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Welcome to The List Eating & Drinking Guide. For 22 years we have been providing our readers with a comprehensive, well-informed and reliably up-to-date guide to the dining scene in Glasgow and Edinburgh – both in print here and online at Both our major cities are playing an important part in this year’s celebration of Scotland’s renowned produce. Designated the Year of Food & Drink, 2015 sees many events and organisations celebrate the natural larder on our doorstep, and in these pages you will find hundreds of restaurants, bars and cafés that have fully embraced and utilised the best food and drink of the nation. The reviews that make up the listings for the two cities have been freshly researched and written in the first three months of 2015. Our 90-strong team of locally based reviewers have been eating out anonymously at nearly 1000 venues across both cities. They are our discerning eyes, ears and palates about town, helping us keep track of the movers and shakers of the everevolving and constantly improving eating and drinking scene. You’ll find all the notable openings over the last 12 months here, as well as our latest Hitlists, rigorously highlighting the best places to be found in each section. There are Table Talks, too, with personal stories from some of the important and interesting players on the scene. The Tiplists throughout the guide will show you where good things are happening in the world of coffee, beer, bargain lunches, takeaway sandwiches and much more – all carefully chosen by our reviewers and editors who’ve been working hard to bring you all the exciting news about dining and drinking in these ever-changing cities. Enjoy.

CITY EDITORS Claire Ritchie (Edinburgh), Jay Thundercliffe (Glasgow) EDITORIAL ASSISTANTS Kelsey Farrell, Paul McLean, Keith Smith COPY EDITORS Claire Ritchie, Jay Thundercliffe REVIEWERS EDINBURGH Arts Venues & Attractions Poppy Baggott, Julie Morrice Bars & Pubs Barbara Adams, Hannah Jefferson, Emma Louise McGettrick, Jan Paterson, David Pollock, Claire Sawers Bistros & Brasseries Katie Conaglen, Sian Hickson, Theresa Munoz, Colin Renton, James Teideman Chinese & Far East Teddy Craig, Catriona Crawford, Louise Donoghue, Sandy Neil Fish Courtney Hyde Peyton French Yana Thandrayen, Robin Wu Indian Jennifer Alford-Thornton, David Kettle, Chiara Pannozzo, Elaine Reid Italian Tom Bruce-Gardyne, John Cooke, Sylvie Docherty, Nick Dunne Mexican Claire Ritchie North American & Round the World Miranda Heggie, Jo Laidlaw, Caroline Rye, Paul Trainer Scottish Stan Blackley, Ian Hogg, Hilary Lloyd, Tracey Reilly, Justin Tilbury Spanish Keith Smith Thai Barry Cooper, Steve Morton, Susan Smith Extras Kelsey Farrell, Paul McLean GLASGOW Arts Venues & Attractions Miranda Heggie, Donald MacInnes, Jay Thundercliffe Bars & Pubs Gabriella Bennett, Beth Darbyshire, Tiff Griffin, Ruth Marsh, David McPhee, Laura Muetzelfeldt Bistros & Brasseries Sucheta Duff, Carolyn McTaggart, Andrea Mullaney, Kevin Scott Cafés & Wee Places Jennifer Armitage, Kat Borrowdale, David Kirkwood, Ruth Marsh, Ellen Renton Chinese Andrea Pearson, Jay Thundercliffe Far East Martin Cross Fish Malcolm Jack French David Kirkwood Indian Rowan Anderson, Piers Hunt, Rory McGinley Italian Jane Allan, Kirsty Bush, Tara Hepburn, Bronwen Livingstone Mexican Beth Darbyshire North American Fraser Wilson Round the World Malcolm McGonigle Scottish Kirsty Bush, Erica Goodey, Andrea Pearson Spanish Lewis Renton Thai Tiff Griffin PUBLISHERS Robin Hodge, Simon Dessain DIRECTOR, FOOD & DRINK Peter Brown ADMINISTRATION Jade Regulski 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 ACCOUNTS Sarah Reddie DESIGN Lucy Munro, Jen Devonshire PRODUCTION Simon Armin (Production Manager)

Published by The List Ltd HEAD OFFICE: 14 High Street Edinburgh EH1 1TE Tel: 0131 550 3050 Fax: 0131 557 8500 email 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. ©2015 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 2015. Printed by Acorn Web Offset Ltd, W. Yorkshire


PHOTOGRAPHY Caitlin Cooke, Jannica Honey, Stephen Robinson

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.


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, Taste Our Best 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.

Address of establishment: This includes street address and city district. 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. Telephone number for bookings or enquiries, and website. No Kids: This indicates establishments where children are not allowed. 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.

The review: Our general description and independent overview of the establishment’s setting, background, ambience, décor and style of cuisine, including details about specific dishes, fixed-price meals and other relevant information. 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.

Accredited Taste Our Best venue.

4 The Glutton 55 Raresteak Street, East End (Map 6: E4, 51) 0141 666 1111, | Closed Mon | No Kids | £12 (set lunch) / £15 (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

Indicates membership of the Scotch Beef Club. 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. Days closed indicates entire days an establishment is not open for business. Meal prices: Where an establishment serves lunch and dinner, the price in bold type is the average price of a standard twocourse 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.

For full details on each establishment listed in the guide, including food served times, child facilities, WiFi access, set menus and social media links as well as individual locator maps and various search functions, go to

4 The List Eating & Drinking Guide



The Stockbridge Kitchen




Tugas Amor


Twelve Triangles


Usher’s of Edinburgh

23 50





Victor & Carina Contini Caffe & Gelateria


Breadshare Bakery


Victor & Carina Contini Cannonball 103 SCOTTISH





Burger Meats Bun






The Jolly Botanist Locanda de Gusti


Mademoiselle Macaron

Casa Amiga


Maison de Moggy

The Cask & Still






Colonnades El Cartel Casera Mexicana

20 85

Miller & Carter


Noodle N Ice


88 107

No 33 181 Delicatessen



Shebeen (Dalry Road)







6 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


Sodaeng Söderberg Pizza at the Bakery


Söderberg Takeaway Söderberg (Queensferry Street)

64 37



The Raeburn

• Tex Mex II • The Wild Restaurant • Wok and Wine

35 Steak on Stones

• Port of Siam

• Turkish Kitchen 48


Portobello Palm Tree

• Mithas

• Shilla



• Italian Kitchen

• Oishii


Spit/Fire Restaurant

• Iman’s

• Leven’s 64

86 Spit/Fire Bar

• Iglu

• Isobar 60



• Freemans

• Illegal Jack’s 69







• Favorit

• French Press Coffee Company



Guild of Foresters





• Fatma 48




• Far Pavilions

• Fish Eatery


Pinto Mexican Kitchen

• The Engine Shed • Enzo








• Copper Bird Café • Dhaba Diner



Pera: Turkish Mangal & Meze Bar






Fortitude Coffee

• Bindi 68


Pâtisserie Maxime 72

• Appetite Direct



Paradise Palms


Fleur de Sel





Fat Yankee’s

Milk at Collective

The Ox




Osteria Del Tempo Perso 42

Farewell to . . .


Shackleton’s Bar & Brasserie

Civerinos Italian Street Food & Pizza Slice Bar 80 Clouds & Soil


Serrano Manchego 42



Salt Café 85




Sakura Tree 27



Saiko Kitchen


Cha Cha Laca









Zuhus 83



Zara’s Mediterranean Bistro 31

Rodi Restaurant







100 Wildest Drams


The Riparian Rooms


Cairngorm Coffee


Reekie’s Smokehouse


The Caffeine Drip


Redwood Bistro Heads & Tales

Café Tartine



The Ox


Burger (Shandwick Place)




The Boozy Cow




The Black Fox




La Barantine (Victoria Street)




Bar G&V




Artisan Roast









• Zupa


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 edition of The List magazine or visit us at

GLASGOW Alla Italia



Alston Bar & Beef

130 130 153

Little Curry House


The Mcmillan Southside





Bell & Felix





Juice Garden CAFÉS


Azur Bistro




The Anchor Line

The Hyndland Fox

Mad Platter





Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill




164 The Market Kitchen




The Butterfly & the Pig @ the Corona



Casa Russo

159 154







The Crafty Pig

Matilda’s CAFÉS


Chop Chop




Le Chalet Beaumartin

Masala Zing

My Home Bakery


Alston Bar & Beef




New Gandhi

156 The Raven




Devil’s Deli



NY American Grill

165 Redmond’s of Dennistoun







Ox and Finch

Riverhill West Nile


Roscoe’s Deli Bar




Patisserie Apostrophe



The Rum Shack

Penny Black



The Salisbury

Piece @ Inovo


143 Salt Delicatessen





Porter & Rye

135 The Scullery





The Project Cafe

143 Sichuan House


148 143 143


Steak and Cherry


The Halt Bar The Roxy 171 The Butterfly and the Pig West



The Grumpy Goat

All Star Brunch Bar

Skinny’s 164



Black Rabbit

Plum Tree 162



Deli 1901

The Richmond 127


Tarantino Ristorante


La Vallée Blanche 168




Bar Ten 165


Swedish Affär

Little Urban Achievers Club

The Wee Curry Shop (Byres Rd)


Spitfire Espresso

Riccardo’s Italian Kitchen

Café Lovestruck


Social Bite

Farewell to . . . Rhubarb






The Honours

The Wilson Street Pantry







The Grumpy Goat

The Western Club Restaurant







Gordon Street Coffee

The Vintage at Drygate







The Vic Cafe Bar ARTS VENUES


El Gusto




Dumpling Inn


Brown Sugar Singl-end


Cocktail & Burger


The List Eating & Drinking Guide 7


In association with






When Aizle arrived in spring 2014, a lot had to be explained carefully. Aizle rhymes with hazel, we were advised, and the word itself was Scots for ‘spark’. In an easy, understated bistro setting Stuart Ralston and Krystal Goff offer precisely cooked food introduced not by a menu but by a list of ingredients. Responding to seasonal availability and foraging finds, an expertly balanced five-course tasting menu reveals inventive and intriguing combinations. Aizle is a brave and well-judged showcase of the depth and diversity of Scottish food along with contemporary, open-minded cooking. Q See page 94

His catering operation Scoop was an important trailblazer for the city’s street food scene, and now Jonathan MacDonald has opened his first restaurant in a tenement block close to Finnieston’s food epicentre. His experience travelling the world as a team head chef in Formula 1 brought a knowledge and understanding of global flavours to the imaginative sharing plates coming out of the open kitchen. Texture, colour and appearance are as important to the kitchen as taste, with well-sourced ingredients combining to not only gratify diners but also entice and enthrall. Q See page 143





It has been something of a regal progress. From an apprenticeship within the family firm of Valvona & Crolla, to teeth-cutting restaurateurs at Centotre, to local food evangelists at the Scottish Café within the National Gallery of Scotland, Victor and Carina Contini have taken their ambitions and their love of good food to the heights of the spectacular Cannonball House at the very top of the Royal Mile. There they have patiently created a three-storey food hub that celebrates Italian-Scots heritage, classy cooking and warm hospitality to the two million tourists that pass by every year. Q See page 103

After success with his Butchershop Bar & Grill, James Rusk set his sights on a highly ambitious project – rejuvenating the A-listed Hutchesons’ Hall in the Merchant City. Having stood empty for a number of years, the 200-year-old former hospital’s owners The National Trust for Scotland began working with Rusk to breathe new life and purpose back to the local landmark. The end result is one of Glasgow’s most impressive restaurant spaces, where the fine-dining focus on Scotland’s renowned meat and seafood creates a deeply gratifying experience immersed in local heritage. Q See page 141

8 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The List’s annual Eating & Drinking Guide Awards highlight some of the best dining-out experiences in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Our New Bar of the Year Award recognises Edinburgh and Glasgow’s hottest drinking spots, highlighting them for their focus on good food, craft beers, welcoming atmosphere and contribution to their neighbourhood. Our Newcomer of the Year Awards are selected from restaurants opening in Edinburgh and Glasgow over the past 12 months. The winners are chosen 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 eye-catching 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.







Craft beer is well on its way from revolutionary upstart to mainstream familiarity. One of the local instigators of the wave of interest in small-scale brewing, the team behind Lothian Road’s Hanging Bat, have come up with a new venue in the New Town that marries artisinal ales with another full-on trend, dude food. In an energetic but harmonious blend of conviviality and craft values they offer a stripped-back, atmospheric vibe in a warren of basement rooms, curating one of the city’s best drinks lists and combining it with a menu of snack and comfort food from the spit and fire. Q See page 37

Housed in an impressive cathedral to craft brewing, created in an old factory at the Tennent’s Duke Street site, the Vintage brought their successful Edinburgh blueprint to Glasgow’s rejuvenating East End. The brewery’s impressive industrial interior, featuring bar, beer shop, gig space and outdoor terrace, is the setting for the kitchen’s focus on small plates that offer bold flavours combined with brave flourishes. Coupled with an expertly crafted beer list combining global brews and local creations, the Vintage is a bar serving up food and drink unlike any other in town. Q See page 128


ial c e p S RD


Glasgow has had its fair share of claimants to the crown of curry king ever since curryhouses began springing up in the city back in the 1960s, giving Glaswegians a taste of a spicy cuisine that continues to warm their bellies and hearts to this day. As various chefs and restaurateurs have come to the fore, made their important mark on the scene and moved on, the founder of the Mother India group, Monir Mohammed, has remained at the top for more than two decades. Having had early lessons in the trade working for Balbir at his Ashoka restaurant, Monir’s journey, as recounted with frank honesty in his recent book Mother India at Home, wasn’t an easy one. A faltering start and failed business meant he began his Mother India brand unable to officially own the business due to bankruptcy.

Though born and raised in Glasgow, his family spent time in Pakistan, and on one prolonged visit there he cared for his parents and cooked the daily family meals. Reluctant to leave Glasgow as a young man, it turned out to be one of the most important learning curves of his life, inspiring him to bring real Punjabi cuisine back to his beloved home city. Monir’s dedication to authenticity, to utilising high-quality ingredients and no small amount of imagination, coupled with a style of eating that fits into the Scottish mentality of communal and informal dining, has brought great acclaim and success to his ventures. From the original restaurant in Finnieston to the Dining In deli-takeaways and the tapas-style Cafés in both Glasgow and Edinburgh, Monir’s inventive home-style cooking and familial attitude to food has set a standard for Indian dining in Scotland that is yet to be surpassed. Q See pages 76 & 156 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 9


4 GLASGOWHITLISTS 4ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS Art Lover’s Café The Balcony Café Saramago Café Bar The Vic Café Bar

4ITALIAN Battlefield Rest La Brava Lamora La Lanterna Michaelangelo’s Panevino Tarantino Ristorante

114 114 116 116

4BARS & PUBS Chinaski’s The Grumpy Goat Meat Bar The Pacific Redmond’s of Dennistoun The Salisbury The Vintage at Drygate WEST Brewery

119 122 124 125 125 126 128 128

4MEXICAN Juan Chihuahua The Squid and Whale

Bar Gumbo BRGR Jacker de Viande

137 139 139 140 141 141 142 142 144

4CAFES: THE WEE PLACES Cottonrake Riverhill Coffee Bar Roots and Fruits Smile Café

145 146 146 146

4CHINESE Chop Chop Sichuan House

147 148

The Calabash Restaurant Nur Restauracja U Jarka Veldt Deli

Downstairs at Stravaigin The Gannet Hotel du Vin Bistro Ian Brown Food and Drink Ubiquitous Chip Wee Lochan

169 170 170 170 171 172


Eat Café

La Bodega Tapas Bar Malaga Tapas

4FAR EAST Banana Leaf The Hanoi Bike Shop Nippon Kitchen

148 150 150

4FISH Crabshakk The Finnieston Gandolfi Fish

151 151 152

4FRENCH Le Bistro Beaumartin

Our new shop - the City centre's only independent specialist - has an exceptional selection of craft & traditional beers and ciders, alongside a range of table wines, champagne, port, and sherry.

10 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

167 167 167 168



Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or

172 174

4THAI 153



4INDIAN Babu Bombay Street Kitchen Charcoals The Den at Dining In with Mother India The Dhabba Little Curry House Mother India’s Café

154 155 155 155 156 156

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

We're expanding!

