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EATING& DRINKING Guide EDINBURGH & GLASGOW

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2013/14

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EATING& DRINKING Guide EDINBURGH & GLASGOW

INTRODUC INTRODUCING THE GUIDE HOW TO USE THE GUIDE NEW FOR 2013 EATING & DRINKING GUIDE AWARDS 2013 HITLISTS 2013 PART I EDINBURGH PART II GLASGOW PART III OUTSIDE THE CITIES

3 4 6 8 10 12 102 172

EDINBURGH

GLASGOW

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

16

106

BAR & PUBS

19

109

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

34

120

CAFES

43

128

THE WEE PLACES

48

136

CHINESE

54

138

FAR EAST

57

140

FISH

60

142

FRENCH

61

144

INDIAN

65

146

ITALIAN

71

150

MEXICAN

75

156

NORTH AMERICAN

76

157

ROUND THE WORLD

78

159

SCOTTISH

82

161

SPANISH

91

168

TAKEAWAY & DELIVERY

94

166

THAI

96

169

VEGETARIAN

100

170

FILIPINO, FUSION, KOREAN, JAPANESE, MALAYSIAN, VIETNAMESE

AFRICAN, AMERICAS, EUROPEAN, GREEK, MEDITERRANEAN, MIDDLE EASTERN, MONGOLIAN

MAPS INDEX

176 190


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2 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


CONTRIBUTORS EDITORS Donald Reid (Edinburgh), Jay Thundercliffe (Glasgow) EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Keith Smith COPY EDITORS Andrea Pearson, Claire Ritchie SECTION EDITORS & REVIEWERS EDINBURGH Arts Venues & Attractions Sylvie Docherty, Theresa Munoz Bars & Pubs Doug Bond, Brian Donaldson, Rob Fletcher, Miranda Heggie, Sandy Neil, David Pollock Bistros & Brasseries Hannah Ewan, Courtney Peyton, Claire Ritchie, Keith Smith, Robin Wu Cafés & The Wee Places Doug Bond, Barry Cooper, Sandy Neil, David Pollock, Caroline Pretty Chinese & Far East Will Bain, Stan Blackley, Sarah Morrison, Allan Radcliffe Fish Jo Laidlaw French Hilary Lloyd, James Teideman Indian Teddy Craig, Tara Hepburn, Steve Morton, Justin Tilbury Italian Frances Bentley, Barry Cooper, Colin Renton Mexican Margaret Craik North American & Round the World Ian Hogg, Tracey Reilly, Susan Smith, Kate Temple Scottish John Cooke, Louise Donoghue, Robin McKelvie, Yana Thandrayan Spanish Karyn Millar Thai Sian Hickson, Archie McDiarmid Vegetarian Hannah Ewan Extras Gary Anderson, Fraser Doig, Tom Bruce-Gardyne, Sandy Neil, Claire Sawers, Kat Turner

INTRODUCTION

GLASGOW Arts Venues & Attractions Kat Borrowdale, Eileen Heuston Bars & Pubs Rachel Devine, Tiff Griffin, Malcolm Jack, David Kirkwood, Colette Magee, Carolyn McTaggart, Kevin Scott Bistros & Brasseries Erica Goodey, Alan Jones, Vicky Lee, Bronwen Livingstone Cafés & The Wee Places Jane Allan, Kat Borrowdale, Malcolm Jack, Suzy Mercer, Laura Muetzelfeldt, Andrea Mullaney Chinese Jennifer Armitage, Jay Thundercliffe Far East Kirsty Bush Fish David Kirkwood French Malcolm Jack Indian Sucheta Dutt, Andrea Mullaney, Andrea Pearson, Fiona Ramsay Italian Piers Hunt, Donald MacInnes, Rory McGinley, Kevin Scott Mexican Martin Cross North American Kevin Scott Round the World Tiff Griffin, David Kirkwood Scottish Emily Henderson, Malcolm McGonigle Spanish Martin Cross Thai Kirsty Bush Vegetarian Colette Magee

Back in 1994 The List published our first guide to the restaurants, cafés and pubs of Glasgow and Edinburgh. It was simply called the Eating Out Guide. It ran to 36 pages, was printed in black-and-white and covered around 400 venues. Nineteen years on and the eating out guide is marking its twentieth annual edition. These days the Eating & Drinking Guide runs to 192 pages and covers over 900 venues. We have full colour photographs, detailed maps, Hitlist recommendations and our annual awards. This year our online presence is stronger than ever, with all the in the guide accessible from smartphones, tablets and laptops. The reviews that make up this guide have all been freshly researched and written in the first three months of 2013. In that time our 80-strong team of locally based reviewers has been eating out anonymously across both cities. They are our discerning eyes, ears and palates about town, helping us keep track of the movers and shakers of the ever-evolving and – we’re convinced – ever-improving eating and drinking scene. Even in our twentieth year we hope we’re evolving and improving too. Back in edition 5 (1998) we introduced our now eagerly anticipated Hitlists featuring our independent selections of the best of each section. Last year we established a way of offering even more insightful recommendations across a wide range of eating and drinking-related topics with our Tiplists. This year there are even more of these. There are also more new openings in the guide than ever before, and as a balance we’ve themed our Table Talk features, found scattered through the guide, with the memories and analysis of various local chefs, restaurateurs and food scene stalwarts who have also been plying their trade for the past two decades. And we’ve a new section in the guide, The Wee Places, that identifies and celebrates the little sandwich bars, coffee shops, soup cafés and delis that are found all over Glasgow and Edinburgh. Large and small, TV celebrities or neighbourhood champions, newcomers and old timers: they’re all in here. Enjoy the birthday feast.

OUT OF TOWN CONTRIBUTORS Margaret Craik, Rachel Devine, Louise Donoghue, Catriona Graham, Lynda Hamilton, Ian Hogg, Sian Lower, Anna Millar, Steve Morton, Sandy Neil, Donald MacInnes, Robin McKelvie, Theresa Munoz, Andrea Pearson, Courtney Peyton, David Pollock, Donald Reid, Tracey Reilly, Colin Renton, Claire Ritchie, Kevin Scott, Keith Smith, Jay Thundercliffe, Christopher Trotter PUBLISHERS Robin Hodge, Simon Dessain ADMINISTRATION Amy Russell SALES & SPONSORSHIP Sheri Friers (Partnership Director), Chris Knox (Media Sales Manager), Nicky Carter, Debbie Thomson DIGITAL Simon Dessain (Digital Director), Andy Carmichael, Bruce Combe, Iain McCusker, Brendan Miles, Joe McManus ACCOUNTS Sarah Reddie DESIGN Lucy Munro

Donald Reid and Jay Thundercliffe

Published by The List Ltd HEAD OFFICE: 14 High Street Edinburgh EH1 1TE Tel: 0131 550 3050 Fax: 0131 557 8500 list.co.uk email eat@list.co.uk Extensive efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication; however, the publishers cannot accept responsibility for any errors it may contain. ©2013 The List Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of The List Ltd. ISSN: 1359-0693 This edition published April 2013. Printed by Acorn Web Offset Ltd, W. Yorkshire

HOW WE REVIEW

PRODUCTION Simon Armin (Production Manager) Hannah Graham (Production Assistant)

The List Eating & Drinking Guide values its editorial independence. Unlike other restaurant guides which only cover venues that have paid to be included and where review visits are prearranged and carefully orchestrated, no entry in the Eating & Drinking Guide pays to be included, none is obliged to advertise and none is given sight of its review before publication. Restaurants covered in the guide are chosen on merit and reviewed incognito to ensure our experience is that of any other diner. Each restaurant is freshly reviewed each year by a different writer from The List’s team. Our reviewers are experienced and knowledgeable, but they’re not professional food inspectors. They’re chosen to reflect an informed local diner’s viewpoint, and they are encouraged to express an unbiased and even-handed opinion. No special favours are accorded to the companies that choose to buy display advertising space in the guide – they are treated exactly the same when it comes to their review visit, write-up and Hitlist selections.

Thanks

To all the reviewers, researchers, contributors, photographers, editors and members of The List team who have helped put this year’s guide together. A lot of effort goes on behind the scenes with IT, databases, websites, production, advertising sales, administration and accounts, and each part contributes to the success of the guide. Thanks also to our sponsors Birra Moretti, the Scotch Beef Club and the many other supporters of the guide.


HOW TO USE The Guide

Establishments are grouped first by city, then by section (Cafés, Indian, Scottish etc), then listed alphabetically. The information contained in each entry is explained below. The most common abbreviations are also given in Key Boxes spread through the guide.

Address of establishment: This includes street address, city district and postcode. If there are several branches in the same city, these are normally listed together in one entry.

Name of establishment: The coloured asterisk indicates a Hitlist recommendation – our pick of the best in each section. Map reference: This refers to the restaurant’s location (map number followed by grid reference and point number) on one of the district maps to each city found on pages 176–189.

Telephone number for bookings or enquiries, and website. = Indicates membership of the Scotch Beef Club.

Veg = This indicates that at least 25% of all main courses are vegetarian. Pre = Pre-theatre menu available. Post = Post-theatre menu available. Kids = Children are welcome: specifically, smaller portions are served and high chairs are available. Licensing restrictions (see note below) may still apply in the evening. Kids = Significant restrictions (indicated in brackets) are placed on children or no children are allowed at all. NOTE: all venues licensed to serve alcohol are required by law to specify when and where children are permitted while alcohol is being served. By and large children under 18 are not permitted after about 8pm but the specific times and age groups vary slightly between premises by an hour or two. Most restaurants permit older children to dine with adults. If in doubt you should call the venue in advance.

Wh = This denotes both wheelchair access and disabled toilets. Other restaurants may be able to accommodate disabled diners, but lack recognised facilities. T/A = Takeaway food available.

4 The Glutton 55 Raresteak Street, East End, G30 1AA (Map 6: E4, 51) 0141 666 1111, glutton.co.uk Mon–Sat noon–3pm, 6–10pm. Closed Sun [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11am–3pm, 5pm–1am. Closed Sun.] Veg; Pre/Post; BYO OB (£1. BYOB (£1.50; Mon–Thu); HW £7.95; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £12 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner) (dinner

Deservedly popular, the Glutton has built up a loyal following over the past ten years. Set menus, decent choice, friendly, efficient service and BYOB – it’s all you really need in an informal restaurant. The staples are all here: seafood, red and white meat and vegetarian options. But what marks the Glutton out is the interesting use of sauces and accompaniments. So with your salmon, you might get couscous and an orange caramel butter sauce; a black pudding starter comes with toasted walnuts and a chilli dressing. + Unfailingly friendly service - Desserts a bit of an anti-climax

D = Home delivery available. The review: Our general description and independent assessment of the establishment’s ambience, décor and style of cuisine, including details about specific dishes, fixed-price meals and other relevant information.

Opening hours: This indicates the days and hours when orders for food are taken. If an establishment has seasonal hours, they are noted. If a bar on the premises has different opening hours, these are given in square brackets. BYOB = You may bring your own bottle (wine or sometimes beer). Corkage charges or restrictions to the policy are indicated in brackets. Other restaurants may allow BYOB, but only by prior arrangement. Diners should phone to confirm policy. HW = The price given is for a bottle – or carafe, if indicated – of house wine. Meal prices: The price in bold type is the average price of a standard two-course evening meal for one from an à la carte menu, as calculated by our reviewers. If only set-price evening meals are offered, this is indicated. Where applicable, a lunch price is also stated. In the first instance, we’ve quoted the cost of a fixed price twocourse lunch for one. Otherwise, we’ve given the average price of a twocourse lunch from an à la carte menu. The lunch price is given in bold if the venue does not serve food at night. Drinks are not included in price calculations. Plus/minus points: These symbols indicate our reviewer’s assessment of the high point and low point of their visit or the restaurant in general.

from any

Visit

food.list.co.uk MAPS Covering all the principal eating and drinking zones in Edinburgh and Glasgow. PAGES 176–189 film-189x45mm.indd 1

4 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

phone, tablet or computer to access all the information EXTRAS in Table Talkguide interviews with local this

restaurateurs, as well as Tiplists in various useful categories, are found through the guide.

ONLINE All the entries, plus more, with readers’ comments, handy searches and individual maps. list.co.uk/food-and-drink 09/04/2013 10:15


The List Eating & Drinking Guide 5


NEW FOR 2013 EDINBURGH EDINBURGH

Alla Romana

71

ITALIAN

Ashoka Edinburgh

Field

85

SCOTTISH

65

INDIAN

The Forest Café

No 1 High Street

29

BARS & PUBS

100

VEGETARIAN

Old Chain Pier

Spice Lounge Kitchen

69

INDIAN

29

BARS & PUBS

Stac Polly Brasserie, Wine and Gin Bar

90

BARS & PUBS

Bar Soba

57

FAR EAST

The Fountain

24

BARS & PUBS

The Pantry

52 Stack Dim Sum Bar

CAFÉS

56

CHINESE

Bees

44

CAFÉS

Freemans

47

CAFÉS

The Papermill

173 Three Birds Restaurant

AROUND EDINBURGH

42

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

The Bellevue

20

BARS & PUBS

French Press Coffee Company

48

THE WEE PLACES

Papii

49 Timberyard

THE WEE PLACES

90

SCOTTISH

The Blackbird

20

BARS & PUBS

The Galley

37

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Pekoe Tea

49 Tuk Tuk

THE WEE PLACES

70

INDIAN

Blackfriars

35

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe

37

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Pep & Fodder

52 The Turquoise Thistle

CAFÉS

90

SCOTTISH

Blackwood’s Bar & Grill

84

SCOTTISH

The Gardener’s Cottage

86

SCOTTISH

Peter’s Yard Stockbridge

40 Urban West Coffee House

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

49

THE WEE PLACES

The Blue Bear

44

CAFÉS

Gorgie City Farm Café

47 The Ventoux

CAFÉS

32

BARS & PUBS

The Bon Vivant Stockbridge

21

The Hanging Bat

BARS & PUBS

BARS & PUBS

Bonsai Bar Bistro (Broughton Street)

Hemma

26 The Vintage

33

BARS & PUBS

57

26 Vinyasa

BARS & PUBS

FAR EAST

Brew Lab

44

48 Vittles

THE WEE PLACES

CAFÉS

22

101 Woodland Creatures

VEGETARIAN

BARS & PUBS

48

27 Yeni

BARS & PUBS

THE WEE PLACES

48

52 Pomegranate

CAFÉS

THE WEE PLACES

96

The Pompadour by Galvins

23

65

28 Printworks Coffee

BARS & PUBS

BARS & PUBS

52

CAFÉS

Locanda Marina 46

73 Pulp Fiction Café Bookstore

ITALIAN

CAFÉS

52

48

48 The Purple Pig Café

THE WEE PLACES

THE WEE PLACES

52

CAFÉS

Lovecrumbs

51 QuattroZero

CAFÉS

74

Marie Delices

49 The Regent Bar

THE WEE PLACES

29

BARS & PUBS

The Marshmallow Lady

Relish

49

THE WEE PLACES

The Mash Tun

28 Riverlife

BARS & PUBS

65

28 The Roamin’ Nose

BARS & PUBS

53

CAFÉS

Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar

87

SCOTTISH

Mint Café and Flowers

51

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Edinburgh Larder Bistro

Mintleaf

67

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine

Shebeen

FAR EAST

The Skylark

• Home Bistro • Itri • Librizzi • Moo Cafeteria

81

ROUND THE WORLD

59

• Frankfurter Eck

• Izzi 30

BARS & PUBS

INDIAN

37

The Scran & Scallie

• E:S:I - Englishman, Scotsman and an Irishman

• The Institute 41

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

CAFÉS

37

The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro

• La Bagatelle

• The French Fancies

FRENCH

The Melville

• ArtCafe Morita

• Creelers

51

CAFÉS

• Amore Dogs, Seadogs & Underdogs • Avoca Bar & Grill

ITALIAN

Earthy Canonmills

Farewell to . . .

CAFÉS

Looking Glass Books Copper Bird Café

FAR EAST

FRENCH

The Last Word Saloon

Connect Café

Yummytori

72

ITALIAN

THAI

The Compass Bar

80

ROUND THE WORLD

Jamie’s Italian Chaophraya

• Mya • 9 Cellars Thali

53

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

• Oloroso • Ristorante Ferrari

Fatma ROUND THE WORLD

6 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

81

ROUND THE WORLD

Jacob Artisan Bakery Castello Coffee Co

35

BARS & PUBS

The Huxley Casa Angelina

49

THE WEE PLACES

The Himalaya Centre Café Voltaire

70

INDIAN

Hernandez & Co.

79

The Newsroom Bar & Eatery BARS & PUBS

28

The Southern BARS & PUBS

30

• Suruchi Too

59


These are the restaurants, cafés and bars that have opened in the 12 months before publication or are reviewed in this guide for the first time. To keep up with all the new openings worth knowing about in both Edinburgh and Glasgow through the year, keep an eye on the Food & Drink pages of each monthly edition of The List magazine or visit us at list.co.uk

GLASGOW All That is Coffee

106

Once Upon a Tart

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

Assaggini

150

Panevino

ITALIAN

Bar Gumbo

157

Papa Tony’s

106

Papercup Coffee Company

166

Pizza Magic

111

Pudding Lane Café

113

Restauracja U Jarka

154 134 167 135 166

ROUND THE WORLD

121

Rhubarb

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Buddy’s BBQ & Burgers

170

THAI

CAFÉS

BARS & PUBS

Brutti Compadres

Thairiffic

TAKEAWAY & HOME DELIVERY

BARS & PUBS

Broadcast

154

CAFÉS

TAKEAWAY & HOME DELIVERY

Black Rabbit

108

ITALIAN

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

BKK Thai

The Tea Room at the Botanics ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

ITALIAN

NORTH AMERICAN

Bar Varia

134

CAFÉS

126

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

166

Riccardo’s Italian Kitchen Cup Tea Lounge

TAKEAWAY & HOME DELIVERY

130

155

ITALIAN

CAFÉS

The Buff Low Café

113

The Richmond Curry Pot

BARS & PUBS

166

118 Three Sisters Bake

BARS & PUBS

TAKEAWAY & HOME DELIVERY

Café Phoenix

Rishi’s Indian Aroma The Fish People Café

CAFÉS

143

150 Tony Macaroni (City Centre)

INDIAN

FISH

Cailin’s Sushi

Riverhill Coffee Bar The Gannet

164

137 Two Fat Ladies at the Marine

THE WEE PLACES

SCOTTISH

Casa Olé

Rock Lobster Bar & Grill The Glad Café

132

143 Up On The Hill

FISH

CAFÉS

La Rotunda Grays Kitchen

136

155 Yiamas Greek Taverna

ITALIAN

THE WEE PLACES

Central Market

The Scaramouche The Hanoi Bike Shop

141

118 Yokoso

BARS & PUBS

FAR EAST

167

126 Zaytun

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

TAKEAWAY & HOME DELIVERY

Inn Deep

142

FAR EAST

Sideways Hong Kong Express

161

ROUND THE WORLD

122

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

138

CAFÉS

CC’s Wood-fired Pizza Pie Company 166 TAKEAWAY & HOME DELIVERY

174

AROUND GLASGOW

169

SPANISH

155

ITALIAN

141

FAR EAST

174

AROUND GLASGOW

129

161

ROUND THE WORLD

116

BARS & PUBS

Kelvingrove Café

116

Farewell to . . .

BARS & PUBS

The Lismore

117

BARS & PUBS

• Amalfi Pizzeria Lola and Livvy’s

133

• Bellini

CAFÉS

Louisiana’s

• Bier Hof

158

• The Big Blue

NORTH AMERICAN

Lychee Oriental

• The Captain’s Rest

139

• Carrot Top’s Café

CHINESE

Chaophraya

169

THAI

Charlie Rocks

158 114 107

Master Sun’s Hot Pot

• Four Seasons • Heart Buchanan

139

Morblas Restaurant

115

Munro’s

164

BARS & PUBS

The New York Kitchen

135

Smile Café

117

The Sparkle Horse

NORTH AMERICAN

St Mungo Museum Café

• Paperino’s (Sauchiehall Street) • Rasoi Indian Kitchen

119

BARS & PUBS

158

• Mimi’s Kitchen • Mise en Place

137

THE WEE PLACES

BARS & PUBS

115

Siempre Bicycle Café CAFÉS

SCOTTISH

BARS & PUBS

Connich Bar

• Creedence 149

CHINESE

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

Cocktail & Burger

Masala Twist Tikka and Tapas Bar INDIAN

BARS & PUBS

Clean Plates Café

• Crabby Macs Seafood Café

158

NORTH AMERICAN

NORTH AMERICAN

Che Que Bo!!!

Manhattan’s Bar and Diner

• Sannino’s • Slumdog Bar & Kitchen

108

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

• Stravaigin 2 • Thali

Cook and Indi’s World Buffet ROUND THE WORLD

160

NYC Bar BARS & PUBS

118

Tattie’s Bistro BISTROS & BRASSERIES

127

• Urban Pind

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 7


EATING&DRINKING

In association with

AWARDS 2013

The List’s annual Eating & Drinking Guide Awards highlight some of the best eating out experiences in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The List Readers’ Awards are voted for by users of the Eating & Drinking section of our website, list.co.uk, reflecting the loyalties and appreciation of restaurant regulars, as well as the fact that diners’ feedback is something we read and listen to as much as the restaurants do themselves. Our Newcomer of the Year Awards are selected from restaurants opening in Edinburgh and Glasgow over the past 12 months. The winners are selected by our experienced team of reviewers and editors for the promise, innovation and quality they bring to the local eating out scene. Our goal is to recognise not only the eyecatching and glamorous new arrivals but also to highlight more affordable places and, especially, those offering something genuinely new, inspiring and original to the dining experience. Our judges’ Special Award, meanwhile, recognises the outstanding contribution of an establishment, enterprise, individual or family to the food and drink world in Scotland.

LIST READERS’ AWARD EDINBURGH

URBAN ANGEL

It first popped up in Edinburgh in 2004 in the premises of the venerable Laigh Bakehouse. Nine years on and Urban Angel is getting close to legendary status itself. Back then very few places were mentioning organic, local, seasonal and ethical, but Urban Angel put it at the heart of their ethos from the start. They’ve grown and evolved and their loyal following proves that great food and service are also among their core principles too. Q See page 43 8 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

GLASGOW

BOBAR

It would be an injustice to think of Bobar as just another hotel bar. As its familyfriendly daytime atmosphere melds into livelier pre-club vibes after dusk, its prime position by the crossroads of two of the West End’s main thoroughfares has helped ensure the bar’s longstanding popularity. A neatly packaged, well-run operation enjoyed for its classy cocktails and consistently good food, the Bo is still the place to go on Byres Road. Q See page 112


NEWCOMERS OF THE YEAR EDINBURGH

GLASGOW

THE GARDENER’S COTTAGE

THE FISH PEOPLE CAFÉ

FOR REALISING THE INSPIRING SIMPLICITY OF LOCAL EATING

FOR TURNING TRADE INTO ACCOMPLISHED AND AFFORDABLE DINING

Setting up in a small, disused, William Playfair-designed building on the slopes of Calton Hill, chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray were never going grand. They have two rooms, a makeshift open kitchen, three long shared tables and a record player for tunes. Their dinner menu is a no-choice, six course, daily changing meal based around truly seasonal, local and intelligently sourced food. Charming and inspiring, the Gardener’s Cottage shows Edinburgh a glimpse of a future where simple good food can be convivial, cultured, shared and valued. Q See page 86

Fishmonger Alan Bell had originally planned to open a chippy when he acquired the unit directly opposite his fish shop at Shields Road subway station on Glasgow’s Southside. It would, no doubt, have been a great chippy, but something more ambitious was soon afoot. What emerged was a classy but unassuming restaurant where ultra-fresh catches from the shop are given careful and considered treatments with global inspiration. It has made Scotland’s best seafood affordable and accessible to diners in an area where no-one would have expected it. Q See page 143

THE VINTAGE

THE HANOI BIKE SHOP

FOR ITS VISION OF ARTISAN FOOD AND CRAFT BEER IN A LOCAL PUB

FOR A STYLISH AND EXOTIC ADVENTURE IN VIETNAMESE CUISINE

In a partnership between one of Scotland’s most progressive brewers, Williams Brothers of Alloa, and bar manager Darren Blackburn, an old Leith bar and restaurant has been revitalised as one of the most progressive eating and drinking venues in the country. The attractive, unpretentious Vintage offers a diverse and mature selection of craft beer on draft and keg, together with a bold and enlightened menu featuring British charcuterie, intriguing snacks and accomplished contemporary cooking. Pub grub has a new benchmark. Q See page 133

When Stravaigin 2 ceased to be in 2012, there was the consolation that the Gibson Street original was alive and well. The surprise was when the Ruthven Lane branch hung up its walking boots and donned a pair of flip-flops ready to dish up Glasgow’s first taste of Vietnamese cuisine. From the teaser marketing campaign dotting old bicycles around the West End to the stylish, canteen-style setting and exciting food that bears all the hallmarks of local sourcing and skilful dedication, the Hanoi Bike Shop has brought the entertaining flavours of Vietnam to Glasgow. Q See page 141

al i c e Sp RD

AWA

TAPA Although Robert Winters and Virgina Webb first came to the UK from their home in New Zealand in 2001 for a holiday, the fact they ended up staying here and moving to the birthplace of Robert’s father turned out to be a very fortunate thing for Glasgow. With no background in food nor any knowledge about running a café, just an idea that they’d like to roast their own coffee and maybe do a bit of baking, in 2003 they took over a small bakery in unfashionable Dennistoun which was about to fall into disuse as the baker was retiring and no-one wanted to take over. Winters signed up for a baking course, discovering a natural affinity with the process. The organic bread he then began making in the Bakehouse (still the only completely organic bakery in Scotland), as well as coffee from the roaster, soon had the city stirring. Restaurants and cafés

began signalling their serious intent when it came to good quality sourcing by phoning Tapa. Without marketing themselves, that phone hasn’t stopped ringing, with orders from fine-dining venues, craft brewers and family-run cafés. While they’ve expanded with another café in the Southside, the continuing orders for Tapa’s range of original products may soon mean a move away from the original, much lived-in and much-loved Bakehouse. But an industrial unit doesn’t sit right with Tapa’s firm belief that people should be able to buy their food locally, to see it being produced, and to talk to those whose hands make it. That quiet little food revolution that Tapa started ten years ago, not on the streets but in the delis, tearooms and bistros across the city, has grown into something much more audible, encapsulating today’s ethos of the way we should be growing, buying and consuming our food. We, at least in Glasgow, owe much of that to Tapa. Q See pages 135 & 171 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 9


THE LIST’S INDEPENDENT RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE

4 GLASGOWHITLISTS 4ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS Art Lover’s Café The Balcony Café The Hidden Lane Tea Room

106 106 108

4BARS & PUBS Black Sparrow BrewDog The Butterfly and the Pig Chinaski's Den Bar & Restaurant Mulberry Street Bar Bistro The Sparkle Horse Vespbar WEST Brewery

111 112 114 114 115 117 119 120 120

121 122 122 122 123 124 125 125 127

4CAFÈS An Clachan Artisan Roast Eat Café The Glad Café Gusto & Relish Kember & Jones Martha’s Moyra Jane’s Piece

128 128 132 132 132 133 133 133 134

4THE WEE PLACES Cherry & Heather Fine Foods Riverhill Coffee Bar Roots and Fruits Smile Café

Ho Wong Loon Fung

139 139

4FAR EAST Cailin’s Sushi The Hanoi Bike Shop Opium Wudon

141 141 141 142

4FISH Crabshakk The Fish People Café Gandolfi Fish Two Fat Ladies in the City

142 143 143 144

4FRENCH

4BISTROS & BRASSERIES Brasserie 19 Café Gandolfi Cafezique Central Market Cookie The Drake Fanny Trollope's Guy's Restaurant Stravaigin Café Bar

Le Bistro Beaumartin

4CHINESE

136 137 137 137

Le Bistro Beaumartin Brian Maule at Chardon d'Or

144 145

4INDIAN Balbir’s Saffron Lounge Café Salma Charcoals The Den at Dining In with Mother India The Dhabba The Glasgow Curry Shop Mother India’s Café Rishi’s Indian Aroma

146 147 147 148 148 148 149 150

4ITALIAN Assaggini La Brava Celino’s La Famiglia The Italian Caffè Lamora Panevino La Parmigiana

150 151 151 152 153 153 154 154

4MEXICAN Nachos

156

4NORTH AMERICAN Ab Lib (Hope Street) St Louis Café Bar

4SCOTTISH 157 158

4ROUND THE WORLD Alla Turca The Calabash Restaurant The Greek Golden Kebab Nur

159 160 160 160

The Cabin Cail Bruich Restaurant at Blythswood Square Stravaigin Ubiquitous Chip Wee Lochan

162 164 165 168 168 168

4SPANISH Malaga Tapas

169

4TAKEAWAY & DELIVERY BKK Thai Buddy's BBQ & Burgers CC's Wood-fired Pizza Pie Company Curry Pot Hong Kong Express

166 166 166 166 167

4THAI Thai Lemongrass

170

4VEGETARIAN Saramago Café Bar Tapa Bakehouse

170 171

Also look out for our Tiplists of further recommendations in dozens of different categories. Find them at the start of each city’s listings (for Edinburgh, see pages 13–15, for Glasgow see pages 103–105), and in various sections throughout the guide

10 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


BEST PLACES TO EAT IN EACH SECTION OF THE GUIDE

4 EDINBURGHHITLISTS 4ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS Café Portrait The Fruitmarket Gallery Café The Scottish Café and Restaurant Traverse Bar Café

Chop Chop (Morrison Street) Wing Sing Inn 16 17 18 19

4BARS & PUBS The Bon Vivant Bond No.9 The Hanging Bat Hemma The Holyrood 9a The King’s Wark Nobles The Roseleaf The Vintage

21 21 26 26 27 27 29 30 33

4BISTROS & BRASSERIES Bia Bistrot Bijou Edinburgh Larder Bistro Hellers Kitchen The Honours Iris Monteith’s The Shore Spoon

34 34 37 38 38 38 39 41 42

4CAFÉS Café Milk Cuckoo Bakery Earthy Market Café Falko (Konditormeister) Lovecrumbs The Pantry Porto & Fi Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar Water of Leith Café Bistro

45 46 46 47 51 52 52 54 54

Bonsai Bar Bistro (West Richmond Street) Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight (Clerk Street) Rice Terraces Sushiya

Café Fish Fishers Bistro Ondine

80 80

4SCOTTISH 57 58 59 59

4FISH 60 60 61

Café St Honoré Castle Terrace Field The Gardener's Cottage The Grain Store The Kitchin Restaurant Mark Greenaway Timberyard

84 84 85 86 86 87 88 90

Chop Chop Illegal Jack’s Miso & Sushi Shapla Spoilt for Choice

54 75 94 95 95

4THAI Passorn Port of Siam Thai Orchid

98 98 99

4VEGETARIAN

4SPANISH El Quijote Malvarosa

4TAKEAWAY & DELIVERY

92 92

Henderson’s Vegetarian Restaurant Kalpna

100 101

4FRENCH L’escargot Bleu La Garrigue Petit Paris The Pompadour by Galvins Restaurant Martin Wishart 21212

62 62 64 65 65 65

Port of Siam

4INDIAN Mezbaan South Indian Restaurant Mithas Mother India’s Café Rivage The Spice Pavilion Tanjore

67 67 68 69 69 69

4ITALIAN Centotre Cucina Locanda de Gusti Nonna’s Kitchen Origano

Miro’s Cantina Mexicana 48 48 48 49

4CHINESE China Town

4FAR EAST

Hanam’s Indaba

71 71 73 73 74

4MEXICAN

4THE WEE PLACES Anteaques Casa Angelina The Manna House Union of Genius

54 56

75

4NORTH AMERICAN Calistoga Smoke Stack

76 78

4ROUND THE WORLD 54

Beirut

78

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN


500 H R E V O BURG , EDINAURANTS RESTAFES AND C ARS B

Edinburgh THE FESTIVAL CITY

E

TABLE Talk

• David Howie Scott

18

• Dougie Bell

44

• Hermann Rodrigues

66

• Judy Gonzalez

74

12 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

dinburgh is firmly established as the UK’s second great dining city after London. Each year the number of quality eating experiences at all levels, from cool cafés to multi-course tasting menus, improves. Chefs, restaurateurs and other personalities on the local food and drink scene grow in their reputation and familiarity locally, nationally and abroad. Edinburgh has become a place where culinary inspiration and innovation is not only found but is now anticipated. Good eating has become integrated with Edinburgh’s cultural life: it is part of the festival experience, the tourist visit and the residents’ routine. The Edinburgh section of this guide covers over 500 places to eat out across the city, from converted police boxes in public parks to sumptious restaurants in five-star hotels. The number of places exploring the opportunities to use and cook with good quality local produce is undoubtedly on the rise, the best of them taking considerable strides towards giving local eating the credibility and distinctive identity it deserves. Yet it’s true that we’re also drawn to trotting the globe in search of attractive flavours and inspiring approaches to food. Edinburgh has a long history of providing Indian, French and Italian food, but these days you can find cafés, restaurants and takeaways serving Spanish,

Thai, Malaysian, Russian, Kurdish and Japanese food – to name just a handful of the options, many of which also bring a cultural connection in the form of art, music and traditional events linked to their country of origin. The dynamism of Edinburgh’s food and drink scene is increasingly spilling out from the boundaries of conventional restaurant spaces and familiar menus. The city’s various farmers’ and produce markets are among the best in Scotland, and there’s better street food than ever before, not just during the festival but throughout the year. Growers, creators and producers of food and drink within Scotland are given evermore recognition on menus around the city. Where whisky has led in telling the world that Scotland has the skills, creativity, heritage and taste to produce great drink, so local beer, meat, fish, shellfish, fruit, cheese and much more is following. Every year The List follows these trends and evolutions, plotting the landmarks and signposts of our food and drink scene. The Eating & Drinking Guide aims to bring you the greatest hits, the top tips and all you need to know about eating out in Edinburgh. Follow us in these pages, but also online and in the monthly List magazine, where you can catch up with the news and new openings right through the year.


FARMERS’ & FOOD

MARKETS • Edinburgh Farmers’ Market Castle Terr, 9am–2pm, every Sat • Stockbridge Market Jubilee Gardens, 10am–5pm, every Sun • Portobello Market Brighton Park, 9.30am–1.30pm, first Sat of the month • Balerno Farmers’ Market Balerno Main St, 9am–1pm, second Sat of the month • Juniper Green Community Market Lanark Rd, 9am–1pm, fourth Sat of the month • Edinburgh Markets – City Centre Outside St Mary’s Cathedral, 11am–5pm, every Sat • Edinburgh Markets – Southside Outside Royal Commonwealth Pool, 10am–4pm, every Sun (May–Oct)

TIPList

THE EATING & DRINKING GUIDE TEAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS

FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING • Al Dente

34

• Bijou

34

• The Caley Sample Room

22

• Nonna’s Kitchen

73

• Earthy Ratcliffe Terrace, Causewayside & Canonmills

52

18

• The Turquoise Thistle

90

• Zest

70

• Bonsai Bar Bistro

57

65

• Chop Chop

54

• Porto & Fi (Newhaven)

52

• The Skylark

53

• Rhubarb

88

• Diner 7

76

• Suburban Pantry

42

• Timberyard

90

• The Galley

37

61

• The Tower

90

• Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight

58

• Kebab Mahal

67

• Mussel Inn

61

• Pho Vietnam House

59

• Punjab’n de Rasoi

68

• Rice Terraces

59

• The Roamin’ Nose

53

• Yeni

81

• Three Birds Restaurant • The Water of Leith Café Bistro

42 54

• The Witchery

91

BEST PLACES HIDDEN BY THE TRAMWORKS

• Café Royal Circle Bar

22

• China Town

54

• Chaophraya

96

• Ghillie Dhu

24

• Lupe Pintos 24 Leven Street, Tollcross

• The Dome

36

• Henderson’s @ St John’s 100

• Real Foods, 37 Broughton Street & 8 Brougham Street

• Forth Floor Restaurant

85

• The Huxley

27

• Gardener’s Cottage

86

• Kasturi

67

• Gateway Restaurant

17

• Le Marché Français

63

• Valvona & Crolla 19 Elm Row, Leith Walk

• The Stand

• The Pompadour by Galvins

• Café Portrait

• IJ Mellis Cheesemonger 30a Victoria St, 330 Morningside Rd & 6 Bakers’ Pl, Stockbridge

56

58

FOR A SENSE OF PLACE

• George Bower Butchers 75 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge

• Saigon Saigon

FOR BUDGET DINING • Kanpai

• Sweet Melindas

FOOD SHOPS

89

71

• Bia Bistrot

• Pastures

• Ryan’s Cellar Restaurant

16

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 13


TIPList continued FOR ITS SOURCING POLICY • Café St Honoré

aberdeen union square guild square aberdeen AB11 5RG edinburgh 1 castle terrace corner of lothian road edinburgh EH1 2DP glasgow city centre 97-103 west george street glasgow G2 1PB

84

• Earthy Canonmills/ Market Café

37/46

• Edinburgh Larder Bistro/Café

37/47

livingston the avenue the elements shopping centre livingston west lothian EH54 6GS

92

• The Mulroy

64

• Restaurant Mark Greenaway

88

• 21212

65

• Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar

54

• Whighams Wine Cellars

33

• L’escargot Bleu

62

FOR A ROMANTIC MEAL

• First Coast

37

• Angels with Bagpipes

• The Gardener’s Cottage

86

• Iglu

86

• Café Marlayne (Thistle Street)

61

• Café St Honoré

84

• Empires

79

• Fishers Bistro

60

• Mint Café and Flowers

51

• Ondine

61 89

• The Grain Store

86

• Timberyard

90

• Mithas

67

• Union of Genius

49

• Purslane

88

• Rhubarb

88

• Ruan Siam

98

• Café Cassis

36

• The Spice Pavilion

69

• Casa Angelina

48

• The Witchery by the Castle

91

• David Bann

100

• The Engine Shed

100

• Hewat’s Restaurant

86

• Hula Juice Bar and Gallery

50

• Indaba

80

• Loudon’s Cafe • North Bridge Brasserie

40

• Three Birds Restaurant

42

• Time 4 Thai

99

• Union of Genius

49

• The Bon Vivant

FOR GROUPS & PARTIES • Bar Roma

71

• Café Andaluz

91

• Fatma

79

• Hanam’s

80

• Howies at Waterloo

86

• Iman’s

66

• Khushi’s

67

• Mariachi

75

• Pancho Villa’s

76

• A Room in the Town

82

• The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro

41

51

FOR ITS WINE LIST 21

• Café Fish

60

• Calistoga

76

• Divino Enoteca

24

FOR KIDS & FAMILIES

• Galvin Brasserie de Luxe

37

• The Beach House

44

• Hotel du Vin

38

• Café Cassis

36

• Stac Polly Bistro

wagamama.com

14 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

join us

84

• The Scottish Café and Restaurant

FOR DIETARY REQUIREMENTS

glasgow silverburn silverburn centre barrhead road glasgow G53 6AF

• Iggs

90


E F F I C I E N T. . . FA S T. . . R E L I A B L E . . . S A F E

• Centotre

71

FOR LATE DINING

• Gorgie City Farm Café

47

• Dusit

97

• Giuliano’s on the Shore

72

• Hotel du Vin

38

• Joseph Pearce

27

• Kebab Mahal

67

• Loudon’s Café & Bakery

51

• Mariachi

75

• Pomegranate

80

• QuattroZero

74

• Strada

74

• Thai Lemongrass

98

• Time 4 Thai

99

• Turkish Kitchen

81

• Under the Stairs

32

• Mums Great Comfort Food

40

• The Skylark

53

• Terrace Café

18

• Traverse Bar Café

19

• The Water of Leith Café Bistro

54

FOR OUTDOOR DINING • The Birdcage

• The Witchery by the Castle 91

34

NEED A LIFT?

Let City Cabs take you there!

call 0131 228 or book online

1211

For all corporate, personal, airport transfer and wedding fares, call us or visit

www.citycabs.co.uk

• Café Modern One

16

FOR BYOB

• Circus

79

• Absolute Thai

96

• Earthy Market Café

46

• Beirut

78

Get the CITY CABS app on iPhone and Android Book and track your taxi through GPS – go to www.citycabs.co.uk for info and to download

• 56 North

24

• Hanam’s

80

• Forth Floor Brasserie

37

• Khushi’s

67

• Henricks Bar & Bistro

26

• Kim’s Korean Meals

59

• Peter’s Yard

52

• Mithas

67

• Petit Paris

64

• Pho Vietnam House

59

• Porto & Fi on the Mound

41

• Rivage

69

• The Salisbury Arms

30

• Suruchi

69

• Teuchter’s Landing/ A Room in Leith

• Tanjore

69

32/82

• Tuk Tuk

70

• Word of Mouth

54

FOR PRE-THEATRE • Absolute Thai

96

• The Apartment Bistro

34

• Calistoga

76

• Fishers in the City

60

• Howies at Waterloo

23

Wine & Cocktails

26

86

Pub Grub on the Up

29

• Kama Sutra

66

Taking the Dog

32

Brunch & Breakfast

45

• Papoli

80

Coffee

47

Tea & Cake

52

Pizzas

74

• Pomegranate

41 80

Edin-burgers

77

Set Lunch Deals

88

Good for Veggie Takeaway

94

42

Slick Delivery

95

74

Other Good Veggie Options

101

• Restaurant Mark Greenaway

88

• Spoon • Zucca

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Also look out for Tiplists on the following categories in various sections through the guide Beer & Whisky

• Pink Olive

now CARBON NEUTRAL

Free delivery for online orders over £29

Shop online at

www.realfoods.co.uk 37 Broughton St, Edinburgh EH1 3JU 8 Brougham St, Edinburgh EH3 9JH

Fresh‡local‡seasonal‡value The List Eating & Drinking Guide 15


ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS To create a menu for gallery or theatre must be a tricky task, as the food becomes a statement on the art or entertainment on offer. As a capital city well known for its culture, Edinburgh boasts cinemas, gallery spaces, theatres and other visitor attractions with in-house bars and cafés. In several of these you’ll find creative culinary options to the fore, whether it be twists on classic dishes, intriguing daily specials or fresh home baking. Many of the places listed here are significant assets to their accompanying cultural venues, and a number are destinations in their own right. Reviewers: Sylvie Docherty, Theresa Munoz

Bon Papillon 15 Howe Street, Stockbridge, EH3 6TE (Map 1A: C3, 28) 0131 538 2505, bonpapillon.com | Mon & Wed–Sun 9am–5pm. Closed Tue. Veg; Kids; T/A. £8.50 (lunch)

Business partners Ingrid Nilsson and Stuart Allan have a solid catering background having spent time working in various Edinburgh restaurants. After going it alone a couple of years ago, and utilising their skills as an artist and a framer, they’ve made a real go of this café-cum-gallery venture in the heart of the New Town. Hosting local regulars and out-of-towners, this cheery pair makes you feel right at home. Typical tasty examples on the seasonally changing menu include a hot-smoked salmon salad or a warm BLT with salad and crisps. There’s great coffee, portions are vast and the food is cooked to order. A pretty cake board features a variety of delights, and the chef clearly has fun experimenting with different flavour combinations. + Good value for money - Don’t pick the table closest to the door

Cafe Hub Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town, EH1 2NE See Cafés

GUIDES

savoury options, treats and traybakes seem like an afterthought, but a coffee and walnut cake is full of nutty flavour. Though Café Lucia is mainly regarded as a theatre bar, the satisfying lunches show it can be much more than that. + Pleasant pie of the day - Weak coffee

Café Modern One Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, 75 Belford Road, West End, EH4 3DR (Map 4: A2, off) 0131 332 8600, heritageportfolio.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm; Sat noon–2.30pm; Sun noon–2.30pm. [Coffee & cakes: Mon–Fri 9am–4.30pm; Sat/Sun: 10am–4.30pm.] Veg; HW £16; Kids; Wh; T/A. £9 (set lunch)

Indoors and out, Café Modern One is heaving with art-lovers, tourists and locals alike. The gallery is in a glorious setting, with the neat sculpture and herb garden round the back providing an ideal spot for outside lounging. The simple menu offers well-prepared meat and veggie options that are composed from local, seasonal produce and made from scratch. Alongside a range of daily specials sit soups and filled ciabatta rolls or sandwiches. The baked potatoes have wonderfully crisp jackets, with pillowy soft insides. Salads can include Puy lentil and brie, while a large, almost overspiced samosa is cooled with a crème fraîche and lime dressing. Portions are princely in this self-service cafeteria, but it’s worth trying to leave room for coffee and home-baking – the chocolate truffle cake is a winner. + Perfect for patio dining - Lunchtime can get pretty busy

Café Modern Two Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 73 Belford Road, West End, EH4 3DS (Map 4: A2, off) 0131 624 6273, heritageportfolio.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–2.30pm. [Coffee & cakes served: 10am–4.30pm; Afternoon tea served: 2–4.30pm]. HW £17.75; Kids; Wh; T/A. £11 (lunch)

Entering the stately Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two by its Georgian façade ensures a real sense of occasion. In contrast to its fellow venue across the way, Café Modern Two provides friendly, unruffled table service for its varied clientele. This calm eatery is split into two rooms, where you may take refreshments in the company of the colossal Eduardo Paolozzi ‘Vulcan’ sculpture. The choice is limited, but

cleverly put together, and portions are anything but petite. With food made on-site, tastes remain fresh, with meat, vegetarian and gluten-free options available. The menu changes regularly, but examples include generously filled sandwiches served alongside a comforting mug of soup of the day, a haggis burger with roast cherry tomatoes or a large, colourful and flavoursome cube of vegetable frittata. Pretty tables are laid for towering afternoon teas and a tempting display of cakes and traybakes beckons from the counter. + The inventive menu changes to match the current main exhibition - Be prepared to wait for a table

4

Café Portrait

Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, New Town, EH2 1JD (Map 1B: A5, 42) 0131 624 6200, heritageportfolio.co.uk | Fri–Wed 10am– 4.30pm; Thu 10am–6.30pm. Veg; HW £16; Kids; Wh; T/A. £10 (lunch)

Traditional and contemporary visions blend peacefully at the National Portrait Gallery’s ground-level café. Large windows and high spotlights illuminate portraits of Scottish greats like Alex Ferguson and John Byrne. A small blue dining room off to the side can be hired for functions or simply used as a quiet dining area. Guests file into either space at lunchtime after perusing the gallery’s historical sculpture and more modern portraiture and photography. This mix of old and new is evident in the fare, which aims to update the classics. Above the food and coffee bar are monitors displaying a rolling menu of soups, salads, sandwiches, main meals and cakes. Golden lentil and coconut soup has a sweet and spicy kick. Seasonal main courses can range from hazelnut and saffron chicken legs to moist potato cakes studded with chorizo, both of which come with two types of salad. Sweet treats are also in abundance and a luscious plum cake with mascarpone icing is well paired with a frothy latte. All told, this is a very pleasant venue where unique aesthetics and quality café dishes gladden both the eyes and the stomach. + Tasty dishes in generous supply - Gets crowded at lunchtime

City Art Centre Café City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Old Town, EH1 1DE (Map 2A: D2, 4) 0131 226 4965, edinburghmuseums.org.uk | Mon– Fri 8.30am–3.30pm; Sat 9.30am–3.30pm; Sun noon–3.30pm.

Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £10 (lunch)

The City Art Centre Café, now reopened after a refurb of the entire building, caters to a varied crowd of gallery visitors, regulars and passing trade – after all, it is handily placed opposite an entrance to Waverley Station. For folk who are up and about early enough, the breakfast menu will tempt with bacon rolls and veggie baps, while the lunchtime crowd can choose fresh, seasonal specials from the hot and cold plates as well as platters and warm, chunky filled rolls. Homemade soup, such as cauliflower, celeriac and stilton, comes with crusty bread. Tasty salads change on a daily basis and can be taken as a side or a main. Portions of the tart of the day are generous and feature such pleasing combinations as salmon with cherry tomato, spring onion, capers, fennel and anchovy. The sweet-toothed are sure to enjoy the array of cakes and bakes. The café has a spacious dining area and is very accommodating to those with wee ones. + Handy city-centre location - Décor looks a bit dated

Dovecot Café by Stag Espresso Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Old Town, EH1 1LT (Map 2B: A4, 12) , StagEspresso.com | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm; Sat 10am–5pm. Closed Sun. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £6 (lunch)

The bright, welcoming café within the Dovecot tapestry exhibition space is a happy discovery for tourists, local workers and art appreciators alike. Nestled within the former Infirmary Street swimming baths, it’s a spot well worth seeking out for its concise menu of interesting soups and sandwiches, bolstered by salads of feta, beetroot and edamame beans or falafel with shredded veg. Soup of the day might be a large bowl of celery and Stilton, the cheese scattered prettily on top, and there’s the option to partner the wholesome soup with a generous half-sandwich. There are always plenty of veggie choices and there’s enough variety to keep all but the fussiest happy. With a tempting display of cakes and tray bakes on the counter, this is a great spot to linger with a coffee of an afternoon, but equally a place for a quick bite of lunch, as service is slick and quick. + Wasabi cream cheese on a smoked salmon sandwich - They don’t accept cards so don’t forget to swing past a cash point first

Café Lucia Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street, Old Town, EH8 9FT (Map 2A: D4, 59) 0131 667 2765, festivaltheatre.org.uk | Mon–Fri noon– 2.30pm. Sat noon–2pm. Closed Sun. HW £18; Kids; Wh. £11 (lunch)

Drill Hall Arts Café

There’s a light Parisian motif to this eatery attached to the Festival Theatre (and associated with Nicholson Street’s Ten Hill Place Hotel). Long windows provide ample people-watching opportunities and the cheerful applered interior makes it a pleasant spot for pre- and post-show drinks. The menu features options of soups, sandwiches and filled baked potatoes. Along with omelettes made to order, the café tips its beret to Paris with a quartet of ‘croque’ sandwiches: monsieur, madame, Norwegian and vegetarian. On a more Scottish note, the café can also be set apart for its pie of the day option. Golden puff pastry layers encase a chicken, mushroom and spinach filling that is chunky, creamy and seasoned with tarragon. A chicken and bacon club sandwich arrives on thick toasted bread spread with pickle and homemade mayonnaise. Compared to the range of

The creative and community spirit of Out of the Blue Arts @ The Drill Hall reveals itself in the quirky and generously portioned dishes offered at the café. Set midway down Leith Walk, this thriving arts venue boasts studio and production space for artists and musicians, as well as ping-pong nights, a monthly flea market and regular acoustic music sessions. At the centre of the renovated army building is the café, which also functions as a catering training scheme for young chefs. The décor harks back to the 1970s with red vinyl chairs and flowered plastic table cloths. Along with a range of soups, sandwiches and tarts produced with an admirable number of locally sourced ingredients, there are a few affordably priced mains. A cheddartopped fish pie has a succulent filling of white fish, leeks and onions. A side of grilled vegetables dashed with balsamic vinegar also complements a large bowl of

16 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

34 Dalmeny Street, Leith, EH6 8RG (Map 5B: B3, 9) 0131 555 7100, outoftheblue. org.uk | Mon–Sat 10am–5pm. Closed Sun. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £8 (lunch)

Café Portrait: the National Portrait Gallery’s picturesque platefuls


ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

In association with

penne pasta tossed with chilli, fennel and spicy sausage. Raspberry ripple cake has a sweet cream cheese icing and the coffee is pleasantly strong. This is a place where big-hearted dishes are served in a funky atmosphere. + Appealing main dishes for a fiver or less - It can be chilly, although ponchos are available

EICA Café Edinburgh International Climbing Arena (EICA), Ratho, South Platt Hill, Newbridge, EH28 8AA See Around Edinburgh

Filmhouse Café Bar 88 Lothian Road, West End, EH3 9BZ (Map 4: C2, 32) 0131 229 5932, filmhousecinema.com | Mon–Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Fri 11am–11.30pm; Sat 11am–12.30am; Sun 12.30–11.30pm.] Veg; HW £13.75; Kids; Wh; T/A. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

An Edinburgh cultural institution, this independent cinema gem incorporates a popular café-bar, which enjoys the pleasant ebb and flow of cineastes, or those just out for a quick bite with friends or colleagues. Fast-moving and often busy, this is good-value grub presented in over-sized portions. An array of veggie staples includes hummus, vegetable lasagne and falafels. Meat-eaters are not left out, with choices like chilli con carne and a chicken dish of the day. A range of daily specials could include juicy cherry tomato and rocket pasta with crunchy garlic bread, and there are curries and nachos for all. Children are catered for too, with mini versions of dishes from the main menu. Choose from a wide selection of drinks – including more than 15 wines served by the glass, plus a host of draught beers and real ales, organic juices and hot drinks – and enjoy a spot of people-watching. + Offers much more than your average cinema fare - Menu could do with a revamp

The Forest Café 141 Lauriston Place, Tollcross, EH3 9JN See Vegetarian

4 The Fruitmarket Gallery Café Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Old Town, EH1 1DF (Map 2A: D2, 3) 0131 226 1843, fruitmarket.co.uk | Mon–Sat 11am–4.30pm; Sun noon–4.30pm. [Coffee & cakes: Mon–Sat 11am– 5.30pm; Sun noon–4pm]. Veg; HW £14.95; Kids; Wh. £13 (lunch)

Playing host to world-class work, the Fruitmarket Gallery is a well-regarded contemporary art venue incorporating a popular café and a terrific bookshop. One café wall displays past and present exhibition posters and, although tables are tightly packed, staff remain friendly and efficient. The inventive menu is updated regularly to reflect the current show and caters for all appetites and dietary preferences. Soups, platters, wraps and salads are created from seasonal produce, and the counter of homemade sweet treats is a beauty. The blackboard of daily specials might include a stunning puff pastry tartlet of field mushrooms with pea and mint purée on carrot and turnip mash, perhaps followed by a huge slice of courgette, cranberry and pistachio cake. Standards are high here and the delicious food keeps on coming. + Tasty and inventive food - Can be a race to grab a table

The Gateway Restaurant

4 HITLIST ARTS VENUES

4 Café Portrait Historic art meets modernised dishes in this eyecatching dining space.

New Zealand’s Most Awarded Wines

4 The Fruitmarket Gallery Café Terrific food from an inventive and tasty menu in this central gallery of world-class contemporary art. 4 The Scottish Café and Restaurant Real commitment to sourcing local and seasonal produce gives substance to an excellent menu. 4 Traverse Bar Café An

To find out more about Villa Maria in Scotland contact 01344 871800 or info@hatch.co.uk www.villamariaestate.co.uk

atmospheric café welcoming all ages with great bar food, delicious desserts and friendly staff.

Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, Inverleith, EH3 5LR (Map 1B: A1, off) 0131 552 2674, gatewayrestaurant.net | Mon– Sun 10am–5.15pm. Veg; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh. £13.95 (set lunch)

There’s a tranquil feel to the Gateway Restaurant located upstairs in the John Hope Gateway Centre, a biodiversity and information centre in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens. Set in a long, bright room, the lovely interior features leaf-green ceilings, solid wood furnishings and polished floors, which all complements the beautiful view of layered trees, uphill walkways and bright flowerbeds. The menu contains staple Scottish favourites over breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, a popular option among groups. For starters, curls of

KEY Veg = 25% of main courses are vegetarian. Pre = Pre-theatre menu. Post = Post-theatre menu. BYOB = Bring your own bottle (corkage charge in brackets). HW = House wine cost per bottle. Kids = Children’s portions served and other facilities available. Wh = Wheelchair access and disabled toilet. T/A = Takeaway food. D = Delivery. Price in bold = Average cost of a two-course evening meal for one. The price of a set lunch is shown; otherwise we show the average cost of a two-course lunch for one. For full explanations see page 4.

John Hope Gateway Centre, Royal The List Eating & Drinking Guide 17


ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

TABLE Talk DAVID HOWIE SCOTT HOWIES I opened my first Howies back in July 1990, but what many people don’t realise is that I actually sold the restaurants sixteen years later, in 2006. Then, in late 2011, I heard the group was in receivership. My gut reaction was, ‘I have to buy back them back.’ Howie is my middle name, so it was always going to be personal. Given the economic climate, people thought I was mad taking on the Waterloo and Victoria Street restaurants, but I opened the first restaurant during a recession and it worked then, so I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t again. The first decision I took was to strip things back to original core values – source great local produce, cook it fresh to order and serve it up with a smile, while offering a set-price lunch and dinner and an eclectic but well-priced wine list. That had been our ethos since day one but since then there’s been a major shift in dining habits. Now there’s far more choice and customers are more discerning with their cash. That’s why it’s important that Howies continues to be seen as synonymous with Scotland’s larder: organic lamb from Peelham Farm, game from Johnny Burnside, East Lothian lobsters, wild Glen Lyon venison, Iain Mellis cheese and fresh, sustainable fish. We have a brilliant team both front and back of house, who quickly realised we were putting our heart and soul into reviving Howies, and they’ve supported us throughout. It’s been tough and things haven’t always gone smoothly, but we all now believe the future is very bright indeed. With my name emblazoned over the door I was never going to let Howies disappear without a fight, and I’m glad I didn’t – more than twenty years on, I still absolutely love it. QDavid Howie Scott is the owner of Howies, with two branches in Edinburgh (see page 86).

18 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

GUIDES

smoked salmon are enlivened by drizzles of basil oil and spots of crème-fraîche. The delectable cock-a-leekie terrine is a blend of onions, chicken and garlic and is uplifted by spicy apple chutney. A beef burger of impressive size arrives on a thick oat bun with hand-cut chips. A dish of tagliatelle contains thick coins of chorizo and juicy prawns, but is let down by a rather bland tomato sauce. Thin and silky pancakes with raspberry compote are cheered up by dashes of nutmeg. It’s a picturesque place to linger over coffee after a strenuous walk round the gardens. + Impressive building and views - Views superior to cuisine

Henderson’s Vegetarian Restaurant 94 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DR See Vegetarian

Jupiter Artland Café Jupiter Artland, Wilkieston, EH27 8BB See Around Edinburgh

Loopy Lorna’s Tea House @ Church Hill Theatre Church Hill Theatre, 33a Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4DR (Map 3B: A2, 2) 0131 447 3042, loopylornas. com | Sun–Thu 9am–4.30pm; Fri/Sat 9am–4.30pm. Veg; HW £15; Kids; Wh; T/A. £8.50 (set lunch)

Hot pinks and dazzling purples dominate both the décor and the cake toppings at this child-friendly café. Named after the founder’s beloved mum, the cheerful establishment offers daytime favourites such as soups, sandwiches and quiches but with an emphasis on dainty cakes and speciality teas. A popular option is the decadent afternoon tea, where a tripletier cake stand comes laden with smoked salmon, ham and egg sandwiches, as well as mini scones, cream-topped tarts and truffles. There is also a two-course lunch option if afternoon tea is not your bag. A buttery onion tart flavoured with rosemary and thyme comes with hash browns, potato rösti and a green salad tossed with a mustard dressing. The cakes are cut in generous portions, an example being an orange sponge with a moist texture and delightfully sharp citrus icing. A member of the Tea Guild, the café’s devotion to tea is displayed in its speciality tea menu, with choices like the Oh My Masala Chai, a fragrant blend of Asian black teas. And the cute knitted tea cosies are the icing on the cake. + Ideal for mums and tea enthusiasts - Gluey potato rösti

Museum Brasserie National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town, EH1 1JF (Map 2A: C4, 42) 0131 247 4084, nms. ac.uk | Mon–Sun 10am–4.30pm. HW £15.95; Kids; Wh. £12 (lunch)

The National Museum of Scotland is a busy place. With free entry, acres of treasure-filled rooms to explore and proper consideration given to entertaining young people, the place is popular with school groups, tourists and children of all ages. The noise level is almost always turned up high, with joyful shrieks and laughter reverberating throughout the expansive atrium – and the brasserie, tucked away at the end of the ground-floor concourse but far from soundproofed, cannot escape this. Expectations duly managed, the brasserie makes a good option for a bite of lunch or restorative cuppa after exploring the museum’s many rooms. A concise menu of soup, burgers and club sandwiches includes a few options for the kids, and also features a well-considered board of Scottish cheeses. An attractive display of baked goods will prove temptation to many, but does not venture far from the

safe options of scones, carrot cake and millionaire’s shortbread. Smarter than your average tourist attraction dining experience, this is proper food served at your table by waiters in white shirts and aprons – and not a hot plate or self-service tray in sight. + Kids welcomed with open arms - Cakes not particularly exciting

St Giles’ Cathedral Café St Giles’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Town, EH1 1RE (Map 2A: C2, 11) 0131 225 5147, glenfinlas.com | Mon–Sat 9am–4pm; Sun 11am–5pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £9 (lunch)

With its small, keyhole-like windows, serene atmosphere and sweet treats, this café is a favourite with tourists and professionals working along the Royal Mile. Situated below the cathedral, the simple white interior has small tables located in two adjoining narrow rooms. There’s no music, but guests can sometimes hear strains from the choir practising upstairs. The menu is kid-friendly and similar to its sister café at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Breakfast rolls, soups, hot dishes, platters, deli sandwiches and the café’s signature stovies make up the light menu. A creamy broccoli soup is flavoured with stilton and arrives with plump slices of oat bread. Stuffed with roast vegetables, the savoury tart of the day arrives with appetising Greek salad and balsamicdrizzled green leaves. One trusty option is the ploughman’s sandwich on toasted bread for its sweet honeyed ham, melted cheese and crisp slices of apple. Sweet options include scones, fruit tarts, shortbread and various tray bakes. A tranquil place to escape the bustling crowds on the Royal Mile. + Crumbly rhubarb tart - Rather dull house salad

4

The Scottish Café

National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, City Centre, EH2 2EL (Map 2A: B1, 1) 0131 226 6524, thescottishcafeandrestaurant.com | Mon–Wed, Fri/Sat 9am–5.30pm; Thu 9am–7pm; Sun 10am–5.30pm. Veg; HW £16.45; Kids; Wh. £16 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Nestled in the basement of the National Gallery of Scotland, the Scottish Café and Restaurant exudes professionalism from start to finish. Husband and wife team Victor and Carina Contini run a tight ship for a good mix of tourists and locals. Smart staff and efficient table service provide a touch of class, and the fine menus offer plenty of choice. While the restaurant serves more substantial fare (see the Scottish section for a separate entry), the café offers some lighter options along the lines of sharing platters, sandwiches, soups and homemade pâtés. Produce and ingredients are predominantly Scotlandsourced: traditional Aberdeen butteries come topped with Lanark blue cheese or Edinburgh-smoked bacon. Fragrant, fleshy olives in salads and delicious aromatic coffee add some expert touches to the dining experience and, to top it all, there’s a charming display of cakes to choose from. + Seasonal produce, locally sourced - Book ahead to avoid disappointment

The Stand 5 York Place, New Town, EH1 3EB (Map 1B: B5, 43) 0131 558 7272, thestand. co.uk | Thu 7.30–8.30pm; Fri/Sat 7–8.30pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm. [No food Mon–Wed]. Veg; HW £13.95; Kids (except Sun lunch). £7 (one course lunch) / £7 (one course dinner)

There’s an atmosphere of survival in the bunker-like Stand comedy club,

located below ground on York Place. Surrealist paintings of comedians on the walls have a ghostly effect, but the atmosphere is energetic and friendly. Space is tight and it’s absolutely essential that club-goers come early to grab a seat. If you’re lucky you might get a table, though the tables’ proximity to the stage can leave you at the mercy of comedians. For the less brave, there are rows of chairs near the back of the room. The menu’s pub grub suits the surroundings and several customers arrive early to tuck in. Chilli, burgers and haggis dishes are up for grabs and vegetarians are not forgotten: there’s a chef’s salad and pesto pasta. A well-seasoned chicken fajita wrap is enlivened by fresh tomato salsa and crispy potato wedges on the side. Smothered in cheese, sour cream and salsa, the generously portioned nachos plate is ideal for sharing. The staff are very organised, locating stray chairs and delivering your food order. This is a good place for a boisterous night out. + Great service - Squabbles over seats

The Storytelling Café Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 High Street, Old Town, EH1 1SR (Map 2B: A2, 5) 0131 556 1229, scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk | Mon–Sat 10am–5pm. (Jul–Sep also Sun noon–5pm.) HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £10 (lunch)

The best seat in the Storytelling Café is by the horizontal window overlooking the Royal Mile. With a mid-size theatre on the premises and an emphasis on history and oral tradition, this multigenre venue offers crafts and storytelling workshops as well as dance, literature and theatre events, all of which peaks during Festival time. The café is to the side of an exhibition space and its sturdy wooden tables and chairs evoke a cosy atmosphere. One might expect bold and colourful dishes on the menu since this is a place of storytelling, but the reality is fairly muted. Alongside a kids’ menu and a changing daily special, the café features mainly cold dishes such as salads, deli sandwiches and a few mezze platters. The café aims to set itself apart from the pack with on-premises baking, resulting in a wide selection of tarts, brownies and biscuits complemented by a strong Americano. This all makes for a good stopping point on the tourist trail although the menu is rather limited. + Custard tarts - There is only one, non-vegetarian lunch special

Terrace Café Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith Row, Inverleith, EH3 5LR (Map 1B: A1, off) 0131 552 0606, rbge.co.uk | Mar–Sep: 10am–5.15pm. Nov–Jan: 10am–3.15pm. Feb & Oct: 10am–4.15pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £10 (lunch)

The hilltop Terrace Café in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens has an unparalleled view of the city’s skyline. The inviting outdoor tables make it an obvious place for an alfresco lunch in fine weather. Inside, small tables are placed near long windows and the walls are a cheerful green and white. This café is ideal for kids and families and there is a busy play area in the centre. A self-serve buffet bar offers a selection of hot main dishes, vegetarian soups and bagged sandwiches, as well as a tempting selection of baked goods in the corner. The food is hearty, simple and fresh and perhaps ideal after a long stroll around the gardens. An individual shepherd’s pie has a creamy mash top and layers of roast vegetables and beef in a thyme-spiked tomato sauce. Wild


ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS

In association with

mushroom soup has a grainy texture and spicy taste. A deconstructed banoffee pie has an appealing caramel and banana filling and a cute swirl of whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles on top. This is an informal and kid-friendly counterpart to the gardens’ sister outlet, the Gateway Restaurant. + Excellent coffee and desserts - Can get noisy with kids and families

Tower Restaurant National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town, EH1 1JF See Scottish

4

Traverse Bar Café

10 Cambridge Street, West End, EH1 2ED (Map 4: C1, 27) 0131 228 5383, traverse.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am–2.30pm; Sat 11am–8pm. Closed Sun. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri/Sat 11am– 1am. Closed Sun.] Veg; HW £11; Kids; Wh; T/A. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Happy birthday to the Traverse Theatre. In 2013 the venue celebrates its Golden Jubilee and to mark the occasion its fondly regarded basement bar/café has an updated menu. Fried sea bass with crushed new potatoes, or tagliatelle with mushrooms, chestnuts and radicchio are added to such popular staples as soups, haggis (veggie and non) and nachos. Well-executed meals include a stand-out ale-battered fish and chips and Crombie’s steak burger with onion rings and fries. Food is served all day, from breakfast to light bites, lunch and late options. Though small in number, the dessert choices have a secret weapon in the form of the outrageously tasty warm blondie and Luca’s ice-cream. It’s a draw for a mixed crowd of theatre-goers, office workers and regulars – and with its large open space and kids’ menu, this place can be great for children, too. Long may it continue. + Reliably good nosh - Bit tatty round the edges

Zucca 15–17 Grindlay Street, West End, EH3 9AX See Italian

BARS & PUBS Some claim that Edinburgh has more bars per square mile than any other city in Europe, and – while that might be down to the relative size of the city centre as much as the proliferation of bars – there’s certainly strength in diversity here. From old man’s boozers of the Old Town to the sleek pre-club bars of the New Town and George Street area – not to mention the wealth of individual locals springing up on Leith Walk and down by the Shore, The List’s favourite bars and pubs have been chosen by our writers according to the areas they know best. We drink – and, increasingly, eat – there, and we think you should too. Reviewers: Doug Bond, Brian Donaldson, Rob Fletcher, Miranda Heggie, Sandy Neil, David Pollock

The Abbotsford 3 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 2PR (Map 1B: A6, 51) 0131 225 5276, theabbotsford.com | Mon–Sat noon– 10pm; Sun 12.30–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri/Sat 11am– midnight; Sun 12.30–11pm.] HW £12.95; Kids. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The kind of classic if somewhat oldfashioned pub visitors expect to find in the heart of Edinburgh, the Abbotsford benefits from an impressive range of around 70 whiskies and half a dozen guest ales served from a vintage central circle bar, with open tables around the edge of the room helping to foster a convivial, chatty atmosphere. A wellworn haunt of older regulars on a day out in the city or having a pint with lunch, it’s also a no-frills lunch option serving pub classics including battered haddock and chips and steak and ale pie, although more ambitious mains like the tender pork loin alongside a limp slice of black

Swedish bars

4 HITLIST BARS & PUBS

4 The Bon Vivant Offering the fine art of refined drinking, complete with terrific snacks, shares and suppers. 4 Bond No.9 A contemporary Leith bar that does both drinks and dining very well, without charging the earth for either. 4 The Hanging Bat Flying the flag for the craft beer revolution and its accompanying ‘dirty food’ trend. 4 Hemma Quirky, vintage styling in an unwieldy space with imaginative cocktail combinations and good grub.

Hemma & Joseph Pearces are perfect family venues, serving tasty home cooked and wholesome meals for the whole family. Hemma can hold private functions for up to 130 people in the mezzanine area.

4 The Holyrood 9a Great beers and ales, terrific burgers and tasteful, muted surroundings.

Pet dogs are welcome too.

4 The King’s Wark A go-to for consistently excellent pub, with a worthy ethos for utilising less favoured cuts.

Hemma

4 Nobles A loveable piece of maritime Victoriana down in Leith with good food and its own IPA.

75 Holyrood Road 0131 629 33 27

4 The Roseleaf A people’s pub that’s not afraid to do it differently, from teapot cocktails to quirky dishes. 4 The Vintage Taking Edinburgh’s bar scene by storm, with craft ales and charcuterie allsorts in a classy setting. pudding and a fridge-cold pear chutney seem out of place in such a resolutely old-school establishment. The more dining focussed Above Abbotsford on the first floor has a separate entrance around the corner. + A no-frills traditional pub with good beer and whisky choices - Steer away from the more exotic and overly ambitious meals

Joeseph Pearce 23 Elm Row 0131 556 4140

Above Abbotsford 3–5 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 2PR See Scottish

Amicus Apple 17 Frederick Street, New Town, EH2 2EY (Map 1A: C5, 62) 0131 226 6055, amicusapple.com | Mon–Sat noon–9pm; Sun noon–7pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] Veg; HW £14.95; Kids (under 6). £16.50 (lunch) / £16.50 (dinner)

The Stand: you’ll be having a laugh with the generously portioned nachos

Like most bars in the commercial heart of the New Town, this informal restaurant and trendy cocktail spot has to balance the needs of a varied crowd with a veneer of stylish desirability at all times. The food is not bad, although perhaps the victim of typical overpricing in the area. At under a tenner the Asian chicken katsu or New York deli sandwich might represent best value, while the Korean-

bodabar.com

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 19


BARS & PUBS

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

GUIDES

style duck breast with ramen noodles is a little bland – but the £5 weekday lunch choices, including Caesar salad or a club sandwich, have a lot going for them. With an impressive cocktail list, and a hint of designer aloofness at all times, this semi-subterranean bar comes into its own as a central pre-club destination at the weekend. + One of the better choices in the heart of the city - Excels more as a cocktail bar than as a restaurant

It’s clearly a winning formula, as peelywally Edinburghers have long sought refuge from the grey cobbles amongst the bar’s lurid hues. Now under new ownership, however, there are signs of changes creeping in, and Honolulu’s tailors must be wringing their hands, for even the trademark shirts have become optional attire. Nevertheless, it retains most of its core values, with a good pub menu supplemented by a wide selection of Mexican classics, and their ability to mix a mean Margarita is still indisputable. + Supremely unpretentious - A sense of a slight identity crisis

The Auld Hoose 23–25 St Leonards Street, Southside, EH8 9QN (Map 3C: E1, 7) 0131 668 2934, theauldhoose.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–9.30pm; Sun 12.30–8pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon–12.45am; Sun 12.30pm–12.45am.] HW £13; Kids. £11.50 (lunch) / £11.50 (dinner)

With its classic interiors and traditional pub front, one could be forgiven for mistaking the Auld Hoose as a run-ofthe-mill, slightly antiquated boozer. But with a jukebox featuring the best of goth, punk and metal music, and being a meeting place for some of Edinburgh’s more off-the-wall groups and societies, the Auld Hoose pulls in a more alternative crowd. When it comes to food, portion size is definitely a priority here: the menu describes the nachos as ‘probably the biggest in Edinburgh’. Sure enough, a gravity-defying plateful arrives piled high with chilli, cheese and salsa, alongside a colossal chicken burrito. The uncomplicated, unfussy menu offers good-value pub fare, guaranteed to satisfy even the most voracious of appetites, and all can be washed down with one of the extensive selection of guest real ales and craft beers. + Incredibly helpful and friendly bar staff - Can be tricky to find a seat

The Balmoral Bar Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town, EH2 2EQ (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 524 7100, thebalmoralhotel.com | Mon–Sun 1–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] HW £24.50; Kids; Wh. £22.50 (lunch) / £22.50 (dinner)

With its sumptuous velvet and soft tweed furnishing, the Balmoral Bar provides a slice of Scottish country-house elegance in the heart of the city, giving locals and tourists alike a chance to sample one of Edinburgh’s finest institutions. Although a light bar menu is available, the focus here is predominantly on the drinks. The cocktail tasting menu is an entertaining way to witness the bartenders’ creative flair, with four ‘courses’ of bespoke liquid creations. If martinis are your thing, there’s a wide range of gins and vodkas to tempt you, along with some interesting variants on the classic cocktail. Whiskies feature heavily on the menu too, though some lesser-known distilleries would be welcome among the favourites on offer. + A touch of class for a special occasion - Music a bit too upbeat for such a relaxed setting

Bar Kohl 54 George IV Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1EJ (Map 2A: C3, 49) 0131 225 6936, barkohl.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–9.30pm; Sun 12.30–9.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] HW £13.90; Kids; Wh. £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Despite new owners and a bit of a revamp in 2009 it remains business as usual with Bar Kohl continuing to serve over 50 flavours of vodka, as it has done since first opening in 1993. Exposed brick 20 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Bees 21 Candlemaker Row, Old Town, EH1 2QG See Cafés

The Bellevue 49–51 London Street, New Town, EH3 6LX (Map 1B: C4, 15) 0131 556 9808 | Mon–Sun 11am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon– Sun 11am–1am.] £10 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The Vintage (page 33): this Leith bar is perfect for drinking in its first year

walls, chalk boards and standard wooden pub tables no longer make it the most stylish place in town but let you enjoy your drink without being distracted by designer frippery. A recently introduced food menu features a mix of burgers, bagels and nachos while the wide range of decent cocktails and shooters tend to focus on fun rather than sophistication. Mixing Kola Kube vodka with cola in an Old Skool cocktail reveals a reassuring lack of preciousness. It is also a pretty good drink, the addition of lemon sours balancing the trashy sweetness. + A good choice for fun cocktails - Less so for cutting-edge sophistication

Bar Soba 104 Hanover Street, City Centre, EH2 1DR See Far East

Bar 50 50 Blackfriars Street, Old Town, EH1 1NE (Map 2B: A3, 11) 0131 524 3252, smartcityhostels.com | Mon–Sun 8am–10pm. [Bar open: Sun–Thu 9am– midnight; Fri/Sat 9am–1am.] HW £12.95; Wh; T/A. £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

Situated in among the pubs and clubs of the Cowgate, Bar 50 is an ideal place for students and backpackers to relax over a pint and a game of pool during the day, or kick start a great night out on a budget. With large pitchers of cocktails for under a tenner, cheap pints and great value food to line your stomach, a session here certainly won’t break the bank. During the day and early evening, Bar 50 tends to be quieter and, it being part of a youth hostel, children and teenagers are welcome, and a high chair is available on request, providing a convenient pit-stop for holidaying families. An uncomplicated, unpretentious venue, Bar 50 is great for fans of the no-frills approach. + Excellent value for money - Lacking in ambience

Bar Missoni 1 George IV Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1AD (Map 2A: C3, 16) 0131 220 6666, hotelmissoni.com | Mon–Sun 12.30–8pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 10am–1am.] Veg; HW £19.50; Kids; Wh. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

A bar belonging to a fashion house will almost by definition be intimidatingly stylish: there cannot be many bars where the cocktail menu varies according to the colours and themes of the current fashion season. Nonetheless, the staff appear to be courteous and welcoming without fail, making for a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere in spite of the high design interior featuring Missoni’s signature colourful geometric prints. A similar professionalism results in very good renditions of both classic and modern cocktails. The odd lapse mars some of the more creative dishes but basics such as excellent green olives and fried courgettes provide superior nibbles and there is a selection of intensely flavoured and notably creamy ice-creams to round things off. + Stylish without being snooty - Striking design probably best avoided when hungover

Barioja 15–19 Jeffrey Street, Old Town, EH1 1DR See Spanish

The Basement Bar and Restaurant 10–12a Broughton Street, EH1 3RH (Map 1B: C5, 30) 0131 557 0097, thebasement. org.uk | Mon–Fri noon–10.30pm; Sat/ Sun 12.30–10.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Veg; HW £13.75. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Given its neon signage and the staff’s long-standing penchant for Hawaiian shirts, the Basement has never been a byword for subtlety and sophistication, but instead is a slightly ironic slice of Miami teleported into a Scottish cellar.

The Bellevue name has returned to its former site on the corner of Broughton Street and London Road after 12 years as Mezz. The décor won’t win any originality awards: in contemporary pub style there’s some exposed brick here, chunky wooden tables there, with chalkboards offering room for staff expression, but it’s well executed for all that. The menu has a comfortable, slightly retro feel, and is written in a fun, knowing way – advertising the likes of ‘Yesterday’s soup of the day’ and ‘Salt’n’Shake Whitebait’. The promised cask and independent ales are currently thin on the ground, with only Deuchars and West 4 fitting the bill, but a wider selection is hinted at in the future. + A good local pub with homely food - More local beers on tap would be welcome

The Birdcage Stuart House, Eskmills, Station Road, EH21 7PQ See Bistros & Brasseries

The Blackbird 37–39 Leven Street, Tollcross, EH3 9LH (Map 3A: B2, 17) 0131 228 2280, theblackbirdedinburgh.co.uk | Mon– Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 10am–1am.] HW £12.95; Kids. £12 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The orange bicycle riding high above the door would tell anyone who has been away from Leven Street for a while that the Auld Toll is no more and The Blackbird has taken flight. This gastro-influenced bar has a bright, contemporary interior which matches the sunny disposition of the staff, meaning you could spend too much time staring at your surroundings and not paying enough attention to the menu. And that would be a shame as The Blackbird’s offerings are a pure delight. Starters such as crispy fish-cakes and wild mushrooms on toast set things up nicely for main events like roast pumpkin, coconut and chickpea curry, pan-fried halibut fillet and a braised Scottish lamb shank. The banoffee pie and braised rhubarb crumble are worth a go and it would almost be rude not to try a dessert cocktail such as the cranberry and ginger smash or the winter Manhattan. + An innovative venue and menu - Gets a little chilly by the door

Blackfriars 57–61 Blackfriars Street, Old Town, EH1 1NB See Bistros & Brasseries


BARS & PUBS

In association with

The Blue Blazer 2 Spittal Street, West End, EH3 9DX (Map 4: D2, 41) 0131 229 5030 | Mon–Sat 11am–12.30am; Sun 12.30pm–12.30am. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11am–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Veg; HW £12.90; Kids.

A traditional pub that is as comfortable as an old pair of jeans and also as frayed around the edges. The tables might be scratched, the walls worn and food limited to toasties, but this is all part of the charm and it is to be hoped that nobody tries to change it. There is more than just character here, with one of Edinburgh’s most extensive and fairly priced selections of rum. The staff will guide novices through the 70-odd bottles on offer, or you could choose one of the seven cask ales, mostly from Scottish breweries. There are also around 50 whiskies and a good selection of gin but the best thing about the Blazer is just how comfortable and relaxed it feels, with art students, old regulars and everyone in between bumping along quite happily. + Easy-going atmosphere - Rather scary toilets

The Blue Goose Country Pub 27 Lanark Road, EH14 1TG (Map 4: A4, off) 0131 629 4143, thebluegoosecountrypub.co.uk | Mon– Sun noon–3pm, 6–9pm (restaurant); noon–8pm (bar). [Bar open: Sun–Thu noon–11pm, Fri/Sat noon–1am.] HW £16.95; Kids (until 7pm); Wh. £9.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Although strictly speaking not in the countryside, The Blue Goose Country Pub, with its large, comfy armchairs and roaring stove fireplace could easily trick diners into thinking their surroundings are more scenic than just off the Lanark Road. In some ways the pub resembles a Chinese restaurant with scattered Oriental memorabilia, yet bizarrely the only deviation the menu takes from standard British pub fare is a Spanish tapas section. Dishes on offer are pleasant, but don’t show a great deal of culinary flair. Though the food can be somewhat underwhelming, the Blue Goose Country Pub makes for a pleasurable drinking spot with a quirky yet relaxed vibe. + Good views from outside seating - Aspects of the interior tired

Boda Bar 229 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8NY (Map 5B: A2, 2) 0131 553 5900, bodabar.com | Bar open: Mon–Fri 2pm–1am; Sat noon–1am; Sun 1pm–midnight. HW £13.30; Kids (after 5pm).

