender and arrived with a mound of rice and threads of chilli peppers. The sauce was very flavoursome and whilst the chocolate made it rich and thick, the flavour did get a bit lost in the heat of the other spices. The dish was very enjoyable and perfect for a chilly spring evening.
After the main course there was really only one question on our mind – tequila or dessert, tequila or dessert, tequila or dessert….or maybe both? The Basement has an extensive tequila collection so lovers of the beverage won’t be disappointed. However, as it was Thursday night and we had plenty of beer to keep us going we decided on dessert. The beers by the way were a Mexican/Scottish combo – I had a Bearface lager from Drygate Brewery and Raymond went Mexican and had a bottle of Mexicali.
The dessert menu is succinct with 4 choices. Mayan chocolate tart, cornmeal coconut cake, chilli and lime panna cotta or sorbets and ice cream. I went chocolate and Raymond always finds it hard to pass up on a panna cotta. Mayan chocolate ganache, sweet pastry and lime crème came together to make up the tart. The tart was really quite cold when it arrived probably being straight out of the fridge and definitely improved the longer it was exposed to the restaurant’s warmth. The lime crème was a nice addition and worked well with the sweetness and dryness of the dark chocolate.
Raymond’s panna cotta arrived with a little chilli hat on but lacked that inner thigh wobble. Regardless of wobble it still tasted good and the delicate flavours of the panna cotta combined well with the heat of the chilli and the sharpness of the pineapple salsa.
Next time we visit we must make it a weekend evening then we can break out the Tequila menu .
It’s easy to see why The Basement, Edinburgh has stood the test of time and continues to thrive. The atmosphere is lovely, the food delicious and the service is excellent. Whether you pop in for a cocktail (of which they have many), a wee nibble and a drink or a full meal, the menu has lots to offer. Visit the website here to see the full menu.
10-12a Broughton Street
Tel: 0131 557 0097
We were invited to dine my The Basement to sample their new menu. All views and feelings in this review are our own as always.