0141 332 4481

164 164 165


131 132 133 133 134 135 135 136 136

4CAFES Avenue G Delizique The Glad Café Kember & Jones McCune Smith Café Martha’s No Way Back North Star The Wilson Street Pantry

163 163


4BISTROS & BRASSERIES The Butchershop Bar & Grill Eat Café The Honours Hutchesons The Market Kitchen Ox and Finch Porter & Rye Stravaigin Café Bar Urban Bar and Brasserie

158 158 160 160 161 161 162

Good S

WINE & BEER 105 West Nile St, Glasgow G1 2SD

pirits W

ine & B



4 EDINBURGHHITLISTS 4ARTS VENUES Café Portrait Drill Hall Café Fruitmarket Gallery Café The Scottish Café

18 20 20 22

24 26 26 32 32 34 35 36 37 39

40 40 41 42 42 43 44 47 47 48

4CAFES The Beach House Café Renroc The Caffeine Drip Earthy Market Café Edinburgh Larder Café Lovecrumbs The Pantry Patisserie Maxime Porto & Fi Söderberg Pizza at the Bakery Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar Water of Leith Café Bistro

50 52 52 53 53 56 57 57 58 60 60 61

65 67


4FAR EAST Kanpai Kim’s Korean Meals Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine

68 68 68

Aizle The Atelier Café St Honoré Castle Terrace Gardener’s Cottage The Grain Store

90 91 91 92

The Kitchin 98 Number One 100 Timberyard 102 Victor & Carina Contini Cannonball 103

4SPANISH 94 95 95 95 96 97

Malvarosa Serrano Manchego

104 105

4THAI Passorn Ting Thai Caravan

107 107

4FISH C-Shack Ondine

Bistro Provence L’Escargot Bleu La Garrigue Restaurant Martin Wishart 21212

69 70

62 63 63

71 72 73 74 75

4INDIAN Ignite Khushi’s Mother India’s Café New Saffrani Rivage

75 76 76 77 78

4ITALIAN Cucina Locanda de Gusti Nonna’s Kitchen Origano Victor & Carina Contini Ristorante

80 83 83 83 84

4MEXICAN The Basement Bar & Restaurant Bodega

85 85

4NORTH AMERICAN Calistoga Frontier

4CAFES: THE WEE PLACES Italian on the Mound The Manna House Mary’s Milk Bar

Indaba My Big Fat Greek Kitchen Pera Tugas Amor


4BISTROS & BRASSERIES Bijou Bistro Moderne Blackfriars Café Cassis The Dogs Galvin Brasserie de Luxe The Honours The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro Salt Café Sylvesters

64 64 65

4CHINESE China Town Wing Sing Inn

4BARS & PUBS The Bon Vivant BrewDog Edinburgh The Caley Sample Room The King’s Wark The Last Word Saloon OX184 Panda & Sons Roseleaf Spit/Fire VDeep

Milk at Collective 181 Delicatessen Union of Genius

87 88








ith everything from hip cafés to finedining tasting menus, Edinburgh is now firmly established as the UK’s second great dining city after London. Each year the number of quality eating experiences at all levels improves, as chefs, restaurateurs and other personalities on the local food and drink scene see their reputation and popularity grow locally, nationally and abroad. Edinburgh has become a place where culinary inspiration and innovation are not only found but are anticipated. Good eating has become integrated into Edinburgh’s cultural richness: it is part of the festival experience, the tourist visit and the residents’ routine. The Edinburgh section of this guide covers over 530 places to eat out across the city, from converted police boxes in public parks to sumptuous restaurants in five-star hotels. The number of these exploring the opportunities to use local and hyper-seasonal produce is undoubtedly on the rise, the best of them taking considerable strides towards giving local produce the credibility and distinctive identity it deserves. Yet it’s true that we’re still drawn to trotting the globe in search of attractive flavours and inspiring approaches to food. Edinburgh has a long history of providing Indian, French, Italian and Mexican food, but these days you can find cafés, restaurants and takeaways

12 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

serving Portuguese, Brazilian, Malaysian, Russian and Korean food, to name just some 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 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. Popups and supper clubs continue to grow and thrive, as diners seek a more personal connection with the people foraging for, designing and cooking their food. Fittingly in this Year of Food & Drink, provenance remains a watchword, as growers, creators and producers are given ever more recognition on menus around the city. Every year The List follows these trends and evolutions, plotting the landmarks and promising beginnings. 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 at food.list. and in the List magazine, where you can catch up with the news and new openings right through the year.


• John Howard


• Aoife Behan


• David Crabtree Logan 78 • Fred Berkmiller • Fernando Miranda

88 104



FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING • • • • • • • • • • • •

Bodega The Caley Sample Room C-Shack The Espy Katie’s Diner The Pantry Pataka Rivage The Roamin’ Nose Salt Café Sweet Melindas Tugas Amor

85 26 69 29 88 56 77 78 58 47 71 92

FOR A SENSE OF PLACE • • • • • • • • • • •

C-Shack The Espy The Gardener’s Cottage Ghillie Dhu The Grain Store The King’s Wark Palm Court Rhubarb The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro Timberyard Victor & Carina Contini Cannonball • The Witchery by the Castle

69 29 96 29 97 32 57 100 47 102 103 104

FOR BUDGET DINING • • • • • • •

The Apprentice Burger EH15 The Forest Café Gaia Delicatessen Hewat’s Restaurant Montpeliers of Bruntsfield

94 87 96 54 62 97 46


• • • • •

Noodle N Ice The Stockbridge Tap 10 to 10 In Delhi Teuchters Ting Thai Caravan

107 37 79 38 107

• Number One 100 • Restaurant Martin Wishart 74 • The Scottish Café and Restaurant 22, 101 • Timberyard 102



• • • • • • • •

• • • • •

Aizle Blackfriars Earthy Edinburgh Larder The Gardener’s Cottage The Grain Store The Kitchin Monteiths

94 41 43, 53 43, 53 96 97 98 45

The Baked Potato Shop Burger Café St Honoré David Bann Earthy Market Café

61 87 95 42 53

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 13

The Gateway Restaurant, one of a number of stunning locations within the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Brilliant moments Taste them


• • • • • • •

Hula Juice Bar and Gallery Loudon’s Café & Bakery Mary’s Milk Bar Mother India’s Café The Pantry Thyme Urban Angel

55 56 63 76 57 65 60

FOR ITS WINE LIST • • • • • • • • • • • •

Calistoga Divino Enoteca Fishers in the City Forth Floor Restaurant Hotel du Vin Bistro The Kitchin Number One Ondine Restaurant Martin Wishart Rhubarb Rollo Whighams Wine Cellars

87 81 70 96 45 98 100 70 74 100 36 39

FOR A ROMANTIC MEAL Look out for the Taste Our Best logo throughout this guide, proudly displayed as a guarantee of the finest, locally-sourced food and drink on offer. From restaurants, B&B’s and hotels to visitor attractions, farmers’ markets and takeaways, you can sample famous fare made with the freshest, Scottish produce. Choose from hundreds of accredited outlets at

14 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Blackfriars The Bon Vivant Castle Terrace Divino Enoteca The Honours Kanpai Monteiths Number One Restaurant Martin Wishart Rhubarb Veritas The Witchery by the Castle

41 24 95 81 44 68 45 100 74 100 84 104

FOR GROUPS & PARTIES • • • • • • • • • •

Bodega Buffalo Grill Castle Terrace Charwood Cucina First Coast Hanam’s Khushi’s Montpeliers of Bruntsfield Nawroz

85 87 95 42 80 43 90 76 46 91

• The New York Steam Packet • Saigon Saigon Restaurant

88 66

FOR KIDS & FAMILIES • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Beach House Broughton Delicatessen Charwood Earthy Market Café Gorgie City Farm Café Hanam’s Hemma Joseph Pearce’s The Pantry The Roamin’ Nose Spoon The Storytelling Café

50 51 42 53 54 90 30 31 57 58 48 22

FOR OUTDOOR DINING • • • • • • • • • •

Bistro Provence Circus Earthy Market Café The Espy Fishers in Leith Milk at Collective Petit Paris Pomegranate The Salisbury Arms The Scottish Café

71 90 53 29 70 64 73 91 36 22, 101

• • • • • •

New Saffrani Petit Paris Pomegranate The Riparian Rooms Spoon Ting Thai Caravan

76 73 91 101 48 107

FOR LATE DINING • Britannia Spice 75 • Civerinos Italian Street Food & Pizza Slice Bar 80 • The Dome Grill Room 42 • Ignite 75 • Kama Sutra 76 • Kebab Mahal 76 • Namaste Kathmandu 77 • OX184 34 • Pataka 77 • La P’tite Folie 74 • Pinto Mexican Kitchen 86 • Spice Lounge Kitchen 78 • The Witchery by the Castle 104 • Teuchters Landing • Timberyard

38 102

FOR PRE-THEATRE • • • • • •

Absolute Thai Bar Soba The Dining Room First Coast Hewat’s Restaurant Nawroz

106 67 96 43 97 91

The Bon Vivant

FOR BYOB • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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Absolute Thai 106 Beirut 89 Bodega 85 Buffalo Grill 87 Khushi’s 76 Kim’s Korean Meals 68 The New York Steam Packet 88 Pomegranate 91 Rivage 78 Tanjore 78 Tuk Tuk 79 Vietnam House Restaurant 69 Wing Sing Inn 67

FOR VEGETARIAN OPTIONS • • • • • • • • • • • •

Broughton Delicatessen Café Nom de Plume David Bann The Forest Café Henderson’s Vegetarian Restaurant Hula Juice Bar and Gallery Kalpna Number One The Pantry Restaurant Martin Wishart The Safari Lounge Urban Angel

51 52 42 54 97 55 75 100 57 74 36 60

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide 15

Edinburgh Food Events 14–17 MAY CREATE:EAT:WHISKY Gayfield Creative Spaces, A multi-sensory journey in the company of whisky, cocktails and symbolic edibles, all from an arts space off Leith Walk. 15–16 MAY SUMMERHALL AND BARNEY’S BEER FESTIVAL All things beery, yeasty and delicious at Summerhall for an ale-filled weekend.

strong foodie focus with chef demos, a food fayre of Scottish produce plus exhibitions showcasing how to grow your own fruit and veg. 12–13 JUN SCOTTISH JUNIPER FESTIVAL Summerhall, The home of the Pickering’s gin distillery hosts two nights of delicious drink and top fashion to celebrate World Gin Day.

23–24 MAY THE WHISKY STRAMASH Surgeon’s Hall, A chance to sample and buy, plus the organisers promise ‘mystery, entertainment and madcap pioneering’.

18–21 JUN ROYAL HIGHLAND SHOW Royal Highland Centre, This three-day celebration of food, farming and the countryside is one of the biggest events on the food and drink calendar, attracting 180,000 visitors annually.

29–31 MAY GARDENING SCOTLAND Royal Highland Centre, Scotland’s national gardening and outdoor living show has a

21 JUN CAKEFEST EDINBURGH Royal Botanic Garden, A quirky one-dayer where budding Bake Off-ers can

STREET FOOD STOPS SCOFF Having been a feature at Waverley’s Platform 2 market since the beginning, the lovely folk at Scoff also pop up at other farmers’ markets around town with their innovative ‘tattie scone wraps’ stuffed with the likes of Cullen skink stew or Massaman curry.

JONES & SON When not catering private, bespoke events, Jones & Son can be found at Edinburgh Markets. The belle of the ball is their pulled-pork sandwich with chilli jam. Said jam can also be purchased to take home.

ALPLINGS Regulars at the Tram Stop Market, Alplings’ simple vegetarian dumplings in cheese, spinach or beetroot varieties come to life when married with sauces like Parmesan butter melt, horseradish or mushroom.

NINJA BUNS Ninja Buns is a relatively new Taiwanese burger stall specialising in steamed buns filled with spicy marinated meat, pickled veg and crunchy peanuts. They have found a home in Paradise Palms on Lothian Street , but still frequent the summer festivals.

BABU BOMBAY STREET KITCHEN Paying a visit from their flagship venue in Glasgow, Babu is essential for an Indian food fix while at Stockbridge Market. Their meals are pretty authentic, but they can’t resist adding a little touch of Scottish flair to items like their bacon chapati wrap.

MEAT HOOK The once-nomadic Meat Hook has taken leave from the streets and now resides at Mathers Bar on Broughton Street. Their sausages and burgers are clear winners, but also make sure to get a side of their warm potato salad to complete the meal.

MIGHTY MEXICAN FOOD TRUCK The Tram Stop Market turns into a hungry luchador’s paradise when the Mighty Mexican Food Truck rolls in. Various burritos are generously filled and wrapped for travel, making them an ideal meal-onthe-go, while tacos and nachos are also a smart bet.

ON THE ROLL Catering to a hungry, student crowd, On the Roll can often be found at George Square. Their sausages are imported from Germany and include Bratwurst, the Krakauer and Currywurst, all dressed with spicy homemade sauce, fried onions and sauerkraut.

16 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

create a map of Edinburgh made entirely out of cake. 5 JUL SAVOUR Summerhall, SavourEdinburgh Back for a second year with artisan producers, local restaurants and craft breweries showcasing their wares, plus demos, wine tasting and street food in the courtyard. 9–12 JUL SCOTTISH REAL ALE FESTIVAL Corn Exchange, Celebrate the world of brews with this festival’s selection of over 150 Scottish real ales. 7–9 AUG FOODIES FESTIVAL Inverleith Park, This weekend-long event, boasting celebrity chefs, an impressive cooking theatre lineup and stacks of food stalls, celebrates its 10th birthday this year.

FOOD SHOPS EARTHY FOODS & GOODS Causewayside, Canonmills & Portobello GEORGE BOWER BUTCHERS 75 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge IJ MELLIS CHEESEMONGER Victoria Street, Morningside & Stockbridge LUPE PINTOS 24 Leven Street, Tollcross REAL FOODS Broughton Street & Tollcross VALVONA & CROLLA 19 Elm Row, Leith Walk WELCH FISHMONGERS Newhaven, Leith & Newington

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FARMERS’ & FOOD MARKETS • Edinburgh Farmers’ Market Castle Terrace, 9am–2pm, every Saturday • Stockbridge Market Jubilee Gardens, 10am–5pm, every Sunday

Independently selected by our award-winning editorial team with over 2,500 entries covering: • cheese makers, smokeries, fruit growers, brewers, distillers, ice-cream makers and more • butchers, bakers, fishmongers, farm shops and farmers’ markets • restaurants, bistros and cafÊs Geo-coded so you can select places close to where you are and designed for use on smart phones and tablets.



• Portobello Market Brighton Park, 9.30am–1.30pm, ďŹ rst Saturday of the month • Balerno Farmers’ Market Balerno Main Street, 9am–1pm, second Saturday of the month • Juniper Green Community Market Lanark Road, 9am–1pm, fourth Saturday of the month




• Edinburgh Markets – The Tram Stop Market outside St Mary’s Cathedral, 11am–5pm, every Saturday; Street Food Thursdays (Jul & Aug) 11am–7pm


  AUGUST 7-9

• Edinburgh Markets – Southside outside Royal Commonwealth Pool, edinburghmarkets. 10am–4pm, every Sunday (May–October) • Waverley Market @ Platform 2 Waverley Railway Station, 11am—7pm, every Friday • Morningside Farmers’ Market The Merlin, 168-172 Morningside Road, 9.30am—3.30pm, third Saturday of the month • Grassmarket Weekly Market Grassmarket, 10am–5pm, every Saturday


0844 995 1111

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 17



ARTS VENUES &ATTRACTIONS The veritable army of visitors who advance annually on Edinburgh’s cultural hotspots will be excited to know that while the art world can be a mixed bag, the cafés and bistros which sustain these venues can be relied upon to keep them marching. Good simple home baking, sandwiches and soups often take on an innovative twist, and the most unexpected and unassuming places produce food in a style which complements or sometimes even surpasses the main event. Reviewers: Poppy Baggott, Julie Morrice

Bon Papillon 15 Howe Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: C3, 29) 0131 538 2505, | Closed Mon/Tue | £8 (lunch)

Most of us have a creative streak, and it would be fair to say that in the humdrum of the day-to-day, the idyll of the artist’s life is perhaps a recurrent dream. A peaceful studio flooded with natural light, and the paraphernalia of the artist creating a charmingly organised chaos – here the dream becomes reality, as Ingrid Nilsson and her partner Stuart Allan combine their twin passions for food and art, opening the doors to Bon Papillon, their café, studio, gallery and framing shop. This is home cooking at its absolute best, with a menu that changes daily and is fresh and inventive with soups like lemon and lentil served up with fragrant herb scones. The choice between roast vegetables and hummus on garlic bruschetta or a bacon ciabatta

is a hard one to make. Those who frequent the cafés of Edinburgh will admit that a moist cake can be a rarity – well, look no further: a slice of lemon and walnut cake with your coffee, or one of Allan’s famous scones will restore your faith. + The setting and ambience - A little short on space

Cafe Hub Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town See Cafés

Café Modern One Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, 75 Belford Road, West End (Map 4: A2, off) 0131 332 8600, | £8 (lunch)

With windows opening onto the garden and a friendly atmosphere, the café downstairs in Modern One is a longstanding favourite with families, art aficionados and anyone who likes a freshly prepared and reasonably priced lunch. Service is at the counter, but forget bad memories of canteen queues – the staff are swiftly efficient and everyone seems to get a smile and a personal welcome. Vegetables, fruit and herbs come from the café’s own garden, bread is baked on the premises and other ingredients are sourced as locally and sustainably as possible. Soups and deli sandwiches are made with all sorts of interesting combos. The feta, sweet potato and hazelnut puff pastry tart is a mini adventure of tastes and textures, and the salads are both generous and delicious – even the green salad is lifted out of the ordinary by a zingy mustard dressing. Cakes and bakes are homemade and range from the plain delicious to the experimental – Willy Wonka wouldn’t be ashamed of the white chocolate teacake with violet and lemon cream and a crystallised rose petal on top. + Carefully selected ingredients cooked with flair and care - Can get a bit noisy when really busy