Other than the elk antlers adorning one wall and a few intriguingly flavoured Scandinavian ciders in the fridge, there are few obvious signs that this bar takes its inspiration from Sweden, even though it has since spawned a veritable Viking invasion of Leith. Decorated in a decidedly miscellaneous manner – with a large paper shark patrolling the airspace above the Jägermeister, and a scatter of seats that resemble fairytale toadstools – its style is decidedly hard to pin down. Not that this matters, as Boda is a laidback yet lively place to hang out with Leith’s hipsters, enjoy Black Isle Blonde on tap and, perhaps, experience some novelty shots – even the first coffee tequila tastes a good deal better than it should. + Oddball Scandinavian charm - More alluring after dark

4

The Bon Vivant

• 55 Thistle Street, New Town, EH2 1DY (Map 1A: D4, 74) 0131 225 3275, bonvivantedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.]

Veg; HW £18. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner) • 4–6 Dean Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LW (Map 1A: A1, 6) 0131 315 3311, bonvivantedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] Kids (under 5). £9 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

With its elegant yet relaxed atmosphere on the back streets of the central New Town, the Bon Vivant provides a fitting venue for most occasions from cocktails to a three-course dinner. Although the current cocktail list is only a glimpse of what is to come, the bar offers a splendid array of expertly mixed liquid concoctions. The wine list is just as exciting, and if one of their 42 wines by the glass doesn’t tempt you, there’s always the option of bringing in a bottle from their next-door sister shop, the Bon Vivant’s Companion. The innovative food menu changes daily, mixing bite-sized starters and desserts starting from £1 alongside fullsized mains featuring pork belly, lamb rump and similar modern British pub staples. Down the hill in Stockbridge a second branch of Bon Vivant arrived in 2012. It follows a similar path giving a modern facelift to a traditional style pub featuring a good selection of wine and champagne by the glass alongside a couple of cask ales and a similar menu to Thistle Street. + Expertly constructed dishes are a far cry from your usual pub grub - Can get a bit too noisy in town (and yet and a bit too quiet in Stockbridge)

4

Bond No. 9

84 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6LX (Map 5A: B1, 5) 0131 555 5578, bondno9.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] Veg; HW £15.50; Kids; Wh. £13.50 (lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

Decidedly far from the beaten track unless you happen to live or work locally or are moving on from a nearby Michelin-starred restaurant, the spacious Bond No.9 – housed within an old whisky bond – is hard to find fault with and easy to celebrate. Assisted by informal but impeccably friendly service, the two main sides of the business come together with a fine polish. As a cocktail bar it offers a menu which is expansive, well-prepared and high quality without being elitist in price or language, while the food is uncharacteristically excellent for a bar which does drinks so well. Starters include simple but effective Thai fish soup or pulled-pork wontons, for example, while a tender confit orange duck leg is served with a flourish, sporting two celeriac garnishes and some not overpowering caramelised plums. Brunch is also served at the weekend. + A near-perfect harmony of affordable food and drink - A distant destination for most in the city

Nobles

cafe bar & venue

PROPER EATS for FOODIES SEASONAL MENU & DAILY SPECIALS ARTISAN BEERS WINES & SPIRITS Plus KICK ASS COFFEE

0131 6297215 www.noblesbarleith.co.uk | facebook.com/noblesbarleith

The Bow Bar 80 West Bow, Victoria Street, Old Town, EH1 2HH (Map 2A: B3, 21) 0131 226 7667 | Mon–Sat noon–2pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon–midnight; Sun noon–11pm.] HW £14.95; Kids.

The house beer may change, and they are experimenting with ageing their own whisky in cask, otherwise it’s business as usual at this stalwart Edinburgh pub. There is no TV or music here, and only two wines are available: one red and one white. What there is, however, is a selection of over 230 malts, plus eight cask and five keg beers, 40 or so bottled beers from around the world and about 20 different gins. There is no shortage The List Eating & Drinking Guide 21


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EDINBURGH

GUIDES

Café Voltaire

of knowledge around, with a number of Heriot Watt University’s brewing and distilling students regularly found working or drinking in here. Fresh pies from Findlays of Portobello are available each day for just £2, and at lunchtime soup comes from the Grain Store restaurant across the road. It might not be fancy, but for a pint and a chat this is one of the city’s finest pubs. + For cask ale and whisky this is one of the very best in town - Not the place to come for cocktails and dancing

36–38 Blair Street, Old Town, EH1 1QR (Map 2A: D3, 53) 0131 247 4704, thecabaretvoltaire.com | Mon–Thu 6pm–3am; Fri 4pm–3am; Sat noon–3am; Sun 2pm–3am. Veg; HW £13.95; Wh; T/A. £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

Combining Old Town cellar with deliberately worn industrial touches, this is one of the city centre’s better looking bars. Combed stones walls and low lighting make for an atmospherically louche hangout slightly at odds with the pumping bass on the sound system – although in fairness the music is generally pretty good and at a level that provides pre-club atmosphere without drowning conversation. Cocktails are of the student party variety, as epitomised by a Cowgate Stumbler incorporating no less than four types of rum. Similarly there is Red Stripe on tap and Pabst Blue Ribbon in bottles to keep the hipster kids happy, alongside a couple of decent beers for the grown-ups. Good-sized bookable booths and freshly made pizzas served right up until closing time (with regular 2-for-1 offers before 8pm) make this a useful all-night venue, especially for larger groups. + Attractive and relaxed space . . . - . . . which is at odds with the choice of drinks and some of the punters

Bramble 16a Queen Street, New Town, EH2 1JE (Map 1A: D4, 82) 0131 226 6343, bramblebar.co.uk | Bar open: Mon–Sun 4pm–1am. HW £14; Kids.

To say this is the finest cocktail bar in Edinburgh is a bold statement, but it’s definitely among the favourites. The simple layout is the definition of underground class: basement location, vault-like nooks with bed and bunk seating, simple whitewashed walls lit by a soft candle glow – although the sense it doesn’t take itself too seriously is balanced by the realisation that it gets everything just right. The atmosphere is laid-back but clubby through the week and a good deal livelier at weekends (DJs play sophisticated house and acid jazz on Friday and Saturday), while the cocktails served by friendly, calm and highly efficient staff are exquisite, including a crisp and refreshing signature Bramble and the violet-tinged Purple Bird. + Great atmosphere and wonderful cocktails - Take lots of money

Locally Sourced Seasonal Menu Scotland’s Best Gourmet Burger Menu Acoustic music sets Beer garden Cocktails, Wines and Real Beers

The Caley Sample Room The Scran & Scallie (page 30): bothy culture meets cheffy pub

The Brass Monkey • 14 Drummond Street, EH8 9TU (Map 2B: A4, 14) 0131 556 1961 | Mon–Sat 11–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Veg; HW £9; Kids; T/A. £3.75 (set lunch) / £3.75 (set dinner) • 362 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 5BR (Map 5B: A3, 13) 0131 554 5286 | Mon–Fri noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Sat noon–10pm; Sun noon–8pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] Veg; HW £9.50; Kids. £3.50 (set lunch) / £8.50 (dinner)

There are plenty of things a pub will put on to help attract the punters: quiz nights, TV sport, DJs, knitting circles. Only the Brass Monkey, tucked along Drummond Street, does films. Which gives it a bit of a cult following, particularly among students, even if they’re not necessarily packing out the lounge at the back for the daily 3pm showing of silver screen classics. It’s an easy enough pub to like, with its predominance of leather and wood, a gas fire, some cosy nooks, guest ales and a simple food offer of hearty, nofrills soup and ‘manwich’ (priced at £4, or £6 with a pint). There’s also a Leith Walk version of the Monkey with its own big screen, dartboard, quiz and a broader food offer including pizzas and burgers. + A pub showing movies. A first class honours degree in film studies beckons - Food’s limited

BrewDog Edinburgh 143–145 Cowgate, Old Town, EH1 1JS (Map 2A: D3, 50) 0131 220 6517, brewdog. com/bars/edinburgh | Mon–Sat noon– 10pm; Sun 12.30–10pm. [Bar open: Mon– Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] HW £14; Wh. £8 (one course lunch) / £8 (one course dinner)

Lebowskis Edinburgh 0131 466 1779 hello-edinburgh@lebowskis.com Lebowskis Glasgow 0141 564 7988 hello-westend@lebowskis.com

22 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The industrial metal interior is suitably on trend for the Edinburgh outpost of this headline-grabbing brewery. More radical though is the proud proclamation of ‘no football, shots or Stella’. A bar that sees serving good beer as its primary function is still something of an anomaly in this part of town, and with 90 or so different bottled beers and 12 on draught, you can’t fault them for effort. It’s not just their

own BrewDog beers either: there’s an admirable selection of cult international, and increasingly local craft beers both in bottle and on draught. Many of them pack mighty alcohol levels and subsequently come in half or third of a pint measures. Likewise, some of the ultra-expensive beers are available in small measures at more wallet-friendly prices. A short, regularly changing list of surprisingly good pizzas features quirky toppings, such as nachos or pulled pork, assembled on top of excellent crisp bases. + Large selection of unusual beers - Not the place for a casual pint

Café Royal Circle Bar 19 West Register Street, New Town, EH2 2AA (Map 1B: B6, 55) 0131 556 1884 | Mon–Sat 11am–10pm; Sun 12.30–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Wed 11am–11pm; Thu 11am–midnight; Fri/Sat 11am–1am; Sun 12.30–11pm.] HW £14.95; Kids. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Opened in 1863 with the contemporary style of elegant Parisian hostelries in mind, and formerly housed in a forty-years-older building (now demolished) across the way, the Café Royal Circle Bar’s aesthetic of murals, marble, wood panelling and long, curved, leather-upholstered booths makes it by far one of the most eye-catching pubs in the city. The central island bar helps arrange the room in such a manner as breeds conviviality, while seven cask ales and twenty-eight whiskies (all categorised in an impressively detailed menu) assist in loosening the tongues of drinkers who stop off here after work. The food is decent pub fare at fairly high-end prices, including fish and chips, sirloin steak and macaroni cheese, although oysters, mussels and a seafood platter from the restaurant next door add an extra dimension. + The winning aesthetic of Victoriana with a continental touch - Awkward booth seating arrangements

Café Royal Oyster Bar 19a West Register Street, New Town, EH2 2AA See Fish

42–58 Angle Park Terrace, West End, EH11 2JR (Map 4: B4, off) 0131 337 7204, thecaleysampleroom.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–10pm; Sat/Sun 11am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu noon–midnight; Fri noon–1am; Sat 11am–1am; Sun 11am– midnight.] Veg; HW £15.75; Kids; Wh. £10 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This building used to house nearby Caledonian Brewery’s beer tasting warehouse, but now the world’s IPAs, porters, pale ales and pilsners fill the tankards, including 50 craft beers and eight Scottish casks. The saloon splits equally into a bar and diner, and a classic menu promises muscular flavours to punch an equal weight against robust beers: steak, stout and shallot pie, and burgers from the same house as Wannaburger. Stornoway black pudding salad is freshly cut by sharp apple, bitter chicory and peppery rocket, but the slowcooked rabbit and celeriac stew verges on the watery side. Staff cope spiritedly on busy nights, but the Caley would be more worth the trip if they showed the same care for the food as they do the beer. + Chocolate stout ‘sweet dessert beer’ from New York - The food can be hit or miss

The Cambridge Bar 20 Young Street, New Town, EH2 4JB (Map 1A: B4, 42) 0131 226 2120, thecambridgebar.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–9.45pm. [Bar open: Sun–Wed noon–11pm; Thu noon–midnight; Fri/Sat noon–1am.] Veg; HW £14.95; Wh; T/A. £11.50 (lunch) / £11.50 (dinner)

Recently taken over and in the midst of a gradual improvement process at the time of writing, the Cambridge lives somewhat in the shadow of its more famed counterpart the Oxford along the road, simply by dint of not being mentioned in a best-selling crime series. It works hard to make up the reputational difference though, with a friendly back-alley boozer atmosphere set off by mismatched reclaimed furniture and an impressive selection of 35 international bottled and draught beers, as well as a regularly changing guest ale. Food options are based around their satisfying signature homemade burgers (beef, chicken or bean), with heaped toppings extending


BARS & PUBS

In association with

EDINBURGH from the fashionable chilli, blue cheese or Cajun-spiced to the frankly brave fried breakfast or fajita. + Beer and burgers done well - Some of the furniture’s a bit rickety

Candy Kitchen & Bar 113–115 George Street, New Town, EH2 4JN (Map 1A: B5, 49) 0131 225 9179, candybaredinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–9pm; Fri–Sun noon–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] HW £17.95; Kids (under 5). £6 (set lunch) / £8 (dinner)

A stalwart of the high-falutin’ George Street bar scene, Candy Bar & Kitchen deserves credit for staying on its toes and not descending to the level of upscale meat market like so many around it. Set in a slender L-shaped basement room with plenty of seating below street level outside, it offers friendly service and a range of staples that one might come to expect from a bar in this location: a good selection of draft and bottled beers, mixed sharing pitchers of alcohol and a food menu which offers precisely what you might expect before or during an evening out with drink and friends. The ‘everything under a fiver’ menu includes burgers, salads, fajitas and some tapas-style smaller bites, all of a decent if unremarkable standard, but it’s the impressive list of bespoke Candy cocktails that really stands out. + A stand-out in an area populated with unimaginative bars - The food deal is good, but you get what you pay for

The Canon’s Gait 232 Canongate, Old Town, EH8 8DQ (Map 2B: B3, 27) 0131 556 4481, canonsgait.com | Mon–Sat noon–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu noon–midnight; Fri/ Sat noon–1am.] HW £12.95. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Royal Mile isn’t short on pubs, so you’ve got to do something to mark yourself out. In the case of the Canon’s Gait, part of the DM Stewart group

that also runs the venerable Abbotsford and Guildford Arms in the New Town, various points of engagement are offered. Primarily there’s the real ale, with cask beer from progressive Scottish breweries such as Stewart and Highland Brewing across up to six hand-pulls. Folk music warms the place up on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and less conventionally it offers hi-fi as well as wi-fi with a record player and a pile of LPs in one corner along with an open invitation to spin some tunes. From day-to-day, however, it’s a quietish pub in a fairly featureless room without booths, banquettes or sofas to break up the room and vary the seating options. The menu has certain ambition, and daily specials liven things a little with a smooth smoked haddock, sweet potato and spring onion soup or a venison casserole among the fish and chips, burgers and chicken balmoral. + Good local ales - TV dominating on a slow day

Carriers Quarters 42 Bernard Street, Leith, EH6 6PR (Map 5A: D1, 25) 0131 554 4122, carriersquarters.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon– 2pm; Sat/Sun 11am–1pm. HW £11.15; Kids. £4 (set lunch)

Deservedly proud of their renowned steak pie, this classic pub (the oldest unaltered one in Leith, dating back to 1785) does a very fine line in simple, hearty pub grub. Alongside the steak pie, which comes with a thick and very rich Belhaven Best gravy, they also serve up a heaped plate of haggis, neeps and tatties as well as toasties, paninis and baked potatoes from a hatch in the front bar, all at very reasonable prices. For non-diners it’s also a welcoming, unpretentious drinking stop, with an unfussy front room and a cosy snug adorned with framed beer ads on bare brick walls and a woodburning stove, and there is live music on Thursdays and Sundays. + The steak pie - The pies run out quickly when it’s busy

Beer is now the only religion left in Cloisters: a dark sanctum of guest cask ales, and a shrine to craft beer bottles from Alloa to Australia. And lo, all else was sacrificed to the holy trinity of malt, yeast and hops. Once, the token, no-nonsense pies and burgers were, at best, salty, fatty foils to the beer (or alms for the starving), and vegetarian options this former church’s only grudging concession to the modern world. Hark, for now a new prophet cometh to the kitchen, and maybe miracles will be revealed to the faithful. But pilgrims flock here in multitudes for the beer, not the food. Beer is the word, the beer was good, and all were well pleased. Amen. + Beer miraculously changing every week - Food under development

The Compass Bar 44 Queen Charlotte Street, Leith, EH6 7EX (Map 5A: D2, 33) 0131 554 1979, thecompassleith.co.uk | Mon–Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Sun–Wed 10am–11pm; Thu 10am–midnight; Fri/ Sat 10am–1am.] HW £14.95; Kids (until 6.30pm); Wh. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Prepare to be swept away by one of the best looking bars in Leith – and it’s got stiff competition – because Compass is designed for dramatic effect, with two rooms opened out into one high-ceilinged corner unit, with blood-red walls, a bit of foliage and some nicely exposed brickwork combining for a sense of subtle sophistication. It’s a great bar to drink in, with a few cocktails joining a contemporary range of beers, wines and spirits, and an old-fashioned style of service that’s cheerful without being

obsequious. The food is good, although maybe as far below high-end bistro standard as it is above typical pub fare. The Cullen skink is meaty and the hake fillet in a wine and bacon sauce is nice and tender, although both are somewhat overwhelmingly creamy. + A great looking drinker’s bar - Some of the dishes are a bit rich and calorific

The Cumberland Bar 1–3 Cumberland Street, New Town, EH3 6RT (Map 1B: A4, 13) 0131 558 3134, cumberlandbar.co.uk | Mon–Thu 11am– 2.30pm, 5.30–9pm; Fri noon–9pm; Sat 10am–9pm; Sun 10am–6pm. [Bar open: Mon–Fri 11am–1am; Sat/Sun 10–1am.] HW £12.95; Kids (under 5); Wh. £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Recently acquired by the company behind city-centre boozers the Abbotsford and the Guildford Arms, the Cumberland Bar falls into the same category of old-fashioned Edinburgh pubs that enjoy a sense of character even without having been tampered with in quite a while. The place is fairly spit ‘n’ sawdust, but charming too, with a series of semi-private nooks and an old wooden bar which provides a perching spot for the New Town barflies who congregate here. Old-fashioned treats abound, including seven regularly changing guest ales, forty malt whiskies and a wideranging food menu featuring homity or beef shin and oxtail pies, as well as a full breakfast at the weekend and a Sunday roast, while the beer garden is among the city’s best. + One of the best beer gardens in Edinburgh - The old-fashioned style and décor may turn off as many as it excites

The City Café

TIPList FOR BEER & WHISKY

19 Blair Street, Old Town, EH1 1QR (Map 2A: D3, 52) 0131 220 0125, thecitycafe. co.uk | Mon–Sun 9am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 9am–1am.] Veg; HW £14.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £6.50 (set lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

• Stockbridge Tap Tippletop local near the Water of Leith 31

Having adopted the theme of a classic American diner, the City Café, with its chequered floor, cosy booths and oldfashioned jukebox, makes a definite nod to 1950s USA. With a menu packed with burgers and fries, pancakes and milkshakes, the City Cafe’s American influence is further cemented by it being home to a ‘Man vs Food’ contest, the Ultimate Burger Challenge, in which diners attempt to munch their way through a bun stuffed with seven separate burgers complete with toppings. Under the close scrutiny of the bar staff, if the plate is cleared in under 45 minutes, the £30 price tag is waived. It’s not all about the food, however, and the American theme is kept running through the booze side of things, with a Stateside Cocktail Menu. And if a Dry Cherry Manhattan or Margarita Slush isn’t your thing, there are plenty of standard pints and affordable wines on offer too. + All-day breakfasts served until10pm - Booths are slightly cramped

• Teuchters Landing Well-

The Cloisters

• The Bow Bar Bowing to no-one in its selection of whiskies and real ales 21 • Brewdog Edinburgh A taste of Fraserburgh’s iconoclastic brewers 22 • Cloisters The holy trinity of malt, yeast and hops 23 • Hanging Bat Turning the capital’s pub scene upsidedown 26 • The Southern Good beer and burgers for students? What next? 30

stocked waterside watering hole 32

• The Vintage Unusual and crafty beers from Williams Bros and friends 33

26 Brougham Street, Tollcross, EH3 9JH (Map 3A: C1, 6) 0131 221 9997 | Tue–Sat noon–9pm; Sun 12.30–9pm. (No food Mon.) [Bar open: Mon–Thu noon–midnight; Fri/Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–midnight.] Veg; HW £11; Kids. £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

www.99hanoverstreet.com

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GUIDES

Divino Enoteca

56 North

5 Merchant Street, Old Town, EH1 2QD (Map 2A: C3, 46) 0131 225 1770, divinoedinburgh.com | Mon–Fri 4pm– 11pm; Sat noon–11pm. Closed Sun. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 4pm–midnight; Fri 4pm– 1am; Sat noon–midnight. Closed Sun.] Veg; HW £19; Wh. £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

2–8 West Crosscauseway, Southside, EH8 9JP (Map 3C: D1, 1) 0131 662 8860, fiftysixnorth.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 11am–1am.] Veg; HW £14.95; Kids. £10 (set lunch) / £16.50 (dinner)

Divino can fairly count as one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems. Set among the pretty murky shadows off Candlemaker Row and under George IV Bridge, this is a surprisingly sophisticated, enchanting subterranean venue of rough-stone walls, clubby leather seats, tucked-away spaces and lots – and lots – of top-notch Italian wine. Dozens of these are available from an Enomatic wine dispenser which keeps the wine of opened bottles in optimum condition under inert gas. It means you can take a glass from a bottle more expensive than you might otherwise try, or taste your way around a series via a suggested ‘wine flight’ of 25ml or 50ml tasting portions. As in the best Italian enotecas, there’s a selection of fine nibbles and light bites available, including platters of cheese and prosciutto which, like the wine, are carefully selected and handled. You can also order salads, simple pasta dishes or a piece of cheesecake or torte if you’re looking for something slightly more substantial. + One of Edinburgh’s special drinking spaces - Best not to get lost looking for it

Dragonfly 52 West Port, Old Town, EH1 2LD (Map 2A: A3, 32) 0131 228 4543, dragonflycocktailbar.com | Mon–Sun 4–9pm (pizza delivery). [Bar open: Mon– Sun 4pm–1am.] HW £14.95; Kids; Wh.

Dragonfly is stylishly relaxed with a kick of kitsch providing character – a description that applies to the drinks, décor and general feel of the place. Kung fu stencilled walls and purple prints are enjoyably diverting rather than distractingly ironic, as is the hip-hop and dub soundtrack. Cocktails are generally imaginative, bold but well balanced, as in the sweet and bitter combination of a Guinness daiquiri. It may be just up the hill from the Grassmarket but this

KEY Veg = 25% of main courses are vegetarian. Pre = Pre-theatre menu. Post = Post-theatre menu. BYOB = Bring your own bottle (corkage charge in brackets). HW = House wine cost per bottle. Kids = Children’s portions served and other facilities available. Wh = Wheelchair access and disabled toilet. T/A = Takeaway food. D = Delivery. Price in bold = Average cost of a two-course evening meal for one. The price of a set lunch is shown; otherwise we show the average cost of a two-course lunch for one. For full explanations see page 4.

With a drinks menu dominated by cocktails, spirits feature heavily in the arsenal of bottles behind the bar of this Newington establishment. From vodkas flavoured with kiwi, marmalade and vanilla, to gins sourced from the UK, Europe and USA, the grape is definitely surpassed by the grain at 56 North. Adding a playful element to the art of drinking and offering fun takes on classic tipples, such as the bubblegum collins, the bar also sports an adults’ slush puppy machine for a more potent version of this kids’ favourite. Burgers are a big deal on the menu here, with various combinations of toppings available on either an 8oz steak burger or butterfly chicken breast. For those after something a little lighter, there’s also a wide range of salads and topped flatbreads, and the ‘Dine for a Tenner’ two-course lunch and dinner menu offers a great-value option. + Interesting and lengthy spirit list - Slightly staid ambience

Filmhouse Café Bar The Blackbird (page 20): taking flight to feed the young in Tollcross

is somewhere to come for a good drink rather than to get raucously drunk. Here you’ll find absinthe used to add a subtle herbal note to the apple and bourbon in a Marty McFly cocktail, for example. And if you fancy staying a bit longer you can even intersperse the drinks with a pizza delivered from Mamma’s down the road. + Good cocktails, good music and a relaxed atmosphere - Standing room only at weekends

Ecco Vino 19 Cockburn Street, Old Town, EH1 1BP (Map 2A: D2, 10) 0131 225 1441, babygrandgroup.co.uk | Mon–Thu 8am–10pm; Fri/Sat 8am–11pm; Sun 8am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri/Sat 11am–midnight; Sun 11am–11pm.] Veg; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh. £7.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

With new management since August 2012 there has been a renewed focus on the quality of the wine and food. There is an Italian focus to the wine list but it also features interesting choices from around the world, with 30 or so available by the glass and fair pricing throughout. There is a new monthly wine club that will give customers the chance to meet visiting winemakers and taste a selection of wines partnered with food. With detailed tasting notes of all the wines available and a good selection of olives, ham and local cheese, you could also have a go at putting your own impromptu tasting together. Main dishes are less impressive than sides, with some under-dressed salads and slightly small portions. Ecco Vino is currently worth visiting for a glass of wine and some nibbles but there is also a renewed dynamism that makes it somewhere to keep an eye on. + Well priced, interesting wine list - Snacks are currently better than main dishes

Elbow 133–135 East Claremont Street, New Town, EH7 4JA (Map 1B: D1, 9) 0131 556 5662, elbowedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 11am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 11am–1am.] Veg; HW £14.95; Kids (until 8pm); Wh. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

To the uninitiated, arriving at Elbow is a 24 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

particular treat, not least for its eccentric layout, with a mezzanine reached by a rickety staircase and a ground level boasting leather booths fitted into various nooks and crannies. The décor, which includes a glitterball, fish tank and tablesized retro computer game, leans towards student chic, but in a good way, with high ceilings and large windows keeping the ground floor airy and light. The menu is enticing, especially for those seeking brunches and burgers, while the drinks range – from coffee to cocktails – reflects Elbow’s gradual progression from a laidback café vibe on weekdays to an altogether more lively and DJ-fuelled boozer of a Friday night. + Relaxed and impressively original - The more exotic dishes are a bit hit and miss

The Espy 62–64 Bath Street, Portobello, Portobello, EH15 1HF (Map 5A: E1, off) 0131 669 0082, the-espy.com | Sun–Wed 10am–9pm; Thu–Sat 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 10am–11pm; Fri–Sun 10am–1am.] Veg; HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

There’s a laidback, Australian vibe to the Esplanade – the ‘Espy’ – bar and bistro on Portobello’s beachfront, with its cheery service, beer, burgers, live music and comedy, and tables overlooking, okay, not the Indian Ocean, but the Firth of Forth to Fife. The Espy is friendly to families, dogs and, in fact, to everyone. Whatever the beach weather, the bar can refresh sea-lovers with draft and craft beer, Hello Sailor cocktails, wines, malts, homemade lemonade and ginger beer, and a snug area for DJ and cinema nights. The entertaining menu lists nachos, mezze with daily-made dips, breakfasts, and their flagship burgers, like the ‘MacEspy’ (peppery haggis, Scottish cheddar) and the ‘Dutchman’ (roasted peppers, goat’s cheese), honouring the Espy’s past life as the Flying Dutchman pub. Specials might include Shetland mussels or a goat’s cheese, sweet potato and leek pie, and it all makes for a braw day oot by the seaside. + The hot, limey homemade ginger beer - Ingredients occasionally a bit of a letdown

88 Lothian Road, West End, EH3 9BZ See Arts Venues & Attractions

The Fountain 131 Dundee Street, EH11 1AX (Map 4: B4, 68) 0131 229 1899, thefountainbar. co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–9.30pm. [Bar open: Mon/Tue 10am–midnight; Wed– Sat 10am–1am; Sun 11am–midnight.] Pre; HW £15; Kids. £10 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

It’s possible to see both sides of The Fountain in one visit. Mobbed to the rafters ahead of a rugby match, the punters quickly siphon off as kick-off approaches, giving you the chance to take in your quirky surroundings. The fascination with clog-like footwear is one thing; the vibrant green ladder beside the bar is another. Despite the crowds, service is swift and attentive. A special spot on the calendar, such as St Patrick’s Day, will inspire the chef to concoct a special menu, but there’s a fine variety on their regular selection, with starters of beetroot-cured salmon and chicken liver and pancetta pâté augmented by mains such as braised shin of beef pie and a green bean and asparagus salad. A tasty banoffee pie and hearty sticky toffee pudding might be worth a shout if you have any space left. + Latte served in a chunky retro-glass rather than a tall insipid affair - Can get super busy

Ghillie Dhu 2 Rutland Place, West End, EH1 2AD (Map 4: B1, 21) 0131 222 9930, ghilliedhu.co.uk | Mon–Sun 10am–9.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 10am–3am.] Veg; HW £14.95; Kids (until 8pm); Wh. £12 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

If you were ever in any doubt that this is a Scottish bar, a warm greeting from a rugged gent in a rugby-style shirt awaits. Surroundings are of a distinctly rustic and wooden nature while a piano sits desperately wanting to be played, all of which helps to emphasise the folky nature of the establishment. This is a venue that will do and serve anything, from hog roasts to graduation menus, and there are different selections for the auditorium and bar. On the recommended list are Simon Howie’s haggis, neeps and tatties (with a ‘wee whisky sauce’), warm goat’s cheese and beetroot salad and the flame-grilled beef


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BARS & PUBS

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EDINBURGH

GUIDES

Hectors

burger (although it can become difficult to eat), while there is also a decent variety of sandwiches, baked potatoes and pies. + Lovely surroundings - Some dishes can get messy

47–49 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LR (Map 1A: B1, 8) 0131 343 1735, hectorsstockbridge.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Wed noon–midnight; Thu/Fri noon–1am; Sat 11am–1am; Sun 11am–midnight.] Veg; HW £12.50; Wh. £8.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Greenmantle 133 Nicolson Street, Southside, EH8 9JP (Map 3C: D1, 3) 0131 662 8741, greenmantlepub.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–midnight. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] HW £12.50; T/A. £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Ideally positioned for much of Edinburgh’s student population, the Greenmantle is a busy Southside local. Offering a meeting place for university societies, as well as hosting their own quiz nights, live music, poker and Spanish nights, this bar always has something going on. Priding themselves on their selection of single malts, the full range of whiskies is always changing, as are the four guest ales, which customers are welcome to taste before making up their minds. The food on offer is uncomplicated, traditional pub fare, the slight twist being that the burgers are made from buffalo meat, from Puddledub in Fife. With a multitude of toppings available, customers can create their ideal buffalo, chicken or falafel burger. If burgers don’t tickle your fancy, there are other options along the lines of Arbroath smokie fish-cakes or haggis, neeps and tatties. + Un-fussy pub food done well, with quality ingredients - Décor is a bit on the shabby side of ‘shabby-chic’

FOR WINE & COCKTAILS • Amicus Apple Plot a Princes Street escape to this cocktail bar

19

• The Bon Vivant They run a wine shop next door. Go figure

21

• Bramble Central speakeasy for the cocktail cognoscenti

22

• Divino Enoteca Secret underground Italian wine cellars 24 • Dragonfly A kick of kitsch and class near the Grassmarket 24 • Ecco Vino Wine on 24

• Last Word Saloon Bright lights of the cocktail scene turn down the dimmer 28 • Voodoo Rooms Sexy fin-de-siècle setting for cocktails, rums and tequilas 43

• The WestRoom Master mixology in a slick West End setting

Old Chain Pier (page 29): new life for an old stalwart by Newhaven

The Guildford Arms 1–5 West Register Street, New Town, EH2 2AA (Map 1B: B6, 56) 0131 556 4312, guildfordarms.com | Mon–Thu noon– 2.30pm, 5.30–9.30pm; Fri noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat noon–10pm; Sun 12.30– 3pm, 5.30–9.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri/Sat 11am–midnight; Sun 12.30–11pm.] HW £12.95; Kids (under 5). £17 (lunch) / £19.50 (dinner)

TIPList

an Old Town Wynd

From the outside, with its plum and gold paintwork and traditional awnings, Hector’s has the appearance of a handsome Victorian apothecary. Inside, it’s deceptively large and light, that rich colour scheme brought up-to-date by exposed brickwork and some funky patterned wallpapers. Pub grub staples (done well) like sausage and mash, burgers and fish and chips proliferate, but dishes like ox cheek and red wine pie offer something for those willing to deviate from the norm, while there’s also a decent stab at a meat platter. This Stockbridge institution is a popular drinking spot as well, with the area’s professionals either winding down with a post-work pint or, come Friday and Saturday, gearing up for the night ahead. Any resulting sore heads are catered for the following day. Should you wish to ensconce yourself for the long-haul then there’s brunch, board games and a beer from their rotating line-up of craft lagers and cask ales, and on Sunday, roasts take centre stage, making this a good shout to while away the weekend. + Good for lazy weekends. - Squashed tables on busy nights.

33

26 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

A classic Edinburgh pub whose grand, high-ceilinged interior dates all the way back to 1896, the Guildford Arms sits on the corner of a hidden-away block sporting some of the most beautiful bars in the city. While its charms are of the old-fashioned variety, so are most of its main features. The interior is careworn and the food menu is presented in its best light when focussing on the range of traditional pub grub classics like battered haddock and chips or a thincrust steak and ale pie. Thai-style crab cakes and a fillet of salmon in red pesto are among the more exotic choices. A balcony dining area called the Gallery offers a more intimate, secluded dining experience, which can be appealing when the main bar area gets too packed. + A handsome and strikingly classic interior - Food choices are expensive and a little dated

Hamilton’s Bar and Kitchen 16–18 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge, EH3 5AU (Map 1A: B2, 13) 0131 226 4199, hamiltonsedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 9am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11am– 1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] HW £14.50; Kids (until 8pm); Wh. £20 (lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Hamilton’s is a real treat for Pop Art fans, with its décor and drinks menu emblazoned with glamorous women and tough guys. The fine range of cocktails will have you salivating over such intriguingly named creations as French Nuclear Test and the Jayne Mansfield, but the effort expended on the drinks menu merely puts the A4 sheet of food

choices into perspective. Fortunately, the quality of the food lives up to the drinks, with a wide choice of small dishes and sharing plates acting as an enticing gateway to some big sandwiches served with parsnip fries and large mains such as a wholesome sweet potato, carrot and bean burger or steak pie with rich gravy and spring onion mash. Desserts include a homely rhubarb, apple and cherry crumble with vanilla ice-cream and Scottish cheeses with sloe gin chutney and oatcakes. If you can move after all that, make your way to a long leather sofa and relax with a cocktail. + Imagine Roy Lichtenstein designed World of Leather - Imagine how nice it would be to hold a sturdy menu

4

The Hanging Bat

133 Lothian Road, West End, EH3 9AB (Map 4: C2, 38) 0131 229 0759, thehangingbat.com | Mon–Sun noon– 10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu & Sun noon– midnight; Fri/Sat noon–1am.] HW £13.50; Wh; T/A. £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

The Hanging Bat might sit on Lothian Road, but inside it’s a frontier of beer and hotdogs, like a trendy, wild but sumptuous cabin, somewhere smoky and spicy in the American south. A giltframed blackboard charts 20 innovative, ever-changing British beers (6 casks, 14 kegs, and the Bat’s own weekly brew), and the hardwood menu lists 150 bottles of craft beers and 35 gin distillations. Old World pints are left behind: draft beer is sold in third-pint measures, or two thirds of a pint (saying farewell to warm, flat dregs). The Scottish-made, home-smoked dogs, like the American Pit Bull (chillicon-carne, cheese) and the Alsatian (bratwurst, sauerkraut, mustard) are super tasty and good value, but the sides are sensational: beefy, smoky ‘burnt beans’ and refreshing ‘kimchi slaw’ with lime and chilli. + Beer snacks of popcorn, scotch egg, beer nuts and beer sticks - No dessert to finish on

4

Hemma

75 Holyrood Road, Old Town, EH8 8AE (Map 2B: D3, 29) 0131 629 3327, bodabar. com | Mon–Sun 11am–10pm. Veg; Kids (until 5pm); Wh; T/A. £6 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Meaning ‘home’ in Swedish, Hemma is the latest addition to Mike and Anna Christopherson’s string of Scandinavian style bars. And with its soft furnishings and quirky interiors, it does indeed have a laidback, homely atmosphere, despite the modern feel of the space. For a true taste of Sweden, the Hemma Smörgåsboard offers Scandinavian staples such as meatballs and marinated herring, while the less authentic but equally delicious ‘Sharing is Caring’ platter has a lovely balance of flavours, with chicken, hot chorizo and butter beans accompanied by homemade tzatziki and freshly baked bread from the nearby Manna House bakery. The wine list, though not too lengthy, is varied, interesting and reasonably priced, and the cocktail menu is full of fun, off-the-wall concoctions with some marvellously unusual flavour combinations, such as wild tea, vodka and cranberry, or coconut, almond, cherry, basil and lime. + Quality, fresh food at modest prices - Music is unnecessarily loud

Henricks Bar & Bistro 1 Barclay Place, Southside, EH10 4HW (Map 3A: B2, 19) 0131 229 2442, henricksbar.com | Mon–Fri 10am–10pm; Sat/Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon– Sun 10am–1am.] Veg; Pre; HW £15.25; Kids; Wh. £10.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This bistro bar on the edge of the Meadows has carved a niche between formal dining and local pub grub. It attracts a pre-theatre crowd with the King’s nearby, lunchtime couples, those seeking brunch at weekends, late-night drinkers and many in between. The compact menu offers ‘house favourites’ such as a Henrick’s burger, along with seasonal dishes – in winter expect venison stew or wild mushroom linguine. It covers the basics well without trying too hard: beautifully cooked salmon fillet


BARS & PUBS

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EDINBURGH in a light, lemony dill sauce with mange touts, for example, and well-presented fish ’n’ chips, though the linguine oversteps comfort into heavy creaminess. The wine list leans heavily to Australia where the manager did a harvest in 2007, there are lots to try by the glass and, if keen, you can join the regular wine club (first Monday of the month). If booking, avoid the table by the door in winter, but remember the great, wee patio area at the back for al fresco dining in summer. + The fish - simple and done well - Pasta too rich and creamy

4

The Holyrood 9A

9a Holyrood Road, Old Town, EH8 8AE (Map 2B: B3, 17) 0131 556 5044, fullerthomson.com | Mon–Sun 9am–11.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 9am–midnight; Fri/Sat 9am–1am; Sun 9am–midnight.] HW £13; Kids. £12 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Beer and burgers are the main draw at Holyood 9a, and both are worth a trip to this corner of the Old Town. A selection of 11 beers is permanently on draught and, combined with another 10 rotational pumps, constitutes one of Edinburgh’s best selections of modern, craft beers. There is a similarly large selection of meaty burgers, with a choice of 10 different topping combinations, all served on wooden boards with skinny fries and coleslaw. Alternative burgers such as portobello mushroom or pork and chorizo are equally substantial and enough to provide a meal in themselves. The stripped dark wood interior complete with silver deer heads creates a space on the comfortably stylish side of hipster, although its large size and popularity means it is frequently noisy. + Some of the best beers and burgers in town - Rest of the menu is a bit of an afterthought

The Huxley 1–3 Rutland Street, West End, EH1 2AE (Map 4: B1, 22) 0131 229 3402, thehuxley. co.uk | Mon–Sun 8am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 8am–1am.] HW £16; Kids (after 5pm); Wh. £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Occupying one of the prime locations in Edinburgh’s west end, the former Rutland Bar has been rebranded as the upmarket Huxley, with a bright, glass-fronted surround doing a lot of the work in setting the scene. Yet the interior redesign of chequerboard flooring, black metal lighting truss and stylishly mismatched blend of monogrammed leather sofas and tweed-reupholstered cinema seats is pretty too. The menu is a selection of faux-trad bar meals centred around gourmet hot dogs and steak burgers which come medium-rare, each served with salted fries in a wire basket lined with greaseproof paper. Also available are breakfasts until noon, sandwiches until 5pm and lighter snacks including sole goujons with seaweed salad and a Scotch duck egg wrapped in a lightly breaded venison and black pudding shell. It’s the epitome of modern style-bar dining for those who know what they like, with a cocktail menu and wellstocked craft beer fridge. + A plush, contemporary bar restaurant - The air of New Town exclusivity may or may not appeal

Indigo Yard 7 Charlotte Lane, West End, EH2 4QZ (Map 4: B1, 10) 0131 220 5603, indigoyardedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 8.30am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11am–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Veg; HW £17.95; Kids (until 7pm); Wh. £10 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Fashionable Indigo Yard in Edinburgh’s West End packs in crowds of after-work drinkers in power suits and clean city Barbours, unwinding over cocktails, champagne, chilled pints and wines in showy shaped glasses. Food-wise, there’s a customer-pulling two-course dinner/ lunch menu for £10 which won’t leave you feeling cheated, plus ‘somethingfor-everyone’ menus of breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, grills and desserts. If Indigo Yard were a car it would be a Ford: a safe, familiar model, sporty design, shiny metal fittings, reliable service and middle-of-the-road prices. But underneath it’s still a Ford: an office car to take colleagues from A to B, and a brand that makes sound business sense for the company, but without the oomph or character that would make you want another one. + The cocktails set you up for the evening, ready for anything - Tasteless mashed potato

Sun 12.30–2.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri/Sat 11am–1am; Sun 12.30–11pm.] HW £14; Kids. £7.50 (lunch)

Isobar

The Kilderkin

7 Bernard Street, Leith, EH6 6PW (Map 5A: D2, 27) 0131 467 8904, isobar-leith. co.uk | Mon–Fri 10am–3pm, 5.30– 8.30pm; Sat/Sun 10am–5pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 10am–1am.] Veg; HW £13.50; Kids (until 7pm). £5 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

67 Canongate, Old Town, EH8 8BT (Map 2B: D2, 30) 0131 556 2101 | Mon 11am– 10.15pm; Tue–Thu 11am–11.15pm; Fri/ Sat 11am–12.15am; Sun 12.30–7.15pm. [Bar open: Mon 11am–11pm; Tue–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri/Sat 11am–1am; Sun 12.30–8pm.] HW £11.95; Kids (until 6pm); Wh; T/A. £13 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

The fairly unprepossessing façade hardly exudes a magnetic attraction given the choice of more architecturally impressive pubs nearby, yet Isobar remains popular with those in the know. While the drinks selection is decent, with the likes of Estrella on draft, it’s the food that really seals the deal. For co-owner Allan Woodhall has a knack of producing exceptional pub food at very reasonable prices, and clearly cares about quality more than your average dabbler in pub grub. The brunch menu is particularly tempting, with the likes of Bowman’s red pudding adding local flavour to proceedings, while burgers are done to a T and come with an impressive selection of toppings, although even these are outclassed by the truly imperious chips. + Chips must be among the best in Britain - Not the most atmospheric surroundings

A classic New Town pub, small and unimposing next to the grand tenements around it but filled with a diverse clientele from all walks of life, Kay’s has recently come under the ownership of the old bar manager following the former owner’s retirement. A bit of a spruce-up hasn’t damaged what folk love about it, though. Still intact are the oldfashioned Victorian charm, the range of fifty whiskies and seven real ales and the homely barfly ballast of pies, haggis or mince with beans. With no music on it’s a pub for conversation in the open-front bar or the snug in the back, but its legacy as one of the city’s best rugby pubs means you’d best take an interest if there’s a televised match on. + Huge amounts of classic character - Non-rugby fans beware on match day

From its location to its choice of pizza toppings, Kilderkin is slightly odd but pretty great. Initial impressions are of a slightly dodgy boozer, with its dim lighting, basic décor and unprepossessing exterior. Inside, however, you’ll find one of Edinburgh’s best selections of rum, an excellent range of whiskies, some good beers and even a few cocktails, all

served by knowledgeable, upbeat staff. The daytime menu of burgers, haggis and sausages gives way to hand-made, stonebaked pizzas in the evening. Toppings include bison, crocodile, curry sauce or even a full cooked breakfast. Whether genius or insane, the ingredients are decent quality, the bases crisp and there are some more mainstream options as well. The line-up of regular events helps ensure an evening here is a different and enjoyable experience. + Excellent rum selection - Bizarre pizza toppings won’t appeal to everyone

4

The King’s Wark

36 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6QU (Map 5A: C1, 18) 0131 554 9260, thekingswark. co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–10pm; Sun 11am–4pm, 5–10pm. Dining room: Mon–Sun 5–10pm. [Bar open: Sun–Thu noon–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–midnight.] Veg; HW £14; Kids. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

With a history dating back to 1432, this is one of Leith’s most venerable buildings. Although it has only been in its present guise for a comparatively short 22 years, its stone walls, hardwood floorboards, open fire and dark wooden furniture lend it an enjoyably anachronistic feel. This sense of permanence is helped by current owner Leslie Currie, who has been front of house for 13 years, and is now ably abetted in the kitchen by her partner, Michael Greig. It’s a team that works admirably, with the kitchen producing an inventive menu that includes fantastic seafood options and plenty of game, as well as unusual cuts of more conventional livestock – the likes of a crispy lamb rib salad showing Michael’s devotion to nose-to-tail eating, while

Joseph Pearce’s 23 Elm Row, New Town, EH7 4AA (Map 5B: A5, 20) 0131 556 4140, bodabar.com | Mon–Thu 11am–3pm, 5–9.30pm; Fri/ Sat 11am–9pm, Sun 11am–9pm. [Bar open: Sun–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri/Sat 11am–1am.] Veg; HW £13.30; Kids (until 5pm). £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Hardened patriots might lament this venerable old boozer’s transformation from dingy haven to high-end Swedish über-pub, but only the most misanthropic skinflint can really resent its success. Indeed, JP’s has an uncanny knack of catering to wildly different ages and demographics: in the daytime children are welcome, yet safely confined to the toy-and-games filled upper level, while in the evenings the whole place, and the outside tables, become excellent spots to watch the trendier end of the world drift by. The Caledonavian menu is well worth sampling, with the steak brunch, complete with rosti and haggis, particularly tempting. Meanwhile those wanting to go the full Wallander route might be tempted by stroganoff meatballs with hasselback potatoes, washed down with a Nils Oscar God Lager. Skol! + Genuinely welcoming to all - Plenty of kronor required: it’s not cheap

Kay’s Bar 39 Jamaica Street, New Town, EH3 6HF (Map 1A: B3, 25) 0131 225 1858, kaysbar.co.uk | Fri/Sat noon–2.30pm; The List Eating & Drinking Guide 27


BARS & PUBS

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EDINBURGH more adventurous carnivores can even arrange a pig’s head banquet. Thankfully, however, despite its popularity as a place to eat, it still caters for those seeking a fireside pint or even one alfresco, overlooking the Water of Leith. + Warm welcome and inventive menu - Can seem a little too food-focused for those purely seeking a pint

The Last Word Saloon 44 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AL (Map 1A: B2, 18) 0131 225 9009, lastwordsaloon.com | Mon–Sun 4pm– 1am. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 4pm–1am.]

There are no tacky cocktail umbrellas or blingy details in this understated, warm, generally excellent cocktail bar. Just very well mixed drinks, and the odd fancy toastie if you’re hungry. It’s a more streamlined update on its previous guise as The Saint, run by the same people behind Bramble on Queen Street, and it gives the same focus as its sister bar to small batch spirits, craft beers and unusual mixers (chilli jam, thymeinfused honey, homemade peach pearls and apple syrup, for example). Whisky lovers might enjoy their ‘Be Lively’ (Smokehead whisky, green Chartreuse, fresh lemon, cream soda and egg white), or the delicious ‘Short Black’ (Black Bottle whisky, fresh espresso and vanilla sugar), while there are also sophisticated twists on gin, mescal, apple brandy, rum – or the option to go ‘off menu’ and get the bar tender to fix something tailored to your need for sugar/ caffeine/ sour flavours/ fresh herbs and so on. The fact it’s hidden away down a few steps off St Stephen Street means it can be overlooked, and be quiet on week nights, but that’s definitely part of the charm, and a welcome antidote to the George

GUIDES

Street hordes. + Low-lit hideaway, with excellent cocktails - Getting out of bed the next day

Lebowskis 18 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8BJ (Map 4: C2, 37) 0131 466 1779, lebowskis. co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] HW £13.50; Kids (until 8pm). £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

You don’t have to be a massive fan of the Coen Brothers’ 1998 movie to enjoy Lebowskis, but it can’t hinder the experience. The White Russians are dedicated to characters (The Maude, The Jeffrey) and key objects (The Toe) in The Big Lebowski with a film quote underpinning their appearance on the menu. Lebowskis are especially proud of their burgers, and anticipate that customers will experience the ‘wow factor’ when a plate reaches the table. And you certainly have to admire the feat of engineering that has produced this tower of food, the contents struggling to keep themselves on the wooden board they are served on. Depending on your view, this is either a nuisance or part of the fun. While a modest selection of desserts offers few surprises, the open sandwiches, plates both small (crispy pig, Stornoway black pudding) and big (panfried Shetland salmon, haggis lasagna) might entice you to try something other than the renowned burgers. + Determined adherence to the movie - Fish is not a vegetarian dish

Malone’s Irish Bar 14 Forrest Road, Old Town, EH1 2QN (Map 2A: C4, 37) , malonesedinburgh. com | Sun–Thu noon–8pm; Fri/Sat noon– 9pm. [Bar open: Sat–Mon noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] HW £9.95; Kids; Wh. £10.50 (lunch) / £10.50 (dinner)

Irishness radiates from every Guinness memorabilia festooned nook and cranny of Malone’s, from the quotations and portraits of sporting and literary heroes that line the walls, to the green telephone box nestled in its upstairs area. Set in the capacious surroundings of the former Oddfellows Hall and decorated with furniture and antiques shipped over from the Emerald Isle, it’s a place that does atmosphere, albeit green-tinged. They pack ‘em in here on a regular basis, with live music every night from Wednesday to Sunday, ceilidhs in summer and large HD screens showing sports, though the breezy surroundings also offer an amiable environment for a quiet pint of the black stuff during calmer moments. A good-value food menu provides hearty portions of traditional pub fare, with a decent range of burgers and sandwiches served on large wooden boards contributing to the fanciful, rustic ambience. An added feature this year is a 32-bed hostel, making the place even more of a gathering point for travellers and weekenders. + Bottles of green sauce on each table – a nice touch - Daylight deprivation

The Mash Tun The Magnum Restaurant & Bar 1 Albany Street, New Town, EH1 3PY See Scottish

154 Easter Road, Leith, EH7 5RL (Map 5B: C4, 27) 0131 661 3896, facebook. com/mashtunedinburgh | Mon–Sat noon–9pm; Sun 12.30–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu noon–midnight; Fri/Sat noon– 1am; Sun 12.30pm–midnight.] Veg; HW £12.50; Kids (under 5); Wh. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Ending Easter Road’s exile from the Leith pub revival in some style, the Mash Tun (formerly misguided ‘style bar’ venture Utopia) is notable for the skill with which it does the simple things. The interior is a contemporary blend of freshly plastered walls, exposed brickwork and revived architectural features around an island bar, all of which offers a cosy welcome under low evening lights. The modest food menu is well-conceived, centred around ten very thin-based but still substantial pizzas (two for one if bought with two drinks) including black pudding and egg or chorizo and mild chipotle sauce options, and also featuring a few pub classics including battered fish and chips. Yet much like the owners’ other venture, Newington’s Greenmantle, it’s a local pub at heart, and the air of lively conviviality any night of the week is very much set off by a range of nearly fifty bottled craft ales and another fifteen ciders. + A versatile yet unpretentious local - Not quite a destination drinking spot

The Melville 19–25 William Street, West End, EH3 7NG (Map 4: B1, 5) 0131 225 1358, themelvillebar.com | Mon–Sat 11am– 9pm; Sun 11am–4pm. [Bar open: Mon– Sun 11am–1am.] HW £12.95; Kids. £9.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Reopened in February 2013 after a substantial refurbishment, the Melville Bar has been transformed from traditional boozer into a modern space with the tired surroundings replaced by clean, slick décor and candlelit tables. The attempt to appeal to a broader audience is evidently succeeding, with a range of ages and characters attracted by 28 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

an impressive list of cocktails, wines and beers. And, while drinks still account for most of the business, food is now a big draw. Input from a renowned executive chef is reflected in a menu that is wellexecuted to create elegant dishes that are several notches above pub grub. Soup of the day is delivered in a jug and served at the table, while for mains, an assiette of pork or chicken stuffed with a tarragon mouse underlines the skill in the kitchen. Desserts also display ambition, exemplified by poached pear accompanied by olive oil and pistachio cake. + Buzzing atmosphere and excellent food - No separate dining area

Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar 21 Old Fishmarket Close, Old Town, EH1 1RW See Scottish

Montpeliers Bar and Brasserie 159–161 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4DG See Bistros & Brasseries

The Newsroom Bar & Eatery 5–11 Leith Street, EH1 3AT (Map 1B: C6, 57) 0131 557 5830, newsroomedinburgh. co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11.30–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Veg; HW £13.50; Kids. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

In our age of smart phones, Twitter, citizen journalism and plummeting newspaper sales, theming a bar on a newsroom seems almost quaint. But while the newly refurbed Newsroom plays a certain homage to hot metal with famous front page wallpaper and a prevailing black and white décor, for the most part the place just gets on with being a popular after-work hangout and fashionable pre-club bar, particularly on Fridays and Saturdays with DJs playing 5pm–1am. On the same evenings the 511 club in the basement is raising its profile all the time with some respected nights. The new look, with its striking row upon row of large jars, each with a glowing light filament inside, is accompanied by a significant emphasis on food under new chef Eoin Wilson. The menu offers keenly priced fish and chips or burgers along with more ambitious roast vegetable, bean and lentil stew with herb dumplings, haggis fritters or colourful Spanish tortilla, with an eye kept on the small details, such as homemade mayo or the daily order of pastries from the Sicilian Pastry Shop a few blocks down Leith Walk. + A place that’s out to get noticed - It gets noticed by lots of people on Friday and Saturday nights

99 Hanover Street 99 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DJ (Map 1A: D4, 85) 0131 225 8200, 99hanoverstreet.com | Bar open: Mon–Thu 4pm–1am; Fri 3pm–1am; Sat noon–1am; Sun 5pm–1am. HW £13.95; Kids; Wh.

Emerging from a complete refurbishment as we went to press in spring 2013, 99 Hanover Street has gone out of its way to grab the attention in elegant and dignified style amid the often gaudy city-centre bars. Catering to an intensely fashionable young crowd, the interior – all high ceilings and exposed brickwork – offers an impressive canvas on which to paint some striking dark gothic flourishes, from the ornate light fittings and chandeliers to the DJ booth (there’s a clubby live soundtrack seven nights a week) made out of an old piano. The drinks selection is impressive, featuring 350 spirit lines and 30 cocktails – the


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EDINBURGH latter featuring five daily choices sold in bespoke 250ml grass bottles for £5 – as well as a wine of the week which is very reasonably priced at £10 a bottle. + A gorgeous pub to match its clientele - Sadly no food

4

Red Squirrel follows a recipe of premium burgers and beer similar to its older sibling Holyrood 9a – indeed the menus at both bars are practically identical. Substantial burgers, including three vegetarian versions, dominate the menu and provide a filling meal for under a tenner. The feel here is perhaps more diner than pub, with slightly bright lighting, long pews at the front and booths towards the back of the bar. This is not to say it’s not also a drinkers’ bar, as the impressive beer selection and substantial after-work crowds attest. A dozen or so cocktails and wines by the glass should also keep non-beer drinkers happy. Handily located for several nearby arts venues, and with little notable local competition, Red Squirrel is also a welcome spot for a pre- or post-show drink. + An oasis amid the drinkers’ desert of Lothian Road - Less consistent than its sibling Holyrood 9a

Nobles Bar

44a Constitution Street, Leith, Leith, EH6 6RS (Map 5A: D2, 29) 0131 629 7215, noblesbarleith.co.uk | Mon–Fri 11am–10pm; Sat/Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Fri 11am–1am; Sat/Sun 10am–1am.] HW £13.80. £13.50 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Another Leith bar to make the rest of the city weep, Nobles is quite simply everything you could want from a local. With great drinks (Black Isle supply them with a custom-made Nobles IPA), a pub quiz every Monday, live bands all week and a stunning interior influenced by a sense of maritime Victoriana in keeping with the location, it’s a place that’s once seen, forever fallen in love with. The food is also worthy of recommendation, but perhaps not as essential as the rest: the Cullen skink is somewhat heavy on potato and the homemade beefburger (they also do rabbit) is low on additional flavours in the bun. A meaty smoked haddock and black pudding fishcake with poached egg or a tender Ayrshire pork belly braised in the Nobles IPA are highlights, however, as is the weekend brunch menu. + A hard-working and stunningly beautiful classic Leith pub - The food is merely pretty good

North Bridge Brasserie 20 North Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1YT See Bistros & Brasseries

No 1 High Street 1 High Street, EH1 1SR (Map 2B: B2, 4) 01315565758, no1highstreet.net | Mon– Fri 11am–9pm; Sat/Sun 10am–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Wed 11am–midnight; Thu– Sat 11am–1am; Sun 12.30pm–midnight.] HW £12.95. £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Anyone who lives in Edinburgh will tell you that perhaps the city’s busiest dining thoroughfare, at least during the summer peak season, is also its least inspiring. There are a few gems on the Royal Mile, but statistically you’re more likely to venture into a factory for the recycling of currency exchange cash than you are a place worth recommending. Enviably addressed and full of potential, the corner property No.1 High Street (formerly the Tass) has recently undergone extensive redecoration, retaining the feel of a well-used local pub alongside the gleaming light fittings and stylised floral wallpaper. The new regime and a brighter atmosphere also means a friendly welcome, and this is perhaps its strongest selling point alongside the extensive drinks selection, with three guest ales, three permanent ales, one cider on tap and a fridge full of bottled beers complementing around 40 whiskies. The pub food isn’t so much of a head-turner, with a well-seasoned but potato-heavy fishcake served alongside a reasonable home-made tartar sauce, while the very presence of a doughy puff pastry lid on a steak pie is enough to sag your shoulders, no matter that the dish is meaty and the ale gravy good and rich. + Your entry to the High Street greeted with fine drink - Less inspiration from the menu

Old Chain Pier 32 Trinity Crescent, Newhaven, Leith, EH5 3ED (Map 5A: A2, off) 0131 552 4960, old-chain-pier.co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm. [Bar open: Sun–Wed noon–11pm; Thu–Sat noon–midnight.]

The Regent Bar 2 Montrose Terrace, Old Town, EH7 5DL (Map 5B: C5, 24) 0131 661 8198, theregentbar.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Veg; HW £11.90; Kids (under 5). £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Greenmantle (page 26): a cheery local for Southside students Veg; HW £13.95; Kids. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Recently taken over after a short spell unattended, the current incarnation of the Old Chain Pier breathes welcome new life into one of Edinburgh’s most distinctive pub premises. A split-level affair with both a mezzanine and a conservatory (the latter is available for private hire), the bar has been freshened up by the team behind the Royal Mile’s White Horse, serving a contemporary range of drinks and some above-average pub meals. These include fresh, tender scallops served with black pudding and a light pea purée, and an old-fashioned battered haddock and chips done to a pleasing standard, as well as burgers and sharing platters. The real selling point, however, is the view – set into the harbour wall, the floor-to-ceiling windows offer an unrestricted view to Fife on a clear day. + Stunning views - Slates, baskets . . . whatever happened to plates?

The Orchard 1/2 Howard Place, Canonmills, New Town, EH3 5JZ (Map 1B: A1, 1) 0131 550 0850, theorchardbar.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–8.30pm. [Bar open: Mon/Tue 11am–11pm; Wed/Thu 11am–midnight, Fri/Sat 11am–1am; Sun noon–11pm.] HW £14; Kids. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The Orchard is a popular stopping point for passers-by heading to and from the Botanic Gardens and tempted by a refreshment in the wood panelled bar or possibly at the outdoor tables if weather permits. It also has a loyal band of regulars and is a haunt of workers from nearby offices. When it comes to food, the Orchard has built a reputation for consistently good dishes using locally sourced ingredients. Sunday diners can enjoy a traditional roast, while the seven-day menu includes starters such as tomato stuffed with aubergine, black olives, red onion and feta cheese. Among the main courses is succulent pork belly served on black pudding and mashed potatoes with crunchy vegetables, while the catch of the day nudges the food

beyond traditional pub grub. To finish, desserts span a range of comforting treats such as apple crumble or sticky toffee pudding. + Consistently quality food in a familyfriendly environment - Temperamental online booking system

The Oxford Bar 8 Young Street, New Town, EH2 4JB (Map 1A: B4, 43) 0131 539 7119, oxfordbar.co.uk | Bar open: Mon–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri/Sat 11am–1am; Sun 12.30–11pm. HW £13; Kids.

This unprepossessing little backstreet boozer will likely never escape its literary association with Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus, its favourite fictional regular, but that doesn’t work to its detriment. In fact there’s probably a certain sport to watching wide-eyed tourists arriving intent on marvelling at the grandeur and finding a small and basic but certainly homely corner bar of the old school, with a front room that’s so snug every conversation will inevitably involve the bar staff. The back room is more open but still decidedly compact, while the solid but unfussy drinks selection includes three regularly changed guest ales and an agreeably cheap malt of the moment. Somewhat retro charm aside though, the appeal of the Oxford is in its character, and the diverse range of regulars who shoot the breeze hunched over that famous bar. + A pub with rare personality - Interior not as photogenic as Rebus devotees might hope

Palm Court The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town, EH2 2EQ See Cafés

Red Squirrel 21 Lothian Road, West End, EH1 2DJ (Map 4: C1, 26) 0131 229 9933, fullerthomson.com | Mon–Sun 9am– midnight. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 9.30am– 1am; Sun 12.30am–midnight.] HW £13.95. £12 (set lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

Its unusual shape and slightly offbeat location are matched by The Regent’s leftfield tag line as ‘Edinburgh’s Gay Real Ale Pub’, and it successfully manages to smoothly blend both factors of this vaguely oxymoronic claim. Indeed, it doesn’t take either part of its title too seriously and its cosy and hopfilled interior provides a warm refuge for all comers – although prudes might be mildly offended by the occasional reference to ‘Knobgobbler’ ale. As well as an impressive and ever-changing selection of guest beers there is also a good line-up of regular drafts and bottles, and a decent pub grub menu that offers

TIPList FOR PUB GRUB ON THE UP • The Blackbird Innovative, up-beat menu at this new Tollcross arrival 20

• Greenmantle Unfussy pub grub including Puddledub buffalo burgers 26

• Henrick’s Bar & Bistro Grown-up, seasonal food at a lovely Bruntsfield hideaway 26

• Isobar Forecasting good food down by the docks 27

• The Scran & Scallie High end pub classics from top Scots chefs 30

• Teuchter’s Landing Hearty Highland food, served in mugs

32

• Traverse Bar Café Cultured bar food in a cultured venue

19

• Under the Stairs Snacks and sharing platters, served late 32

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unpretentious and well done dishes such as shepherd’s pie and smoked haddock risotto. All these combine to make The Regent a welcome addition to an otherwise fairly dry part of town. + Fans of flamboyant campery could be disappointed - A traditional pub, with a twist

true country pub feel despite being just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of town. Inside the bar’s main area, the décor is understated and modern, with muted tones and soft interiors giving the feel of an upmarket gastropub. Unfortunately, the food tells a different story; from a rather uninspired menu, deep-fried brie arrives cold in the centre, and a steak ordered rare comes out black. Though the ambience is pleasant, and the location very scenic, much of the original character of this quaint village pub seems to have been lost somewhere along the line. Fortunately Scotland’s oldest surviving skittles alley, located in a back room, remains intact and is a great feature of this historic pub. + Home to a traditional skittles alley - Lacklustre food

Rick’s 55a Frederick Street, New Town, EH2 1LH See Bistros & Brasseries

4

The Roseleaf

23–24 Sandport Place, Leith, EH6 6EW (Map 5A: C2, 3) 0131 476 5268, roseleaf. co.uk | Mon–Sun 10am–9.45pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 10am–1am.] Veg; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £12 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The Shore area enjoys no shortage of good bars, yet the small but perfectly formed Roseleaf continues to go from strength to strength at the head of the pack. Mixing chintzy and idiosyncratic homeliness with a deeply considered attention to detail, they offer high-quality all-day brunches and evening meals alongside an enticing range of drinks including bottled beers and ciders, a bunch of good wines, homemade lemonades and ‘pot-tails’ – cocktails in china tea services. Despite the wacky names, dishes such as Braw Prawn (a starter of expertly seasoned king prawns on a vermicelli noodle salad) and Ace of Blades (tender braised blade of beef dressed with cabbage, bacon and pine nuts) should be the envy of any dining bar in the city, while their gluten-free options and tea party menu are also strong selling points. + Great food, drink and company in customer-conscious surroundings - Often hard to get a table

The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro 1 Summerhall, Southside, EH9 1 PL See Bistros & Brasseries

Ryan’s Cellar Restaurant 2–4 Hope Street, West End, EH2 4DB See Scottish

La Sal 6–8 Howden Street, Southside, EH8 9LH See Spanish

KEY Veg = 25% of main courses are vegetarian. Pre = Pre-theatre menu. Post = Post-theatre menu. BYOB = Bring your own bottle (corkage charge in brackets). HW = House wine cost per bottle. Kids = Children’s portions served and other facilities available. Wh = Wheelchair access and disabled toilet. T/A = Takeaway food. D = Delivery. Price in bold = Average cost of a two-course evening meal for one. The price of a set lunch is shown; otherwise we show the average cost of a two-course lunch for one. For full explanations see page 4.

30 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Ship on the Shore 24–26 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6QN See Fish

The Shore Bar & Restaurant 3 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6QW See Bistros & Brasseries

Sofi’s 65 Henderson Street, Leith, EH6 6ED (Map 5A: C2, 22) 0131 555 7019, bodabar. com | Mon–Thu 2pm–1am; Fri/Sat 2pm– 1am; Sun 2pm–midnight. HW £13.30.

The Hanging Bat (page 26): the frontier of beer and ’dogs on Lothian Road

The Salisbury Arms 58 Dalkeith Road, Southside, EH16 5AD (Map 3C: E4, 26) 0131 667 4518, thesalisburyarmsedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–10pm, Sun noon–9.30pm. [Bar open: Sun–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri/Sat 11am–midnight.] HW £14.95; Kids; Wh. £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Despite being opposite Edinburgh University’s main halls of residence, the Salisbury Arms, with its subtle, rustic elegance and light, spacious dining area, is a far cry from the restored Georgian building’s previous incarnation, popular student hang-out The Crags. Offering a whistle-stop tour of the bar’s extensive range of starters, the highlight of the house sharing platter is a fresh and zesty homemade salsa verde which accompanies roasted fig and prosciutto. And, if the usual à la carte menu doesn’t tempt, there are various weekly specials on offer such as the Sunday–Thursday ‘School-night Supper’ or the fish and champagne themed ‘Fin and Fizz Fridays’. However, coming under the umbrella of the Village Pub and Kitchen Group, the Salisbury Arms does seem a bit uniform, which detracts from the ‘local pub’ image they try to promote. + Great deal of choice in both menu and wine list - Evidence of being part of a chain takes away from its character

casual eating in the capital. The stippedback, bare-brick, Perthshire-croft meets Victoriana dining room was named the Scran & Scallie in an effort to describe an ethos of down-to-earth food and an attitude friendly to kids, or ‘scallies’ as Kitchin refers to his own. The kitchen under head chef David Umpherson will train young chefs (which will no doubt have its uses for the chefs’ senior brigades), and while the menu adopts a slightly jarring polyglot of couthy Scots and haute cuisine – among ‘Yer mains’ there’s artichoke barigole and red pepper piperade – there’s a broad ranging choice from down-the-line pub classics such as haddock and chips to old Scottish recipes including sheip’s heid broth together with highlights from the offal revival such as roasted bone marrow with parsley salad. Open just days before this guide went to press, expect to encounter highly accomplished preparation and cooking, a slightly forced sense of informality, and pub grub unlike any other pub – or public house with dining – in Scotland. + Scran with some serious credentials - Is a Wagyu burger, at £18, really pub scran?

Shebeen 8 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8BJ See Round the World

The Sheep Heid The Scran & Scallie 1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge, EH4 1JH (Map 1A: A1, 1) 0131 332 6281, scranandscallie.com | Mon–Sun 10am–10pm. HW £19.50; Kids; Wh. £20 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The joint venture between two of Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred chefs, Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack, in opening a pub – or ‘public house with dining’ – in Stockbridge has opened a new front in

43–45 The Causeway, Duddingston, Southside, EH15 3QA (Map 3C: E5, off) 0131 661 7974, thesheepheidedinburgh. co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm; Sun noon–9.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri/Sat 11am–midnight; Sun noon–11pm.] HW £14.95; Kids; Wh. £20 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

As Edinburgh’s oldest pub, having first opened its doors as far back as 1360, Duddingston’s Sheep Heid Inn has a

Perhaps the most unashamedly patriotic venue of the Swedish mini-chain, with the blue and gold flag hanging proudly outside, Sofi ’s still draws in the punters – both local and from further afield. Inside it’s blessed with all the anti-Ikea kookiness of its sister venues, although in brighter and cheerier hues than the likes of Boda – after all, knitting clubs and clothes swaps are regular events round these parts. There’s also a piano, so the odd intrepid drinker has been known to tinkle the ivories on occasion. Sadly the food menu, which once provided a more extensive and Scandinavian-inspired selection, is now limited to the merest of nibbles, but these are done well and supported by a good range of cocktails and beers. + Solid community feel when busy - No longer serving smorgasbords

The Southern 22 South Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9PR (Map 3C: D2, 16) 0131 662 8926, thesouthern.co.uk | Mon–Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Sun–Thu 10am– midnight; Fri/Sat 10am–1am.] Veg; HW £13.75; Kids (until 8pm); Wh. £12 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

A hot spot for beer drinkers, the Southern is the ideal watering hole for those looking for a decent pint. Housing a great range of beers, both bottled and on tap, many are from Scottish breweries such as Williams Bros’ Caesar Augustus, a refreshing hybrid of lager and IPA, or WEST’s St Mungo lager. Different craft brewers are invited in on a monthly basis to showcase their beers, and with rotating kegs and casks the selection is always fresh. The food menu is weighted towards burgers, with a cornucopia of topping combos to grace the beef, chicken, venison and haggis patties. Steaks and salads feature too, and for those with a sweet tooth, the array of decadent sundaes and desserts will surely tempt. + Hugely diverse range of burgers - Cocktails are uninspired

Stac Polly Brasserie, Wine and Gin Bar 29–33 Dublin Street, New Town, EH3 6NL (Map 1B: B4, 40) 0131 556 2231, stacpolly.com | Mon–Sat noon–2pm; Sun brunch 12.30–3pm. Light bites served at


BARS & PUBS

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EDINBURGH other times. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon– midnight.] Veg; HW £18.50. £13 (lunch)

The very nature of the original Stac Polly basement restaurant is as a subterranean New Town secret. The main restaurant remains (it’s covered in the Scottish section), but now the more visible street level rooms have been developed as a smart if still secluded pair of rooms that together serve as a lunchtime brasserie and afternoon/evening bar serving premium botanical gins in large glasses with classy garnishes. The light-touch lunch menu typically offers a fishcake with leaves, pigeon breasts with black pudding and carrot slaw or a roast vegetable tart, with a couple of puds including raisin-filled bread and butter pudding with crème anglaise to follow. For early evening the focus is on drinks and nibbling platters of cured meats or cheeses, with snacks such as venison pâté with toast. Very much complementing the experience is some classy design work by interiors experts Four-by-Two, including Bute tweed lamp shades, oak flooring and a mural photograph of the Wester Ross mountain from which the venue takes its name. + Ceiling roses and tweed shades cheekby-jowl – it’s New Town funk - You don’t step into a gin bar if you’re watching the pennies

noon–midnight; Fri/Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–midnight.] Veg; HW £12.25; Kids; Wh. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

They know their ales in this Stockbridge boozer. And their gins too. The beer geekery comes as no surprise when you realise it’s run by the same people behind the real ale and whisky havens of Cloisters in Tollcross and the Bow Bar on Victoria Street. On the main road in Stockbridge, the Tap is a traditional pub serving three draft ales, as well as four guest ales on rotation. Over and above the well-stocked bar (whisky lovers can work their way through over 70 single malts), they also do a solid range of wellmade pub food, including a goat’s cheese and red onion sandwich, fish and chips (done in a Black Isle Blonde beer batter, of course), steak pie and a farmhouse platter. Tuesday and Wednesday nights tend to bring in a few hungry locals, for these are burger nights, where the beef, venison, halloumi or steak burgers and chunky chips come in at a reasonable £6. They pay the same attention to detail when sourcing their food as they do with their ales, with ingredients sourced from just along the road at Henri’s deli, or from John Saunderson butchers and Global Fruit, both in Tollcross. + Serious beer and whisky selection - Low on pudding options

The Stand 5 York Place, New Town, EH1 3EB See Arts Venues & Attractions

Stockbridge Tap 2 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, EH4 1HN (Map 1A: B1, 7) 0131 343 3000 | Tue–Thu noon–2.30pm, 6–9pm, Fri noon–3pm; Sat noon–4pm; Sun noon–4.30pm. Closed Mon. [Bar open: Mon–Thu

The Street 2 Picardy Place, New Town, EH1 3JT (Map 1B: C5, 32) 0131 556 4272, thestreetbaredinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–9pm; Sun 12.30–9pm (bar snacks, Sun–Thu 9pm–midnight). [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Veg; HW £12.95; Kids. £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Floor-to-ceiling windows lend the top deck of this popular nightspot a slightly aquarium feel, while those wishing to lurk with the monkfish have plenty of options in the labyrinthine space downstairs, which can be hired out for private parties and has far more of a clubber’s vibe, especially on the heavily subscribed DJ-led weekend extravaganzas, when its nooks and crannies are regularly packed to the gunwales. Mid-week or mid-afternoon it’s an altogether different proposition and not a bad place for a quiet pint and a burger, although there’s always the potential that the world will be watching you while you watch the world go by. + Lively, flamboyant pre-club scene - More appealing of an evening

Sygn 15 Charlotte Lane, West End, EH2 4QZ (Map 4: B1, 9) 0131 225 6060, sygn. co.uk | Sun–Wed noon–10pm; Thu–Sat noon–11pm (pizza till 1am). [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] HW £14.50; T/A. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Tucked away down a West End lane, the potentially secret Sygn deserves a wide audience. An appealing but not overtly flamboyant retro-chic interior includes a private party area for your own shindig, with service that is positively chummy. ‘I Heart Burgers’, they loudly proclaim, and there’s no denying it with their stacked affairs of garlic mushroom or lamb and red pepper, while the pizzas and steaks are also well worth a shout. The temptation might be to jump straight on to a main dish, but that would be missing out on very flavoursome antipasti, while at the other end the luscious strawberry shortcake

sundae will truly finish you off. They certainly take the cocktail world seriously, with mixology masterclasses running twice a week. And on that menu sit delights such as the Blue Kamikaze shooter, the Involuntary Blush and Grey Goose Le Fizz. + Fine service, fine food - Cobbles after cocktails?

Ten Hill Place 10 Hill Place, Old Town, EH8 9DS See Bistros & Brasseries

Teuchters 26 William Street, West End, EH3 7NH (Map 4: B1, 3) 0131 225 2973, aroomin. co.uk | Mon–Sun 10.30am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 11am–1am.] Veg; HW £14.50. £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

If the name doesn’t give the game away then there are signs for highland villages adorning the bare brick walls of this highland themed pub. This is not to say that it feels contrived, as the basic but comfortable décor and solid food and drink offering fit comfortably with many people’s idealised image of a highland inn. Five cask pumps offer a mix of mostly Scottish beers alongside a good whisky selection. There is even an unusually broad wine offering, including prosecco-based cocktails. Served in large or small mugs, the food menu features a short selection of the usual pub fare delivered to a higher than normal standard. Expect well-seasoned haggis stovies and an admirable mac ’n’ cheese that isn’t too sloppy and has some genuine cheddar bite. + Good solid pub grub in a good solid pub - Limited choices on the menu

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GUIDES

Teuchters Landing 1c Dock Place, Leith, EH6 6LU (Map 5A: C1, 9) 0131 554 7427, aroomin.co.uk | Mon–Sun 10.30am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 11am–1pm.] Veg; HW £14.50; Kids; Wh. £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Anyone with an interest in Scotland’s liquid refreshments should visit one of the two Teuchters, both of which offer an encyclopaedic selection of the country’s whiskies and beers. The Leith version has the added attraction of being housed in a cosy bothy-like building that may once have been the ferry terminal to/from Aberdeen (hence the name). It’s warmed by an impressive stove in winter, while there are also some well-placed seats outside for catching the summer sun. Despite its diminutive size, the bar offers 18 draft stouts, ales and lagers – mainly from Scotland – and over 90 single malts, and there’s even a mean selection of pub grub produced by next-door bistro, A Room in Leith. As well as Loch Creran oysters and Shetland mussels, the pub’s trademark offerings come in mugs and pay homage to the Highlands, with the likes of pork and Stornoway black pudding meatballs, haggis stovies and Cullen skink. + A who’s who of Scotland’s beers and whiskies - Space can be limited, especially at the weekend

Thomson’s Bar 182 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8EB (Map 4: B2, 52) 0131 228 5700, thomsonsbaredinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–2pm. [Bar open: Mon–Wed noon– 11.30pm; Thu & Sat noon–midnight; Fri noon–1am; Sun 4pm–11.30pm.] Veg; HW £12.70; Kids. £7 (lunch)

Thomson’s Bar is a popular local

TIPList FOR TAKING THE DOG • Bond No. 9 Cocktails, chow and canine-friendly. Good combo 21

Tigerlily 125 George Street, New Town, EH2 4JN See Bistros & Brasseries

Tonic 34a North Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3BN (Map 1A: B4, 45) 0131 225 6431, bartonic.co.uk | Bar open: Sun–Wed 5pm– 1am; Thu 4pm–1am; Fri 2.30pm–1am; Sat 1pm–1am. HW £13; Kids.

With its sleek lines, darkened underground vibe and loud, clubby soundtrack in competition with the hubbub of well-oiled conversation, Tonic is very much cut from the same cloth as the style bars of George Street and its surrounding area. Where this place does excel, however, is in its commitment to good cocktails, with a regularly changing list of nearly fifty – split into themed sections based on everything from classic and current movies to an alcohol-based tribute page for Biggie Smalls (RIP) – served by talented young cocktail makers and enhanced by outdoor seating where barbecues take place in summer. Out-ofhours cocktail masterclasses can also be arranged for small groups of up to ten. + Impressive commitment to cocktails - The glossy party-hard George Street ambience may put some off

The Tourmalet

• Café Nom De Plume Friendly, sociable café in the Broughton quarter 45

• The Espy A pub for oneand-all just a stick-flick from the sea 24 • Freemans A fine coffee isn’t a bad excuse for a walk 47 • Hemma Handily placed for the open acres of Holyrood Park

on Morrison Street, decorated in the classical style of Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson. The traditional pub specializes in Scottish cask ales and malt whisky, but the walls also drift a drinker’s eye: a curious blend of bygone booze and fag posters, live sport, and architectural features from a masonic pediment to oak panels. Thomson’s style is old school, with a no-nonsense lunch blackboard of soup, steak or haggis pies with beans and gravy, and beef or Quorn lasagne, and a distilled wine list: three red, three white. But the beer is why this bar is busy, with its changing menu of interesting British drafts, and new brew launches with free pizza and homemade beer snacks of eminently superior quality. Simply put, as the manager says, ‘it’s a pub for the people’. + Argyll’s Fyne Ales on tap - Only toasties in the evening

26

• The Regent Bar Has cornered the market in alternative Abbeyhill pubs 29 • The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro The vets have gone, but the courtyard (and some promising food) remain 41

• Windsor Buffet A fine eating and drinking spot on Leith Walk. Good for owners too 33 32 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

25 Buchanan Street, Leith, EH6 8SQ (Map 5B: A3, 12) 0131 555 4387 | Bar open: Mon/Tue 3pm–midnight; Wed–Fri 3pm–1am; Sat/Sun 1pm–1am. HW £13; Kids.

