HORSE meat is proving so popular at a Scottish restaurant the chef has doubled his weekly order.
The Mongolian-style restaurant in Edinburgh put horse flesh on the menu a few weeks before the contaminated beef scandal broke.
Chef Maciej Troscianko said his customers had reacted by going mad for horse meat.
His unnamed English supplier is now sending him 25kgs of equine flesh weekly compared with 10-15kgs before the scandal broke.
The restaurant, Khublai Khans, offers a buffet-style menu where customers can eat as much as they want for £20.95.
Maciej, 40, originally from Poland, said before the scandal customers were at best lukewarm about munching on horse meat.
He added: “But since the scandal was revealed there has been loads of interest in horse meat especially from people who think, ‘Right, I’ve already eaten it after thinking it was beef, let’s try it for real’.”
“When we started we were ordering around 10 to 15kg of the horsemeat each week – now it’s double that at about 25kg.
“It’s popular or they wouldn’t be eating so much – we’re getting up to 80 people in here trying horse and other exotic meats.
“I have often seen people try a little bit the first time and then they go up for a lot more.”
“Everyone’s trying it – old people, young people, groups of friends who come for a nights out.
“It’s quite funny because you see everyone getting out their cameras and filming their first proper horse experience.
“But it’s nice to see them eating it as it should be because it’s such a good meat – it’s very tender, very juicy and in my opinion is better than beef.”
Customer Sam Spencer, a 22-year-old chef from Edinburgh, said: “I heard about this place after the burger stories came out and I felt like I wanted to try it properly.
“It’s really good. I don’t see a problem in eating horse if you know it’s horse you’re eating – that’s what annoys people I think.”
Father and daughter Willie and Kate Drysdale, also from the city, said they were also surprised how much they enjoyed the meat.
Retired Willie, 64, said: “This is my first bowl of the horse but I’ll be going back for more – it’s a good texture, good taste and a lot better than other meats.”
His daughter, a 27-year-old PE teacher, added: “I think from a nutritional point of view it might be leaner and provide nutrients other meats don’t so maybe it’d be a good idea to see it in a lot more places.”
The horse is presented raw in chilled cabinets, alongside other types of meat. Customers take a bowl and choose their meat, vegetables, sauces and spices and hand them over to a chef who cooks it in front of them using special ‘swords’ to flip the food.
Maciej said his horse meat comes from a supplier south of the border he does not want to name.
The supplier gets the meat from international markets and sells it on to restaurants.