Café Modern Two Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 73 Belford Road, West End (Map 4: A2, off) 0131 624 6273, | £13.50 (lunch)

Wood panelling and mirrors give a hint of the lunch club to Café Modern Two, despite the looming presence of Eduardo Paolozzi’s giant tin ‘Vulcan’ sculpture. Charming staff and an unthreatening menu ensure this venue is definitely less edgy than the sculptor’s way with a soldering iron, however. Afternoon tea is the obvious choice here – the baked treats rush off the counter like, well, hot cakes. There are plans afoot for summer picnics outside (rugs provided) and special afternoon tea menus for kids, mums and dads. There’s a simple brunch menu at weekends and a goodvalue daily lunch selection venturing far beyond soup and a sandwich. That said, the pea, courgette and spinach soup is truly tasty, as is a flaky little beetroot and shallot tarte tatin. The fish flavour of the smoked mackerel fishcakes is slightly too intense, but more than made up for by a white chocolate and cranberry bread and butter pudding – a downy slice of heaven. The coffee is especially good here too. + Pudding and coffee - Too-fishy fishcakes

4 Café Portrait Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, New Town (Map 1B: A5, 65) 0131 624 6421, heritageportfolio. | £6.95 (set lunch)

Awe is well and truly inspired by the Gothic splendour of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery – and luckily the descent from viewing the great and good can be eased by an equally uplifting café experience. High ceilings and vaulted windows create a majestic space for the bright, buzzy café, where the likes of Ian Rankin preside over your table from their lofty positions on the walls. The culturally replete form a snaking queue canteen-style, filing past

4 HITLIST ARTS VENUES 4 Café Portrait Alluring array of good food in a classical setting. 4 Drill Hall Café Really good home cooking at down-to-earth prices at a venue with a friendly vibe. 4 Fruitmarket Gallery Café Substantial, inventive meals from great ingredients – and truly fabulous baking. 4 The Scottish Café The best of Scotland’s provender served in style with a smile. a mouth-watering display counter, where the menu changes daily, and features an alluring array of salads and sandwiches made with local and seasonal ingredients. The choice always includes two soups and two hot main courses, in addition to cakes, bread and patisserie made on site – a visual feast which only the strongest of wills could resist. + The ambience and architecture - Crumbly cakes and scones

Café at the Palace Palace of Holyroodhouse, Old Town (Map 2B: D2, 31) 0131 652 3685 | £12 (lunch)

Afternoon tea with linen napkins, nice china and a three-tier cake stand: Holyrood Palace offers some right royal indulgence. The café is an airy conservatory added to the former stable block and is as elegant and well-kempt as the rest of the palace grounds. Nothing precious though, there is a nice babble and children are welcomed, with a Hungry Caterpillar lunch to munch. Soups, baked potatoes and daily-changing main courses form the backbone of the lunch offer, but afternoon tea is where the Café at the Palace comes into its own. A choice of teas is daintily served in china teapots and with a timer to make sure your infusion is just so. The first layer of the cake stand jostles with little sandwiches each on a different type of bread. Next up are two kinds of scone (the orange is particularly yummy) accompanied by thick cream and homemade jam. Then to finish there are four kinds of cake – from tangy blueberry and almond tart to dark chocolate cream-stuffed profiteroles. + Sandwiches, scones and cakes all homemade – afternoon bliss - The café area at the back of the conservatory is a little bit bleak

City Art Centre Café City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 9) 0131 226 4965, glenfi | £11 (lunch)

Café at the Palace: exquisite afternoon tea in regal surroundings 18 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Sustenance will surely be needed after a tour around the City Art Centre with its towering warehouse proportions – so it’s fortuitous that the Glenfinlas group can be found showcasing their considerable catering talents in the café on the ground floor. Brightly painted walls frame and enhance a somewhat simplistic venue and are a reminder or a taster that you

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide 19



are in a house of art. Serving up the basics – filled rolls, sandwiches, salads, a few hot options and an array of cakes and traybakes worthy of any connoisseur – there is something for everyone, whether it be a leisurely repast after a tour of the galleries, or a quick bite for a local office worker. The vibe is low key and welcoming if not exactly cosy. + The wonderful cakes - Somewhat lacklustre vibe

Colonnades Signet Library, Parliament Square, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 19)

Taking its name from the Corinthian columns within the magnificent Signet Library, June 2015 sees the launch of Colonnades, a café and afternoon tea venue that aims to make the most of its setting in one of Edinburgh’s grandest neo-classical gems. Having operated for a couple of years as the Pommery Champagne Café Bar during the Edinburgh Festival, a recent restoration of the building has allowed for a permanent set-up with the promise of an experience that operators Heritage Portfolio – which also runs the cafés at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art – envisages as Edinburgh’s answer to The Ritz. The Colonnades menu will highlight local and Scottish ingredients and suppliers, as well as the daily efforts of an award-winning pastry chef; a tea sommelier will guide you through the tea choices to include teas grown in Perthshire by the Wee Tea Company, as well as a champagne trolley laden with choices by the glass or bottle. [Not open at time of going to press – see for updates.]

Dovecot Café by Stag Espresso Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A4, 12) | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch)

Where once there was a Victorian swimming pool, there is now a working tapestry studio, art gallery, modern crafts shop and café. Visitors can wander around the beautifully renovated Infirmary Street Baths and view weavers at work from the balcony. The glassfronted café makes a few nods to the rug making going on in the building, and a rainbow row of yarns pops out from the minimal, white backdrop. Stag Espresso do an excellent job of the catering, serving up barista-perfect flat whites, homemade soups (haggis and tattie, leek and mascarpone, for example) and a crammed counter full of cakes including good gluten-free options. A refreshing salad of beetroot, feta, cucumber and edamame beans matches the stark-meets-multi-coloured décor, or there are chunky sandwiches featuring Scottish crowdie, New York pastrami, Stag’s own chutney or vegan specials. It’s all tastefully done, with delicious, artfully presented lunch and coffeebreak options. + Lovely café, lovely venue - Having to go back to work after lunch

Café Modern One (page 18): delicious fresh food, relaxed service and a beautiful garden view

4 The Drill Hall Café 34 Dalmeny Street, Leith (Map 5B: B3, 11) 0131 555 7100, | Closed Sun | £8 (lunch)

An inclusive, arty atmosphere and nicely crafted home cooking make the Drill Hall Café a memorable spot for lunch or for a cup of coffee and a cake. There is no printed menu – a well-worn blackboard displays the day’s selection of hearty soups, served with bread from Manna House bakery, and main courses that range from salads to burgers and pasta dishes. There is also a roster of hot filled rolls, from black pudding to mushroom and brie. The chicken, leek and mushroom pie sings of careful preparation, its delicious sauce lively with white wine. The lamb burgers are chunky hand-shaped, charcoaly delights. Accompanying vegetables are plain boiled and utterly delicious – more carroty carrots would be hard to find. And the chips have that twice-cooked, home-fried flavour that you’d be pushed to find in many an upmarket eatery. The coffee is fair trade and excellent; the cakes are baked on the premises; the kitchen uses fresh, local, free-range and organic ingredients wherever possible; and the café trains and employs local young people. All commendable – and highly recommended. + Great ingredients and home cooking - It’s down to earth and not at all glossy

Th’Eatery Festival Theatre, 13-29 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D4, 39)

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to Accessible on all devices including smartphones and tablets, food. includes extended write-ups, connected events, linked features and search functions for food and drink venues across Scotland. 20 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

As venturing out to the theatre will always hold that buzz of excitement and anticipation, it’s always tempting to celebrate this with a meal or a drink to set the mood, and Th’Eatery at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre is a lovely venue to bookend a week-night show. The building’s massive glass frontage floods the café with natural light during the day, and atmospheric street light by night, affording the diner a wealth of people watching. A handy option for a cake and coffee stop or an easygoing lunch, at the time of going to press the café was undergoing a change of management – keep an eye on food.list. for updates.

Filmhouse Café Bar 88 Lothian Road, West End (Map 4: C2, 39) 0131 229 5932, filmhousecinema. com | £11.50 (lunch) / £11.50 (dinner)

Filmhouse is a stalwart of the Edinburgh arts scene, where those hungry for world film congregate at the converted church turned arthouse cinema. The café-bar menu is as eclectic as the film selection on offer, with dishes drawn from the global kitchen. Lasagne, curry and falafel sit alongside more traditional café fare of baked potatoes and sandwiches but this is a place where Federico Fellini, Satyajit Ray and Abbas Kiarostami share the screen so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that, despite the initial incongruity, it all works. Each dish is well-made, fresh and tasty and regular visitors will gravitate to their particular favourite. In early 2015 the kitchen was treated to a refurb and chef Eddie Cousins has taken the opportunity to demonstrate his ability through a reinvigorated list of daily specials. Moist free-range chicken breast paired with a gooey mix of aubergines and mozzarella, and steak topped with garlic and chive butter all demonstrate a confident touch that goes beyond the venue’s ‘café’ moniker. The place itself, like an aging Hollywood star, is perhaps beginning to struggle to hide its age, but it still makes for a good place to enjoy a pre-film snack or post-film drink.

+ Being surrounded by cultured chatter - The room could do with a spruce up

4 The Fruitmarket Gallery Café Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 3) 0131 226 1843, | £13 (lunch)

Bright and buzzing, this café is a great place to ease the feet and mind after a gallery visit – and is worth a special trip for a delicious, sustaining lunch. A selection of interesting daily dishes dreamed up by chefs Robin Campbell and Stephen Marshall jostle for attention with substantial salads, mezze, fish and meat platters, and a choice selection of little plates. So you can go large on Puy lentils, warm roasted vegetables and goat’s cheese, or share a tableful of smaller dishes such as smoked mackerel and aioli, or falafel and dips. From the specials board, the roast peppers stuffed with beef chilli, topped with cheesy cornbread and served with tortilla chips, avocado and tomato salad are almost more than a hungry person could eat – but so wellcrafted and downright delicious that it would be a shame to leave any on the plate. Cakes are home-baked classics with flair, like a light-as-air lemon sponge topped with rose and strawberry butter icing, generously studded with pistachios – a winner. + Creative flair and clever combinations of good ingredients - Best to book to guarantee a table

The Gateway Restaurant John Hope Gateway Centre, Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, Inverleith (Map 1B: A1, off) 0131 552 2674, | £13.95 (set lunch)

The Gateway Restaurant makes the most of its location at the Royal Botanic Gardens in terms of its outlook as well as its use of home-grown produce, as dishes are enlivened by freshly picked salads, herbs and vegetables from the grounds and polytunnels. This is the Botanics’ upmarket food option,

PUT THESE ON YOUR HIT LIST Enjoy three of the best cafés in Edinburgh. Our cafés boast delicious food made from scratch daily. Our menus are diverse and constantly updated. And all served in some of Edinburgh’s most beautiful and inspiring environments. So why not pop in today.



The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Modern One, 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR Open Mon-Fri 9am-4.30pm Weekends 10am-4.30pm

Scottish National Portrait Gallery 1 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JD Open daily 10am-5pm Open until 6pm Thursdays

CAFÉ MODERN TWO The Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Modern Two, 73 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DS Open daily 10am-4.30pm




alongside the more informal Terrace Café, though it has relaxed somewhat on its fine-dining agenda since opening in 2009 and is now a more laid-back and accessible lunch stop. Open from breakfast through lunch and afternoon tea, the menu is full of classics like bangers and mash, deli sandwiches and sticky toffee and banana pudding. The outdoor decking is a lovely option on sunny days, with views over the gardens. The restaurant’s modern interior in the John Hope Gateway Centre also creates a bright, open and energising spot to eat, with glass fronts and interesting architectural features. [Not recently visited.]

Milk at Collective City Observatory & City Dome, 38 Calton Hill, New Town See Cafés: Wee Places

Museum Brasserie National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 48) 0131 247 4040, | £15 (lunch)

Tucked under the stone arches on the entrance level of the magnificent Chambers Street museum, this lunchtime eatery offers sustenance of a superior nature to the museum visitor or Old Town local. Spacious and charmingly staffed, it has a short, flexible menu that changes with the seasons. Soups, small plates, salads, burgers and more substantial dishes cover a range of appetites, and there is also a sensible children’s menu, a range of Luca’s ice-cream and a cake of the day. A black pudding and radicchio salad is a funfair of flavours, the earthiness of the pudding and sweetness from macerated raisins lifted by the bitter radicchio and salty dry-cured bacon, all soothed by a soft-boiled egg. The haddock in Innis & Gunn batter is a firm favourite, as are the fishcakes, and there are plenty of Scottish ingredients, from Orkney smoked salmon to Inverloch goat’s cheese. + Great ingredients with style - The ambience can be a little austere – but there are plans to soften the decor

St Giles’ Cathedral Café St Giles’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C2, 13) 0131 225 5147, glenfi | £11 (lunch)

Tucked innocuously away below the awesome architectural landmark which shares its name, St Giles’ café does not succumb to the humdrum of the Royal Mile, belonging more to the peaceful calm of the cathedral than the glare of the High Street. Entering the café is akin to stepping into a cave, with two main rooms linked by an old stone passageway, although the seating also spills outside come the warmer weather. The food, in keeping with its surroundings, is honest and without guile, featuring operator Glenfinlas’ usual range of delicious crumbly quiches, baked potatoes, a colourful array of salads and a tempting display of home baking. The staff could not

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to 22 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

be more welcoming, and the other clientele, while not rowdy, contribute to a convivial atmosphere. + An unexpected Royal Mile getaway - Hard chairs don’t encourage lingering

4 The Scottish Café National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, City Centre (Map 2A: B1, 1) 0131 225 1550, | £12 (lunch)

It is often lamented that although Scotland is a land rich in produce, its resources can go woefully unplundered. No cause for gnashing of teeth at the Scottish Café, however, as with their customary enthusiasm and zeal for sourcing top-notch ingredients, the Contini family have hit the nail squarely on the head. Locally sourced fruit and vegetables are thoughtfully presented and packed with genuine flavour, while fish and shellfish from Scotland’s coastlines are given the showcase they deserve. The café menu, while offering the usual sandwich and soup selections, also has an excitingly non-café feel, with Shetland mussels, beef cheeks and roe deer available, while for those who simply can’t decide, there are some satisfying sharing platters bearing a healthy selection of all Scotland has to offer. Picture windows overlook Princes Street Gardens, making outdoor seating a hotspot over the summer, while the green and purple fabrics from the Isle of Bute, which decorate the interior, hint at autumn in the Highlands. Hard to better as a lunchtime, teatime, anytime spot. + The Continis’ enthusiasm for food - Waiting for a table at busy times

The Stand 5 York Place, New Town (Map 1B: B5, 61) 0131 558 7272, | No Kids | No food Mon–Wed | £11 (dinner)

Descend into the rather grungy basement space at The Stand and, chances are, you will have a really good night out. The staff are young, cheerful and efficient, the drink flows, the talented comedians come thick and fast and, on top of everything, you can get a decent feed for under a tenner. The menu is short but the food is sustaining: chilli, burgers, veggie curry, macaroni cheese, sausage and mash. The chicken burrito is a warm bolster filled to bursting with a really tasty mix of free-range chicken, peppers, cheese and salsa. The veggie haggis and bean burger could use more spice but accompaniments are wellexecuted: great crunchy salads and some exceptionally good hand-cut chips. It’s pub food put together with care and above-average ingredients. The only pudding on offer is a chocolate dipping platter, but better to leave room for the belly laughs anyway. + Tasty dishes presented with care - Not much on offer for the sweet tooth

The Storytelling Café Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 High Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A2, 2) 0131 556 1229, scottishstorytellingcentre. | Oct–Jun: Closed Sun | £11 (lunch)

Deep-rooted within the higgledypiggledy warren of the Royal Mile is the Scottish Storytelling Centre, and its extraordinarily good café. Housed in a contemporary extension of John Knox’s house, it is spacious, light and forms an attractive juxtaposition to the ‘Dickensian’ den of the original building. The vibe is friendly, all are welcome, and while parents and children will be enthralled by the interactive storytelling wall, and the considerable buggy space, those unaccompanied by children also have the space to enjoy

a quiet coffee and a bite. There’s a plethora of literary workshops, stories for kids and folk music to get stuck into, while Glenfinlas, who run the café, provide some exemplary sustenance. The menu is unpretentious and the food far surpasses standard café fare. Specials are always worth a try, a warm chicken and ginger salad being a particular standout, while the regular soups are wholesome and inventive, and the salads are a feast for the senses. The small but well-chosen cake selection defies you to resist, particularly if your resolve has been weakened by a wee glass of something over lunch. + The excellent food - Can get very busy

Terrace Café Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith Row, Inverleith (Map 1B: A1, off) 0131 552 0606, htm | £9 (lunch)