Both of Edinburgh’s residents born with insatiable appetites for minor sports and obscure expressions of German weissbier must have felt all their prayers had been answered when the Tourmalet first appeared on the Leith pub scene back in 2009. However, although it has remained true to its roots as one of the capital’s most niche bars, it has since gained a loyal and diverse following of folk drawn to its handsome and cosy surrounds. Indeed, you don’t need to sport cycle shorts or be blessed with an encyclopaedic knowledge of artisan Westphalian breweries to feel welcome, and it’s the sort of pub you’d love to have as your local, with a particular goodtimes vibe on Thursday–Saturday nights. + Wunderbar selection of Bundesbeers - Pickled eggs are an acquired taste

Traverse Bar Café 10 Cambridge Street, West End, EH1 2ED See Arts Venues & Attractions

Treacle Bar and Kitchen 39–41 Broughton Street, EH1 3JU (Map 1B: C5, 28) 0131 557 0627, treacleedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun

Stac Polly Brasserie, Gin and Wine Bar (page 30): a New Town new kid 10am–1am.] Veg; HW £14.50; Kids (until 8pm). £13.50 (lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

With walls emblazoned with an improbable selection of cartoon characters, and primary colours very much to the fore, Treacle is clearly not aiming for understatement, and it succeeds in pulling off an atmosphere that is breezy and upbeat. Food-wise, there’s an impressive selection – ranging from full Scottish breakfasts to pad Thai noodles – and it defies the odds by managing to master a diverse and tempting range of dishes, with staples such as the chargrilled sirloin, pepper and Swiss cheese melt well worth a try. Meanwhile, the extensive drinks menu reflects Treacle’s transformation into more of a booze-based venue of an evening, and their bar staff can match the capability of the kitchen in turning out a wide range of cocktails with skill and style. + Reliable quality across the board - Arguably more competence than character

Under the Stairs 3a Merchant Street, Old Town, EH1 2QD (Map 2A: C3, 47) 0131 466 8550, underthestairs.org | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Snacks: Mon–Sun 10pm– midnight]. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon– 1am; Sun noon–midnight.] Veg; HW £15.50; Kids. £5.95 (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Nestled quite literally ‘under the stairs’ in a Merchant Street basement, this quirky venue boasts an eclectic menu of snacks and sharing platters, as well as more substantial main meals. Though

the portion size is more than ample, the quality of the food is by no means compromised. Lemon and chilli buttered scallops arrive cooked to perfection, and sweet potato fries make a refreshing alternative to the ubiquitous chip as an accoutrement to steaks and burgers. On the drinks front, an impressive selection of cocktails is on offer, alongside an attractive wine list, with almost every one available by the glass. Its cosy atmosphere may be too much for some, however, with the main dining area feeling too small for the number of tables it holds. + Sharing platters served until midnight - Claustrophobic dining

The Ventoux 2 Brougham Street, Tollcross, EH3 9JH (Map 3A: C1, 2) 0131 229 5066 | Bar open: Mon–Fri 2pm–1am; Sat/Sun 1pm–1am. (Winter: Mon–Fri 4pm–1am; Sat/Sun 1pm–1am.) HW £13; Kids.

There’s something surreal about The Ventoux, which makes it a splendid bar in which to hang out. At first, the theme seems bafflingly random, until, in the middle of your smoked German beer and pickled egg, the centime drops. Premièrement, it’s named after a stretch of the Tour de France, like its sister pub The Tourmalet in Leith, which explains the bicycles hanging from the ceiling. Zweitens, twenty bottled beers (which likely you’ll never have seen or tasted before) are sourced from microbreweries in Germany, where the Kraftwerk electronic music also comes from. Thirdly, it’s a British pub, with dangling Monster Munch and Scampi


BARS & PUBS

In association with

EDINBURGH Fries, lager and lime, model Jag XJS, fake glowing fire, and a wall of world spirits. So, eureka, it’s a blend of French, English, and German. But, oh dear, how do we explain the Caribbean fish tank and Cyberman helmet? Perhaps you’ll understand after another tasty Teutonic brew. + Tour der German beer - Still no food, except pickled eggs in a snail-shaped eggcup (though light bites in the plans)

Victoria 265 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8PD (Map 5B: A2, 4) 0131 555 1638, bodabar.com | Bar open: Mon–Fri 2pm–1am; Sat noon–1am; Sun 1pm–midnight. HW £13.30.

Bigger and with a slightly more sophisticated vibe than Boda, its nearby sister venue, Victoria is able to fill up its extra space with clientele ranging from pushchair-wielding parents in the daytime to a fairly cosmopolitan crowd of an evening, with dogs seemingly equally welcome by all comers at all hours. The laid-back atmosphere is further reflected by a tolerance of – nay, active encouragement of – bringing in food from the likes of Los Cardos, the Mexican takeaway nearby. With a popular outdoor area in the summer, complete with a faux lawn and an eclectic range of occasional events – from sailor-themed evenings, to dog-andowner-specific soirees – you never know what, or who, you’re likely to find. + Friendly, international bar staff - The gents’ toilets are a bit grim

4

The Vintage

60 Henderson Street, Leith, EH6 6DE (Map 5A: C3, 23) 0131 563 5293, thevintageleith.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon– 10pm; Sat/Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Fri noon–1am; Sat/Sun 10–1am.] Veg; HW £14.95; Kids; Wh. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Styling itself almost innocuously as a craft beer and kitchen, The Vintage is surely one of the most exciting things to have happened on Edinburgh’s dining scene in recent months. Based in premises near the Shore (previously occupied by Café Fish), this place has everything – from the sleek, dark interior and stylish open-plan demonstration kitchen to the naturally warm sense of non-exclusivity as a bar. Established with the backing of Edinburgh’s Williams Brewery, the drink lines are excellent (ten keg, three cask, sixty bottled beers and an epic list of wines and spirits), the service is casual but utterly professional and the food is surely destined to draw new followers from all over. Amid confidently wellexecuted à la carte, weekend brunch and Sunday roast choices (a perfectly flavour-matched starter of crispy pig’s ear and baked pear with chicory, for example), the extensive charcuterie grazing menu of salamis cured with spiced walnut or hazelnut and champagne, hot-smoked pig’s cheeks or rich, stew-like jugged rabbit will surely be the talk of the city before long. + Excellent food and drink, presented with heart and imagination - Knowing it won’t stay a secret for long

The Voodoo Rooms 19a West Register Street, New Town, EH2 2AA See Bistros & Brasseries

The WestRoom 3 Melville Place, West End, EH3 7PR (Map 4: B1, 7) 0131 629 9868, thewestroom.co.uk | Mon–Fri 10am– 3pm, 6–10pm; Sat/Sun 10am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 10am–midnight; Thu/Fri

10am–1am; Sat 10am–1am; Sun 10am– midnight.] HW £16.50; Kids (after 5pm). £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Whether you’re a true cocktail aficionado or can’t tell a Manhattan from a mojito, the WestRoom’s extensive and engaging cocktail menu is sure to both intrigue and delight. The staff here seriously know a thing or two when it comes to mixology, and are happy to guide customers through the list, or make up something off menu to suit specific tastes. With contemporary twists on classic tipples such as the ‘Breakfast Martini’, which incorporates marmalade and Cointreau along with Tanqueray gin, or the fruity passion-fruit mule, the WestRoom is definitely a hot spot for cocktails a cut above the rest. Almost inevitably, the food plays second fiddle, with flavours disappointingly bland, especially compared to the vibrant creations coming from behind the bar. + Delicious cocktails, expertly mixed - A lack of zeal in the cooking

Whighams Wine Cellars 13 Hope Street, West End, EH2 4EL (Map 4: B1, 19) 0131 225 8674, whighams.com | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon– Thu noon–midnight; Fri/Sat noon–1am; Sun noon–midnight.] Pre; HW £15.75; Kids. £10 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

If you are a lover of both wine and jazz, then Whighams has pretty much got it covered. Their Sunday-night jams and monthly wine-tasting events are in with the West End bricks, occasions suitably enhanced by the bar’s candlelit cellar atmosphere. The daily changing menu maintains one consistent staple that they are especially proud of: seafood. Shetland mussels, smoked salmon and pan-fried fillet of sea bream are all present and correct, while non-fish fans might want to sample a starter of haggis and Stornoway black pudding croquettes and a main of Buccleuch silverside salad. It’s all fine if not jaw-dropping fare. Whighams’ close relationship with Luca’s means that great ice-cream and sorbets are on tap. A wine is helpfully suggested for each course and everything is brought to your table with warm efficiency. + Great atmosphere and service - Fine but unspectacular food

The White Horse 266 Canongate, Old Town, EH8 8AA (Map 2B: B3, 23) 0131 557 3512 | Mon– Sun noon–9pm. [Bar open: Sun–Thu noon–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–midnight.] HW £12.25. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

With Boswell and Johnston supposedly meeting here, The White Horse has pedigree and 250 years on it remains popular with a diverse clientele. The stone walls provide some historic character but friendly bar staff and comfy seats contribute more to the ambience of the fairly simple interior. The selection of drinks is short but wellchosen: there is a handful of interesting whiskies and Glasgow’s WEST lager makes a welcome change to the more ubiquitous brands. Food is basic but cheap: the stovies and steak pies are good choices, but the nachos could do with more toppings. A pint, burger and stand-up comedy in the back room for £6 on Tuesday nights provides particularly good value. + A friendly and down to earth alternative to its touristy neighbours - Food is serviceable rather than exciting

Windsor Buffet 45 Elm Row, Leith, EH7 4AH (Map 5B: A5, 18) 0131 556 4195 | Mon–Sat 11am– 1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am. Veg; HW £11.95; Kids.

A combination of dark wooden panels, exposed stone and green leather armchairs give the Windsor a reassuringly permanent feel and, indeed, this Leith Walk stalwart has been dispensing ales since 1899. As such, it’s perhaps no surprise that the splendidly varnished bar is propped up by a loyal line-up of regulars, yet – fear ye not – there are no shortage of alternative

alcoves in which even a debutant will feel swiftly at home. What’s more, passing hounds can ape their masters, as bar staff are just as happy to provide dog chews and bowls of water as they are to produce toasties and an ever-changing selection of Scottish cask ales. + All the best bits of a classic old-man boozer - Limited food options

Woodland Creatures 260–262 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 5EL (Map 5B: A2, 3) 0131 629 5509 | Mon– Sun noon–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1pm.] Veg; HW £13; Kids (until 7pm). £10.50 (lunch) / £10.50 (dinner)

Balfour’s diehards might be bamboozled when confronted by the enigmatic grey façade that has appeared on this erstwhile drinking den, but there’s no doubt that Leith Walk’s latest addition will soon attract an equally loyal – if somewhat different – following. Despite the competition for quirkiness in this neck of the woodlands, it is good to see a native alternative to the neighbourhood’s designer-Viking invasion, and few will argue with promises of an outdoor beer grotto reached through a wardrobe. Although the titular beasts are thin on the ground, perhaps due to the dog-friendly nature of the pub, it does boast plenty of woodwork, including an impressive rough-hewn bar, atop which lurks a fantastic selection of beers. There’s also a refreshingly well-priced and tasty menu, with two courses for around a tenner. All in all, despite its potential to be an achingly bohemian hangout, it has a surprisingly diverse appeal. + Genuinely original - No squirrel stew

THE STAND COMEDY CLUB 5 York Place | Edinburgh | 0131 558 7272

Whiski 119 High Street, Old Town, EH1 1SG (Map 2B: A2, 7) 0131 556 3095, whiskibar. co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat 11am–10.30pm; Sun 11am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu noon–1am; Fri–Sun 11am–1am.] HW £16.50; Kids; Wh. £14 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The clue is in the name: with 300 or so malt and blended whiskies available it is obvious what the main draw is here. The mix of tartan décor and Scottish memorabilia lining the walls befits the Royal Mile location but manages to stay just the right side of kitsch. The menu is similarly tourist-friendly, with haggis, Cullen skink and cranachan all present and correct. But with wellsourced ingredients and sound cooking in evidence there is nothing wrong with the formula here. The Cullen skink is rich and properly infused with smoked haddock, while steaks are hung for a minimum of 35 days. There is also a creative list of whisky cocktails and some bottled craft Scottish beers for those after more than a dram. + Magnificent whisky list - Rather dull draft beer options

Whiski Rooms 4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, Old Town, EH1 2LP See Scottish

StandEdinburgh

@StandComedyClub

With top notch home-cooked food. fresh and original (just like our comedy)

and Sunday lunch too OPEN 7 NIGHTS A WEEK

www.thestand.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 33


BISTROS & BRASSERIES

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

GUIDES

BISTROS & BRASSERIES With everything from simple, laidback neighbourhood hangouts to special-occasion dining temples, Edinburgh’s bistros and brasseries are as eclectic as they are great in number. Whether you’re simply popping out to lunch, pushing the boat out or planning a party, in many places you’ll find an emphasis on local, seasonal food that’s in tune with the times. Although all of these restaurants have their own individual charms, most share a focus on approachable and friendly service, a flexible approach to menus and eating times and, among the very best, you’ll find some exemplary skill in the kitchen and bags of personality front of house. Reviewers: Hannah Ewan, Courtney Peyton, Claire Ritchie, Keith Smith, Robin Wu

The Apartment Bistro 7–13 Barclay Place, Southside, EH10 4HW (Map 3A: B2, 20) 0131 228 6456, apartmentrestaurant.com | Mon–Thu & Sun noon–4pm, 5–10pm; Fri/Sat noon– 4pm, 5–10.30pm. Veg; Pre; HW £14.90; Kids; Wh. £11 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Having taken over in late 2012, The Apartment’s new owners are busy

B

making gentle tweaks to a formula that has served Bruntsfield well for almost fifteen years. Sticking to the appealing modus operandi of serving well-sourced, seasonal food, they’ve increased the turnover of dishes, changing them every couple of days so even if you come three times a week you’ll have decisions to make. There’s a downside to this, as it means you might not be able to try a hugely satisfying kebab of harissa lamb balls studded with feta, or the outlandishly good passion fruit tart with coconut and lime mascarpone. Fortunately the general idea of unfussy, top-to-bottom inviting dishes that take their cue from seasonal ingredients remains constant across the lunch and dinner menus year round. There’s also a new focus on drinks, with quality names like Somerset cider brandy, a separate list for sherry and port, and wine list descriptions so oddball you’re forced to read the whole page. + A funky slant to the décor sets this apart from other neighbourhood diners - That disappointed feeling when you discover your baked duck egg yolk isn’t soft

4

Bia Bistrot

19 Colinton Road, Southside, EH10 5DP (Map 3B: A1, 1) 0131 452 8453, biabistrot. co.uk | Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. Veg; Pre; HW £15; Kids. £9.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

It’s what everyone wants to find, local or visitor: the hidden gem that, through clever use of ingredients, manages to simultaneously guarantee you a good meal, offer something a bit unusual, and do it for blindingly good value. Since taking on this difficult spot just off the

b a r & b ra s s e r i e

bruntsfield

Bisque lunches start at just £6.95 and our Prix Fixe Dinner menu is just £13.95 for two courses*. We use local produce wherever possible and serve 25 great value wines by the glass. Children are always welcome in our restaurant. For more information and a chance to win dinner for two, visit our website and register for our special offers email bulletin. www.bisquebrasserie.com www.facebook.com/ BisqueBrasserie *Every night except Saturday

 )Y\U[ZÄLSK7SHJLc;LS! 34 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Edinburgh Larder Bistro (page 37): A West End seasonality show

main Bruntsfield drag in 2010, Roisin and Matthias Llorente have been doing just that. She’s in the kitchen, creating dishes like veal head salad – finely sliced and succulent salty, fatty meat freshened by pickled veg – and perfectly moist pork fillet with slightly smoky cabbage. He’s the wine buff, planning regular sixcourse meals paired with everything from sherry to calvados. Despite the likes of foie gras making an appearance on the specials board, prices are astoundingly good for such thoughtful, out of the ordinary dishes – roast bone marrow, Borders hare and surf clams are typical of an unpatronising, inventive menu that eschews the clichéd. And with its muted, relatively un-styled appearance, it feels very much like the kind of authentic, laidback place where the focus is on the food, rather than the interior design brief. + It’s all in the details: two kinds of homemade bread and small glasses of house wine for £2.50 - Not a huge choice of puddings

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Bijou

2 Restalrig Road, Leith, EH6 8BN (Map 5B: C1, off) 0131 538 0664, bijoubistro. co.uk | Mon–Sat 9am–2.30pm, 5–8.30pm; Sun 10am–2.30pm, 5–8.30pm. BYOB (£2.50); HW £15; Kids; Wh; T/A. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Bijou came under new ownership in 2011 but both head chef Alastair Berry and the quirky but useful menu formula of offering most items in bijou, medium or large size have remained. The low-key interior features a sprinkling of café-style tables, a small bar and windows that look out on to Leith Links. These unassuming environs and casual ambience belie greater ambitions in the kitchen, which offers some creative and accomplished cooking. A light, herbal chicken and tarragon boudin in bijou size makes a great starter when paired with creamy leeks and potato rösti. Likewise a comforting cassoulet is porky and rich, with a medium size, at the keen price of £10.95, being ample as a main for all but the stoutest of appetites. Puddings are similarly good; the

homemade ice-cream is a highlight. Busy weekend breakfasts, storytelling events and BYOB for £2.50 (not all at the same time, thankfully) are more good reasons to visit this over-achiever and great addition to the local community. + Great food and good prices at this friendly neighbourhood eatery - Evening food service stops at 8.30pm

The Birdcage Stuart House, Eskmills, Station Road, Musselburgh, EH21 7PQ (Map 5A: E1, off) 0131 273 5240, birdcageeskmills. com | Sun–Thu noon–9.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 11am– midnight.] Veg; Pre; HW £13.50; Kids; Wh. £9.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Hidden away in an unprepossessing area of Musselburgh is the impressively restored collection of Victorian buildings at Eskmills. The Birdcage is housed in an Egyptian-style administrative building for what was once a cotton and rope manufacturer. At the front is a large domed bar area where live music is sometimes performed; the restaurant is through the back in a French-inspired glass extension overlooking a floodlit courtyard. In the drier months, with outside tables alongside geometric pools in the central piazza, surrounded by the grand mill buildings, the place has a very European feel. The menu offers dishes mainly based on local produce with occasional global such as a charcuterie board or tempura prawn cocktail for starters. For the mains there’s a selection of pastas, steaks, fajitas and specials including various fish dishes and a lightly curried chicken supreme. A popular choice on Sundays is the roast dinners that come with all the trimmings – maybe not as good as your mum’s but better than a carvery. The brief list of desserts features a cheesecake of the moment and old favourites such as steamed treacle pudding. + Beautifully restored building with lots of outdoor space - Out-of-the-way location


BISTROS & BRASSERIES

In association with

Bisque Bar & Brasserie Bruntsfield Hotel, 69 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4HH (Map 3A: B3, 24) 0131 622 8163, bisquebar.com | Sun– Thu 7am–9pm; Fri/Sat 7am–9.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11am–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Pre; HW £16.30; Kids; Wh. £11.90 (set lunch) / £19.50 (dinner)

There are few external signs to reveal that tucked away inside the Bruntsfield Hotel is Bisque Bar and Brasserie. Multiple entrances lead into a cosy bar area, where televisions show news and sports coverage. Further through is the main brasserie space, which on the whole manages not to feel like a chain hotel’s dining room, and attracts a mixture of hotel residents and locals, particularly when the weather allows the use of the popular garden area. The eponymous seafood bisque starter is rich, peppery and warming. One of the menu highlights is the rhubarb chutney, homemade from seasonal fruits from the chef’s garden, which accompanies a juicy pheasant and venison terrine. Mains include plenty of obvious choices – burgers, steak, battered fish – but dishes like roast pork belly with a crispy skin atop melting fat showcase an appreciation of good ingredients. For those who can find room for a dessert, the sharing plate features a slightly soft but nonetheless enjoyable tarte tatin, a sharp and moist red berry sponge pudding and a rich vanilla creme brûlée. + A surprisingly enjoyable dining experience - Some tables are better situated than others

Blackfriars 57–61 Blackfriars Street, Old Town, EH1 1NB (Map 2B: A3, 10) 0131 558 8684, blackfriarsedinburgh.co.uk | Wed–Sun 6–10pm (Bar food: Tue–Fri 4–10pm; Sat noon–10pm; Sun 12.30–10pm). Closed Mon. [Bar open: Tue–Thu 4pm–midnight; Fri/Sat 4pm–1am; Sun 12.30pm– midnight.] Veg; HW £15; Kids (under 5). £12 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Chef Andrew Macdonald is an example of a notable movement in Edinburgh’s food and drink scene. With experience in progressive establishments around town including First Coast and Urban Angel, he worked in Australia and returned to a spell as sous chef to Martin Wishart. Now setting up in his own place, he’s an experienced, highly trained chef determined to make a good standard of food and cooking available in simpler, more casual environments. Together with Georgie Binder, former manager at First Coast, they’ve taken on the former Black Bo’s bar and restaurant in the Old Town. Stripped-back to old-school simplicity (quite literally, with some of the tables and chairs) featuring exposed steel beams and stark white walls, it’s clear that some of the arty hipness of Bo’s bar will remain – as will the famous sign. As for the food, well, gone are the veggie-only Black Bo’s days with ribeye, chips and proper bearnaise sauce on Blackfriars’ menu alongside roast pork and fish. Arguably most engaging of all is the cultured bar menu featuring spiced beef roll, sprouting broccoli with goat’s curd, sardines and homemade pork pies. [Not open for full review at time of going to press.]

Blonde 75 St Leonard’s Street, Southside, EH8 9QR (Map 3C: E2, 12) 0131 668 2917, blonderestaurant.co.uk | Mon 6–9pm; Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 6–10pm; Sun noon–2.30pm, 6–9pm. Veg; HW £12.95; Kids; Wh. £12.90 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Generous platefuls, unfussy service

4 HITLIST BISTROS & BRASSERIES 4 Bia Bistrot Honest, inventive cooking that eschews the clichéd, in unassuming surroundings and at great prices. 4 Bijou An uncomplicated, low-key yet engaging neighbourhood bistro by Leith Links that's punching above its size.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Outside Catering Open all day from 9am (Sun 10am)

4 Edinburgh Larder Bistro A terrific new West End showcase for properly seasonal Scottish food in imaginative dishes.

Available for larger bookings.

4 Heller's Kitchen An all-day,

(close to Queen’s Hall and the Commonwealth pool)

all-evening venue on the Southside that's consistently creative and solidly satisfying.

4 The Honours Martin Wishart's 'other place' delivers proper brasserie food and service from the top drawer. 4 Iris An impressive city-centre package of good food in stylish but not overly formal surroundings.

15 Salisbury Place EH9 1SL Tel: 0131 667 4654 info@hellerskitchen.co.uk www.hellerskitchen.co.uk follow us on: facebook twitter

WHISKI ROOMS

4 Monteith's A charming, inviting – and fun – venue on the Royal Mile EDG13-Hellers Kitchen-QR.indd 1 doing contemporary Scottish food proud.

09/04/2013 14:0

4 The Shore The competition might be hot, but The Shore still knows how to deliver in a classic bar and bistro. 4 Spoon Fresh, simple and seasonal cooking in an idiosyncratic venue: both will make you smile – and relax. and a cheery neighbourhood vibe make this bistro a pleasant choice to while away a weeknight, and the large streetlevel windows and hurried comings and goings of the area’s students and young professionals provide effortless distraction. However, while the functional pine furniture and neutral colour scheme might sound chic, Blonde lacks that extra touch of individuality that makes a house a home. Busier evenings bring a cheery hum, aided in part by a thoughtful, reasonably priced wine list, adding warmth and colour. Like the interior, the food could do with a gentle caress to capitalise on its potential. Bold flavours and the odd off-kilter pairing certainly make for an intriguing menu, but the kitchen’s efforts to produce smart, balanced dishes don’t always succeed. Well-cooked Moroccanspiced chicken is overwhelmed by a fiery jalapeño sour cream, for example, while venison and chocolate casserole is pleasant enough but reneges on the promised cocoa hit. + Welcoming local bistro that’s not afraid to try new things - Lacks consistency

Bar – Restaurant – Bistro – Whisky shop -Fresh local Scottish food served all day -Extensive Wine, Local Beers, Cocktail & Whisky List -Ardbeg Embassy status -Daily Whisky Tastings and Eventss B Wh i s u y k WHISKI Rooms a n d y, G i f t s Ham 4-7 North Bank Street (the Mound), p e rs O n Edinburgh, EH1 2LP l www .w h i i n e : sk Reservations: 0131-225-7224 Book Online: www.whiskirooms.com

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The Blue Bear

Café Renroc

9 Brandon Terrace, New Town, EH3 5EA See Cafés

91 Montgomery Street, New Town, EH7 5HZ

Blue Moon Café

Café Renroc is open every evening until 9pm. See Cafés

1 Barony Street, Broughton, EH3 6PD (Map 1B: C4, 22) 0131 556 2788, bluemooncafe.co.uk | Mon–Fri 11am– 10pm; Sat/Sun 10am–10pm. HW £11.95; Kids. £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Now well into its third decade in business, the much-loved Blue Moon on a Broughton Street corner must be doing something right. Maybe it’s the friendly, laid-back atmosphere and genuine sense of welcome. Maybe it’s the low-key décor and gay-friendly vibe. Heck, maybe it’s just that they play Lady Gaga on the stereo. Whatever the appeal, it’s bolstered by a menu that is as reliable as it is comforting, where nachos and fish-cakes meet enchiladas, fish ‘n’ chips and steak sandwiches. Worth particular mention are the homemade burgers, cooked to order and with a plethora of toppings to make it your own. There are daily specials, healthier salad options and well-priced wines by the bottle – not to mention some seriously good homemade desserts including vanilla cheesecake, seasonal crumble and caramel apple granny. For a lunch with friends or a dinner after a hard day’s work or shopping, you could do a lot worse than the trusty Blue Moon. + Comfort food in a comforting atmosphere - Décor could do with a refresh

Bread Street Brasserie The Point Hotel, 34–36 Bread Street, West End, EH3 9AF (Map 4: D2, 40) 0131 221 5558, pointhoteledinburgh. co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–2pm, 5–10pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm. [Bar food served 11am–10pm.] Pre; HW £17.95; Kids; Wh. £10 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

The polish and shine of the Bread Street Brasserie, part of the Point Hotel conversion of the Victorian St Cuthbert’s Co-operative Association, is only made brighter by the warm welcome of their staff. Partitioning breaks some areas of the slightly grand room into more intimate spaces for smaller parties, but larger groups can take full advantage of

KEY Veg = 25% of main courses are vegetarian. Pre = Pre-theatre menu. Post = Post-theatre menu. BYOB = Bring your own bottle (corkage charge in brackets). HW = House wine cost per bottle. Kids = Children’s portions served and other facilities available. Wh = Wheelchair access and disabled toilet. T/A = Takeaway food. D = Delivery. Price in bold = Average cost of a two-course evening meal for one. The price of a set lunch is shown; otherwise we show the average cost of a two-course lunch for one. For full explanations see page 4.

36 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Circle Café 1 Brandon Terrace, Canonmills, New Town, EH3 5AE

Circle Café is open evenings Thursday to Saturday. See Cafés

Diner 7 7 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6JA See North American

The Dogs 110 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DR (Map 1A: D4, 81) 0131 220 1208, thedogsonline.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 4pm, 5–10pm. HW £14.95. £11 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

an unusually welcoming attitude to kids: there are books and toys to borrow, and a play area in the large garden, which also has tables for al fresco eating. When this isn’t an option, the space suffers from the atmospheric problems of many hotel restaurants, particularly basement ones, but welcoming service dissipates much of this. + House wine that bodes well for the rest of the list - Not a location you could just stumble across

Veteran restaurateur David Ramsden launched The Dogs in 2008 to an audience hungry for what he would come up with next. The other spinoffs in what became a mini-empire have come and gone but the original has remained and is still undeniably popular. Its success lies in offering somewhere central, hip and keenly priced with a menu that takes influence from prevailing food trends, including rustic British cooking and the use of offal and inexpensive cuts. At times it feels as if the driving force comes from front of house rather than the kitchen, but there is still some good food to be had. A starter of devilled liver on toast is robust and rich with a punchy cayenne kick. However fish pie is watery rather than creamy and unnecessarily houses courgettes. Wines are competitively priced, and usefully a number are offered by 500ml carafe as well as the glass. Some inconsistencies with the cooking aside, The Dogs offers a stylish dining experience that’s as easy on the wallet as it is on the eye. + The pared-down-chic dining rooms, bristling with bright young things - The rustic cooking is hearty but not always as assured as the ambience

Café Grande

The Dome Grill Room

184 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4DF (Map 3A: A4, 32) 0131 228 1188, cafegrande.co.uk | Mon–Thu 9am–10pm; Fri/Sat 9am–11pm; Sun 10am–10pm. Veg; HW £15.30; Kids; Wh; T/A. £11 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

14 George Street, New Town, EH2 2PF (Map 1B: A6, 49) 0131 624 8624, thedomeedinburgh.com | Mon–Fri noon– 9.45pm; Sat/Sun noon–10.45pm. HW £23; Kids; Wh. £23 (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

There’s a resonance upon entering Café Grande, on the main drag of Bruntsfield, that makes it clear you have arrived in a neighbourhood institution. The easy friendliness with which the staff greet customers, the sense that diners at separate tables recognise each other, the way guests order without consulting the menu too thoroughly, all point to a warm and welcoming atmosphere. A light menu of sandwiches, burgers and nachos continues through the day while the evening offers more substantial starters and mains, including a goodvalue two-course set meal. The fried squid is a bit too firmly battered to be classified as tempura, but the rib-eye steak arrives perfectly pink. Pan-fried pork fillet is tasty, if a bit dry, and is complemented by generous and moist Stornoway black pudding. A strong range of desserts will tempt those with a sweet tooth, but the winner of the evening must be the sunshine-tangy lemon sorbet counterpointed with a bright splash of mixed berries to cleanse the palate and tie up with a bow a pleasant, soothing evening. + A good landing point for a relaxing evening out - Comfort food slightly inconsistent in its execution

In the battle of opulent one-upmanship that is George Street’s social scene, The Dome stands out like a precious gem set amongst the Swarovski-studded bling of its New Town neighbours. Marble, mosaic and the impressive glass-coffered dome itself all make for a stunning interior, evocative of Grand Hotels of a bygone era. A neat wood-panelled Club Room offers an intimate, informal retreat, but it’s the Grill Room in the main space which beckons most. Tucked away at the rear, diners are afforded an element of seclusion, although the mezzanine’s elevated position and the room’s acoustics ensure they still benefit from the pleasing hubbub created by the circular bar’s patrons. The menu itself rarely strays close to adventure though, and while dishes like breaded aubergine and roast rump of lamb are solidly enjoyable, they lack the elegant touch such surroundings (and prices) perhaps demand. Occasional lapses of kitchen-side concentration (under-cooked potatoes and limp, soggy skin on an otherwise fine fillet of cod) are at odds with the attention to detail delivered by their front-of-house compatriots. + The surroundings could well leave you speechless - . . . but the food might not

The Galley: a friendly welcome on the back streets of Leith

the generous arrangements. Brasserie fare covers both comfort food and the more exotic, to varying degrees of success. A twice-baked blue cheese soufflé, tenderly engulfing a moist cheesy core, is a high point among the starters, but the pressed ham hock and caper terrine lacks distinction. A six-hour confit duck leg is fall-away tender inside and the absence of the traditional dense sauce leaves the skin crispy and light alongside an unexpectedly refreshing Waldorf salad. A range of steaks and some more traditional British options will comfort the weary traveller seeking known commodities. The wine list provides both quaffable bottles and expense-account selections. The attractive pre-theatre menu provides good value for those heading to performances nearby. + Attractive venue, great for large parties, with an interesting menu - Challenges of being a hotel dining room striving for more

Café Cassis Salisbury Hotel, Salisbury Road, Southside, EH16 5AA (Map 3C: D3, 25) 0131 667 8991, cafecassis.co.uk | Tue– Sun noon–9.30pm. Closed Mon. Pre; HW £14.65; Kids. £8.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Now in its third year, Café Cassis remains unfamiliar even to many of Edinburgh’s enthusiastic restaurant goers. This is a shame, as it turns out highly enjoyable, seasonally influenced meals that aim to offer something for everyone, with lots of gluten-free dishes and thoughtful veggie options. As French as owner/chef Denis Guillonneau’s long service to the bygone Daniel’s suggests, it embodies a laid-back bistro attitude. Hotel guests would certainly relax coming down to Blarliath cheese and fig crème brûlée, home-made crab and crayfish tortellini, or a butternut squash Wellington that could turn the most ardent meat eaters veggie for the night. The menu attracts diners from further afield than the rooms upstairs: over three quarters are non-residents. A bonus to being a restaurant in a hotel is


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BISTROS & BRASSERIES EDINBURGH

Earthy Canonmills

First Coast

1–6 Canonmills Bridge, Stockbridge, EH3 5LF (Map 1B: A1, 3) 0131 556 9696, earthy.co.uk | Mon–Wed 9am–6pm; Thu–Sat 9am–5.30pm & 6.30–9.45pm; Sun 9am–5.30pm. HW £15.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £13 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

97–101 Dalry Road, West End, EH11 2AB (Map 4: A4, 67) 0131 313 4404, first-coast.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–2pm, 5–10.30pm. Closed Sun. Veg; Pre; HW £13.50; Kids; Wh. £11.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Earthy: the name itself reeks of honestto-goodness wholesomeness and this charmingly decorated Canonmills restaurant certainly delivers on that promise. The place feels rather like a Womble has been brought in to decorate, with found objects and mismatched furniture creating a cosy, intimate atmosphere. The provenance of the food also embodies the Earthy name, with high-quality produce tagged with ‘seasonal’, ‘local’ and ‘foraged’ throughout the appealing menu and individual suppliers thanked in person at the end. A deft hand in the kitchen turns all that worthiness into something more refined than your usual groovy café, however. The menu changes with the season, naturally, but starters might include ravioli of foraged wild garlic and chestnut mushrooms or a Scottish crab and lemon risotto. For mains, a fillet of hake baked in Indian spices arrives still sizzling in its pan, while an escalope of Peelham Farm veal with sage, mozzarella and Parma ham does much to showcase this rediscovered (and ethical) meat. With desserts including rhubarb meringue tarte tatin and an enthusiastic wine list, it all adds up to a hugely promising experience. However the weak link is the service, which at times comes across as unfriendly and bored. If, and when, the principles behind Earthy – warm, local, caring – are echoed front of house staff the place can be exceptional. + The provenance of the food, then deftly made delicious - When the service is less engaged than the food

4

Edinburgh Larder Bistro

1a Alva Street, West End, EH2 4PH (Map 4: B1, 13) 0131 225 4599, edinburghlarder.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon– 2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Sun 11am–3pm. Veg; Pre; HW £14.95; Kids. £11.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

For anyone with even a passing interest in good Scottish food, the Edinburgh Larder Bistro’s menu reads like a reassuring promise of things to come – and if you’re a tourist, you’d be hard pressed to find a better showcase for this region’s produce. Indeed the first question that springs to mind is how on earth they can dish this lot up for such reasonable prices, and why others don’t. The price question is answered to some measure by delicate portion sizes, but that simply means you’ll be able to fit in three courses, and with the prospect of a meal made up of velvety tea-smoked venison loin with beetroot jelly, spiced rump of lamb, all pink and tender, and hibiscus-poached apple slices with Thistly Cross cider granita, you’re going to want to. Of course these are simply examples, as things are so seasonal here that the menu will have changed a hundred times by the time you visit. They’ve worked wonders with an often dodgy basement space as well – decked out in olive green, with a clever outdoor-indoor space that adds interest. + Is this the best brunch menu in town? - A slightly over-soft side of very seasonal veg

Field 41 West Nicolson Street, Southside, EH8 9DB See Scottish

For exactly a decade, First Coast has been an oasis of tasteful cheer in the relatively under-served area of Dalry. Prices have remained almost static for years, with the result that now they offer eye-poppingly good value for thoughtful, reliably good food. This is partly down to clever menu planning: even in winter, it’s dominated by reasonably light dishes with a good selection of salads and veggie options, like a very satisfying rotolo (kind of a pasta Swiss roll) filled with creamy, cheesy sauce, butternut squash and crushed amaretti biscuits. The warren-like space serves a variety of groups, from simple dinners for two, to big parties, and with monthly regional cuisine evenings keeping the menu fresh, this place could easily become the solution for all kinds of events. The drinks list deserves a mention for being concise, keenly priced and really cared about by general manager and wine-list collator Gordon Robertson, who is taking his Master of Wine certificate. Save room for pudding, always a highlight –- toffee and banana oat crumble is, in a good way, the breakfast you’d order if it were your last. + A spectacularly good early-evening deal - A menu built more for contentment than electricity

Forth Floor Brasserie Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, New Town, EH2 2AD (Map 1B: B5, 45) 0131 524 8350, harveynichols. com | Mon 10am–5pm; Tue–Sat 10am– 10pm; Sun 11am–5pm. HW £16.50; Kids; Wh. £17 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The bar and bistro arm of department store Harvey Nichols is a predictably chic operation, bristling with shiny surfaces, chameleonic lighting and designer furniture. What makes the space particularly alluring though is one of the best skyline views in Edinburgh. Executive chef Stuart Muir has created modern and informal brasserie menus that work well for the ebb and flow of shoppers and diners arriving throughout the day. Expect an eclectic mix of options such as chicken liver parfait with toast and chutney, Asian pork belly salad or brisket and champ, alongside a seafood bar and tapas menu. A starter of curried vegetable scotch egg could do with more oomph in the spicing, while a main of calf’s liver with crushed potatoes sees the liver cooked perfectly pink. A brownie with espresso cream is rich and gooey and provides a good hit of cocoa to finish off. The drinks list, with thoughtfully chosen wines and an excellent range of well-crafted cocktails, is definitely a highlight, especially served alongside that fabulous view. + Sex and the City style sundowners on the terrace don’t come much better - Seafood bar looks a little sad when not brimming with briny delights

The Galley 18–20 Salamander Street, Leith, EH6 7HR (Map 5A: E1, 32) 0131 538 6725, facebook.com/TheGalleyLeith | Mon– Sun 9am–9pm. Veg; HW £14.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £5.95 (set lunch) / £9.50 (dinner)

Hidden away in the depths of Salamander Street, the Galley opened in early 2013 and has all the ingredients needed to be worthy of cult success. Despite having no view to speak of,

the modest corner unit is bright, fresh and newly decorated, with homemade traybakes and cakes on the counter and a particularly friendly welcome adding to the sense of homely intimacy. Breakfasts including porridge, blueberry pancakes and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, as well as gluten-free sausage and haggis, are served from 9am to 1pm, while the daily handwritten menu is short but characterised by some excellent signature dishes. Alongside open sandwiches and a butternut squash, red onion and parmesan tart, for example, a starter of haggis pakora is fried to a delicate crisp and served alongside an interesting spiced tomato and mint dip, while you may be hard pushed to find a better battered haddock elsewhere in the city, the fish retaining meaty succulence and flavour within the batter. + A menu of first-class and affordable modern classics - The location may – but shouldn’t – put some off

sibling to the Pompadour upstairs, but in both atmosphere and price this isn’t somewhere for a quick functional bite. Your (best) coat will be taken and a snowy napkin gently flicked onto your knee. The sommelier will comprehensively explain which wine would best suit the caper and cucumber flecked whole lemon sole, or a pile of the langoustine that are laid out on crushed ice at the crustacea bar. Curved around the hotel lounge, this chic restaurant – all 1920s grey, blue and monochrome – feels like a stand-alone restaurant rather than a hotel dining room, and is as elegant as the cooking is consistently flawless. Somewhat tucked away from the world, it could easily become the refuge of moneyed boardroom-hoppers – but Edinburgh’s residents would be missing out if so. + Surprising accessibility in the headturning prix fixe menu - A menu as classic as the surroundings: don’t come for avant-garde

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe

Hadrian’s Brasserie

Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End, EH1 2AB (Map 4: B1, 23) 0131 222 8988, galvinrestaurants.com | Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm, 6–10pm; Sat 12.30–3pm, 6–10pm; Sun 12.30–3pm, 6–9.30pm. HW £33; Kids; Wh. £15.50 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, City Centre, EH2 2EQ (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 557 5000, hadriansbrasserie.com | Mon–Fri 7am–10.30pm, noon–2.30pm, 6.30–10.30pm; Sat 7–11am, 12.30– 10.30pm; Sun 7.30–11am, 12.30–2.30pm, 6.30–10.30pm. HW £21; Kids; Wh. £16.50 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

2012 was a big year for the Caledonian Hotel. Bestowed with Waldorf Astoria branding and given a £24million makeover, its new brasserie from renowned London chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin (with ex-Number One at the Balmoral chef Craig Sandle in the kitchen) slotted straight into place as one of Edinburgh’s most luxurious nights out. It might be the ‘informal’

Rocco Forte’s Balmoral Hotel is home to two restaurants, Michelin-starred Number One and Hadrian’s Brasserie, which aims to offer a more informal dining experience while staying at the smarter end of the spectrum. Soft, warm lighting, dark wood and neutral furnishings make for an understated and

runner up 2012 shortlist magazine’s UK gastropub of the year confident food, friendly service, relaxed surroundings interesting wines, cask ales, family friendly meals from 12pm to 10pm, drinks from 11am until late for current menu and promotions please visit our website

WWW.THESALISBURYARMSEDINBURGH.CO.UK 58 DALKEITH ROAD, EDINBURGH, EH16 5AD

0131 667 4518

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luxurious interior that some might find a little anodyne – which could not be said for the large photos of flamenco dancers that exuberantly punctuate the beige walls. Highly attentive service comes more from the fine dining stable than the eponymous brasserie, as does the food. Seasonal Scottish produce features strongly here but is interpreted through a fairly refined lens. A bouillabaisse of native seafood is less gutsy than its French counterpart but contains perfectly cooked fresh fish, although the accompanying rouille is rather insipid compared to the real Provençal deal. A Blairgowrie ribeye from the grill is cut too thin but is nonetheless a good piece of beef, cooked as ordered. Well-crafted puddings, such as a light sticky ginger sponge with orange yoghurt ice-cream, are a definite highlight and worth saving room for. + Five-star puddings from an appealing menu - Wines by the glass are unexciting compared to the more thoughtful bottle selection

4

Pre; HW £18.95; Kids; Wh. £24 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Hotel du Vin has always sought to rise above its peers in the often-dubious chain-hotel restaurant business. Here, snuggled between the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh University’s central campus, it succeeds. Upon leaving the hectic churn of Bristo Place and moving though the unexpected courtyard calm – prepped for outdoor diners when the weather is kind – Hotel du Vin welcomes its guests with warmth. The dining spaces, wooden and airy with rough stone walls, feel immediately relaxing, if slightly orchestrated, and the menu and wine list are substantial but not overwhelming. Generous and saltysweet dressed crab or tender devilled kidneys provide rich, opulent starters. Deep satisfaction comes with the gooey, dark cassoulet laden with fall-apart duck and earthy sausage and beans. Sole Veronique draped in classic creamy grape sauce proves a successful lighter option. Pudding wines are matched carefully with sweets, be it classic crêpes Suzette or tender apple tarte tartin. An interesting list of after-dinner digestifs provides temptation to prolong a thoroughly pleasing evening. + Genuinely suitable for both big groups and quiet couples wanting to eat well - Vegetarians are largely ignored

Hellers Kitchen

15 Salisbury Place, Southside, EH9 1SL (Map 3C: D3, 27) 0131 667 4654, hellerskitchen.co.uk | Mon–Sat 9am– 10pm; Sun 10am–8pm. Pre; HW £14.50; Kids. £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Don’t be fooled by the modest frontage: Heller’s is bigger on the inside. Like the surprisingly open and spacious interior, the menu expands from lighter daytime café options to a full evening’s culinary revelry, and the daily changing specials board pulls the palate from hither to yonder with delight. The confit of duck is almost rillettes, but is light enough to spread richly on crunchy toast. Fried squid is airy-light, and caramelised king scallops perch proudly on a savoury tomato tarte tartin. The sweetness of lamb rump is coupled with sweet potato fondant, lightened by the pink beast’s harissa coating, and the neighbouring juicy blood orange tossed in peppery rocket salad. Melting beef shin, resonant in reduced Maderia with glazed shallots, repeatedly pulls devoted fans to these tables. Pudding might seem a step too far, but anyone could make room for the sparkling trio of homemade mango, passion fruit and lemon sorbets. Bigger appetites should not resist the creamy zing of the lemon cheesecake. This continuing personal best must justly make chef Richard Heller proud of such finery without fuss. + Wonderfully creative menu which changes daily - Doesn’t take steps to shift the atmosphere from daytime bustle to evening dining

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe (page 37): revitalising and reclassifying the Caley

Howies at Waterloo 29 Waterloo Place, New Town, EH1 3BQ See Scottish

Henricks Bar & Bistro 1 Barclay Place, Southside, EH10 4HW See Bars & Pubs

Hewat’s Restaurant 19–21b Causewayside, Southside, EH9 1QF See Scottish

4

The Honours

58a North Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3LU (Map 1A: B4, 41) 0131 220 2513, thehonours.co.uk | Tue–Thu noon– 2.30pm, 6–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. Pre; HW £16; Kids. £16.50 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

‘To do the honours of a table gracefully, is one of the outlines of a well-bred man.’ So says the rare 18th-century text from which Martin Wishart’s second Edinburgh venture takes its name, and both he and head chef Paul Tamburrini do the table proud, both in terms of its accoutrements and what they then serve upon it. Cuts less favoured (but no less tasty), like pig’s head, ox cheeks and rabbit leg, dominate a menu that adheres to the traditions of French cuisine but remains modern and approachable, complemented by a surprisingly affordable wine list. Pitched

as a much less formal alternative to its sister restaurant in Leith, there’s still an air of ceremony and touch of theatre about proceedings. While many of the well-heeled clientele will feel right at home in this environment, those ‘dining up’ as a treat might feel a little overawed, even if the staff are as impressively warm as the softly lit, gold and black interior. But it’s the food that ultimately demands most attention here, two things in particular standing out: technique, and the time taken over each plate. Flavours are subtle and delicate, sauces are glossy and consistent, presentation is elegant and considered. This isn’t fine dining, but it’s not far off. + Setting the standard for brasserie dining in Edinburgh - Still retains an element of formality that might put off more casual diners

Hotel du Vin 11 Bristo Place, Old Town, EH1 1EZ (Map 2A: C4, 41) 0131 247 4900, hotelduvin. com | Mon–Fri 7–10am, noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10.30pm; Sat 8–11am, noon– 2.30pm, 5.30–10.30pm; Sun 8–11am, 12.30–3pm, 5.30–10.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 11am–midnight; Fri/Sat 11am– 1am; Sun 12.30pm–midnight.]

Indigo Yard 7 Charlotte Lane, West End, EH2 4QZ See Bars & Pubs

4

Iris

47a Thistle Street, New Town, EH2 1DY (Map 1A: D4, 76) 0131 220 2111, irisedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 10.30pm. Pre; HW £14.90; Kids (under 6). £13.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

The central section of Thistle Street does not want for quality restaurants, so competition is fierce, which is to the diner’s benefit as each establishment works hard to impress. For six years Iris has been a draw for good food in stylish but not overly formal city centre surroundings. Inside, wood panels, mirrors and retro-patterned wallpaper create a cool vibe with staff bustling about calmly no matter how busy they are. An interesting menu puts little twists on bistro classics – think swordfish with hot pineapple salsa or baked salmon with a creamy leek and pink peppercorn sauce. Side dishes are required and cost extra but include enticing options like garlic fries or sweet potato wedges. Desserts don’t stray far from the familiar, with

Hitlis in The ted Eating aList Drin nd Guide k2ing 012

Porto & Fi on the mound 9 North Bank Street Edinburgh EH1 2LP 0131 225 9494

Porto & Fi 47 Newhaven Main Street Edinburgh EH6 4NQ t: 0131 551 1900

www.portofi.com | e: enquiries@portofi.com EDG12-Porto&fi-QH.indd 1

38 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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sticky toffee pudding being a particularly good example of how Iris does favourite dishes really well. Busy for lunch and dinner throughout the week, there is an extra buzz about the place at weekends, so you might need to book ahead to be part of it. + Casual dining with a great atmosphere - The menu doesn’t seem to change very often

Itchycoo Bar & Kitchen 80 High Street, Old Town, EH1 1TH (Map 2B: A3, 8) 0131 473 6517, radissonblu. co.uk | Mon–Sun 9am–10.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Fri 9am–midnight; Sat 10am– 1am; Sun 10am–midnight.] HW £18.50; Kids; Wh. £17 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

It would be easy to dismiss Radisson Blu’s Itchycoo as just another hotelrestaurant tourist trap, all sleek, glossy surfaces and anonymity, but that would be to do it a disservice. With tables and booths dotted around a central bar area, the atmosphere and welcome are warmer than your standard hotel dining room, and the food is also a cut above. While the expected lounge-bar meals are all present and correct – lasagne, steak pie, fish and chips – the star of the show is the innovative ‘tapas-inspired’ menu, available every evening and featuring an eclectic range of dishes. A bowl of mixed seafood is crisp in its crumb coating and cooked with a light touch. Portobello mushrooms are enhanced by a topping of roast peppers and Dunsyre blue cheese, while a portion of butternut squash arancini is big enough to be a main course in its own right. To finish, a dessert of brandy baskets with lemon and pineapple cream and honeycomb crunch is a simply delicious combination. Newspapers and rolling TV news provide distraction for lone diners, and highchairs and a kids’ menu are available for the youngest ones, so all bases are covered in this surprising Royal Mile hideaway. + The interesting tapas menu - Too easy to order too much

and lime hollandaise providing tang in contrast to the rich, sweet flesh. + A lobster option makes for a true ‘gourmet’ burger experience . . . - . . . even so, £20 is a bit steep for what is still just a burger

Metropole 33 Newington Road, Southside, EH9 1QR See Cafés

4

Monteiths

57–61 High Street, Old Town, EH1 1SR (Map 2B: A2, 6) 0131 557 0330, monteithsrestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Fri 5–10.30pm; Sat/Sun noon–10.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 3pm–1am.] HW £19.50; Kids (after 5pm). £27 (lunch) / £32 (dinner)

From the moment you step under the twinkling canopy of the narrow close, the small, charming details set Monteiths apart. The relaxed setting embraces its historic Royal Mile setting, where the rough hewn stone walls are subtly lit and gentle tartan softens the room. The menu continues this inviting tone, fondly enjoying Scotland’s larder. And the execution is fun: light, sizzling whitebait arrives in a small metal pail with mason-jarred, piquant tartare sauce. Creamy, yet appealingly chewy pearl barley risotto needs to be spooned up to capture every cheese-shimmered drop. Mains move to heartier territory, although a selection of seafood, firm and fresh, offers lighter options. Sweet pink rack of lamb shelters in the mild nutty coating of its pistachio crust. Shreds of ox cheek resonate all the earthy richness offered by the beef, sitting in proud, moist mounds. Upholding brasserie tradition, the wine list is filled with interesting and unusual offerings at canny prices. For those tempted to explore beyond the single bottle, a sampler of three smaller glasses of selected whites or reds invites a low-key entry into some enjoyable wine tasting. + Charm and quality go hand in hand - Vegetarians have very limited options

Cornelius Beer & Wine

From the everyday, to the exquisite (but always out of the ordinary) selection of beers in Scotland.

18-20 Easter Road www.corneliusbeers.com

T: 0131 652 2405

http://twitter.com/corneliusbeers

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, West End, EH1 2AE See Scottish

Malmaison Brasserie 1 Tower Place, Leith, EH6 7BZ (Map 5A: C1, 14) 0131 468 5000, malmaison. com | Mon–Fri 7–10am, noon–2.30pm, 6–10.15pm; Sat/Sun 8–10.30am, noon– 2.30pm, 6–10.15pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 9am–1am.] HW £19; Kids; Wh. £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

With only the odd model ship hinting at its original function as a seaman’s mission (and thankfully nothing to indicate another past incarnation as a house of ill-repute), the Mal instead exudes a distinctly Parisian feel, dressed in rich, dark hues and accessorised with elegant wooden slatted blinds. That Gallic influence is evident in the menu too, marrying some British and occasional Asian input into a mix of modern and classic dishes which work, on the whole. Those offerings that don’t quite click are down to what’s not on the plate, rather than what is. Filo tart with squash, candied golden beets and herb crème fraîche deserves some salty goat’s cheese for a counterbalance of taste and texture. Supreme and leg of chicken, soused in cider and roasted Normandystyle, is moist and agreeably infused with the apples’ acidity, but let down by a miserly accompaniment of stuffing and little else. On the other hand, char-grilled squid with chorizo, black olive, lime and chilli is well balanced, while the lobster burger is a triumph, a fresh mango salsa

Montpeliers Bar and Brasserie 159–161 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4DG (Map 3A: A4, 31) 0131 229 3115, montpeliersedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 9am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon– Sat 9am–1am; Sun 9am–1am.] HW £17.95; Kids. £10 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Montpeliers is the dining equivalent of high street shopping – accessible pricing, visited by many for a quick shot of style, but not the place for a unique or quirky night out. That said, it does what it does pretty well: half bar, half tightly packed restaurant, decked out with fashionable bold-print wallpaper and comfy sofas, it’s always buzzing. It’s part of a chain that includes Tigerlily and Ricks, and like those places it is well attended by both students and local young professionals. Everyone comes for the longstanding two courses for a tenner deal, from lunch and dinner menus of safe brasserie staples. A starter of salt and pepper squid seems underwhelmingly small, however, and a watery French onion soup gives the impression of inconsistency in the kitchen. Braised lamb shank is a big improvement, tender and filling, and there is some decent ingredients sourcing going on, but on balance it feels like somewhere to come for the well-stocked bar, for the gossip, and for the chance to be seen wearing those new shoes rather than for stand-out food. + Every night feels like a Friday night on George Street - Every night feels like a Friday night on George Street The List Eating & Drinking Guide 39


BISTROS & BRASSERIES

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

GUIDES

Mums Great Comfort Food 4a Forrest Road, Old Town, EH1 2QN (Map 2A: C4, 40) 0131 260 9806, mumsgreatcomfortfood.co.uk | Mon–Sat 9am–10pm, Sun 10am–10pm. HW £12.95; Kids; T/A. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Had a bad day? Busy day? Feeling stressed, down hearted or just plain hungry? Then make your way to Forrest Road for a big hug in the form of Mums Comfort Food. In a setting somewhere between American diner and British caff – complete with ceramic ducks on the wall – the menu is packed with all the British classics you could hope to find, including steak pie, burgers, macaroni cheese and sausages. Specials always include a veggie sausage of the day, served with your choice of mash and gravy. For anyone other than Desperate Dan the steak and ale pie should be considered a two person feast, so take that into account if you were hoping to fit in dessert. Crumble of the day features seasonal fruits and comes with a jug of hot custard to up the comfort factor an extra notch. With service brisk and superfriendly, there is nothing pretentious about this place; it’s just welcoming, cosy and serves up the kind of food your soul craves every now and then. Just like your mum’s kitchen. + 16 varieties of mash to choose from - What happened to the apostrophe?

North Bridge Brasserie: a newsworthy location for contemporary cuisine in the Scotsman Hotel

Museum Brasserie

£12.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town, EH1 1JF See Arts Venues & Attractions

This smart neighbourhood bistro sits comfortably among Broughton Street’s trademark mix of funky boutiques and restaurants. Big picture windows on a corner location allow for maximum viewing of the street life and provide an Edward Hopper-esque scene of diners from the other side of the glass. Once inside, the ambience in this fairly compact and popular spot is a far cry from Hopper’s late-night melancholy – indeed the exposed brickwork, warm wood and friendly service make for a convivial and lively setting. Food is offered throughout the day, from hearty brunch through to dinner, which features contemporary bistro fare with seasonal ingredients and Mediterranean influences. Mussels with red wine and rosemary are a typical starter and show off the sweet little molluscs in a thoughtfully conceived dressing. Other dishes, such as a special of grilled chicken and polenta, are handled with equal care, with a good chargrill flavour to the well-seasoned meat. The blackboard of daily specials is worth attention, and what the regular menu occasionally lacks in excitement, it makes up for in quality, unpretentious cooking. + Well-executed, seasonal food with something for everyone - Loud-ish music on the stereo may not be everyone’s cup of tea

North Bridge Brasserie 20 North Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1YT (Map 2A: D2, 5) 0131 622 2900, northbridgebrasserie.com | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5.30–10pm. [Bar open: Mon– Thu 10am–midnight; Fri/Sat 10am–1am; Sun 10am–midnight.] HW £17.95; Kids; Wh. £23 (dinner)

A century ago, the marble columns, plush wood panelling and ornate cornicing of this grand room were privy to some fair old wrangles, as canny businessmen haggled with the Scotsman newspaper’s clerks over ad rates. Nowadays, there’s much less for visitors to quibble about. Combining elements of French, Scottish and modern British cuisine with colourful presentation, the finished product is hard to argue with. Scallops, baby turnips and a chestnut and artichoke purée is simple, earthy goodness. Venison loin with root vegetable pavé and a neat cabbage stuffed with haggis similarly impresses, while hot dark chocolate mousse and toasted marshmallow ice-cream suggests an eye for the persuasive pudding. There’s no bragging about the provenance of ingredients, but the evidence isn’t hard to spot: mackerel landed in Aberdeen, shellfish from Skye and Gressingham duck, alongside curly kale and celeriac, point towards a consideration for local, seasonal produce. Scotland’s bountiful drinks cabinet is raided to good effect too: Glenfiddich, Hendrick’s and West’s St Mungo beer switch codes from glass to plate, adding intrigue and depth of flavour. And the house wines offer good value, featuring more unusual grape varieties to tempt (or force) the casual quaffer out of their comfort zone. + The attention paid to the details, like wine served at the right temperature - Only offers lounge menu at lunchtime

Olive Branch Bistro 91 Broughton Street, EH1 3RX (Map 1B: C4, 19) 0131 557 8589, theolivebranchscotland.co.uk | Mon–Thu 11.45am–10pm; Fri 11.45am–11pm; Sat/ Sun 10am–11pm. Post; HW £15.15; Kids (until 8pm); Wh. 40 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

One Square 1 Festival Square, West End, EH3 9SR (Map 4: C2, 31) 0131 229 6422, onesquareedinburgh.co.uk | Sun–Thu 7am–10pm; Fri/Sat 7am–10.30pm. (Snack menu Mon–Sun 7am–11pm). HW £18; Kids; Wh. £18 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

One Square at the Sheraton hotel encompasses bar, restaurant and large outdoor dining terrace, all with a commanding outlook over Festival Square. The hard-edged and stylish interior is, as you might expect for an international hotel chain, somewhat corporate in feel, but head chef Malcolm Webster’s appealing and well-constructed brasserie menu lends some personality to proceedings. Robust and modern British cooking is the order of the day and it’s underscored by some decent sourcing

and a thoughtful seam of Scottish dishes too. Traditional crab soup, partan bree, is pleasingly rich and sparkles with crustacean flavour although a main of whole lemon sole on the bone comes a little overcooked and lacking fresh vibrancy. The signature flat iron steak gains points for melting tenderness but loses its characteristic toothsomeness from being pre-cooked sous-vide (as are all the steaks at One Square). Glitzy puddings are certainly fun if you have room. On the whole inconsistencies are few and not major and One Square offers many good things for a lot of occasions, morning, noon and night. + A choice of 40 gins in the bar and elegant outdoor dining - The long, cavernous interior can feel a little daunting when quiet

The Outsider 15/16 George IV Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1EE (Map 2A: C3, 48) 0131 226 3131 | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. Pre; Kids; Wh. £12.50 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

This split-level space is an exercise in sleek, functional mid-century modernism – a combination of whitewashed walls, wood, glass and metal proving perennially popular with Edinburgh’s trendier denizens. A prime Old Town location draws in a steady stream of tourists too, eager to bag a spot by the large rear windows which offer picturepostcard views of the castle. Offering some attractive early dining options, the efforts of the kitchen to craft and adapt dishes to suit the vagaries of the British food calendar, rather than the other way round, mean that the food on your plate shouldn’t jar too much with what’s going on outside. Twice-cooked pork belly with honey-mustard pears successfully employs a hint of warming Asian seasoning, while an aromatic spiced plum tarte tartin with ginger ice-cream is a mid-winter wonder. Dishes don’t always quite click: sea bass fillet is cooked well, but the accompanying sweet and sour peppers border on insipid. Service can fray round the edges during busier spells, but a healthy assortment of wines (and the notoriously droll descriptions that accompany them) should ensure any additional wait you might encounter

passes largely unnoticed. + Enjoyable, thoughtful food and drink and Scandi-chic surroundings - Cheap glassware looks suspiciously like it came from a certain Scandinavian superstore

The Pantry 1–2 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge, EH3 6ST

The Panty offers evening dining most evenings of the week. See Cafés

The Papermill 2–4 Westmill Road, Lasswade, Midlothian, EH18 1LX See Around Edinburgh

Peter’s Yard Stockbridge 3 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LU (Map 1A: B2, 11) 0131 332 2901, petersyard.com | Mon–Fri 8am–9pm; Sat/Sun 9am–9pm. HW £15.50; Wh; T/A. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

There’s no dearth of restaurants in Stockbridge, so choosing to open a pizza outlet next to a branch of Pizza Express is a bold, brave move. However, the folk behind the popular Meadows bakery-café have clearly thought things through, supplying lunches and daily bread to the locals as well as installing a proper pizza oven to cook their selfproclaimed ‘no-compromise’ sourdough pizzas. A vast blackboard-covered wall cries out for budding artists to be let loose with chalks, and dotted throughout the somewhat utilitarian room are colourful teacups and pretty jars of teas, softening what could be a few too many hard surfaces. Pizzas arrive in around three minutes flat, served in a basket with a portion of Swedish pizza salad (a kind of Scandi take on sauerkraut) on the side. There’s a less-is-more approach here: with only four options to choose from (salami, Parma ham, anchovies, vegetarian) they rely on tiptop ingredients to do the talking. Open throughout the day serving salads, soups and sandwiches – not to mention some wicked cakes – this place has a whole lot going on. Certainly plenty reason to choose local over national chains when it comes to satisfying your pizza cravings.


In association with

+ Sourdough pizzas in baskets - Swedish pizza salad might be an

acquired taste

Pink Olive 55–57 West Nicolson Street, Southside, EH8 9DB (Map 2A: D5, 69) 0131 662 4493, ilovepinkolive.co.uk | Tue–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat noon– 3pm, 5.30–10.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon. Pre; HW £14.50; Kids. £9.50 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Hostess Kay McBride and chef Stephen Todd have created a bistro in the best tradition of the word, serving hearty, rewarding platefuls that don’t scrimp on flavour or portion size. Inside, a muted sage green and dusty cornflower colour scheme works well by day or night, although the banquettes, flushed with fuchsia stripes, appear an incongruous leftover from a previous image change. The menu is an international expedition, but without the guilt of food miles, thanks to a creditable effort to source responsibly. Crispy pig cheeks with pickled cucumber and Gressingham duck leg with ginger, orange and star anise indicate a talent for south-east Asian flavours. Elsewhere, Creole king prawn stew is a satisfyingly smoky taste of the Deep South. Many elements, from the black pudding to the heavenly shortbread, are made from scratch, and impish desserts, like black beer brownie and peanut butter pastries, generally come partnered with homemade icecreams. And despite the comforting nature of the food, it tends to teeter on the fresh side of soulful, ensuring there’s no need to loosen your belt (or purse strings) too much. + Pre-theatre and set-menu options offer particularly good value - Space is at a premium, meaning tables by the door are a little cramped

BISTROS & BRASSERIES

Rick’s

The Scran & Scallie

55a Frederick Street, New Town, EH2 1LH (Map 1A: C4, 68) 0131 622 7800, ricksedinburgh.co.uk | Sun–Wed 7am–10pm; Thu–Sat 7am–11pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11.30am–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] HW £18.50; Kids. £10 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge, EH4 1JH See Bars & Pubs

Rick’s is a dependable member of the Edinburgh bar scene, positioned just off George Street but attracting essentially the same clientele, whether shoppers, the after-work crowd or weekend revellers. It’s almost never quiet. The layout has been well thought-out, with banquettes and wood panels breaking up the space, creating cosy nooks and cubby holes. The bar is a justifiably popular haunt in its own right thanks to its well-crafted cocktails and interesting wine list, and the food menu is appealing and, in the main, well executed. A starter of tiger prawn laksa is slightly underspiced, but the vegetable tempura is crisp and inviting. Sea bass is cooked beautifully and served with sauté potatoes and a satisfyingly umami sauce. Veggie options seem more than just an afterthought, and the longstanding daily deal of two courses for £10 at any time is a compelling reason to visit. Service can be languid, but one person’s slow is another person’s relaxed. Even after more than a decade in the mix, Rick’s still has a buzz about it. + Does a great job of appealing to many people - Lacks the personal touch as a result

The Roamin’ Nose 14 Eyre Place, Stockbridge, EH3 5EP See Cafés

The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro Porto & Fi (Newhaven) 47 Newhaven Main Street, Leith, EH6 4NQ See Cafés

Porto & Fi on the Mound 9 North Bank Street, Old Town, EH1 2LP (Map 2A: C2, 15) 0131 225 9494, portofi.com | Mon–Sat 10am–9.30pm; Sun 10am–5.30pm. HW £14.95; Kids; Wh. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Andrew and Fiona MacInnes, the brother and sister duo behind Porto & Fi, have a knack for views: in Newhaven they offer the Firth of Forth, and from this buzzing branch on the Mound all of New Town is laid beneath you. This is partly why booking is recommended for most meals and essential for weekends – but only partly. A fresh, family-friendly vibe and unpretentious, well-cooked menu provide the rest. Starters are generously sized, and work well as light lunches: the sticky pork ribs are fantastic, as is wonderfully moist pheasant on creamy cabbage. Coconut vegetable curry is somewhat insipid, but oat-covered mackerel fillets on a zesty, unusual fennel and pear salad redresses the balance. Just far enough away from the thrusting cameras of the Royal Mile, it has a neighbourhood feel that belies the city centre location, segueing seamlessly from breakfast to dinner via tea and cake. On a sweet note, the chocolate beetroot cake is as highly recommended as it is amusingly enormous, but custard is disappointing both for its £1 surcharge and its thin consistency. + Admirable sourcing, from Au Gourmand croissants to Welch’s fish - Over-sugary granola and accompanying fruit compote

1 Summerhall, Southside, EH9 1 PL (Map 3C: D2, 17) 0845 874 3000, summerhall. co.uk/bar-cafe | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] Veg; HW £14.50; Wh. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Summerhall’s Royal Dick bar/ bistro is about adventure, and it’s an adventure just finding it: head through the grandiose entrance hall that once welcomed veterinary students, and it still feels like you shouldn’t run in the corridor. Out through a courtyard, past the monkey statue and suddenly the educational atmosphere turns slightly surreal. There’s the bar, with illustrated vet cards laid out beneath glass, crowned by mad scientist distillation equipment. Off in the cubby hole rooms are a (disinfected) operating table, animal bone wall art and enormous model ship. The whole feels like a house party thrown by an eccentric collector, with a drinks cabinet that includes highly recommended exclusive craft ales made by resident micro-brewery Barney’s Beer. Though in ambience it’s more bar than bistro, the menu and food presentation are distinctly restaurant: home-cured organic salmon gravlax, bouncy fresh Scrabster cod with bacon and mussel chowder or shreddable braised blade of beef with barley risotto are all admirably done, and chocolate cheesecake is glorious. More bar-style is the wide ranging and inventive list of sharing platters, offering everything from bread and dips to crab, sweet potato and chilli fritters or paprikaspiked octopus and potato. + Discovering the sheet of classic cocktails, printed on tea-stained ‘parchment’ - Goat’s cheese tart and mushroom risotto might not inspire vegetarians

4

The Shore Bar & Restaurant

3 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6QW (Map 5A: C1, 16) 0131 553 5080, fishersbistros. co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun 12.30–10.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] HW £14.50; Kids (until 8.30pm). £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Open fires, dark wood, animal skulls and white linen all conspire by candlelight to create a delightfully atmospheric haven by the water. An olden-days maritime feel pervades, with more than a little bohemian flavour, setting the Shore Bar and Restaurant distinctly apart from its neighbours. Regular live folk and jazz feature in the bar, where an informal menu includes excellent fish and chips, sharing platters and bar snacks. Next door in the elegant dining room, more refined (and accordingly priced) food is on offer. The creativity and calibre of the kitchen shines in a lovely starter of tempura haddock that sees crisp pieces of battered fish paired with gently curried parsnip and zippy ribbons of pickled carrot. Equally good is a main course of braised ox cheek that marries spoon-tender meat with snails, pearl barley and rich gravy. Puddings such as a classic treacle tart are given no less care. The Shore Bar and Restaurant accomplishes that rare thing: a successful coming together of lovely location, convivial atmosphere and good food. + Sitting outside on a summer evening with cold white wine and oysters - The cat’s out of the bag – it can get very busy, especially in the bar

The Skylark 241–243 High Street, Portobello, EH15 2AW (Map 5A: E1, off) 0131 629 3037, theskylarkportobello.com | Mon/Tue 10am–9pm; Wed–Sat 10am–10pm; Sun 11am–8pm. HW £12.50; Kids; T/A. £9 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Occupying a prime double shop front on Portobello’s main drag, Skylark is just what the neighbourhood has been crying out for, since evening eating options are somewhat thin on the ground. A daytime café with toys, books, food and events for kids (check out the weekly singalong session with Mrs Mash) and coffee and pastries for the grown-ups, by evening it morphs into a sophisticated bar-bistro with excellent home cooking and a well-stocked bar. Breakfast rolls and granola bowls move on to lunchtime sandwiches, homemade quiche and soups. Dinner really allows the tiny open kitchen to shine, with the likes of confit duck leg, slow-cooked chicken and wild mushroom and chestnut cottage pie on the regularly changing menu, as well as some interesting daily specials. Desserts are hearty and comforting, like a rich, dark chocolate mousse or a sublime bread and butter pudding. A warm, community-led venue with film nights, open-mic sessions and a weekly chess club, Skylark’s all-things-to-all-people approach is a welcome addition to the area. + Exactly what a neighbourhood bistro should be - Slightly awkward shift from daytime café to evening candlelit bistro

Smoke Stack 53–55 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ See North American

Fully Licensed Cafe Bistro, Private Dining, Outside Catering

Open: Mon-Wed 9am-6pm Thurs-Sat 9am-11pm Sun 10am-5 pm 12 HILLHOUSE ROAD BLACKHALL EDINBURGH EH4 2AG t: 0131 332 2289 www.thesuburbanpantry.co.uk

bia bistrot fresh - seasonal - local sustainable - homemade

HIT-

2011 LISTED , & 202012 13

bia bistrot, 19 Colinton Road, Edinburgh, EH10 5DP Tel: 0131 452 8453 info@biabistrot.co.uk

www.biabistrot.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 41


BISTROS & BRASSERIES

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

4

GUIDES

Spoon

6a Nicolson Street, Old Town, EH8 9DH (Map 2A: D4, 58) 0131 623 1752, spoonedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sat 10am– 10pm; Sun noon–5pm. Veg; Pre; HW £13.95; Kids; Wh. £14 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Rocking the boho bedsit chic, with elegantly mismatched retro furniture, lampshades and crockery, this is one Spoon that’s unquestionably more loving than greasy. The menu’s packed with wholesome, healthy options, a decent proportion of which are glutenfree (not that you’d know in a blind taste test) or veggie-friendly. The food is the sort you wish you were cooking at home: unpretentious plates composed of honest flavours, vibrant colours and quality produce, prepared with enough sense of poise to suggest some real skill resides in the kitchen. Smoked salmon mousse is somehow both rustic and refined, rough around the edges but delicately flavoured. Venison loin with savoy cabbage, parsnip crisps and a blissful carrot purée is simple, straightforward and delightful. Two charitable slabs of Valhrona chocolate mousse arrive dense and thick, more like a semifreddo, although taste supersedes any troubles over terminology. Open continuously from 10am, it’s tempting to spend the whole day here, for coffee, cake and the papers, a spot of lunch and then a scrumptious dinner. All that’s required is an afternoon nap in one of the wing armchairs and you’d never have to leave. + Ideal for pre-theatre dining - Having to choose between making the show or lingering that bit longer

Stac Polly Brasserie, Gin and Wine Bar 29–33 Dublin Street, New Town, EH3 6NL See Bars & Pubs

Stac Polly Bistro 38 St Mary’s Street, Old Town, EH1 1SX See Scottish

The Suburban Pantry 12 Hillhouse Road, Blackhall, EH4 2AG (Map 4: A1, off) 0131 332 2289, thesuburbanpantry.co.uk | Mon–Wed 9am–4pm; Thu–Sat 9am–4pm, 6–9.30pm; Sun 10am–4pm. HW £15.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £14 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

It looks an unlikely location for a restaurant, pitched at the end of a row of shops on a very busy arterial road, but having been in business for a couple of years now, the owners of the Suburban Pantry have clearly made it work. The interior is bright and stylish, with blond wood furniture and shelves of interesting deli items. Opening for breakfast and lunch ensures steady trade throughout the day, but it really comes to life on weekend evenings, when they open for dinner and the place buzzes with local regulars who clearly feel attached to the place. The evening menu offers mussels in a creamy thyme-infused broth followed by steak cooked just as you like it, served with chips and rocket salad. A delicious veggie risotto features butternut squash, beetroot and creamy goat’s cheese, the finished result a pretty pink colour. Desserts are comforting staples like crumble and crème brûlée. Weekend brunches are also a big draw, with pancakes, eggs Benedict and kedgeree among the alternatives to the

MORE ONLINE: LIST.CO.UK/EAT 42 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Voodoo Rooms: a dark and decidedly decadent destination in the New Town

traditional fry-up. With a welcoming atmosphere and top-notch cooking, this is neighbourhood bistro dining done as it should be. + Classy cooking in an unexpected setting - Bland artwork on the walls

Tempus 25 George Street, New Town, EH2 2PB (Map 1B: A6, 48) 0131 240 7197, tempus-edinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 11am–9.45pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 11am–1am.] Pre; HW £17.50; Kids; Wh. £23 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Set in the former grand dining room of the George Hotel, Tempus tries to strike a casual note in historic surrounds, although the mood and the menu aim more at gastro pub than formal restaurant. The stature of elaborate plasterwork and substantial chandeliers make this a challenge, even though the waiters do look quite sleek in their dark, modern kilts. So too does the policy of offering very little real ale, and none from Scotland, in the bar or restaurant. The menu covers the landscape of Scottish bistro fare, but the rope-grown mussels lack freshness in their lemon cream sauce and pan-seared scallops lose their subtlety in an overly sweet glaze, overcome by the fried Stornoway black pudding. The aspirations of the venison Wellington are buried by heavy pâté under limp crust, but the 28-day hung Ballindalloch ribeye steak pulls its own weight. Puddings tweak traditional fare, including sticky date and toffee pudding and toffee pecan cheesecake with salted caramel ice-cream. + Convenient if you are staying at The George - Jarring music spills over from the adjoining bar

Ten Hill Place 10 Hill Place, Old Town, EH8 9DS (Map 2B: A5, 15) 0131 662 2080, tenhillplace. com | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–11pm.] Pre; HW £16; Kids; Wh. £13.50 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

While it might be primarily geared up to cater for visitors staying in one of its

77 rooms, Ten Hill Place has enough individuality to make it worth a visit for those who already have a bed in the city to call their own. The plum and white dining room and the bright, modern wine bar – both the product of a recent refurbishment – are comfortable, pleasing spaces, although neither quite shakes off the hotel vibe. The food, however, largely avoids a similar fate. Bar options include a number of tapas-style snack plates and more unexpected dishes like goulash and a croque Norvégien, while the restaurant menu sheds most of the shackles of typical hotel catering, showing some ambition with dishes like trio of rabbit and confit fillet of trout, even if they feature some incongruous elements (a clam and rabbit miso and dill sorbet respectively). Claims to be sustainable, seasonable and local are bolstered by the use of ingredients like rainbow trout, kale and forced rhubarb, although an accompaniment of griddled asparagus suggests they haven’t quite perfected their sourcing policy yet. + Unfailingly cheerful and attentive staff - Neither the noise from the kitchen or the smooth jazz interpretations of ‘classics’ do much for the atmosphere

Three Birds Restaurant 3–5 Viewforth, Bruntsfield, Southside, EH10 4JD (Map 3A: A3, 28) 0131 229 3252, threebirds.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon– 2.30pm, 6–10pm; Sat/Sun noon–4pm, 5–10pm. Veg; HW £8 (0.5 litre). £9.50 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Cosily tucked away in Bruntsfield, Three Birds is a popular local bistro with aspirations to bring inventive dining to the neighbourhood. The owners’ creative spirit engages from the moment you enter the dining room, so although tables may be a bit close together it somehow adds to diners’ camaraderie. The menu sets exciting challenges for the kitchen and the palate. Nibble on some crispy pig’s ear with smoked Maldon salt and aioli while perusing the seasonal menu and daily specials. Old Bay spiced crab cakes are hot and savoury, if a little light on sea-fresh crab flavours, but the pan-fried duck breast with blueberry

and red wine jus is rich, sticky and resonant, nestled against its olive mash. A fillet of sea-bass with devilled white beans and sweetcorn gets a bit lost in an over-exuberance of curry, but groups of famished carnivores devour the 3Bird rib platter, tackling tamarind-glazed lamb, molasses and bourbon sticky pork and tomato Cajun beef, with greedy fingers and fast moves. A cannily priced wine list is well matched to the menu’s full and wide-ranging flavours. + Fun, avant-garde menu and whimsical specials - The learning curve results in a slightly inconsistent kitchen

Tigerlily 125 George Street, New Town, EH2 4JN (Map 1A: B5, 48) 0131 225 5005, tigerlilyedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 7.30am–10.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 8am–1am.] HW £19.50; Kids; Wh. £17 (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

The flagship venue of the Montpelier Group, Tigerlily is boutique hotel, bar, restaurant and club rolled into one. Its lavishly styled and maze-like interior includes internal courtyards (where smoking is permitted), private booths and a number of nooks and crannies to explore. Under the revolving glitter balls, a dressed-up crowd sips on cocktails and dines from a large menu that includes sharing platters and a luxurious crustacea section. With mains averaging £19, it’s not cheap for casual dining but quality is evident in some dishes such as a haunch of venison with pearl barley, which sees a great piece of game cooked perfectly medium rare. Other dishes such as black pepper tortellini are a little lacking in flavour and texture although the accompanying tomato sauce is fresh and well seasoned. On-the-ball staff help smooth over any rough edges with polished but personal service. While not for the faint-hearted, Tigerlily is a slick operation that offers a hit of glamour and good times without taking itself too seriously. + Sultry lighting, glittery things, beautiful people and pheromones - Loud and omnipresent beats don’t make for low-key intimate dining


BISTROS & BRASSERIES

In association with

EDINBURGH Timberyard 10 Lady Lawson Street, West End, EH3 9DS See Scottish

zingy lemon polenta cake. + Consistently good food delivered by a team who care - Waiting for the wine list to spread its wings

Toast 146 Marchmont Road, Southside, EH9 1AQ (Map 3C: A3, 35) 0131 446 9873, toastedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sat 10am–9pm; Sun 10am–4pm. HW £13.50; Kids; Wh. £12 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Very few places attract queues, and those that do are usually trading on being the hot new cocktail spot in town. A weekend brunch at modest, unpretentious Toast, on the other hand, really is worth the wait. A haphazard parade of paintings jostle for wall space, their colour, form and individuality drawing the eye around the room. Regulars and locals tuck into fragrant kedgeree, towering French toast with goat’s cheese and red onion marmalade, or hollandaise-glazed eggs Florentine, while absorbing the Sunday supplements. Weekdays increase the pace as students, Marchmont ladies and business people grab lunch just beyond the hectic city centre. Plentiful open sandwiches compete with warm, homey plates of barley risotto or smoked salmon frittata. In the evenings, a small but considered core menu rotates every few months, but daily specials add interest. Chicken, chorizo and chickpea casserole is earthy and mellow, while salmon fillet on mussel, leek and potato broth is warming but light. Regardless of the time of day, luscious cakes abound. Toast’s carrot cake – savoury, spicy, moist, and lightly crowned with frosting – may well be the perfect end to any meal. + Brunch! - They really should straighten those paintings

The Voodoo Rooms 19a West Register Street, New Town, EH2 2AA (Map 1B: B6, 53) 0131 556 7060, thevoodoorooms.com | Mon– Thu 4–10pm; Fri–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 4pm–1am; Fri–Sun noon–1am.] Veg; Pre; HW £15; Kids. £10 (lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

When the Voodoo Rooms opened above the Café Royal in 2007, the lavish fin-de-siècle interior was given a fullthrottle and sexy makeover, befitting its purpose as a live entertainment venue and edgy cocktail bar. The black leather booths, even blacker walls and gold-painted ornate cornicing may not appeal to the more architecturally conservative, but they work well with the original interior in creating a decidedly decadent ambience. The restaurant itself occupies a smaller and more intimate space adjoining the bar and serves up a mix of contemporary and classic pub staples. Sharing platters, haggis spring rolls and chorizo and prawn skewers are all solid enough starters. Likewise the mains, which feature burgers, steaks and fish and chips, are similarly hearty and of a decent standard. If being picky, you might point out that the food is a little out of sync with the more aspirational drinks offerings (stylish cocktails and long lists of speciality rums and tequilas), but it will certainly satisfy many and set you up for a night on the tiles. + Stunning building, crafty cocktails and entertainment galore - The environs might excite more than the menu

Urban Angel • 1 Forth Street, Broughton, EH1 3JX (Map 1B: C5, 27) 0131 556 6323, urbanangel.co.uk | Mon–Thu 9am–9pm; Fri/ Sat 9am–10pm; Sun 9am–5pm. Veg; Pre; HW £16.90; Kids; T/A. £15 (lunch) / £18 (dinner) • 121 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DJ (Map 1A: D4, 83) 0131 225 6215, urban-angel.co.uk | Mon–Sat 9am–10pm; Sun 10am–5pm. Veg; Pre; HW £16.90; Kids; T/A. £15 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Over the past few years Urban Angel has established itself as an essential part of Edinburgh’s vibrant dining scene. The uncluttered and inviting main room of the Forth Street (just off Broughton Street) branch is wellrun by simultaneously enthusiastic, relaxed and efficient staff, while the sunlight-brightened front room in Hanover Street makes it easy to forget you’re in basement premises, and its quiet backyard courtyard is a treat in warmer months. The rotating menu of small and large plates is enhanced by daily specials that embody creativity, seasonality and attention to provenance. Stacked potato and parmesan croquettes, delectably gooey on the inside, poke crunchily through lightly dressed salad leaves. Slowly cooked Peelham Farm organic lamb shank with smashed sweet potato and red wine reduction proves, to those whose faith may have wavered, how good this cut of meat can be when time is taken. Likewise, the quick, searing attention of the grill chars to near perfection an already excellent piece of steak. But don’t stop there – for dessert choose between addictive plum frangipane tart, with buttery crumbs of almond cake clinging to jewelled fruit, or bright,

The Water of Leith Café Bistro 52 Coburg Street, Leith, EH6 6HJ See Cafés

Wildfire Restaurant and Grill 192 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 4AZ See Scottish

KEY Veg = 25% of main courses are vegetarian. Pre = Pre-theatre menu. Post = Post-theatre menu. BYOB = Bring your own bottle (corkage charge in brackets). HW = House wine cost per bottle. Kids = Children’s portions served and other facilities available. Wh = Wheelchair access and disabled toilet. T/A = Takeaway food. D = Delivery. Price in bold = Average cost of a two-course evening meal for one. The price of a set lunch is shown; otherwise we show the average cost of a two-course lunch for one. For full explanations see page 4.

