FIRST Coast looks rather unassuming from the outside. Inside there’s a reassuring hustle and bustle and a menu combining pan-Asian influences and more traditional fayre.
Take our starters – I selected the roast aubergine with apricot chutney, feta and pine nuts (£5). Cool and light, the smattering of goat’s cheese was enough to compliment the aubergine rather than overpower it.
My other half plumped for some Eastern influence, with the Thai sweet potato at £3.50. A tasty and plentiful bowl, it had a real kick of chilli cutting through the coconut-milk creaminess, and some good chunks of sweet potato.
Our only stumbling block came as we waited a little longer than was ideal for our mains, the restaurant having filled up considerably. After an extended pause they appeared – a perfectly cooked Aberdeen Angus sirloin steak (£19.50) and proper chunky chips, served with a small salad, was worth the wait.
I’d been torn between a refreshing sounding Thai marinated chicken salad and the manager’s curious recommendation of Braised Baby Beetroot with Chickpea Fritters (£10.95). Eventually I’d gone for the latter, a pretty plate of three types of baby beetroot (candied, golden and purple), dappled with natural yogurt to take the edge off the tartness and some delightful chickpea fritter balls. A good looking, appetising dish, it was great to see an inventive veggie option. However, there was perhaps a little too much beetroot.
First Coast was an ideal choice for a midweek supper. The very reasonable prices and enthusiastic staff were highlights.
• First Coast, 97-101 Dalry Road, 0131 313 4404, www.first-coast.co.uk.