The informal, canteen-style café of the Botanics is a haven for parents with small children, who are made genuinely welcome with a play area, kids’ lunch boxes of (relatively) healthy snacks and plenty of flexible table options that are convenient for families, groups of mums and even the occasional child-free gathering. The large outdoor terrace area is a popular seating option yearround, with cracking views over the gardens and south towards the castle, especially on a sunny day. The food is simple and hearty, along the soup, sandwich and baked potato lines, with some salads and hot specials filling the gaps. Muffins and traybakes (including gluten-free options) provide a sweet note to accompany coffee and tea, and there are some wines and beers on offer too. + Coffee and cake with a cracking view on a sunny day - Can be incredibly hectic at lunchtimes

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

Traverse Bar Café 10 Cambridge Street, West End (Map 4: C1, 28) 0131 228 5383, | Closed Sun | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The basement café-bar in the Traverse Theatre has long been a cultural hotspot where writers sip wine and scribble final amendments to their scripts, parents gather for lunch and take advantage of the spacious surroundings, and office workers grab a hot breakfast roll before heading to their desks. The recently updated bar menu seeks to return to the basics, preparing everything in house and including plenty for vegetarians. There are burgers, burritos and some tapas bites, while those who feel ordinary mac ‘n’ cheese is lacking an ingredient might be pleased to see a lobster version here. Interesting snacks range from the classic cheese toastie served with banana chutney to an Asianinspired rice noodle salad, while the well-stocked bar has a good range of Scottish beers and spirits and a pretty decent wine list. With its free wifi, regular live music nights and a warm welcome for all, there are many reasons to pop in for an hour or two, even if you’re not taking in one of the theatre’s intelligent, engaging and sometimes challenging productions. + A great atmosphere and genuine welcome to all - Crowded before a show goes in

Zucca 15–17 Grindlay Street, West End See Italian

BARS & PUBS Even as this guide was being researched, there was a sense that Edinburgh’s bar scene was stepping up a gear. For some time now – particularly in Leith – a sense of creativity coupled with culinary ambition and a willingness to harness the craft beer revolution has brought comfy credibility to Edinburgh’s local pubs. This was the year, however, that such forwardthinking has begun to permeate a city centre already rich in densely packed drinking dens. From Indian food paired with a ‘Vindabrew’ to Americaninfluenced late-night bar meals over a rye ’n’ brine pickleback, good food and drink goes together in Edinburgh like never before. Reviewers: Barbara Adams, Hannah Jefferson, Emma Louise McGettrick, Jan Paterson, David Pollock, Claire Sawers

The Abbotsford 3 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1B: A6, 54) 0131 225 5276, | No Kids (under 5) | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The prominent red sandstone facades standing proud on a corner of Rose Street establish the Edwardian credentials of this landmark and wellloved drinking hole even before you cross the threshold. Once inside, the highly decorated ceiling, glowing light fittings and dominant carved central bar continue to impress but visitors are quickly put at ease. This is a friendly place. Seldom is the time one will fail to see some friendly locals exchanging a bit of banter while their pints of real ale are being pulled or a dram is being sipped. Meals are available throughout the day to suit all appetites. Sharing platters of antipasti or a trio of cured salmon are great for dipping into. More substantial classics include Auchtertool beef and ale pie, under a pillow of pastry, or plategroaning beer battered haddock and chips. Diners may enjoy eating outside, in the main bar or upstairs in the quieter dining room, where the same menu is served at crisp linen-covered tables and a sense of Edwardian calm prevails, while the world ticks by below. + Good pub food, at sensible prices, in two classic environments - Going back to the office after lunch

Amber Restaurant The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Old Town See Scottish

Anfora 87a Giles Street, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 24) 0131 553 6914, | £12.50 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Boldly selling itself as being set in the room in which the wine trade between Bordeaux and Scotland began, upmarket new wine bar Anfora has a more recent connection with Edinburgh’s wine business. As the Vintner’s Rooms it closed – many felt prematurely – in 2011. Now, owner Zak Hanif has created an establishment which he intends will recapture some of the wine bar buzz he’s sampled recently in London, offering a quality experience based on affordability and accessibility. The wine list is everything you might hope for, served in a long, slender hall with


In association with


a fire at one end, dark wood tables and a bright metal and glass bar, while the wine-matched food consists of a menu of solid classics and twists. These include roasted quail or a goat’s cheese crottin balanced with pear jelly and beetroot to start, and haunch of venison or a pairing of pork belly and pork cheek on savoy cabbage and mash, while the weekday prix-fixe menu is good value. + The atmosphere and the wine - Food servings could be more generous

The Auld Hoose 23–25 St Leonards Street, Southside (Map 3C: E1, 7) 0131 668 2934, | No Kids | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

This traditional pub, though appearing relatively unremarkable at first glance, sustains a reputation for an extensive collection of punk, goth and metal music on the jukebox as well as mountainous portions of nachos. A firm favourite with students, particularly of the more alternative set, the Auld Hoose frequently plays host to a number of university society groups alongside a loyal band of local drinkers. In keeping with a friendly, no-fuss interior, the menu is a predictable but comforting selection of pub favourites, from steak and ale pie and scampi to build-yourown burgers, and boasts a number of vegetarian and vegan options. The famous nachos are topped with more than generous helpings of jalapeno peppers and guacamole. Puddings, including the usual hot chocolate or sticky toffee variety, are also limited but certainly filling and good value for money. Food is well cooked and partnered with a thoughtful selection of craft beers and a more than reasonable lineup of whiskies. + A friendly, unpretentious local - Menu a little uninventive

The Balmoral Bar Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 524 7100, | £30 (lunch) / £30 (dinner)

With a cocktail on the menu that costs

£75, it’s safe to say this isn’t one of the city’s budget options. Rather, it’s a place to indulge and feel spoiled. Drinks are served with complimentary cones of moreish wasabi-flavoured popcorn, smoked almonds, and daily papers too if you want. During the week the bar is mostly used by hotel residents, sharing copious platters of Scottish seafood or delicious game terrines and charcuterie. Trios of sliders (mini beef burgers with Swiss cheese, bacon and red onion relish), truffled chips, pulledpork brioche sandwiches and haddock tempura also make tempting snacks for when a pitstop, rather than a sit-down restaurant meal is needed. Weekends draw more non-residents, when whisky tastings, champagne afternoon teas and themed drinks menus (around Mothers’ Day, Valentine’s Day and so on) attract locals looking for a sophisticated place to get mildly sloshed. + Calm surroundings and extra-special treatment - Eye-watering drinks prices

Bar 50 50 Blackfriars Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A3, 8) 0131 524 1989, | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Nestled just below the Royal Mile in the Smart City Hostel, Bar 50 is a dream space for students, backpackers and sports fans. The functional but funky décor boasts flat screens for sports fixtures and a popular pool table. Lively music adds to the sense of enthusiasm but there is the real impression that this large space is rarely empty or lacking atmosphere. Behind the bar there is the standard offering of draughts and bottles but the cocktail selection is not to be sniffed at either: Bar 50 offers in the region of 16 reasonably priced cocktails which can be ordered individually or in pitchers to share. Other reasons to visit this energetic venue include affordable diner-style dishes such as nachos, chicken wings, burgers and pizzas as well as their open-mic music Mondays and table quiz Thursdays. + Budget-friendly beverages in an

animated setting - Not for everyone – it caters perfectly for students and backpackers


Bar G&V 1 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 20) 0131 220 6666, | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Oozing style and sophistication, Bar G&V (formerly Missoni) is a city centre destination for top quality bar food and some seriously classy cocktails. Tomato and avocado bruschetta arrives on delicious ciabatta bread, and the classic Italian platter with cured meats, olives and tangy, sweet pickled onions adds an elegant element to bar snacking. Cocktails are the forte here, and the bar boasts a wide array of seasonal boozy blends. Dubbed as ‘the only blue drink you should ever order’, the Aviation is a piquant blend of gin, creme de violette and maraschino liqueur, while the Sloe and Steady is beautifully sweet and sour with a silky texture. Whether you’re looking for a place to graze while exploring the Old Town, or a chic destination for after-dinner drinks, Bar G&V is one to remember. + Classy cocktails, stylish surroundings - Menu can be hard to navigate

The Basement Bar and Restaurant 10–12a Broughton Street, New Town See Mexican

Beer & Skittles Basement, 14 Picardy Place, Leith (Map 1B: C5, 38) 0131 556 1289,

In the basement of what used to be Ego nightclub, then cocktail bar Hawke and Hunter, now lies a sports bar serving world draught and bottled beers. The décor is polished bachelor pad, with black subway tiles lit up by occasional flashes of pink neon, a pool table in the back (all games are free), and a patch of Persian rug in front of a well-used dartboard. Midweek nights can be fairly empty, but the bar’s spacious room and courtyard garden fill up on football

BARS & PUBS 4 The Bon Vivant Unusually sophisticated drinking and dining for the city centre, and all the better for being affordable and enjoyable. 4 BrewDog The brash Stonehaven brewers know their beers and they know their pubs, and both combine beautifully in this essential pint-drinker’s playground. 4 Caley Sample Room Textbook neighbourhood drinking and dining at this lovely local, with great beers on tap and a hearty, home-cooked menu of Scottish classics. 4 King’s Wark Still one of the Shore’s finest bars for its old-time ambience and locally sourced food menu which is strong on meat and fish, with Sunday brunches a speciality. 4 The Last Word Saloon Just edges its stablemates Bramble and Lucky Liquor Co on below-stairs atmosphere, although all three are home to some of the city’s most dazzlingly inventive cocktails. 4 OX184 Freshly opened and perfectly formed, OX184 is a spacious two-storey bar breathing life into the Cowgate with strong beers and drinks, a lively bar menu and late-night dining and drinking. 4 Panda & Sons As fun as its discreet entrance through a mockedup barber shop, this high-quality, low-fuss cocktail bar is one of Edinburgh’s better hangouts. 4 Roseleaf Contemporary pub food, quirky cocktails served in teapots, afternoon teas and a warm atmosphere add up to one of the city’s best destination pubs. 4 Spit/Fire A contender for most atmospheric bar in the city, this hollowed-out sub-basement from the Hanging Bat stable delivers first-rate beers and bourbons, and Americaninfluenced snacks. 4 VDeep Under the direction of the Vintage’s Ruairidh Skinner and Hardeep Singh Kohli, the relationship between beer and curry is brought to a new level at this essential new opening.

Anfora: bringing a wine-bar buzz to a venerable Leith venue with modern classic dishes to match the drinks The List Eating & Drinking Guide 23



nights and summer evenings, when the batch of big TV screens and an outdoor bar draw in larger crowds. When the football’s not on, the friendly staff may well flip on the odd left-of-centre sport, including figure skating and bull riding, to keep things interesting. The beer focus spills over into the cocktail menu, where the traditional boilermaker (a glass of beer plus a shot of whisky) is inspiration for a range of beer cocktails, served in a brown paper bag. Non-beer options include rhubarb and apple mint juleps served in jam jars, dainty martinis or £20 bottles of prosecco. A limited menu of burgers, pulled-pork sandwiches, chilli dogs and fries is also available. + Finding a table in their secret garden on a sunny day - Slightly disappointing burgers

The Black Fox 17 Albert Place, Leith (Map 5B: A4, 19) 0131 553 2268, | £12.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

Many Leithers might have been sad to see the back of Priscilla’s, a hardpartying gay bar and Leith Walk establishment, and only grudgingly welcoming of the smart, fashionable new bar which took its place late in 2014. For those gentrifying incomers to the area, though – and especially all the students soon to descend on the accommodation block across the road – the Black Fox is another welcome sign of a street moving upmarket. A low-ceilinged converted shop unit, it has to work hard for a bit of atmosphere during the day, but the owners have done the job at night with low-level lighting and smart new wood and leather-effect booths and table seats. The bar’s reasonably well stocked with half a dozen boilermakers, around twenty bottled beer lines and a bunch of cocktails, while a typically contemporary pub menu focuses mainly on thick, densely topped pizzas and big, meaty burgers which could maybe do with a little more seasoning, served in a greaseproof bag with thick-cut chips. Naturally, for a place with such a youthful outlook, the mains arrive at the table on chopping boards. + Aims to cover all bases and largely succeeds - Not the most naturally atmospheric of spaces, despite the owners’ good efforts

The Blackbird 37–39 Leven Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: B2, 17) 0131 228 2280, | £16 (set lunch) / £18 (set dinner)

Snugly situated where Tollcross teeters into Bruntsfield, the design of this sleek tavern reflects its target market – modern, discreetly affluent and fashionably turned out. Equally welcoming to drinkers and diners, the food is a cut above that offered by most local saloons, with innovative starters including deep-fried arancini balls, oozing with cheese in a rich tomato reduction. Paired with a generous glass of the house white – crisp sauvignon blanc – it’s a lovely way to whet your appetite. Mains include a yellow fish curry (using fish of the day) served with squash, chickpeas and a raw slaw, as well as a pie of the day or tempting seasonal stew. Those after a serious sugar hit could go for chocolate tablet waffles for dessert, but the house batch cocktails make an equally appealing finale – try a palate-cleansing Clover Club. There’s live music to enjoy along with your pint at the regular Sunday sessions, and with a sun-trap beer garden for the warmer months, the Blackbird is a welcoming spot at any time of year. 24 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Element (page 29): enlivened by a recent refurb, this Rose Street bar is now a go-to spot for relaxed dining + Artistic interior matches the quality of food and drink - It’s a popular spot, so unless you book a table, you may have to hover at the bar

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

The Blue Blazer 2 Spittal Street, West End (Map 4: D2, 32) 0131 229 5030 | No Kids | £2 (toastie)

There’s little doubt it’s one of the most unprepossessing bars you’ll find on these pages, with its old-fashioned décor of empty whisky bottles, stained-glass windows and old brewery knick-knacks around the place, but the Blue Blazer holds a special place in the heart of most Edinburgh drinkers with a taste for quality and an aversion to modernism for the sake of it. Across its two cosy rooms, this snug boozer is blessed with as wonderfully mixed a clientele as you’ll find anywhere else in the city – it’s a classic locals’ pub, but also very close to the College of Art. They have an informed drinker’s approach to stocking the bar: there are no shooters or alcopops here; instead, expect to find seven real ales on tap (three of which change regularly), 20 gins sourced from Iceland to Scotland, 40 whiskies, and the main event – 64 rums behind the bar. And they’ll also do you a toastie if the place isn’t too busy, just to set off that classic pub feel. + The classic, well-stocked, convivial Edinburgh pub - The bathrooms could do with attention

Boda Bar 229 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A2, 4) 0131 553 5900, | No Kids (after 5pm)

This friendly, neighbourhood bar with a Swedish slant has been serving Leith Walk locals for over ten years now. Snug and homely, with cute, kitsch yet not overly chintzy decor, you’re made to feel instantly at ease. The cocktail list is short and sweet with gin playing a starring role, though a more unusual

mix of spirits might be found in their cocktail of the month. The cosy back corner can be booked free of charge and is an excellent place to celebrate a birthday or host a gathering. With upcycling workshops every other Monday and occasional live bands, this quirky little haunt is an equally great place to stop for a couple of drinks, or spend an entire evening. + Friendly, relaxed atmosphere - Can be hard to find a seat when busy

4 The Bon Vivant • 55 Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 74) 0131 225 3275 • 4–6 Dean Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, 8) 0131 315 3311, | No Kids (under 5) | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

It says much of the quality and reputation of this stylish backstreet boozer and its sister down in Stockbridge that, even on a sleepy Monday night, the place is packed with customers. The ambience is as low-lit and intimate as you might imagine from a first-rate cocktail bar, the clientele are mostly – but not exclusively – young enough that you might expect they’re here for a high-quality bargain, and the cooking remains relentlessly first-rate. The novelty of the daily-changing menu is in its continued use of bites, which are literally tapas-style mini morsels, with a couple of quid or less getting you smart mix ’n’ match options like a beef cheek and morcilla beignet or a chorizo and plantain fritter with homemade sour cream (and for the covetous, all the bites are also served in starter-sized portions). The more expensive mains offer a solid choice, despite being limited to only six items, with a meaty selection featuring fashionable pork loin and belly accompanied by black pudding, turnip fondant and celeriac purée, and baked trout joined by a chickpea and black olive stew with crispy squid and garlic purée. Quality wins out with every bite. + The zenith of good bar food in the city - Impossible to sample only the bites and leave it there

The Boozy Cow 17 Frederick Street, New Town See North American

Boteco do Brasil 47 Lothian Street, Old Town See Round the World

The Bow Bar 80 West Bow, Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 25) 0131 226 7667 | No Kids

Victoria Street stalwart the Bow Bar remains unashamedly old school when it comes to beer and whisky. Eight cask pumps offer a rotating range of largely Scottish ales and equally well-sourced interlopers from across the border, with familiar craft draughts from Williams Bros and Black Isle Brewery. All are supplemented by dozens of carefully selected bottles from home and abroad, plus a strong cast of 200+ single malts and enough knowledge behind the bar to steer the inquisitive in the right direction. Dark timber panelling, throwback enamel signs and ornate booze-related mirrors keep it nice and traditional with a handful of narrow tables and leather-clad benches. This old-school boozer caters to a fairly discerning crowd who know their nips and ales. + Unreconstructed old-school pub - Standing-room only at busy times

Bramble 16a Queen Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 82) 0131 226 6343, bramblebar. | No Kids

Seek and ye shall find – Bramble begins delivering a sense of amusement and mystique right from the get go. Finding this Queen Street cocktail haven can prove a little tricky (tip: keep an eye out for the artificial grass at basement level). There is a real sense of magic at play here, with dimly lit nooks and crannies, infectious music and some of the best cocktails in town. The bartenders are knowledgeable and attentive and will happily assist in the choice of drinks, which can be a daunting solo task when faced with their formidable list of 22




Scottish Restaurant ‘Above’ Edwardian Island Bar 7 Real Ales, Whisky Menu TEL 0131 225 5276

New Town Bar, Food All Day Locally Sourced, Beer Garden Sunday Roast, 8 Real Ales TEL 0131 558 3134

3-5 Rose Street

1 Cumberland Street



Scottish Craft Beers Live Music, Wed - Sat Cellar Bar - Free Hire.