CAFES Edinburgh’s burgeoning café scene continues to offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to work with your laptop, a decadent slice of cake or serious coffee geekery. Some of these entries are great places to bring the kids for a hot chocolate pitstop, some will throw together an eye-catching sandwich in your lunch break, while still others are perfect for a specialoccasion afternoon tea. It’s a varied scene, with plenty of treasures to discover – look out too for our new section covering the Wee Places, just in case you were about to make the mistake of passing them by. Reviewers: Doug Bond, Barry Cooper, Sandy Neil, David Pollock, Caroline Pretty

4 HITLIST CAFES

4 Café Milk A wholesome West End café that delivers attitude, style and sparky lunches, brunches and snacks. 4 Cuckoo Bakery Time to clock that a quirky cupcake bakery at the foot of the New Town is flying high.

17 Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9JH See Cafés: The Wee Places

4 Earthy Market Café A flagship for the quality, variety and enterprise of the homegrown and local food scene.

Appetite

4 Falko (Konditormeister) We

Anteaques

42 Howe Street, New Town, EH3 6TH See Cafés: The Wee Places

Artisan Roast 138 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4ER (Map 3A: A3, 29) 07956355054, artisanroast.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am–7pm; Sat 9am–7pm; Sun 10am–7pm. Veg; T/A. £7 (lunch)

A recent minor decorative facelift has left what was once a pop-up store for these Edinburgh-based coffee roasters feeling a bit more permanent. It is still fairly low key, with small tables in the cosy, woodlined front and more spacious banquette seating in the brighter back room. But when you’re making some of the best coffee in town you don’t need to worry about swanky décor. As well as being larger than the Broughton Street original there are also more food options here, with soup, sandwiches and a selection of cakes all made from scratch by the multitalented baristas. + The best coffee in town? - Bigger than Broughton Street but still not a huge amount of space

know about the quality continental baking. Now the lunches, teas and coffees are backing it up.

4 Lovecrumbs Hand-knitted cakes in the chic-est of shabby surroundings. Crumbs it’s good. 4 The Pantry A farm-shop-style café that's quickly found fans for its bright brunches and mature evening menu. 4 Porto & Fi Newhaven's crowdpleasing café-bistro, with friendly service and an engaging sense of community. 4 Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar The café-at-the-back that delivers on the promise of Edinburgh's finest Italian deli.

4 Water of Leith Café Bistro French-influenced food combining simplicity and style, served with warmth and passion.

Artisan Roast 57 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ See Cafés: The Wee Places

The Bakehouse Co. 32c Broughton Street, EH1 3SB (Map 1B: C4, 24) 0131 557 1157, thebakehousecompany.co.uk | Mon–Fri 7.30am–5pm; Sat/Sun 10.30am–5pm. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £4.50 (set lunch)

With its 1930s bare brickwork feel, right down to the furniture, bread draws and chalkboard menus, this café is more about sitting and taking your time over the freshly made seasonal menu and Artisan Roast coffee than it is about swiping a hit of caffeine for the road. Daily specials and stews made on site means an ever-changing menu but the breads and scones remain constant and consistent. Try the fresh batch cheese or fruit scones with a mid-morning break and watch the bustle of Broughton Street in comfort, or pop in for the daily deals available on the website. + Classic décor right down to the antique milk jugs - A touch too quiet for some

La Barantine 202 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10

4DF (Map 3A: A4, 33) 0131 229 0267 | Mon–Sun 7.30am–6pm.

T/A. £5.95 (set lunch) Although the seating is tight at this authentic French café and boulangerie, it will leave you feeling much more Parisian than claustrophobic. Chef and owner Vincent Alpincourt aims to introduce Scottish palates to simple French flavours, and succeeds in keeping the menu uncomplicated but satisfying. Baguette sandwiches are freshly baked, and even a plain-looking pile of rocket accompanying the quiche surpasses expectations. Ingredients are obviously sourced with pride at La Barantine: the cheese plate is bought in from neighbouring Henri’s, hot chocolate from Coco and teas from Eteaket. The selection of cakes and pastries are the real star attraction, however. The cake counter, with its brash selection of rainbow macaroons and freshly baked piles of croissants, is everything you could hope to drool over. This is a must for Francophiles and anyone who just loves eating pastries. + Beautiful cakes and genuinely enjoyable service - Not much beside cake for vegetarians The List Eating & Drinking Guide 43


CAFES

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

GUIDES

be deterred by what can seem like odd seating arrangements: the turnover in the larger Old Town site is reasonably quick while the Barclay Terrace venue is in fact a pleasing rabbit warren of cosy corners and intimate nooks. The upstairs mezzanine overlooking Bruntsfield Links is perfect for people watching or lunching with a laptop. + Memorable smoothies - Comparatively uninspired selection of cakes

TABLE Talk

The Blue Bear 9 Brandon Terrace, New Town, EH3 5EA (Map 1B: A1, 5) 0131 629 0229, cafebluebear.co.uk | Mon–Fri 7.30am– 7pm; Sat 8.30am–7pm; Sun 9am–7pm. Veg; HW £15.95; Kids; T/A. £9 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

DOUGIE BELL LUPE PINTOS Lupe Pintos Deli has been operating for 22 years now, so it’s a great surprise when people still remember that rocking little Mexican shack, Pachuko Cantina, I ran almost a quarter of a century ago. Requests to open another eatery are frequent: ‘Ever thought of opening a restaurant? Why not? What’s changed in the past few decades?’ Competition for one. There are many more tables to fill. Bars, once home of the microwaved pie and pork scratchings, have gone gourmet: steak on a slate, chips in quirky receptacles. Blame it on the demise of the lunchtime swally, the smoking ban or Mediterranean aspirations. Everyone’s a critic now too. Word of mouse has replaced word of mouth, and if you have a problem you can call the waiter or tell the world. I remember perfect shifts. Deliveries, staff and customers all arriving on time, the food flying from the kitchen, diners passing back compliments. Then I remember the torment and torture for the heart and soul. Parties that barely resembled the original booking in time or numbers, staff let-downs, supplier cock-ups, equipment malfunctions, adrenaline-fuelled insomnia, scrubbing down the kitchen on a Saturday night. The life of a restaurateur is a hard and stressful one. It’s not what’s changed, it’s what hasn’t and never will that prevents me from opening that Honky Tonk Diner with the pumping jukebox and giant-sized portions of American classics. Besides, I have delis to run. So to all the grafters out there in Restaurantland, especially the places I frequent and love, you do a remarkable job. I admire you and I salute you. QDougie Bell owns Mexican and world food specialist Lupe Pinto’s, with branches in Edinburgh and Glasgow. lupepintos.com

44 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Pantry (page 52): a slice of the countryside in downtown Stockbridge

The Beach House 57 Bath Street, Portobello, EH15 1HE (Map 5A: E1, off) 0131 657 2636, thebeachhousecafe.co.uk | Mon–Fri 9am–5pm; Sat/Sun 9am–5.30pm. [Drinks and cakes only after 3.30pm Mon–Fri or 4pm Sat/Sun]. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £7.95 (set lunch)

Any Edinburgher knows the weather down Portobello beach can be changeable, but it’s always summer in this charming, family-run beachfront café which blends the simplicity of an old-fashioned seaside greasy spoon with a strong emphasis on quality and freshness. Set in a bright corner unit right on the promenade, with outdoor tables and chairs mere feet from the sand, the popularity of the Beach House with families of all ages is such that you turn up and take a chance on getting a seat. It’s worth it though: sandwiches and a signature ploughman’s lunch are served up with fresh artisan bread (the seaweed sourdough paired with tuna mayonnaise is particularly recommended), and there are some perfectly traditional seaside sweet treats including sundaes, banana splits and ice-cream milkshakes. + The beachfront location is unique for Edinburgh - Take your chances getting a table in summer

Bees 21 Candlemaker Row, Old Town, EH1 2QG (Map 2A: C4, 45) 0131 225 9996 | Sun–Thu 10am–10pm; Fri/Sat 10am– 3am. Veg; HW £16; T/A. £7.50 (lunch)

Since opening in late 2012, Bees has garnered its own budding community, from small clubs using it as a base, to fellow hospitality professionals who congregate in the early hours when it transforms from daytime café to latenight hang-out. Inside, it’s enjoyably ramshackle; eclectic mix-and-match furniture and murals by design collective the Too Much Fun Club make for an underground, under-the-radar vibe – a vaguely mysterious quality which gives the sense that if you come here often enough, someone will ask you to be part

of their secret society. The menu isn’t extensive, but quesadillas, toasties and a dish of the day (like chicken curry or chorizo and chickpea stew) are bulked out by an inventory of little additions that reads like a Who’s Who of Edinburgh’s independent producers: hot chocolate by Coco Chocolate, Steampunk coffee, soups and salads by Union of Genius and cakes and bakes from Lovecrumbs. That local emphasis extends to the drinks list; bottled beers brewed exclusively in the capital, Williams Bros on draught, Scottish gins and a smattering of out-ofthe-ordinary whiskies. + Cosying up with friends and drinks in the ‘shark cave’ snug - Tiny kitchen space limits the hot food options

Bijou 2 Restalrig Road, Leith, EH6 8BN See Bistros & Brasseries

Black Medicine Coffee Company • 2 Nicolson Street, Old Town, EH8 9DH (Map 2A: D4, 57) 0131 557 6269, blackmed.co.uk | Mon–Sat 8am–8pm; Sun 9am–8pm. • 7/8 Barclay Terrace, Southside, EH10 4HP (Map 3A: B2, 22) 0131 6255 630, blackmed.co.uk | Mon–Sat 8am–5.30pm; Sun 9am–5.30pm. • 108 Marchmont Road, Southside, EH9 1BG (Map 3C: A2, 34) 0131 622 2660, blackmed.co.uk Veg; Kids; T/A. £6.50 (lunch)

The characteristic Black Medicine carved natural wood chairs and tables may not invite the possibility of slouching around for hours, but nevertheless bring an individuality and quirkiness that chain coffee shops often lack. Lunch is the standard selection of paninis, bagels and soups but with flavour-packed combinations that make them less run-ofthe-mill and good value for money. Try the Black Forest ham with caramelised onion chutney, pesto, mozzarella and tomato panini. Sandwiches are served without salad or trimmings, but making up your five a day by downing a freshly made smoothie is far from a trial. Don’t

The Blue Bear is a place to eat breakfast or brunch any time of the day. Situated in the heart of Canonmills, it provides a smiling welcome and a homemade pastry selection that catches the eye as you walk in the door. The interesting shortbreads, garish cupcakes and soft, zingy lemon and poppy seed brownies are all worth a look, but the highlight of the menu is the section dedicated to eggs. There are eggs Benedict, eggs Florentine, scrambled eggs, omelettes, full breakfasts and more. The king of foods is put to purpose in a room decorated in a romantic industrial style by owners looking to innovate, bringing breakfast and brunch served their way to the local community. + Eggs Benedict: soft poached eggs and a sharp and creamy hollandaise - The mass of local art on the walls detracts from an otherwise cohesive look

Blue Moon Café 1 Barony Street, New Town, EH3 6PD See Bistros & Brasseries

Bon Papillon 15 Howe Street, Stockbridge, EH3 6TE See Arts Venues & Attractions

Brass & Copper Coffee 18 William Street, West End, EH3 7NH (Map 4: B1, 4) 0131 226 4735, brassandcoppercoffee.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm; Sat 9am–4pm. Closed Sun. Veg; T/A. £6 (lunch)

This pretty and understated takeaway, café and mini art gallery shows that nice things can indeed come in small packages. It’s a fairly basic space with a mix of Parisian bistro and wicker chairs providing seating for no more than 20 people, but soft lighting, cream walls and changing exhibitions from local artists make for a pleasant and relaxed setting. A choice of just three sandwiches, soup and a few cakes keep things simple. Among these a slice of lemon cake is subtle, light and moist although it could perhaps be more intensely lemony. Coffee comes from Union Roasted and forms the basis of one of the best lattes in town. Soup and cakes are made by owner Astrid Wulms who has introduced a few Dutch twists, such as traditional split pea and smoked sausage soup and a Dutch apple cake. + Excellent coffee served in a lovely wee space - Although high quality, the food options are limited

Brazilian Sensation 117–119 Buccleuch Street, Southside, EH8 9NG See Round the World

Brew Lab 6–8 South College Street, Old Town, EH8 9AA (Map 2A: D4, 56) 0131 662 8963, brewlabcoffee.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am–6pm; Sat/Sun 9am–6pm. Veg; Wh; T/A. £8 (lunch)


CAFES

In association with

EDINBURGH Opened in summer 2012, Brew Lab has already made an impact on Edinburgh’s increasingly impressive coffee scene. With its polished urban-decay styling it has rapidly become a favoured hangout for MacBook-wielding hipsters and a sizeable student crowd. Indeed many of them seem to never leave and consequently getting a seat can at times seem nigh on impossible. Still, it is worth persevering as the coffee is very good, made with beans sourced from some of the UK’s top roasters and using a variety of brewing techniques. Lunchtime features a short, changing list of sandwiches based around excellent French bread and a couple of well-made soups from Union of Genius. Expect simple, robust flavours such as butternut squash and bacon – and be sure to get there early as they often sell out by 2pm. The commitment to quality sourcing continues with Lovecrumbs cakes and their own hot chocolate produced by new Edinburgh chocolatiers Edward & Irwyn. + Commitment to quality throughout - Not getting a seat

Broughton Delicatessen 7 Barony Street, Broughton, EH3 6PD (Map 1B: C4, 21) 0131 558 7111, broughton-deli.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am– 7pm; Sat 9am–7pm; Sun 11am–6pm. Veg; BYOB (no charge); Kids; T/A. £9 (lunch)

With deli goods and takeaway sandwiches to the front, and 24 covers of eclectic furniture to the rear, Broughton Deli does not concern itself with vanities. The international menu has a surprising mixture of platters,

TIPList FOR BRUNCH & BREAKFAST • La Barantine Bruntsfield takes on a seductive French accent 43

Café Modern One

La Cerise

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, 75 Belford Road, West End, EH4 3DR See Arts Venues & Attractions

199 Great Junction Street, Leith, EH6 5LQ (Map 5A: B2, off) 0131 555 6065, lacerise.biz | Mon–Fri 8am–6pm. Closed Sat/Sun. Veg; Kids; T/A. £5.50 (lunch)

Café Modern Two

Café Grande

From the men who brought you the Regent pub, Café Nom de Plume is the latest café above Edinburgh’s (and possibly Europe’s) oldest LGBT centre. A friendly set of rooms, both light and warm, the décor is pulled together from the collected finds of your hosts Colin Turnbull and Alan Nichols. Their effusive welcome and broad menu should give even the fussiest something to smile about, with a good selection for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans. The pastas and salads are well put together and the homemade scones are particularly pleasing. With quirky architecture forbidding children under five from the premises, this is a quiet place for a mid-morning coffee or a cheeky mid-afternoon pint. + Great service that caters for all diets - Alas not child friendly

Styling itself as a craft patisserie, wellestablished La Cerise has built itself an enduring local reputation amid the wilds of Great Junction Street simply by doing lots of other things to a uniformly pleasing degree. They sell good sandwiches, salads and soups, as well as changing hot daily mains including, for example, a chicken, leek and sweet pepper lasagne or a mushroom and courgette flan, but it’s the elegantly styled patisserie and pastries which snare the eye and the appetite when you first enter the shop. Also notable are their ice-creams and sorbets, made with Scottish milk and cream and available in 22 flavours, many of which can be found in other cafes around the city, while their wedding and celebration cake business is an obvious sideline. + Some of the best cakes in Edinburgh - Non-locals face a trek to get here

184 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4DF See Bistros & Brasseries

Cafe Hub Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town, EH1 2NE (Map 2A: B2, 26) 0131 473 2067, thehub-edinburgh.com | Mon–Sun 10am–5pm. Veg; HW £14.30; Kids; Wh. £6 (set lunch)

Sitting atop the Royal Mile, and home to the International Festival box office, it is not surprising Cafe Hub is popular with tourists. Recently it has also been trying to attract locals with a mix of takeaway deals and increased emphasis on their own ‘hub-made’ food. Alongside the fairly standard selection of baked potatoes and sandwiches are some more interesting specials such as a daily changing pie – pork, sweet potato and cheese is a nice mix between sweet and savoury. Slightly dry carrot cake and shortbread served straight from the fridge suggest desserts still need some attention. Nevertheless the large outdoor terrace and spacious, cheery and childfriendly interior make for a pleasant coffee spot for tourists and locals alike. + Great location - Disappointing desserts

Café Lucia Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 13/29 Nicolson Street, Old Town, EH8 9FT See Arts Venues & Attractions

• The Blue Bear A new Canonmills arrival dedicated to all-day breakfast

burgers and noodles available all day. The chicken flatbread, with its earthy home-made hummus and piquant harissa yoghurt, is a particular standout. The brunch selection is popular and successful, encompassing sweet and savoury in the form of banana pancakes, fry-ups and crepes. The winning touch to this well-formed café is the ever-changing menu, particularly cake specials (the ginger and plum is especially good). Your childhood memories will come flooding back with a big slice of layered sponge. + Cake with a pot of speciality tea - Tucked away from the main road

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• Broughton Delicatessen Endearing side-street café that’s sunny side up 45

• Edinburgh Larder Café Food this good this close to the Royal Mile? Better believe it 47 • The Haven Hearty Leith breakfasts and heavenly home-baking 50 • Hula Juice Bar and Gallery The healthiest, happiest, smoothiest breakfasts around

50

• Suburban Pantry Eggs and kedgeree for the Blackhall ‘burb

42

• Toast If you’ve a hunch for a Southside brunch, head here 43

• Urban Angel Thoughtful, creative and vibrant food from morning on 43

Café Marlayne 13 Antigua Street, New Town, EH1 3NH See French

4

Café Milk

232 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8EA (Map 4: B2, 55) 0131 629 6022, cafemilk.co.uk | Mon–Fri 7.30am–4pm; Sat 8am–4pm; Sun 8am–3pm. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £6 (lunch)

Like the white stuff itself, quirky Morrison Street café Milk seems wholesome and pure, from the cream enamel tin plates to spotless tiled walls. The look is 1930s industrial: an old dairy maybe, with worn wooden benches and Formica tabletops, where antique-shop cutlery awaits, like work tools, in Lyle’s golden syrup tins. Bright, brilliant colours are saved for the food. Natural, fresh, seasonal ingredients, simply prepared from scratch every day, shine in the flavours of Mediterranean and Middle/Far-Eastern lunches, brunches and breakfasts, from falafel, hummus, pesto, tapenade and yoghurt to Thai green chicken curry and slow-roasted spiced shredded pork in Lebanese flatbread wraps. Refreshing drinks are also made on-site, like lemonade and ginger or spiced apple, served in recyclable corn-starch cups. At £6 for a satisfying soup and sandwich, Milk is super food at super value. + It’s good food, fast, as the menu says - Having no time to read the interesting titles on the bookshelf

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 73 Belford Road, West End, EH4 3DS See Arts Venues & Attractions

Café Nom de Plume 60 Broughton Street, EH1 3SA (Map 1B: C4, 17) 0131 478 1372 | Mon–Sat 11am– 10.30pm; Sun noon–10.30pm. Veg; HW £14; Kids (under 5). £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

Café Portrait Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, New Town, EH2 1JD See Arts Venues & Attractions

The Chocolate Tree 123 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4EQ (Map 3A: B3, 27) 0131 228 3144, the-chocolate-tree.co.uk | Mon–Sat 8am–8pm; Sun 9am–8pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £8 (lunch)

This bohemian cake shop complete with dangling vintage tea cups and brightly coloured origami chocolate boxes will not fail to trap the sweet-toothed cafélover. Afternoon tea here retains every bit of luxury while avoiding pomp and ceremony. Customers with laptops jostle happily among those with high chairs. A compact array of mismatched wooden

Caffe Espresso 15 Bank Street, Old Town, EH1 2LN See Cafés: The Wee Places

Café Renroc 91 Montgomery Street, New Town, EH7 5HZ (Map 5B: A5, 19) 0131 629 3727, caferenroc.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8.30am–9pm; Sat 9am–9pm; Sun 10am–9pm. Veg; HW £13; Kids (until 8pm); T/A. £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Under new owner Pelham Hill, Café Renroc has been redesigned into a welcoming destination for the Hillside set. The ground floor and basement bistro has a European feel, with wood panelling, Czech beer on tap and a smorgasbord of pastries to wolf down with the coffee. For those needing more, breakfasts are served all day with various options, and lunches include pasta and risotto, and a standout steak ciabatta loaded with salad and generous pile of sautéed potatoes. The evening openings deliver as much in the cosy confines at a reasonable rate. It’s a place for a good meal as much as a quick coffee or a pint. You’ll be welcomed by name after a few visits, but will feel like a regular before you’ve paid your first check. + A friendly local concentrating on quality food - Busy at the weekends so book ahead

Café Voltaire 36–38 Blair Street, Old Town, EH1 1QR See Bars & Pubs

Casa Angelina 42 London Street, New Town, EH3 6LX See Cafés: The Wee Places

Castello Coffee Co 7 Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3AH See Cafés: The Wee Places

Centotre 103 George Street, New Town, EH2 3ES See Italian The List Eating & Drinking Guide 45


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tables is full through lunchtime despite there being no savoury food on offer. Happily, the creative rows of cakes, tarts and handmade chocolates taste as good as they look. An exotic selection of macaroons, from bramble and cardamom to hazelnut or Kirsch, are squidgy and moreish. It would be hard not to return for the simple but indulgent Spanish hot chocolate served with freshly made churros. Despite a laidback attitude to coffee drinking, the people behind Chocolate Tree are evidently not relaxed when it comes to other areas of the business and clearly strive for an ethical approach to sourcing and presentation. + Spoilt for choice with over 16 varieties of hot chocolate to choose from - Hard to guarantee a seat without booking

pastas, soups and cakes, or a fulsome menu of sandwiches, wraps, salads, baked potatoes and seasonal specials, all to eat in or take away. A quiet corner of the set has leather armchairs for talking or reading the news. Lorena’s plentiful platefuls, from Mediterranean tapas to Thai udon noodles, burst with sunny colours, flavours, and interesting ingredients – and are excellent value for £4–£7. Taste, price, and popularity prove Lorena still cares about her long-running show. + Bountiful choice - Having no room left to try the cakes

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Circle Café 1 Brandon Terrace, Canonmills, New Town, EH3 5AE (Map 1B: A1, 6) 0131 624 4666, thecirclecafe.com | Mon–Wed 8.30am–5pm; Thu–Sat 8.30am–10pm; Sun 9am–5pm. Veg; HW £15.70; Kids; T/A; D. £8.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Circle Café is a stripped back, barebrick former bakery, serving big breakfasts such as mounds of French toast (unusually using baguettes) with crispy bacon, as well as generously sized, well-presented bistro fare including pies, sandwiches and a robust burger with all the trimmings. The seasonal specials change nearly every day (ranging from Chinese-inspired pork to steak tartare) and most cakes are baked on site, with unusual fare like chilli chocolate cheesecake also available. The devil is in the detail, and elements like sweet potato chips, garlic aioli and a real care over coffee preparation add pleasant moments to the experience. + The specials are an innovative use of local produce - Some elements can lack character

Circus 8 St Mary’s Street, Old Town, EH1 1SU See Round the World

City Art Centre Café City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Old Town, EH1 1DE See Arts Venues & Attractions

Coffee Angel 24–27 Brandon Terrace, New Town, EH3 5DZ (Map 1B: A2, 4) 0131 622 6235, coffee-angel.co.uk | Mon–Fri 7.30am– 7pm; Sat 8.30am–7pm; Sun 10am–7pm. [Winter: closes 6pm]. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £6 (lunch)

Looking for a place to sit with your laptop and Skype a friend or recover from the previous night? Coffee Angel

Lovecrumbs (page 51): opening up the West Port to tempting baking

has everything you need, from the comfy leather sofas, single-bean Ethiopian Arabica coffee that grabs you with its aromatic sweetness, quirky Czech pastries, great service and sandwiches to cater for both meat lovers and veggies (the vegetarian options even have their own full-size fridge). Those in need of a vitamin blast can try the iced smoothies or indulge in something different like a chai latte, or there are heartier options including porridge and bagels. At its heart this is a friendly all-day café that serves quality coffee with a smile. + The coffee is a fruity, creamy alternative to the darker roasts found elsewhere - No hot food apart from toasties and porridge

Connect Café 153–155 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge, EH4 1BQ (Map 1A: A2, off) 0131 315 2003 | Mon–Sat 8.30am–5pm. Closed Sun. T/A. £7 (lunch)

Co-owned by celebrity foodie Nell Nelson, this café-cum-gift shop is tucked

away just out of reach of Stockbridge’s main drag. As you’d expect from The Woman Who Ate Scotland, quality and locality are key when it comes to the sourcing. Cheddar from Mull, balsamic vinegar from Dumfries and farm-pressed juices from Fife are about as exotic as it gets, with much obtained from even closer to home, like rapeseed oil from East Lothian and meat from Shaw’s, the butcher next door (who themselves use free-range Borders pork). Contributions from artisan bakers like Our Piece Bakery and Au Gourmand are supplemented by a number of treats produced especially for the café, like an organic sourdough from Henderson’s and crumbly, buttery scones made daily by a local mum. All that perfect provenance does limit menu options a little, but what’s there is simple, wholesome and tasty. The ‘seriously good’ cheese toastie for instance, stuffed with a leek and onion mix and big on flavour, lives up to its billing. + Knowing you’ve probably travelled further to get here than the food on your plate has - Tables close to the gift shop lack privacy

Copper Bird Café 129 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8AJ See Cafés: The Wee Places

Cucina LC 68 Haymarket Terrace, West End, EH12 5LQ (Map 4: A3, 65) 0131 467 2671 | Mon– Fri 7.30am–4pm. Closed Sat/Sun. Veg; Wh; T/A; D. £9 (lunch)

Bakery, Patisserie, Coffee The Manna House Bakery & Patisserie, 22-24 Easter Road, Edinburgh EH7 5RG 0131 652 2349 | www.themannahousebakery.co.uk

46 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Cuckoo’s Bakery

150 Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 5DQ (Map 1A: D1, 33) 0131 556 6224, cuckoosbakery.co.uk | Tue–Thu 10am–5.30pm; Fri/Sat 10am–6pm; Sun 11am–5pm. Closed Mon. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £9 (lunch)

This Haymarket deli-café is, in the words of its owner, ‘a one-woman show’, brought to you from the ‘Cucina’ (Italian for kitchen) of ‘LC’ (Lorena Crolla). It’s now Cucina LC’s seventh year in business, and every weekday you can see Lorena from 7:30am to 4pm, fusing Italian and Asian cooking for a live audience who want to escape their working lives for a while. A supporting cast of au fait waiters present her kitchen productions: daily-changing quiches,

As independent as they come, the quirky Cuckoo’s Bakery is on a roll, now supplying cakes to Waterstones. In the café itself, served on bespoke designer china, huge stuffed sandwiches are made fresh and with a steaming bowl of soup make for a hearty meal. For those seeking something different the giant salads with hummus or stuffed croissants provide a good alternative. But really this place is about cupcakes – perfect portions of iced design that sit in an antique haberdashery case flirtatiously waiting for the eye to fall on them. Seasonal variations come and go while old favourites remain (try the sticky toffee pudding). With a gluten-free option and other layer cakes always available, Cuckoo’s is sweet treat nirvana. + The sticky toffee pudding cupcake - With a no-reservation policy it can be hard to get a table

Dovecot Café by Stag Espresso Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Old Town, EH1 1LT See Arts Venues & Attractions

Drill Hall Arts Café 34 Dalmeny Street, Leith, EH6 8RG See Arts Venues & Attractions

Earthy Canonmills 1–6 Canonmills Bridge, Stockbridge, EH3 5LF See Bistros & Brasseries

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Earthy Market Café

33–41 Ratcliffe Terrace, Southside, EH9 1SX (Map 3C: D5, 29) 0131 667 2967, earthy.co.uk | Mon–Fri 9am–6pm; Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–5pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £12.50 (lunch)

Disguised as an old warehouse, Earthy Market Café is a surprising hidden gem for those who love all things wholesome and hearty. Earthy, which also operates a bistro-café and small shop in Canonmills, is an operation run by people who care about food, and the Café’s creative menu is committed to ingredients that are local and organic. A salad platter may not seem cheap but it delivers in tastes and textures, combining flavours of beetroot and pomegranate with a generous scattering of nuts and seeds. Sweet potato and coconut soup is suitably comforting, especially when finished off with a slice of gluten-free ginger and orange cake. The reclaimed-wood walls and relaxed atmosphere make this a popular hang-out for anyone who shares the Earthy food philosophy – those in the know include local toddlers and their parents as well as foodies who love to lunch. Plans are still on the go to add a polytunnel with extra seating so you can eat semi al fresco and watch your salad grow. With occasional evening opening, including a


CAFES

In association with

EDINBURGH monthly curry club, as well as a shop – or ‘food market’ – upstairs as well, this is definitely a world of good food well worth experiencing. + Healthy, tasty food in relaxed surroundings - Salad a little pricey

Edinburgh Larder Café 15 Blackfriars Street, Old Town, EH1 1NB (Map 2B: A3, 9) 0131 556 6922, edinburghlarder.co.uk | Mon–Sun 8am–4pm. Veg; HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £6.50 (set lunch)

This deservedly popular café features a veritable Who’s Who of top-quality Scottish producers. With meat from Peelham, salad and vegetables from Phantassie and bread from Au Gourmand the simple dishes on offer can rely on the quality of ingredients to ensure their success. Soups, sandwiches and platters showcase the likes of Great Glen venison salami, Loch Arthur cheddar and the owner’s dad’s chutney. A small selection of well-made cakes complements the selection of teas and coffees, or there are some interesting Scottish bottled beers for those wanting something stronger. The open-plan kitchen and bright lighting help open up the small space, which is tightly packed with tables and frequently busy. + Excellent quality ingredients - Small space with tightly packed tables

Embo 29 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, EH7 4AG See Cafés: The Wee Places

The Engine Shed 19 St Leonards Lane, Southside, EH8 9SD See Vegetarian

TIPList FOR COFFEE • Artisan Roast Edinburgh’s leading purveyors of the serious black stuff 43 • Brass & Copper Great lattes using Union HandRoasted 44 • BrewLab Coffee geekery and shabby-chic for the twittering classes 44 • Castello Coffee Co Allpress Espresso makes an Edinburgh debut 48

• Coffee Angel Sweet coffees from Canonmills connoisseurs 46

• French Press Coffee Company Taking bean counting seriously in the New Town 48 • Freeman’s Brews and blends in a hip local hub 47 • Printworks Coffee Careful sourcing all the way, including Monmouth Coffee 52

Eteaket 41 Frederick Street, New Town, EH2 1EP (Map 1A: C4, 66) 0131 226 2982, eteaket.co.uk | Mon–Fri 9am–6pm; Sat 9am–6pm; Sun 11am–6pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £10 (lunch)

Opened in 2008 to address the apparent absence of a good cuppa in the city, Eteaket has carved itself a niche in the market. An impressive tea menu includes the exotic Pu-erh Mini Tuo Cha – favoured by celebrities – and Jasmine Chun Hao, alongside more commonplace Scottish Breakfast and Earl Grey. The owners have also developed a growing online business and supply tea to leading restaurants in Edinburgh and London. Eteaket is a venue for cocktail nights, tea-tasting evenings and even a tealeaf reader. Food is functional rather than spectacular: a tea and toast special is a popular way to start the day, and lunchtime brings offerings such as soup and a half sandwich or toasted croissants and ciabattas with various fillings. Afternoon tea features sandwiches, scones and an impressive selection of mini cakes – an ideal excuse to take a break from shopping in nearby George Street. + Guaranteed a good cup of tea - Food prices reflect the city-centre location

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Falko (Konditormeister)

185 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4DG (Map 3A: A4, 35) 0131 656 0763, falko.co.uk | Wed–Fri 9am–6pm; Sat 9am–6pm; Sun 9.30am–6pm. Closed Mon/Tue. Veg; T/A; D. £10 (lunch)

Complete with a continental bicycle above bread-laden shelves, Falko Konditormeister is a slice of lazyafternoon coffee-drinking heaven. This corner of Germany in Bruntsfield is already a well-known hangout for cake connoisseurs and has numerous awards to recommend it. Prices reflect Falko’s commitment to authenticity and quality, with marzipan flown in from Lübeck and salad leaves collected by a local forager. He is far from stingy, however, and generous portions of torte – from nuss to Sacher – are a definite treat. Lunches are extremely good value. Try the butternut squash, cranberry and pine nut salad, well seasoned and served with freshly baked speciality bread. Though the beautifully stocked cake counter is the obvious draw here, tea drinkers will be equally impressed by the selection of German brews. Don’t miss the chance to sample a comforting pot of almond tea. + Indulgent cakes served with teas to savour - Seating tight – it’s not great getting stuck at the back

breakfasts feature porridge and pastries rather than bacon and eggs and most of the menu is relatively healthy. If that feels too virtuous then you can always go for their pint of monster hot chocolate featuring cream, marshmallows, Maltesers, caramel and Dairy Milk shavings. + A pleasant place for a pit stop should you find yourself down this way - Otherwise it is a bit out of the way

The Forest Café 141 Lauriston Place, Tollcross, EH3 9JN See Vegetarian

Freemans 2–6 Spottiswoode Road, Southside, EH9 1BQ (Map 3C: A2, 33) , freemanscoffee. co.uk | Mon–Sun 9am–6pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £7.50 (lunch)

Bright, airy and shabbily chic, Freeman’s coffee shop is another worthy local café in an area that’s positively breeding them. It’s an impressive venue, with clusters of comfy armchairs and tables surrounded by schoolroom seats spread around the wooden floor, and their stated friendliness to both dogs and children (there’s a chalkboard and a range of boardgames for the latter) makes this a week-round haunt. The coffee is taken seriously and there’s plenty of unashamed geekery going on – there are different espresso blends depending on whether you’re taking it black or with milk, while brewing options include Chemex or Aeropress. There are also daily soups and stews, with a range of fresh baguettes almost challengingly crammed with fillings such as pastrami, cream cheese and spinach. Scrambled eggs on toast and a mix ‘n’ match brunch menu are also available from early on to the very civilised time of 2pm. + A hip local hub for coffee and bites - You can ask for decaf, but you may feel embarrassed

French Press Coffee Company 25a Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 6QQ See Cafés: The Wee Places

The Fruitmarket Gallery Café Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Old Town, EH1 1DF See Arts Venues & Attractions

Gaia Delicatessen 32 Crighton Place, Leith Walk, Leith, EH7 4NY See Cafés: The Wee Places

The Galley 18–20 Salamander Street, Leith, EH6 7HR See Bistros & Brasseries

The Gateway Restaurant John Hope Gateway Centre, Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, Inverleith, EH3 5LR See Arts Venues & Attractions

Glass & Thompson 2 Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 6HZ (Map 1A: D3, 39) 0131 557 0909, None | Mon–Sat 8.30am–5.30pm; Sun 10.30am–4.30pm. Veg; HW £15.40; Kids; T/A. £5.45 (set lunch)

In the 18 years since Glass & Thompson opened, it has adapted to keep pace with Edinburgh’s evolving café landscape. The latest change is a slimmed-down menu, although it still includes perennial favourites of regulars and those taking time out from events at nearby art galleries or strolling down the hill from George Street to visit a place mentioned in the books of Alexander McCall-Smith. Brunch and bacon rolls have been added, but the house sandwich of ham, gruyere and salad on sumptuous granary bread remains a winner. Quiches are made on the premises, and sit alongside salads and baguettes with imaginative fillings such as brie and tapenade, all to take away or enjoy with a glass of wine at tables of various shapes and sizes – or outside when the sun shines. The addition of excellent coffee and cakes makes it a pleasant place to linger. + The house sandwich on granary bread - Limited space between some tables

Gorgie City Farm Café 51 Gorgie Road, EH11 2LA (Map 4: A4, off) 0131 337 4202, gorgiecityfarmcafe. org.uk | Summer: Mon–Sun 9.30am– 4pm. Winter: 9.30am–3.30pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £6 (lunch)

Cafe dining doesn’t come more sustainable than when the pork and most of the vegetables come from your own plot, and Gorgie City Farm’s pleasant, old-fashioned café has the added advantage of bringing the countryside – and animal visits, if you’ve got time or the kids insist – to the heart of the city. The food is simple but fresh and affordably priced, including baked potatoes, sandwiches and breakfast rolls. Freshly made on the premises is a quiche of the day, for example a hearty leek, pea and cheddar offering with a crumbly short crust, or a daily soup choice along the lines of a thick sweet potato and lentil broth. Cakes include a superior Victoria sponge, while the child-friendly air is enhanced by a kids’ menu, picnic tables and an adventure playground. + A first-rate destination if you have kids - Not so enticing if you don’t

Foodies at Holyrood 67 Holyrood Road, Old Town, EH8 8AU (Map 2B: C3, 28) 0131 557 6836, thefoodiecompany.com | Apr–Sep: Mon–Fri 7.30am–6pm; Sat/Sun 10am– 5pm. Oct–Mar: closes 5pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £6.95 (set lunch)

Holyrood feels strangely disconnected from the rest of the city despite (or because of) being home to both parliament and palace. Still, should you find yourself down this way at least you can get a decent bite to eat. A fairly mainstream menu features soup, baked potatoes and sandwiches. If it’s not groundbreaking then at least everything is well delivered, with excellent bread, succulent pieces in the coronation chicken, substantial side salads, and cakes produced fresh each morning by their in-house baker. There is more than a nod to local sourcing with Dunsyre blue cheese and Craigie’s chutneys also putting in appearances. All-day

Super fresh food made to order everyday www.rocketcafe.co.uk

Cafe • Sit-in & Takeout • Outside Catering 41 Morningside Road, Edinburgh EH10 4DR • 0131 447 0377 Open Mon-Fri 8-5 , Sat 9-5, Sun 10-5 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 47


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WEE PLACES EDINBURGH

This is a new section of the guide, and it’s one where we’ve brought together an eclectic mix of tiny delis, artisan bakeries, tea specialists, hog roasters and some of the best coffee nooks in town. Some have no seats, others a few perching stools, while few have room for more than a dozen, but all bring colour and personality to the capital’s street scene. They might be wee places, but they’re certainly worth knowing about if you want to discover good things to eat and drink around town.

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Anteaques

The Baked Potato Shop

17 Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9JH (Map 3C: D1, 9) 0131 667 8466, anteaques.co.uk | Fri–Sun 11am–7pm. Veg; T/A. £6 (lunch)

56 Cockburn Street, Old Town, EH1 1PB See Vegetarian

Anteaques is to tea drinkers what Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is to small children. A smell of floral blends wafts between rows of tin caddies filled with weird and wonderful concoctions for the teapot. Forget lunch and savoury snacks, you won’t find them here. This is a place for seriously savouring a cuppa, from chocolate and cherry tea to chilli chai. With 80 different brews to choose from you will spend a pleasant half hour perusing the menu alone. Even the freshly baked scones are made with dried fruit pre-soaked in tea and a sweet brioche bun is flavoured with green tea. All this is served on vintage china and silver cake stands. Tables with white cloths are packed in to the quirky interior alongside the antique trinkets, crockery and fur coats for sale, and the staff are unobtrusively familiar. + An afternoon tea treat with a difference - No toilets

99a Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4HG See Indian

Appetite 42 Howe Street, New Town, EH3 6TH (Map 1A: C3, 31) 0131 225 3711, appetitedirect.com | Mon–Fri 8.30am– 4.30pm. Closed Sat/Sun. Veg; T/A. £8 (lunch)

Primarily a catering business Appetite Direct also offer takeaway from their small shop/deli. There is a small selection of deli produce but the main focus is on robust, comfort-food hot dishes along with sandwiches and salads. There are different curries available each day with the likes of Sri Lankan chicken or Chinese red pork offering more interest than your average takeaway. Alongside these, ham hock terrine and macaroni cheese provide a meal for one or can be ordered in advance for a cheat’s dinner party. + Selection of hot dishes to take away - No space inside to eat them

Artisan Roast 57 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ (Map 1B: C4, 25) 07590 590667, artisanroast.co.uk | Mon–Thu 8am–7pm; Fri 8am–6pm; Sat/ Sun 10am–6pm. Veg. £4.50 (coffee and cake)

Artisan Roast started brewing in 2007 and has not looked back, now with venues in Edinburgh’s Broughton and Bruntsfield districts. With a shabby décor that would not be out of place in San Francisco or Seattle, the barista owns the main space, greeting and taking orders as customers appear, passing advice and talking shop with the coffee cognoscenti. This is coffee central – no frills, no fuss, no overpriced Danish pastries. No savoury food either, unlike the Bruntsfield branch. Exclusive single-batch beans are available if you want something different from their rich espresso, and teas and flavoured chocolates are also on hand. + Great coffee and knowledgable staff - Cakes run out early 48 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Bollywood: The Coffee Box

Caffe Espresso 15 Bank Street, Old Town, EH1 2LN (Map 2A: C2, 13) 0131 220 4400 | Mon–Fri 8am–4.30pm. [Summer: also Sat 11am– 5pm.] Closed Sun. Veg; T/A. £6.50 (lunch)

The Old Town of Edinburgh has a plethora of interesting wee spaces, and the city has a wonderful Italian heritage. Put the two together? Tiny Caffe Espresso on the Mound, with two generations of the Vessella family, a stream of regulars and a knot of tourists all squeezed in. Or so it seems. No matter – the banter’s great, the service is slick and the fresh food’s worth squeezing for. Besides a list of ten filling combos for baguettes or foccacia (including owner Stephano’s now-legendary No.9 fajita chicken, melted manchego and jalapeño baguette) there’s no betraying the Italian flavour of the place with chicken pastina or minestrone soup, pasta or perhaps a frittata of the day – daily menus are posted on Facebook. + Your lunch made before your eyes - Having to watch others made first

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Casa Angelina

42 London Street, New Town, EH3 6LX (Map 1B: C4, 14) 0131 558 1002 | Tue–Fri 8.45am–6pm, Sat 9am–6pm, Sun 10am– 6pm. Closed Mon. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £4.50 (lunch)

Pastry chef Marie Claire Semeraro has taken her passion for afternoon tea and created a destination vintage tea shop gem. Takeout cakes and coffee are to the front with an array of scones, cupcakes and specials alongside sandwiches, superfood muffins, gluten-free and vegan choices. A 1920s back room is laid out in vintage style and provides a homely setting for one of the best afternoon teas you can find. Starting with warm miniature turnovers, pugnacious bruschetta and shot glasses of artichoke and pearl barely salad, the scones are then a buttery delight alongside jam made on the premises with a final crown of crisp fruit tarts, banoffee cheesecake and punchy lemon curd éclairs. + Afternoon tea - Tables are few, so book ahead for tea

Castello Coffee Co 7 Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3AH (Map 1A: B5, 54) 0131 225 9780, castellocoffee.co.uk | Mon–Fri 7.30am– 6pm; Sat 8.30am–6pm; Sun 10am–6pm. Veg; T/A. £7 (lunch)

Sandro Del Greco, the owner of Castello Coffee, does not take lightly the task of satisfying his customers. It required in-depth research and much tasting to uncover the Allpress Espresso beans he uses in his machines. Consequently, this diminutive establishment, opened just a few paces from Princes Street

in the summer of 2012, is building a base of followers lured by the quality of the coffee. There are also flavoured hot chocolates, and food that is equally distinct. Whether bagels with a pizza filling or ‘pan banan’ – a croissant with a filling of sliced banana – the daily menu will offer something a little different. And, when the weather is fine, the tables on Castle Street mean the capacity of Castello doubles. + Excellent coffee and friendly service - No toilets on the premises

Copper Bird Café 129 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8AJ (Map 4: B2, 51) 07746 942830, copperbird.co.uk

The stylish, undemanding charm of this neat wee café makes it a great addition to the West End. Having left accountancy to start up her own cupcake business, Edel Porter has taken things to the next level. Those same cupcakes, now crafted in this professional kitchen rather than at home, might be a major draw, but here they happily share the stage with a range of healthy soups, fresh focaccia sandwiches and slow-cooked meat wraps. [Not open for full review at time of going to press.]

Embo 29 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, EH7 4AG (Map 5B: A5, 17) 0131 652 3880, embo-deli.com | Mon–Fri 8am–4pm; Sat 9am–4.30pm. Closed Sun. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £8 (lunch)

A long-standing fixture on Haddington Place, Embo squeezes a whole lotta love into a wee bitta space. What could be a simple soup and sandwich joint is elevated by great service and a passion for getting the maximum flavour from the humblest of formats. House favourites include Belhaven hot-smoked trout with scrambled eggs and pesto for breakfast or the Mexican toasted wrap with zingy chicken, cheese, salsa and jalapeños. Vegetarians are well catered for with falafel, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh. Rustic hand-carved stools and counters form a small seating area, with window seats and the clutch of outdoor tables perfect for watching the world go by. + Some of the tastiest soups, salads, rolls and wraps in town - Limited seating

French Press Coffee Company 25a Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 6QQ (Map 1A: D3, 36) 0131 556 4336, frenchpresscoffeecompany.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am–6pm; Sat/Sun 9am–5pm. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £6.50 (lunch)

With cafés sprouting up around the New Town, it helps to be distinctive, and this venue with its French-themed décor is working hard on that. An extensive range of teas and coffees is the domain of John Thomson, while wife Gail takes care of the food, focusing on local produce and value for money. The breakfast selection features croissants and warm muffins with cream cheese and smoked salmon. For lunch, alongside takeaways that include picnic boxes in summer, a collaboration with restaurateur Paul Wedgwood has resulted in a gourmet sandwich selection. Soups and warm quiches (accompanying greens will be foraged leaves such as wild leeks) add to the options and can be eaten outside. + Quality produce and value for money - Only 12 covers inside

Gaia Delicatessen 32 Crighton Place, Leith Walk, EH7 4NY (Map 5B: A3, 14) 0131 553 7333, gaiadeliedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8.30am–6pm; Sat 9.30am–6pm; Sun 11am–4pm. Veg; BYOB (no charge); T/A; D. £8 (lunch)

A bustling and friendly family-run café and deli, Gaia boasts a proudly Sicilian influence over everything it does. The coffee is very strong, the noises from the open kitchen lend a lively air, yet the cosily rustic seating area out front exudes relaxing informality. With shelves of imported Italian goods on display, the owners are well-positioned to provide an authentic treat with their their preorder and reheat-at-home Sicilian Feast menu. Homemade paninis or pastas (for example, spaghetti densely flavoured with fennel, pesto and plum tomatoes) feature while a daily Sicilian speciality and must-try cannoli desserts are dishes you won’t find anywhere else in the city. + Homely and authentically Sicilian - Steel yourself for the coffee

Hernandez & Co. 31a Queensferry Street, West End, EH2 4QS (Map 4: B1, 11) 0131 225 5332, hernandezandco.com | Mon–Fri 8am–3pm. Closed Sat/Sun. T/A. £3.50 (lunch)

A Spanish café serving bocadillos, sopas and ensaladas, mostly for takeaway (sit-in amounts to three stools), the Spanish customers and staff are surely a good sign. As are shelves displaying ingredients such as Cola Cao hot chocolate, pimenton, alubia blanca (white beans), saffron and paella rice. Office folk smile as they walk in, resuming a friendly conversation with owner Maite. Salads like goat’s cheese and walnut or white asparagus and Cantabrian tuna, or baguettes of tortilla, salchichon, chorizo and manchego carry true Spanish flavours and aesthetic. The magnificent dark, bitter, fair-trade coffee seems a steal at £1.30 for a double espresso: it sums up Maite’s genuine, generous spirit. + Bean and Serrano ham soup masterclass - Wanting to try more of their cooking

Looking Glass Books 36 Simpson Loan, Quartermile, Old Town, EH3 9GG (Map 2A: B5, 34) 0131 229 2902, lookingglassbooks.com | Mon–Fri 8am–6pm; Sat/Sun 10am–6pm Kids; T/A. £6.50 (lunch)

This amiable ‘booktique’ café boasts its own lively literary scene, hosting a stream of reading groups, author events and kids’ storytelling sessions amid shelves stuffed with best-sellers and obscurities. Dinky chessboard tables, Victorian button-back chairs create a boudoir library feel and a modest but appealing selection of pastries, cakes and sweet treats like mini macaroons is complemented by coffee from Lake District roaster Carvetii and Eteaket teas. Hot food is restricted to steaming bowls of soup, although there are a handful of pre-made sandwich and savoury options. + Floor-to-ceiling windows make for a beautifully light space - Shame the view is of a building site

4

The Manna House

22–24 Easter Road, EH7 5RG (Map 5B: C5, 25) 0131 652 2349, themannahousebakery.co.uk | Mon– Sat 8am–5.30pm; Sun 10am–4.30pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £6.50 (lunch)

It’s almost impossible to begin describing the Manna House in anything but a gushing tone. Small but perfectly formed, what’s most inspiring is that they don’t just base their reputation on doing one thing well. Every day they prepare dozens of fresh breads, exotic salads, quiches, pastries, soups and sandwiches packed with artisan fillings, as well as a patisserie counter that’s satisfying just to gaze at. Add to this the friendliness and


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX WEE PLACES

In association with

EDINBURGH and online. You learn that this single plant changes like wine with terroir, and you witness the ceremony: colourful infusions correctly timed and poured into elegant glass and china sets. It’s tea-rrific value at £2.50–£4 per pot including refills, plus they hold regular tea-tasting nights for only £10. They also serve coffee, if that’s your cup of tea. + ‘Golden Monkey’ tea, decanted from pot to pot and into a tiny shot-cup - No Rich Tea to dunk (try a macaron?)

Relish 6 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6JA (Map 5A: C1, 12) 0131 476 1920 | Mon–Fri 8am–7.30pm; Sat/Sun 9am–7.30pm. Veg; T/A; D.

Casa Angelina

Papii P ii the familiarity of the service and the recently inaugurated Sunday opening (the new weekend brunch menu is typically different, featuring baked omelette, homemade crumpets and green pancakes with smoked salmon), and the Manna House goes from strength to strength. + Draws admirers from all over town - No washroom

Marie Delices 125 Comiston Road, Southside, EH10 6AQ (Map 3B: A5, off) 0131 447 1909, mariedelices.co.uk | Tue–Sat 8.30am– 5pm. Closed Sun/Mon.

A French-style tearoom specialising in sweet and savoury crêpes and galettes, this Salon de Thé also offers cakes, biscuits and shortbreads, all made by owner Marie-Claire Lafont. Having managed a crêpiere in Brittany, she decided to strike out on her own, choosing Edinburgh (without ever having visited) because of her love of the Breton people’s Celtic heritage. The Breton influence is evident in her ingredients, such as buckwheat flour imported from France, and even the furniture. As an added bonus, the café is licenced, which means the chance to try out some artisanal Breton cider too. + Cider sipping - Not open Sundays

New Town Deli 42 Broughton Street, EH1 3SA (Map 1B: C4, 20) 0131 558 3837, thenewtowndeli.com | Mon–Fri 7am– 4pm; Sat 8am–4pm; Sun 9am–3.30pm.

A smaller sister venue to the New Town Deli on Henderson Row. See entry in main Cafés section

Oink 34 Victoria Street, Old Town, EH1 2JW (Map 2A: B3, 22) 07771 968 233, oinkhogroast.co.uk | Mon–Sun 11am–5pm. T/A. £6 (lunch)

If the name doesn’t give the game away then the roast pig sitting in the window should do. This is the place to come for succulent, slow-roast pork stuffed into a roll. Pick your size, choose between white or brown roll, go traditional with apple sauce and crackling or be daring and top your pork with haggis and chilli sauce. The pig slowly diminishes throughout the day until it is all eaten, which means they are sometimes closed before 5pm. + Pigging out on pig - Vegetarians, look away now

101 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DJ (Map 1A: D4, 84) 0131 220 5682 | Mon–Fri 7.30am–4pm; Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–4pm. Veg; T/A. £7 (lunch)

This is the kind of smartly run, upbeat, friendly wee place you’ll be glad you remembered next time you’re after a handy coffee or lunch stop just off George Street. Up a few steps among the crowded pack of Hanover Street eating and drinking spots, it does plenty of daytime bustle with a ticking takeaway trade. There’s a hint of the sunny Med about it with random pastel shutters as decoration, while alongside more conventional sandwiches, salads and snacks you’ll find fresh spanakopita and exotically tinged soup such as Moroccan sweet potato and chick pea. + Great front doorstep picnic bench - Picnic weather?

Patisserie Madeleine 27b Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, EH4 1HU (Map 1A: A1, 4) 0131 332 8455, patisseriemadeleine.com | Wed–Sat 10am–5.30pm; Sun 11am–5pm. Closed Mon/Tue.

The combination of minimalist styling and glass display cabinets featuring neat lines of coloured macaroons and delicate pastries means stopping for coffee here can feel like disturbing an immaculate art gallery or exclusive boutique. Arnaud Djavanshir’s macaroons and pastries are good enough to excuse their reverential setting. Macaroons achieve the tricky balance of crisp and sticky meringue and include fillings such as fleur d’orange, its sharp citrus flavour contrasting the sweet cream. Quality teas and coffee plus their own hot chocolate complete the offering of delicately refined indulgence. + Macaroons that are almost works of art - Feeling of being in an art gallery

Pekoe Tea 20 Leven Street, Tollcross, EH3 9LJ (Map 3A: C2, 15) 0131 477 1838, pekoetea. co.uk | Mon–Sat 10am–6pm. Closed Sun.

Visiting this café-emporium is an enlightening and entertaining experience – no surprise for a teahouse inspired by Glasgow’s boho Tchai Ovna. Pekoe’s décor may be plusher than a Nepalese yurt, with calming green shelves of exotic tea tins, packets, pots and cups, but the same devotion bubbles away. Cheering guides help you explore the tastes and smells of tea leaves, flowers and buds, sourced directly from Asia and Africa by Pekoe’s owners Jon and Lynn Cooper, and all sold in the 14-seat café

Primarily an upmarket delicatessen and off-licence with a wide and well-selected range of local and international meats, cheeses, wines and dried goods, Relish has become a familiar stop on the way home from work for Leithers who live around the Shore and a popular snack bar for lunching local workers. A range of fresh salads, soups and sandwiches are made to sit in on the few seats or take away, while the bread and cakes are all homemade and the service is efficient and professional. + Good quality food made for you - The lunchtime rush gets a bit hectic

The Tattie Shop 3 Viewforth Gardens , Bruntsfield, West End, EH10 4ET (Map 3A: B3, 26) 0131 228 5282, thetattieshop.co.uk | Mon–Sat 11am–9pm; Closed Sun. Veg; T/A. £5 (lunch) / £5 (dinner)

It may not be hard to bake a potato, but sometimes you are just too tired or too hungry to wait the hour or so it takes to do properly in the oven. This is where Tattie Shop comes into its own. Properly oven-baked, the potatoes have crisp skins and creamy insides filled with generous helpings of classics like cheese and chilli alongside a few less common options such as stew and dumplings or haggis and neeps. There is also a soup, a few filled rolls and tray bakes, but as the name suggests, potatoes are the main feature here. + Healthy alternative to other takeaways - Basic interior

Tupiniquim Green Police Box, Middle Meadow Walk, Lauriston Place, Old Town, EH1 9AU See Round the World

4

Union of Genius

8 Forrest Road, Old Town, EH1 2QN (Map 2A: C4, 38) 0131 226 4436, unionofgenius.com | Mon–Fri 9am–4pm. Closed Sat/Sun. Veg; T/A. £4.20 (lunch)

Despite its tiny size, revolutionary soup café Union of Genius is a big presence on Edinburgh’s food scene. A choice of six daily concoctions (for example a traditional cream of leek and potato or a warming Scots-Mediterranean chorizo, black pudding and white bean broth) comes in two take-out or sit-in sizes with a choice of artisan breads – or you can have the soup in a bread bowl. However, over and above the excellent business model and deft local sourcing (for example hot chocolate from Chocolate Tree and Coco and gluten-free cakes from Love Pure) their ethical approach is an example to all, with a loyalty scheme for returning the compostable packaging. + Inventive, affordable, ethical soups - Good luck getting a seat at lunchtime

Urban West Coffee House 33 William Street, West End, EH3 7NH (Map 4: B2, 2) 0131 225 8584 | Mon–Fri 7.30am–3pm. Closed Sat/Sun.

Having sold his successful Home

4 HITLIST WEE PLACES

4 Anteaques Tip-top tea and delightful cakes in an antique shop. 4 Casa Angelina Afternoon tea with a difference squeezed into a brand-new Broughton nook. 4 The Manna House Grab one of the sought-after tables or stools at Edinburgh's leading artisan bakery. 4 Union of Genius A small soup café where big ideas are emerging. restaurant in 2012, chef Richard Logan is now looking to bring restaurantquality food to the humble sandwich bar. Sandwiches will be based on Breadwinner bread and in addition to these he is planning to offer two or three hot dishes, quiche and proper salads. There will also be a strong focus on homemade cakes to go along with the takeaway coffee and in the longer term there are plans to offer outside catering. [Not fully open at time of going to press.]

Vittles 42 Home Street, Tollcross, EH3 9LZ (Map 3A: B1, 10) 0131 261 8786 | Mon–Fri 8:30am–4:30pm; Sat 10am–4pm. Veg; T/A. £6 (lunch)

With its fresh, outdoor theme of garden furniture, tartan rug upholstery, astro-turf ‘grass’ and tea party coffee cups, Home Street’s new micro deli-café packs plenty of vittles (lit. ‘the things you need to live’) for a picnic lunch or breakfast to take-away or sit inside, albeit in a space so wee it has a communal, table-share policy. The deli counter displays locally or homemade mix-and-match fillings for the café’s salads, sharing platters and sandwiches. On top stand decks of decorous cupcakes and sticky carrot cake, while the bright orange and turquoise walls stack shelves of chutneys, jams, technicoloured jelly beans and Norfolk chocolate. + Food and furniture a feast for the eyes - Too tiny for a toilet

The Zulu Lounge 366 Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4QN (Map 3B: A4, 7) 0131 466 8337, thezululounge.com | Mon–Fri 7.30am– 6pm; Sat/Sun 8am–5pm. Kids; T/A. £8 (lunch)

Part deli, part sandwich bar and part sit-in café, there is an awful lot to find behind the striking zebra-striped frontage. At the core is an overwhelming selection of milkshakes, coffee and hot chocolate served alongside assorted sweet things all baked in-house. Takeaway options are covered by sandwiches, wraps, soup and salads for those sitting in. Biltong and boerwors also put in appearances with a small selection of South African produce. With plans to offer South African street food, 2013 may see this quirky and popular business expand. + Something colourful and different - Small space can feel a bit too cosy The List Eating & Drinking Guide 49


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The Haven

Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £9.50 (lunch)

9 Anchorfield, Leith, EH6 4JG (Map 5A: A2, off) 0131 467 7513, havencafe.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm; Sat/Sun 9am–5pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £7 (lunch)

Having given up his very popular Gorgie bakery, Jacob Philip has moved more ambitiously upmarket with his spacious new Haymarket café. Sited in a freshly decorated corner unit with a high ceiling and lots of classic touches, the new premises were still getting up to speed at time of going to press. Integral to the business, of course, is Jacob’s handmade line of chocolates, truffles, bread, cookies and cakes, with soup and sandwiches also on offer. With completion of the kitchen imminent and an alcohol licence hoped for, the plan is to offer more hot meals and a more rounded local bistro service, although some offerings in this vein (a couscous, feta and grilled vegetable salad or a daily hot stew with braised rice) are already available. + A long-established reputation for patisserie and breads - Those tramworks don’t make vehicle access easy

It doesn’t make for the most scenic view in town, but perhaps there’s something fitting about keen baker Natalie Kwek’s decision to open her café opposite Newhaven’s imposing Chancelot flour mill. The location may not be glamorous but once over the threshold the quaint cosiness of the room envelopes you, with vintage furnishings, Tiffany-style lamps and armchairs by the fireplace creating a homely antidote to the world outside. The food is similarly comforting, focusing on hearty breakfasts (including a greatvalue ‘full Scottish’ at £5.95), simple soup and sandwich combinations and the wonderful home baking that inspired Natalie to turn her hobby into a business in the first place. Old school empire biscuits, scones and Victoria sponges sit beside elaborately layered cakes and tooth-melting tray bakes on the counter of the tiny open-plan kitchen where cheery staff will also rustle up their signature pancakes to order. + Homely baking and atmosphere - Rather unimaginative sandwiches

Leo’s Beanery 23a Howe Street, New Town, EH3 6TF (Map 1A: C3, 29) 0131 556 8403, leosbeanery.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8.30am–5pm; Sat/Sun 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–5pm. Veg; BYOB (£2 per person); Kids; T/A. £9 (lunch)

Henderson’s @ St John’s St John’s Terrace, 3 Lothian Road, West End, EH1 2EP See Vegetarian

Henri of Edinburgh

Brew Lab (page 44): first-class degrees in coffee studies by the University

• 48 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, Stockbridge, EH4 1HL (Map 1A: A1, 2) 0131 332 8963, henrisofedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Thu 9am–7.30pm; Fri 9am–11pm; Sat 9am–7.30pm; Sun 9.30–5.30pm. Veg; HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner) • 376 Morningside Road, EH10 5HX (Map 3B: A4, 8) 0131 447 8877, henrisofedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sat 8.30am–5.30pm; Sun 8.30am–4pm. Veg; T/A; D. £7 (lunch)

While Henri’s original Morningside deli (a Mecca for cheese addicts) has very limited sit-in capacity, the Stockbridge branch is significantly larger, with a smart seating area at the back, and a packed deli counter up front. Excellent French cheeses are prominent on the menu – available as ‘assiettes’, loaded up in sandwiches with pomegranate slaw, or served in tempting combos, such as the baked St Marcellin cheese with black cherry confit, toasted almonds and crostini. The ingredients are clearly picked with great care, from the thick chunks of smoky Martin Wishart salmon to the three-year-aged, free-range Iberico jamon in the charcuterie section. A recommended spot for Francophile foodies, the shelves are generally full

   

of choice takeaway items – for example Provençal olive oils, posh pâtés, serious chocolate and chestnut purée. They also open late on Fridays, making it feel more ‘wine bar’ than café, when they serve up tapas-style dishes and wines by the glass. + Beaucoup d’idées pour les piqueniques - Pas de Wi-Fi

stream waiting for takeaway, service remains friendly and swift on all but the busiest days. Fortunately the pretty interior, with bold prints and gentle pastel colours, means any waiting you might have to do isn’t too stressful. Soups, wraps and salads are all fairly healthy, the chicken and stilton soup being about as decadent as things get. More importantly they taste good, with classic combinations, like pesto and sun-dried tomato, and vibrant flavours. Juices – both hot and cold, smoothies and frozen yoghurt based milkshakes feel deliciously virtuous even when being drunk to undo the damage from the night before. There are gluten- and dairy-free options among the cakes, and well-trained baristas serving Artisan Roast coffee keep this café’s focus on quality going right to the end. + Great smoothies and tasty, healthy food - Crinkled menus have copped a few too many smoothie spills

Hernandez & Co. 31a Queensferry Street, West End, EH2 4QS See Cafés: The Wee Places

The Himalaya Centre 20 South Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9PR See Vegetarian

Hula Juice Bar and Gallery 103–105 West Bow, Old Town, EH1 2JP (Map 2A: B3, 30) 0131 220 1121, hulajuicebar.co.uk | Mon–Sun 8am–6pm. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £5.50 (set lunch)

Jacob Artisan Bakery

Skillfully combining healthy with tasty, it is unsurprising that this juice bar is frequently packed out. With around 40 people sat in between the main room and a snug at the back, as well as a steady

62 Haymarket Terrace, West End, EH12 5LA (Map 4: A3, 64) 0131 347 8884, patisseriejacob.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8.30am– 4.30pm; Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–4pm.

With its mismatched vintage furniture and air of aspirational bohemianism this is a definitively Stockbridge café. With weekly French classes and monthly supper and baking clubs, the efforts to establish itself within the neighbourhood clearly run more than surface deep and are reflected in the friendly welcome and amiable bustle. The menu features produce from local businesses, with meat and cheese from George Bowers and Iain Mellis. Other ingredients are equally well sourced with bread from Dough Re Mi, free-range eggs from Gosford Farm, smoked salmon from John Ross and cakes all homemade. Given the quality of ingredients it’s a shame there is only one daily special available but the permanent menu covers soup and sandwich staples alongside breakfast options such as porridge or smoked salmon and poached eggs. + The kind of place every neighbourhood should have - A few more specials would be welcome

Looking Glass Books 36 Simpson Loan, Quartermile, Old Town, EH3 9GG See Cafés: The Wee Places

Loopy Lorna’s Tea House @ Church Hill Theatre Church Hill Theatre, 33a Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4DR See Arts Venues & Attractions

     

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The Valvona & Crolla Caff è Bar has been hit-listed 4 times in the last 5 years and 11 times in 17 years since 1996. If we have not yet had the pleasure of your company please come and visit Edinburgh’s original Caffè Bar.

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19 Elm Row, Edinburgh, EH7 4AA 0131 556 6066 - sales@valvonacrolla.co.uk www.valvonacrolla.co.uk 03/04/2013 15:00


CAFES

In association with

EDINBURGH Loudon’s Café & Bakery Lochrin Square, 94b Fountainbridge, West End, EH3 9QA (Map 4: C3, 50) 0131 228 9774, loudons-cafe.co.uk | Mon–Sun 8am–6pm. Veg; HW £14.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £8.50 (lunch)

Cleverly, Loudon’s Café & Bakery on Fountainbridge greets people with a table laden with its homemade cakes, like sweet potato chocolate brownie, peanut butter and pumpkin seed cookies, and enticing gluten- and nut-free fancies, for Loudon’s philosophy is to exclude noone with an allergy to delicious things. The café is a light, open-plan warehouse, with wall-to-ceiling windows, steel girders, exposed zinc pipes and rafters, and simple, trendy IKEA tables and chairs, with the odd leather sofa for lounging. Weekday and weekend menus serve breakfast from 8am–noon, and lunch/brunch from noon–3pm. A decent Sunday brunch features ‘eggs benny’ with sautéed spinach, or Parma ham and roasted veg filo pizza, and there are also Loudon’s ‘refreshing options’ of fruity muesli, yoghurt and granola or warmspiced quinoa with dried fruit. + The baking, all made on-site, is where Loudon’s excels - It’s always busy, so there’s no pressure to keep prices low

4

Lovecrumbs

155 West Port, Old Town, EH3 9DP (Map 4: D2, 46) 0131 629 0626, lovecrumbs. co.uk | Mon–Fri 10am–6pm; Sat 10.30am–6pm; Sun noon–6pm. Veg; T/A. £5 (cake and coffee)

Having started out selling their cakes to other cafés, bakers Rachel and Hollie now have a place of their own. The mix-and-match assortment of tables, chairs and crockery creates a rough and ready chic well suited to West Port’s colourful combination of art college and independent shops. Some of the fittings of what was originally a Victorian provision merchant remain, including the large display windows facing onto the street. You can even sit in them if you don’t mind the outside world watching you eat cake. Daily options run from savoury scones, through restrained tarts, to gloriously over the top triple-decker layered sponges. A pear and pistachio tart is well judged, being not too sweet and with crisp pastry. Even a triple-decker caramel cake somehow manages to avoid being cloying. Strong coffee from Artisan Roast, teas from Eteaket and Coco hot chocolate complete the offering at this welcome addition to the neighbourhood. + Excellent selection of cakes - Too much chilli in the hot chocolate

The Manna House 22–24 Easter Road, EH7 5RG See Cafés: The Wee Places

Le Marché Français 9a West Maitland Street, West End, EH12 5DS See French

Marie Delices 125 Comiston Road, Southside, EH10 6AQ See Cafés: The Wee Places

The Marshmallow Lady 14 Rodney Street, New Town, EH7 4EA (Map 1B: B2, 8) 07843 699790, burghbakes.com | Wed–Sat noon–6pm. Closed Sun–Tue. Wh; T/A; D. £3 (lunch)

The Marshmallow Lady is part sweet kitchen, part apothecary and part craft fare. In a brightly decorated café with room for a dozen covers, the eponymous sweet treats line the walls in paper bags and jars labelled with the various

flavours. The range on sale goes from simple raspberry to the more adventurous maple bacon or Innis & Gunn beer. There’s no other food on offer besides marshmallows to eat in or take away, but a range of quality hot chocolate will persuade customers to stay a while and peruse the local crafty arts on display or play the board games stacked on the shelves of recovered and restored furniture. Worth a pilgrimage for anyone with a sweet tooth and a sense of adventure. + Hot chocolate laced with raspberry marshmallows - No other food on offer

Maxi’s 33 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, EH4 1HX (Map 1A: A1, 3) 0131 343 3007 | Mon–Sat 8.30am–4.30pm; Sun 10am– 4.30pm. HW £12.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £4.95 (set lunch)

Useful to keep in mind when the urge to eat a full cooked breakfast strikes in the early afternoon (breakfast is served until 3pm), Maxi’s other brunch options include pancakes or French toast with bacon and maple syrup, porridge and fruit compote, or sausages from Bowers, the butcher just along the road. Their takeaway salads and bulkily portioned tortillas and quiches make good picnic fodder for a trip to Inverleith Park or the Botanics. Or, to sit-in, they do home baking and chilled raspberry lemonade or deluxe hot chocolate with marshmallows and chocolate buttons (depending on whether cooling off or warming up is needed). A bustling, friendly, nononsense daytime café, its location on the main drag of Stockbridge means it can get crowded at weekends, when buggies line the walls, so sometimes a walk round the shops is necessary before a table frees up. It’s licensed too, with a small selection of wine, cider, and beers including San Francisco’s Anchor Steam. + Buy your picnic to take to one of the nearby parks - Busy times mean waiting for a table

9am–6pm. • 250 Canongate, Old Town, EH8 8AA (Map 2B: B3, 24) Veg; HW £14.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £12 (lunch)

Although still a relative newcomer, this family-run bakehouse has built a loyal following in just a few years. With a reputation for brilliant baking, their counter is piled high with traditional and inventive sponges, cheesecakes and tray bakes beneath the legend ‘it’s all about the cake’. Afternoon tea offers dainty sandwiches, sweet treats and scrummy scones with excellent jam and clotted cream, all washed down with a fine Teapigs blend. Simple stovies, sandwiches and ‘gastro’ hotdogs are satisfying enough, but the signature French toast, filled pasta dishes and homemade tarts stand out from a savoury menu that lacks the allure of the sweet selection. Fun, feminine décor creates a boudoir feel that’s popular with lunching ladies and families, although the burlesque-print wallpaper may be a bit risqué for some. A new ‘Cake-away’ is planned by Mimi’s for a small unit on the Royal Mile in early summer 2013. + Superb cakes and bakes - Savoury offerings are not as accomplished

Mint Café and Flowers 3 Exchange Place, 3 Semple Street, West End, EH3 8BL (Map 4: C2, 49) 07561 197584 | Mon–Fri 8am–3.30pm; Sat/Sun 9:30am–3.30pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £6 (lunch)

Mint Café and Flowers presents an oasis of colour in the financial glass and sandstone courtyard of Exchange Place, Semple Street. Inside it feels like a contemporary design studio, bright with

Scottish artists’ wares, wildlife paintings, ultra-modern white furniture and tabletops in bloom. The café’s herbs and veg are grown seasonally in co-owner Clare Rogers’ East Lothian nursery, while cookery author and TV presenter Nell Nelson, the other co-owner, sources Scottish ingredients like Dumfries-shire balsamic vinegar and Perthshire rapeseed oil, making for tasty salad dressings. The menu displays wholesome, homemade soups such as pea and mint, ‘seriously good cheese toasties’ (Isle of Mull cheddar, leek, garlic, sourdough rye bread), chlorophyll-rich quiches, paninis and leafy salads, followed by fruity jam scones, toffee shortbread, sweet After Eight mint hot chocolate, and, naturally, garden fresh mint tea. Scent and scenery makes Mint Café a cool place to go mintal on greenery. + The melting, crumbly chocolate biscuit cake with crushed mint Aero - At its best in summer, when its flowers are in full bloom and there is seating outside

New Town Deli • 42 Broughton Street, EH1 3SA (Map 1B: C4, 20) 0131 558 3837 • 23 Henderson Row, New Town, EH3 5DH (Map 1A: D1, 35) 0131 622 7090, thenewtowndeli.com | Mon–Fri 7am– 4pm; Sat 8am–4pm; Sun 9am–4pm. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £5 (lunch)

With outlets in Broughton and Canonmills, this café company has the New Town in a pincer. Visit the Henderson Row branch for the full menu. It is a bright room with pine benches against the bay windows to watch the world go by and communal tables that add to a friendly atmosphere. It’s worth spending a few moments reading

Metropole 33 Newington Road, Southside, EH9 1QR (Map 3C: D3, 23) 0131 668 4999 | Mon–Sun 9am–9pm. Veg; HW £15.70; Kids; T/A. £10 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Still leaning to the bohemian with its mismatched wooden tables and bright Spanish tiles, the Metropole now aspires to a smarter bistro feel, both in décor and with its menu. This is a café that certainly covers all bases and would be equally at home hosting a weekday working lunch, or families for a relaxed Saturday breakfast – and loved-up couples can tête-a-tête in the evening in one of the many booths. Chocolate chilli cheesecake and other inventive desserts mingle with the usual tray bakes to keep everyone happy. The evening menu is eclectic, ranging from steaks and burgers to the slightly more adventurous flavours of grilled halloumi with sweet potato wedges and tzatziki. For lunch the predictable line-up of paninis is happily substituted for more imaginative morsels like homemade falafel or yellow split pea and spinach dahl with crusty bread. The owners claim to aim for a high standard of food at affordable prices and seem to hit the mark. + Vegetarian options are much more than an after-thought - Some of the walls could do with a lick of paint

Mimi’s Bakehouse • 63 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6RA (Map 5A: C2, 20) 0131 555 5908, mimisbakehouse. com | Mon–Fri 9am–5pm; Sat/Sun The List Eating & Drinking Guide 51


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through the food menu chalked up behind the counter, as there’s a lot to take in. Highlights are the breakfast and the hot sandwiches. Grilled bagels oozing with jarlsberg or stuffed chilli-chicken wraps (all prepared on site) are just the tip of the iceberg though: burgers and club sandwiches give the diner further robust options at real value for this neighbourhood. + With everything made fresh, you can have it your way - Backless chairs mean it may not be a place to linger

Oink 34 Victoria Street, Old Town, EH1 2JW See Cafés: The Wee Places

Palm Court The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town, EH2 2EQ (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 556 2414, thebalmoralhotel.com | Mon–Sun 9am–5.30pm. [Afternoon tea: noon–5.30pm]. [Bar open: Sun–Thu 9am–8pm; Fri/Sat 9am–midnight.] Veg; HW £24; Kids; Wh. £15 (lunch) / £25 (afternoon tea; £40 with champagne)

Serving afternoon tea for over a century at Edinburgh’s iconic Balmoral Hotel, the Palm Court shows no sign of flagging. The shimmering Venetian chandelier and glass dome hover above neoclassical features and provide the stage for cake stands piled with traditional sandwiches, crisps and treats from the in-house pastry chefs. These include sweet macarons and a deceptively delicate hazelnut mousse cake. The scones arrive mid-service, freshly warmed through, and there is an added selection from a dessert trolley. Your actual tea (one of 20 on the extensive menu) is brewed and

TIPList FOR TEA & CAKE • Anteaques Eighty brews and tea-themed scones in a tiny, quirky set-up 48 • Casa Angelina At home with Angelina means adventurous afternoon teas 48 • Chocolate Tree Bean to bar chocolate and creativity all around 45 • Eteaket Very fine teas found in discerning venues all over 47 • Loopy Lorna’s Tea House A big, friendly cuppa love in Morningside 18 • Lovecrumbs Supplying fine cakes to cafés around town, including their own

51

• Mimi’s Bakehouse Counters piled high with brilliant bakes 51

• Patisserie Madeleine Artful patisserie and masterful macaroons 49 • Pekoe Tea Tollcross emporium for the wonderful world of leaves 49 52 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

then theatrically re-poured at the table into fresh pots ensuring your last cup is as good as your first. Add a glass of champagne to start or finish with a bang. + An unhurried, traditional afternoon tea experience - An expensive affair

4

The Pantry

1–2 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge, EH3 6ST (Map 1A: B2, 23) 0131 6290 206, thepantryedinburgh. co.uk | May–Sep: Mon–Sun 9am–9pm. Nov–Apr Sun–Tue 10am–6pm; Wed–Sat 10am–10pm. Veg; BYOB (£2 per person); Kids; T/A. £10 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Opening amid social media rumblings in December 2012, The Pantry’s young owners have done a stylish job of tapping in on things that are cool just now. Décor is quirked up with accents of farmyard wallpaper and jelly mould lightshades, and chatty paper menus strike a laid back note – lunch is broken down into snacks (haggis Scotch egg, Joan’s corn fritters), ‘not snacks’ (a burger with anise cucumber and ‘all the salad bits’), sandwiches and salads. Ingredients are simple, occasionally offbeat – a purslane salad here, or mizuna leaf there – and, in the evening, a little mysterious: a starter of top quality black pudding comes with ‘flavours of apple’. With an informal, trendy-but-friendly atmosphere made for long brunches post-Stockbridge farmers’ market, the whole is a winning mix of easy-going setting and service but flashes of finesse on the plate. Though most at home with its extensive breakfast/brunch menu, it’s charming at night, when the short menu nevertheless makes you play ‘eene meenie’ to choose between starters like super-smooth Blue Monday cheese mousse or pigeon breast with pumpkin seeds. + Laudable sourcing - No eggs in a fry up?

