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Hotly Anticipated Ka Pao Edinburgh Sets Opening Date – Bookings are now open for Ka Pao at St James Quarter

Posted: 8th March 2022

Scoop Restaurants is delighted to announce that Ka Pao Edinburgh will be opening its doors on level 4 at St James Quarter on Monday the 21st of March. Bookings are now open and can be made via the Ka Pao website.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the news that the Michelin Guide has just awarded Ka Pao Glasgow with a coveted Bib Gourmand award in the 2022 guide. The Michelin Bib Gourmand recognises restaurants offering great quality food as well as good value for money.

A passion for the food and cooking of Southeast Asia is central to Ka Pao’s style, with a menu of sharing plates honouring the team’s time living and travelling throughout the region. The name Ka Pao, a play on the Thai word for holy basil, has become synonymous with Scotland’s thriving dining scene, having quickly built a reputation for its bold flavours, low-key funky setting and good-night-out vibes.

The menu will unite the very best of UK produce with ingredients, flavour combinations and cooking techniques gleaned from the core team’s travels and experiences working in Northern Thailand and Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore, and sampling the uniquely knit Asian influences found in Australia’s modern cuisine.

“The vibe at Ka Pao is pretty fun and relaxed. It’s really welcoming and there’s something for everyone. If travel and money were no object, my ideal night out would be at a night market, struggling with the humidity and inhaling intoxicating scents, and eating whatever I’m offered. The setting here might be starkly different but the idea of sharing food with people you like, surrounded by noise and buzz is something pretty universal,” says Head Chef Sandy Browning. “The opening menu at Ka Pao will be on-the-whole in keeping with what we offer in Glasgow. It’s a collection of dishes we love to cook and eat. We’re not trying to replicate any particular regional cuisine but I think it’s clear where our influences have shaped the food we cook.”

Ideal for sharing, hungry diners will be spoilt for choice, with dishes featured such as corn ribs with salted coconut, shrimp and lime; Ka Pao’s own recipe grilled pork and bone marrow sausage; and braised beef and apache potato massaman curry. A specially chosen sharing menu for groups of 4 or more offers a feast fit for the famished.

“Our inspiration really comes from the ingredients we’re using. Scottish and Southeast Asian food both have their own distinct vocabularies and what’s most fun for me is finding where they cross over. Figuring out how a familiar dish comes apart and applying its technique and seasoning to something readily available to us like lamb, venison or even neeps and sprouts.’

A bespoke cocktail menu combines clean citrus flavours with spice, as in the long pepper penicillin or palm sugar and cassia old fashioned. If not in the mood for cocktails, large format sharing beers, and a selection of wines have all been chosen to compliment the spicy and sweet, aromatic and funky flavours of the menu.

Head Chef Sandy has been at Ka Pao’s helm since it’s inception as a pop-up residency in Glasgow’s SWG3, and now leads the Edinburgh kitchen. General Managers Lily Maclean and Paige Wilson will oversee the operation, with over 40 new roles having been created.
“The team are so excited to be getting started. They all have a real enthusiasm for the food we’re cooking and are going to be a crucial part of creating the restaurant’s atmosphere. We already know what Ka Pao can be at its core, but the St James crew will really put their stamp on the place,” says Lily. “Sandy’s so excited to be back in Edinburgh where he grew up and that energy is totally infectious.”

As well as advanced bookings, Ka Pao will also keep a number of spaces in its bar area for walk-ins. Diners without a booking can either walkup or view live estimated wait times and join a virtual queue via the restaurant’s website on the day.

“Ka Pao is a really good fit to be in a retail led, lifestyle district like St James Quarter,” says Scoop Managing Director, Jonathan MacDonald. “It has a great vibe for a fun night out with cocktails, and is equally well suited to popping in for a tasty bite to eat when you’re out shopping or going to the cinema. The virtual online queue is a great feature, it means at peak times you can put your name down and go for a drink nearby or a wander round the shops and we’ll text you once a table is ready.”

Bookings can now be made at Ka Pao will be open from noon ‘til late, seven days a week. In return for their feedback, guests dining during its soft opening between 21-25 March can expect 50% off their food bill.

“You really can’t find a more honest bunch than the Scottish dining public,” says Paige. “It’s massively important to us to get the vibe right and offer everyone a brilliant dining experience, so we’re more than happy to give a wee discount to our first customers in exchange for their helpful opinions while the team get settled in. To get to be a part of a new opening in the capital is an honour and we can’t wait to share what we’ve created.”

The 92-cover restaurant and bar has been designed by Stuart Black: Head of Interior Design at Mosaic, also responsible for the interiors of Ka Pao Glasgow and Ox and Finch. Stuart’s interior combines bold terrazzo and ceramic surfaces with bespoke architectural metalwork and mid-century furniture.

Ka Pao joins a varied collection of Scottish and international food and drink brands contributing to St James Quarter’s dining and leisure offerings, providing customers with an enviable events programme in a range of new and attractive public spaces.

Nick Peel, Managing Director at St James Quarter, said: “We know that all of Edinburgh has been looking forward to Ka Pao opening, and we know it will be a sensational addition to both the Quarter and the wider city centre.

“Our Edinburgh guests and visitors from further afield are in for a real treat. This is another world class addition which will ignite the nighttime economy and food culture in the East End of Edinburgh. We are all ready to go Ka Pao!“
To learn more about Ka Pao, follow: @kapaofeeds

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