Boutique ‘gallery’ Restaurant Overlooks Classic Victorian Bar Terrific Range Of 10 Real Ales

TEL 0131 556 4481

232 Canongate


TEL 0131 556 4312

1 West Register Street



combinations. Drinkers with a sweet tooth could opt for Candy Crush or The Nutcracker, while those after something smoky and deep are directed towards the likes of the Walt Whitman. It’s not difficult to see why Bramble has become one of Edinburgh’s worst kept secrets. + Delectable cocktails - Prepare for a difficult transition back to reality

The Brass Monkey • 14 Drummond Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A4, 13) 0131 556 1961 | No Kids | £4.50 (lunch) / £4.50 (dinner) • 362 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 15) 0131 554 5286 | No Kids | £3.50 (lunch) / £8.50 (dinner)

Drummond Street’s long-established original branch of the Brass Monkey is popular with a lively student crowd, and it now has a sister venue on Leith Walk with its own big screen, dartboard, Monday quiz, an open-access jam session on Tuesday and some aboveaverage pub meals. It’s an easy enough pub to like, with its predominance of

TIPLIST FOR COCKTAILS • Bar G&V Cocktails are the forte at this citycentre destination bar 23 • Bramble A cocktail speakeasy for the cognoscenti 24 • Dragonfly Cool and kitsch join forces in the heart of the Old Town 28 • Hemma Cocktails are made with thought and care in this bright, family-friendly, dogfriendly Holyrood spot 30

leather and wood, a gas fire, some cosy nooks, guest ales and a simple food offer of a soup-and-sandwich deal that’s only marginally more expensive than one of the excellent ales. Split into numerous crannies and alcoves, there are many places to lurk and linger – from conspiratorial cubby-holes to a fairly decadent cinema room where you can kick back on a mattress and sip your way through movies of an afternoon. + Feeling young enough to go - Feeling too old to stay

4 BrewDog Edinburgh 143–145 Cowgate, Old Town (Map 2A: D3, 83) 0131 220 6517, bars/edinburgh | No Kids | £10.50 (lunch) / £10.50 (dinner)

It feels customary to say in any piece about Stonehaven-based craft brewing chain BrewDog that the occasionally brash manner of the company can rub some up the wrong way. But boy, they know their beer. This student-friendly Cowgate branch was one of the earliest examples of their pub ethos, and it’s still a lesson in how to run a craft-beer bar in a market which is becoming ever more full. With décor which is part rustic wood and part urban metal, the long, sharply designed room is fringed by booth seats along the windows and a lengthy bar opposite whose stock stretches to 15 craft beer taps and almost 100 bottled lines, with a roughly half-and-half mix between BrewDog fare and well-chosen guests. The beer menu comprehensively explains the BrewDog draughts, offering them in measures between one pint and 1/3 pint, as well as listing a limited range of small bar meals including Pieminister pies (the ‘Moo Dog’ is made with Brewdog Five AM red ale, beef and bacon) and house pizzas such as the chorizo and nacho-topped ‘Spicy Monster’ and the fearsomesounding ‘Iron Fist’, bearing prosciutto, mushroom, spinach and egg. + Sublime beer selection - A bar for a younger audience

Café Royal Circle Bar 19 West Register Street, New Town (Map 1B: B6, 50) 0131 556 1884, | No Kids (under 5) | £19 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Café Royal is a stunning Edinburgh landmark. Victorian stained glass and plasterwork surround the heavy dark wood of the central bar, while comfy booths line the sweep on the northwestern wall. The southern wall displays colourful Doulton ceramic murals from the 1886 International Exhibition of Industry, Science and Art and are truly works of beauty. Beyond the enticing atmosphere there is good beer and a hearty pub menu to tempt visitors and locals alike to linger. An ever changing selection of real ales feature on tap so it’s always worth checking what’s on before ordering a drink. The menu ranges from interesting sandwiches like smoked salmon with capers or sirloin steak and red onion, to substantial fare such as tasty slow-cooked beef pie, fish stew and wild mushroom risotto. Feel like treating yourself? Enjoy glistening oysters on crushed ice or a glorious seafood platter including lobster, scallops, langoustines and mussels. Then take the rest of the day off. + A beautiful old bar room - The food struggles to live up to the surroundings

Café Voltaire 36–38 Blair Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D3, 85) 0131 247 4704, | No Kids

This late-night venue is a favourite among locals and festival visitors, and on entering the retro and brash hideaway set just below the Royal Mile, it’s easy to see why. The cave-like interior offers plenty of group seating options from booths to low-slung comfy sofas. DJs fill the space with inviting house, hiphop and disco beats until 3am. The bar is stocked with the usual offering of draughts and bottles but their cocktail menu is imaginative and enticing – from a pear blush mojito to the Cowgate

Stumbler, cocktails at this café-bar are serious business. Once cosied up in a booth with music pumping and cocktails flowing, it could be difficult to leave but the management have thought this through and offer a small menu of gourmet hand-stretched pizzas delivered to the table in takeaway boxes – the perfect excuse to stay put. + Late-night mixology and music - Food options are slim pickings

4 The Caley Sample Room 42–58 Angle Park Terrace, West End (Map 4: B4, off) 0131 337 7204, | £11 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Although the staff refute the long-held rumour that a pipe runs directly from the nearby Caledonian brewery straight to the bar of the Caley Sample Room, its excellent provision behind the bar is just one of the reasons why this almost suburban venue is well worth a detour. They stock 16 guest ales on tap, another 60 bottled craft beers, and regularly hold supplier talks and beer launches. Split (although there’s no actual dividing wall) between a less formal bar area and a stillrelaxed dining section, the excellence of this homely and well-presented local is in the way the food measures up to and complements the standard of the drinks. It’s mainly a selection of hearty, homemade modern pub food, although non-traditional influences are used judiciously. For example, starters include beef carpaccio seasoned with parmesan and capers or a gravadlax cured with beetroot, while the large portion of now-common pork belly is roasted for optimum succulence and teamed with the complementary flavours of sweet potato in the mash and cider in the glaze. + Excellent craft beers and crafted food - A favourite with Hearts fans after home games, which affects the intimacy of the dining experience

The Cambridge Bar 20 Young Street, New Town (Map 1A: B4, 40) 0131 226 2120,

• Juniper A creative list of cocktails awaits at this understated Princes Street hotel lounge bar 31 • The Last Word Saloon The lighting might be dim but the cocktails are bright 32 • Lucky Liquor Co A New Town speakeasy where the garnish and vessel are as important as the drinks32 • Monteiths Cocktail classics in a hunting-lodge vibe at this Royal Mile nook 45 • Panda & Sons Go with the mixologists’ choice at this cocktail joint masquerading as a barber shop 35 • Timberyard Pop in for a Filthy Pig or perhaps try a pre-dinner Rum Shrub at this carefully calibrated slice of Nordic cool 102 Slighhouse (page 37): breathing new life into the Old Town, with fun cocktails and sharing plates 26 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


In association with | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

‘Burgers, beers and sports’ is how the staff at the Cambridge Bar happily sell what they do. If that sounds like an unimaginative combination, rest assured that the burgers here have a reputation as being among the city’s best, which is no mean feat considering how many bars are jumping on that bandwagon. The beer choice doesn’t measure up to the best of the city’s burgeoning craft beer bar scene, although they’re still well-chosen, with a fine choice of bottled lagers, IPAs, ales and continental beers, and three taps serving a rotating IPA and two guest ales. The burgers, though, are all you could ask for, dense and meaty patties of locally sourced meat in a crusty Breadwinner bun with an array of inventive toppings, from barbecue bacon to fajita, pulled pork and camembert with cranberry sauce. As if to emphasise that they’re serious about anything that goes in a bun, buffalo, chicken, bean, venison, halloumi and portobello mushroom burgers are also on the menu. + High-quality burgers with a fun range of toppings - The beer and burger trend has caught up with them

- Can’t quite escape the fact it remains in tourist central

The Cask & Still 180–182 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A2, 3) 0131 553 0220 |

With the gentrification of Leith Walk’s many pubs gathering speed by the month, recent opening Cask and Still is the current trailblazer in that, at time of publication, it’s the bar closest to the foot of the Walk to have gone trendily upmarket. But not too much, however. Despite the clean décor and branding, this stablemate of McSorley’s and the Jolly Botanist focuses on doing the simple things well. As the name implies, that means beer and whisky – specifically, they have six cask ales on draught (of which four are constantly changing guests) and none at more than £4, claiming affordability married with quality as one of their selling points. Another is their range of around 100 whiskies, while the ‘tasting room’ towards the back of the bar hosts occasional ‘meet the brewer’ events. With flashes of red lighting declaring that ‘Beer is the Hero’, a television and a small range of bar snacks including nachos, there’s a retro American feel to this energetic local. + Real love for beer and whisky - Not much beyond beer and whisky

Candy Kitchen & Bar 113–115 George Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 43) 0131 225 9179, | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

George Street is known for extravagant price tags but Candy Kitchen offers the opposite. Here, ‘Food for a Fiver’ comes in the form of burgers, fajitas and hot dogs. There are also sharing dishes with both the cheese and the chocolate fondue proving to be firm favourites. The food is basic but more than acceptable to soak up the main event – the cocktails, which fall into a more ‘George Street’ price range. With over 100 intricate combinations to choose from, decisions don’t come easily but with inventive concoctions of syrups, fresh fruit and liqueurs, all served beautifully in an array of jars and cans, it’s difficult not to feel like a kid in a sweet shop. This is furthered by the cutesy décor with splashes of hot pink and an abundance of brimming candy jars. + Pick and mix of charming cocktails - Complicated cocktails = slow service

The Canons’ Gait Craft Beer Bar & Kitchen 232 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 26) 0131 556 4481, | Closed Sun | No Kids (under 5) | £14.50 (lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

A long-established favourite of the traditional drinker nearer the lower end of the Royal Mile, the owners of this pub have clearly paid attention to the fact that a large block of student flats is currently being thrown up to the rear of their building. So towards the end of 2014 a refurbishment and rebranding as the Canon’s Gait Craft Beer Bar and Kitchen took place, turning it into a modern craft beer bar with light wood floor and tables, metal chairs in pastel blue and white, and a choice of around five real ales and ten craft bottles at any time. The food is a fashionable and well-worked contemporary bar choice, including scallop and chilli salad or chorizo pan-fried in cider to start, with mains including pleasingly meaty burgers, sharing platters, confit duck leg in lentil broth and pan-cooked Scottish salmon. There’s a Tuesday quiz, and live music in the downstairs function room Wednesday–Saturday. + A noble attempt to create a modern local in tourist central

CC Blooms 23–24 Greenside Place, New Town (Map 1B: D5, 44) 0131 556 9331, | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

More than just a gay nightclub, these days this fairly cavernous upper Leith/ Broughton bar has a daytime alter-ego that many forget about. Open from 11am every day, serving BLT wraps and strong coffee in chintzy teacups, the welcoming staff are just as good at curing hangovers as they are at creating them in the first place. By day, as by night, it’s the kind of place where lone drinkers and diners are made to feel comfortable – and in no hurry to finish their toffee apple pie and cream. The all-day menu offers plenty of affordable, filling options including bangers and mash, macaroni cheese, veggie breakfast, or smoked haddock and pea risotto, and there are tapas and nibbles from £3, plus a children’s menu. Being almost next door to the Playhouse means the pre-theatre dinner menu is popular before curtain-up. Plus those cocktails that work so well after-hours taste just as good in daylight. + Laid-back staff have time to chat, and are happy to tailor food or drinks to suit - Under 5s not allowed

The City Café 19 Blair Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D3, 86) 0131 220 0125, | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The City Café is an American-style diner set just off the Royal Mile – think large booths, neon lights and a queue for the pool table. The location, price and style mean that it’s a honey pot for students and visitors to the capital. The tagline of ‘diner by day, drinks by night’ ensures that the space is fully utilised at all times and you can expect a short wait for the booths during peak hours. The menu is filled with expected diner dishes including a selection of burgers, fried chicken, mac ’n’ cheese and the all-day breakfast. As the diner doubles as a bar in the evening, the drinks menu boasts almost as many options, with cocktail pitchers, homemade milkshakes and the usual selection of bottled and draught beers. Friday and Saturday nights are enhanced by live DJ sets. + Lively city-centre location - Quantity wins out over quality when it comes to the food The List Eating & Drinking Guide 27



Clerk’s Bar 74–78 South Clerk Street, Southside (Map 3C: D2, 16) 0131 667 2701, | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Situated on Edinburgh’s south side, Clerk’s bar has a Scots-American fusion feel. Its numerous television screens show a mix of European and North American sports and the menu emphasises craft beer and classic American food. The cask and craft beer options come from a variety of independent breweries, while a roll of paper towel and various sauce bottles on every table indicate that finger food is a preference here. A12-hour roasted rack of ribs brings the paper towel into play, but only because of a generous barbecue sauce smothered on tender meat. Cute mini brioche buns sit atop a selection of sliders, the pulled pork one being the clear winner. Sides include the ubiquitous orders of chips and onion rings, but crisp sweet potato fries and mac and cheese are welcome additions. Desserts are pecan pie and ice-cream, oddly served with lashings of chocolate sauce, or doughnuts with ice-cream. Prices are very reasonable and there’s even a student-friendly midweek ‘feast for a fiver’. + Loud, lively and fun - Not great for vegetarians

The Cloisters 26 Brougham Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 6) 0131 221 9997, cloistersbar. com | No Kids (under 5) | Closed Mon | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

In this former church, beer culture isn’t so much of an interest as it is a religion. Those who are passionate about a pint should make a point of popping in – these guys know their art and were hosting Meet the Brewer events before it was fashionable. With a convivial atmosphere complete with board games, this is an ideal spot for a relaxed Sunday pint. Staff recommendations are chalked up beside the bar (usually including an offering from one of the rotational taps) but do chat to them for tips and tasters – they’re a friendly bunch. Local beer is a focus, with consistent offerings from Stewart Brewery in Loanhead and Williams Bros in Alloa. However, there are ever-more intriguing options behind the evolving bar – check out their guest beers, house kegs and bottled world beers. In terms of scran, there’s the likes of mussels and chips or a juicy burger – and both meat and fish are sourced from long-standing local suppliers. + Top-notch service and a friendly atmosphere - Feeling left out for being the only customer without a dog

Clouds & Soil 4 Picardy Place, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Compass Bar 44 Queen Charlotte Street, Leith (Map 5A: D2, 26) 0131 554 1979, | No Kids (after 6.30pm) | £7 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

A couple of doors down from the Queen Charlotte Rooms, facing the police station, this pub sits on the corner of Constitution Street, making it handy for Leithers wanting to brunch, or workers needing a speedy homemade soup and sandwich on their lunch hour. Exposed brick walls, wooden tables and soaring green pot plants make it a relaxing spot to linger, and it fills up from 10am with locals munching on their blueberry pancakes and maple syrup or full Scottish breakfast. By lunchtime there’s usually a steady trickle of coffee drinkers, or parents with buggies, trying 28 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Spit/Fire Bar (page 37): these sub-basement rooms are one of the city’s most atmospheric drinking spaces

to devour a vegetarian haggis burger or steak sandwich with one hand. After work, bottles of prosecco and pints from Scottish brewers keep the bar area busy. Although the pub grub staples are tempting (moules frites, beer-battered haddock and butternut squash risotto all feature on the dinner menu), the flavours can sometimes be lacklustre, and dishes are not always guaranteed to hit the spot. + Laid-back, homely Leith spot - Hit and miss food

The Crafters Barn 9 North Bank Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C2, 16) 0131 226 1178, crafters-barn. | £8.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

In a bright spot atop the Mound, decked out with a combination of industrial fittings and soft fabrics, the Crafters Barn brings an eclectic mix of European influences to the capital. Made-to-share small plates have a beery emphasis, while Napolitana pizzas are handmade daily and veer from the familiar path – think green Thai chicken and beetroot, bacon and blue cheese varieties. With bold aims to source their produce as locally as possible, there are buffalo steaks from Puddledub, kilo pots of Shetland mussels and an admirable range of Scottish cheeses, all of which pair excellently with the myriad Belgian beers. With six varieties on draught, plus a veritable tome of bottled options, weekends could be lost while sampling them all. [Not recently visited.]