Papii 101 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DJ See Cafés: The Wee Places

The Pastures 24 Marchmont Crescent, Southside, EH9 1HG (Map 3C: A2, 32) 0131 623 3606, pasturesedinburgh.co.uk | Mon– Fri 8am–6pm; Sat 10am–5.30pm; Sun 11am–5.30pm. Veg; BYOB (Free); Kids; T/A. £6.50 (lunch)

This homely little Marchmont café is easy to wander past, but after you’ve stopped once, you won’t walk by again. Jane Kermack is a cheery, engaging host, ensuring everyone, from students to grannies, feels at ease. The generous full Scottish breakfast is a perfect antidote to morning-after malaise, with some fine poached eggs on toast, while there’s plenty for afters, including home-baked ginger and carrot cakes and an energypacked fruit flapjack, particularly popular with the cyclists who congregate at the bike shop next door. It’s also a focal point for the local community – on Friday nights, Jane and co-owner Stan Stewart stage a range of fun events such as ‘come-dine-with-us’ and ‘grub ‘n’ games’, featuring a continental-style dinner and plenty of laughs (BYOB is encouraged). A great place for a cup of tea and cake and a flick through the Sunday supplements. + Fun, friendly, community-minded café - Time for a bigger bike rack

Patisserie Madeleine 27b Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, EH4 1HU See Cafés: The Wee Places

Pekoe Tea 20 Leven Street, Tollcross, EH3 9LJ See Cafés: The Wee Places

Pep & Fodder 11 Waterloo Place, New Town, EH1 3BG (Map 1B: C6, 58) 0131 556 5119 | Mon– Sun 7.30am–5pm. Veg; T/A. £5 (set lunch)

As a street, Waterloo Place can seem a bit lost, the ceremonial extension of Princes Street that no-one but tourists and civil servants frequent, a backwater in the heart of the city. So all power to this uncomplicated but cultured breakfast-coffee-sandwich bar with links to Bon Vivant bar on Thistle Street for noticing the potential. Wood, steel and shiny pistachio tiles frame some smartly presented food including freshly made sandwiches, proper panini, an attractive daily salad, pastries from Le Petit Francais and tea from Eteaket. Now open from 7.30am they run a compact menu of breakfast rolls, granola and porridge, while they comfortably adopt the Sydney-San Francisco coffee ethic, with beans from Artisan Roast and a geeky approach to milk molecules. + Attractively displayed food - Precipitous stools

Peter’s Yard Stockbridge 3 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LU See Bistros & Brasseries

Peter’s Yard 27 Simpson Loan (Quartermile), Southside, EH3 9GG (Map 2A: B5, 35) 0131 228 5876, petersyard.com | Mon– Fri 7am–7pm; Sat/Sun 9am–7pm. Veg; Wh; T/A. £9 (lunch)

Blankets are provided at Peter’s Yard so you can persevere with al fresco eating even in the colder Scottish months. As testament to its popularity the outdoor tables are filled with coffeedrinking students and pastry-munching professionals all year round. This styleconscious Swedish bakery-cum-café adds a distinctly continental flavour to Middle Meadow Walk, where bright window seating provides the perfect peoplewatching opportunity. For a comforting treat amid the baskets of speciality breads and buns try a hot chocolate subtly flavoured with cardamom. The selection of cakes is impressive, with some inventive creations like courgette, fig and chocolate loaf added to an already ample spread of authentic Swedish bakes. Lunches are a select array of preprepared sandwiches and salads made with creative flavour combinations, such as a roll with butternut squash, chickpeas and sunblush tomato pesto, or a salad with orzo pasta, beetroot, dill, chives and capers. + A place to relax in style - Could add a selection of smoothies

4

Porto & Fi

47 Newhaven Main Street, Leith, EH6 4NQ (Map 5A: A2, off) 0131 551 1900, portofi.com | Mon–Sat 8am–7.30pm; Sun 10am–5.30pm. Veg; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

A crowd-pleasing menu, friendly service and genuine interest in using local Newhaven and Leith-based suppliers create a sense of community around this cheery café-bistro. The simple décor complements the elegant, airy proportions of the former bank premises (check out the shop in the old vault downstairs), not to mention the sweeping views across the Firth of Forth. The menu ranges from healthy or less-so breakfasts (served until noon or all day on Sundays), starters or lighter meals such as salt and pepper squid and main courses that

change seasonally but generally feature a quiche of the day, fish pie and a heartily beefy but slightly under-seasoned burger. A glass counter stacked with cakes and puddings provides little hope of escaping the temptation of chocolate beetroot cake or a homely banoffee pie. + Food that’s satisfying and well-sourced - Busy for weekend brunches

Porto & Fi on the Mound 9 North Bank Street, Old Town, EH1 2LP See Bistros & Brasseries

Printworks Coffee 42 Constitution Street, Leith, EH6 6RS (Map 5A: D2, 28) 0131 555 7070, twitter. com/PwCoffee | Mon–Fri 8am–6pm; Sat/ Sun 9am–6pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £6 (lunch)

The emphasis is on simplicity and quality at Printworks Coffee, and as the name suggests they are particularly fond of their coffee: they’re the only stockists of the Monmouth brand in Edinburgh, and it’s a definite attraction at what is a small but laid-back haunt for locals and coffee bar sophisticates. The range isn’t wide but the local sourcing is impeccable, including Union of Genius soups, tea by Pekoe Tea and baked goods from Dough Re Mi, as well as gluten-free cakes from Love Pure Cakes and gourmet hot chocolate from Coco. A range of wraps and panini melts including piri-piri chicken and jalapeño, spicy meatball or goat’s cheese offers more of a snacking experience than full meal service, with good-quality breakfast baps also on the menu. + Great coffee and relaxed surroundings - The food menu is well sourced but simple

Pulp Fiction Café Bookstore 43 Bread Street, Old Town, EH3 9AH (Map 4: D2, 42) 0131 229 4444, pulpbooks.com | Mon 11am–7pm; Wed–Fri 11am–7pm; Sat 11am–8pm; Sun noon– 6pm. Closed Tue. Veg. £7 (lunch) / £7 (dinner)

Located inside an independent bookstore, with tables in between the bookshelves, this simple wee café feels almost like a community drop-in centre. Indeed since opening in November 2012 it has found regulars happy to come in and hang out for a few hours, flicking through the books, chatting with the owner and playing board games while drinking coffee. The bookstore has two writers’ groups and an increasingly active writers’ centre running regular workshops and events aimed at encouraging new writers, which adds to the community feel. Currently you can have a sandwich made up from a short selection of deli fillings or try the soup and cakes made by the owner’s mum. There are plans to expand the food offering throughout 2013 as the café finds its feet. + Having a coffee while sat amid the books and feeling at home - Fairly basic food offering

Punjab’n de Rasoi 122–124 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 5DT See Indian

The Purple Pig Café 12 Leven Street, Tollcross, EH3 9LG (Map 3A: C1, 13) 0131 261 8067 | Mon– Wed 9am–5pm; Thu 9am–8pm; Fri–Sun 9am–5pm. Veg; BYOB (no charge); Kids; Wh; T/A. £8 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

The Purple Pig is perhaps the only pig you can trust around food. This bright, white Tollcross café, run by a green but keen brother-and-sister team, is as steadfast as a bacon roll. Fresh, local ingredients, chosen for taste, are simply and competently cooked into dishes of considered, balanced flavours.


CAFES

In association with

EDINBURGH A few mouthfuls impart a confidence that, whatever breakfast or lunch you order, it will be reliably good. Lunch comprises cheerful choices, like the Great British Bite (roast beef, hot horseradish and peppery rocket in a soft bloomer), Greek Lunch (falafel, tzatziki, salad, feta, olives and pitta pocket, which are superb alone, but sensational together), or fishcakes (herby, fluffy mashed potato with smoked salmon, haddock and aioli). The Purple Pig also nails breakfast, like its luxury porridge or homemade potato scone brekkie with smoked salmon. + An excellent butternut squash and ginger soup - You’d want three fishcakes instead of two, if you were a pig

There may only be 15 seats inside but the pace within is leisurely enough to encourage lingering. + Milan comes to Stockbridge - Left the Italian phrasebook at home

Relish

Terrace Café

6 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6JA See Cafés: The Wee Places

Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith Row, Inverleith, EH3 5LR See Arts Venues & Attractions

The Storytelling Café Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 High Street, Old Town, EH1 1SR See Arts Venues & Attractions

The Suburban Pantry 12 Hillhouse Road, Blackhall, EH4 2AG See Bistros & Brasseries

The Tattie Shop 3 Viewforth Gardens , Bruntsfield, West End, EH10 4ET See Cafés: The Wee Places

The Roamin’ Nose 14 Eyre Place, Stockbridge, EH3 5EP (Map 1B: A2, 10) 0131 629 3135, theroaminnose.com | Tue–Fri 8.30am– 10pm; Sat 10am–10pm; Sun 10am–8pm. Closed Mon. Veg; HW £14.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £9 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Styled as a neighbourhood Mediterranean eatery, the Roamin’ Nose with its bare brickwork and whitewashed walls takes inspiration from the thousands of taverns across Spain and Italy that serve their locals from dawn till dusk. The menu is full of pastas cooked perfectly al dente, Mama’s ravioli and frittatas with seasonal fillings. The finer touches are imported, like the coffee and an all-Italian wine list. There is also real cold-pressed luxury in the form of Etruscan olive oil from head chef Stefano’s home town which covers all the salads and home-made cakes and desserts are always on offer. This is a child-friendly spot that welcomes you for breakfast, lunch and dinner. + Really well-cooked pasta, the envy of any Italian kitchen - The secret might soon be out

Rocket Café 41 Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4DR (Map 3B: A2, 3) 0131 447 0377, rocketcafe.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm; Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–5pm. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £9 (lunch)

A bowl of steaming chicken and coconut stew with huge hunks of bread reveals an enthusiasm for fresh home-cooked food at Rocket Café. Portions are generous and almost everything here is made on the premises, down to their own hummus and pesto. Ideally allow a good few minutes to decipher the sprawling menu boards of quesadillas, burritos and stews. The Wahaca chicken club sandwich is impressive, served with nachos and a freshly chopped tomato salsa. Cakes are less abundant but far from disappointing: the gluten-free raspberry chocolate brownie is a particular hit. It is noticeable that despite a constant stream of customers, the staff remain laid-back and cheerful. There are no quiet corners in this compact and lively place, but a bustling and bright interior provide pleasant surroundings for a well-cooked lunch. + Generous portions cooked with love - Can be hectic at times

Toast 146 Marchmont Road, Southside, EH9 1AQ See Bistros & Brasseries

The Treehouse Freemans (page 47): sunny-side up on the Southside

undergoing a process of wedding its repertoire of more typical lunchtime favourites to an increasing Turkish influence brought in with the new owners. Amid one of Leith’s more attractively spacious dining areas, a standard all-day breakfast menu of fry-ups and French toast is extended to include eggs Benedict and Florentine at the weekend, while long-serving mains include reasonably priced salads, burgers and omelettes. Most pride, however, appears to have been taken in the authentic mezze dishes and a hearty homemade moussaka, all of which are freshly homemade in the kitchen on-site, while the baklava is satisfyingly nutty and honey-smothered. + A bright, spacious, relaxing space - A sense that the old and new directions of the business are still being integrated

Ronde Bicycle Outfitters 66–68 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge, EH3 5AZ (Map 1A: B1, 14) 0131 260 9888, rondebike.com | Mon–Wed, Fri/Sat 9am– 6pm; Thu 9am–7pm; Sun 10am–4pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A.

Having successfully built itself around cycling, cakes and coffee there are major plans afoot at this cycle shop and café. People have been drawn to the shop with its mix of exclusive cycling brands, coaching, cycling clubs and live TV screenings, and now 2013 sees the arrival of a dedicated café manager. Expect to find an increased food offering taking in crostinis, salads and (after a new kitchen is installed) hot food. The café itself will expand to fill the whole of the tiled former butcher’s room it currently shares with cycling equipment from the adjacent shop. An increased number of events will also combine with an alcohol licence and potentially late-night opening. In the meantime enjoy some well-made Steampunk coffee and an Au Gourmand pastry while you wait for things to take shape. + Unique combo of cycling and cake - Planned changes not yet implemented

Rocksalt Café Deli 46 Constitution Street, Leith, EH6 6RS (Map 5A: D2, 30) 0131 554 9873 | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm; Sat 9am–5pm; Sun 10am–4pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £9 (lunch)

Russian Passion

Having recently come under new management, spacious and elegantly high-ceilinged Rocksalt appears to be

St Giles’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Town, EH1 1RE See Arts Venues & Attractions

5 Canonmills, Inverleith, EH3 5HA See Round the World

St Giles’ Cathedral Café

The Scottish Café and Restaurant National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, New Town, EH2 2EL See Arts Venues & Attractions (Café) and Scottish (Restaurant)

Skylark Café 40 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge, EH5 3AZ (Map 1A: B2, 13) 0131 225 4444, skylarkcafeedinburgh.com | Mon–Fri 8am–5pm; Sat 9am–5pm. Closed Sun. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A.

Expect nothing but a friendly welcome from the mother and daughter team behind the cheery Skylark Café situated in what once was the Theatre Workshop box office. Hits here include the pastrami bagels, bacon rolls and Fairtrade and organic coffee. Soup is home-made, the sandwiches fresh and can be made to order. Choose from a selection of toasted paninis or bagels with a side salad and home baking to round it all off. In a room behind the café sits the magical Song Circle – popular singing sessions for wee ones (babies to age 5) with a bone fide musician singing and playing live – booking is essential. Open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks, this is a family affair that does not disappoint. + Great for all ages - Lunchtime seating may involve jostling

The Skylark 241–243 High Street, Portobello, EH15 2AW See Bistros & Brasseries

Sprio 37/39 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AH (Map 1A: B2, 19) 0131 226 7533, sprio.co.uk | Mon–Sat 8.30am–5pm; Sun 10.30am–5pm. Veg; T/A; D. £8.50 (lunch)

The colourful, design-savvy interior and good coffee at this little deli/café give a nod to owner Marcello Sprio’s hometown of Milan. With imported Italian sweets, Italian newspapers, magazines and radio it is only the Tunnock’s teacakes that remind you this particular side street lies just off the main Stockbridge strip rather than in northern Italy. Piadine form the core of the menu filled with the likes of contina cheese and a selection of airdried hams. There are also a selection of northern Italian dishes based around the likes of polenta and beef carpaccio available in large and small portions.

44 Leven Street, Tollcross, EH3 9LJ (Map 3A: B2, 18) 0131 656 0513 | Mon–Sat 8am–5pm; Sun 9am–5pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £7 (lunch)

The Treehouse Café, facing Bruntsfield Links, feels bright, summery and welcoming to anybody breezing in from Leven Street for a sit-in breakfast or lunch, or a takeaway picnic on the Meadows. The eco-retro décor of cheerful pot plants and vintage vinyl attracts sunlight, folk seeking a quiet chat or read by a window view, as well as the hungry local student population. The young clientele and beyond-city-centre location lower the prices of breakfasts, from smoked salmon and scrambled egg croissants to porridge with poached apple, pear, honey and cinnamon. Lunches are fresh, classic salads, paninis and triple-decker club sandwiches, plus cakes and soups. Like a good treehouse, this is family friendly, with solid roots grown into the community, and there’s a 10% discount for students, NHS staff, and Cameo/Filmhouse members, as well as live music every Sunday at 3pm. + Inspiring freshness from the food and the setting - Not the place for buzz – gentle hum more like it

Two Thin Laddies 103 High Riggs, Tollcross, EH3 9RP (Map 4: D2, 47) 0131 229 0653, twothinladdies. co.uk | Mon–Fri 7.30am–6pm; Sat/Sun 9am–5pm. Veg; BYOB (no charge); Kids; Wh; T/A. £9 (lunch)

Two Thin Laddies is a friendly neighbourhood café on High Riggs, the kind of place that feels sunny even when it’s raining, decorated with paintings from the nearby Art College and alpine furniture worn smooth by years of hands and feet. Dishes are homely, hearty and tasty, like the signature lunches of Mexican quesadillas, nachos, Mediterranean sharing platters, or brekkies from healthy porridge and granola to more solid butties and fryups. Cooks start at 5am preparing the day’s homemade cakes, cheese and fruit scones, pastries, salads, soups, pastas and hot specials like ‘spicy Cajun riceyvery-nicey’ and ‘Bazzie’s brilliant beef cottage pie’. Food is, most of all, honest, and the unhurried service is ideal for a comfortable sit with a friend or a book, but not for those in a rush. The busy tables and queue for takeaway wraps, baked potatoes and paninis show the Two Thin The List Eating & Drinking Guide 53


CAFES

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH Laddies (now 13-year-old teenagers) still know how to leave folk full and happy. + Massive platefuls – so it’s a mystery how the two laddies are still thin - Too slow for a sit-down lunch break from the office

Union of Genius 8 Forrest Road, Old Town, EH1 2QN See Cafés: The Wee Places

Urban Angel 1 Forth Street, New Town, EH1 3JX See Bistros & Brasseries

Urban Angel 121 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DJ See Bistros & Brasseries

4

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar 19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, EH7 4AA (Map 5B: A5, 21) 0131 556 6066, valvonacrolla. co.uk | Mon–Thu 8.30am–5.30pm; Fri/Sat 8am–6pm; Sun 10.30am–3.30pm. Veg; HW £15.99; Kids; Wh; T/A. £17.50 (lunch)

An Edinburgh institution for many years now, the Contini family’s Valvona & Crolla shows no sign of letting its standards slip. Of course, whether you can make it through to the fresh but rusticstyled dining area in the back depends on whether you can successfully navigate the supremely well-stocked deli area out front, which boasts meats, cheeses, wines and more, many of which are delivered from Italy once a week. The popular café offers plenty of opportunity to try the same produce in its ultimate form, with a range of V&C’s own pizzas, pasta dishes including an elegant, olive oil-drizzled linguini with white crab meat and some traditional main meals, as well as hardto-decide-from antipasti and dessert selections. + The whole experience chimes with a sense of well-established quality - An expensive treat

Valvona & Crolla Vincaffè 11 Multrees Walk, New Town, EH1 3DQ See Italian

Vittles 42 Home Street, Tollcross, EH3 9LZ See Cafés: The Wee Places

4 The Water of Leith Café Bistro 52 Coburg Street, Leith, EH6 6HJ (Map 5A: B2, 2) 0131 555 2613,

GUIDES

thewaterofleithcafebistro.co.uk | Tue– Sun 10am–5.30pm. Closed Mon. Veg; HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £12 (lunch)

A short stroll from Leith’s busy Shore area, the Water of Leith Café Bistro enjoys a bright corner site and offers one of the most relaxed and friendly dining experiences around. Classically trained French chef Mickael Mesle prepares a menu that’s a lovely balance of simplicity and style, while wife Ana runs the front of house with a warmth and passion that makes incredibly hard work look like effortless joy. Staples include chunky fishcakes with homemade tartare sauce, quiche of the day and a range of crispy, cheesy croques, but the specials blackboard is the place to find more sophisticated options like pan-fried hake with spinach velouté or shallot tart tatin. A moist pear and almond tart or flourless chocolate cake justifies stretching the great-value weekend set menu to three courses. + Flavoursome food and the warmest welcome - A little off the beaten track

Word of Mouth 3a Albert Street, Leith, EH7 5HL (Map 5B: A4, 15) 0131 554 4344, wofmcafe.com | Mon–Sun 9am–6pm. Veg; BYOB (£3; beer 70p); Kids; T/A. £9.50 (lunch)

With the previous proprietor having left to open the Skylark in Portobello, Word of Mouth has reverted to its original ownership, although the menu of Frenchinfluenced café favourites remains the same. A pre-noon breakfast menu takes in the traditional fry-up and breakfast rolls, but also includes eggs Benedict or Florentine, while a limited but diverse lunch selection offers a satisfying steak sandwich, Turkish-style lemon chicken and smoked cheese and bread alongside the rich signature croque Monsieur et Madame (a vegetarian option is also available). The small but convivial space also hosts semi-regular film and poetry nights, although the layout is perhaps a little snug to allow private conversation with your dining companions. + Good choice of French café favourites - Atmosphere a little flat when the background music’s off

The Zulu Lounge 366 Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4QN See Cafés: The Wee Places

CHINESE Edinburgh has a long-standing relationship with Chinese cuisine, with some veteran restaurants having been in operation for more than forty years. And the city’s diners are spoiled for choice when it comes to Chinese food, with options ranging from tiny noodle bars to huge buffet joints, with hotpot restaurants and seafood specialists in-between. There is still traditional comfort food to be found, but for those willing to try something new, or seeking an authentic experience, it’s definitely a good time to revisit your idea of Chinese cuisine. Reviewers: Will Bain, Stan Blackley, Sarah Morrison, Alan Radcliffe

4

China Town

3 Atholl Place, West End, EH3 8HP (Map 4: B2, 56) 0131 228 3333, chinatownedinburgh.com | Mon & Wed/Thu noon–2pm, 5.30–11.30pm; Fri noon–2pm, 5.30pm–12.30am; Sat/Sun 5.30–11.30pm. Closed Tue. Pre; HW £15.50; Kids (under 7); T/A. £9.30 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Talk about bad timing. For most of its short life, China Town, on the corner of Atholl Place in Edinburgh’s West End, has been sitting slap bang in the middle of the capital’s notorious tramworks. It’s been something of a struggle for owner Thomas Chan over the past four years but he’s succeeded in building up a loyal clientele attracted by the restaurant’s quality cuisine and pleasantly tranquil ambience. Service is friendly and attentive and might even include an impromptu lesson in using chopsticks. There are various menu options, ranging from good-value lunch and pre-theatre deals to a number of set dinners for up to eight people. Highlights from the à la carte menu include starters of sweet scallops served on skewers with a satay sauce and juicy, spiced and salted spare ribs. Meat dishes, which come in generous portions, include roast pork char sui with green pepper in black bean sauce and tender roast duck chow mein. The restaurant does not usually cater for very young children but it’s open later in the evening than most of its contemporaries and has a better than average wine

4 HITLIST CHINESE

4 China Town Quality Chinese cuisine and a pleasantly tranquil ambience, frustratingly hidden by the tramworks. 4 Chop Chop (Morrison Street) The fame of Chop Chop's dumplings goes before it, but the original restaurant's a fun place to eat too. 4 Wing Sing Inn An unremarkable setting for Chinese eating that's interesting, unusual and expertly cooked. selection to complement the impressive menu. + Good-quality food in a relaxing atmosphere - Not particularly child-friendly

4

Chop Chop

• 248 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8DT (Map 4: B2, 59) 0131 221 1155, chop-chop.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat noon–2pm, 5–10pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10pm. • 76 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6LX (Map 5A: C1, 7) 0131 553 1818, chopchop.co.uk | Mon–Thu 6–10pm; Fri 6–10.30pm; Sat noon–2pm, 5–10.30pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10pm. Veg; BYOB (£5); HW £13.50; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Chop Chop has built its popularity and reputation around its homemade dumplings, which are served boiled or fried with meat, seafood and vegetable fillings. There’s also a wider menu of north-eastern Chinese specialities which is well worth exploring, and a mixand-match, share-as-it-arrives approach is recommended. With a plain and pleasant interior that’s more mess hall than Manchuria, the original Haymarket branch has a noisy, welcoming buzz about it, while the Leith outpost provides a more laid-back and sophisticated atmosphere than the bustle of its elder sister. The menu is shared by both branches, and features a main of prawns, squid and fish balls flash-fried with garlic and star anise which bangs in the mouth like a fish and fennel flavoured firecracker, and a huge bowl of pork broth with sliced belly pork, pickled cabbage and glass noodles that is simply superb. Difficult though it may be, try to leave some room for the peanut butter dumplings or fried Mongolia – deep-fried dumplings filled with ice-cream. Both locations offer good value unlimited banquet deals and generous membership and reward schemes for regular diners. + Just as the menu says: ‘uncomplicated, inexpensive and delicious’ - Leith branch not quite as compelling as the original

Food for U Golden Dragon Castle: nearly 50 years old, this Cantonese restaurant is Castle Street’s other historic monument 54 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

189 Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4QP See Takeaway & Home Delivery


CHINESE

In association with

Golden Dragon Castle 21 Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3DN (Map 1A: B5, 56) 0131 225 7327, thegoldendragon.eu | Mon–Sun noon– 11pm. HW £15.95; Kids; T/A. £9.90 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

In 2014 Golden Dragon Castle celebrates its fiftieth anniversary on Castle Street. In almost half a century of bringing Cantonese food to Edinburgh’s city centre, they’ve presumably seen one or two changes in clientele. They have stuck to their guns, however, and kept the original features of the cosy red and gold interior intact, sprucing it up as needs be over the years. The menu has also stayed ostensibly the same, sticking to a predictable formula repeated throughout town. A prevalence of western favourites like lemon chicken, crispy duck and sweet and sour pork all lend the impression that there’s not much to see here, but dig through the standard stuff and some gems appear. Siu Mai, from the small homemade dim sum selection, is textured and delicious, and specials such as the beef brisket hotpot is hearty, warming and delicately spiced. As its location dictates, this is a hotspot for tourists, but that hinders neither the gracious service nor the returning regulars, suggesting that the Golden Dragon Castle is very much in it for the long haul. + The historical feel of the interior - The historical accuracy of the menu

Jasmine Chinese Restaurant 32–34 Grindlay Street, West End, EH3 9AP (Map 4: C1, 29) 0131 229 5757, jasminechinese.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 5–11.30pm; Fri noon–2pm, 5pm–12.30am; Sat 1pm–12.30am; Sun 1–11.30pm. Veg; BYOB (£7); HW £14.95; Kids; T/A. £9.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With the Traverse and Royal Lyceum theatres and the Usher Hall on its doorstep, you would think this Chinese restaurant with its distinctive, red-painted façade would be ideal for a quick pretheatre fuel stop. Yet Jasmine’s varied menu and focus on fresh seafood dishes reward those who make time for a longer visit. The décor is warm and bright without being overly fussy, and there’s a tranquillity to the atmosphere despite the close proximity of the tables. A mixed starter for two gives a snapshot of the dishes on offer, from fresh mango and prawn rolls to a generous pile of salty and spicy chicken and a particularly enjoyable crispy king prawn wonton served with a mild wasabi. The menu offers a good range of meat and vegetarian mains, but it’s hard to see past the seafood recommendations. These include crispy rice with king prawns, squid and pork in a hearty liquid garlic sauce and a bowl of stir-fried Szechuan scallops brought to life with a tasty marinade of ginger, chilli and cashew nuts. There aren’t many surprises on the dessert and wine lists but a couple of scoops of sorbet make for a light, refreshing finale. + A varied menu of consistently good food - A cheaper pre-theatre menu would be a welcome addition

Karen Wong’s Chinese Restaurant 107–109 St Leonard’s Street, Southside, EH8 9QY (Map 3C: E2, 14) 0131 662 0777, karenwongchineserestaurant.co.uk | Wed–Mon 4–11pm. Closed Tue. Pre; HW £13.95; Kids; T/A. £15 (dinner)

Karen Wong is the name above the door and, unsurprisingly, the host’s personality is front and centre of this cosy Southside restaurant. The warm

welcome and attentive service has been rewarded with a loyal clientele who return time after time since the restaurant opened its doors in 2005. The prices, too, are very reasonable, with a pre-theatre menu available most nights and a range of good-value banquets on offer. The sit-in menu is extensive, and while it may offer few surprises, the cooking is of a consistently high standard with sauces augmented by generous helpings of crunchy vegetables. It’s a good idea to start with a sharing plate, such as the crispy combination platter, which features wontons, spring rolls and tasty, sticky chicken wings, or the wonderful crispy aromatic duck served with cucumber, spring onions, pancakes and hoisin sauce. Of the mains, the honey chicken arrives tender with a sweet glaze that’s offset by a good kick of spice, while juicy king prawns are served with cashews in a yellow bean sauce that complements rather than smothers the taste of the fish. The dessert selection is underwhelming but you’re unlikely to have much spare capacity in any case. + Great value food and friendly, attentive service - No big surprises on the menu

Karen’s Unicorn • 8b Abercromby Place, New Town, EH3 6LB (Map 1A: C2, 15) 0131 556 6333, karensunicorn.com | Tue–Fri noon–2pm, 5–11pm; Sat/Sun 2–11pm. Closed Mon. HW £15.95; Kids; T/A. £8.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner) • 112 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AD (Map 1B: B4, 39) 0131 220 6659, karensunicorn.com | Mon 5–11pm; Wed– Sun 5–11pm. Closed Tue. BYOB (£6); HW £15.95; Kids; T/A; D. £16 (dinner)

Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner

32 Grindlay Street Edinburgh EH3 9AP Opposite the Lyceum and across the road from the Sheraton Hotel

www.jasminechinese.co.uk

0131 229 5757

The Unicorn that is now Karen’s has enjoyed a good reputation in Edinburgh for decades. Originally just a small premises in Stockbridge (now a smaller sister branch), Karen’s is a big, bustling three-room restaurant on Abercromby Place. Welcoming staff communicate via headphones and microphones, ensuring professional service even if the place is packed, which is often. It’s an ambitious operation full of upmarket intention, but this is sometimes more evident in the eclectic lighting effects and swanky napery than in the menu, which doesn’t offer a great deal to set itself apart from the crowd. The cooking is generally good, however: monkfish in ginger sauce is all freshness and fragrance, and a sophisticated approach to salty spicy fried squid, with a light batter and powerfully hot vegetable accompaniments, is delicious. Seasoning isn’t as heavy as one expects in a Cantonese restaurant, and in fact is a little lacking in places, though that’s perhaps a boon: at least your tastebuds don’t feel obliterated by the time you leave. + Vibrant, colourful, and just a little bit swanky - The lighting creates more impact than the food

Kwok Brasserie 44 Ratcliffe Terrace, Causewayside, Southside, EH9 1ST (Map 3C: C5, 30) 0131 668 1818 | Mon 5–11pm; Tue–Fri noon–2pm, 5–11pm; Sat/Sun 5pm– midnight. Veg; BYOB (£2.50); HW £11.50; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £5.99 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Over the road from the real ale favouring John Leslie pub, Kwok Brasserie has been feeding hungry students and local residents for more than a decade. A family-run business, Rebecca Kwok leads a friendly team looking after couples and large groups with equal ease and charm. The standard fare is supplemented by interesting sounding daily specials.

AWARD-WINNING CHINESE RESTAURANT (Formerly Indian Cavalry Club)

3 Atholl Place, Edinburgh EH3 8HP 0131 228 3333 (Restaurant Bookings) 0131 228 8883 (Takeaway)

www.chinatownedinburgh.com The List Eating & Drinking Guide 55


CHINESE

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EDINBURGH Rather than playing it safe with spare ribs, it can be more rewarding to sample an iceberg wrap filled with cashew and meat, scooping the warm, nutty filling into crunchy lettuce leaves as you go. For mains, the aubergine hotpot is brimming full of plentiful mushrooms and cubed aubergine dressed in lightly chillied sauce, but the chunks of chicken feel slightly industrialised, lacking freshness to match the vegetables. Sizzling king prawns dressed in ginger, spring onions and garlic are tender, if slightly swamped in stir-fried onion. But it is vegetarians who get shortest shrift, when the initially extensive list of options delivers the same uninspired stir-fry veggie mix, albeit prepared in any of 25 ways. + Hands-on and friendly proprietress - Presentation is a bit uninspiring

Loon Fung 2 Warriston Place, Canonmills, Inverleith, EH3 5LE (Map 1B: A1, 2) 0131 556 1781/557 0940, loonfungedinburgh. co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–11pm; Fri noon–midnight; Sat 2pm–midnight; Sun 2–11pm. BYOB (£5; wine only); HW £12.50; Wh; T/A; D. £8 (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Apparently it’s good feng shui to have your property on a river, which perhaps explains why the Loon Fung, sitting by the Water of Leith, has now been going for over forty years. Owner Sammy Tam doesn’t hold with such things, however, and puts success down to a time-honoured blend of lively service and high standards in the kitchen. The house speciality is seafood, and dishes such as the fish pot, with its nuggets of haddock, tofu and char siu in a delicious umami sauce, are indeed special. The universal crispy chilli beef is full of flavour and crunch, but it is sweeter than it is hot, and a similar lack of fire in a spicy aubergine dish suggests that local palates have tamed the food a little. Pleas from the punters have also instigated a recent refurbishment: a visit here used to be like looking back in time thirty years, whereas it’s now more like five. Still, the kitchen is as it has been for generations, and it’s this, rather than the uninhibited chi flow, that makes a visit here more than worthwhile. + Homely, cheerful and familiar – an Edinburgh treasure - Some dishes are a little over-polite

New Edinburgh Rendezvous 10a Queensferry Street, West End, EH2 4PG (Map 4: B1, 14) 0131 225 2023, edinburghrendezvous.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–11pm; Sun 1–11pm. Veg; BYOB (£4); HW £16.95; Kids; T/A; D. £7.99 Mon–Thu & Sun; £8.99 Fri/Sat. (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Having first opened its doors in 1956, the Edinburgh Rendezvous is among the oldest Chinese restaurants in Scotland. In the past couple of years the second-floor space has undergone a makeover, with red drapes hanging from the ceiling that add a pleasing warmth to the vast interior. The Rendezvous has room for more than 150 customers with a huge menu to match which also includes reasonably priced banquets and a lunchtime buffet. The à la carte features some excellent starters, including plump prawns that arrive at the table on skewers and are served with a sizzling hot satay sauce. Making a choice from the extensive selection of mains is tricky but the sweet and sour pork and roast duck in plum sauce have a nice balance of juicy meat and crispy exterior. Overall there are few surprises on the menu here, but if you’re happy to plough on to the final page there are some enticing light snacks and sides such as dumplings with dipping sauce and pancakes with a spring onion filling. 56 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

GUIDES

+ You won’t go hungry with these portions - The tried-and-tested menu could be a bit more adventurous

Red Box Noodle Bar 51–53 West Nicolson Street, Southside, EH8 9DB (Map 2A: D5, 68) 0131 662 0828, red-boxnoodlebar.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £7.30 (set lunch) / £7.30 (dinner)

Located just around the corner from Edinburgh University, Red Box Noodle Bar has proved a big hit with the student population but will also appeal to anyone seeking a simple but filling meal, whether sitting in or taking away. The ordering process couldn’t be speedier: make your choice of noodle, add meat and vegetable options, pick a stir-fry sauce and await delivery of a steaming and densely packed carton. A helpful tip is to give your meal a thorough stir before eating straight from the box as the sauce tends to settle at the bottom leaving the upper layers lacking flavour. The basic noodle-box can be augmented by beer, soft drinks and starter dishes, including wor tip (tasty pan-fried dumplings filled with pork and vegetables) or deep-fried wonton accompanied by a sweet and sour dip. While the space itself feels rather lived-in there’s a pleasant, laid-back atmosphere and the restaurant delivers on its simple concept very effectively. + Filling, reasonably priced hot food without the fuss - Some dishes a little on the salty side

Rice Terraces 93 St Leonard’s Street, Southside, EH8 9QY See Far East

Saigon Saigon Restaurant 14 South St Andrew Street, New Town, EH2 2AZ (Map 1B: B6, 52) 0131 557 3737, saigonrestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10.30pm. Veg; BYOB (£5; wine only); HW £14.50; Kids; T/A; D. £8.99 (set lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

noon–9.30pm; Thu–Sun noon–9.30pm. Closed Wed. £10 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Tucked away along a side-street off Leith Walk, Stack Dim Sum Bar is named for the bamboo steamer baskets which stack upon one another, each containing its own steamed delicacy. Among the selection of homemade steamed dim sum the Authentic Chao Chou Provence Dumpling is a delicately wrapped pastry parcel with sun-dried shrimp, pork, chive and peanuts. The dim sum come fried too, the pork-filled Pot Sticker Dumplings Cantonese Style coming with a gorgeously tangy vinegar and ginger dipping sauce. + Lovely fresh dim sum, all homemade on the premises - Waiting staff can be a tad glum

4

Wing Sing Inn

147–149 Dundee Street, EH11 1BP (Map 4: B4, 69) 0131 228 6668 | Mon–Sun noon–2.30pm; 5–11pm. HW £13.50; Kids; T/A; D. £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Chinese restaurants in Scotland rarely offer something other than the safe choice. There might be one or two more traditional dishes speckled about some menus, but the predictable pantheon of westernised Chinese cuisine dominates. In the Wing Sing Inn in Fountainbridge, however, it’s the other way around. Pork lung, jellyfish and preserved eggs all feature here: popular standard fare for the many Chinese customers who visit, less so for the Scottish ones. Adventurous diners are rewarded richly; tender frogs’ legs come à la crispy chilli squid, with the lightest of batters, while slivers of meat are served with crisp fungus and a glossy mahogany sauce in the deeply savoury Yu Hung pork. The food is interesting, unusual and seriously good, and really is the only reason to visit, as the Wing Sing is remarkably unremarkable otherwise – it’s frequently busy with regulars, but

the white walls and bright lights stifle much in the way of atmosphere. This, however, shouldn’t stop the curious epicure seeking it out and exploring Chinese cuisine anew. + An unfamiliar menu, expertly cooked - The unflattering light in the stark interior

Wok and Wine 57a Frederick Street, New Town, EH2 1LH (Map 1A: C4, 69) 0131 225 2382, wokandwine.co.uk | Mon & Wed–Sun 5.30–11pm. Closed Tue. Veg; HW £16.90; Kids (under 5); T/A. £19 (dinner)

Run by the gregarious Stephanie Lo, Wok and Wine occupies a particular niche at the more elaborate end of Edinburgh’s Chinese dining scene. Beige walls, potted plants and long tablecloths give an upper-crust air that disguises its basement location, and sets it politely apart from the disposable tableclothed brigade. This distinction is also apparent in the food. The cooking is, generally, a cut above the rest, and the option of small ‘wok bites’ for many of the mains means that ordering can be dictated by quantity as well as quality. In this vein, dim sum are a safe bet; intricate little chicken siu mai are juicy and deeply flavoured, while ultra-fine rice paper dumplings yield plump and succulent prawns. Mains can sometimes be a little indistinct from each other – the mapo tofu, for example, seems to be essentially the Sichuan squid only with tofu instead of squid – but they are balanced and delicious, and a plethora of interesting gluten-free and vegetarian dishes show that Wok and Wine is keen to keep itself ahead of the game. + Delicious, dainty dim sum - Somewhere calling itself Wok and Wine could give a little more love to its wine list

Zen Kitchen 138 Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 5DQ See Takeaway & Home Delivery

At first glance, the inexplicably named Saigon Saigon looks like another allyou-can-endure buffet, perfectly located for Topshop customers requiring an MSG rush of a Saturday afternoon. Peer a bit further, however, and this bustling two-floor restaurant offers a surprise or two. In fact no MSG is allowed in the kitchen; all dishes on the à la carte menu are cooked fresh to order and, best of all, there is an impressive selection of dim sum made daily. Navigational skills are required to get the best out of the slightly confusing menus, but digging out gems like Hunan-style pork, with its postagestamp sized slivers of meat and fearsome chunks of chilli, makes it all worthwhile. Fried turnip paste, studded with shrimp, is a dim sum favourite, as are char siu buns, either sweetly glazed in puff pastry, or steamed in comforting dough balls. There’s definitely a heavy hand with sugar in the kitchen, as evidenced in a mildly jammy bean curd dish, but ingredients are fresh, and the results are worth moving past that unnerving first impression. + Delicious dim sum - Good library skills are required to get the best out of the menus

Silver Bowl • 311 Leith Walk, EH6 8SA • 12 Albert Place, Leith Walk, EH7 5HN • 135 Restalrig Road, Leith, EH7 6HN See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Stack Dim Sum Bar 42 Dalmeny Street, Leith, EH6 8RG (Map 5B: B3, 8) 0131 553 7330 | Mon/Tue

Red Box: West Nicholson Street’s saucy and slurpy noodle bar


FAR EAST

In association with

FAR EAST With sushi venues popping up all over Edinburgh, there’s no longer any excuse to confuse your maki with your nigiri. From pitstop noodle bars to stylish, fine-dining establishments, the city boasts something for every possible fishy craving. As well as a wealth of Japanese restaurants, there are Korean, Malaysian, Vietnamese and Filipino restaurants to sample, making this a diverse section to suit a variety of tastes, moods and budgets. Reviewers: Will Bain, Stan Blackley, Sarah Morrison, Alan Radcliffe

Bar Soba FUSION 104 Hanover Street, City Centre, EH2 1DR (Map 1A: D4, 80) 0131 225 6220, barsoba.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] Pre; HW £13.50; Kids; T/A. £9.95 (set lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

Bar Soba on Hanover Street is the Edinburgh outpost of a successful Glasgow chain, born of the unusual idea that a pan-Asian noodle kitchen might fit nicely in a busy pre-club venue. Upstairs is the bar, with graffitied walls, trendy DJs and omnipresent beats, while downstairs is the more subdued restaurant, which is almost gloomy in comparison. Atmosphere is helpfully provided by a multitude of staff, who seem to have a good time whether they’re offering cheerful service or having a quick dance behind the bar. The menu is a sort of greatest hits of the Far East: there’s pho, rendang, laksa, ramen, sushi and a range of continent-trotting curries. From this, Balinese beef curry has an exotic tang, while Singapore noodles are slippy and spicy but a little over-sweet. The food and service pass muster, but the extensive cocktail list sitting close at hand suggests that perhaps the primary reason to come here isn’t simply for your tea. + DJs, dim sum and drinks all under one roof - Party spirit puts paid to any sense of intimacy

4

4 HITLIST FAR EAST

4 Bonsai Bar Bistro (West Richmond Street) A simple Japanese restaurant with local roots that delivers great food in an informal setting.

California roll £6.95

4 Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight (Clerk Street) Highquality, home-style cooking that's a great introduction to lively, colourful Malaysian food. 4 Rice Terraces Set menus set you off on an intriguing tour of traditional Filipino cuisine.

4 Sushiya Haymarket's pocketdynamo of a sushi and sashimi bar, with tempura, ramen and specials now on offer. also well catered for with plenty of salads and sides such as mildly spicy agenasu (aubergine with chilli miso sauce). Bonsai opened a new branch on Broughton Street in February 2013, which is more spacious with a large bar in the middle, but which retains EDG13-Bonsai-QR.indd the original’s friendly, unpretentious atmosphere. The menu of tapas-style sharing plates is identical and familiar dishes can be seen on the specials board, including the much-loved crispy eel sushi rolls and breaded oysters served with a wild onion mayonnaise. + Menu retains all the best things about the original - Broughton Street décor feels slightly impersonal

Dragon Roll £8.95

New ton gh Brou reet t S o! Bistr

1

46 West Richmond Street, Edinburgh Tel: 0131 668 3847 14 Broughton St, Edinburgh. EH1 3RH Tel: 0131 557 5093

www.bonsaibarbistro.co.uk

09/04/2013 17:1

Bowl o’ Noodle Bonsai Bar Bistro

JAPANESE • 14 Broughton Street, EH1 3RH (Map 1B: C5, 29) 0131 557 5093, bonsaibarbistro.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. • 46 West Richmond Street, Old Town, EH8 9DZ (Map 2B: B5, 16) 0131 668 3847, bonsaibarbistro.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun noon–9.30pm. Veg; BYOB (£5); HW £12.95; Kids (under 5); Wh; T/A. £4.90 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Bonsai provides a clear rebuttal to the notion that Japanese cuisine in the UK is expensive and exclusive. The small but perfectly formed West Richmond Street restaurant is known for its welcoming atmosphere and a wideranging menu. Cheap lunch deals and bento boxes keep the place busy during the day, while in the evenings there’s a fraternal buzz as customers literally rub shoulders with their neighbours. Highlights from the main menu include takoyaki (light octopus dumplings) and gaijin zushi (large, inside-out sushi rolls) with combinations such as tempura prawns with avocado, cucumber and mayo. Vegetarians are

NOODLE BAR 294 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 5BX (Map 5B: A3, 7) 0131 555 5956 | Tue–Sat noon–2pm, 4.30–10.15pm; Sun 4.30– 10.15pm. Closed Mon. HW £16; Kids; T/A. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

New in 2013, Bowl o’ Noodle brothers Michael and Raymond Wong are bringing Momma Wong’s eight-hour simmered broth to Edinburgh in big, boisterous bowls. You can selfassemble your choice of meat, seafood or vegetables, plus a sauce – including the house curry, a Malaysian satay and Hong Kong sweet and sour – and noodles, or head straight for the main menu. The pork dan dan mein is comforting and aromatic whereas the spicy king prawn kimchi noodles is a perky, pretty bowlful decorated with bean sprouts, boiled egg, lettuce and nori. If you like your heat you can always jack up the original broth recipe to ‘Go Devil’. Beer-friendly starters include wonton, dumplings and tempura, but special mention goes to the beef lettuce wraps which marry crunchy vegetables with buttery, spicy, tender meat. Slurping is actively encouraged at Bowl o’ Noodle, where The List Eating & Drinking Guide 57


FAR EAST

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH it’s all about the broth, and rightly so, but if you prefer you can choose from a smaller range of fried noodle or rice dishes. Just as tasty but possibly less fun. + Bright flavours and friendly service - Inherited décor

4 Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight MALAYSIAN 28 Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9HX (Map 3C: D1, 8) 0131 662 9050, kampongahlee.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon– 3pm, 5–11pm; Fri–Sun noon–11pm. Veg; BYOB (£3; beer £1.50); HW £11.50; Kids; T/A. £10.50 (lunch) / £10.50 (dinner)

Kampong Ah Lee is a compact, canteenstyle restaurant serving authentic Malaysian food in basic but comfortable surroundings. Its small shop front may be easy to miss, but it remains wellknown and popular with students seeking an affordable lunch and Edinburgh’s south-east Asian community for its high-quality, home-style cooking. The extensive, point-and-smile type of menu demonstrates the fusion nature of Malay cooking, containing multi-ethnic influences, such as Hacka, Hokkien and Hai Nan from China, Indian curries, tom yum from Thailand and Indonesian rendang, alongside Malay classics like nasi lemak and mee goreng. The dishes revolve around rice, noodles and soups with mixed meats, seafood, tofu and plenty of vegetarian options available. A mega-sized Malaysian curry laksa is a belly-busting, brow-sweating bargain at £6.30 and is super-popular with slurping diners. There are no desserts available, but that doesn’t feel like a problem given the satisfying nature of what else is on offer. With lower prices than its sister restaurant in Tollcross, this is the nofrills version of the Kampong/Kampung experience but it’s extremely satisfying all the same. + Tasty, affordable and authentic homestyle Malay food - No desserts on offer, so eat more Achar instead

GUIDES

fusion cooking - Uninspiring dessert menu and boughtin ice-creams

Kanpai JAPANESE 8–10 Grindlay Street, West End, EH3 9AS (Map 4: D1, 43) 0131 228 1602, kanpaisushi.co.uk | Tue–Sun noon– 2.30pm, 5–10.30pm. Closed Mon. HW £17; T/A. £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Kanpai is grown-up, in every sense. The big sister of Sushiya, it is sleek and stylish with conspiratorial corners, soft lighting and elegant plates of all shapes and sizes, in contrast to the brightly lit bonhomie of Haymarket’s finest. Tables range from cosy couples to a private dining area for eight people, or you can sit at the sushi bar and watch your pretty-as-a-picture special combo sashimi being assembled (serves 2–3 or one very focussed enthusiast). The menu might seem as compact as the restaurant, but in addition to a wide-ranging sushi and sashimi selection (with unexpected warm offerings such as the crunchy salmon panko maki), perfect sharing fare in the form of Tokyo rolls and takoyaki (octopus balls) sit happily alongside classics such as soba noodles and gyoza. Bring someone you want to impress, whether for business or pleasure, for lunch or after the theatre crowd has gone, and talk them into sharing a bottle of sake. Cheers – or, as they say in Japan, kanpai! + Excellent food in a stylish setting - Expensive wine

Kim’s Korean Meals KOREAN 5 Buccleuch Street, Southside, EH8 9JN (Map 3C: D1, 2) 0131 629 7951, kimsminimeals.com | Mon–Sat noon– 3pm, 5.30–9pm. Closed Sun. BYOB (£3). £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Making you feel at home is the priority at Kim’s, from the helpful little photo albums so you know exactly what you’re ordering, to the flowery plates more reminiscent of a highland tearoom than

a Korean restaurant. The menu might be compact but it’s packed with flavour. Korea’s national dish of kimchi (hot, sour fermented cabbage) is an integral part of many dishes, from the kimchi jeon, a tasty crispy pancake ideal for sharing as a starter, to the cheery kimchi jjigae stew which also features the unlikely ingredients of hot dog sausages and spam. But this is no fast food. The stirfried beef bulgogi and dolsot bibimbap – a colourful bubbling stone bowl of minced beef, rice, vegetables and pepper sauce – feature finest Scotch beef. The samgyetang is chicken soup made by stuffing a young chicken with glutinous rice, ginseng, jujubes (red dates) and garlic and requires two to three days’ notice. Prices are reasonable and BYOB corkage is just £3. There is only one option for dessert – spongey roll cakes – but you can satisfy your sweet tooth with Korean soft drinks. + Big fresh flavours and friendly service - Slim pickings for dessert lovers

Miso & Sushi JAPANESE 46a Haymarket Terrace, West End, EH12 5LA See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine MALAYSIAN/FUSION Unit 1, 3–5 Lister Square, South Pavilion, Quartermile, Southside, EH3 9GL (Map 2A: A5, 33) 0131 629 1797, nanyangrestaurant.com | Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Sun 5–11pm. HW £14.95; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £9.45 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Nanyang is run by May Lin and Chee Wei Pang, an upbeat couple with the express intention of bringing Malaysia’s diverse cuisine to an international market. An intention which, coupled with a white-box premises among the great glass towers of the Quartermile, might conjure the alarming impression of an airport-lobby restaurant, serving food that’s inoffensive at best. It’s a relief then to find that May Lin’s cooking

is assured and delicious, and Chee Wei’s service is homely and relaxed. The menu shows off all the Malaysian favourites: sambal, rendang, laksa and a good selection of hawker street-market food. From this, the famous Char Kway Teow is a smoky jumble of wok-charred noodles, beansprouts and juicy prawns, while a more genteel Nyonya dish of Capitan chicken is a sophisticated balancing act; sweet with coconut, sour with tamarind. A new menu is planned, shifting emphasis away from the Pangs’ Chinese roots to include a broader scope of the myriad influences of the Malaysian kitchen. If it’s executed to the same standard, it will only give the place more appeal. + Delicious Malaysian food in sleek, contemporary surroundings - It currently feels a little lost in the Quartermile development

No 1 Sushi Bar JAPANESE 37 Home Street, Tollcross, EH3 9JP (Map 3A: B1, 8) 0131 229 6880, no1sushibar. co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. HW £14.90; T/A. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

If you want to make a night of the Cameo, head here first or – probably better – afterwards for good chat fuelled by good food. The bright Easterninspired décor is a talking point in itself, but the comprehensive and colourful Japanese menu will soon take over. Classic starters include gyoza, crispy tempura, prawn katsu and sticky sweet yakimono (skewers of different meats and vegetables). Mains are hearty ramen or udon dishes, rice sets and wok-fried noodles complemented by a colourful array of sushi and sashimi choices including the impressive-looking tataki – a pyramid of raw beef sashimi – and king prawn tempura temaki hand roll. If you’re feeling frisky, you could even try a Japanese curry. No. 1 Sushi isn’t trying to reinvent the Japanese food wheel, but if you want a tasty meal while the credits

Kampung Ali Malaysian Delight MALAYSIAN 97–101 Fountainbridge, West End, EH3 9QG (Map 4: C3, 48) 0131 228 5069, kampungali.com | Mon–Thu noon– 2.30pm, 5–11pm; Fri–Sun noon–11pm. Veg; BYOB (£4; beer £1.50); HW £12; Kids; Wh; T/A. £7.80 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Kampung Ali is the younger, more westernised sister of the original Kampong Ah Lee in Clerk Street. Larger in size and presented a little more for western tastes, she appears that bit more sophisticated than her smaller, plainer sibling. Both excel in the preparation of Malay street food but Kampung Ali’s menu appears somewhat more streetwise, with lists of dishes based around rice, noodles or ‘big bowl’ soups and the odd wonderful surprise, such as a starter of Marmite ribs from the inspired specials board, which is sticky-sweety-meaty and something that older sister might frown upon. A main of salted fish with aubergine and pork belly is packed with flavour and feels like a bridge between the two restaurants. More traditional sambal beef is generously sized, tender, fully spiced with plenty of chopped red chillies and is probably the dish of many family cook-offs. With seafood and vegetarian options on offer, as well as a great weekday ‘lunchbox deal’, little sister serves something for everyone, modern or traditional. Big sister should be very proud. + Inspired specials board and surprising 58 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Kanpai: one of The List’s Best Newcomers back in 2012 still turning on the style in the theatre district


FAR EAST

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EDINBURGH are still rolling across the road it could be the place for you. + Tasty tonkatsudon - Does what it says on the tin but no more

Oishii JAPANESE 176 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 4AB (Map 1A: B5, 52) 0131 225 5286, oishiiscotland.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 9.30pm. HW £14; T/A. £7.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Oishii is everything you would expect from a Japanese restaurant, from its shining black walls and benches to the red accents and white paper lanterns in the window. Take a seat at the sushi bar and watch Chef Katsuo deftly fold, roll and slice jewel-like sushi and glittering sashimi, or share a table and marvel at how many plates you can squeeze on to it. A dazzling choice of dishes is available, from slim karaage (fried chicken) hosomaki and darkly gleaming unagi (grilled eel) nigiri sushi, to classic chicken, vegetable or prawn gyoza, hot and cold tofu dishes, grilled meat or seafood skewers and refreshing salads or filling bowls of noodles. The deepfried pork cutlet with curry sauce is an aromatic and satisfying meal in itself with rice and miso soup on the side. Check out the blackboards for changing meal deals and specials, and keep Oishii in mind for a quick and cheap sit-in lunch or some takeaway to make your colleagues jealous. + Stylish décor and wide choice - Benches don’t encourage lingering

Pho Vietnam House

EH8 9DB See Chinese

4

Rice Terraces

FILIPINO 93 St Leonard’s Street, Southside, EH8 9QY (Map 3C: E2, 13) 0131 629 9877, rice-terraces.com | Tue–Fri 5–11pm; Sat/ Sun noon–11pm. Closed Mon. HW £9.95; Kids; T/A. £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s only Filipino restaurant is a family-run affair with an informal, homely ambience to match. Owner and head chef Zenaida Taylor and her son David are on hand to talk you through the dishes and it’s worth taking a chance on some of the less familiar options. A welcome recent addition is the excellent value kamayan set menu, which features an array of meat and seafood dishes served with finger bowls to encourage diners to eat using their hands in the traditional style. The à la carte options reflect the ‘East meets West’ fusion nature of Filipino cuisine. Starters include spring rolls with a garlic vinegar dip and chicken and crepes with a peanut and garlic sauce whose vegetable fillings are fresh, crunchy and full of flavour. The main course sautéed bitter melon has a slightly sour edge that’s offset by prawns, tomatoes and egg, and among the seafood dishes, a whole squid comes stuffed with a faintly sweet concoction of minced pork and vegetables. Desserts such as leche flan (a more solid take on crème caramel) and ube halayan (a dense soufflé made with purple yam and coconut milk) round off the experience nicely. + Hearty dishes made with fresh ingredients - Choosing from the vast menu

VIETNAMESE 3 Grove Street, West End, EH3 8AF (Map 4: B2, 54) 0131 228 3383, vietnamhousescotland.com | Tue–Fri noon–2pm, Mon–Sat 5–10pm. Closed Sun. BYOB (£1.50 per person); T/A. £14.50 (lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Newly extended at the end of 2012, Pho Vietnam House remains small but by no means cramped, with plenty of elbow room and a multi-coloured interior that has more than a hint of chilled-out beach hut to it. Owner Jodie Nguyen sweeps efficiently between two rooms delivering dishes from the short menu with grace and charm. Goi Cuon are fresh spring rolls packed with chicken, prawns, vermicelli noodles and mint leaves and served cold with a tangy peanut sauce. A main of Ca Kho is a braised fillet of catfish served with ginger and mixed mushrooms on steamed rice. It’s simple and yet full of delicate flavours. And then there’s the eponymous Pho, rice noodle soups containing a choice of chicken, beef, prawns or vegetables and served with a side plate of herbs, beansprouts, lime and sauce so you can garnish it to your own taste. With affordable corkage for those who want to bring their own booze and a selection of soft drinks including lotus tea, Pho Vietnam House offers fresh, flavoursome food at affordable prices in friendly surroundings. + Extended premises allow more people to enjoy Edinburgh’s only Vietnamese - It’s still small, and popular, so book ahead

Red Box Noodle Bar NOODLE BAR 51–53 West Nicolson Street, Southside,

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Shilla KOREAN 13b Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 6QG (Map 1A: D3, 38) 0131 556 4840, shillaedinburgh.com | Mon–Thu noon–2.30pm; 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–10.30pm. Closed Sun. BYOB (£5); HW £12.50; Kids; T/A. £13 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

An inconspicuous door and narrow staircase lead you down to the four small, connected stone-walled rooms that form Shilla, which is clearly popular with Edinburgh’s Eastern Asian community who seem to take precedence with the serving staff. You’ll receive small dishes of lightly curried potato, spicy tofu and marinated courgette to nibble on while you peruse the menu and choose from a selection of rice and noodle dishes, soups and hotpots, meat and fish from the chargrill, and unusual ingredients such as sea cucumber. A starter of ‘pa jeon’ is a fluffy seafood omelette served with the chef’s mysterious-but-tasty ‘special sauce’. A main of ‘nong uh gu yi jjim’ is a whole deep-fried sea bass served with the chef’s even-moremysterious-but-tasty ‘secret sauce’, while ‘jang ouh gu yi’ is chargrilled eel in a lip-smacking sweet and spicy coating. A bottle of Korean Hite lager does a good job of cutting through the sticky, spicy, sweetness of the food, which is different enough from what else is on offer in Edinburgh to be worth a try, but you might consider taking a Korean with you if you want to be served quickly. + Food that is different enough to be worth a try - Slow service and rough edges distract from the food

4

Sushiya

JAPANESE 19 Dalry Road, West End, EH11 2BQ (Map 4: B3, 62) 0131 313 3222, sushiya. co.uk | Tue–Thu & Sun noon–2.30m, 5–10.30pm; Fri noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm;

Sat noon–3pm, 5–11pm. Closed Mon. HW £15.90; T/A. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Sushiya is Edinburgh’s bite-sized taste of Tokyo, as tiny, bright and inviting as the futo maki sushi. With only 25 covers it is undeniably small, but the stylish, minimalist interior keeps the feel spacious even when it’s busy and there’s a steady stream of people collecting takeaway. Everything at Sushiya is done well, from the stylish bowls and plates to the delicately shaped cucumber slices between the mackerel and scallop sashimi, so fresh it seems to evaporate in the mouth. The range of sushi is wide and exciting, traditional and modern (the grilled eel nigiri packs a particularly tasty punch) but Sushiya offers much more. Delicate, crisp tempura and deep, warming bowls of ramen are complemented by specials like the intriguing grilled aubergine with miso sauce and seared swordfish, both recent additions to the menu. The black sesame ice-cream is curiously moreish, summing up Sushiya perfectly: elegant and delicious. + Super-fresh sashimi and sushi - Booking is an absolute must

Tang’s JAPANESE 44 Candlemaker Row, Old Town, EH1 2QE (Map 2A: C4, 44) 0131 220 5000, tangsgohan.com | Mon–Sat noon– 2.30pm, 5.30–9.30pm; Sun 12.30–3pm, 5.30–9pm. HW £14.50; Kids; T/A. £10.50 (set lunch) / £18.95 (dinner)

Now into its fifth year, this cosy Old Town venue has established itself firmly in Edinburgh’s growing Japanese scene. There’s a charm to the way chef and owner Qun Tang runs his eponymous restaurant – it’s informal and fun, and popular with students, tourists, and the Japanese community alike. A relatively small but broad-ranging menu of classics includes sushi and sashimi, bento boxes, donburi (rice bowls) and noodle dishes, as well as a regularly changing sake list. Chicken yaki udon, with its thick, slippery noodles and spicy, savoury sauce is a comforting treat, while misomarinated chunks of cod are richly umami and flake to the touch. There’s care and attention put into the delicately sweet and glutinous sushi rice, but sadly not in its tuna filling, which lacks the gleaming elegance of expertly cut fresh fish. In general, the cooking is more satisfactory than revelatory, but it’s still a prime city centre option to sate those karaage cravings, and it’s a fun night out. + A top spot for sake fans - Less so for sushi

Wagamama JAPANESE/NOODLE BAR 1 Castle Terrace, West End, EH1 2DP (Map 4: C1, 25) 0131 229 5506, wagamama.com | Mon–Sat 11am–11pm; Sun 12.30–10pm. Veg; HW £14.70; Kids; Wh; T/A. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Positioned on a prominent corner on busy Lothian Road, Wagamama’s Edinburgh outpost is well placed to catch both busy business types looking for a fast and filling lunch and the arty set seeking a quick bite before heading to a show. The welcoming, open-plan space features lots of plain wood and muted colours with long tables and bench seats. The food is ‘Japanese-inspired’ with a menu containing noodle and rice dishes, soups and Asian curries, as well as sides such as dumplings, ribs, salads and soya beans. A starter of chilli squid is crispy and satisfying, but lacks the kick that its name implies, while a big bowl of grilled fish ramen is filling, but the soup

stock too lacks a bit of oomph. Teriyaki chicken donburi, along with extras of kimchee and tea-stained egg, add flavour and interest to what is essentially easternstyle food prepared with western tastes in mind. A good selection of freshly squeezed juices, wine, Asian beers and teas are available, and those who choose not to sit in can order takeaway food online or using a smart phone app. + Fast and filling ‘Japanese-inspired’ food in welcoming surroundings - Eastern-style food prepared with western tastes in mind

Yocoko NOODLE BAR 45 South Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1LL (Map 2A: D3, 54) 0131 558 3889, yocoko. com | Mon–Sun noon–11.30pm. HW £8.30; Wh; T/A; D. £9.50 (lunch) / £9.50 (dinner)

Slap bang in the middle of busy South Bridge, noodle bar Yocoko has developed a knack for packing ‘em in. The location is one factor, bringing in a steady stream from tourists at lunchtime to latenight revellers taking advantage of the 11.30pm closing time. The portions are satisfyingly large and affordable, with a bewildering choice of noodle or fried rice dishes, grills and curries on offer. Everyone should find something they fancy, although many of the dishes turn out to be similar in flavour and execution. The Yocoko teriyaki sizzles on its hotplate for a moment but soon collapses, doing a good impression of the yaki soba minus the noodles. In contrast, starters of seaweed, edamame and meat dumplings are super salty. If you’re looking for cheap food fast and don’t mind the possibility of crowded tables, then head for Yocoko. + A wide choice of reasonably priced dishes - Cheap food isn’t always good food

Yummytori JAPANESE 90–92 Lothian Road, West End, EH3 9BE (Map 4: C2, 33) 0131 229 2206, yummytori.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. HW £15; Wh; T/A. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Popping up in the heart of the cinema and theatre district, Yummytori draws inspiration from Japan’s izakaya bars – popular haunts for casual post-work drinks and snacks. Various shochu or sake cocktails are offered along with familiar imported beers and a tasting menu of sake shots. In support the menu offers a steady stream of yakitori meaty skewers and tapas-style plates to share, as well as ramen noodles and miso soup. A bar counter runs the length of an open kitchen and grill offering a front-row view of the chefs at work, with long runs of tables encouraging convivial get-togethers. Plump tsukune chicken meatballs in sticky sweet sauce and tender beef in a tangy glaze work well, while agedashi tempura tofu and yaki pe-ma chi-zu cheese-filled green peppers lack a bit of punch. Ramen broth gets a lift from crispy pork or pepper beef sides, while popular gyoza dumplings are undermined by an overly sharp dip. While the bright interior may not encourage post meal lingering, there should be just enough time to add your own review to the scribbled graffiti on the mirrored walls. + Well drilled and enthusiastic front of house team - Some yakitori and tapas a little modest in size

Zen Kitchen FUSION 138 Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 5DQ See Takeaway & Home Delivery The List Eating & Drinking Guide 59


FISH

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EDINBURGH

FISH Sometimes you forget Edinburgh is on the coast. Then you crest a hill, or turn a corner and suddenly the sea is there, a bright blue ribbon (on a good day, of course) wrapping itself from Portobello Prom to the Forth Bridge. It’s fitting then that Edinburgh’s fish restaurants celebrate the coast and its catch so well, offering everything from high-end dining to a simple bowl of mussels. With a welcome and ever-increasing focus on sourcing and sustainability, use your voice when you make your choice – the more questions asked about the source of our fish, the greater reward for those pioneering restaurateurs who are working hard to get it right. Reviewer: Jo Laidlaw

GUIDES

the beautiful briny (shimmery shiny) sea? Café Fish is just like that. Except you get to eat your fellow guests at the piscine ball. And there’s no Angela Lansbury. But it’s still a heck of a party, with a tightly focused, daily-changing menu which is seasonal from soup to nuts. As a general rule you can expect smoking and curing to feature heavily in the starters (chef Stuart Lynch happily admits to being ‘obsessed’), like a beautiful plate of rosy-pink trout scattered with fennel and super-sweet blood oranges, or Scandi-influenced sweet cured herring with potato salad. Mains always include the signature fish and chips – a thick slab of pearly hake, visibly steaming when its light batter wrapper is sliced open. A light curry showcases prawns and monkfish, cleverly balancing flavours. Sourcing is taken seriously here, and it shows – and while not cheap, it’s good value, with quality running through every mouthful. It’s fresh, modern and skilful – a real treat. Angela would approve. + Skillful cooking and sourcing - It’s a big, booming space

The Boat House

Café Royal Circle Bar

22 High Street, South Queensferry EH30 9PP See Around Edinburgh

19 West Register Street, New Town, EH2 2AA See Bars & Pubs

4

Café Royal Oyster Bar

Café Fish

15 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge, EH3 6SX (Map 1A: B2, 22) 0131 225 4431, cafefish.net | Tue–Thu noon–3pm, 5–9.30pm; Fri/Sat noon– 9.30pm; Closed Sun/Mon. HW £19; Kids; Wh. £14 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

19a West Register Street, New Town, EH2 2AA (Map 1B: B6, 54) 0131 556 1884, caferoyaledinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 5–9.30pm; Fri–Sun noon– 9.30pm. HW £15.50; Kids. £27 (lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Remember that bit in Bedknobs and Broomsticks where everyone marvels at the fun times to be had at the bottom of

In the sixties, Woollies wanted to knock down the Café Royal and use the space for its Princes Street shop. Thankfully the Café Royal was made of sterner stuff and still stands as a perfectly preserved Victorian bar. It’s well worth a visit to feast your eyes on glorious stained glass, plasterwork ceilings and ceramic murals. The restaurant is divided from

the main bar by short panels, cleverly allowing its hubbub to spill into the fairly formal space. Seafood is the focus here, from oysters to Cullen skink to fish stew, although there are a few meat dishes, including venison. A simple smoked salmon and prawn salad steals the starters’ show, the kitchen wisely avoiding the temptation to over-fuss good raw ingredients. Scallops and black pudding don’t push boundaries, but taste and look as good as they should. However, a fish stew disappoints with flabby salmon and bland sauce. That said, news of a new chef with plans to bring desserts in-house will be no doubt welcomed by their fiercely loyal local followers. + Friendly service in a unique location - Uneven food quality

4

Fishers Bistro

1 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6QW (Map 5A: C1, 15) 0131 554 5666, fishersbistros. co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun 12.30–10.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] Veg; HW £15; Kids. £13 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Fish just tastes better when you eat it by water – a fact The Shore’s branch of Fishers has made the most of for over 20 years. This is a classic bistro: busy, buzzy, not particularly trend-led (and all the better for it). It’s hard to think of an occasion that wouldn’t be enhanced by a visit. Dates, seeing mates or things to celebrate, it balances casual and special particularly well. The menu continually evolves – stories about the chefs competing to get their ideas featured on the menu ring true when you see options such as smoked salmon with mozzarella, and crab nachos with pickled chillies. That said, the classics menu based around mussels, soup and fishcakes still goes like, well, hot cakes. It’s all good stuff. A starter of chermoula-spiced king prawns is excellent, sour spice contrasting well with sweet prawns. Lemon sole

is an exercise in simplicity, the whole fish simply ornamented by a circle of flavoured butter and a sheaf of wild garlic. And save room for a homemade dessert, particularly if you like sticky toffee pudding. + Warm, bustling atmosphere - Not being able to get a table in the bar

Fishers in the City 58 Thistle Street, New Town, EH2 1EN (Map 1A: D4, 73) 0131 225 5109, fishersrestaurantgroup.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10.30pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30pm–1am.] Veg; Pre; HW £14.95; Kids. £13 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Popular with tourists, shoppers and business people, the ‘up the toon’ branch of Fishers aims to offer something for everyone and mostly succeeds. The menu is a game of two halves: Fishers classics focus on comfort food like fishcakes, fish and chips and mussels, while the à la carte evolves regularly and aims to showcase seasonal Scottish fish. Monkfish cheeks with Puy lentils and grape-must mustard are a typical starter – and indeed putting ingredients like this together is a strong point, with bold, bright, modern combinations in evidence right through the menu. It’s particularly successful when crossing east with west: Orkney scallops topped with pumpkin, coriander and chilli pesto are a sophisticated sweet and sour fusion. Some dishes could perhaps do with a little refinement: halibut topped with tapenade is great, but the accompanying aubergine cannelloni stuffed with ricotta plus a spicy pepper and tomato sauce is perhaps one ingredient too many. All in, Fishers qualifies as one of Edinburgh’s old faithfuls: consistent, competent and classy, although this doesn’t come cheap – cue recommendation for the excellentvalue afternoon set menu. + Reliable cooking in a lively atmosphere - A £20 plate shouldn’t require side dishes in addition

Passionate about Seafood 61-65 Rose Street Edinburgh EH2 2NH Reservations 0131 225 5979 157 Hope Street Glasgow G2 2UQ Reservations 0141 572 1405

www.mussel-inn.com Café Fish: from the sea to Stockbridge, with a bit of curing, smoking and culinary dexterity on the way 60 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


FISH

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EDINBURGH

4 HITLIST FISH

4 Café Fish Light-touch, modern cooking and superb sourcing in a converted bank in the heart of Stockbridge. 4 Fishers Bistro A Leith institution and for good reason. Warm, laid-back service in an atmospheric location. 4 Ondine Surprisingly accessible, this glamorous, buzzy restaurant wears its serious sourcing credentials lightly. The best shellfish in town.

The King’s Wark 36 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6QU See Bars & Pubs

Loch Fyne Restaurant 25 Pier Place, Newhaven Harbour, Leith, EH6 4LP (Map 5A: A2, off) 0131 559 3900, lochfyne-restaurants.com | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri noon–10.30pm; Sat 10am–11pm; Sun 10am–10pm. HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £9.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The Loch Fyne Restaurants – a separately owned business from the operation at Cairndow in Argyll that famously began in 1988 as a roadside oyster shack – now operate 42 sites across the UK. The Edinburgh branch, the only member of the chain based in Scotland, is located rather aptly in a converted 19th-century fishmarket overlooking Newhaven harbour. With buying arrangements ensuring that a significant part of their menu is sourced from the original Loch Fyne operation, all manner of molluscs, crustaceans and fish are available as individual dishes or as part of platters. A centralised nationwide menu means there isn’t huge scope for regional variations, but the specials board does its best to showcase some more localised produce, and allows the kitchen to demonstrate their own inventiveness, while an onsite fishmonger allows you to pick up wet fish, shellfish and appropriate accoutrements to get creative at home. [Not recently visited]

The Mussel and Steak Bar 110 West Bow, Grassmarket, Old Town, EH1 2HH (Map 2A: B3, 29) 0131 225 5028, musselandsteakbar.com | Mon– Thu noon–2.45pm, 6–10pm; Fri–Sun noon–10pm. HW £14; Kids; Wh. £9.50 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

In a part of town trying hard to shake its ‘stags & hens’ image, the Mussel and Steak bar treads a fine line between giving tourists what they want and serving up decent Scottish produce. There are a lot of happy marriages – surf with turf, scallops with chorizo, mussels with chillies – and a commendable focus on sourcing, particularly on the steaks which are aged for 38 days (and it shows). That said, you could be forgiven for wishing the kitchen would cut loose

a teeny bit and fling something a touch more unexpected into the mix. That’s not to say what’s there isn’t good – it is. The aged steak really is meltingly tender; the accompanying side of braised cabbage is actual genius; a hefty portion of mussels are bright with lime and satisfyingly nippy with chilli (though inexplicably served without bread). It’s all served up in a contemporary setting by cheerful staff, making Mussel and Steak a reliable choice, even if you are one of those locals who normally won’t set foot in the Grassmarket from March to October. + Dependable cooking showcasing Scottish produce - No need for a telly in the dining room, even if it is showing restaurant promos

Mussel Inn 61–65 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 2NH (Map 1A: C5, 63) 0131 225 5979, mussel-inn.com | Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm; Sun 12.30–10pm. Pre; HW £14.30; Kids; Wh. £7.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Mussels are the good guys of the fishieson-dishies world, being cheap, plentiful, sustainable (and fun to eat with the pinchy shell-grabby thing). The Mussel Inn makes the most of this, with a casual wallet-and-stomach pleasing experience. Dive straight in with a kilo or half-kilo pot of the blue boys accompanied by one of seven different sauces and as much bread as you can manage. Simply done and lots of fun. That’s not to say there aren’t some serious plates coming out of the kitchen though, with a roast seafood platter featuring scallops, prawns, mussels and sea bass all beautifully cooked and cleanly presented in a pool of garlicky tomato sauce (although there’s no need for the crème fraîche). Daily changing specials change things up a bit, with light, crisp tempura prawns hitting the spot while brisk yet friendly service and affordable wine round off an enjoyable experience – you won’t necessarily want to linger, but that’s kind of not the point. + Mussels! - The desserts are less impressive

4

Ondine

2 George IV Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1AD (Map 2A: C3, 17) 0131 226 1888, ondinerestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon– 3pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun. Pre; HW £19.50; Kids; Wh. £18 (set lunch) / £33 (dinner)

Perfectly framed by Ondine’s windows, a couple flirt at a bus stop on George IV Bridge. Their bus arrives and they disappear, off to continue their story somewhere else. Could they, should they have come in for dinner? Ondine feels like one of those places where good things happen. It’s glamorous, sparkly, fun. Heady with garlic and possibilities. Somewhere to wear your good shoes. And the fish – oh, the fish! Start with oysters: choose from four varieties, including natives, all super-fresh, immaculately sourced and knowledgeably introduced by the staff. Shellfish lovers will find it hard to resist one of two platters, the roast option a quivering mound of garlicky loveliness. Lashings of crab, langoustines, clams, one fabulous scallop that you never want to stop eating, and spoots – admittedly an acquired taste, but if you don’t acquire it here you won’t ever. A main of wild bass is less showy, but equally beautiful. Care and attention simply shines from every corner – as you’d expect from an MSC-certified restaurant – but it’s never worthy, or indeed intimidating. Bus stop flirters, take note. + It’s all good. - Pockets won’t allow a weekly visit

Samphire Seafood Bar and Grill at Orocco Pier 17 High Street, South Queensferry, EH30 9PP See Around Edinburgh

The Ship on the Shore 24–26 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6QN (Map 5A: C1, 17) 0131 555 0409, theshipontheshore.co.uk | Mon–Sun 9am–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat noon– 1am; Sun 12.30–1am.] Pre; HW £15; Kids. £18 (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

For a Ship that’s firmly anchored to the Shore, albeit just a clam shell’s lob from the Water of Leith, this is a properly nautical experience. Admiralty charts serve as wallpaper, oars hang from the ceiling and blackboards at every turn list the wonderful pickings from Scottish seas and ports. Shellfish takes the lead, from mussel pakora all the way to a blow-out fruits de mer royale platter at £90. Champagne and oysters are prominent in the offer, but the real Leith decadence is a cosy, comfortable venue with its old wood and stained glass where you’ll find slick service and assured cooking whether it’s roasted shellfish, monkfish on the bone, breakfast of a black pudding, rösti and poached egg, or simple puds such as fruit crumble with custard. A member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, care is taken with sourcing not just for the seafood, but the eggs are organic, as is the chicken served, while local merchants l’Art du Vin are behind the impressive wine list. + Puts great Scottish seafood centre stage - Puts champagne centre stage a bit too much

The Skerries Dunstane House Hotel, 4 West Coates, West End, EH12 5JQ See Scottish

Sweet Melindas 11 Roseneath Street, Southside, EH9 1JH (Map 3C: B2, 31) 0131 229 7953, sweetmelindas.co.uk | Tue–Sat noon– 2pm, 6–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. Pre; HW £16.50; Kids. £13.50 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Edinburgh still has its tucked-away places, the neighbourhood joints quietly making loyal locals’ tummies happy week after week. Sweet Melindas is one such place. It’s the front room of a tenement so it feels like you’re stepping into someone’s home. It’s a few doors down from Eddie’s hallowed Seafood Market, meaning the freshest fish is literally on their doorstep. This, plus the fact that practically everything is homemade, using some serious kitchen skills, means it punches well above its weight. Desserts are spectacularly homely – a gigantic wedge of Seville marmalade sponge (yes, with homemade marmalade) is something Granny would have been proud of, in turn sweet, bitter and comforting. Mains show skilful handling: fillets of bass and bream are beautifully cooked, served atop a tangle of spaghetti with crab and pecorino. Wee grilled sardines reward the patient picking of bones; fried squid is feather-light and the soy, ginger and lemongrass sauce on the hake is ‘everyone’s favourite’. Exactly the kind of place you want to live next door to. You should probably move. + Lovingly crafted wine list - Popular dishes do sell out

Whighams Wine Cellars 13 Hope Street, West End, EH2 4EL See Bars & Pubs

FRENCH The happy union of French culinary tradition and Scotland’s natural larder is a marriage made in foodie heaven. This Auld Alliance of produce and technique runs strong, especially at the city’s top tables. But Edinburgh’s French selection also features proud showcases of provincial cookery, and places that satisfy our desires for dishes we had on holiday in Paris or Provence, where the waiters’ accents are as strong as the smell of garlic from the kitchen. Bon appetit! Reviewers: Hilary Lloyd, James Tiedeman

B’est 16 Drummond Street, Old Town, EH8 9TX (Map 2B: A4, 13) 0131 556 4448, best-restaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 2.45pm, 5–10pm. Pre; HW £13.95; Kids; Wh. £7.90 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Billing itself boldly as ‘Edinburgh’s most exciting eatery’, B’est has a lot to live up to, and somewhat inevitably falls short of its claim. Paintings of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe and stencilled words en Français say ‘this is a French bistro’, and the interior design is enlivened with eclectic curiosities from maritime paraphernalia to wallmounted antlers. Service likewise is fittingly muddled. The food falls on the Scottish side of the Auld Alliance, with some tourist favourites thrown in: to start, you could have a routine haggis, neeps and tatties tower with an off-key whisky sauce, or a fish and seafood gratin served retro-style in a scallop shell and minus much seafood. A main of grilled cod fillet is perked up by its lemon mash and dill sauce, while a ‘chicken à-la stroganoff’ suffers from the inescapable, inexplicable taste of a ready-meal curry. To finish, you can fill up on a chocolate crêpe, or cleanse the palate with simple sorbet. During the Festival, B’est hosts the ‘Fawlty Towers Experience’: the irony is probably not intentional. + Eclectic décor - Lacklustre cooking

Café Marlayne • 13 Antigua Street, New Town, EH1 3NH (Map 1B: D5, 38) 0131 558 8244, cafemarlayne.com | Mon–Sun noon– 3pm, 5–10pm. HW £14.95; Kids; Wh. £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner) • 76 Thistle Street, New Town, EH2 1EN (Map 1A: C4, 67) 0131 226 2230, cafemarlayne.com | Mon–Thu noon– 3pm, 6–10pm. Fri–Sun noon–10pm. HW £14.95; Kids. £12.50 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

There are two sides to the Café Marlayne picture in Edinburgh: the bijou Thistle Street restaurant, with its mirrored mosaics and living-room feel, and the contrastingly informal Antigua Street branch, which is split into compact café and large dining room. At Antigua Street the café does a standard line in coffee, croissants and chat, while an eclectic array of French film posters, gilt-framed mirrors and kitsch paintings break up the airy storeroom feel of the lively dining space – but the big-screen TV is a jarring distraction to a dinner date. At Thistle Street there is a warm, wellto-do, welcoming cordiality created in part by the proportion of loyal regulars. The menu, honed over many years by curator Islay Fraser, deploys Scottish The List Eating & Drinking Guide 61


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ingredients with French sensibilities. So to start, a piled plate of boudin noir, sautéed potatoes and crispy pancetta is a Scottish breakfast in a parallel life. For mains, rare-breed pork belly is paired with seared scallops, while halibut fillet with rocket is righteous enough to clear your conscience for contemplation of the desserts. Universal pleasers such as panna cotta and not-French-in-theslightest sticky toffee pudding will no doubt tempt the waverer, while at Antigua Street the dessert menu features treats from the café, with something suitable for all intolerances, and intriguing options like chocolate and beetroot cake and a superb fruit frangipane tart. + Fine scallops - Distracting big-screen TV in the Antigua Street branch

through individual dishes, such as earthy venison brought to life with sweet braised cabbage and Armagnac-soaked prunes. These are flavours to savour, and the relaxed atmosphere and pace let you do just that. Meanwhile, Gallic pride shows in the two main exceptions to the local sourcing policy: the cheese from highly regarded master ‘affineur’ (ripener) Hervé Mons, and the exclusively French wine list with its selection of regional specialties. Linger and enjoy. + Quality food is matched by great service - Fewer dessert options – so just have the cheese!