Cross & Corner 1 Canonmills, Inverleith (Map 1B: B2, 9) 0131 558 7080, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

What was once an old-fashioned boozer, complete with fruit machines and a worn-in carpet, is now a scrubbed-up gastropub with exposed brick walls, bright tile table tops and sanded floors. It sits right at the busy junction between Broughton, Canonmills and Bonnington Road, which means it’s well placed to be popular with locals on their way home, dog walkers needing a coffee and water bowl stop, or parents pleased to

find the large box of distracting toys in the back room. It’s often a busy spot for a brunch, where French toast, granola or smoked haddock risotto with poached eggs can be served with Bloody Marys in a variety of styles, including jalapeno or horseradish versions. The beer selection is decent, too, with an interesting range of stouts, porters and ales on cask and keg (from Beavertown Beer, Williams Bros and Camden Brewery, for example). Daily specials are imaginative and fresh, including the likes of parsnip, white truffle and chive soup; mussels with blue cheese and thyme, or cod and baby squid with cauliflower purée. + A smart spot for catching up - Midnight closing time

The Cumberland Bar 1–3 Cumberland Street, New Town (Map 1B: A4, 14) 0131 558 3134, | No Kids (under 5) | £11 (lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

Immortalised, as they say, by Alexander McCall Smith in his 44 Scotland Street books (it’s just round the corner from the fictional address), the Cumberland Bar is quite the Victorian Edinburgh classic. Run by the DM Stewart group of similarly vintage establishments, its character is still suitably plummy, cubby-holed and convivial. On a Saturday night it could heave with New Town students; on Sundays the locals come for the roast. On all days, sarnies and bar bites – homemade sausage rolls, Crombies’ scotch pies, and pickled eggs – sustain barflies, or sit through the back for haggis bonbons, a burger on brioche, or sausage of the day (yes, Crombies). Puds also stick to pub form: bread and butter pudding or chocolate cheesecake. Or just take the paper and the dog for a good pint of Landlord, among eight real ales on pump, plus guests. There’s a heated beer garden too, favoured by the brave in winter, in summer by the many. + Good selection of ales on pump - Sunday roast gets busy so advance booking recommended

The Devil’s Advocate 9 Advocates Close, Old Town (Map 2A: C2, 15) 0131 225 4465, | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Tucked away on Advocates Close is another classy bar from the team behind Bon Vivant. Exposed steel beams, stone and brick walls combine in a stripped-back industrial-chic interior with candles and low lighting keeping it intimate and atmospheric. The elegant bar generates a healthy buzz with a few cosy booths nestling beneath a table service mezzanine dining deck. An appealing all-day menu is confidently compact with the odd gourmet touch perking up familiar dishes. A standout smoked haddock and leek tart starter beckons in a delightfully meaty beef and pork belly burger topped with black pudding and beetroot, while beerbattered pollack gets a piquant prod from a brown shrimp tartare sauce. They have an extensive drinks list offering pages of well-sourced single malts, plus an appealing wine list and a handful of home-grown craft beers. There’s also a fair degree of mixing and shaking going on with a grown-up list of cocktails satisfying a mix of visitors and clued-up locals. + Another winning bar from the Bon Vivant stable - Can be pretty hard to find, especially on a dark night

Divino Enoteca 5 Merchant Street, Old Town See Italian

Dragonfly 52 West Port, Old Town (Map 2A: A3, 37) 0131 228 4543, dragonfl ycocktailbar. com | No Kids

From its unassuming exterior, there’s definitely something intriguing and almost a bit mysterious about this West Port cocktail bar. Once in the door, the muted, stylish interior oozes glamour of a bygone age. Cocktails are anything but old-fashioned though, with stylish mixes and innovative


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flavour combos dominating their wide-ranging drinks menu. Not for the fainthearted, a Burntisland Iced Tea combines vodka, gin, pear cognac, coconut rum, Disaronno amaretto and Cointreau, although for those wanting a slightly clearer head in the morning, Up the Apples and Pears is a deliciously silky smooth drink, combining vanilla vodka, pear cognac, apple juice and cinnamon syrup. Adorably garnished with a miniature spiral staircase of fresh apple slices, it’s both comforting and refreshing with a lovely balance of flavours. For those who prefer grape to grain, the wine list isn’t bad either, making this a great wee hangout for evening drinks. + Gorgeous cocktails in a cosy and quirky atmosphere - You’ll want to sample them all

Ecco Vino 19 Cockburn Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 4) 0131 225 1441, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

As Cockburn Street turns to meet Market Street in its swoop downhill, the many wine bottles lining the walls of Ecco Vino may slow your pace and tempt you inside. Just for one glass, of course. But with a wine list so enticing and a selection of delicious nibbles and dishes, not to mention the daily specials, good intentions may desert you and more glasses will follow. The vino is sourced from around the world, with a slight old-world bias, to provide a wellrounded, interesting selection to please most palates and, with more than a dozen bottles at near or under £20, most wallets. Mainly light Italian and French dishes feel selected to complement the wine – antipasti of cold meats, cheeses and roast vegetables, charcuterie plates or one entirely of prosciutto, are just the finger foods wine wants. Pasta with homemade pesto and smoked salmon, or handmade gnocchi with a fresh tomato sauce, while ample in size are light courses rather than heavy meals. Simple puddings match well with glasses of fizz and sweet wines to finish. + All those lovely bottles on the wall - Closing time must sadly come

Element 110–114 Rose Street, City Centre (Map 1A: C5, 57) 0131 225 3297, | No Kids (under 5) | £11.50 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Of all the roads in the heart of the city, Rose Street must be the trickiest sell of all for a good dining experience, so geared is it for pleasing the Saturdayafternoon shopper. Enter Element, a fixture of this cobbled lane for close to a decade and, since an extensive refurbishment in late 2014, a real contender as an unlikely destination dining experience. It’s versatile without being try-hard – the front area very much possesses a laid-back drinking ambience, featuring a decent cocktail menu and 12 craft beers on tap, while the back area is a bright and welcoming soft-furnished dining room. Here the food is a real selling point, not so much for its ambition as for how resoundingly well it delivers well-worked classic ingredients like a Borders wood pigeon breast starter, intriguingly teamed with clementine, radicchio and pomegranate, or perfectly prepared mains of pork loin with black pudding and colcannon, and braised Borders venison with potato and parsnip. At the weekend, brunchaccompanying drinks including a Bloody Mary sharing board are also a nice feature. + Confidence and attention to detail pervade a crowd-pleasing set-up

- High step at the front isn’t so handy for

the less mobile

The Espy 62–64 Bath Street, Portobello, Portobello (Map 5B: C5, off) 0131 669 0082, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Most bars in Edinburgh would give half their beer taps to occupy a spot as unique as the Espy’s, and on a summer’s day, this Portobello institution is a destination of choice not just for locals but beachgoers the city over. An oldfashioned kind of a space with a wooden horseshoe bar separating the bar from the dining area, it fulfils the dual task of being local pub and versatile family eating place overlooking the sea with style. In fact, if anything, it’s winningly over-enthusiastic: it opens early for coffee and starts serving breakfasts (egg dishes including Spanish, Aussie and huevos rancheros are a speciality) not long after. Then from lunchtime onwards there’s a lengthy burger list, nachos and daily specials like pork belly on mashed potato and carrot purée or baked Portobello mushrooms – of course – stuffed with onion, feta and spinach. Add these to milkshakes, cocktails, decent wines and a range of social activities including film nights and you have a local worth travelling to find. + Unique location right on the seaside, especially if you get an outside chair - Trying not to be jealous of whoever’s at the single bay-window table

52 Canoes 13 Melville Place, West End See North American

56 North

family-friendly public house, decked out in pastel paints and smooth wooden furnishings. The drinks menu reflects the renaissance of this bar, with a healthy array of wine and local spirits on offer, and the weekly specials are a nice touch, encouraging visitors to branch out and try concoctions such as rhubarb-infused Edinburgh gin. The slightly elevated dining area has an almost living-room vibe, from the ticking clock above the fireplace to the cosy candle-lit wooden tables, creating a contented atmosphere synonymous with relaxed eating. Food is pleasantly sophisticated pub grub, with plenty of seafood on offer, including Scottish mussels and lobster. Puddings are moreish homemade favourites, including banoffee pie and the ‘legendary’ sticky toffee pudding, which happily lives up to its reputation. + The homemade desserts - No breakfast or brunch menu as yet

Ghillie Dhu 2 Rutland Place, West End (Map 4: B1, 21) 0131 222 9930, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Instead of guarding the forest, this Ghillie Dhu presides over potable spirits and merry nights. Located in the West End, this watering hole offers up Scottish charm and a strong sense of place for travellers and locals alike. The live music every night from 9.30pm onward sets the pace for the evening. Although there are no cocktails on offer, there is a wide assortment of whisky, wine and beer. From breakfast to dinner, there are plenty of options for meals throughout the day. Their rendition of a Cullen skink is a noble one and worth ordering. Going with an appetite is

2–8 West Crosscauseway, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 1) 0131 662 8860, fi | £16 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Well positioned for Edinburgh University, 56 North clearly aspires to a wider clientele than the local student population and succeeds in covering most bases. The impressive gin menu is novel enough to make a trip across town worthwhile, with pleasingly knowledgeable staff who are positively evangelistic about their collection of over 160 varieties of the spirit. Try Rock Rose served with orange, mint and Fever Tree tonic. The food menu is far from an afterthought and extends from gourmet burgers to brunch. A mug of mac ’n’ cheese or haggis fritters make a satisfying bar snack, while a steak ciabatta served with caramelised onions and wild mushrooms is rounded off nicely with a sticky toffee pudding and homemade Glenmorangie ice-cream. Expansive glass fronts spilling out to alfresco tables lend a spacious feel to the modern café-bar interior, which can nevertheless become noisy with large TV screens and a busy hubbub in the evenings. Those looking for a quieter drink may be happy enough to retreat to one of the booths at the back. + Friendly and upbeat staff - TV screens can detract from an otherwise relaxed dining experience

Filmhouse Café Bar 88 Lothian Road, West End See Arts Venues

The Fountain 131 Dundee Street (Map 4: B4, 71) 0131 229 1899, | £11 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The Shilling Group seems to be making a habit of transforming gritty backstreet boozers into urbane gastropubs, and the Fountain Bar is no exception. This formerly unsavoury spot is now a The List Eating & Drinking Guide 29



best as the portions are very large and are certainly shareable in most cases. The bar’s central location makes it an excellent choice for a day of sightseeing followed by a comforting meal and drink. This Ghillie Dhu is certainly not shy and welcomes with big, open arms. + Great ambience and seating options - Servings border on too large without the choice to take some home

Greenmantle 133 Nicolson Street, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 3) 0131 662 8741, | No Kids (under 5) | £10 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Predominantly a student hang-out, the Greenmantle is popular with university society groups and those looking for a no-nonsense local. A plethora of fairy lights muddled with traditional pub decor and large-screen TVs make for a busy and unpretentious atmosphere. Pub classics such as scampi, haggis, neeps and tatties or nachos are shipped in from sister pub the Mash Tun and, despite not having its own chef, buffalo burgers from the Puddledub farm in Fife are a genuine highlight. There are some creative variations on the theme such as carnitas, a buffalo burger with pulled pork, cheese and barbecue sauce. Thanks to the above-average main course, a somewhat disappointing pudding menu can almost be forgiven. When it comes to beer, staff select a brewery of the month, showcasing a changing range of Scottish ales alongside a decent lineup of bottled and craft beers. + Memorable sweet potato fries alongside a decent burger - Cramped surroundings for a meal

Guild of Foresters 40 Portobello High Street, Portobello (Map 5B: C5, off) 0131 669 2750, | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Much as Leith was primed for its drinking and dining scene to move upmarket a decade ago, so publicans and restaurateurs seem to be realising that sleepy, seaside Portobello is stirring into life. There are a few other quirkily popular pubs and cafés in the area, of course, but the local crowds who throng to this smart new pub conversion demonstrate that there’s clearly an appetite for more. With its corner setting at the end of the main street boasting floor to ceiling doors which open on a sunny day and the contemporary stripped-back-to-thebrick interior split into a larger bar area and a smaller dining zone near the kitchen, the big draw is a menu which offers familiarity, generous portions and local quality for customers of all ages. Starters include smoked haddock and mussel chowder or crumbed macaroni and cheese bonbons served – and it’s an odd flavour combination – with a sweet chilli dip, while hearty mains include half a roast free-range chicken, a beef fillet or a grilled pork cutlet with egg and pineapple. All of the above come with ‘proper chips’, great fluffy strips of potato served standing up in a mug. + The beach hut dining tables in the beer garden out the back - Not a great vegetarian choice

The Guildford Arms 1–5 West Register Street, New Town (Map 1B: B6, 49) 0131 556 4312, | No Kids (under 5) | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The Guildford Arms is a treasure of a find for tourists en route to and from Waverley station. With its imposing period interior and striking thistlepatterned wallpaper, it’s an immediately impressive venue for a drink. Fittingly, 30 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Ox (page 34): handily placed where bustling Broughton and the residential New Town intersect

the menu has a traditional Scottish theme, including the expected haggisstuffed chicken breast and steak and Orkney ale pie. Though perhaps less exciting to a more local crowd, the food is nevertheless well cooked and extends to some interesting vegetarian and seafood options such as a mushroom, spinach, brie and hazelnut wellington and Shetland mussels in a garlic and white wine sauce. The range of beer and an expansive collection of whiskies will no doubt impress regulars and visitors alike, showcasing rotating draught ales from a number of individual Scottish breweries as well as craft beers from further afield. The upstairs balcony is incongruously modern compared with the listed Victorian interior of the rest of the pub but provides a quieter and more relaxed eating space from which to watch the hubbub below or study the elaborate Jacobean-style ceiling. + A memorable venue for a good pint - The full menu is only served in the small balcony restaurant area

Hamilton’s Bar and Kitchen 16–18 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 15) 0131 226 4199, | £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Across from the Water of Leith, Hamilton’s has earned its stripes as a Stockbridge local. No wonder, given the warmth of the staff, the ‘kick back and relax’ setting and a kitchen punching above its expected weight. Dining and bar areas blend gently into each other but without a sense of encroachment. The interior refresh in April 2015 is designed to freshen but not alter what patrons regard as a home away from home. Generous portions of comfort food served as small and large plates have an interesting edge. Chipolatas, sizzling in their mini frying pan, are sticky with the tart edge of marmalade glaze. Moist pulled pork spills out of crisp spring-roll wrappings, with a mouth-awakening sour cucumber pickle complement. Eight-hour-braised short ribs of beef would enjoy a bit more

seasoning but the deeply glistening, pan-fried venison haunch, perfectly rosy inside, with oat-encrusted haggis fritters is everything it should be. Massive, gooey puddings are a meal in themselves but if you need to sleep it off, breakfast is served until 4pm on weekends. + Great food, good vibe, lovely staff - Wine list wants more love

The Hanging Bat 133 Lothian Road, West End (Map 4: C2, 45) 0131 229 0759, | £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

Staggered across three levels and decked out in an array of wooden panels, the Hanging Bat feels a bit like entering an extremely popular timber yard. Beer connoisseurs sweat behind the sprawling bar, serving tasters of the many housebrewed taps on offer, allowing regulars to muse before committing to a full drink. Brewing onsite is a huge appeal of this tavern – the pilot equipment is displayed behind floor-to-ceiling glass – and if this doesn’t show enough commitment to brewing, just chat with the staff who are happy to wax lyrical about hops and barley. American diner options are there to soak up the alcohol, including tasty choices like beer mac ’n’ cheese, brisket chilli con carne and smoked hot dogs. But this is fi rst and foremost a drinker’s bar – keep an eye on their social media to be informed of monthly meet-the-brewer events. Should beer not please your palate then you may be in the wrong place, but you could sample a local gin or choose from the excellent wines on offer. + Staff’s excellent beer knowledge - Chips would be a welcome accompaniment to main meals

Heads & Tales 1a Rutland Place, West End (Map 4: B1, 20) 0131 229 3402, headsandtalesbar. com | No Kids | Closed Mon

Descending the stairs into this foreboding, underground vault, it would only be human to feel a little curious when swinging the back the sturdy doors. Discreetly signposted, the new

home of Edinburgh Gin favours the old-fashioned approach of relying on word-of-mouth business. And it seems to be working for them. Popularity has steadily increased since opening in June 2014, and you’ll now be asked to book a table in advance at the weekend, or risk balancing a cocktail and crostini while standing. With two in-house stills – viewable through glass cabinets by the bar – the menu naturally leans towards gin-based cocktails, heavy on the alcohol and low on the frills. Potent concoctions include the likeably prohibition-themed Bathtub Gin, and the refreshingly hard-hitting Last Bite. Although gin is the beverage du jour, you will still find whisky and vodka creations on offer, as well as a select list of wines and beers. There’s also a welcome option to soak up the liquor with an antipasti board, freshly prepared by the upstairs chefs at The Huxley. + Not a mojito in sight - Slightly claustrophobic interior

Hemma 75 Holyrood Road, Old Town (Map 2B: D3, 27) 0131 629 3327, | £8 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

With an eclectic mix of pine and painted tables, comfy sofas and the odd pew, Hemma is welcoming to all, including children and dogs. The venue is equally popular for an after-work rendezvous, a bite to eat with friends and pooches, after a walk midweek, or for a weekend lunch. An area upstairs is set aside for kids to play safely while the adults relax. The menu includes burgers, salads and homemade Thai fishcakes, and staff are knowledgeable about their dishes and their cocktails, which are made with thought and care. Roasted squash and soft goat’s cheese salad is tasty with a lingering hint of basil. The homemade soup is full of flavour and generous in size with crusty fresh bread and lashings of butter. Desserts include a tasty wheatfree chocolate kladakat cake. + Fabulous cocktails - Not all of the menu shows gluten-free options


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Henricks Bar & Bistro 1 Barclay Place, Southside (Map 3A: B2, 20) 0131 229 2442, | £12.50 (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

The very definition of an upmarket Edinburgh local, a status that’s unsurprising given its position between the bustle of Tollcross and the moneyed gentility of Bruntsfield and Morningside, Henrick’s is a smart, family-run bar which balances an air of quality with a welcoming homeliness. The owners readily admit that their customer base largely comprises professionals aged over 25, and they tailor their offerings to suit – they run a wine society meeting on the first Monday of every month, winemaker dinners, cigar nights in the spacious beer garden out the back, and their menu is a bistro-standard selection rooted in contemporary British dishes like pork fillet stuffed with haggis and Scottish sea bream with a mixed bean cassoulet. The 8oz fillet steak and the pre-theatre deals are popular (the King’s Theatre is very nearby), while nachos, chilli and beef stroganoff add international flavour. Yet for those who just want to shoot the breeze in this convivial, high-ceiled bar, the list of wine and classic cocktails is long, while there are hopes to augment the single cask ale. + Succeeds in its aim to be a reliable all-rounder - Not strong on vegetarian options

The Holyrood 9A 9a Holyrood Road, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 16) 0131 556 5044, fullerthomson. com | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Such is the proliferation of beer ’n’ burger bars in Edinburgh – including its own sister venues the Southern and Red Squirrel – that many might have forgotten how much of a market leader Holyrood 9A was when it first arrived in 2009. It’s to its credit, then, that the place hasn’t let itself lag behind, even though there’s now something a little weathered about its simple arrangement of dark wood and whitepainted cornices blended with some comfy leather seating. A less welcome contribution to the city’s scene was their use of the now-ubiquitous chopping board as a serving medium, but what monsters they put on them. Fourteen different flavour combinations of pure beef (supplied by Shaw’s of Lauder), chicken, vegetarian, haggis or venison burgers are served with fresh salad garnish, a buttery brioche bun and thick, fluffy chips. Breakfasts, salads and some classic desserts (they deliver a mean sticky toffee pudding) are also of interest, although its versatility as a stop for casual non-diners is abetted by a striking range of 25 draught beers (including nine guests), 40 bottled beers and another 40 malt whiskies. + The original and still the best - What’s wrong with plates?

The Huxley 1–3 Rutland Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 19) 0131 229 3402, | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

On entering The Huxley, one immediately appreciates the stylish interior, comfortable seats, and the floor to ceiling windows affording a West End view. With a fine drinks menu, and friendly staff expertly blending behind the bar, you’ll be in safe hands for a mojito or three. However, food options do not quite match expectations demanded of the chic setting. The allday menu is something of a mixed bag, with dishes ranging from sandwiches and hotdogs to small plates including spring rolls and goujons. Burgers seem a bit of an afterthought, presented on

plain white buns with an apparent ration on salad. This doesn’t quite match the sophisticated cocktails being shaken up behind the bar, but those looking for finer dining may always move upstairs to Kyloe. Dining aside, the popular breakfast menu successfully draws in the crowds all week long, when you can enjoy a full Scottish plateful or American-style pancakes. + Comfortable and elegant dining surroundings - The menu could use some tweaks

Indigo Yard 7 Charlotte Lane, West End (Map 4: B1, 10) 0131 220 5603, | £10 (set lunch) / £10 (set dinner)

Indigo Yard is a go-to meeting spot for after-work drinks, or a pleasant lunchtime oasis for suited West End workers. As part of the Montpelier group, it can be relied upon for the midweek ‘Dine out for £10’ deal and a mean all-day breakfast at weekends. Wooden tables and suspended low lighting create a laid-back vibe, keeping in line with the simple Scottish fusion menu. For starters, choose from light offerings such as the garlic-drenched Shetland mussels, or chicken, pancetta and pea shoot salad. Mains are varied, and well-crafted, ranging from porcini mushroom and truffle tortellini to beautifully cooked Scottish salmon on a bed of crayfish risotto. A tempting trio of desserts satisfies a sweet tooth – the bite-size banoffee pie is a favourite. The extensive back bar is sure to impress thirsty patrons, with an ever-expanding range of spirits including 140 whiskies. + Ideal for midweek dining - The toilets don’t quite match the quality of the bar and restaurant

building across the road. Its sense of presentation is well controlled, from the Victorian-scripted logo to the throw cushions stating ‘have a jolly good day’ and the studiedly stripped wallpaper effect, all suggestive of a particularly old-time backstreet gin joint. It’s a sleek operation, though, with an impressive multi-page gin menu talking through most of the 52 brands they currently offer and recipes torn from old books decorating the walls with suggestions for classic gin cocktails. The large, twolevel room gets busy on the weekend, particularly amid the Friday after-work rush, with a full food offering setting slow-braised beef shin, rump of lamb and fried sea bass fillet alongside fish and chips, macaroni cheese and the house burger. + Gin heaven - Some may find all the Victoriana a bit twee

activities on Twitter and Facebook. When it’s not parenting the city, or sorting its social life (it works hard in both areas), JPs is also a calm haven for nursing a cider, or doing some laptop work while squashed against a cushion. Food is soup and a toastie at lunchtime, and there are filling plates of curry, korvstroganoff (sausage stroganoff), meatballs and salmon with lemon cream for dinner. Comfort food in a lively bar. + A place to discover the wonders of aquavit and hasselback potatoes - Tables can be hard to come by

Juniper 20 Princes Street, City Centre (Map 1B: B6, 52) 0131 556 4901, | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Within the Royal British Hotel overlooking busy Princes Street, Juniper is well located for respite and cocktails. An ultra-contemporary interior has some predictable hints of on-trend hotel-lounge style but is nevertheless a comfortable and relaxing venue for a drink. In any case, the décor is second billing to the expansive windows and stunning views of Edinburgh which dominate and immediately impress. It would be easy to miss this city centre bar, with its rather understated entrance at street level, but those in the know will return for both the outlook and a genuinely creative list of cocktails. The Almond Blossom is elegantly served with a dish of nougat on the side and is a taste of liquid marzipan worth savouring. A menu of bar snacks with a tapas-style street food theme has some equally creative options such as Scottish lobster macaroni cheese or crisp polenta-coated aubergine. A more

Joseph Pearce’s 23 Elm Row, New Town (Map 5B: A5, 28) 0131 556 4140, | No Kids (after 5pm) | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

One of five independent Swedish pubs dotted across Edinburgh (the others are Boda, Sofi’s, Victoria’s and Hemma), Pearce’s, like the others, continues the owners’ original plan to create pubs where children are welcome. So there are toys, high chairs, changing facilities, half-term kids’ specials and bottleheating services available to make life for parents easier – until 5pm that is, when it’s back to being a child-free zone. Evenings then become busy with the crammed events programme – and Pearce’s (or JPs as it’s also known) hosts book clubs, acoustic nights, pancake weekends and parties – follow their

Jeremiah’s Taproom 7–8 Elm Row, New Town (Map 5B: A6, 30) 0131 556 8201, jeremiahstaproom. | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Soft rock’s playing on the stereo, Leith’s own Pilot beers are on tap, and there are chilli dogs from Crombies on the menu. Although some Leith locals may still be getting their heads around the name (they still haven’t figured out who this Jeremiah actually is), they have been warming increasingly to the easygoing vibes in this bar near the top of the Walk. Billing itself as a craft beer and burger bar, there’s an all-American, almost college feel to some of the details, including plenty of items on the food menu: racks of baby back ribs with honey bourbon glaze; Brooklyn brioche pastrami sandwiches; Americana, ranch and nacho burgers, and the Liberty Dog with pastrami and pickles. Sharing plates of Mediterranean cold meats or Scottish and Tex-Mex snacks are popular too, especially on Sunday quiz nights, which can get pretty busy. Desserts are worth checking out if you like the nostalgia of one of those banana split ice-creams, banoffee pie, or Luca’s ice-cream and sundae sauce. + Dog-friendly, child-friendly and the staff are always pretty friendly, too - Jock vibes on sports nights won’t be for everyone

Spacious, light and airy Café by day and Bar by night Serving food all day and night you can choose brunch, lunch, dinner or a Scandinavian smörgåsbord

~ Situated beside Arthur's seat, Hemma is a place for the whole family, with a kids play area, comfy sofa's and doggies welcome

~ The mezzanine floor can also be hired for private parties up to 130 people

The Jolly Botanist 256–260 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 58) 0131 228 5596 | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Several worlds away from its previous incarnation as the Spider’s Web, the Jolly Botanist – as the name might suggest – is an upmarket gin bar which is one of the first outliers of the quality pub boom for a Haymarket area set to thrive on the redevelopment of the nearby station and the large new

Tunbuilding 73 Holyrood Road Edinburgh, EH8 8AU

0131 629 33 27

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 31



substantial menu from the partnering hotel restaurant, Twenty Princes Street, is also available in the bar area. + Amazing views to enjoy while sipping a cocktail - The ultra-stylised decor will not please all tastes

with citrus mayonnaise, BBQ pulled pork or gluten-free BLT and avocado, among others) while the booths at the back of the deceptively deep bar fill up with locals keen to take advantage of the two mains for £10.99 offer in the evenings. It can be quiet and lacking atmosphere on some days (even with an all-day free jukebox on Wednesdays), but when the sun shines on Leith, there’s a near-stampede for their outdoor beer tables looking over the Shore. + Cheap and cheerful pub food – and a free jukebox - Tumbleweed moments on some afternoons

The Kilderkin 67 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2B: D2, 30) 0131 556 2101 | £13 (lunch)

This traditional-looking pub holds treats in store. The atmosphere is welcoming, with comfortable booth seating and walls adorned with album covers of yesteryear, and the in-house playlist is an equally eclectic musical mix. There is a good range of beers and ciders available served by friendly staff who are also helpful and knowledgeable. In the evening the pub’s speciality is pizza, and with a choice of rabbit or crocodile, Veg Supreme or Meatloaf Feast there is a something here to please everyone. Finally, even if you think you’ve had enough, do try the dessert pizza Banananirvana – Nutella, banana, strawberry, blackcurrants and blackberries, raspberry and cream. Additional entertainment is provided by ukulele players practising, an open mic night and pub quizzes. + Pizza for pudding! - It gets busy on Monday nights for the £1 pizza deal

The Lioness of Leith 21–25 Duke Street, Leith, Leith (Map 5B: B1, 1) 0131 629 0580 | £11 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Kudos to this old Duke Street boozer turned cocktail bar for a successful revamp in 2013, followed by a steady build-up of excellent word of mouth. Shabby mix-and-match furniture now lines the walls, with vintage Tennent’s cans, a glitzy chandelier and a 1969 pinball machine for decoration. Manager David Swica seems all too aware of how competitive this part of Leith is – with plenty nearby eateries all vying for your eggs-benedict dollar. But affable service and extreme levels of care in pretty much every area ensure customers leave happy. Coffee is from Artisan Roast, served with tiny hand-made shortbreads; tea is from Eteaket and can be enjoyed as a very reasonably priced high tea (booking required); wine is from Majestic, and the cocktails are delicious (try a sherbet lemon martini, or a fancy hot toddy, depending on the outside temperature). Daily specials may include seafood chowder, or seasonally tweaked meat and vegetarian dishes, or there are classic mains, including a tasty schnitzel and moreish tapas. The glass-fronted rotisserie chickens next to the bar hint at a speciality: the Lioness’s weekend roasts, served with glorious trimmings, and followed by irresistible gooey desserts. + Food cooked with attention to detail - Graffiti and kitsch decor touches won’t be for everyone

4 The King’s Wark 36 The Shore, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 16) 0131 554 9260, | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

On an inclement night, this is an excellent place to hole up, drink red wine and eat really good pub food. In a stone-walled 15th century building down on the Shore, it feels like escaping to an old country pub. Flickering candlelight, low ceilings and well-beaten dark wood floors add to the romance of the setting, but it wouldn’t be a Leith favourite if it didn’t deliver on the food front. Seafood features strongly, with smoked mackerel pâté, hot-smoked salmon and crayfish roulade, natural smoked haddock and mash among the highlights. Burgers (double minced rump, chuck and brisket, with bacon jam and optional Dunsyre blue or Applewood cheddar) are large and delicious; breakfasts cover the seriously hearty (the Bigger Breakfast includes the works, plus fried tatties and a tattie scone, just to be sure) and the vegetarian (spinach crêpes with brie, mushrooms, poached egg and hollandaise sauce), and their Sunday roasts come highly recommended. + Classic pub food in an excellent setting - Gets full up on weekends

The Lucky Liquor Co. OX184 (page 34): a Cowgate venture from the Fuller Thomson team

in no way attempts to disguise the fact there’s fresh avocado in there too. Also on the list is the Six-Cylinder Cocktail, served in a small metal canister to take away, and an Iain Mellis cheeseboard to keep your drinking energy up. + Great drinking, great atmosphere - Visit the cashline beforehand if you want to get a few rounds in

4 The Last Word Saloon 44 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 20) 0131 225 9009, |

Even the uninitiated must agree that this is what a cocktail bar should be. Below street level, under the radar of passersby, its gentle bustle (a bit louder on weekends, in fact) is muted by the venue’s atmospheric semi-darkness. Then, of course, there are the cocktails, served at the bar or brought to your table by the ruthlessly efficient but cheerful waiting staff. A contender for the title of city’s best cocktail bar (its sister venues Bramble and Lucky Liquor Co. are also in the running), the Last Word really is the last word in sophisticated drinking devoid of any air of pretension. Sample serves include the Spring Picnic of cornflake-infused rum, lemongrass cordial, lemon juice and Benedictine, or the bold Mango Salad, whose mix of tequila, lime juice, mango syrup and salt 32 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Lebowskis 18 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: C2, 43) 0131 466 1779, | £8 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

With a warm wooden interior and friendly staff behind an expansive bar, a good time is on the cards at Lebowskis. This well-established venue easily manages the delicate balance of appealing for both daytime crowds and night owls. Natural light and a spacious interior help avoid any daytime drinking-den vibe, and a pocket-friendly £5 lunch menu makes this a popular spot for a midweek lunchtime escape. If you come here for your evening meal, it’s all about the locally sourced beef burgers, but vegetarians will also find plenty of well-stacked offerings. Try a side of mac and cheese for a decadent carbohydrate boost. And of course, it would be rude to leave without trying one of their famous White Russians. The menu

boasts 28 in total, plus a weekly special ranging from weak to hard-hitting. The uninitiated are recommended to start gently with the Police Chief, blending coconut rum, coffee liqueur and milk. With an expanding menu on the horizon and a new focus on craft beers and fine ales, Lebowskis is going from strength to strength. + The beautifully made White Russians - Knowing you’ll never be able to work through the whole list

The Leith Beer Co. 58 The Shore, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 18) 0131 554 2425, leithbeerco-edinburgh. | No Kids (under 5) | £9 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

With all the current hype around craft beers and premium ales, it seems an own-goal from a place calling itself ‘The Leith Beer Co’ to advertise deals on pints of Tennent’s on a blackboard outside the bar. In reality, it’s more an indication of the unfussy, trend-dodging style of the place, which does, in fact, offer a very respectable selection of bottled beers inside. It also flags up one of the bar’s big selling points: it likes to offer a cheap deal. Nearby workers and students come in at lunchtime for a sandwich, side and drink for £5.99 (choose from hand-battered fishfingers

39A Queen Street, New Town (Map 1A: C4, 70) 0131 226 3976, luckyliquorco. com | No Kids