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End, EH1 2AB See Bistros & Brasseries

Café St Honoré

4

34 North West Thistle Street Lane, New Town, EH2 1EA See Scottish

Castle Terrace 33/35 Castle Terrace, West End, EH1 2EL See Scottish

L’escargot Blanc 17 Queensferry Street, West End, EH2 4QW (Map 4: B1, 12) 0131 226 1890, lescargotblanc.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon– 2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun. Pre; BYOB (£4.90; Mon–Thu only); HW £16.90; Kids. £10.90 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Step through the modest shop front on busy Queensferry Street, climb the wooden stairs and be enfolded in the warm embrace of L’escargot Blanc. This laid-back sister to Broughton’s L’escargot Bleu has bags of bistro-style charm to tempt its clientele of West End shoppers, happy couples and nattering friends. An open larder filled with old bottles of Armagnac and other assorted goodies whets your appetite as you wait to be guided through the cosy dining rooms by the friendly and hospitable staff. Food here is the equivalent of a big Gallic hug, with creamy soups, steaming pots of mussels, hearty casseroles and steaks all regular features on the menu. For something lighter, a dish of pan-

RESTAURANT REVIEWS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR LIST.CO.UK/EAT

62 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

La Garrigue

31 Jeffrey Street, Old Town, EH1 1DH (Map 2B: B2, 1) 0131 557 3032, lagarrigue.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 2.30pm, 6.30–9.30pm. HW £16; Kids. £12.50 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

The Pompadour by Galvins (page 65): grace, elegance and fine dining

fried sea bass with crayfish in a tangy tomato sauce laced with cognac shows off the chef’s broader talents. The artisan cheese, moreish macarons and much of the regional French wine list are shared with L’escargot Bleu, as is the focus on local and seasonal ingredients. This is a homely and heart-warming encounter with la belle France. + Convivial atmosphere and a warm welcome - Bistro menu but restaurant prices

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L’escargot Bleu

56 Broughton Street, EH1 3SA (Map 1B: C4, 18) 0131 557 1600, lescargotbleu. co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–2.30pm, 5.30– 10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 5.30–10.30pm. Closed Sun. Pre; BYOB (£7; Mon–Thu only); HW

£16.50; Kids. £12.90 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

The humble snail is a byword for French cuisine and the symbol of the international Slow Food movement, both of which are well represented by this popular Broughton Street restaurant. There’s a real French ambience in the high-ceilinged dining room with its closely packed tables and vintage posters, while in the kitchen French regional cooking meets a genuine commitment to using the best local and seasonal Scottish produce. The result is a varied menu where traditional steak tartare (mixed at your table with all the trimmings and a touch of theatre) sits comfortably alongside Shetland mussels in creamy smoked haddock and leek sauce. Yet the interplay is most beautifully expressed

It is tempting to describe La Garrigue as an Edinburgh institution. You know the name, and perhaps you’ve long wanted to go. And go you should. Multiawarded and much-exulted, La Garrigue is Jean Michel Gauffre’s proud paean to the cuisine of his native Languedoc. While the setting is straightforward, unfussy – a homely space hung with flags from the region and paintings of its landscapes – the menu poses selection problems. You can’t have it all, so plump for an as-it-should-be fish soup or a blue cheese soufflé which will be forever impossible to recreate at home. Then beef cheek in a reduction oh-so rich, served with parsnip purée and signed off with a scallop-esque marrowbone croquette. Or try roast rabbit enrobing a liver and walnut stuffing like the richest of pâté, served with crunchy salsify. Finish, in quite some style, with a chocolate fondant oozing its insides like a collapsing camembert, or the hot sweet soufflé of the day – an ephemeral pleasure with a lingering loveliness. It’s worth going for that moment alone. + The soufflé masterclass - Making a decision from such an inviting menu

Henri of Edinburgh 48 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, Stockbridge, EH4 1HL See Cafés

The Honours 58a North Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3LU See Bistros & Brasseries


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Hotel du Vin 11 Bristo Place, Old Town, EH1 1EZ See Bistros & Brasseries

The Kitchin 78 Commercial Quay, Leith, EH6 6LX See Scottish

Maison Bleue 36–38 Victoria Street, Old Town, EH1 2JW (Map 2A: B3, 23) 0131 226 1900, maisonbleuerestaurant.com | Sun–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–midnight.] Pre; HW £18.50. £9.90 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Housed in an old building full of character, Maison Bleue’s chateau-cumcastle interior design makes the most of its olde-world surrounds: stone arches and spiral staircase, artfully aged wood, thistles on the table, while candleflickeringly low lighting sets the mood for dinner. The Scottish-French food matches the setting: ingredients from the laird’s estate, and guest-impressing dishes from his table. The diverse menu takes in tourist-pleasers like haggis balls, with dishes such as lamb tagine reflecting the modern diversity of French cookery. Inspiration also comes from further afield, so there is Cullen skink Thai–style and Saigon beef alongside venison and snails. To start, summing it up, is a trio of scallops on two pennies of boudin noir, or house secret ‘surprise calamari’. Then simple salmon with mouselline mash, done with dill and Pernod, or merguez sausage and chicken brochettes, served with a square of saffron couscous. Desserts are a predictable but pleasing selection, taking in mocha brulée and cheese courtesy of IJ Mellis right next door. The pre-theatre deal offers superb value, while lucky students get to eat three courses for £15 on Tuesdays. + Good value, especially if you’re eating on a deal - Loos up spiral stairs are a cause for caution when squiffy

Le Marché Français 9a West Maitland Street, West End, EH12 5DS (Map 4: B2, 61) 0131 221 1894, le-marche-francais.co.uk | Mon– Thu 7am–5.30pm; Fri/Sat 7am–9.30pm. Closed Sun. HW £10.50; T/A. £6.95 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Le Marché Français markets its wares from a handsome Victorian shop frontage close to Haymarket station. This combined deli, café and restaurant promises a taste of French food throughout the day, in a laid-back, rustic style that deliberately contrasts with more formal French eateries. The dining area at the rear hits the right notes with

4 HITLIST FRENCH

4 L'escargot Bleu A committed approach to the rich tapestry of French regional cooking, wines and artisan cheeses.

4 La Garrigue No pretentions, just French provincial cookery at its best, and a soufflé masterclass to boot.

4 Petit Paris A culinary postcard from the French capital, this cosy bistro offers classic dishes and authentic flavours. 4 The Pompadour by Galvins Art-form haute cuisine served in the suitably grand setting of the historic Caley Hotel.

4 Restaurant Martin Wishart The gilt-edged gastronomy goes on as Martin’s Michelin star still shines on the Shore. 4 21212 A truly original dining experience: test your palate with some daring flavour combinations in a seductively stylish setting. its Parisian prints, vintage wine bottles and simple wooden furniture, while the keenly priced menu mixes Gallic staples like snails and tartiflette alongside charcuterie plates and salads that should showcase the deli’s produce. Although the main dishes are undoubtedly good value (where else in Edinburgh will you find pork fillet in grain mustard sauce or a magret duck special for under £8?), there are some inconsistencies in the formula, sometimes resulting in competent cooking and some tasty sauces being let down by underseasoning and over-cooking. A little more attention to detail in the kitchen would go a long way. + Plentiful and cheap dishes - Lack of attention to ingredients and cooking

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

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The Mulroy 11a–13a William Street, West End, EH3 7NG (Map 4: B1, 6) 0131 225 6061, themulroy.co.uk | Tue–Sat noon– 2.30pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. Pre; HW £18.50. £16.50 (set lunch) / £34.50 (dinner)

Named after the site of the last interclan battle in 1688, The Mulroy offers French-inspired cooking with its roots set firmly in Scottish soil. Owner Clemens Hoss d’EstenfeldMacDonald formerly ran his family’s estate in Perthshire and there’s a country-house feel to the Georgian dining room with its mustard walls, crisp white linen and gleaming silverware. Liveried waiters are on hand to unfold your napkin or pour your wine (from an excellent selection with 22 available by the glass) while you contemplate the seductively worded menu. Local and seasonal produce meets French classic techniques, with some real flashes of flair and originality from head chef Damien Rolain. Orange caramel proves a perfect match for sweet Gigha scallops, while a zingy passion fruit compote cuts through the majestic richness of hare stuffed with foie gras ‘à la Royale’. Although not every dish completely lives up to its billing, desserts are a highlight, including gooey chocolate fondant and a superb quince and apple tarte tatin. If you can’t make it to your shooting lodge this weekend, try The Mulroy instead. + Inventive flourishes from a classically trained chef - Occasional jazz evenings aside, atmosphere may feel a little hushed for some

Edinburgh's Newest French Restaurant in the West End

11a-13a William Street, EH3 7NG Reservations: 0131 2256061 www.facebook.com/themulroy www.themulroy.co.uk

La Garrigue (page 62): evoking the lavender-hued Languedoc in the Old Town

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Petit Paris

38–40 Grassmarket, Old Town, EH1 2JU (Map 2A: A3, 31) 0131 226 2442, petitparis-restaurant.co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–3pm, 5.30–10.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. Pre; BYOB (£3.50; Mon–Thu only); HW £15.90. £11.90 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

If Petit Paris aspires to be a little piece of the French capital, it’s not the city’s grand boulevards or imposing squares, but the winding cobbled streets where time seems to stand still and there’s an old-fashioned bistro on every corner. The place just feels right, from the whitewashed walls and checked tablecloths to the murmured chatter of the (uniformly French) waiting staff. Rewards abound here for the lover of French classic dishes. Fat snails entombed in garlic, herbs and buttery breadcrumbs are the perfect foil to the daily cocotte, or stew: a delicious boeuf bourguignon generously steeped in red wine with hunks of bacon, potato and carrots. Many ingredients and accompaniments are imported from France, including some spectacular tarragon mustard with the Toulouse sausages, and all the (uniformly French)

61 Frederick Street Edinburgh Tel: 0131 225 7983 www.laptitefolie.co.uk

wine. If the menu prices seem a little high, take advantage of the good-value lunch and pre-theatre deals, or try one of their fondue evenings. On summer days, sit at one of the outside tables on the bustling Grassmarket: close your eyes, and you could just about be in Paris. + Don’t miss the gloriously rich crème brûlée - Few choices for the more adventurous palate

La P’tite Folie • 61 Frederick Street, New Town, EH2 1LH (Map 1A: C4, 70) 0131 225 7983, laptitefolie.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 6–11pm. Closed Sun. • Tudor House, 9 Randolph Place, West End, EH3 7TE (Map 4: B1, 8) 0131 225 8678, laptitefolie.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–3pm, 6–11pm. Closed Sun. [Bar open: Mon– Thu noon–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–1am. Closed Sun.] HW £14.50; Kids. £10.50 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

For 16 years La P’tite Folie has been part of Edinburgh’s dining scene, initially in the city-centre bustle of Frederick Street

9 Randolph Place. Tel 0131 538 1815. www.ledivin.co.uk

Tudor House 9 Randolph Place Edinburgh Tel: 0131 225 8678 www.laptitefolie.co.uk

Virginie, the owner regularly visits Ethiopia and supports 800 orphans with a feeding program info@laptitefolie.co.uk | info@ledivin.co.uk

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and joined, ten years ago, by the venue that has come to overshadow the original, set behind a quirky Tudor façade looking out on the sedate cobbles of Randolph Place at the West End. Any initial uncertainty you might feel in the small street-level ante-room on Randolph (the left hand route leads to spacious wine bar Le Di-Vin) dissipates on reaching the top of the stairs and discovering a light, bright, welcoming space. The informality of the French bistro food adds to that sense of ease: salad comes in a communal bowl, fish with a simple sauce and accompaniment, steak frîtes just as you’d expect. The lunch deal is £10.50 for two courses, and evening options tend to be heartier and richer, be it red mullet with pickled vegetables or calf’s liver with wholegrain mustard pomme purée. Desserts or fromage are decently priced at £5 and £6 respectively. + Airy Randolph Place dining room is a lovely spot in the lingering evening light - Airy equates to noisy when full

Pierre Victoire 18 Eyre Place, New Town, EH3 5EP (Map 1B: A2, 11) 0131 556 0006, pierrevictoirerestaurant.co.uk | Mon– Sun noon–10pm. HW £13.95; Kids; Wh. £7.90 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

No story of Edinburgh’s dining scene in the last two decades can be fully told without Pierre Victoire being mentioned. Through thick and thin, ups and downs, Pierre Levicky is still part of the scene; these days he’s operating in relative seclusion at the lower end of the New Town near Canonmills. The mediumsized, and still popular, restaurant of today is probably not the PV of old – beyond the accents, the scribbled menus and certain classic dishes it’s not as French as you might expect, with exotic twists and what might be described as Scottish bistro dishes showing up regularly these days. That said, the sense of spontaneity – which on different nights and to different folk can be translated either as enjoyable buzz or impending chaos – is attractive, and there’s always likely to be something


FRENCH

In association with

EDINBURGH on the menu to draw you in. A focus on keen prices (a three course dinner can be a sprightly fifteen quid) means that cheaper cuts are a regular feature: featherblade, for example, is the focus of a hearty and delicious main. At other times, a lack of due care and attention mars simple dishes, the case in an overdressed salad or a slap-dash cheese board. + The buzz - The blips

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The Pompadour by Galvins Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End, EH1 2AB (Map 4: B1, 23) 0131 222 8777, galvinrestaurants.com | Tue–Sat 6.30–10pm. HW £26; Kids; Wh. £58/£68 (set dinner)

Michelin-starred chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin shoot for an Edinburgh star at their Pompadour, secreted away in a sanctum of the Caledonian Hotel. It is a fittingly fine dining room, with castle view and a giant chandelier centrepiece among the Victoriana. Not all will relish the refinery, but the setting is splendid, and service impeccable. Whether you opt for the menu gourmand or go à la carte, you’ll be treated to amuse-bouches like truffley smoked haddock arancini, then a chilled garlic velouté with duck and truffle cream. At every turn, in every dish, there are touches that please and surprise. To start, there is salmon with capered tartare sprinkled with mini croutons, decorated with a slinky coil of pickled cucumber, scallop beignet and crisp quail’s egg. Artichoke barigoule embellishes the already wonderful rabbit and ricotta ravioli. Assured mains include roast monkfish, and venison loin with turnip in curly fries form and ketchup-like red cabbage purée. A complimentary ‘pre-sert’ cleanses the palate before a generous cheese plate or artful desserts like pistachio cake, white chocolate cream, and a blood-orange duo of sorbet and jelly. + Haute cuisine in a grand setting - Beware of drinks at five-star-hotel prices

Restaurant at the Bonham 35 Drumsheugh Gardens, West End, EH3 7RN See Scottish

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Restaurant Martin Wishart 54 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6RA (Map 5A: C2, 19) 0131 553 3557, martin-wishart. co.uk | Tue–Fri noon–2pm, 7–10pm; Sat noon–1.30pm, 7–10pm; Closed Sun/ Mon. HW £27; Kids; Wh. £28.50 (set lunch) / £75 (set dinner)

It’s more than that Michelin star. Restaurant Martin Wishart has a certain caché. It is a place to propose, to woo, to seal the deal. If it’s on the expense account, lucky you. If not, buy the ticket, take the ride: choose a tasting menu, with accompanying sommelierguided wines if you wish, and let them show you what they’re capable of. And bang, straight off the bat, an exquisite beetroot macaroon sets the tone, followed by a dainty, impeccable amuse bouche. Next up, black truffle sauce steals the praise from langoustine and confit chicken; then sherberty cerviche of halibut with mango and passion fruit is a prawn cocktail taken to another level. On the fish-themed tasting menu, the John Dory is boat-fresh and gutsy, while on the main taster is a two-course capsule roast dinner in miniature, first flame cake and crispy ox tongue, followed by soft cinnamon-pecked veal cheek and near-scene-stealing goat’s cheese gnocchi. Pause with port and a

choice of cheese before either chocolate or caramel-themed afters, both as assured as all that’s been before. The petits fours, precisely presented by a white-gloved waiter, are a fitting finale. + Michelin-star sourcing, presentation, service - Only one dessert

Riverlife 84 Dalry Road, West End, EH11 2AX (Map 4: A3, 66) 0131 337 3995, riverlifeedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 6–10pm. BYOB (no charge); Kids; Wh; T/A. £15.50 (dinner)

A new opening in 2012 in the less fashionable culinary end of town, Riverlife brings to the Edinburgh market its singular blend of French and Caribbean cooking. Inspired by the upbringing of lead chef Mario Caneval on the island of Guadeloupe and a subsequent career working in hotels and restaurants in Paris and Scotland, the décor is rough and ready but the menu offers a break from the norm. The regular à la carte selection is more French-flavoured, with rack of lamb, confit duck leg and chicken supreme served alongside a signature rustic butterbean cassoulet. On the first Sunday of every month or by arrangement for groups if booked ten days in advance, however, the Caribbean buffet features dishes like chicken liver Malibu, goat and vegetable curry and a spicy jerk chicken leg. + A marriage of influences you won’t find anywhere else - Caribbean menu only an occasional option

4

21212

3 Royal Terrace, New Town, EH7 5AB (Map 5B: A6, 23) 0845 22 21212 or 0131 523 1030, 21212restaurant.co.uk | Tue– Sat noon–1.45pm, 6.45–9.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon. HW £23; Kids (under 5). £28 (set lunch) / £68 (five-course set dinner)

The name 21212 derives from its unusual menu concept, offering two choices for starter, main and dessert interspersed with soup and cheese (you can choose to have three, four or five courses). However, what’s truly original is chef Paul Kitching’s style of cooking. Each dish is composed of many carefully mingled elements: a kind of symphony in food. Marrakesh chicken, for instance, melds slices of breast and leg meat with a spoonful of spicy baked egg, prunes, a curl of crispy bacon, seared courgette slivers, fennel purée and saffron pancake. Even simple vegetable soup turns out to be a multilayered, truffle-spiked broth with tiny perfect veggies peeking under a leek foam. This artful flair is mirrored in the restaurant’s elegant styling, the Georgian splendour of Royal Terrace enhanced with veiled walls, curving banquettes and statement lighting. Upstairs, there’s a private dining room and more intimate ‘Pod’ seating six in white leather luxury around a pink marble table. Service is relaxed and friendly, with a modern interpretation on everything from napkins to coffee. Savour every detail as you will every mouthful. + Occasion restaurant with panache and playfulness - Think twice if simplicity is your thing

REVIEWS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR LIST.CO.UK/EAT

INDIAN Edinburgh’s curry scene is perhaps unfairly labelled as ‘Indian’ given that its influences come from across the subcontinent, with representatives of Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepalese, Tamil and Tibetan cuisine to be found in different guises. More than ever this section offers a diverse range of experiences, from intricate fine-dining to informal street food, some places offering all the colour of modern India and others representing the craft and identity of traditional regional home-cooking. Reviewers: Teddy Craig, Tara Hepburn, Steve Morton, Justin Tilbury

Ashoka 97 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DJ (Map 1A: D4, 86) 0131 225 1430, ashokarestaurants.com | Mon–Sun noon–midnight.

Having firmly positioned itself on the west of Scotland dining scene, with half-a-dozen outlets (as well as a number of associated stablemates, including the Shak brand), it should come as no surprise that Glasgow kari kings Ashoka have eventually moved east to set up shop in Edinburgh too. Taking over the Hanover Street premises vacated by the former Tapa Barra Y Restaurante, the new venture occupies a prime New Town slot. The accessibility it provides could prove crucial when it comes to establishing itself in the capital and enticing diners away from their regular Indian haunts. That location is also reflected in the à la carte menu prices though, which rank at the higher end of the city’s scale, although its tried and tested buffet format offers the more canny curry-lover ample return for their money. [Not open in time for full review at time of going to press.]

Bollywood: The Coffee Box 99a Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4HG (Map 3A: B3, 25) 07910 453121, facebook.com/BollywoodTheCoffeeBox | Mon–Sun 10am–7pm. Veg; T/A. £4.50 (lunch) / £4.50 (dinner)

Edinburgh has grown used to the sight of old police boxes being used to sell coffee – but being used to sell curry? It’s a testament to both the culinary and organisational skills of proprietor Nutan Bala that she’s able to produce such enjoyable fare from within such cramped surroundings. Despite the feeling that the limited space must make her job more complex, there’s no hint of this pushing prices into the premium bracket. Anybody used to spending £3–£5 in their lunch break on a disappointing baguette-based repast really needs to treat themselves to a visit to the Coffee Box for a similarly priced but far more memorable experience. The menu alters daily depending on the ingredients available but a mixed vegetable dahl is usually available, while chicken dishes can include a hearty chicken saag. Curries are made to your own desired level of spiciness. The food being cooked to order can lead to a 5–10 minute wait, but that’s no hardship when the food is so satisfying and there’s such a bubbly owner to chat to. + Fantastic value - Scottish weather can put a dampener on al fresco dining

4 HITLIST INDIAN

4 Mezbaan South Indian Restaurant Dedicated, delicate cooking delivering some of the city's finest seafood and vegetarian curries. 4 Mithas High-end Indian dining in a beautifully lit and styled restaurant, with tasting menus and treats galore. 4 Mother India's Café An extensive, modern and creative menu of tapas-sized dishes in assured Old Town surroundings. 4 Rivage A family run venue on Easter Road that's alive with intriguing options and ingredients. 4 The Spice Pavilion Bringing a welcome level of sophistication and finesse to familiar Indian dishes. 4 Tanjore A simple setting and low prices for an enticing, extensive menu of Southern Indian specialities. 555 2255, britanniaspice.co.uk | Mon– Sat noon–2.15pm, 5–1.30pm; Sun 5–11.30pm. Veg; HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £9.95 (set lunch) / £23.50 (dinner)

To say there’s a nautical air to Britannia Spice is an understatement. Sails and brass fittings adorn the walls and the waiters – sorry ‘crew’ – are decked out in white uniforms with braided epaulettes. The feeling is one of luxury, rather than booze-cruise, and there is no faulting the speed, efficiency and friendliness of the ship’s company. Once you’ve been escorted to your table, drinks, poppadoms and starters arrive in quick succession. Of the appetisers, the tandoori lamb chop is gloriously smoky and charred from the grill, its spice balanced with a dash of lemon juice. A main of garlic chicken is coated in a rich, dark sauce, where the sweetness of the roasted garlic blends well with the tart, sweet tandoori chicken. The Himalaya rui khumbi pairs a gently spiced and crisply chargrilled trout with a tangy, fruity sauce and some particularly fine sautéed mushrooms. Desserts are of the stock, frozen variety but all in all this is a voyage well worth taking. + The fluffy yet crispy naan breads are excellent - Ubiquitous branding gets a bit much

The Curry Leaf 139 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4EB See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Gandhi’s

Britannia Spice

50 East Fountainbridge, West End, EH3 9BH (Map 4: D2, 39) 0131 228 6666, gandhisrestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5–11pm. Veg; Kids; T/A; D. £7.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

150 Commercial Street, Ocean Drive, Leith, EH6 6LB (Map 5A: A2, 1) 0131

Tucked around the corner from Lothian Road, Gandhi’s is what a kindly The List Eating & Drinking Guide 65


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EDINBURGH

TABLE Talk HERMANN RODRIGUES SURUCHI I always joke that when I opened Suruchi 20 years ago there were three Indian restaurants in and around Edinburgh, but today there’s one in any direction I throw a stone. Gone too are the days when opening one was a sure route to success. So what has changed? Diversification for one, mainly because of the influx of professional cooks and chefs. Multi-regional cuisine is on offer, rather than the ‘Scottish Indian’ staple. As a result, South Indian restaurants are booming. So are tapas-style fusion and buffet-style formats. Immigration controls have resulted in exorbitant wages for those who can continue to work in the UK. Other spicy cuisines, from Mexico and south-east Asian countries, have also improved. Only those who have been able to innovate, or offer very high standards, have survived. Not that it was always easy in the old days. When I opened in 1992 I took a stance not to add any artificial colouring, but diners were so used to orange chicken, deep red lamb or the ultimate, fluorescent pink mint sauce, that they rejected the food. They thought something was odd if it wasn’t coloured. Gone too are the days when you could rely on the restaurants to pack at 11pm after the pubs closed and again at 3am when the clubs shut. Though that wasn’t without its own challenges. Often, I struggled to get the post-pub punters through my door because they couldn’t climb the stairs up to the first floor restaurant. Worse still, with a curry and a few more drinks in them, they couldn’t manage back down. QHaving handed over Suruchi (see page 69) to two of his longstanding staff, Oliven Braganza and Dilraj Bhandari, Hermann Rodrigues is currently penning An Autobiography of Chicken Tikka Masala, available soon.

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estate agent might call bijou. It’s a cheery place though, warmly (if rather kaleidoscopically) lit and with a waiter whose friendly enthusiasm could power a small country. Compact wooden tables sit beneath abstract paintings that adorn the orange and yellow walls, and the feeling is one of modernity and freshness – something that owner Shahin Khan is keen to emphasise throughout. A starter of chana on puri has a brightly flavoured, sweet and spicy sauce and comes wrapped in the rich and chewy bread. Vegetarians are well served here, and the sabzi jalfrezi is great example of a dish that is built around the vegetables rather than just sauce without meat. Rich, sharply spiced and plentiful, its vegetable medley holds its own against the Kathmandu chicken, despite the latter’s deep, mellow and sweet lentil base. A side of saag aloo nicely complements both dishes, imbued with satisfyingly spicy warmth and a healthy dose of fenugreek and mustard seed. Desserts are of the ubiquitous ice-cream-in-pots variety. + Lunchtime thali deal is excellent value for money - Salt lassi is more salt than lassi

Ignite 272–274 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8DT (Map 4: B2, 60) 0131 228 5666, igniterestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 2pm, 5.30–11.30pm. Veg; HW £14.50; Kids; T/A. £8.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Convenience food doesn’t usually equate to quality food, but for any hungry rail commuters looking for a sophisticated restaurant experience, Ignite’s location so close to Haymarket station bucks that trend. The interior reflects the menu’s willingness to experiment – an Indian restaurant that also blends North African pieces into its décor. The menu, meanwhile, mixes classic North Indian dishes with more unexpected offerings from further afield, like the Goan chicken maracel, whose combination of ginger and peppers brings heartiness, while the presence of coriander ensures a refreshing edge. Those who judge an Indian restaurant by its pakoras can be

reassured that the murgh pakora starter sees chicken enveloped in a batter that hits just the right levels of lightness and spice. Among the vegetarian starters, the voll purée makes a popular Calcutta street snack of potato and chickpeas feel more indulgent than the combination has the right to be. As you’d expect, given its name, Ignite will make your taste buds spark. + Unusual dishes on menu - No Wi-Fi for customers

Iman’s 4–8 Lochrin Buildings, Gilmore Place, Tollcross, EH3 9NB (Map 3A: B1, 11) 0131 221 1115, imans-restaurant.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 5–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm; Sun 5–11pm. Veg; BYOB (no charge); Kids; T/A; D. £6.95–£8.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Handily placed for the King’s Theatre, Iman’s has a spacious split-level interior, separate dining area for larger parties and curious pebble-dashed walls. Starters include the usual suspects, and both seekh kebab and channa Punjabi poori are decent and come in hearty portions. Among an unusually wide choice of mains are a range of ‘desi’ (traditional) dishes made by the head chef’s mum which can justifiably claim to be unique to the venue. Desi saag paneer is full flavoured and lightly spiced, while the monkfish karahi is a well-executed balancing act where the fish holds its own alongside spices including ginger and coriander. Brinjal aloo is delicious as a side dish and the exceptionally good plain naan is a much better bet than the paratha. Although unlicensed, you can BYOB at no charge and there are also two excellent-value lunch menus, so you should leave both solvent and well fed. + Possibly the best naan breads in Edinburgh - The big TV beside the bar seems out of place

Indian Lounge 129a Rose Street, New Town, EH2 3DT (Map 1A: B5, 57) 0131 226 2862, indianloungeedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Thu 2.30–11.45pm; Fri/Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–11.45pm; Sun 3–11.45pm.

Veg; HW £11.95; T/A. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Variously known as The Indian Lounge, Tipu’s Indian Lounge, or Tippoo Sahib (its previous moniker that lingers on menus and framed certificates on the walls), this stalwart of Rose Street has been serving up traditional curries and Punjabi specialities for three decades. A plasma screen in the entrance offers images of the carpeted dining area one level down from the street; it’s hard to describe the eating spaces as elaborate, with just a few pictures and ornaments, but the dark wood tables and contemporary chairs are smart and the welcome easy and chatty. Starters include pakora, puri and chutt patt – tandoori barbecued chicken wings – while mains offer a run-through of traditional bhunas, dhansaks and vindaloos along with specials where cream, coconut and milder spicing are employed in dishes such as chicken pasanda or kurum ghutala, a dish with its origins in the Moghul empire. + Handily placed city-centre curry spot - Windowless dining room

Itihaas 17–19 Eskbank Road, Dalkeith, EH22 1HD See Around Edinburgh

Kalpna 2/3 St Patrick’s Square, Southside, EH8 9EZ See Vegetarian

Kama Sutra 105–109 Lothian Road, West End, EH3 9AN (Map 4: C2, 34) 0131 229 7747, kamasutrarestaurants.com | Sun–Thu noon–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–midnight. Veg; Pre; HW £14.95; Kids; T/A. £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Lothian Road’s Kama Sutra, part of a small family-run chain, is still a relative newcomer to the city’s dining scene. The interior is stylish with well-spaced dark wood furniture, though the pictorial artwork catches the eye more often than the imported carvings on the walls. The menu embraces traditional dishes as well as the more unusual. A starter of crab tikki is a surprising success and the hara

Mintleaf: towering fusions of Thai and Indian from a new arrival on Leith’s Bernard Street 66 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


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EDINBURGH bhara kebab (deep-fried spiced spinach and vegetable patty) is delicious. A manin course of Himalayan chicken hotpot has a sweet and sour zing to it, and vegetarians are well catered for with the beautifully balanced paneer madlaider and excellent daal tarka marke, flavoured with cumin seeds and rarely highlighted asafoetida. Breads are good too, particularly the pleasingly flaky paratha. Lovers of fiery foods can ask for their dishes ‘desi style’. This in-house codeword should trigger a knowing nod from the efficient staff and a significant increase in the spice level of your meal. Don’t say you weren’t warned. . . . + Interesting range of well-executed dishes - Greasy wine list cover

Kasturi 35–37 Shandwick Place, West End, EH2 4RG (Map 4: B1, 20) 0131 228 2441, kasturi-ed.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5–11pm. Veg; HW £12.95; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £7.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Having your menu explain that the restaurant’s name derives from a substance with a ‘penetrating odour’ extracted from the musk glands of a deer is a bold opening gambit. Thankfully, Kasturi’s bright yet relaxing green and white décor gives an atmosphere of spearmint freshness. The colour scheme feels contemporary, but the management have also been keen to retain the traditional feel of their Shandwick Place premises. The menu itself is an enjoyable thumb-through. Any panic caused by the sheer scale of options is eased by the helpful presence of recommendations for accompanying side dishes and sauces. It’s a nice touch and the tangy pathia sauce recommended to go with the tandoori mixed grill works well with the veritable meat feast that arrives at the table. The mushroom bhajee side dish, suggested to accompany the chicken palak, feels noteworthy enough to be a main dish itself. The attention of those who keep an eye out for more unusual ingredients will be drawn by the presence of catfish on the menu, and the flavours and texture of the fish armritsury starter are winningly complementary. + Elegant dining space - Curiously caramel twang to the pistachio kulfi

Kebab Mahal 7 Nicolson Square, Old Town, EH8 9BH (Map 2A: D5, 61) 0131 667 5214, kebabmahal.co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–midnight; Fri 2pm–2am; Sat noon–2am. Wh; T/A. £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

There’s a reason why Kebab Mahal has been a part of Edinburgh’s dining scene since 1979, and that is its adherence to the maxim ‘keep it simple’. Its café feel and hard-worn chairs and tables give the room an air of the late-night takeaway, an impression re-enforced by the doner kebabs revolving next to a large charcoal grill. But what is also noticeable about the restaurant is its popularity, and that isn’t solely thanks to the low cost of the meals on offer. Rather it’s because the food is simple, unpretentious and satisfying. A starter of lamb tikka makes the most of the smoky grill, citrus-spiced and crisply charred, with gloriously tender lamb. Vegetarian dishes such as mushroom pakoras or vegetable kebabs are a little workaday. However, confirming that this is more of a meat-eater’s den, the chicken madras is tender, with a surprisingly delicate texture, while the sauce delivers a rich and robustly spicy kick. Desserts are plentiful, sticky variations on Indian and Greek classics. + Cheap and authentic - Vegetarians may not be wowed

Khushi’s 10 Antigua Street, New Town, EH1 3NH (Map 1B: D5, 37) 0131 558 1947, khushis. com | Fri/Sat noon–11pm; Sun–Thu noon–10pm. Veg; BYOB (no charge); Kids; Wh; T/A. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

With acres of street-level window, stylish split-level interior and panoply of coloured ceiling lights, the latest incarnation of Edinburgh stalwart Khushi’s is far from your run-ofthe-mill Indian restaurant. The menu has a modern feel to it and a little adventurousness is rewarded. The competing flavours in grilled prawns with mustard and green chillies are expertly balanced and the combination of chicken and lamb in dohra seekh works well. Cashews and peanuts shine through in Bollywood favourite murgh kolhiwara, justifying its recent addition to the mains menu, but the more traditional chicken karahi is an even bigger success. If you make it to dessert, try the deepfried, syrupy gulab jamun. Although unlicensed, there’s a range of freshly squeezed fruit juices, smoothies and lassis, plus the option of BYOB wine and beer at no charge. Things can get hectic at the weekends when the evenings are divided into early and late sittings to accommodate punters for the nearby Playhouse, but the attentive staff will ensure you make any deadlines, theatrical or otherwise. + Inventive, accomplished food in a lively, contemporary setting - Sides and veggie dishes can be a little lacklustre

4 Mezbaan South Indian Restaurant 14/14a Brougham Street, Tollcross, EH3 9JH (Map 3A: C1, 4) 0131 229 5578, mezbaan.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–3pm, 5–11pm. Veg; Pre; HW £11.50; Kids; T/A; D. £12 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

South Indian restaurants offer a refreshing change from the Punjabi-based menus normally on offer in Edinburgh. Old favourites are still available for the less adventurous, but for anybody looking to experiment, Mezbaan is a great place to start. Wheat or gluten intolerant diners will be delighted by giant dosas made with rice and lentil flour. Although offering a plethora of meat and vegetarian dishes, the restaurant specialises in seafood. The fish pollichathu starter is voluminous, taking two banana leaves to wrap it – thankfully, it seems that good things can come in big packages, too. From the main courses, the Goan chicken curry is satisfyingly warming for a cold winter’s night, but delicately spiced enough to be a summertime winner too. Anybody struggling to get their kids to eat vegetables might find the answer in a navrathan korma: it’s hard to believe veg can taste so indulgent. At Mezbaan, the benefits of having a chef who spends four days preparing his own garam masala spice blend are obvious. + A truly epicurean experience - Avoid the draughty seat by the second door

Mintleaf 28 Bernard Street, Leith, EH6 6PP (Map 5A: D1, 26) 0131 555 5552, mintleafrestaurant.co.uk | Mon/Tue 5–11pm; Wed noon–2pm, 5–11pm; Thu/ Fri 5–11pm; Sat noon–2pm, 5–11pm; Sun 5–11pm. Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £10 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

A new addition to the Edinburgh Indian selection is Mintleaf, a Thai and Indian fusion restaurant, occupying an old bank building on Leith’s Bernard Street. The

décor is a flash take on Indian traditional style where flock wallpaper, plush sofa seating, large gilded mirrors and leopard print restrooms set the tone for a look that is more cocktail bar than tandoori restaurant. With years of experience in the Edinburgh dining scene, Mintleaf is the owners’ first fusion restaurant, although the menu could perhaps benefit from offering more dishes which combine the Thai and Indian cooking styles. Thai red curry is particularly accomplished, well-spiced and fragrant, proving the kitchen staff’s prowess in this area of cuisine. Elsewhere the menu offers up dependable favourites from both sides of the spectrum – Thai noodle dishes, vegetable spring rolls, pakora and all the go-to popular curries, which are available with chicken or lamb. + Thai red curry - Fusion menu does not mix the two cuisines enough

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Mithas

7 Dock Place, Leith, EH6 6LU (Map 5A: C1, 8) 0131 554 0008, mithas.co.uk | Tue–Sun noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Mon. Veg; BYOB (no charge; wine only); Kids (under 8); Wh. £26 (lunch) / £26 (dinner)

London may have a number of finedining Indian restaurants but Khushi’s offshoot Mithas is the only place in Edinburgh offering such a high-end experience. The beautifully lit dark wood interior is divided into three sections, one offering a view of the futuristic-looking kitchen. Starters bear little resemblance to standard Indian fare, with not a pakora in sight. Tandoori king prawn with sundried tomato and chilli leaps off the plate, while partridge in a honey and mustard marinade is a sophisticated treat.

Tandoor and kebab mains feature heavily, though curry lovers are not ignored. Even a wonderful flavour-packed Lahori chicken is outshone by tawa mullet which skilfully pulls off the balancing act between fish and spice. Naans are modestly sized, crisp and light. Desserts are, unsurprisingly, rather up-scale: ginger toffee pudding with caramelised pineapple is artfully presented and typical of a venue recognised as Scotland’s Best Indian in 2012. Four different tasting menus allow the kitchen free rein to demonstrate its prowess and the no-charge BYO wine policy partially mitigates the robust final bill. + Classy food and a gorgeous setting make this ‘occasion’ restaurant hard to beat - Those expecting chicken madras and a pint of Cobra will be disappointed

The Mosque Kitchen 31–33 Nicolson Square, Southside, EH8 9BX (Map 2A: D5, 64) 0131 667 4035, mosquekitchen.com | Mon–Sun 11.30am–9.30pm (Fri closed 1–1.45pm). Veg; Kids; Wh; T/A. £7 (lunch) / £7 (dinner)

Quite who is the Mosque Kitchen, who is the Original Mosque Kitchen and who is the original Original Mosque Kitchen is very much up for debate – just ask one of the staff here. However, regardless of who is more authentic, the two venues share a similar principle. Theirs is the simple philosophy of providing plentiful, rib-sticking dishes at low, low prices. Those prices, though, require some sacrifices to be made, and this is immediately evident in the school canteen set-up and the limited choice on offer. However, the team’s enthusiasm is infectious and the diverse clientele

Kasturi INDIAN GOURMET RESTAURANT

A Culinary Experience to Remember

te ifica Cert l l e n c e ce of ex & 2012 2011

*C *City *C City Cen Cent Centre Location* 35-37 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh, EH2 4RG 0131 228 2441 • www.kasturi-ed.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 67


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of students, locals and tourists lend the place a collegiate air. To the menu, then, and while the pakoras suffer from being kept hot and tend towards the spongy, the samosas are crisp, light and fragrant. Of the two chicken curries on offer, the jalfrezi is definitely the winner, outspicing the milder alternative, and also packing a satisfyingly sharp punch. Both are packed with large chunks of meat, and a generous accompaniment of rice. + Cheap and very, very cheerful - Don’t mention “The Original Mosque Kitchen”

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it’s very, very cheap and the servings are plentiful. Secondly, and more importantly, despite the old-school stylings, the food is wholesome and satisfying in a way that puts many ostensibly finer Indian restaurants to shame. The chicken samosas are light and crisp and the lentil dhal is a vibrant turmeric yellow, smooth and buttery, its richness offset with a deep and subtly warming spiciness. By contrast the saag aloo is a more fiery affair, the soft, meltin-the-mouth texture belying a sharply spiced burst of flavour. Your choice may be from a limited menu, but it comes served with plentiful pilau rice or a naan bread. + A meal for two won’t set you back more than £10 - Don’t mention ‘The Mosque Kitchen’

Mother India’s Café

3–5 Infirmary Street, Old Town, EH1 1LT (Map 2A: D4, 55) 0131 524 9801, motherindiascafeedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Wed noon–2pm, 5–10.30pm; Thu noon–10.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. HW £12.50; Kids; T/A. £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Something of a Glasgow stalwart, the Edinburgh branch of Mother India’s Café opened in 2008 and has replicated the popularity of its western sibling. Serving up Indian food in tapas-sized portions ensures the restaurant maintains a buzzing social feel and allows diners to sample a wider range of dishes, even without a large group. Basmati rice and various fluffy naan breads can be used to mop up or cool down the many fresh curries on offer. Waiting staff recommend three or four dishes between two people, giving diners a good run at the extensive, modern and creative menu. Favourites such as onion bhajees and pakoras are produced with as much attention to detail as their more experimental daily specials (the most popular of which have a chance of promotion to the à la carte leagues). It is commonplace to mix old favourites (the chicken tikka is richly spiced, served with salad and coriander chutney) with more adventurous choices. Unfortunately, the tapas concept means table sizes – particularly for parties of two – are pushed to their full capacity. + Inventive specials - Tables too small for the tapas-style concept

Namaste Kathmandu 17–19 Forrest Road, Old Town, EH1 2QH (Map 2A: C4, 39) 0131 220 2273, namastektm.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon– 2.30pm, 5–11.30pm; Sun noon–2.30pm, 5–10.30pm. Veg; BYOB (£2.50; wine only); HW £13.95; Kids; T/A; D. £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Behind big plate-glass windows on the busy Forrest Road, Namaste Kathmandu is an unassuming and clean-cut curry house. The interior wood panelling is

Pataka 190 Causewayside, Southside, EH9 1PH (Map 3C: C4, 28) 0131 668 1167, patakarestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5.30–11.30pm. HW £13.50; Kids (under 3); T/A; D. £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Spice Lounge Kitchen: a great view on the spice of life

decorated with authentic brassware and artwork which hints towards the restaurant’s Nepalese influences. Main course options (tikka masalas, kormas and other usual suspects) can be changed up with chicken, lamb, prawn or vegetable, while Indian staples such as pakora, samosas and naan breads are all well executed. The menu’s Nepalese crossover brings unique options for more adventurous diners. Lamb in particular proves a particularly well-matched partner for the rich but not overly hot Nepalese spice blends. Musical instruments from Nepal including the sarangi and madal adorn

the walls. Knowledgeable staff guide diners through the good value set-price thali lunches or pre-theatre offerings, all of which give a good sample of dishes from the à la carte menu. + Nepalese influence creates an interesting menu - Very busy during festival season

The New Masala Pot 25 Parsons Green Terrace, EH8 7AF See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Noor Takeaway 56 South Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9PS See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Ocean Spice 3 Annfield, Newhaven, Leith, EH6 4JF See Takeaway & Home Delivery

The Original Mosque Kitchen and Café Edinburgh Central Mosque, 50 Potterrow, Southside, EH8 9BT (Map 2A: D5, 66) 0131 662 9111 | T/A. £7 (lunch) / £7 (dinner)

Specialists in Traditional Tandoori, Curries, Shish Kebab, Chicken Tikka & Biryani Parties Catered For Q Phone Orders Welcome Edinburgh Evening News Scottish Curry Award 2009

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Debates over its actual ‘Originality’ still rage, with the (unconnected) Mosque Kitchen over the road claiming copyright, but the Original Mosque Kitchen remains a popular spot, still resolutely lo-fi, ladling curries from school dinner drums on to paper plates. Seating is either in the low-ceilinged servery itself, or on some decking under a tarpaulin outside. That it remains a popular spot, whatever the weather, is down to two things. Firstly,

Pataka has doubled in size over the past year. The Causewayside Indian restaurant has acquired a white room in keeping with their contemporary Charles Rennie Mackintosh aesthetic. The extra space opens the restaurant up for larger parties (outlawed in the main thoroughfare by an ornate booth seating arrangement) and indicates the level of demand at this Bengali eatery. The main courses are familiar favourites, cooked in well-spiced thick sauces, never straying towards too oily. The selection of side-dish curries is more adventurous, meaning diners can double up for a two-part main course or enjoy a tapas-style Indian feast. Assured staples such as naan bread (the peshwari comes highly recommended, as fluffy and sweet as one might hope) and fragrant pilau rice ensure accomplishment across the board. Pataka even received the most Edinburgh of all accolades a few years ago when it was featured in the Ian Rankin novel ‘Set in Darkness’. High praise indeed. + Elegant candle-lit hot plates - Menu could be more adventurous

Punjab’n de Rasoi 122–124 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 5DT (Map 5B: A1, 1) 07865 895022, sikhsanjog. com/blog | Wed/Thu 11am–4pm; Fri/Sat 11am–8pm. Closed Sun–Tue. Veg; BYOB (£1); Kids; Wh; T/A. £7.95 (set lunch) / £8.50 (dinner)

Expectations need to be reset before visiting Punjab’n de Rasoi as it’s a tad different from your typical Indian restaurant. Established in 2010 as a means to empower Sikh women, this community-run café at the bottom of Leith Walk serves traditional, Punjabi cuisine in friendly, if slightly Spartan surroundings. The startlingly cheap evening set menu runs to just five starters and three mains (lunchtime has added snack options) but neither the chicken tandoori salad nor the generously filled veggie samosa disappoint – the latter being particularly enlivened by an accompanying spicy carrot chutney. The home-cooked mains of chicken and fish curry are by no means large but both sauces have a satisfying depth of flavour and leave the mouth tingling. Punjabi favourite gajrela (think sticky carrot cake) is a great way to finish the meal. That both it and the chutney can also be bought to take home is testament to their appeal. + Great-value food means supporting this worthy cause is a no-brainer - Choice is limited, especially in the evenings


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Rivage

126–130 Easter Road, Leith, EH7 5RJ (Map 5B: C4, 26) 0131 661 6888, rivagerestaurant.co.uk | Mon noon–2pm, 5.30–11pm; Wed–Sun 12.30–2pm, 5.30– 11pm. Closed Tue. Veg; BYOB (no charge); HW £12.15; Kids; T/A; D. £7.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Rivage may seem an understated presence from the outside, but there’s nothing low-key about the restaurant’s menu or the kitchen’s execution of it. Husband and wife team Ryad Meeajane and Catherine Thomson look after the kitchen and front of house respectively, and the benefits of this hands-on approach come through in both the food and the atmosphere. Their desire is to ensure a menu that offers only traditional pan-Indian cuisine, with no tikka masala or the like rearing its head. The menu is alive with intriguing options and ingredients – how often have you seen quail on the menu in an Indian restaurant? Among the starters, the sonfiyani machli (fillet of monkfish in a mustard-flavoured marinade) manages to feel delicate and substantial at the same time, a trick repeated with the attractively presented and very tasty chicken biryani. The menu alters seasonally and it’s also worthwhile asking about any offmenu specials that may be available, particularly for vegetarian diners, to whom the restaurant is keen to offer as wide a choice as possible. + Passion for food shines through - Low lighting can make it appear closed

Shapla 87 Easter Road, EH7 5PW See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Sonar Gao 191 Great Junction Street, Leith, EH6 5LQ See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Spice Lounge Kitchen 1 Craigmount View, Corstorphine, EH12 8HG (Map 4: A4, off) 0131 476 9999, spiceloungekitchen.co.uk | Sun–Thu 11am–11pm; Fri/Sat 11am–1am. HW £14.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £6.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Appearances can be deceiving. What looks from the outside to be a cavernous, soulless structure plonked down in the middle of suburban Corstorphine is in fact a stylish, well laid-out restaurant and bar with views to the south of the city and beyond, colourful dÊcor and striking, custom-made light-shades. Starters are surprisingly delicate: a vegetable samosa is light and crispy and chilli squid is perfectly cooked and prettily presented, the plate decorated with swirls and dots of spicy sauce. Of the mains, dhaba chicken trumps lamb awadh, though both fail to live up to their two-chilli heat rating – something to keep in mind when ordering. A side of yellow lentil-based dahl panchnil is a good choice from the short vegetarian menu and the peshwari naan comes already quartered for easy sharing. With a well-priced wine list and tapas-style options in the bar, there’s no sense that you’re compromising by not travelling to the city centre for your curry fix. + Accomplished food in snazzy surroundings - Portion sizes can be modest

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The Spice Pavilion

3a1 Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 6QG (Map 1A: D3, 37) 0131 467 5506, thespicepavilion.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 2pm, 5–11pm. Veg; HW £13.95; Kids; T/A. £8.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Having navigated the vertiginous steps,

the rich red walls, exposed brickwork, warm wooden floors and even warmer greeting of the Spice Pavilion await. Cristina Khan greets each guest by name, and does everything in her power to ensure that you will want for nothing. The sense here is one of sophistication – which is just as true of the menu, where even well-known classics reveal previously unexpected depth and complexity. A starter of samosa is far from the usual deep-fried excess, and a much more measured creation of mildly spiced fresh vegetables in crisp pastry, arriving with a selection of chutneys. Alternatively, the salmon puri is a sticky, earthily spiced burst of heat nicely offset with a dash of lemon. Mains of Bombay chana masala, with its sweet and sour combination of chickpeas and syrupy gingery sauce, or murgh seylonse, its soft velvety sauce masking a surprisingly fiery heat, are almost outshone by a side of saag aloo – an explosion of citrus, spice, salt and dry heat. Desserts are mainly bought in, so try the exceptions in the form of home-made pistachio kulfi or gulab jamun. + All the comforts of home cooking with added finesse - Too refined an experience to roll into after a few pints

Suruchi 14a Nicolson Street, Old Town, EH8 9DH (Map 2A: D4, 60) 0131 556 6583, suruchirestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm; Sun 5–11pm. Veg; Pre; BYOB (£2.50; beer £1); HW £12.50; Kids; T/A; D. £5.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Ideally placed to capitalise on the pretheatre crowd spilling over the road from the Festival Theatre, Suruchi has carved a niche for itself that has quite cheerily survived the recent change of ownership. The light and airy upstairs room is brightly decorated with a plethora of photographs, mirrors and ephemera, evoking a sense of summer even on the coldest Edinburgh evening. This lightness of touch is reflected in the menu too, with starters ranging from a succulent, almost sweet reshmi kebab, to a round of vegetable samosas that are wholesome, handmade and crisp, as well as light on oil. Of the main courses on offer, the Nirvana is a tremendous blend of warming star anise, coconut, smoky chargrilled chicken and just a touch of heat. By contrast, the achari murgh is less immediately distinctive, but is enlivened by the occasional sharp burst of lime pickle. Breads are not to be missed: the garlic and peshwari naans are beautifully light yet richly flavoured. Desserts are mainly of the frozen variety, but the mataka kulfi makes for a refreshing finish. + Warm welcome matches the sunny dÊcor - Guaranteed theatre diners may mean a lack of inventiveness Read former owner Hermann Rodrigues’ Table Talk feature on page 66.

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Tanjore

6–8 Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9HX (Map 3C: D1, 6) 0131 478 6518, tanjore. co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm; Sat/Sun noon–3.30pm, 5–10pm. Veg; Pre; BYOB (no charge); Kids; T/A. £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

When you head to Tanjore, and it’s heartily recommended you do, there are two reasons to bring an appetite. First, this is where to sample the finest Southern Indian cuisine in Edinburgh. Second, you’ll be tempted to order everything on the enticing, extensive menu. Narrowing things down, a starter of lamb pepper fry is a good place

to start. Visually, it may not be the most exciting repast: a small dome of a dish, accompanied by a side salad. Appearances are not everything though, and this blend of soft lentils, crispy onion, peppers and meltingly soft shards of lamb is sharply spiced and warming. If it’s appearances that you’re after, then pretty much any variety of dosa will fit the bill. These giant, theatrical crêpes dwarf the plates they’re served upon, stuffed with your choice of fillings and accompanied by several chutneys that range from hot, garlicky tomato, through tart mint, coconut and chilli to, finally, the majestic sambar. The dishes are deceptively filling, but try to find room for a small dessert of delicate gulab jamun in rose water and saffron syrup. + Exceptional quality at wallet-friendly prices - CafÊ-style surroundings belie the quality of the food on offer

The Tanjore - bringing the taste of authentic, home-cooked southern Indian food to Edinburgh

10 to 10 In Delhi 67 Nicolson Street, Old Town, EH8 9BZ (Map 2A: D5, 65) 07536 757770, 10to10indelhi.com | Mon–Sun 10am– 10pm. Veg; Kids; T/A. £5.95 (set lunch) / £6 (dinner)

Come in and try our delicious Dosai and Curries!

Busy with warm decoration and friendly staff, the tables of this Indian cafÊ are packed with regulars who the staff know by name. Chef and owner Alieu Badjan spent years in big restaurants but is now dedicated to serving the home-style food he knows best. A quick glance at the menu establishes a no-nonsense commitment to good value, with the menu’s most expensive individual dish (a platter featuring samosa, pakora, naan bread, two curries, couscous and salad) available for less than £6. At lunchtimes,

6–8 Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9HX • (0131) 478 6518 www.tanjore.co.uk Hit in th listed e & Dr Eating i Guid nking e 20 12

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EDINBURGH

GUIDES

1QW (Map 3C: D3, 24) 0131 667 5046, voujonedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 5.30–11.30pm. Veg; HW £12.95; Kids; Wh; T/A; D. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Despite sitting at the bottom of Newington Road, Voujon has a decidedly slick, city centre feel, with white tablecloths and angular contemporary crockery helping it avoid a local tandoori image. The primarily Bengali and North Indian menu features a solid number of usual suspects alongside a scattering of well-placed adventurous options. There’s a precision in the cooking that makes the dishes more fresh than fiery. Chicken is fried in spring onions and green chilli, helping to infuse a number of the familiar main courses, such as the bhuna, with more fragrance and freshness than usual. Some of the menu’s more outside-thebox offerings feature as side dishes that can easily be mixed and matched for a tapas-style dining experience. Vegetarians are well catered for across the board and the accomplished selection of bread and rice options leave no stone unturned – the ghee bat basmati rice, fried in Indian butter and fresh onions, is a particular highlight. + Ghee bat basmati rice - A larger selection of adventurous choices would be welcome

Zest

Vinyasa: bringing bargain Indian lunches and subtle spicing to the Old Town

their speciality is the ‘roti roll’ – any curry of your choice wrapped up in a roti flatbread and served with salad for under £3. Given the pricing, you would be forgiven for underestimating the quality of cooking. Far from cheap and cheerful, the curries are accomplished and would not taste out of place in a high-end Indian restaurant. Fresh herbs and spices are well handled by a chef with a keen understanding of flavour combinations. The café also excels in desserts, with the homemade mini cheesecake selection proving as popular as the curries themselves. + Great value home-style food - The space is a bit cramped

Tuk Tuk 1 Leven Street, EH3 9LH (Map 3A: B1, 12) 0131 228 3322, tuktukonline.com | Mon– Sun noon–10.30pm. Veg; BYOB (no charge). £12.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

A relative newcomer to the Tollcross restaurant mix, Tuk Tuk hit the ground running and has quickly established itself as a popular spot for a pre-theatre bite or (thanks to the no-corkage BYOB policy) a lively dinner with friends. Having remodelled the long-vacant premises of a beauty salon, the young owners set out to deliver modern Indian

street food and railway station classics. The corner restaurant is large and bright, its three adjoining rooms filled with tables constructed from old scaffolding poles and other reclaimed items. It’s all very Slumdog chic. The menu helpfully advises selecting three dishes per person, but the temptation to over-order is huge, with playful names like chicken lollipops, bun kebabs and massala chips vying for attention. Chicken and lamb are the main players here, with the only fish option – Bengali fishcakes – slightly let down by a lack of spice. Vegetarian options are plentiful, with lentils, vegetables and paneer all present and correct, but a highlight is the egg paratha – spicy omelette wrapped in a huge paratha bread and served with piquant tamarind chutney. With imported Indian soft drinks, lassis by the jug and an alcove of homemade goodies to purchase on the way out, Tuk Tuk does a great job of bringing the taste of modern India to Edinburgh. + Another side of Indian cuisine – modern, fresh and inventive - More fish options would be welcome

Vinyasa 34 St Mary’s Street, EH1 1SX (Map 2B: B3, 20) 0131 556 6776, vinyasaedinburgh. co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5.30–

10.30pm Veg; HW £14.95; Kids; T/A. £6.50 (set lunch)

Vinyasa is a new kid on the block, opening its doors in February 2013. The décor is fresh and modern, with limegreen walls, pink flock booth seating and cushioned dining chairs ensuring a comfortable rather than slouchy feel. Lunchtime diners can enjoy a two-course set menu for just £6.50, a price which almost undersells the quality of the chefs at work. The menu is a familiar affair although the accomplishment in the kitchen lifts it beyond the ordinary. The saag paneer is particularly impressive, with homemade cottage cheese and a sauce which makes great use of a small number of fresh spices. Sauces always fall on the correct side of spicy – tasty and flavoursome as opposed to fiery – and also take pride in avoiding the too-oily accusation that is often levelled at Indian restaurants. All the usual accoutrements (naan bread, pilau rice, raita) are well-executed and in keeping with Vinyasa’s high standards. + Saag paneer - No handrail on steep staircase to the restrooms

Voujon 107 Newington Road, Southside, EH9

15 North St Andrew Street, New Town, EH2 1HJ (Map 1B: B5, 44) 0131 556 5028, zest-restaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 2pm, 5.30–11pm. Veg; HW £13.50; T/A; D. £7.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Don’t be put off by the tram works outside: Zest is very much open for business. Inside it’s an oasis of crisp white tablecloths, neatly laid out cutlery and smiling, helpful staff. Starters are familiar but don’t suffer for that. There’s a decent king prawn puri, the sauce rich with coriander and tamarind, and the chana purée is well spiced. Things get more interesting with mains such as the unusual tandoori baingan dupiaza and the intriguingly named Sir Walter Scott lamb sarisha. The former is intensely flavoured with smoky aubergine and works brilliantly; the latter adds spring onions to slow-cooked lamb in a mustard sauce and is equally hard to fault. An accompaniment of Bombay aloo is dry, spicy and delicious. Alongside these and other surprise offerings (lamb shank, anyone?) the menu also takes in traditional favourites like bhuna, rogan josh and madras in the usual meat/veggie configurations. + Consistently well-cooked food from an original and entertaining menu - Outside, York Place looks like Kate Adie should be reporting from it

The one & only

Mosque kitchen Curry in a hurry Delicious freshly prepared curries, samosas and BBQ kebabs.We also cater for vegetarians. 33 Nicolson Square, Edinburgh EH8 9BX Open 7 days 11.30am-9.30pm (Open festival 11am-10pm) (Closed Friday 1pm-1.45pm for prayer) 0131 667 4035 • mosquekitchen@btconnect.com Hitlisted in The List Eating & Drinking Guide 10/11 70 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


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ITALIAN

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EDINBURGH

ITALIAN In association with

Edinburgh has a great number and variety of Italian restaurants, as befits the long-standing affinity between Scotland and Italy. Family-run is almost a byword here, with establishments ranging from cheap and cheerful to classy dining using the finest Scottish produce. From creamy risotto to crispy pizza, spicy spaghetti puttanesca to hearty lasagne, this is one of the best sections to head to for comfort food that will please the whole family. Reviewers: Frances Bentley, Barry Cooper, Colin Renton

Al Fresco 22 Union Place, New Town, EH1 3NQ (Map 1B: D5, 35) 0131 556 7771, giulianos.co.uk | Mon–Sat 5–10.30pm. Closed Sun. Pre; HW £13.80; Kids; T/A. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

There’s something of a Giuliano’s theme to this stretch of Union Place, with the original restaurant, the takeaway next door and this incarnation just a few doors down. Don’t be too alarmed by the name: Edinburgh’s brisk easterly wind is kept at bay by full-length windows and there’s always plenty of warmth from up-beat staff. Regarded as the ‘rustic’ version of the original Giuliano’s, Al Fresco is also the venue more frequently utilised for group bookings. A good value pre-theatre menu plays to the Playhouse crowd, although this can mean that it gets a bit quiet when the doors open over the road. The menu tends towards comfort rather than adventure, with cold and warm antipasti, a dozen pasta options, generous mains of steak, veal, stuffed chicken breast and lamb, plus a line-up of crowd pleasing desserts from gelato to hot chocolate fudge cake. [See also entry for Giuliano’s below.]

Al Dente 139 Easter Road, Leith, EH7 5QA (Map 5B: C4, 29) 0131 652 1932, al-denterestaurant.co.uk | Mon 5.45–10pm; Tue–Thu noon–2pm, 5.45–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–2pm, 5.45–10pm. Closed Sun. Veg; Pre; HW £13.80; Kids. £13 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Al Dente is a small, rustically decorated venue that boasts two draws: country-wide Italian cooking from Chef Antonio and an enthusiastic Italian welcome from patron Graziano. The menu is seasonal and aspires to give the diner the whole of Italy, with dishes like Roman saltimbocca, sweet and heady with Parma ham and

sage, or cassata Siciliana (a traditional marzipan-covered sponge with candied peel). Options like Neapolitan pasta stuffed with sea-bass or traditional Puglian orecchiette served with a lamb ragu show off Italy’s range of flavours. Occasionally the cooking misses its ambitious targets, but after a few glasses of reasonably priced Montepulciano, and some energetic storytelling from Graziano, you could be in a forgiving mood. The highlight of the month is the popular themed evening: a one-off menu showcasing a city or region with matching wines. Often the ingredients are flown in (sometimes by Graziano himself) from Italy that day. It is here that Al Dente can shine, with unique meals and their stories for diners wanting something just a little bit different. + Real breadth in the menu caters for most tastes - The odd lapse in concentration mars an otherwise authentic experience

Alla Romana 208 Bruntsfield Place, EH10 4DE (Map 3A: A4, 34) 0131 221 1777, tonymacaroni.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 10.30pm

Occupying an enviable position in a former bank building near Holy Corner (latterly home to a branch of Howies), Tony Macaroni’s new venture Alla Romana has seen the interior refurbished in the style of an upmarket Roman street café, all marble and leather. Tony Macaroni is the latest west-of-Scotland restaurant group to try their luck over in the east, attempting to tap into Bruntsfield’s affluent casual dining scene by offering up ‘pizza al taglio all Romana’ (pizza by the slice from Rome). Despite the cod-Italian name, they take the pizza process seriously. Dough spends 4 days rising to ensure a crispy base, and selections are split in two, designed to be paired with a red or white wine (all Italian naturally). [Not open in time for full review at time of going to press.]

Amarone 13 St Andrew Square, New Town, EH2 2BH (Map 1B: A6, 47) 0131 523 1171, amaronerestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Fri 8am–midnight; Sat/Sun 10am–midnight. Veg; Pre; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £13.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Amarone is fighting to become a go-to venue for all things Italian on George Street. From the suited postwork crowd to hungry shoppers, the cavernous former bank has more than enough room in its 200-plus covers. The restaurant has an open pizza kitchen and counter where you can scoff an early-evening slice, as well as cosier upholstered booths in which to quaff chianti and tuck into the broad menu. There is even private dining in the old safe. Diners who want to make a night of it can try the house cocktail creations before dinner. Big appetites are sated by focaccia bread starters or the bulky, buttery calzone, stuffed with mushrooms and cheese. More refined tastes are treated to dishes like wellprepared carpaccio or joyous sweet queen scallops with umami-rich squid ink tagliolini. Desserts are limited in number, but the panna cotta is a quivering gem: milky vanilla offset by a sweet-sharp coulis to bring a meal to a close with a pleasing contrast. + Precise, crowd-pleasing cooking - You can feel lost amidst the crowds

Anima 11 Henderson Row, New Town, EH3 5DH See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Bar Roma 39a Queensferry Street, West End, EH2 4RA (Map 4: B1, 16) 0131 226 2977, barroma.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–11pm; Fri/ Sat noon–midnight. Sun 12.30–11pm. Veg; Pre; HW £14.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £12.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Family-run Bar Roma is a place to watch waiters conduct crowds of obliging clientele bellow ‘Happy Birthday’ to their nearest and dearest. It is a bustling, friendly environment, decorated with classical kitsch and even boasting an olive tree. The wide space comprises long tables to the front with couplefriendly spots near the kitchen. The menu has a spread of the usual antipasti but the execution of these starters can be hit and miss. The restaurant does come into its own with the main courses, however. Skip the pizza and go for interesting pasta dishes like the Italian sausage with brandy and nutmeg or a spread of secondi that will fulfil even the most ardent meat lover’s wish. There are touches of traditional Italy in the desserts: the coppa al amarena, a generous cup of soft homemade ice-cream with earthy marinated cherries, is a particular success. ChefPatron Mario Cugini also knows his wine. A list of bin ends is on offer and for the oenophiles there may be a hidden gem to accompany the food and fun. + The selected bin end list provides some real wine finds - Not an intimate venue

Café Domenico 30 Sandport Street, Leith, EH6 6EP (Map 5A: C2, 10) 0131 467 7266, cafedomenico.co.uk | Mon 10am–3pm; Tue/Wed 10am–3pm, 6–9pm; Thu/Fri 10am–3pm, 6–10pm; Sat 11am–10pm; Sun 11am–4pm. Veg; HW £12.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £10 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

In a tiny shop front in the midst of Leith’s gastronomic heart sits this unassuming family-run Italian restaurant. Despite its bijou dimensions, being cheek-by-jowl with other patrons isn’t a problem when you’re surrounded by cheerful locals enjoying their mandatory post-dinner limoncello. There’s nothing overwrought on the menu and dishes chime correctly with the restaurant’s Sicilian heritage. Being in Leith the seafood bias is strong, but all the ingredients are treated with respect – baked with seasonal vegetables and a judicious drizzling of olive oil. Starters lack real imagination, but the pasta dishes are a different story with some carefully sourced meats taking centre stage. Desserts are the usual Italian stalwarts, but are worth suffering an extra belt notch for, especially if you’re going to brave a shot of one of the many imported digestifs. Italian throughand-through, there are no real surprises but it doesn’t stop a loyal following from enjoying the intimate, atmospheric surroundings. + No-nonsense Italian food served with panache - Lacks a touch of imagination

4

Centotre

103 George Street, New Town, EH2 3ES (Map 1A: B5, 59) 0131 225 1550, centotre.com | Mon–Thu 7.30am–10pm; Fri 7.30am–11pm; Sat 8am–11pm; Sun 9am–9pm. Veg; Pre; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £14.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The pillars holding aloft the Georgian ceiling at Centotre and clever use of booths provide nooks and crannies for romantic tête-à-têtes and broader spaces for parties and business lunches. There is a clear focus on the ingredients here: mozzarella, tomatoes and other delicacies are delivered from Italy once a week. Service starts with breakfast at 7.30am,

4 HITLIST ITALIAN

4 Centotre A classy George Street venue serving select Italian food with commitment and sensitivity. 4 Cucina A riot of colour, rich flavours and Italian idiosyncracy in the jazzy Missoni Hotel. 4 Locanda de Gusti Staying honest to the culinary values and gastronomic first principles of their Neapolitan roots. 4 Nonna's Kitchen A friendly, caring Morningside venue that get's granny's discerning nod of approval. 4 Origano Small, friendly neighbourhood pizzeria that stands out by doing the simple things well. where bacon rolls are a staple, and a good selection of sweet treats like a wellspiced carrot cake are available during the day for those who want to pop in for a good strong cup of Arabica coffee. Lunch and dinner provide a broad Italian mix. Antipasti plates are typical, but mains have real character: the contadino orecchiette with fennel-flavoured sausage and creamy mushrooms feels like it should be eaten on a hillside in Tuscany, while meat dishes like the veal with spaghettini arrabbiata could come straight from the streets of Milan. Quality service, a well-stocked, well-priced wine list and separate vegetarian and children’s menus all add to the feeling that you are being looked after. + Great service that remembers the small things - Sometimes tries to be all things to all people

4

Cucina

Hotel Missoni, 1 George IV Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1AD (Map 2A: C3, 15) 0131 240 1666, hotelmissoni.com | Mon–Thu 6.30–10am, 12.30–3pm, 6–10.30pm; Fri 6.30–10am, 12.30–3pm, 6–11pm; Sat 7–11am, 12.30–3pm, 6–11pm; Sun 7–11am, 12.30–3pm, 6–10.30pm. Veg; Pre; HW £19.50; Kids; Wh. £14.95 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

From the moment you pass through the chic bar en route to the restaurant upstairs, your senses will be assailed by a riot of colour, rich flavours and music shared with the rest of the building. Seats covered in fabrics from the Missoni fashion house, tableaux depicting its patterns, and even the frames of the bathroom mirrors shout out Italian style. Trendily clad waiters buzz around, theatrically explaining the provenance of the olive oil, topping up wine glasses with a flourish, and delivering imaginative dishes. Cucina’s take on an Italian staple has mozzarella paired with warm tomato jam and crispy basil leaves, while alternative starters include a harmonious match of scallops with cauliflower purée and caper sauce. Pasta and risotto dishes join mains including The List Eating & Drinking Guide 71


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GLASGOW tender duck breast with pearl barley and a rich jus, or monkfish with a hint of mustard in the accompanying sauce. A tempting dessert selection includes poached pear with honey ice-cream and Amaretto jelly, and a ‘chocolate tasting’ which offers multiple styles and textures – just like Cucina itself. + Fantastic food in stylish surroundings - Unusual music selection

19 Cockburn Street, Old Town, EH1 1BP See Bars & Pubs

sausage in a rich tomato sauce (flavoured with homemade chilli from the mother of partner Angelo Lordi). The dishes expected from an Italian restaurant are unpretentious and generous: piled plates of pasta and risotto that hit all the usual flavour notes, plus the standard pizzas. There is a big meat section to choose from, including a chateaubriand for under £25. Desserts are rich and, for those not interested in tiramisu, Musselburgh-made Luca’s ice-cream will round off the meal nicely, as will a shot of well-made espresso. + Honest Italian food in the heart of the city - The generosity can leave you struggling to finish dessert

La Favorita

Giuliano’s on the Shore

• 321 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8SA • 350 Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4QL See Takeaway & Home Delivery

1 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6JA (Map 5A: C1, 13) 0131 554 5272, giulianos.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. HW £14.50; Kids; T/A. £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Giuliano’s

For two decades, Guliano’s on the Shore has attracted tourists, a band of regulars, and budding pizza chefs keen to try their hand in the kitchen, which sits at the rear of a dining area split into two bright and airy rooms. Waterside dining is possible when there is sunshine on Leith. Cheery waiters clad in tartan waistcoats are happy to explain the locally sourced fish specials as well as a lengthy menu boasting a host of traditional favourites and bolstered by house specialities. Starters feature a flavour-packed caprese salad featuring tomatoes and creamy mozzarella topped with anchovies. If making a choice proves difficult, bruschettone – a selection of toppings on toast – might be the answer. Competing for space on the

Divino Enoteca 5 Merchant Street, Old Town, EH1 2QD See Bars & Pubs

Ecco Vino

18–19 Union Place, New Town, EH1 3NQ (Map 1B: D5, 34) 0131 556 6590, giulianos.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– midnight. Pre; HW £14.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

There’s a reason Giuliano’s has been a stalwart of the Edinburgh Italian scene since 1990. There is a vibrant buzz to the long, sprawling restaurant, which is effectively two adjoined rooms decorated with pictures representing each of the 22 regions of Italy. The size and breadth of the space mirrors the large menu of classics. Traditional appetisers like bruschetta and olives sit alongside more interesting hot antipasti like a spicy salsiccia con sugo, Italian

La Lanterna Family run Italian restaurant

La Lanterna is a cosy basement restaurant with all the charm of a true Italian ristorante. All food is freshly prepared and cooked to order, using locally sourced produce to create a menu packed full of time-honoured favourites. Toni and Ciccio’s only aim is to please, and their 41 years of experience in the restaurant business means you will be in very capable hands. 83 Hanover Street, Edinburgh 0131 226 3090 www.lalanternaedinburgh.co.uk

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Amarone (page 71): New Town proof that banks are good for some things

menu with familiar pizzas and pastas is a range of meat dishes including Giulano’s take on meatballs, which are enhanced by rosemary, garlic and mushrooms, and served with rice. Or try a risotto laced with smoked pancetta and Gorgonzola. Desserts include sorbets and Luca’s icecreams, or more substantial offerings such as profiteroles and a light, Italianstyle apple pie. + Long-serving staff and established menu - May be too traditional for some

Gusto 135 George Street, New Town, EH2 4JH (Map 1A: B5, 47) 0131 225 2555, gustorestaurants.uk.com | Sun–Thu noon–10.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. HW £14.95; Kids; Wh. £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Gusto’s location at the west end of George Street makes it an ideal daytime halt for shoppers and a popular evening venue for diners of all ages. Italian film icons gaze from a gallery of monochrome prints that spans one wall, while the facing mirrors add light to a room that features tables in a range of shapes and sizes. Friendly waiting staff and a well-drilled kitchen offer slick service and food displaying a high degree of imagination. Examples are a tiger prawn starter in a rich tomato sauce and baby scallops in hazelnut butter complemented by an avocado accompaniment. Alongside the pizza and pasta options are mains that range from succulent steaks packed with flavour to a not-so-typical moist chicken breast that is delivered to the table then cut from the pastry in which it has been cooked – side dishes are extra. It’s worth leaving room for desserts such as a traditional Italian affogato and the less well-known bombalini, an indulgent dish of hot mini doughnuts served with dipping chocolate. + Lively atmosphere without being too noisy - Limited space between some tables

Italian Kitchen 18–24 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LY (Map 1A: B2, 10) 0131 315 2860, italian-kitchen.net | Mon–Thu 5–10pm; Fri–Sun noon–11pm. HW £13.95; Kids. £17.50 (lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

Stockbridge is lucky: it has it all. Good bars, interesting restaurants and plenty of

well-heeled folk to fill them. The Italian Kitchen is a long-serving member of this community, where staff seem to know everyone – and if they don’t then they’ll treat you like they do anyway. Italian restaurants in the UK are not usually noted for their bravery and willingness to test an audience, but here offal and unusual cuts of meat are being served, alongside some more usual suspects. The kitchen’s success is evident in dishes like the game penne, where the richness of the meat marries well with a lighter sauce. Pizzas are also excellent, light and thin with well-judged toppings. The wine list is short and safe, but the wines are priced reasonably and give enough variety to show off the food. Puddings hit the usual Italian restaurant marks, a pleasingly boozy tiramisu and an unusually light zabaglione nicely ending a room full of celebratory, romantic and enjoyable meals. + Daring dishes and interesting presentation - Some combinations don’t quite hit the mark

Jamie’s Italian Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, City Centre, EH2 2LR (Map 1A: D5, 64) 0131 202 5452, jamiesitalian.com | Mon– Sat noon–11pm; Sun noon–10.30pm. Veg; HW £15.35; Kids; Wh. £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

There’s something a bit special about Jamie Oliver’s new venture on George Street. Sitting in the splendidly renovated Assembly Rooms, the restaurant is artfully divided into clever little nooks and crannies, with bread stations, meat bars, pasta stations and a large pass set around the restaurant, transforming the space into more intimate sections. From the couple enjoying an anniversary to a group of girls on a hen night, the staff are sympathetic to the needs of diners and have got the hang of seating appropriately. The menu is similarly large, but with plenty of diversity and flexibility – joyful plates of antipasti whiz around to tables, with thoughtful sourcing evident as long as you don’t mind hearing that everything is ‘Jamie’s favourite’. Classic antipasti is difficult to get wrong, but hard to get superlative and Jamie’s is an admirable version. Pastas are a focus here, it being made fresh every day with specials to show off seasonal produce such as venison, a


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particular delight with its perfect ribbons of tagliatelle. + Quality, choice and service previously missing from George Street - Hearing about St Jamie’s plans for European domination

La Lanterna 83 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1EE (Map 1A: D4, 87) 0131 226 3090, lalanternaedinburgh.co.uk | Tue–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. HW £15.95 (litre); Kids; T/A. £14 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

There are times you wonder if traditional Italian restaurants might be under threat as sharply lit chains and sophisticated, upmarket alternatives move in. With its wood panelling, chairs from the 80s and music from the 50s, La Lanterna, tucked down just below street level on the busy restaurant alley of Hanover Street, shines a light for good old fashioned, warm hospitality. Hostess Toni Zaino and her attentive, good-humoured front-of-house team ensure you’re seated, wined, dined and offered black pepper from the twofoot-long grinder. Over 25 pasta dishes form the heart of the menu, from the deep savouriness of aubergine, tomato and anchovy linguine Lanterna to the steaming sweetness of linguine alla vongole in its foil-wrapped package. For the semi-open kitchen at the back of the room it’s all tried, tested and reliably tasty; ditto the house wines, the starters of calamari or crostini, the desserts of cassata or tiramisu. Whether you’ve been coming here for 30 years or you’re in town for the night, you can’t help but be embraced by the timeless values of pleasant food and caring service. + You’re looked after. Proper - Death by double cream pasta sauces

4

Locanda de Gusti

7–11 East London Street, Broughton, EH7 4BN (Map 1B: C4, 16) 0131 558 9581, locandadegusti.com | Tue–Fri noon– 2.30pm, 5–10.30pm; Sat noon–11pm. [Closed Sun/Mon in winter.] Veg; Pre; HW £17.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £12.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Italian restaurants in Edinburgh can sometimes be a touch uninspiring, but thankfully we have restaurants like Locandi de Gusti who are happy to tread a different, more authentic path. The menu here reflects the Neapolitan origins of the owners, with a focus on the sympathetic treatment of seafood and vegetables. This approach suits the more bohemian feel of Broughton Street, and the relaxed atmosphere is certainly in keeping with other venues in the area. Starters allow the produce to shine, with a prosciutto and melon starter lifted out of the humdrum by perfectly sweet

melon and splendid ham. A seafood starter of squid is also deftly handled, and handmade pasta is another real delight, with seasonality playing an important part. Orecchiette with anchovies, chilli, kale, ricotta and olive oil is a particular star and shows off the quality of the cooking here. All the delights of the menu mean fitting in a pudding might be a struggle, but make sure you get a chance to try the apple torta, definitely worth opening that extra button for. + A true taste of one of the world’s most vibrant cuisines - Knowing no matter how hard you try, you can’t eat everything

Locanda Marina 61 Cockburn Street, Old Town, EH1 1BS (Map 2A: D2, 7) 0131 622 7447, facebook. com/locandamarina | Mon–Sat 8am– 10pm; Sun 9.30am–10pm. HW £14.90. £9 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Locanda Marina is the refurbished and reinvented version of Café Marina, a wee venue of integrity and above-average food that’s fondly held by many who live, work and frequent the tourist-filled streets around the Royal Mile. Marina Crolla remains at the helm, a friendly hostess ever ready with a suggestion regarding the merits of the dish of the day or the style of coffee you’re clearly Coffee & Scones served ready to drink. The new look is clean and contemporary, with a full-length glass every morning front, pale wood tables and matching shelves, long tan leather stools and stylish black-and-white photos on the Lunch/Pre-Theatre walls. The menu has expanded from the offered from our Café days to reflect the advance into evening opening, with lunchtime panini GREAT VALUE now joined by a wider array of nibbles, Daytime menu snacks and mains including spezzatino (Italian stew), well-judged salads and a daily pasta special – polpette is typical. Add in some pleasant wines, properly good coffee and a bit of home baking: for those loyal locals and discerning visitors, this is a location to be cherished EDG13-Nonna's Kitchen-QR.indd 1 in central Edinburgh. + Just ask for the daily special – it’s reliably good - Only six tables

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A la Carte served all day including Fresh Pasta’s, Italian staple dishes, sourced Fish & Seafood Gift Vouchers available now

09/04/2013 11:5

Nonna’s Kitchen

45 Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4AZ (Map 3B: A2, 4) 0131 466 6767, nonnas-kitchen.co.uk | Tue–Sun 10am– 2.45pm, 5–10pm. Closed Mon. Pre; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh. £13 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Owner Gino Stornaiuolo named his establishment in tribute to his two grandmothers, whose faces adorn the walls of a room in which space has been well exploited. However, it is the contribution of his parents that brings the restaurant to life. While father works his magic in the kitchen, mother

Inspired by classic Italian cuisine. The freshest, seasonal ingredients. Hearty flavours. The best of the best simply and authentically prepared.

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

1 George IV Bridge Edinburgh EH1 1AD +44(0) 131 220 6666 cucina.edinburgh@hotelmissoni.com www.hotelmissoni.com

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 73


ITALIAN

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

TABLE Talk JUDY GONZALEZ VIVA MEXICO In 1983 my husband Julio was in Mexico and I was here in Scotland with a small daughter and very little hope of making a living, so I enrolled on a short college course called ‘How to Start Your Own Business’. Armed with recipes from Julio’s family and some market research, we then made the life-changing decision to open a Mexican restaurant. After searching central Edinburgh for a suitable location, and raising a little money, I found a basement property that was derelict but within our tiny budget. We took a deep breath and launched Viva Mexico. We opened on 2 August 1984 and had 16 diners that first day. It felt very busy, but a week later the Festival began and we learned what busy was – we had queues out the door. We learned on our feet and, little by little, built up a business that is still going strong today, nearly 30 years later. We’d accidentally chosen to tap into a growing demand here in Scotland for authentic dining experiences from other countries. People had begun travelling across the globe on holiday and were looking for different things when they went out to eat. Now, in a new century, the food scene is very different from when we entered it. Ingredients that were so hard to source then are commonplace now and avocados, coriander, limes and chiles are sold in every supermarket. That initial demand for more exotic cuisines has evolved too. Old favourites are always being requested, but the latest fashion here is street food. Thankfully though, Mexico is famous for its vibrant, tasty street food, so on trips back there, we’ve gathered a more modern range of dishes, which have inspired our new tapas-style section, the Taqueria. QJudy Gonzalez is the owner of Viva Mexico (see page 76). vivamexico.co.uk

74 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

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charms a crop of regulars, tourists and others discovering an area of the city where recent openings have addressed historically limited culinary options. Traditional starters such as baked aubergine and mozzarella in a flavourpacked tomato sauce are enhanced by options that could include scallops, black pudding and pesto on a specials list equal in length to the menu. Among the mains is a moist chicken breast in wine and lemon with risotto, or a daily selection of fish that may include a linguine with king prawns (the lady of the house will even offer to shell them) and an optional dash of chilli that raises the dish several notches. To finish, it’s difficult to see past a creamy panna cotta served with raspberry sauce and fresh fruit. The nonnas would surely approve. + Friendly service and impressive list of specials - Often so busy that you’ll have to book

4

Origano

277 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8PD (Map 5B: A3, 5) 0131 554 6539, origano-leith.co.uk | Mon–Thu 5–10pm; Fri 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10.30pm; Sat 12.30–10.30pm; Sun 1–10pm. Veg; BYOB (£3; Mon/Tue only); HW £12.50; Kids; T/A; D. £12.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

Origano is a bijou alternative to the modern, mass-production Italian restaurant. Although styled as a New York trattoria, the cosy dining room would not be out of place in Greenwich Village or Sienna. Stripped wooden floors and ceilings, simple furniture and smiling staff give the small, warm room in the middle of Leith Walk a friendly, welcoming vibe. Food with lively and fresh flavours comes with portioning largesse. Heaped antipasti platters containing olives, meats, cheeses and freshly baked bread are intended to be shared. A handful of pasta staples and salads are available, but this is foremost a pizzeria. Served on wooden boards, the hand-made dough (including freshly made gluten-free with a day’s notice) is baked crisp with a wide variety of topping combinations and a sixteen-inch large will easily feed two if not more. Desserts are old-school, but the homemade tiramisu is truly a pick-me-up, and a single portion with two spoons and a linger over the espresso makes for an ideal end to the night. + Handcrafted pizzas in a warm, convivial atmosphere - Risk of over-ordering

Papoli 244a Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8DT See Round the World

breakfast right through to late night it is likely QuattroZero will prove a hit for those looking for speedy, inexpensive food in the West End. + Excellent-value pizzas - Rest of the menu is less interesting

The Roamin’ Nose 14 Eyre Place, Stockbridge, EH3 5EP See Cafés

Strada 15 Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3AH (Map 1A: B5, 55) 0131 225 2213, strada. co.uk | Mon–Sat 11.30am–11pm; Sun 11.30am–10.30pm. HW £15.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £8.95 (one course set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Although there is a corporate feel to Strada’s clean lines and functional décor, the spectacular view of Edinburgh Castle from its outdoor tables is surely a one-off. And when it comes to the food, quality is a notch above the standard fare served up by most national chains. Although hampered by its position in a street with limited passing traffic, Strada has acquired a regular following, and it is easy to see why. Even in staples such as bruschetta, the quality of the ingredients raises the dish beyond standard fare, while a funghi polenta underlines Strada’s attempts to be different, with a finely balanced combination of mushrooms sautéed in garlic cream and served with grilled polenta. Mains also stand out: risotto studded with pumpkin, pancetta and spinach, and a well-worked version of fegato (liver served with crispy pancetta in a sage butter sauce) being fine examples. Winning desserts include affogato – a chunk of iced nougat served with semi-freddo ice-cream and an espresso to be added by the diner – which also surpasses the norm. + Top-notch food for a national chain - Unable to shake off the corporate feel

TIPList • Brewdog Edinburgh Crisp bases and quirky toppings for the crisp, quirky beer 22

• La Favorita Beetling takeaway cars delivering wood-fired wonders 94

• Italian Kitchen Pizzas that are menu thrillers not fillers 72

QuattroZero

• Kilderkin Finding a route

40 Queensferry Street, West End, EH2 4RA (Map 4: B1, 17) 0131 220 5622, quattrozero.co.uk | Mon–Thu 7.45am– 11pm; Fri 7.45am–1am; Sat 8.45am–1am; Sun 9.30am–11pm. Veg; HW £12.95 (litre); Kids; Wh; T/A. £5.95 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

to matching beer with bison pizza 27

Opened late in 2012, the major draw at this modern diner-style restaurant is the wood-fired pizza oven and notably low prices. A rich and chunky chicken broth followed by pizza or pasta for under £6 to sit in at lunchtime is remarkable. Pizzas emerge from the wood oven with impressive thin, well-fired crusts and at prices well below the competition (below £8 for most 14-inch versions and as low as £3 for a 10-inch margherita at lunch). Brightly lit with hard white plastic tables offset by splashes of primary colour, the décor is not unattractive in a 1990s Conran sort of a way, but not really conducive to leisurely dining. Open from

19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, New Town, EH7 4AA See Cafés

Valvona & Crolla Vincaffè 11 Multrees Walk, New Town, EH1 3DQ (Map 1B: B5, 46) 0131 557 0088, vincaffe.co.uk | Sun 11am–8pm; Mon/ Tue 9am–9pm; Wed–Sat 9am–9:30pm. [Coffee bar: Mon–Sat 8am–9pm; Sun 11am–6pm.] Veg; Pre; HW £17; Kids; Wh; T/A. £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

A younger sibling of the Valvona & Crolla delicatessen that has been in nearby Leith Walk for almost eight decades, VinCaffè combines Italian passion for food and wine with finest Scottish ingredients. Snacks and takeaways are served downstairs, while the restaurant comes into its own when the thoughts of businessmen and shoppers at upmarket Multrees Walk turn to food. The dark wood interior is offset by a full-length mirror and a picture window ideal for lunchtime people watching. Starters include grilled courgettes with mozzarella, basil and tomato and topped with parmesan cheese that bubbles as it is delivered to the table, or a flavourpacked quail terrine with cranberry and orange chutney. Rump of lamb from the Scottish Borders is given an Italian twist with the addition of pistachio and rosemary pesto, served with potatoes and spinach, while there is no doubting the provenance of cotechino – a ground pork sausage, accompanied by lentils and Modena mustard fruit chutney. Desserts get the Italo-Scottish treatment, exemplified by a crumble that fuses local apples and Italian figs for a satisfying finale. + Good quality food in pleasant surroundings - Multrees Walk lacks life in the evenings

Zucca

FOR PIZZAS

• The Mash Tun Hatching a pizza plan for Easter Road

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar

28

• Origano Lavish handmade pizza from a homely Leith Walk tratt 74

• Peter’s Yard Stockbridge Specialising in nocompromise sourdough pizzas 40

• QuattroZero Pizza by the metre at this snazzy new West end venue 74

15–17 Grindlay Street, West End, EH3 9AX (Map 4: C1, 28) 0131 221 9323, zuccarestaurant.co.uk | Tue–Thu noon– 2.30pm, 5–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–10.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon (except if performance at Usher Hall/Lyceum). [Café open Tue–Sat 11am–late]. Veg; Pre; HW £14.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £9.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

As veterans of the Edinburgh restaurant scene, Zucca’s owners know the importance of playing to their strengths. That means keeping theatre goers happy with snacks from a restricted menu in the downstairs bar while the restaurant upstairs focuses on highquality food and efficient service at attractive prices. Posters showing the big-name actors who have appeared at the Lyceum Theatre next door underline the importance of this market. However, events such as wine dinners are helping to create client loyalty. Diners who are not heading for a show have a chance to cogitate over a wellbalanced menu that features starters such as a chargrilled vegetable salad, uniting flavours redolent of Tuscan sunshine, or carpaccio, which combines Scotch beef with Italian components to create a flavour-packed dish. When it comes to mains, pork belly is served nestling on Tuscan beans infused with a rich tomato flavour, while poached sea bass comes with Sicilian sweet and sour aubergines. And when it comes to dessert it’s difficult to ignore an indulgent raspberry and white chocolate crème brûlée. + Restaurant buzzes before a show - Still working to attract non-theatre goers


MEXICAN

In association with

EDINBURGH

MEXICAN Tacos and tequila, beer and burritos, chipotle and chimichangas, Edinburgh’s long-established Mexican scene serves up all the favourites in venues that go from tiny cantinas right up to big, bold party places. But look beyond the familiar, and you’ll find home-style ‘platos tipicos’, regional dishes drawing on a flavour spectrum a world away from the tastes of European cooking. Elsewhere, streetfood inspired menus offer fresh and fast options to eat in or takeaway. Whatever may be on the menu, relaxed dining and colourful surroundings come as standard. No beige, guaranteed. Reviewer: Margaret Craik

The Basement Bar and Restaurant 10–12a Broughton Street, EH1 3RH See Bars & Pubs

The Blue Parrot Cantina 49 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AH (Map 1A: B2, 16) 0131 225 2941, facebook.com/TheBlueParrot | Tue–Thu 5–10pm; Fri 5–11pm; Sat 3.30–11pm; Sun 4.30–9pm. Closed Mon. BYOB (£5); HW £12.95; Kids; T/A. £13.50 (dinner)

Restaurants on St Stephen Street come and go, but 20 years after Fiona MacRae opened her rustic basement cantina, the eponymous blue bird is still sitting perkily on his perch outside. It’s a simple, dark-painted wee place with a clutter of wooden tables and chairs, and a glimpse as you step through the front door of the chef in his open kitchen folding

and rolling the tortillas for burritos and enchiladas. Tequila-based cocktails by the pitcher or glass are well priced, and you can BYOB for £5 corkage, although there’s a decent house wine that won’t break the bank. A homemade pinto bean soup is a spicy and warming bowlful, while champiñones (mushrooms) come piled into a crisp tortilla and sauced with tomato, basil and chilli. Mains include albondigas (traditional meatballs) and fresh haddock with coriander and jalapeño sealed under a lime breadcrumb crust. To finish, there’s pecan pie and chocolate fudge cake served hot or cold, or ice-creams, fruits and sorbets pepped up with kahlua, blue curaçao or tequila rose liqueurs. + Inexpensive and friendly Stockbridge institution - Lunchtime opening is seasonal only

Illegal Jack’s 113–117 Lothian Road, West End, EH3 9AN (Map 4: C2, 35) 0131 622 7499, illegaljacks.co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. Veg; HW £12.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

If a multinational fast food outlet woke up in heaven cleansed of all sin, it might be a bit like Illegal Jack’s. A glance through the plate-glass windows fronting Lothian Road reveals a cavernous interior with rows of tables and a brightly lit service counter at the rea. Not much new here, then? Wrong. This is fast food, but with heart and soul, taste and decent nourishment in a place run with care and commitment. Through the hatch in the kitchen, ‘Jack’ is taking a sharp knife to a slab of prime Scotch beef steak. It’ll be slapped on a hot grill for the South West’s meatier take on Mexico’s burritos, tacos and quesadillas. A vat of witchylooking black beans lack eye appeal but they’ve been spiced and simmered down to the apogee of ‘be-all-you-canbe’ beany-ness, a perfect foil for the

meaty juices which otherwise might (or probably still will) ooze plentifully down your chin when you bite in. On top of all that, there’s Leffe on draught, BrewDog craft beers from Aberdeenshire, Margaritas by the pitcher and lovely East Lothian Thistly Cross cider. Someone give Jack a work permit; he’s for keeps. + Everything everybody loves about fast food and none of the nasty bits - It’s still fast-food presentation

Los Cardos 281 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8PD (Map 5B: A3, 6) 0131 555 6619, loscardos.co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm. T/A; D. £7.50 (lunch) / £7.50 (dinner)

With Irvine Welsh tweeting about the haggis burritos and the nearby Victoria and Boda bars happy for customers to come in with their carryout to enjoy with a pint, there’s clearly a lot of local love for this small Leith Walk eatery. The idea for Los Cardos was born on a road trip to Colorado in 2004 from which the owners returned with a mission to bring healthy ‘fresh Mex’ soul food back home to Scotland. You can eat in and BYOB, but as space (and glassware) is limited, takeaway’s the popular option. The menu works a three-step plan. First choose your style – burrito, fajita, quesadilla, and so on. For the indecisive (or just plain greedy) the soft tacos come in threes which means a sly three goes at the toppings and fillings; the counter staff won’t mind. Step two, load up the fillings. The standout is the carnitas – pork in salsa verde marinade slowly cooked to total yumminess. Step three is toppings and salsas, with pole position going to the black bean and corn – great with carnitas. + Fresher, tastier and healthier than your average takeaway - Limited drinks choices

Mariachi 7 Victoria Street, Old Town, EH1 2HE (Map 2A: B3, 20) 0131 623 0077, mariachi-restaurant.co.uk | Mon–Thu 5–11pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm; Sun 2–10pm. HW £15; Kids. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

‘Whenever he goes on holiday, he comes back with another one.’ Fifteen tequilas ranging from pure blue agave unaged silvers right up to oak-aged añejos suggest that somebody is clocking up serious air miles, and make for a drinks menu that’s a definite high point. Not that Mariachi’s father and son team are away from the job for long, and one or other is usually in evidence to keep this 100-seater Old Town restaurant ticking along with cheerful efficiency. The menu is a concise and enjoyable roster of mainly meat and vegetable based favourites. Soft corn tortillas are served

d HitlisteEating

List in The king Guide in r D & 2012

4 HITLIST MEXICAN

4 Miro’s Cantina Mexicana Lively wee cantina with tables to sit outside when the sun shines and daily specials like mama used to make. warm for you to pile with tasty chicken or steak and slather on heat and texture from sides of sour cream, cheese and pico de gallo or tomatillo salsas. Melty cheese quesadillas go for a fresh coriander hit, while a bowl of mussels adds the fragrance of cumin to the heat of chilli. To follow, affogato Mexicana peps up the usual ice-cream, espresso and whipped cream formula with a shot of one of those tequilas to make a refreshing dessert. + Drinks are a walk on the wild side . . . - . . . though the food’s not quite so bold

4

Miro’s Cantina Mexicana

184 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 4BA (Map 1A: B5, 51) 0131 225 4376, miroscantinamexicana.com | Mon–Sun noon–10.30pm. HW £13.50; Kids; T/A. £11 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Miro’s may be tiny but it ain’t shy – if the colourful street frontage doesn’t grab your attention, the big daily specials blackboard on the pavement will. Once inside, the floral tablecloths and general decorative mayhem come together with upbeat Mexican music and friendly staff to give this wee place a real buzz. That specials board is where to look if you want to venture beyond the usual enchilada-based mains and get a taste of the distinctive flavours of regional ‘platos tipicos’. Lamb is cooked for seven hours with honey and smoked chipotle chillis, while anatto seeds and citrus impart punchy, earthy flavour to pork for Yucatan-inspired cochinita pibil. Fish of the day might go into a stew-like cazuela, while a dish of liver, smoked chilli and caramelised onions is gold for lovers of offal. The search for authenticity extends to the wine list where a Mexican petit syrah is one of nine offered by the

Fresh Mex Takeaway/ Delivery offering Burritos, Tacos, and Quesadillas. Made to order using fresh ingredients. Vegetarian and Vegan options available upon request. Open 7 days a week from 12pm

281 Leith Walk Edinburgh (0131) 555 6619 Viva Mexico (page 76): street food to the fore on Cockburn Street The List Eating & Drinking Guide 75


MEXICAN

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EDINBURGH glass. For dessert, the usual brownie/ pecan configurations are trumped by a rum-soaked pineapple kebab with melted dark chocolate for dipping. Who said size matters? + Specials striving for a real taste of Mexico - Not the place to divulge secrets: the next table is VERY close

Pancho Villa’s 240 Canongate, Old Town, EH8 8AB (Map 2B: B3, 26) 0131 557 4416, panchovillas.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon– 2pm, 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun 5–10pm. HW £15.50; Kids; Wh; T/A. £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

After 25 years cooking the food of her Mexican childhood on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Mayra Nuñez and her team have their successful formula off pat. Twinkly lights and bold colours are cheery on a quiet weekday evening, though a stack of sombreros waiting for that big stag or hen party hint at the weekend transformation to party central. A combination starter makes a good menu snapshot. Quesadillas oozing with chilli con carne and chicken wings sticky with honey and garlic necessitate much licking of fingers, while deepfried jalapeños stuffed with cheese are hot, hot, hot. Enchilada-based mains come veggie style with mushrooms, butter beans and chunky guacamole as well as the more usual beef, chicken and chorizo, while rustic lamb and barbacoa are big, meaty platefuls. Pancho Villa – whose flamboyantly bewhiskered and sombrero’d photo greets you at the door – is Mexico’s favourite bandit and Robin Hood figure, though if you make it through to tequila sticky toffee pudding

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or churros (Mexican doughnuts), you may feel more like a plump and very happy Friar Tuck. + Good choice of Mexican beers and tequilas - Quiet dining may be off the menu on weekend nights

Sabor Criollo 36 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LY See Round the World

Tex Mex II 64 Thistle Street, New Town, EH2 1EN (Map 1A: C4, 72) 0131 260 9699, texmex2. com | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun 1–10pm. HW £14.65. £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

At this simple Thistle Street diner they can get a dish of flaming fajitas from chef to customer in about 15 seconds. That tells you quite a lot about the size of the place, the agility of the staff and the general chutzpah – which is nothing less than you’d expect from a wee place where a purple street frontage is just the prelude to a fizzing lime green and watermelon pink interior. Casual it may be, but owner/chef Fat Donny knows his Tex Mex. Those tequila-flamed fajitas comprise juicy morsels of chicken, marinated steak or toasty veggies with a dinky box to keep the tortillas warm while you fill and fold at leisure. Slowroast pork and soft-shell crab are full of flavour, the guacamole is satisfyingly textured, and the side salads super perky. The ‘lite lunch’ menu kicks in Monday to Thursday (though portions are such that at other times one of the starters will do the job) while Monday’s Silly Burgers deal offers two for one on a sixounce patty in a sourdough bun. + A shot of southern sunshine on Edinburgh’s Thistle Street - Doesn’t mean it’s warm enough to doze outside beneath your sombrero

Viva Mexico 41 Cockburn Street, Old Town, EH1 1BS (Map 2A: D2, 8) 0131 226 5145, viva-mexico.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 6–10.30pm; Sat noon–10.30pm; Sun 6–10pm. HW £14.50; Kids; T/A. £8.50 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The Gonzalez family have been saying ‘viva Mexico’ at this colourfully decked-out tumble of rooms in Cockburn Street for over 28 years. It’s actually a big place, but the upstairs-downstairs-nooks-and-corners configuration means a big group dining won’t crowd out those looking for a more intimate ambience. The usual tortilla-based suspects are all here and packing as much fire as you like, but at Viva Mexico the clever thing is the way the heat of chilli is balanced with other ingredients to achieve complexity and depth of flavour. Green tomatillos and lemon juice combine with toasted chillis to enhance a beautiful cod steak, while pork al pastor adds a zing of pineapple to tastily charred meat. New for 2013 is the taqueria menu – traditional Mexican street food done tapas style with bite-sized tacos offering tastes of such main menu offerings as mutton marinated in beer, chicken with achiote, orange and lime juice, or tangy feta with spinach, spices and pinto beans. With a couple of stand-out homemade desserts to follow and a friendly, can-do ethos, Viva Mexico is an oldie but a goodie. + Hard to choose between Mum’s chocolate chilli cheesecake and Gran’s traditional flan especial - The odd sad side salad Read owner Judy Gonzalez’s Table Talk feature on page 74.

76 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

NORTH AMERICAN There is much more to North American food than steaks and burgers, but these remain the focus of Edinburgh’s North American dining scene. Here lovers of beef, fries and Dime Bar cheesecake will be in their element. From some reasonable fast-food joints to mid-range restaurants offering a wide variety of Cajun chicken, Tex-Mex spicy beef and straightforward steaks, North American food in this city is characterised by good-value fun. If you’re on a budget and have a couple of kids in tow, you won’t come a cropper in this section. So, put on your best bib and tucker and go huntin’ for a buffalo burger followed by a creamy banoffee pie. Reviewers: Ian Hogg, Tracey Reilly, Susan Smith, Kate Temple

Bell’s Diner 7 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AN (Map 1A: B2, 21) 0131 225 8116 | Sun–Fri 6–10pm; Sat noon–10.15pm. HW £12.95; T/A. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Now in its forty-first year, Bell’s Diner has an old-school charm and a resolutely lo-fi feel about it. Its red painted walls – hung with prints of Native American scenes – and simple wooden tables and chairs have remained unchanged for years, if not decades. It’s possible to have starters of salads, fried onions or garlic bread, but the real reason for Bell’s longevity is their reliably high-quality steaks and burgers. Steaks come from Allan Campbell’s butchery in Boswall Parkway and are served with green salad, a mound of crispy thin-cut fries and a choice of flavourings, such as crushed peppercorns or garlic butter. Burgers come in three sizes (from manageable through to massive) with a choice of toppings and a veggie option available. Additional relishes and sauces are also provided at your table. If you can manage pudding, there is a fine selection of ice-cream sundaes, sweet crêpes and a sticky toffee pudding to provide a fantastically sugary finale. Service is prompt and personable, the staff coping admirably with the demands of working in a confined space and with constantly turning tables. + Proper, textbook, old-fashioned burgers and steaks - Some starter options overlap with main course accompaniments, making them a bit redundant

the way Buffalo Grill does. With the original branch in the heart of student land and a second restaurant down the road in Stockbridge, the Buffalo format is warm, bustling and very good value. The décor in both restaurants is in keeping with the theme – Aztecstyle carpets, wooden tables, leather benches, and photographs of Native Americans on the wall – and the menu won’t disappoint those seeking a typical American steakhouse feel. Starters are good, particularly the generous sharing platter which includes crispy tempura prawns, sweet barbecue ribs and dainty chicken wings. Strong flavoured sauces accompany cooked-to-order steaks and burgers complete with chips and salad, while those looking for something a bit different may want to try a generous jambalaya with a strong Cajun tomato sauce. Desserts are along the standard pecan pie, banana cream pie lines, and a bit more effort in this area would pay off. + Exactly what you’d expect to find on a North American diner menu - Steaks standard rather than special

4

Calistoga

70 Rose Street North Lane, City Centre, EH2 3DX (Map 1A: C5, 60) 0131 225 1233, calistoga.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10pm. Pre; HW £13; Kids. £12 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Calistoga could be Edinburgh’s best restaurant for wine lovers. With one of the biggest selections of Californian wines in Europe and a mark-up policy that makes them affordable, it is not to be missed by oenophiles. The Congressional Wine Tasting dinner offers excellent value for a special experience, including a fun 40-minute pre-dinner wine tasting. The food won’t disappoint either, fusing Californian dishes with Scottish ingredients to create a strong, modern menu. The grill offers a range of locally sourced steak to appease those who assume North American means beef. However, the concise à la carte offering, which changes every three weeks, is more adventurous and may include a rich tomato-based red mullet and mussel broth or variously cooked oysters to start. A bean cassoulet is a good main for vegetarians and meat eaters will enjoy a delicious braised lamb that softly crumbles into a bed of root vegetable purée and redcurrant jus. A smooth cherry panacotta or fluffy vanilla cheesecake with soft rhubarb compote nicely round off the meal. All this accompanied by a Napa Valley pinot noir is hard to beat. + An education in the best of Californian wines - The simple, modern interior is beginning to look a bit tired

The City Café 19 Blair Street, Old Town, EH1 1QR See Bars & Pubs

Buffalo Grill

Diner 7

• 12–14 Chapel Street, Old Town, EH8 9AY (Map 2A: D5, 70) 0131 667 7427, buffalogrill.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 6–10.30pm; Sat 5.30–10.30pm; Sun 5–10.15pm. BYOB (£1; beer 50p). £13 (lunch) / £18 (dinner) • 1 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, EH4 1HU (Map 1A: B1, 5) 0131 332 3864, buffalogrill.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon– 2.30pm, 6–10.30pm; Fri noon–2.30pm, 6–11pm; Sat noon–4pm, 5–11pm; Sun noon–4pm, 5–10.30pm. BYOB (£1; wine only); HW £12; Kids (under 5). £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

7 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6JA (Map 5A: C1, 11) 0131 553 0624, diner7. co.uk | Mon–Sat 4–10.30pm; Sun 11am– 10.30pm. HW £13; Kids; Wh; T/A. £13 (dinner)

With a menu that has worked for more than 26 years, why change it? No reason, when you continue to pull in the crowds

Tucked in among the gastropubs and fish restaurants of The Shore, Diner 7 offers something a bit different – namely wellcooked and presented steaks and burgers in an easy-going and unpretentious lowlit diner. Snuggled up in a booth with a bottle of red, the outside world seems a long way away. There’s a daily specials menu, featuring appealing starters such as calamari with roast garlic mayo, or a sweet potato, feta and herb tortilla with almond pesto. For mains, a smoked haddock, pea and kale kedgeree with


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EDINBURGH although breaded spicy chicken-wings in BBQ sauce prove to be quite a dry and heavy starter while brie wedges with cranberry sauce are nothing to get excited about either. As the name suggests, burgers rather than steak are the focus here, and if you’re looking for a homemade juicy, slightly spicy beef burger done in whatever style you can dream of, this is the ideal place. There is a good range of vegetarian choices too, such as a lentil burger with cumin and coriander. Desserts are a high point: try a freshly made raspberry cheesecake or special crumble that changes with the season. + A burger pitched just the way you like it - Beyond the burgers, not much that really excites

Illegal Jack’s 113–117 Lothian Road, West End, EH3 9AN See Mexican

Katie’s Diner 12 Barclay Terrace, Southside, EH10 4HP (Map 3A: B2, 21) 0131 229 1394, katiesdiner.com | Tue–Thu 6–9pm; Fri/ Sat 6–9.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon. BYOB (£2; wine only); HW £10.95. £16 (dinner)

Diner 7: comfort food and classics in a corner of Leith

poached egg and sour cream is chunky, hearty and colourful, but it’s the meat that really shines here. A sirloin steak with a peppercorn, brandy and cream sauce is cooked like a dream and comes with fries or new potatoes and a choice of salads. The flame-grilled burgers are equally delicious and, if you have room before moving on to a nearby pub for a night-cap, there’s a selection of classic, comforting deserts – the sticky toffee pudding is pretty scrumptious. + Well prepared and presented dishes - The lighting is just a bit too low

Gourmet Burger Kitchen 137 George Street, New Town, EH2 4JY (Map 1A: B5, 46) 0131 260 9896, gbk. co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Good value basic meals are hard to find on Edinburgh’s upmarket George Street, so weary shoppers and Book Festival visitors may want to head to Gourmet Burger Kitchen at the Charlotte Square end – especially if they have a couple of kids in tow. This is a chain burger joint that offers a little more than your

typical fast-food outlet. Its basic interior is simple and modern and includes a peg letter board of all the classic burger choices and specials. The menu is not extensive, but includes a choice of beef, chicken, veggie and speciality choices (lamb, buffalo, wild boar) all of which can be dressed up as desired with various cheeses, bacon, avocado and a selection of freshly made dipping sauces. This would be a burger lover’s heaven if the results matched the promise, but the reality of overdone burgers, underdone fries and an overpowering homemade garlic mayo may disappoint. Still, it is good value and, with a decent selection of milkshakes to boot, it’s a favourite with kids. + A burger bonanza with every topping you could dream of - Fast-food culture creates fast-food results

Hamburger Heaven 36 Broughton Street, EH1 3SB (Map 1B: C4, 23) 0131 556 2788 | Mon–Fri 5–10pm; Sat/Sun 11am–10pm. HW £11.95; T/A. £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Thriving Broughton Street in the East End of Edinburgh has loads of choice for hungry visitors looking for a night out. Hamburger Heaven aims for a midway option focusing on decent-quality American-style food. A fairly extensive menu certainly produces a lot of choice,

TIPList THE EDIN-BURGERS • Bell’s Diner Tip-top burgers from one of the city’s old-timers 76 • The Cambridge A degree in perfect patties 22 • Diner 7 Down-to-earth comfort food in Leith

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• Greenmantle Buffalo burgers bucking the trend

26

• Holyrood 9a A winning beer & burger formula 27 • Wannaburger The capital’s very own fast-food chain (of one) 78

Behind the blinking neon sign, Katie’s Diner is the kind of hospitable familyrun restaurant that every neighbourhood should have. Owners Geoff and Kate have been perfecting their game for the last 13 years, concentrating on doing a few things well and welcoming regulars like old friends. Keeping it simple, the menu focuses on steaks and burgers, either of which could stand toe to toe with the city’s heavyweights. The quality of the beef and the kitchen’s skilled handling and careful preparation are all first class. The seven pepper lemon sauce brings delicate citrus notes to a succulent rump, with crispy onion rings supporting ribeye and a well-marbled sirloin. Chargrilled half-pound burgers come straight up or teamed with any number of well-matched combinations including a standout stilton and peach chutney. Presentation throughout is homely and unpretentious, with simply prepared clean tasting starters and generous helpings of comfort staple puddings. Open only in the evening, the service in the small dining room is understated yet friendly. + Straightforward, tasty fare from considerate hosts - The décor’s no longer at its freshest

4 HITLIST NORTH AMERICAN

4 Calistoga Try a Californian wine-tasting menu for a fun and educational trip to West Coast USA. 4 Smoke Stack Reliably good steaks and burgers in a newly refurbed, bright and breezy Broughton diner. 5–11pm; Fri/Sat 6–8pm, 8.15–10.15pm. Closed Sun. BYOB (£1 per person). £8 (set lunch) / £14–15.95 (set dinner)

In a dark and dingy alleyway off Rose Street and up a spiral staircase, the New York Steam Packet is not the sort of place customers stumble across by accident. As a result it only opens during the week if it has bookings. Office parties from nearby workplaces, stag and hen dos and birthday groups are all attracted to the cheap, traditional North American fare, as well as the ability to book out the whole place, bring their own wine, beer and music and have some fun. A

The New York Steam Packet 31 Rose Street Lane North, New Town, EH2 2NP (Map 1A: D5, 65) 0131 220 4825, newyorksteampacket.co.uk | Mon–Thu

THIS LANE CALISTOGA Speciality Restaurant of the Year

Tel - 0131 225 1233 www.Calistoga.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 77


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EDINBURGH decent sweet potato soup is a strong starter, as is a bowl of mussels sautéed in garlic, onion and white wine. There’s a £2 supplement on steaks, which are cooked to order, and come with salad and French fries. A selection of New York burgers don’t particularly show off their red, white and blue credentials, although a straightforward cheeseburger with fries is satisfying enough. Desserts are bought-in and include a Dime Bar cake or pecan pie. + Make this fun-filled party venue your own with a group of 30 - Wear a scarf in winter – Alaskan rather than Californian temperatures

4

Smoke Stack

53–55 Broughton Street, EH1 3RJ (Map 1B: C4, 26) 0131 556 6032, smokestack. org.uk | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri noon–11pm; Sat 10am–11pm; Sun 10am–10pm. Pre; HW £13.95; Kids; T/A. £10 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Smokestack underwent an extensive makeover in spring 2012. Gone are the blood-red walls and restaurant-style dining, replaced with stripped-back pale grey décor, bright lights and all-day food service. The bright and breezy tone extends to the menu and drinks list which convey both the choices available and the restaurant’s ethos in an engaging and accessible way. Smokestack styles itself as a steakhouse, specialising in Scottish Borders beef (dry aged for 21 days) cooked exactly to order and served with your choice of sauces or butters. If steaks and burgers don’t float your boat there are also salads, fish and sandwiches to choose from. All desserts are homemade, with the Baileys cheesecake proving to be a stunning slab of light, silky-smooth cake. Members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, they pride themselves on reducing their carbon footprint wherever possible.

GUIDES

Smoke Stack offers comfort food with a conscience but without an overdose of worthiness or pretension. + Range of homemade desserts shows both competence and ambition - Starter options a little tired

Tex Mex II 64 Thistle Street, New Town, EH2 1EN See Mexican

Wannaburger 7–8 Queensferry Street, West End, EH2 4PA (Map 4: B1, 15) 0131 220 0036, wannaburger.com | Mon–Sun 11.30am– 10pm. BYOB (£2; wine only); Kids; Wh; T/A. £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

An unusual little venture aiming to create a quality fast-food outlet, Wannaburger is packed full of teenagers, students and people looking for a quick bite to eat. With burgers made on the premises, the fluffiest buns about, and a selection of quality hotdogs all sold at fast-food prizes, it’s easy to see why people keep coming back. Try grabbing a booth in this brightly lit red and white themed American-style joint after a shopping trip or for lunch with the kids. Bottomless cups of coffee and soft drinks will delight those seeking value, while beer from local brewery West (disguised as Wannabeer), homemade relish and barbecue sauce will satisfy customers looking for a little more than a basic burger. There’s a good choice of veggie burgers too, although a hastily put together bean burger quickly falls apart. Customers with a sweet tooth will definitely want to try the rich homemade chocolate brownie, accompanied by snow-white ice-cream. + Good quality fast-food at fast-food prices - Bright lighting is a bit stark when looking to enjoy a beer and burger in the evening

ROUND the WORLD Bored? Palate feeling a bit jaded? Can’t decide what you want to eat? Give your taste buds a holiday and sample flavours that range from South America to Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. Whether its pitta or pierogi, shawarma or spanokopita, falafels or fattoush, here you’ll find plenty to perk up your palate. With some great lunch and/or BYOB deals, these venues offer a taste of foreign shores that won’t max out the credit card. Reviewers: Ian Hogg, Tracey Reilly, Susan Smith, Kate Temple

4

Beirut

MIDDLE EASTERN 24 Nicolson Square, Southside, EH8 9BU (Map 2A: D5, 62) 0131 667 9919, beirutrestaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. Veg; BYOB (£3; beer £1); Wh; T/A. £6.50 (one course set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Proud to call itself Edinburgh’s first Lebanese restaurant, Beirut offers some of the best-value lunch deals in town. Its keen pricing and reasonable BYOB charges make it an attractive option for anyone looking for interesting food without breaking open the piggy bank. Starters might include hummus, tabbouleh, crisp fried pastries filled with spiced lamb or cheese – or for something more unusual try the homemade labneh: a creamy and refreshing strained yoghurt with olive oil and herbs. For mains, opt for marinated sharwarma meats (roasted and served with a trio of full-flavoured

Smoke Stack: this Broughton Street stalwart chalks up another success with its new look and butcher-shop chic 78 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

sesame seed, garlic and chilli sauces), moussaka or sweetly seasoned lamb kofte. There is an eclectic selection of desserts, ranging from a Middle Eastern rice pudding to a chocolate soufflé or mango sorbet. Charismatic owner Ahmed Saadi can often be found working the floor, checking in with diners and presiding over some of the most efficient and charming service in town. + Slick service and good value for money - Dining room can get a little smoky when service is in full swing

Brazilian Sensation SOUTH AMERICAN 117–119 Buccleuch Street, Southside, EH8 9NG (Map 3C: D1, 10) 0131 667 0400, braziliansensation.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–4pm [6–10pm by reservation]. Closed Sun. Veg; BYOB (no charge). £7 (lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Visiting Brazilian Sensation is a unique and somewhat eccentric experience. For a start, it only opens in the evening if you make a reservation, so it really does feel like owner John Falconer and his Brazilian wife Lucia are expecting you. There’s a lot of friendly conversation and menu-explaining over a delicious tropical juice, so much so that it feels more like having dinner with long-lost friends in their blue and yellow dining room than your average restaurant experience. The menu features lunchtime rolls and hot and cold snacks while dinner offers hotpot combinations such as spinach, dried shrimp, nuts and coconut milk or chorizo, black beans and manioc flour. Dishes are freshly prepared while you wait. Finish with an exotic homemade ice-cream, and if you’re lucky you may get to sample John’s jam. While it can be a bit chilly, and is sometimes quiet, the owners’ passion and pride in their fifteen-year-old business is a warm and welcoming Brazilian sensation.


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+ Delicious tropical juices and icecreams - Evening booking system may not suit everybody

Circus

EDINBURGH’S KURDISH & MIDDLE EASTERN RESTAURANT

MIDDLE EASTERN 8 St Mary’s Street, Old Town, EH1 1SU (Map 2B: B3, 22) 0131 556 6963, circusbistro.com | Mon–Sun 8am–10pm. Veg; HW £11.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £8 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Circus has a relaxed, hangout vibe with original art hanging on whitewashed walls, chunky wooden furniture and colourful Turkish lamps. Food serving hours run from breakfast right the way through to dinner, making this a popular place with folk staying in nearby hotels. The menu has a strong Middle Eastern influence with a smattering of other more British staples. For dinner, starters of spiced spinach and red onion balls and parsley and feta filo parcels are crisp and full of clean, punchy flavours. Options for main courses might include grilled chicken, halloumi or lamb, mezze platters or a more rib-sticking moussaka or chickpea stew. For afters there are cakes, brownies and a wide selection of baklava and coffees. A sheltered courtyard outside makes for one of Edinburgh’s best outdoor dining spots if the weather is good, and the planned introduction of shisha pipes will surely add to that appeal. + Wide-ranging all-day menu - No card payments are accepted

Empires

4 HITLIST ROUND THE WORLD

4 Beirut Smart service, BYOB and a taste of Middle Eastern sunshine on the south side of the city.

• Open 7 days 12 noon to late • Private dining area • Outdoor terraced seating • Dedicated Shisha area • Regular special events • Fixed price lunch deal • Loyalty card scheme • 10% Student discount • New indoor Shisha Bar • Extensive Dry Bar & BYOB policy

4 Hanam’s This Middle Eastern heavyweight packs a real punch with a great BYOB buzz and some knockout dishes. 4 Indaba Dishes from three continents without losing focus on taste and quality, plus options aplenty for diners with dietary intolerances.

3 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW

fan base generates a good buzz across both evening sittings, with those in the know bringing an extra bottle or two to linger over the weekend live music. + Straightforward, tasty dishes in a cosy environment - Some hot starters can be a bit lukewarm

(just beside Edinburgh Castle)

T: 0131 225 1329 or 07888 677 613 E: hanams@hotmail.co.uk

www.hanams.com & 2012 , 2010, 2011 Guide 2009 aurants’ g in nk ri D g& rest e List Eatin Middle East Hitlisted: Th ne of Britain’s top 5 legraph ‘O Te e Th

TURKISH 24 St Mary’s Street, Old Town, EH1 1SU (Map 2B: B3, 21) 0131 466 0100, empirescafe.co.uk | Mon–Sun 5–11pm. Veg; BYOB (£3; beer 50p); Kids. £8.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

It would be easy to wander past the narrow St Mary’s Street frontage of Empires. However, an inquisitive peer inside reveals a compact darkwood interior that comes to life when illuminated by candles and coloured lanterns. A handful of ground-level tables nestle beneath a hovering mezzanine dining deck decorated with armfuls of Turkish trinkets imported by owner Osman. The menu is fairly tight, with moussaka and delicately spiced kofte meatballs and a range of mainly vegetarian mezze plates. On the whole this is tasty, honest fare that is simple to prepare and quick to turn around. Hummus, dolma and falafel share equal billing with the splendid acili, a tomatorich dip with toasted hazelnuts bringing welcome texture and chilli bite. Feta stuffed peppers add a further hint of heat to sit alongside patlican, a velvety medley of aubergine, tomato and peppers. A loyal

Fatma LEBANESE 92 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6LX (Map 5A: B1, 4) 0131 554 4000, fatma. co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. Closed Sun. Veg; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh. £8.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The owners of Fatma promise thatEDG13-Hanams-QR.indd everything on the menu is made freshly in-house using traditional methods. This ethos applies right through to soaking dried pulses for days rather than using canned equivalents. The benefits of this back-to-basics approach are apparent in the food, which is full of clean, sharp, zesty flavours. Tabbouleh salad is a vibrant blast of citrus and parsley, while freshly fried falafels with creamy sesame dressing are deftly seasoned. Other options include toasted flatbreads stuffed with sweetly spiced lamb or a refreshing house salad featuring avocado, tomato and pomegranate. Diners can choose from starters and main courses, set menus or small plates to share as mezze. A small selection of homemade desserts and baklava are also available.

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09/04/2013 13:0

Try H John anam’s Hitlis ston Terr on ace ted and d in the Ea , rinkin ting 4 yea g guide rs a row in .

The Team Behind The Award Winning Hanam’s Middle Eastern Restaurant Near The Castle, Are Excited To Bring Pomegranate To The Top Of Leith Walk. • Colourful, contemporary Middle Eastern decor • Mezze Style tapas dishes • Arabic tea and coffee • Lunch in or take away

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

• Pre Theatre Menu • Outdoor decking to enjoy a shisha pipe. • Extensive Dry Bar and BYOB policy

1 Antigua Street, Edinburgh EH1 3NH Tel: 0131 556 8337 www.pomegranatesrestaurant.com

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 79


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EDINBURGH Dishes are well presented and the dining room features natural wood, earth-toned walls and sympathetic lighting. The warm effect of the décor is enhanced by service from a gregarious front-of-house team who clearly want diners to enjoy the meal. Newly opened at the time of going to press, there may be some tweaks as things evolve, but early indications are very promising. + Bold, refreshing flavours served in style - Peppermint tea from a teabag and no Arabic coffee – the drinks menu lacks the authenticity of the food

4

Hanam’s

KURDISH 3 Johnston Terrace, Old Town, EH1 2PW (Map 2A: B3, 24) 0131 225 1329, hanams. com | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. Veg; BYOB (no charge); Kids; Wh; T/A. £9.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Big brother to its recently opened sister restaurant Pomegranate, Hanam’s is a class act. No-charge BYOB keeps spirits high across a well-appointed dining room and lower-level overspill. Décor and lighting are warm and inviting with just enough tapestries, lanterns and Kurdish knick-knacks to set the right tone. The menu is packed full of Middle Eastern promise, with traditional mix and match mezze plates supporting a number of standout mains. Lamb tashreeb is a wonderfully rich and hearty casserole drenched in aubergine and pepper shilla sauce, while house speciality shish kebabs arrive with a pleasing barbecue char and a tongue-tingling chilli sauce. Lunch and banquet deals are good value and when the weather obliges there’s a sunny aspect terrace ideal for a sociable shisha pipe or a cup of cardamom tea. If you find there’s no room at the inn, you can still impress your friends with a dinner-party-sized slow cooked whole lamb delivered to your door. While the performance isn’t totally faultless, as the occasional starter can underwhelm, it’s only a minor distraction from an otherwise assured display. + Menu and décor appeal to parties of all sizes - Off to a stuttering start with uninspiring kubba patties

Hanedan TURKISH 41 West Preston Street, Southside, EH8 9PY (Map 3C: D3, 19) 0131 667 4242, hanedan.co.uk | Tue–Sun noon–3pm, 5.30pm–late. Closed Mon. HW £13.50; Kids. £9.95 (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Since opening in 2004, this simple, straightforward Turkish restaurant has proved to be a popular addition to the Southside scene, thanks to its reasonably priced meals and a relaxed neighbourhood vibe. The Lalezar, a shared six-plate mixed mezze, offers up dishes like firin kofte (beef meatballs) that are a touch more interesting than the standard issues of some Middle Eastern venues. The choice of mains is fairly concise, pared back to a little under 10 options, but that doesn’t make them any less appealing. Kebabs and fresh fish are cooked over a charcoal-fired grill by chef proprietor Gursel Bahar, who served his time at the Four Seasons Park Lane and Sir Terence Conran’s reinvented Quaglino’s. Honey and nut baklava is the natural choice to round off proceedings, while those who value their sleep can forgo the caffeine hit of the customarily potent coffee and plump for an equallytraditional sweet apple tea instead. [Not recently visited.]

4

Indaba

AFRICAN/VENEZUELAN 3 Lochrin Terrace, Tollcross, EH3 9QJ 80 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

GUIDES

(Map 3A: B1, 9) 0131 221 1554, edindaba. co.uk | Tue–Thu 5–10pm; Fri/Sat 5–11pm. Closed Sun/Mon. [Extended in summer]. Veg; HW £13.95. £16 (dinner)

Cosy little Indaba is tucked around the corner from the Cameo Cinema in Tollcross, providing tapas with a difference and truly something for everyone. People with gluten and wheat intolerances will be particularly delighted with a menu that, somewhat unusually, caters for them. The eclectic group of people who set up Indaba (the Zulu word for meeting) have brought their own specialities to create a wonderful fusion of Spanish, South African, Venezuelan and Scottish cuisine. Meats include a spattering of chorizo dishes alongside haggis a la murciana (with spinach and pine nuts); del mar dishes include a lovely gambas pil-pil with Indaba’s own chilli tomato sauce, and for vegetarians pisto murciano is an aubergine, tomato and pepper stew. The Venezuelan influence shines in a selection of delightful ground corn arepas, including a chorizo and fried egg version, which looks like a fried egg muffin but is much lighter on the tongue. Good quality homemade desserts include sweet fruit sorbets and the famous crying cake, torta llorna, a rich pudding that cries tears of hot chocolate. + A sample of tastes from around the world - Beware dishes of varying sizes – is this really tapas?

Khublai Khan Mongolian Barbecue Restaurant MONGOLIAN 43 Assembly Street, Leith, Leith, EH6 7BQ (Map 5A: D1, 31) 0131 555 0005, khublaikhan.co.uk | Mon–Thu 6–11pm; Fri noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Sat 5–11pm; Sun noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm. Pre; HW £14.75; Kids; T/A; D. £8.95 (set lunch) / £20.95–£22.95 (set dinner)

Leith’s Mongolian outpost welcomes a new owner with ambitions to add a little more polish to proceedings. Man v Food fans shouldn’t worry, however, as the all-you-can-eat barbecue feast remains centre stage and safari park exotic meats are still very much to the fore. A DIY assembly line stretches out from rice and vegetables past an impressive array of spices and sauces ending with cubes of zebra, camel and springbok, with more familiar cuts for the less adventurous. Each bowlful is expertly sautéed on the semi-circular griddle, with a separate vegetarian-friendly hot plate upstairs. For the indecisive, there are easy-tofollow recipes including the playfully titled ‘Bobby’s bum buster’ – not for the faint hearted. Bookending the barbecue, kangaroo haggis and wild boar parcel starters promise slightly more than they deliver, and golden syrup sponge and rhubarb crumble desserts seem in line for a makeover. With a well-stocked bar and a long dining hall that is easily configured for large parties, this quirky novelty act should continue to be a crowd pleaser. + Plenty to talk about at this fun night out - Congestion at the spice and sauce counter at busier times

Los Argentinos SOUTH AMERICAN 28–30 West Preston Street, Southside, EH8 9PZ (Map 3C: D3, 21) 0131 668 3111, losargentinossteakhouseinedinburgh. co.uk | Mon–Sun 5–11pm. HW £11.95; Kids; Wh. £22 (dinner)

Los Argentinos exists to fulfil the desires of Edinburgh’s committed carnivores. While other options such as grilled fish, shellfish and chicken are available it is clear that these are not the main event.

From the menu to the giant cowhide pinned on the wall, this place is all about red meat – in particular the specially imported Argentine beef steaks. Starters might include spare ribs in barbecue sauce, salads, nachos or traditional empanada pastries filled with corn and meat. Steaks are available in a variety of cuts and sizes and are sweet and smoky, fresh from the chargrill. For your accompaniments choose from a slightly tired-looking green salad, baked potatoes or crisp fries. Steaks can be served with a range of sauces, including traditional chimichurri (with fresh herbs, garlic and chilli), tomato, creamy mushroom or a somewhat bland béarnaise. In the unlikely event that you can fit in pudding there are ice-creams or an apple pie available. + Tender steaks with good flavour at a cost that won’t break the bank - Service can be slow at busy times

My Big Fat Greek Kitchen GREEK 6 Brougham Street, Tollcross, EH3 9JH (Map 3A: C1, 3) 0131 228 1030, mybigfatgreekkitchen.co.uk | Tue–Sat 5–11pm; Sun 5–10pm. Closed Mon. Pre; HW £14.95; Kids; T/A. £18.50 (dinner)

With sea-blue walls, a giant photograph of Santorini and a heady garlic aroma, you could almost forget that you’re in chilly Tollcross. It’s certainly worth getting into the holiday vibe for an evening at Edinburgh’s only Greek restaurant, where a mix of pre- and posttheatre goers, students and locals tuck into spicy sausages, halloumi kebabs and souvlaki. The appealing menu ticks all the classic boxes. Start with a delicious selection of dips like hummus, tzatziki and beetroot pantzaroslalata before moving on to the mezethes, where dolmades, courgette rissoles, meatballs and grilled lemon chicken all feature. The moussaka is a tasty and comforting main, or try the lamb kleftiko, served on the bone with vegetable, mustard and oregano sauce. The flaky, honeydrenched baklava is worth leaving room for. My Big Fat Greek Kitchen offers a pre-theatre menu, and occasional Greek dancing and belly-dancing events, information about which will appear on the website. + Handily placed for pre- or post-theatre dining - Not for garlic haters

Nawroz KURDISH 26–30 Potterow, Old Town, EH8 9BT (Map 2A: D5, 63) 0131 667 2299, nawrozrestaurant.com | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. BYOB (no charge); Kids; T/A. £7 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Friendly and speedy service, and a lunch menu deal of two courses for £7 (three for £10) make Kurdish and Middle Eastern Nawroz a popular choice among the student population, who pop in for a hearty kebab or shawarma after lectures. It’s spacious and modern, with sleek black tables, low lighting and huge windows perfect for people watching. The menu features the usual starter suspects including hummus, baba ganoush and falafel, followed by a long selection of grilled meats. The mahshy kebab – minced lamb with garlic, onion, tomato, green chilli and aubergine, served with rice or salad and naan bread – is herby and tasty. There are also some appealing vegetarian dishes: the tapsi, a stew of aubergines, tomatoes and potatoes, is rich and oily, although comes with disappointingly greasy rice. Finish up with a baklava selection or an ice-cream. No alcohol is served, but you

can bring your own bottle and there’s no corkage charge. + Tasty grilled meat dishes - Disappointing rice

Papoli MEDITERRANEAN 244a Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8DT (Map 4: B2, 58) 0131 477 7047, papolirestaurant.co.uk | Tue–Fri noon– 2pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. Veg; Pre; HW £9.90; Kids. £7.90 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Not far from Haymarket’s busy hub, Morrison Street’s Papoli is a little ray of sunshine. While still retaining its roots in Italian cuisine, in August 2012 it welcomed new management and a slowly evolving shift in emphasis towards a more rounded Mediterranean menu. Albondigas, North African shorba soup, Turkish patlican and baklava now vie with familiar Italian staples and a specials board road-testing new dishes from head chef Mikayel. Partner Rachel runs a convivial front of house across a comfortable room of earthy tones and holiday music, enhanced by daughter Kristina’s sun-drenched mural that immediately spirits you off to warmer climes. A rice-stuffed pepper starter comes drenched in a deeply flavoured tomato sauce longing for some mopping-up bread, arriving alongside some splendid but sparse calamari. Anchovy and king prawn marinara pizza has a reassuringly crispy crust, with lamb and aubergine penne nestling happily among an appealing list of pastas. Set-dinner and pre-theatre deals are great value, even with the appearance of the occasional supplement, all supported by a wellcomposed and equally well-priced wine list. + The room, menu and welcome are all bathed in Mediterranean warmth - Penne pasta that’s a bit beyond al dente

Pomegranate MIDDLE EASTERN 1 Antigua Street, New Town, EH1 3NH (Map 1B: D5, 36) 0131 556 8337, pomegranatesrestaurant.com | Mon– Sun noon–midnight. Veg; Pre; BYOB (no charge); T/A. £7.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The team behind the ever popular Hanam’s put every inch of available space to good use in their new Antigua Street venture. Carved out below street level, whitewashed shisha pipe caves nestle alongside a cosy private dining room swathed in Arabic fabrics and scatter cushions. Pistachio and pomegranate tones link the bright ground-level dining rooms while coloured lanterns lend a touch of evening warmth. Service is snappy, with a steady stream of Middle Eastern mezze dishes flowing from the busy kitchen. With nearly two dozen sharing plates on offer and a healthy selection of kebabs and shawarma platters there should be something to satisfy most tastes. Aubergines and sliced potatoes combine well as a tapsi accompaniment to (on the bone) braised lamb, while spicy Lebanese sausage soujuk comes bathed in a satisfying tomato sauce – ideal for naan dipping. Desserts are a bit of a mixed bag, with rosewater adding perfume to cupcakes and sorbet, alongside saffron and cardamom ice-cream that is just too subtle. No-corkage BYOB keeps it affordable, as do lunch deals and a good value pre-theatre when the Playhouse is in action. + Tasty fare that’s quick to appear – ideal for pre- and post-show - Wipe-down plastic tablecloths give a misleading café vibe


ROUND THE WORLD

In association with

EDINBURGH Riverlife

Sabor Criollo

CARIBBEAN

SOUTH/CENTRAL AMERICAN

84 Dalry Road, West End, EH11 2AX See French

36 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LY (Map 1A: B1, 9) 0131 332 3322, saborcriollo.co.uk | Sun–Thu 5–11pm; Fri/Sat 1–11pm. HW £12.95; Kids; T/A. £14.90 (lunch) / £14.90 (dinner)

Russian Passion RUSSIAN 5 Canonmills, Inverleith, EH3 5HA (Map 1B: A2, 7) 0131 556 9042, russianpassioncafe.co.uk | Mon/Tue & Thu–Sun noon–3.30pm, 6–10pm. Closed Wed. Veg; BYOB (no charge); T/A. £7 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Challenging preconceived notions of her native cuisine, Russian owner Maria has brought across fistfuls of traditional recipes and enough entertaining chat to span an enjoyable evening. Small cheery café and takeaway by day, the open kitchen and three corner tables support a bookingonly dinner service where pre-ordered choices keep the ingredients fresh and the preparation spot on. Influences stretch to include Georgian adjika sauce, which adds a spicy kick to popular Siberian pelmeni dumplings, with rye bread mopping up chicken satsivi’s crushed walnut sauce. Tomato-rich kharcho spicy soup arrives alongside a well-composed borsch and a multi-layered pickled herring salad. The extensive menu is pared down at lunchtime to bring a selection of wellflavoured hearty soups, together with a range of salads, cakes and freshly baked piroshky pasties. Dishes are invariably clean-tasting and healthy, with plenty of vegetarian choice, served in simple surroundings by a friendly and knowledgeable patron. Offering more than just a welcome alternative to the floppy lunchtime sandwich, this quiet Canonmills corner becomes a cosy and fun night out, with shot glasses supplied and recommendations given on the best vodkas to bring along. + Plenty of pride and Russian passion from the owner - No last-minute wavering with preordered choices

Busy and buzzy, Stockbridge’s own ‘taste of Creole’ – Sabor Criollo – is a cosy and colourful gem of a neighbourhood restaurant. It boasts red walls, trompe l’oeil murals, a thatched bar, South American flag bunting, a fake tree with a Virgin Mary statue in its hollow, and several wooden parrots. The mainstays are steaks and well-prepared Mexican classics like enchiladas, fajitas and quesadillas. Also on offer is a handful of Venezuelan dishes such as arepa rellena – corn cakes stuffed with a choice of fillings – or the very delicious pabellon margariteno, poached fish with peppers, coriander, parsley and garlic served with black beans, rice, fried plantain and a tangy avocado salad. There’s an ongoing deal of two courses for £15 and with a good selection of inexpensive cocktails to get the party started, you’ll very likely be dancing to the Latin beats by the end of the evening. + Delightfully kitsch décor - Underwhelming desserts

Shebeen SOUTH AFRICAN 8 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8BJ (Map 4: C2, 36) 0131 629 0261, shebeenbar.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 10pm

‘Welkom to meat heaven’ declares a chalkboard at the entrance of this South African-themed restaurant. It’s no idle boast either – simply looking at the menu is enough to induce the meat sweats. Meatballs, ribs and giant steaks all vie for your attention, each prepared on the venue’s braai. Having upped sticks from Dock Place and decamped to Morrison Street, Shebeen has made the transition from bar to restaurant (although punters can still stop by for beers and snacks

imported from the Rainbow Nation). For those that used to frequent the Leith incarnation, the new premises offer an element of familiarity, with some of the seating, furniture and trinkets surviving the relocation. The setting however, is a little more rustic and homely now, swathed in earthy tones and tribal colours. And if the old location was popular with the ex-pat community, the new version is likely to be even more so, providing Saffers a taste of home, including own-recipe boerewors sausage, pap en vleis (lamb chops and maizemeal) and bunny chow – a Durban curry served in a hollowed-out loaf. [Not open in time for full review at time of going to press.]

Spoilt for Choice AFRICAN/CARIBBEAN 19 Marionville Road, EH7 5TY See Takeaway & Home Delivery

Tupiniquim BRAZILIAN The Green Police Box, Middle Meadow Walk, Lauriston Place, Old Town, EH1 9AU (Map 2A: C5, 36), tupiniquim.co.uk | Mon–Sat 10am–7pm. Closed Sun. Veg; T/A. £8 (lunch)

Swapping Sao Paulo for Middle Meadow Walk, husband and wife team Fernando and Gardenia bring bucket loads of Brazilian sunshine to their Tupiniquim police box. Every inch of space is put to good use with a vegetable plot nearby and herbs growing on the roof, underlying a commitment that stretches from fresh ingredients to responsible packaging. Sweet and savoury glutenfree crepes are the main event, all generously filled, well composed and packed full of flavour. Gently spiced chicken piri piri comes flecked with pecans, avocado and optional hot sauce alongside apples, pears and caramel combining in a decadently delicious dessert pancake. Saturday brings the earthy, rich black bean feijoada, laden with smoked pork rib and bacon and well supported by cassava and wilted greens.

Keep an eye out for the equally splendid coconut-infused fish stew appearing on summertime Sundays and the occasional transformation into cinebox with earlyevening soup and short films. Rest assured, if Dr Who was serving food this tasty from his police box, he’d have been far too busy to rid the world of Daleks. + Bags of passion and delicious fare from sunny-disposition owners - Good things come to those who wait

Turkish Kitchen TURKISH 120–122 Rose Street South Lane, New Town, EH2 4BB (Map 1A: B5, 53) 0131 226 2212, myturkishkitchen.co.uk | Mon–Thu 11am–2.30pm, 5–11.30pm [Takeaway until 1am]; Fri/Sat 11am– 11.30pm [Takeaway until 3am]. Closed Sun. HW £12; Kids; T/A. £6.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Tucked away on a lane off Rose Street, Turkish Kitchen is unassuming but full of heart. A garlic and herb aroma fills the air and whets the appetite – an appetite that’s much needed for the more than generous portions. Start with a selection of mezze, prepared while you wait. Thick, nutty hummus, grilled hellim cheese with a red cabbage salad, prawns baked with mushrooms and tomatoes, all mopped up with as much hot, oily pitta bread as you can eat. If you’re not full to bursting after this, there’s a wide selection of lamb, chicken, kebab and vegetarian mains to choose from. The hunkar begendi, chargrilled marinated lamb served with creamed aubergine and topped with roasted vegetables, is hearty and tasty, and paticlan sarma, aubergine baked with feta, tomato and herbs, is juicy and fragrant. All mains are served with a portion of brown rice and salad, and if they prove too much for you, chef Seyhmus Aslanalp will pop any leftovers into a doggy bag. Try, however, to save a little room for some baklava; it’s worth it. + Lovingly cooked and presented food - Uninspiring décor

Yeni TURKISH 73 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1EE (Map 1A: D4, 88) 0131 225 5755, yenirestaurant.com | Mon–Sat noon– 9.30pm. Closed Sun. Veg; Pre; HW £13.95. £9.90 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Pomegranate: Middle Eastern mezzes by the Playhouse Theatre at Hanam’s new sister restaurant

Yeni occupies premises which were formerly home to the popular Nargile and is run by the same husband and wife team, Ruya Iridag and Stuart Anderson. The menu still shows predominantly Turkish influences, but the format has been updated – as has the décor – with a new pale mint and cream paint job making the dining area appear lighter and more modern. Riding the trend of selecting smaller dishes to share, Yeni is now branded as a Meze Bar and they recommend choosing 3–4 small dishes each to share, although a selection of main course style dishes are also available in small or large portions. Hot food is freshly prepared and cooked to order, with felafels and crispy borek pastries both crunchily satisfying. Hummus with lamb and pinenuts is superbly smooth and creamy, though perhaps a little light on the lamb. There’s a refreshing fattoush salad of crisp pitta, radish, cucumber and dried mint, garlicky sucuk sausage and a nicely seasoned baba ghanoush. You can finish off with sorbets, homemade chocolate baclava or specially imported Turkish delight, along with Arabic coffee or fresh mint tea. + Ideal city centre meeting point - The décor refresh doesn’t seem to have reached the bathrooms The List Eating & Drinking Guide 81


SCOTTISH

list.co.uk

EDINBURGH

SCOTTISH In this anniversary year for the Guide, it’s inspiring to see the number of newcomers nibbling at the reputations of established Edinburgh players. A new generation of young chefs are taking their first steps and putting their names on the door. Interesting buildings have been coaxed back into life, strippedback interiors are putting the focus firmly on the food, and, increasingly, cooking is trusting in the integrity and quality of Scotland’s larder. Of course, you can still have a giggle at chefs with gizmos, gadgets and grand concepts, or have the full Michelin-starred treatment with cooking that would grace any culinary capital city. These might be austere times, but whatever your budget, your choice of eating Scottish is really rather rich. Reviewers: John Cooke, Louise Donoghue, Robin McKelvie, Yana Thandrayan

A Room in Leith 1c Dock Place, Leith, EH6 6LU (Map 5A: C1, 9) 0131 554 7427, aroomin.co.uk | Mon–Sun 10.30am–4pm, 5.30–10pm. BYOB (£5); HW £14.50; Kids; Wh. £13.95 (set lunch)

Down by the water in Leith sits this northerly branch of the city’s ‘A Room In . . . ‘ bistros, its shore-side setting shown off by a dining room conservatory and outdoor tables should the sun deign to shine. Enter the restaurant through the cosy Teuchters Landing bar (see Bars & Pubs section for a separate write-up): helpful staff will guide you should you get lost. As befits a dining room next to a bar, an excellent range of Scottish craft beers is on offer from the Inveralmond, Innis & Gunn and Black Isle breweries, and there are over 80 malts to choose from. Fish is a speciality. A prettily presented smoked trout starter has a burst of mustard heat, and a plate of roasted cod is given added interest by a salmon croquette and creamed leeks. There are also surprises, such as a deliciously light savoury cheesecake, the creaminess of which is spiked by a piquant salsa. Ox cheek is a much heavier affair: a big punch of beefy flavour after long, slow cooking has ensured that all the sinews

GUIDES

have melted into the meat. Old favourites such as sticky toffee pudding and chocolate roulade round off the meal. + Shoreside location - Bar food only outside

A Room in the Town 18 Howe Street, New Town, EH3 6TG (Map 1A: C3, 27) 0131 225 8204, aroomin. co.uk | Mon–Sat 10am–2.30pm, 5.30– 10pm; Sun 10am–3.30pm, 5.30–8.30pm. Veg; BYOB (£5); HW £14.50; Kids. £13.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

A Room in the Town is the original ‘room in’ restaurant, and is regarded with much affection by many locals who have frequented it for over 15 years to sample reasonably priced local produce at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dining room has a cosy feel and is simply furnished with hanging baskets and Scottish landscapes painted by local artists. The atmosphere is relaxed and friendly, and full of chatter so can be noisy at the weekends with large groups booking in. Some options impress more than others: seared fillet of sea bream served with a chorizo, caper and orzo salad with orange and basil pesto is a stand-out dish, and equally tasty are Scottish salmon and North Sea cod fish-cakes with aioli. Vegetarian choices are less notable: frittata and a vegetable and goat’s cheese filo parcel are lacklustre. Faith is restored with a scrumptious flourless dark chocolate cake with praline drizzle. If this place wasn’t popular enough, the BYOB policy (with suggestions of local shops to grab a bottle) makes it even more so. + Good food in a relaxed atmosphere - Can be noisy

A Room in the West End 26 William Street, West End, EH3 7NH (Map 4: B1, 3) 0131 226 1036, aroomin. co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5.30– 10pm; Sat/Sun noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm. BYOB (£5); HW £14.50; Kids. £13.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

To be accurate, A Room in the West End is four rooms in total. Beneath Teuchters Bar on William Street sits a low-ceilinged and lively large one, as well as three snugly private alcoves, perfect if you fancy trysting the night away. Lovers of classic Scottish ingredients will find plenty to adore, delivered simply, with the occasional novelty – like the wee crab and leek ‘bridie’ with a grilled fillet of trout. There are plenty of influences from elsewhere too, such as a chipotle, spinach and garbanzo bean cassoulet, and a rather weighty spring roll filled with confit duck and gruth dhu cheese.

It’s all good, comforting stuff. A smoked salmon and horseradish fishcake is wellbalanced. Braised shin of beef collapses obligingly on the fork. Of course, there’s banoffee pie for dessert, while Luca’s vanilla, pear and stem ginger ice-cream definitely delivers on the latter ingredient. This popular dining concept (shared with branches in Leith and the New Town) has now notched up a dozen years. Toast that achievement from the 90-strong malt whisky list which promises a tour from Aberfeldy to Tullibardine. Slàinte! + All those rooms - Vegetable side dishes seem an afterthought

Above Abbotsford 3–5 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 2PR (Map 1B: A6, 50) 0131 225 5276, theabbotsford.com | Mon–Thu noon– 3pm, 5–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm; Sun 12.30–3pm, 5–10pm. HW £12.95; Kids (under 5). £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Upstairs from the Abbotsford pub (see Bars & Pubs section for separate write-up) is this ornate wood-panelled restaurant, which, looking out on to Rose Street, is ideally situated for hungry shoppers or, myth has it, a crèche for husbands abandoned by wives busy shopping in Jenners. The dining room has an air of formality, complete with white tablecloths and napkins, but the food is standard pub fare. The menu lists bar classics such as fish and chips, various burgers and pies, and there are daily specials and regularly changing seasonal dishes. The cooking can be a bit hit and miss: a chunky piece of trout is pleasant enough but the accompanying Mediterranean vegetables are rather hard to digest. The steak, however, is a wellhung slab of meat packed with flavour. The short list of puddings includes Mackies ice-cream, a chocolate tart and a dense sticky date and ginger sponge which may be the highlight of the whole meal. A fine selection of real ales is on hand to wash it all down. + Good selection of beers - Under-cooked aubergine

Amber Restaurant The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Old Town, EH1 2NE (Map 2A: B2, 28) 0131 477 8477, amber-restaurant.co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–7.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–9pm. Veg; HW £15.95; Kids; Wh. £13 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Just a few steps down the Royal Mile from Edinburgh Castle, it’s no surprise to encounter throngs of tourists in the

Timberyard (page 90): where the Radford family have reclaimed a place on the West End dining scene 82 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

4 HITLIST SCOTTISH

4 Café St Honoré Skilled chefs creating food you want to eat rather than just look at in one of the city's most romantic dining venues 4 Castle Terrace Dominic Jack and his team don't miss a trick, from creative canapes to elegant petit fours, at this grown-up, fine dining oasis. 4 Field Assured newcomers bringing deft and feistily flavoured food to the table at astonishingly reasonable prices. 4 The Gardeners' Cottage Enjoy a rustic six-course menu of expertly crafted seasonal dishes in a charming and unexpected setting.

4 The Grain Store Bare stone walls and candles overlooking a picturesque Old Town street, offering inspired sourcing and real creativity. 4 The Kitchin Despite his media profile, it’s Tom Kitchin’s food that continues to steal the headlines and set the local benchmark. 4 Restaurant Mark Greenaway A talented chef in a new venue continues to impress with dishes that showcase his unique creative flair.

4 Timberyard Seasonality and sourcing at the heart of everything, set in sophisticated, modern surroundings. lobby and shop of the Scotch Whisky Experience. Yet Amber Restaurant, tucked cosily into the red sandstone belly of the Old Town building, is a pleasantly sophisticated and contemporarily styled dining location, certainly compared to tasteless tartan excesses nearby. While the adjoining whisky bar, with approaching 400 different bottles, takes novice and connoisseur alike on a voyage of discovery, dining is by no means the poor relation. A tapas counter at the bar serves bites and nibbles of meat and fish to match the drams, while in the restaurant the lunch menu has sharing platters, mains and even a dim sum selection, all with a local flavour from Dunsyre blue cheese to smoked haddock. Evening dining is a little more substantial, but not overly formal, offering dishes including a terrine of wild mountain hare and homemade picalilli, a main of guinea fowl and skirlie, or a popular selection of miniature cooking pots offering local classics such as stovies, mussels and haggis. + Tourist friendly but still imaginative and interesting Scottish dining - No whisky angle missed – there’s even whisky butter icing on the carrot cake


SCOTTISH

In association with

WHISKI Bar & Restaurant

Multi award winning whisky bar and restaurant Fresh Scottish food served all day Over 300 whiskies Live Scottish music every night “the ultimate Scottish experience” 119 High Street (Royal Mile), Edinburgh, EH1 1SG T: 0131 556 3095 E: info@whiskibar.co.uk

A STUNNING RESTAURANT ON EDINBURGH’S HISTORIC ROYAL MILE.

ingredients. Choose from our á la carte menus or fantastic 2 & 3 course dining offers.

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The seasonal menus at Angels with Bagpipes showcase the finest Scottish

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide 83


SCOTTISH

list.co.uk GUIDES

Angels With Bagpipes 343 High Street, Old Town, EH1 1PW (Map 2A: C2, 12) 0131 220 1111, angelswithbagpipes.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–10pm. Pre; HW £19; Kids; Wh. £12.95 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

®

Sustainable Breakfast Seasonal Lunch

Heritage High Teas Mon to Sat 9am until 5pm (Thurs until 7pm) Sun 10am until 5pm

With a name like Angels with Bagpipes and a location opposite St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile, this restaurant is a tourist magnet. The upstairs area is compact with a pretty Edinburgh street view – but fear not, there is extra room on the lower floor to accommodate larger groups, passing tourists and some local diners. Dishes are generally well executed but some lack the wow factor: this is a menu of highs and lows. Beef tartare is a highlight, as is the perfectly cooked Highland lamb, served with pearl barley, carrots, sweetbread and kale. Haggis is beautifully wrapped in bacon and served with the expected neeps and tatties, but sadly the whisky sauce doesn’t pack much of a punch. Chocolate ganache with marzipan icecream, popcorn and candied nuts is an explosion of rich textures and sweetness; however the deconstructed cranachan – Glenmorangie parfait, raspberry crumble, oatmeal marshmallow and raspberry jelly – falls short of the traditional recipe. There is certainly some promise here, but there is also room for improvement. + Some impressive dishes - Limited choice for vegetarians

The Atholl Dining Room

The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant The Scottish National Gallery, The Mound, Edinburgh EH2 2EL | www.thescottishcafe.com info@thescottishcafe.com | 0131 226 6524

Nominated for Italian Best Italian Nominated for Best at TheatScottish Restaurant Awards and shortlisted for2013 Best Italian The Scottish Restaurant Awards at the Entertainment Awards 2013 Shortisted for the Entertament Awards for Best Italian.

Celebrating our 10th Birthday, very exciting things to come to Centotre, follow us on twitter, facebook and our blog.

Mon to Fri 7.30am until Midnight Sat 9am until Midnight | Sun 9am until 10pm 103 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 3ES info@centotre.com | 0131 226 6524 www.centotre.com 84 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Howard Hotel, 34 Great King Street, New Town, EH3 6QH (Map 1B: A3, 12) 0131 557 3500, thehoward.com | Mon– Sun noon–2pm, 6–9pm. [Afternoon tea: 2–5pm.] Veg; HW £21; Kids; Wh. £29 (lunch) / £29 (dinner)

The Atholl Dining Room was originally exclusively for guests at the five-star Howard Hotel in the New Town, and with only fourteen covers, the tables and butler service are still primarily allocated to those who are staying the night. There is clearly an emphasis on all things Scottish, from the local produce on the menu to the Scottish beers and spirits that can be sipped in the drawing room. Menu choices head down a very traditional route: pan-fried Mallaig scallops with celeriac, pancetta and lemon oil is a good start, but a tasty Neuk of Fife brown crab fishcake is not enhanced by its accompanying sweet chilli sauce. Mains encompass dishes like herb-crusted loin of Borders lamb or grilled Shetland cod. To finish, deliciously chewy brandy snaps are served with an impressive lemon tart with honey ice-cream and lime syrup. The grand surroundings and some of the old-fashioned touches add to the finedining experience, but the Atholl could benefit from a little more innovation on the menu. + Feels like a step back in time - Some dishes lack gusto

Blackwood’s Bar & Grill Nira Caledonia, 10 Gloucester Place, EH3 6EF (Map 1A: B2, 24) 0131 225 2720, niracaledonia.com | Mon–Fri 7am– 9.30am, 3–10pm; Sun 8–10am. HW £17.50; Kids. £23 (dinner)

This Stockbridge location has seen a few owners over the last ten years and chef David Smith has remained at the helm throughout. Now owned by the Nira Hotel group, which boasts properties in Switzerland and Mauritius, the Blackwood’s Bar and Grill opened early in 2013. The menu starts out with juicy Shetland mussels with white wine and chillies, and ends with a sublime white chocolate and Baileys baked cheesecake. This is one of only two restaurants in the capital with a Josper chargrill

oven, on which all meats and fish are cooked. Wild Scottish sea bass fillet has a perfect crispy skin and is served with spinach and crowdie cream cheese. The Highland Drovers beef, dry aged for at least 21 days, is complemented by green peppercorn sauce or Glenkinchie whisky sauce. This very much feels like a hotel restaurant, with a small bar area and only eight tables, but the quality of the food is a very pleasant surprise. + Impressive dishes - Seats feel a little low

Blonde 75 St Leonard’s Street, Southside, EH8 9QR See Bistros & Brasseries

4

Café St Honoré

34 North West Thistle Street Lane, New Town, EH2 1EA (Map 1A: C4, 71) 0131 226 2211, cafesthonore.com | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 5.15–10pm; Sat/Sun noon– 2pm, 6–10pm. HW £17.90; Kids. £15.50 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Venture down a cobbled New Town lane to find this romantic slice of Paris. With its wood panelling, black and white floor tiles and hazy old mirrors, the atmosphere is classic French brasserie. The food, however, is much more exciting. Under the direction of chef Neil Forbes the menus have evolved to showcase the best of seasonal Scottish produce both farmed and foraged, such as razor clams from the east coast and delicate organic chicken livers from Perthshire. A neck of lamb is cooked with considerable skill to be soft and tender yet still pink in the middle, and the quality of the ingredients shines through in a well-balanced dish of hake in a white wine sauce. Deftly made desserts reflect the French influence – like a dark chocolate pithivier, or rhubarb parfait, and there’s always the classic crème brûlée. The front of house team exudes enthusiasm for the food coming out of the kitchen, chatting knowledgeably about the produce and its provenance. Slow Food events and top-rating awards from the Sustainable Restaurant Association underline the ethical credentials of this popular restaurant which attracts a convivial local clientele. + Excellent cooking, outstanding produce - No fizz under £30 a bottle

4

Castle Terrace

33/35 Castle Terrace, West End, EH1 2EL (Map 4: D1, 44) 0131 229 1222, castleterracerestaurant.com | Tue–Sat noon–2pm, 6.30–10pm. Closed Sun/ Mon. Veg; HW £20; Kids (under 5); Wh. £26.50 (set lunch) / £44 (dinner)

When you emerge as the offshoot of a fairly flawless Michelin-starred restaurant there is only one way to avoid playing second fiddle. And that is, of course, to win your own star, which is exactly what Castle Terrace did in 2011, less than a year after opening. Chef-patron Dominic Jack may buy into partner-chef Tom Kitchin’s ‘Nature to Plate’ emphasis on local ingredients and unstinting seasonality, but imitate he does not. If anything the dining space is more refined, a sort of slick boutique hotel crossed with serene health spa, all hardwoods and piped mood music. Edinburgh Castle tries to distract outside, but it can’t. Not with cooking this stellar. Even the lunch set menu is a culinary extravaganza of canapés, amuse-bouche, three courses and petit fours, all immaculately, but not overly fussily presented. Fillet of North Sea cod comes translucent against a bold, binary colour squid cannelloni, laced together by a glaze of garlic and parsley. It’s almost too pretty to eat. This


SCOTTISH

In association with

Specializing in the best of Seafood and Meats from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland Open 7 days for dinner

0131 337 6169 4 West Coates, Haymarket

Edinburgh, EH12 5JQ www.dunstanehotels.co.uk

Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar (page 87): a young chef on the way up down a cobbled Royal Mile close

bold, creative and assured restaurant is certainly no pale Kitchin imitation. + Serious destination dining nudging two-star territory - Some daring wine pairings on the set menus don’t always hit the mark

Channings Restaurant 12–16 South Learmonth Gardens, Comely Bank, West End, EH4 1EZ (Map 4: A1, off) 0131 315 2226, channings. co.uk | Mon–Sun 11.30am–9.45pm. Veg; HW £15.95; Kids. £18.50 (set dinner)

Karen Higgins is that rare thing among Edinburgh restaurants: a female chef in charge of her own kitchen. It’s her food that attempts to brighten the rather gloomy dining room of this Comely Bank hotel. Take a squint at the short menu and it’s all simple and modest, treading a fine line between keeping hotel guests happy, while attracting diners looking for something worth going out for. So don’t expect any cheffy pyrotechnics worth a tweet. This is not high-concept eating, or ‘more Scottish than thou’ culinary flag-waving. Cream of celeriac soup with a sprinkling of pine nuts is typical, as is sweet-cured salmon with a dab of herring roe. But if a well-cooked supreme of chicken with dauphinoise tatties, a smear of carrot purée and buttered kale floats your boat, tuck in. Fillet of Ayrshire pork with fondant potato, creamed cabbage and mini-balls of black pudding is another straight-down-the middle option – and none the worse for it. Desserts don’t depart from this path, and include a small ramekin of very well-puréed apple crumble, cooled by brandy ice-cream. You get the picture. + Simply does it - Lights, please – it would be good to read the menu

The Dining Room The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 28 Queen Street, New Town, EH2 1JX (Map 1A: D4, 77) 0131 220 2044, thediningroomedinburgh.co.uk | Mon noon–2.30pm; Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–9.30pm. Closed Sun. Pre; HW £18.75; Kids; Wh. £18.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

The aroma of whisky permeates this

elegant ground-floor restaurant set within a Georgian townhouse. As befits the dining room of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society a carefully selected complimentary dram is presented to those eating from the à la carte menu. Unlike the bar upstairs, the restaurant is open to the public, and it has the atmosphere of a house party filled with characters dreamt up by Alexander McCall Smith. High-quality Scottish ingredients form the backbone of chef James Freeman’s fine-dining cuisine. Flavours range from delicate – a starter of smoked haddock tartare – to big and bold in the form of braised beef cheek. The main courses are intricate dishes of artfully presented seasonal fare rather than exercises in button-straining gluttony, however the subtle flavour of John Dory is almost overwhelmed by its accompanying curry velouté. There’s a lot of creativity on display here, such as a pairing of duck breast with liquorice, or the buttermilk foam that accompanies a pudding of rhubarb jelly. While there’s an air of quiet formality to the place, the waiters ensure the welcome is as warming as the whisky. + Complimentary whisky is a nice touch - Décor could do with an update

The Dogs 110 Hanover Street, New Town, EH2 1DR See Bistros & Brasseries

Edinburgh Larder Bistro 1a Alva Street, West End, EH2 4PH See Bistros & Brasseries

4

Field

41 West Nicolson Street, Southside, EH8 9DB (Map 2A: D5, 67) 0131 667 7010, fieldrestaurant.co.uk | Tue–Sat noon– 2pm, 5.30–9pm Closed Sun/Mon. HW £16. £11.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Field is clearly about one thing, the food. In these austere times, that’s a very good thing. Those behind this simple, strippedback room near George Square have tasty credentials. Most recently at The Plumed Horse, chef Gordon Craig and co-owner Richard Conway prove that a good value Scottish menu needn’t bow to cliché or blandness. This is assured, deft and

feistily flavoured cooking. Comforting without being clumsy, a ham hock rissole is the right combination of hammy ‘pulled’ meat, with a crunchy, lightly breaded exterior, topped with the softness of a poached egg, with hollandaise sauce a silken last touch. Terrine of smoked mackerel and confit sweet potato, wrapped in grilled aubergine, is sweet, smoky and spot-on. Pan-fried hake is rather awkwardly presented on slate, but its bed of finely diced ratatouille shows that fine dining-style attention to detail is omnipresent, even though the prices surely make this newcomer a contender for eating-out bargain of the year. Oh, and don’t skip dessert. A banana tarte tartin, sticky with caramelised sugars and sweet fruit, is more delicious proof that nothing’s more satisfying than simple food done very, very well. + Proves you don’t have to dine fine to eat fine - Cheese plate lets the side down.

First Coast 97–101 Dalry Road, West End, EH11 2AB See Bistros & Brasseries

Forth Floor Restaurant Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, New Town, EH2 2AD (Map 1B: B5, 45) 0131 524 8350, harveynichols. com | Mon noon–3pm; Tue–Fri noon– 3pm, 6–10pm; Sat noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Sun noon–3pm. HW £19.50; Kids (over 6); Wh. £25 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

For a city with such spellbinding scenery Edinburgh doesn’t offer many fine-dining tables with a view. The ever showy Harvey Nichols does, however, and what tables they are, peering out over St Andrew Square to the castle and the River Forth. They even dare to brave some tables outside in the Scottish summer. All this could seem like an attempt to woo diners with style over substance. It isn’t. Real thought has gone into their sourcing, contributing to their recent acquisition of two stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. Hand-pressed apple juice from Innerleithen; 35-day aged Orkney beef and East Lothian rapeseed oil show

Established in 1991 by Chef Carlo Coxon. Specialising in local, seasonal produce. We’ve been here long enough to know how.

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EDINBURGH

GUIDES

attention to detail that also comes across in the cooking, with Executive Chef Stuart Muir equally adept at conjuring up a Cullen skink to please a Moray Firth granny as he is at perking up venison with sour cherries, balsamic beets and walnuts. Eclectic mains steer from poached hake with bone marrow and bordelaise sauce, through to a curryinfused concoction of sea bream and mussels. Desserts are limited, but well chosen. Running a tight ship in such extravagant waters is an art in itself. + Cooking that often reaches the heady heights of those views - Trying to concentrate on your duck ballotine when the castle keeps catching your eye

traditional as the candlelit stone-walled dining rooms, but they are spiced up with chorizo, walnuts and pickled cucumber. The dessert highlight is a decadent bakewell tart served with a hearty dollop of clotted cream, guaranteed to put a smile on your face whether it’s your first night in town or you dine out every weekend. + Cosy dining in the Old Town a few impressive steps beyond tourist fodder - The dining rooms are not so cosy if you are in one with a big group - so book wisely

4

Hewat’s Restaurant

The Gardener’s Cottage

1 Royal Terrace Gardens, New Town, EH7 5DX (Map 5B: A6, 22) 0131 558 1221, thegardenerscottage.co | Thu, Fri, Mon noon–2.30pm, 5–10pm; Sat/Sun 10am– 2.30pm, 5–10pm. Closed Tue/Wed. Veg; HW £18; Kids. £15 (lunch) / £25 (set dinner)

Run by two talented chefs with impressive restaurant experience between them (including The Atrium, The Kitchin, The Outsider, Café St Honore and Falko), Gardener’s Cottage is a relatively new addition to Edinburgh dining. Be transported out of the city to a cosy cottage, with fairy lights in the bushes, a kitchen garden out front and a blackboard listing the six-course menu on offer that evening. This is a dailychanging, no-choice set menu (although dietary requirements are catered for) which feels as rustic as its setting and is bursting with super-seasonal ingredients. Smoked ham hock, soft boiled egg and lava salt is simple and delicious. Partridge, salt bake turnip, artichoke and gnocchi is a tasty combination of flavours and textures. Scottish cheeses feature heavily: crowdie is complemented by beetroot and a hazelnut and onion salad, and trendy Blue Monday is served with crumbly beremeal crackers and walnut spice. Crockery and cutlery are elegantly mismatched, and the open kitchen is very well choreographed as the staff glide between the communal tables. There appears to be a new hotspot in town. + A truly pleasurable and different dining experience - Book well ahead to avoid disappointment

Ghillie Dhu 2 Rutland Place, West End, EH1 2AD See Bars & Pubs

4

The Grain Store

30 Victoria Street, Old Town, EH1 2JW (Map 2A: B3, 19) 0131 225 7635, grainstore-restaurant.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 6–10pm; Fri noon–2pm, 6–11pm; Sat noon–3pm, 6–11pm; Sun noon–3pm, 6–10pm. HW £18.50; Kids. £12.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Given its prime location tucked beneath the castle at the heart of the cobbled tourist warren of the Old Town, the Grain Store could be forgiven for just catering to jolly groups, first-time visitors and couples more interested in romance than cuisine. That they do this, but also care enough to interest Edinburgh’s increasingly discerning gastronomes, says a lot about this assured old timer. The Grain Store does not harbour pretensions of troubling the Michelin inspectors, but that doesn’t mean lead chef Carlo Coxon cannot have a bit of fun. Aberdeen Angus ribeye comes not as a single cut, but as perfectly cooked hulks spiked up by ox tongue in a sumptuously rich stew. Yes the mains – halibut, partridge and venison – are as 86 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Hellers Kitchen 15 Salisbury Place, Southside, EH9 1SL See Bistros & Brasseries

19–21b Causewayside, Southside, EH9 1QF (Map 3C: D3, 20) 0131 466 6660, hewatsrestaurant.co.uk | Mon/ Tue 6–9.30pm; Wed/Thu noon–2pm, 6–9.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–2pm, 6–10pm. Closed Sun. Pre; HW £15.35; Kids. £11.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Hewat’s is truly a family-run operation, and diners have been greeted with a warm welcome from husband and wife team Richard and Margaret Hewat for the past eight years. The décor is full of opulent reds and rich fabrics, creating a grand interior that attracts a range of customers celebrating special occasions or just popping in for a bite after a day at university. Hewat’s offers fine dining at a fraction of the cost of some of the city’s restaurants and is keen to accommodate all budgets. This does not mean that they scrimp on the ingredients; instead diners are treated to an array of high quality dishes such as grilled Loch Fyne oysters with Parma ham and hollandaise, or succulent roast tenderloin of boar with a morel mushroom sauce. An impressive dish of seared fillet of sea bass and tiger prawns is served with a sun-blushed tomato sauce and lobster and rocket mash. Desserts deliver, too, especially the warm chocolate torte with kirsch cherries and mint mascarpone. + Good food that won’t break the bank - Slightly off the main drag

Howies 10–14 Victoria Street, Old Town, EH1 2HG (Map 2A: C3, 18) 0131 225 1721, howies.uk.com | Mon–Fri noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat/Sun noon–10.30pm. Veg; Pre; BYOB (£4); HW £13.95; Kids. £9.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

In 2012 Howies was bought back by the original owners, who now own three restaurants in Scotland – two in Edinburgh and one in Aberdeen. They are keen to show that the original ideas and standards are back in operation: simple cooking of seasonal produce in a bistrostyle interior. Each chef is encouraged to put their own stamp on the menu and Chris Thomas’s offerings include a catch of the day, a casserole of the day of beef and Guinness, which is elevated by the addition of sweet apricots and spicy black pudding, and a honeyed warm chicken salad with crispy pancetta and toasted pine nuts. A double chocolate and black cherry pot with cardamom shortbread is rich and moreish, but bramble and caramel crumble tart is a little too sugary and the caramel topping feels like overkill. The informal setting appears to be one of the reasons for its popularity, as do the lunch and dinner deals that fill up the restaurant. On the whole Howies offers great value food, with service that can’t be faulted. + Happy to accommodate dietary requirements - Tables can be close together

The Gardener’s Cottage: flourishing in Royal Terrace Gardens Read owner David Howie Scott’s Table Talk feature on page 18.

Read owner David Howie Scott’s Table Talk feature on page 18.

Howies at Waterloo

Iglu

29 Waterloo Place, New Town, EH1 3BQ (Map 1B: C6, 59) 0131 556 5766, howies. uk.com | Sun–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5.30– 10pm; Sat noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm. [Open for coffee: Mon–Sun from 11am.] Pre; BYOB (£4); HW £13.50; Kids; Wh. £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

2b Jamaica Street, New Town, EH3 6HH (Map 1A: C3, 26) 0131 476 5333, theiglu. com | Tue–Thu 5.30–10pm; Fri–Sun noon–3pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Mon. [Bar open: Tue–Thu 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. Closed Mon.] Veg; Pre; HW £15; Kids. ��12 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Edinburghers have gathered in the rather impressive Regency-style ‘convening rooms’ at 29 Waterloo Place since the early 19th century. These days, the high-ceilinged, cupola-lit main room attracts diners looking for the Howies brand of Scottish dining, which remains relaxed and casual, despite the august surroundings. After buying back Howies when it faltered under a subsequent owner, everything has returned to the formula that the original guiding lights made so popular. So, it’s a menu with plenty from the Scottish larder, and the occasional splash of the Med. A firm hunk of hot-smoked Loch Duart salmon, a tidy mushroom ‘Scotch’ pie, and that old favourite – deep-fried brie – all make an appearance as starters. Mains are substantial, with a daily casserole warming the cold months. Ribeye steak with a wild mushroom and mixed peppercorn sauce certainly has plenty of the latter. Vegetable croquettes wrap crispy breadcrumbed aubergine strips around a soft centre of melting mozzarella, tomato and pesto. A short and fairly straight dessert menu (yes, there is banoffee pie) is enlivened by a trio of good Scottish cheeses. + Historic surroundings - No surprises on this menu

The name suggests Arctic chill but inside is a warm, softly lit bar, with exposed brickwork and book-lined shelves. The main restaurant is upstairs but food is served in both areas. Celebrated for being an ecologically sustainable restaurant (they boast three stars from the Sustainable Restaurant Association), produce is ethically sourced and mostly organic, with a short menu focused on seasonal foods. Pretty pink smudges of salmon prepared three ways come with a Freedom Foods certification; a dainty dish of wood pigeon is given a contemporary twist with the addition of spicy popcorn. The sweetness of Borders lamb is enhanced by dabs of vegetable purées, while a venison steak gains an earthy savour with a mixture of roots. The puddings produce the biggest surprises: a dense cheesecake flecked with bitter chocolate is presented in a kilner jar, and a sweet panna cotta comes laid out in a long slab. The atmosphere is informal, as groups of casually dressed friends mull over the list of artisan liqueurs, malts and Black Isle beers on tap. + Ethical, local, sustainable sourcing - Rhubarb liqueur had sold out


SCOTTISH

In association with

4

The Kitchin

78 Commercial Quay, Leith, EH6 6LX (Map 5A: C1, 6) 0131 555 1755, thekitchin.com | Tue–Sat 12.15–2.15pm, 6.30–10.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon. Veg; HW £29; Kids (under 5); Wh. £26.50 (set lunch) / £50 (dinner)

Of course, you can melt the credit card with the tasting or seasonal menus at this ultra-slick Leith restaurant, but Tom Kitchin has also brought his Michelin-starred brand of fine dining to a refreshingly wide audience of food lovers. A set lunch menu offers all the precision, provenance and presentation you’d expect from a restaurant groaning with accolades, but without requiring a second mortgage. Straw-smoked herring ‘leaping’ through a hoop of finely spun crisp potato with artful islands of dill-flavoured sauce is a dish in point. Calves’ liver of a perfect pink richness is sweetened with orange sauce and a tatin of endive. Pork belly crackles and oozes meatiness in the right proportions. A lemon soufflé is all about lightness and flavour; custard tart and poached rhubarb are ideal plate mates. It’s all simple in concept, but still ultra sophisticated. Not food for making headlines, but for giving pleasure and putting you at ease. But then, ‘Nature to Plate’ is the concept here, so ultimately – and a little ironically – the food is the star here, not the chef. + Matching wines are worth the outlay - Cheese information is a trifle sketchy

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, West End, EH1 2AE (Map 4: B1, 22) 0131 229 3402, kyloerestaurant.com | Sun– Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. HW £18; Kids; Wh. £25 (lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Kyloe (meaning ‘cattle’) is looking to fill a niche in the Edinburgh restaurant scene, and that niche is meat, meat, meat. Cows are everywhere – the statue outside, the paintings on the wall, the cowhide furniture and the board that displays all the raw cuts on offer. Steaks are definitely the focus here: they are ‘certified pedigree Aberdeen Angus, from local Scottish farms where the cows are 100% grass-fed and hung for a minimum of 21 days’ – and they are really good. As are the accompanying side dishes: chunky beef-dripping chips are a must, as is the savoy cabbage with bacon. Loch Creran rock oysters and Loch Etive mussels also feature, and for the more extravagant (and hungry) you can add half a lobster to your hunk of meat. Desserts are not an afterthought but, as delicious as they are, it could be hard to find the space. This slick operation is definitely at the top end of steak restaurants, which is reflected in the prices. Great for carnivores, but vegetarians may find it slightly disconcerting. + Steaks are definitely the star of the show - Communal toilets

The Magnum Restaurant & Bar 1 Albany Street, New Town, EH1 3PY (Map 1B: B4, 41) 0131 557 4366, themagnum.webeden.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5.30–10pm; Sun 12.30– 3.30pm, 6–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Thu noon–midnight; Fri/Sat noon–1am; Sun 12.30–11pm.] HW £14.95; Kids. £12.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The Magnum is a cosy pub in the New Town, complete with fairy lights adorning the windows, which makes it feel like Christmas all year round. With regulars mixing with tourists who have headed in to sample Scottish produce, there is an option to mix-and-match

from the à la carte and the bar menu. The former has a couple of impressive dishes, such as marinated pigeon breast with roasted black pudding and an apple and hazelnut salad, or grilled fillet of sea bass with a tasty baby gem lettuce and watercress sauce. From the bar menu, tempura of Peterhead haddock with hand-cut chips, green pea purée and green leaf salad appears to be a popular choice among the scores of regulars. Desserts are less successful – caramel and macadamia nut baked cheesecake is too stodgy – but the Magnum serves some good dishes and certainly offers a very hospitable welcome. + That pigeon dish - Some dishes are considerably better than others

McKirdy’s Steakhouse 151 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8AG (Map 4: B2, 53) 0131 229 6660, mckirdyssteakhouse.co.uk | Sun–Thu 5.30–10pm; Fri/Sat 5–10.30pm. Pre; BYOB (£3); HW £14.90; Kids; Wh. £26 (dinner)

Rémy Martin VSOP Award for Best Newcomer in the UK SLTN restaurant of the year 2010 and 2011 Listed in The Sunday Times Top 10 Foodie Destinations One of The Daily Telegraph’s 2 Best Places to dine in Edinburgh

Wedgwood is more than just a restaurant, it is a hidden gem on Edinburgh’s prestigious Royal Mile. Paul and Lisa have a passion for food and hospitality and offer the complete dining experience in warm and intimate surroundings. • Open 7 days a week • Monday-Saturday 12-3pm/6pm until late • Sunday 12.30-3pm/6pm until late

• Open 7 days a week • Monday-Saturday 12-3pm/6pm until late

In these days when food provenance is to the fore, McKirdy’s finds itself suddenly en vogue. It’s doing nothing new, of course, just continuing to offer red meat and haggis crafted by the family butcher. Here, they can tell you exactly where the meat came from and how the animals were prepared. They know how to cook it, too. Pork ribs come chargrilled, but meltingly soft inside. Ask for a rare steak and it will be bleeding under your knife: 267 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8BQ a rarity in Edinburgh. They’ll pan-fry your cut if you don’t want it chargrilled, Tel: 0131 55 88 737 and you can call ahead for their signature www.wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk T-bone. Fresh flavours are the star here, so you might not need to choose from info@wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk their eight sauces. Fish and chicken do sneak on to the menu, but they are merely a distraction from the matter at hand. Edinburgh may have a new wave of steak restaurants. Some have glitzier décor and Whighams Wine Cellars smoother staff. The city, though, only 13 Hope Street has one that butchers its own meat. That EDG13-Wedgewood-QR.indd 1 Edinburgh McKirdy’s conjures up a decent crème EH2 4EL brûlée and offers a bottle of Malbec for under £18 just adds to the appeal. 0131 225 8674 + Steak, steaks and more glorious family CELEBRATING 30 YEARS! info@whighams.com butcher steaks - Not much beyond the butcher’s best for non-meat-eaters

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Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar 21 Old Fishmarket Close, Old Town, EH1 1RW (Map 2A: D3, 51) 0131 226 4747, michaelneave.com | Tue–Fri noon– 2.30pm, 5.30–10pm. Sat noon–3.30pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. [Bar open: Tue–Sat noon–3.30pm, 5.30pm– midnight. Closed Sun/Mon.] Veg; HW £16; Kids. £11.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

As a young chef you could beaver away in a crowded kitchen being bossed around by someone else, hoping you’ll make it big one day. Or you could just boldly open your own restaurant and strike out alone in the heart of tourist Edinburgh. Which is what charmingly precocious Michael Neave did in 2012 when he opened his eponymous restaurant just off the Royal Mile. He’s a bold cook too: smoked salmon mousse comes with beetroot coulis, served like an elegant toasted club sandwich, and Perthshire roe deer arrives laced with carrot and lavender purée with an Auchentoshan whisky sauce. There is a whisky bar upstairs complete with some rare single malt expressions, and the mixologist also mixes a decent cocktail – Islay’s smooth Botanist gin is the star when infused with lemon and blackberry liqueur. Neave and his restaurant may not be quite as polished as the cocktails yet, but this rough diamond is an increasingly

Independent Wine Bar & Seafood Restaurant using locally Sourced, Scottish & Sustainable produce. • Extensive Wine & Champagne List, many by the glass • Daily Changing menu

• Draught Beers & Real Ale, Craft Beers & Cider • A La Carte & Snack Menu Served 7 days 12-10pm

www.whighams.com The List Eating & Drinking Guide 87


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EDINBURGH bright light in the Old Town, and he’s doing it on his own terms. + The chance to savour the cooking of a young chef on the way up - Neave’s restaurant is a diamond in need of a little bit more polishing

GUIDES

Valrhona chocolate cremeux, caramelia mousse and banana ice-cream. This is impressive food with an old-fashioned air to the dedicated service. + Delicious food in laid-back surroundings - Basement location means no views

Monteiths 57–61 High Street, Old Town, EH1 1SR See Bistros & Brasseries

One Square 1 Festival Square, West End, EH3 9SR See Bistros & Brasseries

The Mulroy

breast of guinea fowl has mash too, with an exuberant plate-smear of carrot purée. You get the picture: Tony Borthwick’s food still looks, and tastes, like, well, food. The wine keeps pace with this approach: thorough and full of reward. Which brings us to the end, and those desserts. . . . + Dessert lovers queue here - Occasionally heavy on the salt

Purslane

11a–13a William Street, West End, EH3 7NG See French

The Outsider 15/16 George IV Bridge, Old Town, EH1 1EE See Bistros & Brasseries

Number One 1 Princes Street, New Town, EH2 2EQ (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 557 6727, restaurantnumberone.com | Sun–Fri 6.30–9.45pm, Sat 6–9.45pm. HW £30; Kids; Wh. £64/£70 (set dinner)

From the moment you enter Number One there is little doubt that every aspect of this operation is a very classy affair. The surroundings are stylish and the welcome is warm. This is exactly what you would expect from Michelin-starred fine dining, from the melt-in-the-mouth canapés served with drinks in the bar area, to the range of little treats arriving between courses. Each dish is beautifully presented: a starter of scallops with glazed chicken wings, cauliflower and garam masala is a beautiful combination, while red deer with red cabbage, sprout leaves, bitter chocolate and a perfectly constructed mini bridie is an exquisite dish. Turbot with squid linguine, parsnips and shellfish sauce is equally remarkable, although the portion of perfectly cooked fish could be slightly larger. An impressive trolley of cheeses circulates, or for a sweeter conclusion opt for

Plumed Horse 50–54 Henderson Street, Leith, EH6 6DE (Map 5A: C3, 24) 0131 554 5556, plumedhorse.co.uk | Tue–Sat 12.30–1.30pm, Tue–Thu 7–9pm, Fri/Sat 6.30–9pm. Closed Sun/Mon. HW £21; Kids (under 5); Wh. £24 (set lunch) / £55 (set dinner)

To begin at the end – and a mighty fine end indeed, distinguished by desserts as delightful on the eye as the spoon. A vibrant gingerbread mousse contrasts with sweet, crunchy ‘rocks’ of honeycomb, a thing of true beauty. Then nougat parfait, delicately sandwiched between crunchy layers, accompanied by a deeply satisfying winter fruit salad. Of course, such elegant desserts are quite in keeping with the style of this U-shaped room in deepest Leith. The rest of the menu will not disappoint those in search of finer dining with a degree of amuse-bouched, petit-foured splendour. But despite its pedigree, the Plumed Horse is no fussy thoroughbred. Sautéed calves’ liver, unpink, meets thick, salty pancetta on horseradish mash. Roast

Magnum

Restaurant & Bar

33a St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AH (Map 1A: B2, 20) 0131 226 3500, purslanerestaurant.co.uk | Tue–Sat noon–2pm, 6.30–11.30pm. Closed Sun/ Mon. HW £15.95; Kids (under 6). £22 (lunch) / £21.95 (set dinner)

Purslane’s chef and owner Paul Gunning is justifiably proud of the petits fours made by chocolatier Sebastian Kobelt: the intensely flavoured hand-dipped chocolates are emblematic of the highquality contemporary food served here. Gunning’s ambition is to create a finedining experience without the formality or the cost, so linen tablecloths are dispensed with but the amuse-bouche is not. The cooking is clever and assured: the heart stopping richness of foie gras roulade is countered by quince chutney and smoked duck, and where simplicity works best – such as in a dressed crab – restraint is shown. Roasted guinea fowl is a fine example of how to bring out the flavour and retain succulence in a game bird. A piece of hake is studded with salty bursts of caviar and herby beurre blanc. The short pudding menu features more Kobelt chocolate creations and perhaps a crème brûlée or pithivier. The restaurant is stylishly decorated with textured wallpaper and painted plant motifs, but it’s an intimate space with room for just over 20 diners, so booking is advised.

TIPList

lunchtime deals on Rose Street 61

• Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine Smart Asian food in the Quartermile 59

• Three Birds Restaurant Inventive neighbourhood dining day and night 42

• Wedgwood the Restaurant The £12 lunch is stunning value for fine modern cuisine 91

• Zucca More than just

88 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Famed for his television appearances on the Great British Menu, in 2012 Mark Greenaway relocated his restaurant to a new city centre venue. There are grand plans afoot but for now the stylish and muted interior plays second fiddle to the main star here – the food. Greenaway’s contemporary style concentrates on employing modern cooking techniques to create exceptional dishes from the best seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. This is perfectly demonstrated by dishes like sous-vide Goosnargh duck breast and duck leg croquettes, elevated by watermelon and tarragon jus, or a variety of tender cuts in ‘a tasting of Borders lamb’. Knowledgeable staff are happy to advise on appropriate wine choices and you can even venture down to the cellar to make your selection. Mark claims that his main strength is his desserts, which is certainly evident in his peanut caramel cheesecake, a heavenly combination of shortbread, toffee sauce, roasted peanuts and iced parfait. The market menu promises the same outstanding quality at a very reasonable price. + A menu that cannot be faulted - Can be difficult to get a table

Restaurant at the Bonham 35 Drumsheugh Gardens, West End, EH3 7RN (Map 4: A1, 1) 0131 226 6050, thebonham.com | Mon–Sat noon– 2.30pm, 6.30–10pm; Sun 12.30–3pm, 6.30–9pm. HW £17.50; Kids; Wh. £27 (lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Restaurant Martin Wishart

• Mussel Inn Muscly

1 Albany Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3PY 0131 557 4366

69 North Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3LJ (Map 1A: B4, 40) 0131 2261155, markgreenaway.com | Tue–Sat noon– 2.30pm; 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun/ Mon. Pre; HW £20; Kids. £16.50 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

country estate grandness for under £20 88

• The Galley Affordable

Whisky Bar £12 set lunch introduces the bold cooking of a bright young chef 87

Voted 10th most popular hidden gems in the UK by toptable.co.uk Edinburgh Capital Silver Award 2009

Restaurant Mark Greenaway

• Rhubarb Extravagant

FOR SET LUNCH DEALS

• Michael Neave Kitchen &

Monday to Thursday open 12.00 pm - 12.00 am Friday and Saturday open 12.00 pm - 1.00 am Sunday open 12.30pm - 11.00pm Food served 12.00 pm - 3.00 pm then 5.30 pm - 10pm

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Nestled in the grand streets of the West End, The Bonham is a boutique hotel located in an imposing row of Victorian townhouses. The dining room is a stylish and quiet setting, although the urban style that the hotel is striving for can sometimes feel staid and a bit too formal. The food created by chef Maciej Szymik, who has worked at Harvey Nichols Forth Floor Restaurant and Abstract, is impressive. There are some French influences but the main emphasis is to source great Scottish ingredients. West coast scallops with marinated langoustines and yuzu (an Asian citrus fruit) is a well-balanced and delicate dish, whereas slow-cooked pork belly, Stornoway black pudding and apple salad is hearty and succulent. Roasted hake served with mussels and capers is delicious, as is lamb shoulder with aubergine caviar and roasted garlic purée. Chocolate soufflé with coffee ice-cream is good, but poached rhubarb, custard butter cream and rhubarb sorbet is an exceptional dessert, served with vanilla macaroons that are out of this world. + A real find for great cooking - Can lack atmosphere

modern classics tucked away near Leith Links 37

The Magnum offers you a relaxing gastro bar and restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. Within a stone’s throw of the bustling city centre, The Magnum offers a lunch and dinner menu with a focus on freshly prepared local produce, complimented with wine selected from Magnum’s wine cellar.

+ Fantastic cooking without a hefty price tag - Not much natural light

pre-theatre Italian-Scottish options 74

54 The Shore, Leith, EH6 6RA See French

Rhubarb Prestonfield House, Priestfield Road, Southside, EH16 5UT (Map 3C: E5, off) 0131 226 2303, prestonfield.com | Mon–Thu noon–2pm, 6.30–10pm; Fri/ Sat noon–2pm, 6–11pm; Sun 12.30–3pm, 6.30–10pm. HW £24; Kids; Wh. £16.95 (set lunch) / £43 (dinner)


SCOTTISH

In association with

EDINBURGH list of suppliers that’s proudly posted by the entrance reads like a who’s who of Scottish sourcing – and they don’t just plonk Scotland’s finest down on a plate either. North-east butteries make a dish as unlikely as it is satisfying, laced with chunks of Lanark blue cheese and East Lothian pumpkin. Mains feature arguably Edinburgh’s most authentic Cullen skink and Burnside Farm venison spiced with a cauliflower cumin purée and foraged lovage – it’s no surprise, really, that their award credits include a top three-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association. The wine list is about the only thing that isn’t local, but if global warming kicks off viniculture in East Lothian, the chances are this place will be the first to offer its wines. + Brilliantly sourced larder with some creative cooking too - Not open for dinner

The Scran & Scallie 1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge, EH4 1DT See Bars & Pubs

The Skerries Dunstane House Hotel, 4 West Coates, West End, EH12 5JQ (Map 4: A4, off) 0131 337 6169, dunstanehotels.co.uk | Mon– Sun 5.30pm–9pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun 11am–11pm.] HW £16.95; Kids. £21 (dinner)

Field (page 85): an accomplished young team making a mark in a small restaurant by the University

Prepare to be transported to a place of indulgence, located in the grand setting of Prestonfield House, where Rhubarb wows from start to finish. Pure decadence is reflected in the rich fabrics, evocative fragrances and delightful service. Royalty have been known to stay here, and you will feel particularly special when offered the choice of four opulent drawing rooms in which to quaff pre-dinner drinks. The à la carte menu is equally grand, showcasing tender slow-cooked lamb, smoked with rosemary and served with crisp sweetbreads, liver royale and buttermilk potato mousseline. Crackling crusted loin of roe deer is perfectly cooked and complemented by a steak and liver pudding, Jerusalem artichoke purée and curious port-poached salsify. Straying slightly from their emphasis on Scottish produce, forced Yorkshire rhubarb with caramelised white chocolate, ginger confit and lime and coconut ice-cream is delicious and beautifully presented. This is a unique experience, perfect for a special occasion, but the sumptuous surroundings can also be sampled with a reasonably priced table d’hote menu. + A luxurious experience - The impressive wine list is also quite pricey

Pre; HW £14.95. £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Ryan’s Cellar Restaurant

National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, New Town, EH2 2EL (Map 2A: B1, 1) 0131 226 6524, thescottishcafeandrestaurant.com | Mon–Wed, Fri/Sat 9am–5.30pm; Thu 9am–7pm; Sun 10am–5.30pm. Veg; HW £16.45; Kids; Wh. £16.95 (set lunch)

2–4 Hope Street, West End, EH2 4DB (Map 4: B1, 18) 0131 226 6669, ryansbar. com | Tue–Thu 5–11pm; Fri/Sat noon– midnight; Sun 5–11pm. Closed Mon. [Bar open: Mon–Thu 10am–midnight; Fri 10am–1am; Sat 9am–1am; Sun 9am– midnight.]

Beneath the busy Ryan’s Bar in the West End is this spacious cellar restaurant with mural-covered walls and hidden alcoves. The atmosphere is much quieter, the mood mellower than upstairs. The menu’s focus is big hearty portions of surf and turf, with plenty of giant sized chips. The cooking is simple but done well: the poached egg that sits atop a piece of Stornoway black pudding has a rich runny yolk, and there’s no hint of vinegar or poaching water. Steaks are supplied by a craft butcher using 21-days matured Borders beef and are skillfully seared on the outside and pink and tender inside. Of the fish options seabass and lemon sole are perched on a mountain of crushed potatoes with some rather unseasonal asparagus. Of the puddings pride of place goes to the rich, dense, chocolate and orange torte that was sampled by Gregg Wallace of Master Chef fame on a recent visit. The Cellar is a likeable, easy going place with piano music and monthly jazz sessions. + Expertly poached egg - Some will struggle with the big portions

Enter the Scottish Café and Restaurant beneath the National Gallery of Scotland and you’re not going to be short of choice. For a start, are you just looking for a coffee, a snack or a lighter bite? If so, ask for the café menu (covered by an entry in our Arts Venues & Attractions section). If you’re after something a bit more substantial, allow the warm, informal staff to guide you to the upper tables with their sweeping views of Princes Street Gardens. Then settle in for some brilliantly sourced and imaginatively prepared cuisine in a restaurant that cares way more than it needs to. The

Skerries is the restaurant within the Dunstane House Hotel and its grand dining room, ornately decorated with cornicing, chandeliers and large mirrors, has the hushed atmosphere often found in such rooms. The menu is fairly traditional, without much experimentation on offer, but the dishes have a broad appeal. A starter of haggis bonbons is full of peppery kick and crunch, and a plate of well-flavoured smoked salmon is pleasant. Despite calling itself a seafood restaurant, however, there is quite a narrow selection of fish on offer. Loch Duart salmon is competently cooked and paired with smokey Puy lentils, while the tempura battered haddock is light with a citrus zing and accompanied by very good chips. Desserts are a highlight: a rich chocolate tart is infused with lemon and given some textural interest by a crust of pistachios, and crème brûlée is lifted by the addition of pineapple and a disc of coconut shortbread. + Cheerful service - Hotel atmosphere

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The Scottish Café and Restaurant

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SCOTTISH

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GUIDES

Stac Polly 29–33 Dublin Street, New Town, EH3 6NL (Map 1B: B4, 40) 0131 556 2231, stacpolly.com | Mon–Sun noon–2pm. HW £19.50; Kids. £12.95 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

With its arrangements of thistles and heather, seats covered in tweed and menu full of the foods typically associated with Scotland it is not hard to see why this basement restaurant is popular with well-heeled tourists. The style is country lodge, with the managers acting as affable hosts moving attentively between tables clothed in white linen. Presentation is a strong point. A confit of mackerel is enlivened with dots of lemon sauce and artfully arranged winter leaves; a shock of pink beetroot glaze is painted on a dish of moist pigeon breasts perched on a slab of peppery black pudding. Scotland meets the rest of the world in the main courses, where poached salmon is teamed with salty-herby ricotta and a chilliflecked pancake, while a chorizo crust gives a fine piece of cod extra bursts of flavour. And of course haggis is served in various forms, as both a starter and main dish. A big chocolate hit comes from a dark sticky pudding, and the sweet creaminess of a butterscotch cheesecake is cut by a sharp lingonberry sorbet. + Tasteful use of fabrics and foliage - Elaborately folded napkins

Stac Polly Bistro 38 St Mary’s Street, Old Town, EH1 1SX (Map 2B: B3, 19) 0131 557 5754, stacpolly.com | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 6–10pm; Sat 6–10pm. Closed Sun. HW £17.95; Kids. £15 (set lunch) / £23 (set dinner)

Would the dour notables from Edinburgh’s distant past gazing down in monochrome print from the walls of this cosy bistro approve of the current goings-on here? They would certainly recognise the ingredients: salmon and haggis, pigeon and venison, all Scottish through and through. The presentation might raise an eyebrow, when it comes to a rather fancy filo pastry ‘bowl’ of roasted portobello mushrooms, butternut squash and cranberries. Salmon is equally poshed-up, stuffed with crayfish tail mousse and served alongside a black-eyed pea cake, broccoli, smoked tomato and chervil mayo. There is a touch of sunnier climes too, as welltravelled gentlemen might recognise. Aubergine comes baked with tomato and mozzarella, while among desserts like golden syrup sponge and Scottish cheeses is a panna cotta, dense with chocolate, cut with fruit compote and a very local shortbread biscuit. It’s not a place to be indiscreet, with tables so close to each other. But with lights low and a glass or two from the short wine list, this branch of Stac Polly (there’s another in Dublin Street) is as convivial today as in the days of Lord What’s-his-name. + Compact and bijou - Occasional gilding of the culinary lily

Stac Polly Brasserie, Gin and Wine Bar 29–33 Dublin Street, New Town, EH3 6NL See Bars & Pubs

Steak 14 Picardy Place, New Town, EH1 3JT (Map 1B: C5, 33) 0131 556 1289, steakedinburgh.com | Mon–Sat 5–10.45pm; Sun 5–9.30pm. Pre; BYOB (£5; Wed eve only); HW £17.50; Kids (under 5). £32 (dinner)

After launching in 2012, Steak has settled into its stride, delivering its red meat extravaganza to an enthusiastic audience. It’s all here: a trio of breeds, all Scottish, served on or off the bone, in (standard) 90 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Restaurant Mark Greenaway (page 88): tricks and turns in a new home along Queen Street

200g all the way up to (Man vs Food) 850g weights. Add chips (heavily salted) and a green leaf salad (sublime) and it’s enough of a meal for most. But Steak doesn’t stop there. Like buying a BMW, once you’ve accessorised your basic meal with a starter like the excellent smoked ham and duck terrine with sweet daubs of marmalade, and a playful dessert of popcorn sundae (better than it sounds), the bill soon mounts. If you really want to push the hoof out, so to speak, there’s a head-to-toe tasting menu, six courses that change often. For even more theatre in a setting that’s pretty OTT already, the big guns like Chateaubriand or Côte de Boeuf can be carved at your table, to share. Yes, there are salads, and some seafood too, but really, why would you? + Here, truly, is the beef - Rushed ‘steak for beginners’ lesson

The Stockbridge Restaurant 54 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, EH3 5AL (Map 1A: B2, 17) 0131 226 6766, thestockbridgerestaurant.co.uk | Tue– Thu 7–9.30pm; Fri/Sat 6.30–9.30pm; Sun 7–9pm. Closed Mon. BYOB (£4; Sun eve only); HW £16.50; Kids. £28 (dinner)

A decade ago Michelin restaurant inspectors were rarely troubled by Edinburgh and the appetite for fine dining was not always there. It is credit then to Jason Gallagher, owner and head chef at The Stockbridge Restaurant, both that he opened as far back as 2004 and also that he retains the same passion for sourcing, cooking and slick but affable service. What some dishes lack in TV cookery programme finesse they make up for with that sourcing (fish from Port Seton, eggs from ‘the egg lady from Fife’ and game from George Bower, also of Stockbridge) as well as creativity. Halibut with pancetta may be no surprise, but the accompanying perfectly cooked quail’s egg and busty Arran mustard sauce are. Pan-fried venison appears with roasted potatoes, yes, but also poached pears, kale and chocolate oil. Portions

are hearty for fine dining, wines are well chosen and desserts are comforting yet not stodgy – but you’d expect that from a chef who has spent a decade demonstrating that he knows exactly what he is doing. + Assured modern Scotttish cooking without a fuss - Dishes may lack a little finesse for finedining expectations

The Pompadour by Galvins Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End, EH1 2AB See French

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Timberyard

10 Lady Lawson Street, West End, EH3 9DS (Map 4: D1, 45) 0131 221 1222, timberyard.co | Tue–Sat noon–2pm, 5.30–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. [Bar open: Tue–Sat noon–1am.] Veg; Pre; HW £16; Wh. £14 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Formerly of the well-regarded Atrium, the Radford family has converted a cavernous old timber yard into a warm, beautifully designed space, the industrial edges softened by clever use of wood, natural fabrics and light. A short, simply written menu based on carefully sourced local ingredients is divided into four sections – bite, small, large and sweet – the first being tiny teasers of the delights to follow. Chef Ben Radford displays both accomplished cooking skills and a well-trained palate: hazelnuts make a perfect pairing with raw venison, while the sweet notes of apple and earthy Jerusalem artichoke enliven some faultlessly cooked hand-dived scallops. A moist pheasant breast is enhanced with thyme, and an oak-smoked steak is a novel, robustly flavoured dish. Attention is paid to the details, too, in the form of complimentary filtered tap water, quality bread and delicious whipped butter. The innovative cocktail list features some home-made cordials, which can be enjoyed in the indoor or outside bar areas. This is the place to come for

a unique dining experience, at once sophisticated, contemporary and relaxed. + Great food in a stunning venue - Too few good days to make use of the outside bar

Tower Restaurant National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town, EH1 1JF (Map 2A: C4, 43) 0131 225 3003, towerrestaurant.com | Mon–Sun noon–11pm. Veg; Pre; HW £21.50; Kids (until 7pm); Wh. £15.95 (set lunch) / £32 (dinner)

Even on a clear day, it’s not quite possible to see the other two restaurants that make up restaurateur James Thomson’s local trilogy. What you can see through this one’s floor-to-ceiling windows – and most spectacularly from its fifth-floor terrace above the Museum of Scotland – is the city in all its stony beauty. Drag your eyes away from the view outside and there’s a whole landscape of well-sourced Scottish produce on the menu: hand-dived scallops, oysters, lobster, beef, heritage potatoes, and so on. A marmalade and clove-glazed ham terrine is enlivened by the fierce acid of pickled onion, while Jerusalem artichoke soup is a big, creamy bowlful. A fillet of sea bass arrives well seared, its crispness contrasted with cauliflower purée and black truffle butter sauce, but the roast pork loin is very dry, with a barely caramelised tarte tatin and chunky breaded black pudding among the supporting cast. There’s good news if you like your sticky toffee pudding modishly ‘deconstructed’, whereas dense chocolate and cherry delice, topped with soft meringue, is a less flashy option. Unlike the £300 Cristal champagne on the wine list. + The views, the views - If only the food reached quite the same heights

The Turquoise Thistle Hotel Indigo, 51–59 York Place, New Town, EH1 3JD (Map 1B: C5, 31) 0131 556 5577, hotelindigoedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–9.45pm.


SCOTTISH

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EDINBURGH Pre; HW £16; Kids; Wh. £12 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Hotel Indigo is the latest Edinburgh addition to the IHG global brand that owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotel chains. Turquoise Thistle is part of their new direction to place individual restaurants in boutique hotels and allow each chef to create their own menu. Following stints at the Apex Hotel and on MasterChef: the Professionals, here Daniel Mellor and team are serving tasty starters like hot-smoked salmon and caper remoulade with crunchy melba toast or a more hearty duck terrine with walnut sourdough and pomegranate salad. Fish and steaks from the grill are great with their fiery salsa verde, and side dishes such as wild mushroom with garlic and roasted tomato or sautéed baby cabbage with smoked bacon and pine nuts are particularly good. Rich macadamia nut chocolate cake, as expected, is crammed with chunky nuts and is served with a shot glass of coconut milkshake. The rhubarb brioche pudding errs on the stodgy side, but is saved by a tangy gingerbread ice-cream. This place is well worth a try. + Offering more than standard hotel food - Modern décor isn’t for everyone

Wedgwood the Restaurant 267 Canongate, Old Town, EH8 8BQ (Map 2B: B3, 25) 0131 558 8737, wedgwoodtherestaurant.co.uk | Mon– Sat noon–3pm, 6–10pm; Sun 12.30–3pm, 6–10pm. HW £16; Kids. £12 (set lunch) / £29 (dinner)

This popular Royal Mile restaurant has been serving consistently good food since opening in 2007. The exciting menu offers unusual twists on seasonal Scottish produce such as lobster thermidor as a crème brûlée with a Bloody Mary sorbet to balance the richness. Wild Scottish deer, served pink, has a real depth of flavour and comes with a tasty venison haggis. Foraged leaves and herbs, many found within the city, are a real passion of chef Paul Wedgwood and start to appear in the dishes during the warmer months. And it’s good to know that the beautifully presented sea bass and clams are sustainably sourced, as is all the seafood. Desserts range from the inventive parsnip crème brûlée with thyme ice-cream (it works!) to probably the best sticky toffee pudding in the city. Whether you are sitting in the softly lit street-level dining room or the snug basement you can relax in the knowledge that you won’t be rushed as the table is yours for the evening. + Sticky toffee pudding - Gets very busy, so book in advance

Whiski Rooms 4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, Old Town, EH1 2LP (Map 2A: C2, 14) 0131 225 7224, whiskirooms.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sun noon–1am.] Pre; HW £16.50; Kids; Wh. £9.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Scotland makes superb whisky. Scotland is home to superb beef. Put the two together and it must work. It does. It’s called the Whiski Rooms. This popular restaurant may lie in the shadow of Edinburgh’s impossibly pretty castle, but this is certainly no exclusively tourist show. Push past the whisky-themed bar and the cosy dining space offers sparkling starters like beef carpaccio laced with truffle oil and smoked North Sea cod spiced with chorizo. Those chunky steaks shine amongst the mains (order the hit of the Ardbeg sauce if you are brave), backed up by posh fish and chips, Macsween’s haggis and the impressively refined roast

monkfish with pak choi, mussels and a langoustine bisque. Desserts are of the comfort variety with the highlight being whisky-fuelled cranachan. By no means fine dining, but as honest, earthy and charming as the world-class whiskies that tempt all around. If the Ardbegs get too tempting you can take a bottle of Islay’s finest home as they have a whisky shop too. + The meeting of two of Scotland’s finest epicurean treats – whisky and beef - The rather lived-in menus look like they don’t change too often

Wildfire Restaurant and Grill 192 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 4AZ (Map 1A: B5, 50) 0131 225 3636, wildfirerestaurant.co.uk | Mon 5.15– 10pm; Tue–Fri noon–2.30pm, 5.15–10pm; Sat/Sun 12.30–3.30pm, 5.15–10pm. HW £13.95. £11.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

A steady stream of casually dressed business travellers, tourists and locals pack into this tiny city centre restaurant to tuck into some excellent Aberdeen Angus steaks. Chargrilled fillet, sirloin and ribeye have the depth of savoury flavour that comes from being wellhung and carefully sourced. Useful information about cuts and cooking is given to help diners navigate the steak menu. But it’s not all about the beef: there are other meats and seafood on the seasonally changing menu. A substantial fillet of sea bream sits upon a bed of creamed peas, potatoes and onion, infused with the smokiness of bacon and soft aniseed notes of tarragon. Seafood chowder, packed with a variety of fish, is typical of the well-executed, unfussy food on offer. The puddings are similarly free of pretension and might include sweet oatmeal ice-cream or a warming fruit crumble. The décor is simple, too. Old black and white pictures line the walls, and a woodburning stove is the centrepiece of this cosy, popular place. + Great steak - Can get rather warm

The Witchery by the Castle Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town, EH1 2NF (Map 2A: B2, 27) 0131 225 5613, thewitchery.com | Mon–Sun noon–4pm, 5.30–11.30pm. Pre/Post; HW £21.50. £15.95 (set lunch) / £38 (dinner)

One of Edinburgh’s most famous restaurants, celebrated as much for its location near the Castle and historic atmosphere as for the food. There are two distinct dining areas: the darkly romantic 16th- century Witchery, its red leather seats, and old oak panelling illuminated by flickering candles; and the Secret Garden, a pretty covered courtyard overlooking a terrace. Its reputation attracts visiting celebrities, tourists and locals out for a special occasion, although many of the set-price menus mean the bill doesn’t have to be as grand as the surroundings. The cooking has been somewhat eclipsed by the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants but is still of an excellent standard and uses high-quality British produce. A delicate Buckie crab is paired with discs of tomato, mango and grapefruit jelly while the shellfish bisque is velvety smooth. From the roasts and grills, the Cairngorm venison is packed with deep smoky flavours and the chicken is deliciously moist. Desserts are rich and indulgent – luckily you can taste them all in the Witchery pudding selection platter. + Lavish interiors and romantic atmosphere - It boasts a fine wine cellar but there’s nothing for under £20

SPANISH Sprightly newcomers snap at the heels of settled-in stalwarts, and small, family-run establishments jostle for attention alongside cavernous chains in the capital’s eclectic collection of Spanish restaurants. They might be few in number, but no matter where you go, be it tapas bar or elegant dining room, oneman band or outpost of a chain, you’ll find vibrant flavours and quality Iberian ingredients, not to mention excellent Spanish wines, beers and homemade sangria. Reviewer: Karyn Millar

Barioja 15–19 Jeffrey Street, Old Town, EH1 1DR (Map 2B: B2, 2) 0131 557 3622, barioja.co.uk | Mon–Sat 11am–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. [Bar open: Mon–Sat 11am–1am; Sun noon–1am.] Veg; HW £18; Wh. £10 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Barioja, right next door to sister restaurant Iggs, distinguishes itself from its more mature, refined sibling by offering a wide selection of tapas in a laid-back atmosphere. The smart interior features a well-stocked bar, comfortable leather benches and splitlevel dining (the downstairs bodega is ideal for parties), but if it weren’t for the Spanish-flag bunting and blackboards proclaiming specials and deals, it could feel somewhat anonymous. However, the menu clearly declares its allegiance to Spain and doesn’t stray too far from classic tapas. Piquant boquerones make a fine appetiser and whet the appetite for more substantial dishes, such as a generous platter of Spanish cheeses or crispy patatas bravas smothered in spicy tomato sauce. Calamari are crisp on the outside and tender within, though a pot of lemon and lime mayo on the side for dunking would be preferable to the rather mean drizzle on top. Fast approaching its 15th anniversary, Barioja is well established and serves up satisfying tapas, but a bit more oomph would set it apart from the up-andcomers nipping at its heels. + You can’t go wrong with a platter of melt-in-the-mouth jamon Iberico - It feels a little set in its ways

4 HITLIST SPANISH

4 El Quijote This laid-back tapas joint might be small, but the flavours are big, gutsy and delivered with panache. 4 Malvarosa Sun, sea and sand . . . well, two out of three ain’t bad at this relaxed, welcoming Portobello tapas restaurant. (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The lavish interior of Café Andaluz, tiled within an inch of its life and hung with myriad Moorish lanterns, simply screams ‘Spanish’, so oddities like soy and chilli prawns or confit duck stand out for the wrong reasons. But according to Café Andaluz, nothing is off-limits where tapas is concerned, so these interlopers feature on a vast menu alongside more typical offerings like lamb meatballs, saffron-scented paella and crisp baby squid with pungent garlic mayo. As expected from an outpost of the crowd-pleasing Di Maggio’s chain, service is efficient, portions generous and the food competently executed. Although there are occasional disappointments, like flabby-skinned sea bass, other dishes sing, such as a salad of green beans, roast beetroot and Seville orange, with goat’s cheese and croutons, which is alternately fresh, juicy, tart and crunchy. Café Andaluz might not be the most authentic Spanish restaurant in town but, despite its extravagant appearance, it doesn’t pretend to be. This popular and noisy eatery aims to please, and it does so with ease and occasional aplomb. + The opulent interior is a feast for the eyes - Purists could find a more faithful version of Spanish food elsewhere

Café Andaluz 77B George Street, New Town, EH2 3EE (Map 1A: C5, 61) 0131 220 9980, cafeandaluz.com | Mon–Sat noon– 10pm; Sun 12.30–10pm. Veg; Pre; HW £15.45; Kids; Wh. £11.95

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Traditional Spanish Tapas Restaurant d HitlistteEating

Lis in The king Guide in r & D 1 & 2012 201 13 / A Brougham St EH3 9JS • 0131 478 2856 www.quijotetapas.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 91


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El Quijote

13a Brougham Street, Tollcross, EH3 9JS (Map 3A: C1, 5) 0131 478 2856, quijotetapas.co.uk | Mon–Thu 5–10pm; Fri–Sun 12.30–10pm. HW £13.95; Kids; Wh; T/A. £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The happy bustle of the well-fed diners clustered into El Quijote’s snug interior tells you all you need to know about this unassuming Tollcross tapas bar. Spaniards Maria Giminez and head chef Oscar Mateos show off a different side to Spanish cuisine, eschewing predictable tapas in favour of Andalucian specialities like salmorejo, a chilled soup garnished with salty ham and grated egg and bursting with the flavour of fresh tomatoes. The menu is heavy on pork, but the emphasis can be forgiven when the meat is treated so diversely: whether smoky, juicy griddled Iberian shoulder or tender cheeks stewed in an intense peppery liquor, a delicious result is guaranteed. Many dishes come in three sizes, ranging from tapas to mains, so you can start with some bites before moving on to more substantial portions, or just order a selection of tapas. Be warned that menu descriptions don’t do justice to the food: you might get the impression that chips come with everything, when in fact they’re crisp sautéed potatoes. But it just goes to show that appearances can be deceiving: where it counts, El Quijote is doing everything right. + Salmorejo is sunshine on a spoon - Some of the earthenware crockery is a little chipped and greasy

Iggs 15 Jeffrey Street, Old Town, EH1 1DR (Map 2B: B2, 3) 0131 557 8184, iggs.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 6–10.30pm.

GUIDES

Closed Sun. HW £18. £13.50 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

BYOB (£5; Sun/Mon only); HW £12.90; T/A. £7.90 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Iggy Campos pioneered Spanish fine dining in Edinburgh with the eponymous Iggs back in 1989, and though its heyday may have come and gone, it remains a stalwart on Jeffrey Street. That’s not to say Iggs is stuck in the past: a 2012 visit from Channel 5’s The Restaurant Inspector refreshed the venue, replacing the distinctive red-and-yellow interior with clean, modern lines and neutral shades. The arrival of a new chef in spring 2012 also signals the desire to move forward, and it’s clear that the relaunched menu is aiming high, featuring luxury ingredients like langoustines and fashionable touches such as manchego foam. It’s a shame, then, that the food doesn’t quite live up to its billing – or its price tag. A wood pigeon starter and mains of suckling pig and sea bass on calasparra rice are all pleasing and accurately cooked, but they lack the personality and excitement of Spanish food at its best. However, portions are generous and the AA-endorsed wine list impressive, and the choice between a tapas-style tasting menu and the more conventional starter-main-dessert give diners the best of both worlds. + A fine-dining alternative to the more ubiquitous tapas bar - Some of the food doesn’t live up to its billing or price tag

Named after Valencia’s main beach, Malvarosa also embraces the name of its proprietor, Alvaro Bernabeu, the avuncular presence greeting regulars and newcomers alike at this unpretentious tapas bar. Alvaro brought his Spanish heritage to Portobello in 2011 and Malvarosa has quickly built up a loyal following thanks to its laid-back ambience and classic tapas. The modest, terracotta-hued décor might be subtle, but dishes like croquetas dense with chicken and Serrano ham really bring home the flavours of Spain. Crisp-fried till they rustle like paper, earthy patatas are enlivened by a walloping garlic mayonnaise, perfectly complementing piquant morsels of lightly battered marinated haddock. Spanish wines and beers dominate the drinks list, which also includes sangria and sherry. There are occasional mis-steps: manchego is overwhelmed by too-thick slices of membrillo, while fabada (a Spanish take on cassoulet) contains only one piece each of chorizo, morcilla and pork, making sharing awkward. The entrance can be draughty at times, but

the comforting food and warm welcome found within Malvarosa more than compensate. + Discovering the delights of txoripan: light, savoury, chorizo-flecked homemade bread - Confusingly, the vegetarian section of the menu lists meat among the ingredients of some dishes

Rafael’s 2 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge, EH4 1LY (Map 1A: B2, 12) 0131 332 1469, rafaels-bistro.wikidot.com | Tue–Sat 6.30–10pm. Closed Sun/Mon. BYOB (£5); HW £14.95. £22.50 (dinner)

Rafael Torrubia has a hand in every aspect of his eponymous restaurant. He not only rules the kitchen, he might well take your booking, greet and seat you on arrival, and talk you through the many options on a menu that gives Scottish ingredients a Spanish twist. It’s unsurprising that Rafael’s peachtoned, chintzy dining room has now been a Stockbridge fixture for 12 years when he and his team make diners feel genuinely welcome and valued. The daily changing menu means it’s unlikely you’ll encounter the same dish twice, but

Indaba 3 Lochrin Terrace, Tollcross, EH3 9QJ See Round the World

4

Malvarosa

262 Portobello High Street, Portobello, EH15 2AT (Map 5A: E1, off) 0131 669 7711, malvarosa.co.uk | Wed–Sat noon–10pm; Sun 11am–9pm. Closed Mon/Tue.

El Quijote: Iberian influences and Tollcross tapas 92 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


SPANISH

In association with

starters could include the spicy warmth of morcilla on lentils or a fresh smoked salmon and monkfish terrine. Blushingpink medallions of hare are tender and tasty without being overpoweringly gamey, but the juniper sauce lacks the expected gin-like tang. However, desserts like apple tart or chocolate and pistachio praline bring the meal to a satisfyingly gooey close. Rafael’s might not be cutting edge, but it does serve up welldone comfort food in what feels like a home from home, thanks in no small part to the efforts of its charming proprietor. + Rafael’s dish-by-dish tour of the day’s menu - Identical plates of steamed vegetables are served alongside every main course

La Sal 6–8 Howden Street, Southside, EH8 9LH (Map 3C: D1, 4) 0131 667 3600, lasal.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–10pm; Sat noon–11pm. Closed Sun. [Bar open: Mon–Fri noon–10pm; Sat noon–11pm. Closed Sun.] Pre; HW £12.50; Wh; T/A. £7.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Floor-shaking stamping, plaintive strains of Spanish guitar and passionate cries of ‘ole!’ might well accompany your meal at La Sal, thanks to regular performances from Alba Flamenca, the dance school next door to the restaurant. Formerly known as El Bar, this diminutive tapas joint was taken over by head chef and owner Carlos Pedrero in December 2012 and the menu offers a plethora of staple dishes such as jamon Iberico, Spanish omelette, chorizo, calamari and patatas bravas. More adventurous options include filling fabada (bean stew with pork shoulder), a somewhat stodgy calamares rellenos (baby squid stuffed with prawns, vegetables and egg) and, aptly, huevos a la flamenca (crisp potatoes, chorizo and egg sizzling in tomato sauce). For less adventurous appetites, steaks are also available. Almond tart makes a pleasing dessert accompanied by a smooth, rich ice-cream, although cheesecake comes with a somewhat unusual topping of strawberry jam. While the menu offers up few surprises, La Sal’s flamenco connection undoubtedly adds a charge to the atmosphere and it is worth seeking out on nights when performances are scheduled. + A novel take on dinner and dancing - Menu doesn’t quite match the energy of the entertainment

Tapa 19 Shore Place, Leith, EH6 6SW (Map 5A: C2, 21) 0131 476 6776, tapaedinburgh. co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm. Veg; HW £12.95; Kids; Wh. £10 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Tucked behind the Michelin-starred restaurants and gastropubs on The Shore, Tapa is a slick operation welcoming a well-heeled, professional clientele to a spacious, whitewashed converted dock house adorned with tasteful Spanish artefacts. However, Tapa proves that slick doesn’t always mean soulless. That it creates a decent buzz even on a wet weeknight is no mean feat, and it testifies to its popularity. The menu covers all the bases, with the usual chorizo and gambas pil pil present and correct, but there are some surprises to be found. Huevos a la flamenco is a soft, savoury mess of baked eggs, chorizo and Serrano ham, and if you’re lucky, one of the daily changing specials might include a full-bodied casserole of Iberian black pig that demands a hearty plate-licking afterwards. Other choices play it safe: marinated chicken goujons might be light and crispy but the accompanying garlic dip lacks punch, and crème caramel cake is on the bland side. Nevertheless, a respectable, well-done selection of tapas combined with good-value deals and generous portions make Tapa a worthy member of Leith’s bustling restaurant scene. + The plate-licking, porcine pleasure of that Iberian pig casserole - Photos of toothless peasants on the walls could put you right off your patatas bravas

COCINA ESPAÑOLA

6-8 Howden Street Street, Edinburgh EH8 9HL 0131 667 3600 | www.lasal.co.uk

Special is t Jamósnin Paellas a nd Ib ér i c o

KEY Veg = 25% of main courses are vegetarian. Pre = Pre-theatre menu. Post = Post-theatre menu. BYOB = Bring your own bottle (corkage charge in brackets). HW = House wine cost per bottle.

h homovee s i n a p l ith tic S Authekning made w coo

Kids = Children’s portions served and other facilities available. Wh = Wheelchair access and disabled toilet. T/A = Takeaway food. D = Delivery. Price in bold = Average cost of a two-course evening meal for one. The price of a set lunch is shown; otherwise we show the average cost of a two-course lunch for one.

A vibran of “patsai nd lively atm on” and “duenodsephere ”!

For full explanations see page 4.

We import an extensive range of wine from all regions of Spain. Our philosophy is to bring you only the f inest wines from family run vineyards Why not take in a live Flamenco show next door in Alba Flamenca while you eat? LaSal is Scotland’s only tapas restaurant with a Flamenco school and ‘tablao’ attached!

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN

www.albaflamenca.co.uk The List Eating & Drinking Guide 93


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EDINBURGH

GUIDES

EDINBURGH

TAKEAWAY & DELIVERY

Across Edinburgh there are hundreds of takeaway operations. In fact, takeaways are a bit like radio stations – you tend to stick to your regular favourites, for better or worse. You may already know a few already, but what else is out there? To set about reviewing the best takeaways in town The List embarked on a Big Takeaway in November 2012. On one night in one venue, a team of reviewers ordered and tasted 50 meals from 25 different operations across Edinburgh. While we took into consideration both established restaurants and takeaway-only operations, the fact that that one of the great benefits of buying a takeaway is that hot food arrives on your doorstep, we gave priority to places that delivered, although we also covered some venues that offered collection only. For this round-up we decided not to cover places focused on food that’s generally taken away at lunchtime (soup and sandwiches, baked potatoes – a number of these types of operations are covered in our Cafés and Wee Places sections), or street food, as that’s generally designed to be eaten on the street rather than at home. We also chose not to cover fish and chips: there are only a handful of delivery services for these, and it’s not a meal that travels particularly well. At the time, we published our reviews, comments and recommendations from the Big Takeaway online at list.co.uk and in The List magazine. What you’ll find on these pages is a summary of the places covered by the Big Takeaway together with crossreferences to a selection of sit-in restaurant reviewed elsewhere in the guide. We’ve picked out some favourites in a Hitlist and Tiplist, but for more information on each venue, further Tiplists and, of course, updates through the year, head to the website.

La Favorita ITALIAN/PIZZAS • 321 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8SA (Map 5B: A3, 11) 0131 555 5564, lafavoritadelivered.com | Mon–Thu 4.30– 10.45pm; Fri–Sun noon–10.45pm. • 350 Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4QL (Map 3B: A4, 6) 0131 447 4000, lafavoritadelivered.com | Mon–Thu 4.30– 10.45pm; Fri–Sun noon–10.45pm. Delivery: EH1–3, 5–8 & 15; free for orders over £40; £1.50 if under £40; £2 to EH 4 and 9

Wood-fired pizzas that have set a marker for the genre in Edinburgh, with pastas, side dishes and gluten-free options.

Food for U CHINESE 189 Morningside Road, Southside, EH10 4QP (Map 3B: A3, 5) 0131 452 8081 | Sun–Thu 4.30pm–11pm, Fri/Sat 4.30pm–11.30pm. Delivery: from £1.10

Typically extensive Cantonese menu including dim sum options as well as a smattering of Thai dishes.

Delivery: £1.50; max. 5 mile radius See Thai

ITALIAN/PIZZAS 11 Henderson Row, New Town, EH3 5DH (Map 1A: D1, 34) 0131 558 2918, animaonline.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Sun 5–11pm. Delivery: EH1–EH9; £2.50 (min. order £5)

Numerous made-to-order pizzas and pastas, fried chicken and burgers, as well as fish and chips from L’Alba d’Oro. Can deliver wine or beer with your order.

The Baked Potato Shop

Bollywood: The Coffee Box INDIAN 99a Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4HG (Map 3A: B3, 25) 07910 453121, facebook.com/ BollywoodTheCoffeeBox | Mon–Sun 10am–7pm. See Indian

Chop Chop

One of only a few places in Edinburgh offering Mexican takeaway and delivery. Highlights are their chill-citrus marinated Red Tractor chicken or slowcooked pork smothered in a salsa verde. See also Mexican

Mezbaan South Indian Restaurant INDIAN 14/14a Brougham Street, Tollcross, EH3 9JH (Map 3A: C1, 4) 0131 229 5578, mezbaan.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–3pm, 5–11pm. Delivery: min. order £15; 3-mile radius See Indian

4

Miso & Sushi

JAPANESE

MEXICAN/TEX-MEX

46a Haymarket Terrace, West End, EH12 5LA (Map 4: A3, 63) 0131 337 7466, sushi-edinburgh.com | Tue–Fri noon–2.15pm, 5–10.30pm; Sat/Sun 1–10.30pm. Closed Mon. Delivery: from 5pm. From £1

113–117 Lothian Road, West End, EH3 9AN (Map 4: C2, 35) 0131 622 7499, illegaljacks.co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–10pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm. Collection only

Some of the best sushi in town available for pick-up or delivery as well as a compact Japanese menu featuring tempura (although this doesn’t travel so well) and ramen.

4

Illegal Jack’s

Fresh, healthy, speedily prepared TexMex food on a takeaway or sit-in basis. A tasty pork quesadilla comes with sweet pinto beans, meltingly soft BBQ pork and cheese. See also Mexican

Kampong Ah Lee / Kampung Ali Malaysian Delight MALAYSIAN

Anima

5B: A3, 6) 0131 555 6619, loscardos. co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–9pm; Fri/Sat noon–10pm. Delivery: Sun–Thu 5.30–8.30pm, Fri–Sat 5–9.30pm. EH1–3, 5–8

• 28 Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9HX (Map 3C: D1, 8) 0131 662 9050, kampongahlee.co.uk | Mon–Thu noon– 3pm, 5–11pm; Fri–Sun noon–11pm. •97–101 Fountainbridge, West End, EH3 9QG (Map 4: C3, 48) 0131 228 5069, kampungali.com | Mon–Thu noon– 2.30pm, 5–11pm; Fri–Sun noon–11pm. Collection only

Stir fries, noodly slurpy soups and spicy curries with a difference. See also Far East

Kasturi

Mother India’s Café INDIAN 3–5 Infirmary Street, Old Town, EH1 1LT (Map 2A: D4, 55) 0131 524 9801, motherindiascafeedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Wed noon–2pm, 5–10.30pm; Thu noon–10.30pm; Fri/Sat noon–11pm; Sun noon–10pm. Collection only

Takeaway only from one of central Edinburgh’s better Indian restaurants, with good ingredients and reliable cooking across the board. See also Indian

The New Masala Pot INDIAN 25 Parsons Green Terrace, EH8 7AF (Map 5B: C6, off) 0131 620 7080, newmasalapot.com | Mon–Sun 5–10.30pm. Delivery: free for orders over £10; £1 otherwise

BAKED POTATOES

CHINESE

INDIAN

56 Cockburn Street, Old Town, EH1 1PB (Map 2A: D2, 6) 0131 225 7572 | Mon–Sun 9am–8pm. See Vegetarian

• 248 Morrison Street, West End, EH3 8DT (Map 4: B2, 59) 0131 221 1155, chop-chop.co.uk | Mon–Fri noon–2pm, 5.30–10pm; Sat noon–2pm, 5–10pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10pm. • 76 Commercial Street, Leith, EH6 6LX (Map 5A: C1, 7) 0131 553 1818, chop-chop.co.uk | Mon–Thu 6–10pm; Fri 6–10.30pm; Sat noon–2pm, 5–10.30pm; Sun 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10pm. Delivery: Leith branch offers collection and delivery. Morrison Street collection only

35–37 Shandwick Place, West End, EH2 4RG (Map 4: B1, 20) 0131 228 2441, kasturi-ed.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5–11pm. Delivery: free within 2-mile radius

Extensive if slightly predictable roster of Indian and Bangladeshi meals, including a decent chicken tikka masala.

A reliable level of heat across the menu of this Shandwick Place restaurant – slow-burning and warming rather than fiery. See also Indian

INDIAN

Bluerapa Thai THAI 6 Torphichen Place, West End, EH3 8DU (Map 4: B2, 57) 0131 629 0447, bluerapathai.co.uk | Sat/Sun, Tue/Wed 5.30–10.30pm; Thu/Fri noon–2.30pm and 5.30–10.30pm. Closed Mon.

TIPList GOOD FOR VEGGIE TAKEAWAY • Chop Chop Plenty of meat-free dumplings 54 • Illegal Jack’s A chunky, stand-out veggie chilli 75 • Los Cardos A great guacamole and tacos

Their famous (and delicious) filled dumplings come either boiled (Jiao Zi) or fried (Guo Tie). Order online or by phone and collect from either Haymarket or Leith branches; a delivery service from the latter has stuttered recently so check with the restaurants for confirmation that it’s available. See also Chinese

The Curry Leaf INDIAN

76

• Noor Takeaway Healthy Southside curries 94 • Zen Kitchen Lots of lively Asian choices 95 94 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

139 Bruntsfield Place, Southside, EH10 4EB (Map 3A: A4, 30) 0131 229 9194, thecurry-leaf.co.uk | Mon—Sun 5—10.30pm Delivery: free for orders over £15

Making a real effort at inventiveness and style, flavours are fresh, herbs are plentiful, and even the old favourites step outside standard expectations.

Kebab Mahal INDIAN

Noor Takeaway 56 South Clerk Street, Southside, EH8 9PS (Map 3C: D2, 18) 0131 667 0404, noortakeaway.co.uk |Mon–Sun 5pm– midnight Delivery: EH7–10, 16/17 and parts of EH1–3. From £1

7 Nicolson Square, Old Town, EH8 9BH (Map 2A: D5, 61) 0131 667 5214, kebabmahal.co.uk | Sun–Thu noon–midnight; Fri 2pm–2am; Sat noon–2am. Collection only

A wide range of palatable, if a little unadventurous Indian and Pakistani dishes including meal deals.

Takeaways from this much-loved institution, with dishes packing a surprising level of heat. See also Indian

INDIAN

Loon Fung CHINESE 2 Warriston Place, Canonmills, Inverleith, EH3 5LE (Map 1B: A1, 2) 0131 556 1781/557 0940, loonfungedinburgh. co.uk | Mon–Thu noon–11pm; Fri noon–midnight; Sat 2pm–midnight; Sun 2–11pm. Delivery: £1.50–£3.50 See Chinese

Los Cardos MEXICAN 281 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8PD (Map

Ocean Spice 3 Annfield, Newhaven, Leith, EH6 4JF (Map 5A: E1, off) 0131 551 2700, oceanspicetakeaway.co.uk | Mon–Sun, 4.30–11pm. Delivery: EH4–7. From £1

Changes in 2012 have embraced more southern Indian dishes such as coconut-based fish alleppey and chicken chettinad.

Oink PORK ROLLS 34 Victoria Street, Old Town, EH1 2JW (Map 2A: B3, 22) 07771 968 233, oinkhogroast.co.uk | Mon–Sun 11am–5pm. See Cafés: The Wee Places


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX TAKEAWAY AND DELIVERY

In association with

EDINBURGH be better quality of the ingredients than m many. Discounts for loyal customers.

4

Sonar Gao

INDIAN IN 19 Great Junction Street, Leith, EH6 191 5L 5LQ (Map 5A: B3, off) 0131 555 2424, so sonargao.com | Mon–Sun 5–10.45pm. De Delivery: free for orders over £12

W Well-established Bangledeshi restaurant do doing a good job of the classics as well as off-piste options.

4

Spoilt for Choice

AFRICAN/CARIBBEAN A 19 Marionville Road, EH7 5TY (Map 5B: C6 C6, off) 0131 661 1183, spoiltforchoice1. co com | Tue–Sun 5pm–11pm; Closed Mon. De Delivery: £1.50 within 2 miles; £4 within 4m miles

Sp Specialising in Afro-Caribbean ‘soul fo food’, their eclectic and expansive menu in includes goat stew and side orders of do dodo (fried plantain) or puff-puffs (small, sa savoury doughnuts).

Sushiya Su JAPANESE JA 19 Dalry Road, West End, EH11 2BQ (M (Map 4: B3, 62) 0131 313 3222, sushiya. co co.uk | Tue–Thu & Sun noon–2.30m, 5– 5–10.30pm; Fri noon–2.30pm, 5–11pm; Sa Sat noon–3pm, 5–11pm. Closed Mon. Co Collection only Se See Far East

The Tattie Shop Th BAKED POTATOES BA 3V Viewforth Gardens , Bruntsfield, West En End, EH10 4ET (Map 3A: B3, 26) 0131 22 228 5282, thetattieshop.co.uk | Mon–Sat 11 11am–9pm. Closed Sun. Se See Cafés: The Wee Places

Caption: The List’s Big Takeaway in November 2012 saw 50 takeaway meals arriving in one venue on one night, where they were all tasted, discussed and assessed by our reviewing team. For more details on the places covered and our suggestions and recommendations, go to list.co.uk

Oishii JAPANESE 176 Rose Street, New Town, EH2 4AB (Map 1A: B5, 52) 0131 225 5286, oishiiscotland.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon– 9.30pm. See Far East

Origano ITALIAN/PIZZAS 277 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8PD (Map 5B: A3, 5) 0131 554 6539, origano-leith.co.uk | Mon–Thu 5–10pm; Fri 12.30–2.30pm, 5–10.30pm; Sat 12.30–10.30pm; Sun 1–10pm. Delivery: free for orders over £13; £1.50 otherwise

Decent pizzas on delivery along with generous antipasti platters reflecting a commitment to high quality ingredients.

Turkish Kitchen Tu MIDDLE EASTERN M

their speciality dishes are rich and distinctively flavoured. The chicken tikka masala is definitive, while fast and efficient service adds to the experience.

12 120–122 Rose Street South Lane, New To Town, EH2 4BB (Map 1A: B5, 53) 0131 22 226 2212, myturkishkitchen.co.uk | M Mon–Thu 11am–2.30pm, 5pm–1am; Fri/ Sat 11am–3am. Closed Sun. See Round the World

Voujon Silver Bowl

INDIAN

CHINESE/THAI

107 Newington Road, Southside, EH9 1QW (Map 3C: D3, 24) 0131 667 5046, voujonedinburgh.co.uk | Mon–Sun 5.30–11.30pm. Delivery: free for orders over £15 within 3-mile radius

• 12 Albert Place, Leith Walk, Leith, EH7 5HN (Map 5B: A4, 16) 0131 554 9830, silverbowl.co.uk | Tue–Sun 5pm– 11.30pm. Closed Mon. • 311 Leith Walk, Leith, EH6 8SA (Map 5B: A3, 10) 0800 034 1325, silverbowl. co.uk | Mon–Sun 4.30–11pm. • 135 Restalrig Road, Leith, EH7 6HN (Map 5B: C2, off) 0131 554 3643, silverbowl.co.uk | Sun/Mon 5pm– midnight; Wed/Thu 5pm–midnight; Fri/ Sat 5pm–1am. Closed Tue. Delivery: £2.50

Features most of the standard Indian dishes with some lightly spiced specials and a stand-out Peshwari naan. See also Indian

Wing Sing Inn CHINESE 147–149 Dundee Street, EH11 1BP (Map

4 HITLIST TAKEAWAYS

4 Illegal Jack’s Tasty flavours from Jack’s Tex Mex/South West grill make this the burrito of choice for fresh and healthy food to go. 4 Miso & Sushi Some of the best sushi in town available for pick-up or delivery as well as a compact Japanese menu. 4 Shapla Rich and distinctively flavoured speciality dishes from North India and Bangladesh. 4 Sonar Gao Website ordering, smart delivery and some classic dishes including lamb laknavi. 4 Spoilt for Choice Eclectic and expansive menu of Afro-Caribbean ‘soul food’. 4: B4, 69) 0131 228 6668 | Mon–Sun noon–2.30pm; 5–11pm. Delivery: £1–£3.50

A vast array of unusual dishes including delicious hot and spicy fried crab and pan-fried dumplings. See also Chinese

Zen Kitchen ASIAN FUSION 138 Dundas Street, New Town, EH3 5DQ (Map 1A: D1, 32) 0131 556 9988, zenkitchen.co.uk | Tue–Fri noon–2pm, 5pm–11pm; Sat–Mon 5pm–11pm. Delivery: from £1.50

Various Asian cuisines including Malaysian and Vietnamese, characterised by good ingredients and reliable cooking.

Zest INDIAN 15 North St Andrew Street, New Town, EH2 1HJ (Map 1B: B5, 44) 0131 556 5028, zest-restaurant.co.uk | Mon–Sun noon–2pm, 5.30–11pm. Delivery: free; min. order £12 See Indian

Cantonese classics and regular Thai with

See also Italian

Rivage INDIAN 126–130 Easter Road, Leith, EH7 5RJ (Map 5B: C4, 26) 0131 661 6888, rivagerestaurant.co.uk | Mon noon–2pm, 5.30–11pm; Wed–Sun 12.30–2pm, 5.30– 11pm. Closed Tue. Delivery: free to 3-mile radius

TIPList FOR SLICK DELIVERY • Anima Super-speedy Italian (and drinks) 94

One of the strongest Indian restaurants in the vicinity, featuring a variety of tandoori standards and inventive specials.

• Los Cardos Motoring Mexican from Leith 76

See also Indian

• Silver Bowl Chinese and Thai on the road 95

4

Shapla

INDIAN 87 Easter Road, EH7 5PW (Map 5B: C4, 28) 0131 652 0405, shaplatakeaway. co.uk | Mon–Sun 5–11.30pm. Delivery: 50p within 2 miles; £1 otherwise

• Voujon North Indian from the Southside 70 • Zest Indian with a spritely attitude

70

all the traditional oven baked potato toppings, together with some new delicious ones such as Fried Chorizo with Roasted Garlic and Tomato Sauce, Sweet Chilli Chicken, Thai Fish Curry, Hong-Kong Phooey and fruity Fried Pork

School pupils & Students

get a free drink with every baked potato!

A strong Bangladeshi influence, The List Eating & Drinking Guide 95


THAI

list.co.uk GUIDES

v

Th

i

Lemongra ss

THAI From small family-run establishments to upscale dining in classy surroundings, Edinburgh’s Thai restaurants are a varied bunch, but they all promise generous portions and a warm welcome. Each of the restaurants in this section stamps its own style on classic Thai cuisine, from fusion cooking to tapas to fine dining. Whether you’re looking for a pre-theatre bite or a special occasion dinner, there should be something here to suit. Reviewers: Sian Hickson, Archie McDiarmid

Absolute Thai

R E S T A U R A N T

Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner 40-41 Bruntsfield Place • Edinburgh EH10 4HJ Tel: 0131 229 2225 24 Renfrew Street • Glasgow G2 3BW Tel: 0141 331 1315 www.thailemongrass.net

22 Valleyfield Street, Tollcross, EH3 9LR (Map 3A: C1, 14) 0131 228 8022, absolutethai.co.uk | Mon–Sat 5–10pm. Closed Sun. Pre; BYOB (£2.50); T/A. £19 (dinner)

Absolute Thai is an unassuming treasure. On stepping through the curtained doorway, diners feel sequestered from the outside world. The restaurant may be small, but the limited space makes for a feeling of cosy intimacy with small touches of kitsch: sequinned peacocks, fresh roses on tables and a row of tiny elephants bearing miniature potted flowers add to the living-room ambience. The menu sets out its stall with a starter platter for two or more of Thai fishcakes, chicken satay, spring rolls, prawn tempura and fresh dim sum in a sharp, vinegary sauce. Main course portions are big enough to share and feature a tender sea bass strewn with shavings of fresh ginger and earthy panang curry with an unusual smoky edge. If possible, leave room for the superlative ice-cream, a celestial concoction of shaved coconut, roasted cashews and honey. The young staff are laid-back and refreshingly straightforward, and with a pre-theatre deal to tempt patrons of the King’s next door, this is a grand spot for fresh food, chunky flavours and some low-lit smooching. + Fresh produce and wonderful sea bass - Sweet potato fritters are rather bland

Bluerapa Thai 6 Torphichen Place, West End, EH3 8DU (Map 4: B2, 57) 0131 629 0447, bluerapathai.co.uk | Sat/Sun & Tue/Wed 5.30–10.30pm; Thu/Fri noon–2.30pm and 5.30–10.30pm. Closed Mon. BYOB (£2; beer 50p); T/A; D. £8.95 (set lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner 44 Grindlay Street Edinburgh EH3 9AP Tel: 0131 228 9333 www.spiritofthai.com 96 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Small, sparse and brightly lit, Bluerapa has been plying its trade in the unprepossessing Haymarket byway of Torphichen Place for just under two years. Punters in search of fine dining might consider venturing furthering into town – the food here is more canteen than cuisine and the décor a touch on the sterile side – but with a cohort of loyal regulars, this family-run business has carved out a niche of its own. With sit-in mains from £9.95 per person, rice included in the price and reasonable corkage for BYOB, it’s hard to quibble at the rates, but the quality of ingredients doesn’t always compare to similarly priced establishments. Chicken tastes cheap and spongy; an oversweet red curry stints on the peppers and flavours tend towards the simplistic, constructed perhaps to please the palates of the rugby crowd. Desserts fare better, with generous helpings of coconut icecream drenched in syrup and dotted with lychees and several banana-based

options. Staff are helpful and patient and there’s a steady trickle of customers availing themselves of the reasonably priced takeaway service. + Casual atmosphere and cheerful staff - The food isn’t always up to scratch

Celadon 49–51 Causewayside, Southside, EH9 1QF (Map 3C: D3, 22) 0131 667 1110, celadonrestaurant.co.uk | Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 5.30–11pm; Sun 5.30– 11pm. Closed Mon. Pre; HW £13.50; Kids; T/A. £7.99 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Lying just far enough outside the city centre to be considered off the beaten track, Causewayside is never the less blessed with some decent dining options, of which Celadon is one of the best. The atmosphere is casual but homely thanks to some rustic décor and attentive, friendly staff. The well-priced set menus offer diners the chance to sample a whole host of dishes from across the menu while the à la carte menu offers up plenty of classic, nicely executed Thai dishes. Sticky ribs deliver everything the name promises with melt-off-the-bone pork covered in a thick red wine, ginger and honey sauce. Lovers of moules marinière will likely be delighted by the Thai-style steamed mussels, which are loaded with lemongrass and holy basil. Trusting to the chef’s selections is another safe bet as both the massaman lamb and the Bangkok beef are hearty dishes packed with flavour, the latter served in the traditional ceramic pot from which the restaurant takes its name. + Fragrant, succulent mussels - Menu could be more ambitious

Chang Thai Restaurant 29 Cockburn Street, 1 Craig’s Close, Old Town, EH1 1BN (Map 2A: D2, 9) 0131 225 7007, changthai-restaurant.co.uk | Mon– Sun noon–3pm & 5–10.30pm. Pre; HW £12.95; Kids; T/A. £6.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Just down a narrow close off Cockburn Street, Chang Thai is a hidden city centre gem. Providing a splash of sun in a subterranean space, the decor has a definite beachfront feel, complete with tiki-style bar and shell decorated tabletops. The menu isn’t quite as exotic, favouring a home-cooked style of Thai. Holy basil provides a lovely bitter note in the stir fry and the delightfully fluffy deep fried bean curd is paired perfectly with a sweet chilli peanut sauce. The pad thai is a reminder of how good this classic noodle dish can be, packed with nutty, tamarind flavour and served with the little dishes of garnish letting you spice it up to your heart’s content. The desserts are limited in number, but impressively executed banana fritters drizzled in a caramel sauce are the intensely sweet stand out. With some cracking value lunch and early evening set menus available, this is well worth seeking out no matter the occasion. + Top notch pad thai - Very easy to miss entrance

Chaophraya 33 Castle Street, New Town, EH2 3DN (Map 1A: B5, 58) 0131 226 7614, chaophraya.co.uk | Mon–Sat noon– 10.30pm; Sun noon–10pm. Veg; HW £17.25; Wh. £16 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Taking over the prestigious former premises of Oloroso, up above George Street, high-end Thai chain Chaopraya is a masterclass in studied swankiness. The large space is broken up into intimate booths and softlit corners eyed by solemn Buddhas, with everything designed down to the last detail, from the hallucinogenic carpet to the sculptured taps and ten


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different types of lighting. Diners and dilettantes can perch upon the stools in the Palm Sugar bar and contemplate the awesome panorama of the city and the Forth through the enormous windows to the outdoor terrace. Starters feature artfully presented golden baskets, soft steamed dumplings and moreish chicken satay; mains include Weeping Tiger, a magnificent sirloin that arrives spitting and hissing on a hot plate seared with deliciously acidic chilli and tamarind flavours, and a fruity and flavoursome Four Seasons duck curry with grape, strawberry, pineapple and tomato. The food is superlative; the sauces to maim for, but the prices and the slight Footballers’ Wives feel to the place might be a deterrent to some. + The cuisine and the view are mouthwatering - But the disappointing house white really ain’t

Dusit 49a Thistle Street, New Town, EH2 1DY (Map 1A: D4, 75) 0131 220 6846, dusit. co.uk | Mon–Sat noon–3pm, 6–11pm; Sun noon–11pm. HW £15.50; T/A. £12.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

A perennial player in the mix of Edinburgh’s top Thai restaurants, Dusit proves that consistency needn’t be dull, dishing up the same brand of polished, Thai fine dining in the heart of city for over a decade. Nestled on Thistle Street away from the hustle and bustle of the main shopping streets, the muted green colour scheme presents a calm space to appreciate the skill on display on the plate. With most dishes carrying rather whimsical titles like ‘Lady in the Garden’ – a beautifully seared scallop tossed in chilli and garlic, it is tempting to choose your dish for names alone, but the less fanciful dishes are no less satisfying. Popia, or Thai-style spring rolls, are stuffed with delicately flavoured mushrooms and glass noodles. Traditional peasant curry gaeng phet shows that the kitchen handles hearty flavours as well as the more subtle notes of seafood specialities like pad phet tom yum, a fragrant blend of monkfish, scallops

Chaophraya 4 TH FLOOR, 33 CASTLE STREET, EDINBURGH

4 HITLIST THAI

4 Passorn A passion for good cooking matched with uncompromising commitment to quality ingredients. 4 Port of Siam An intimate waterfront setting serving Thai flavours fused with impeccably sourced local produce. 4 Thai Orchid Big flavours, quality ingredients and a warm welcome combine, and all just a stone’s throw from the castle. and prawns. The small dessert range is nicely balanced with ‘Ebony & Ivory’, a black rice pudding served with coconut ice cream, a suitably eyecatching way to finish. + Some spectacular seafood dishes - Fairly tightly packed tables

Leven’s 30–32 Leven Street, Southside, EH3 9LJ (Map 3A: C2, 16) 0131 229 8988 | Mon– Thu noon–2.30pm,