You can’t miss Lucky Liquor Co – it’s the one with the big pink arrow pointing to the entrance, inviting you to step inside. You don’t want to miss it either, for this is the third outpost of a triumvirate which also includes the Last Word Saloon and Bramble, three of the city’s market-leading cocktail bars. It follows the same template as those other venues, although to be fair, the ambience does suffer a little when they’re placed alongside one another. Where the others are darkened basements with a backstreet, holein-the-wall vibe, Lucky Liquor Co is brighter, with tables arranged more regularly and few good sightlines to the cocktail-shaking spectacle behind the bar thanks to the placement of the staircase (there’s a pool table downstairs, a cocktail bar rarity). Such quibbles are in comparison with the best cocktail bars in the city, though – otherwise, bright and efficient table service delivers invigorating drinks including the Cajun Ketchup, which adds red pepper, parmesan and orange to the familiar Bloody Mary recipe, and the sharp, fruity Major Lazer, binding rum, sour Skittle syrup, lime and orange bitters together with an egg white. + The cocktails and service are fi rst rate - Not as atmospheric as its sister venues


In association with


The Magnum Restaurant & Bar 1 Albany Street, New Town See Scottish

what could arguably be crowned the best pint of Guinness in the city. + Warm welcome and hearty grub - Can get boisterous at the weekends – not a place for a relaxing drink

Malone’s Irish Bar 14 Forrest Road, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 56) 0131 226 5954, | £5 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The Mash Tun

‘There are only two types of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.’ This is the fi rst of many quirky quotes that greet you upon entering Malone’s and perhaps it can partly explain the popularity of this bar. The Irish ‘lads’ behind the taps provide the expected banter, and the craic as they say is mighty. This huge space is rarely empty and it’s easy to see why: live music, sporting events and proper pub grub are just a few of the charming attractions. The quality food far exceeds usual pub expectations, with offerings like proper stews, fish and chips, succulent steaks and an all-day Irish breakfast with homemade soda bread. Behind the bar there are the usual draughts and bottles, and they serve

The Mash Tun took over this spot on Easter Road in 2012, smartening things up and pulling in a different crowd to prop up the bar at the former Utopia, as well as the devoted regulars. Just around the corner from the Hibs stadium, this place is unsurprisingly jumping on match days, and keeps footie fans happy the rest of the time with live games on big screens. Two-for-one pizza deals, steak-night Thursdays, curry Tuesdays and a double Scottish breakfast for £12 make it a pocket-friendly place to fill up, and a recent menu revamp has added extra dishes including macaroni cheese, smoked haddock fishcakes, steak pies and chestnut-stuffed chicken breast. Their Facebook page is a good place to look for what’s new on tap: Perth’s Inveralmond and Glasgow’s WEST have made recent appearances, and there are also event updates, as owner Grant McNeil likes to lay on special drinks and events around the likes of St Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day. + Friendly service and good-value deals - Don’t forget when those big matches are on, if you’re not a football fan

TIPLIST FOR GOOD PUB GRUB • The Blackbird Sleek Tollcross tavern with pub grub that’s a cut above 24 • The Bon Vivant Low-lit, intimate vibe and first-rate food in both Thistle Street and Stockbridge venues 24 • Caley Sample Room Gastro pub fare based on top-quality produce 26 • OX184 Fine wood-fired pub grub at this huge Cowgate newbie 34 • Potting Shed Highquality pub food draws in students and locals 35 • The Safari Lounge Quirky, inventive menu at this safari-themed Abbeyhill boozer 36 • Scran & Scallie Highend pub food from Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin’s Stockbridge venture 37 • Slighhouse Cocktails, craft beer and imaginative cooking at the former Bar Kohl 37 • Teuchters Landing Great comfort food in atmospheric Leith dockside location 38 • VDeep Informal craft beer and curry bar packing them in at the heart of Leith 39

154 Easter Road, Leith (Map 5B: C4, 37) 0131 661 3896, mashtunedinburgh. | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

The Melville 19–25 William Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 4) 0131 225 1358, themelvillebar. com | £5.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Central to a cluster of good pubs and independent boutiques embodying the heart of William Street, the Melville offers a pleasant welcome to tappedout shoppers, escapee officer workers and tourists wandering off the main drag. Substantially refurbished in 2013, the pub has a modern interior without feeling austere, enhanced by the halfdozen floor to ceiling Georgian windows dominating the south-facing wall. Concurrent with the new look, a menu of a dozen serious cocktails have put a spring in this pub’s step. Cosmopolitans and French Martinis shimmer jewellike in their stemmed glasses. Muddled to order, Old Fashioneds, arguably the world’s first cocktail (1806), pack a sophisticated Angostura-laced punch. The day-long menu covers fairly traditional territory but it does it well. Burgers are generous, partnered with golden skinny fries. Steak and ale pie caps slow-cooked, tender and flavoursome beef under its pastry hat. For those wanting a nibble, antipasti and ploughman’s sharing platters are handy but could be a bit more generous. Weekends bring roasts with all the trimmings – wonderful with a pint. + Steady delivery of pub classics and appealing cocktails - Kitchen could take a few more chances

and spirits – including a couple of rotating guest beers taps, with one by BrewDog, 50 whiskies and another 20 rums and gins. The large downstairs bar is rarely used, although it’s available for sizeable private parties if need be. + Works hard to be all things to all customers - In an unfavourable spot on a busy street

Montpeliers of Bruntsfield 159–161 Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

99 Hanover Street 99 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 85) 0131 225 8200, | No Kids

Had a hard day? Feel like a treat? Slip behind velvet curtains at 99 Hanover and give yourself over to a cocktail, or three. Leather sofas and cushioned seats divide the space into distinctive groupings, a crushed velvet curtain creating a separate space at the rear for private functions. Polished wooden floors are softened by colourful rugs and quirky art enlivens the walls, but the real eye catcher is the cocktail menu. With a rotating selection of 20+ custom designed concoctions, most taste buds will find something to tease and please. The Ryan & Eve combines gin, lemon and homemade strawberry and peppercorn syrup, giving a fruity, spicy gimlet feel with its frothy head. A longstanding favourite, the Kaffi r Daiquiri blends coconut rum, lime and dried powdered kaffir lime leaf sugar – aromatic and tart, it’s tropical fresh without being sticky. The usual suspects don’t get a name check but can certainly be produced on request. Evenings can

get busy and loud with nightly live DJs but weekend afternoons draws more locals, imbibing away with their dogs at their feet. + Inventive creations in long stems - No longer offers food so line your stomach before you arrive

Nobles Café, Bar & Restaurant 44a Constitution Street, Leith (Map 5A: D2, 15) 0131 629 7215, noblesbarleith. | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This Victorian pub – a grand room with turquoise-blue stained-glass windows, seafaring motifs around the walls and green pot plants sprouting casually from corners – has recently rejigged itself to include more of a bistro dining space at the back. Where once there were squashy sofas and a low table, there are now smart Parisian bistro-style round tables, with linen napkins and candles. While pints are being sipped in the front area of the bar, sweet nothings can be whispered over the likes of panroasted guinea fowl with white truffle beurre blanc, or aubergine, tomato and barley gratin with polenta chips. The relaxed staff will also help suggest wines, dessert wines and ports to match. Recent tweaks to the evening dinner format don’t affect the brunch menu – something for which Nobles is famous – and they’ll expertly mix up Bloody Marias and Bloody Marys to take the edge off any hangovers. It’s a reliably good hangout, whether for lunchtime burgers, smart pub dinners, after-work glasses of wine or a hair of the dog. + Fixing a hangover, in beautiful surroundings - Live music nights can get too noisy for chatting

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


Get your fill of the tastiest live comedy

The Mercat Bar & Restaurant 28 West Maitland Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 61) 0131 225 8716, | No Kids (after 6pm) | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Recently taken into new ownership, long-standing Haymarket pub the Mercat is changing with the times, pitching itself as somewhere between a local bar and a neighbourhood restaurant. They’re keen to point out that their food is all locally sourced and freshly cooked, including burgers, ribeye steaks, sea bass and seafood linguine, while they have recently introduced a strong line of craft beers

Food served Thursday-Saturtday nights and also Sunday afternoon

OPEN 7 NIGHTS A WEEK The List Eating & Drinking Guide 33




JOHN HOWARD ON FOOD INSPIRATION Like most people, the first thing I want to know when I travel somewhere new is where is good to eat and drink. From fine dining to fast food and everything in between, I’ve usually a list of enough places to feed me for a year. And what’s exciting about this culinary adventure is the discovery of what is new and inspiring, not just for me, but to the people doing the cooking and serving. One thing the best places all have in common: they know exactly what they do and they do it well. Momofuku’s legendary pork belly buns in New York, Franco Manca’s pizza in London, Naughty Nuri’s ribs in Bali, Sauvage in Berlin, the Everleigh in Melbourne – and Edinburgh’s own Gardener’s Cottage – they all have total confidence in what they produce and aren’t swayed by second-guessing what they think people want. On top of that, they aren’t afraid to be innovative and excited by what they do, and their joy in quality ingredients and delighting their customers is obvious. So from all that – travel and discovering something new (or old) and seeing how well other people and places eat and drink – we bring little pieces of all of those inspiring places back to share with our friends and customers at Bodega. QJohn Howard is co-owner of Bodega (see page 85).

34 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Heads & Tales (page 30): the discreet subterranean home to two working stills producing Edinburgh Gin

North Bridge Brasserie 20 North Bridge, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Old Chain Pier 32 Trinity Crescent, Newhaven, Leith (Map 5A: A2, off) 0131 552 4960, | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

A cycle path emerges just around the corner from this water’s edge pub in Newhaven. Worth remembering when there’s weather that inspires a dog walk or cycle, with a pint or a big haddock and chips as payoff. Easyon-the-eye views over the Forth make it popular in summer, but it’s equally good for watching lights on the water after dark. Seafood features strongly, with Cullen skink or smoked salmon pâté starters, and fishcakes or salmon fillet with brown shrimp and caper as copious mains. Sharing is encouraged, with a ‘three little pots’ option of mini shepherd’s pie, stew of the day and baked egg, spinach and creamed leeks, plus chilli nachos. They recently added an entirely wheat-free menu, and gluten-avoiders are made very welcome. Although children aren’t allowed in the main bar, there’s a mezzanine and conservatory where they can bawl to their hearts’ content, while staff obligingly run after them. Updates about guest ales, quiz nights and weekend brunch menus go up regularly on their Twitter too. + Seafood comes with excellent views and a daytrip feeling - Downstairs toilets hard to access for the less mobile

The Orchard 1/2 Howard Place, Canonmills, New Town (Map 1B: A1, 1) 0131 550 0850, | £16 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

For most of its life, until recently, the Orchard has had the run of Canonmills as just about the only place offering good food and quality drink in the area. While the market has opened out in the last couple of years, it’s still good enough to keep doing what it does and find a loyal audience. The L-shaped

bar is a well-stocked (particularly with wine) traditional wood affair, with an elevated seating area next to the large, bright windows, snugs at either end and all the original features still intact, while the food is a similar combination of classic and contemporary. Starters include a warm black pudding and smoked bacon salad and a pepper, pea and broccoli puff pastry quiche, with main courses featuring a signature venison and cranberry burger and steak and merlot puff pastry pie. Sunday roasts and a separate children’s menu are also available. + Classic local pub food done well - Not many vegetarian options

The Other Place 2–4 Broughton Road, New Town (Map 1B: B2, 10) 0131 556 1024, | £13 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Having had just over a year to find its footing in Canonmills, the Other Place is now a neighbourhood favourite, being many things to many people. In the winter it offers a cosy, inviting glow at the corner of Broughton Road and Rodney Street. In the summer months, the floor-to-ceiling windows and doors are flung open offering a breath of fresh air as the perfect backdrop to the 120 bottled beers. TV screens make it an ideal match-day hangout. Lastly, but by no means least, the Other Place offers an impressive menu of American classics – some with a Scottish twist. The quality of the dishes produced in the tiny open kitchen far exceeds expectations: a serious selection of diner-style comfort food such as gourmet hot dogs, buttermilk fried chicken and homemade brisket beer chilli are all made in-house. + Impressive comfort food and beer - Televisions can be off-putting

The Ox 49–51 London Street, New Town (Map 1B, C4, 16) 0131 556 9808, | £12 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Set at the bottom of one of the most fashionable streets in Edinburgh, just at the point bustling Broughton and

the residential New Town intersect, the Ox is perfectly positioned to capture working trade and local neighbourhood custom, depending on day of the week and time of the day. Whether peaceful or lively, the distinctive interior of this bar – which changed its name towards the end of 2014 – makes an impression. The ground floor is where the barflies hang out, on the same level as the bar and the street, whereas the upper mezzanine overlooks the outdoors through some high windows. It’s a place where you can easily site yourself close to the action or off in a corner, all the better to enjoy a fresh, seasonal menu of largely British classics. Starters include a couple of cumin-dusted roast monkfish cubes on a minimalist carrot and coriander salad, while steak, cod, burger and sea bream all figure among the mains. But a spirit of ‘when in Rome’ might inspire you to try the oxtail and onion soup or the sticky, meaty, braised ox cheek with spelt, kale and parsley purée. + A capable local and city-centre pub all at once - Vegetarians are given short shrift

4 OX184 184 Cowgate, Old Town (Map 2A: D3, 84) 0131 226 1645, | No Kids | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Opened mere days before time of writing, there’s understandably a sense that this unlikely but very welcome addition to the Cowgate’s drinking options is still finding its feet – they have no children’s licence as yet, for example, when its surely one of the most family-friendly bar and restaurant spaces in the city. In many other ways, however, it’s fully formed and highly impressive. Spread over two freshly renovated and spacious levels which make a feature of concrete floors and exposed ventilation, this fourth outing from Edinburgh pub chain Fuller Thomson (see also Holyrood 9A, the Southern, Red Squirrel) is a quantum leap from its previous burgers ’n’ beers formula. Yet it still enjoys some excellent drinking, with around 80 whiskies and 80 other gins, rums, vodkas, liqueurs and so on representing


In association with


Scottish lines well and sampling from all over the world – it’s also the first Edinburgh bar serving traditional American drink the pickleback, a shot of rye or bourbon followed by a shot of pickling brine, an unappetisingsounding combination which catalyses the tastebuds like salt caramel. The tap and canned beers includes four ales brewed specially for OX184 by Tempest, while a lengthy list of informal meals cooked on the woodfired grill (including half lobster and meaty pork belly ribs) is available until 2.30am. + Excellent food and drink service from brunch until the small hours - No kids’ licence at time of publication

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

4 Panda & Sons 79 Queen Street, New Town (Map 1A: B4, 39) 0131 220 0443, pandaandsons. com | No Kids | £9.50 (sharing board)

Well-hidden behind its barber shop façade, including an old-fashioned blow-dry chair which greets you as you enter, and the false bookcase doorway which masks the bustle of the everbusy basement bar, Panda & Sons is all about cocktails and conviviality. No matter what time you enter, it feels like it’s after midnight and the drink is still flowing, with a booklet of cocktail lists split into chapters. House specials and a range of blends sourced from old publications sit side by side, including (naturally, given the panda theme) the Bamboo cocktail of vermouth, sherry and orange and Angostura bitters, a Red Panda – a Bloody Mary made with Tanqueray and a ‘Guinness float’, made extra hot if you’d like – and the Liquid Brunch of Ketel One vodka, chamomile tea, fennel syrup, ginger wine and gentian de lure aperitif wine. A sharing snack menu stretches to cheese and meat boards, pork scratchings and complimentary popcorn, all strangely thirst-inducing. + Table service is very efficient - Those salty nibbles don’t half keep a thirst up

Paradise Palms 41 Lothian Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 49) 0131 225 4186, | £9.50 (lunch) / £9.50 (dinner)

Having long been a prime spot for students to congregate and a dependable pre-club bar, the venue now known as Paradise Palms could probably leave the walls bare and one guy in there with a flowing beer tap, and still find an audience. Yet the new owners have gone in precisely the opposite direction, filling the place with tropical knick-knacks and decorations to such a welcoming degree that just gazing at the walls is as fun as exploring the cocktail list. The latter is a well thought-out selection which doesn’t take itself seriously – see the Go Fig Yourself, for example, a blend of bourbon, fig liqueur, cherry heering, lime and mint, or the Pina Colada served with a slice of pineapple. There’s also a slushee machine, DJs on Friday and Saturday, and a monthly Wednesday-night alternative cabaret, while a big draw is the in-house franchise of Ninja Buns, whose doughy but flavoursome Taiwanese gua bao (steamed filled buns) are a must-try treat. Also on the menu are spicy tom yum soup, a rich curry which blends coconut, chilli and lime, and bar snacks including edamame beans and

Taiwanese popcorn chicken. + A lively young bar which covers lots of bases well - No food on Sunday

The Potting Shed


Complete with plant-ot lampshades and tools hanging from the walls, the Potting Shed has all the drama of a film set and certainly pulls in the cool crowd for a fun night out. The venue has earned itself a reputation not only for its themed ambience but also for a genuinely good lineup of food and drink with evident appeal to a mix of diners beyond the surrounding student population. Lunch or dinner is from a pick-and-mix menu of creatively inspired sharing plates which, with careful choosing, hit some memorable heights. Slow-cooked lamb presented on homemade flat bread is more than a notch above normal pub fare, and citrus tea-cured salmon is delicately plated with a confetti of celery and apple blossom. For dessert, try a matcha panacotta with clementine sorbet and pistachio. The standard of food and warm, upbeat ambience are easily matched by an impressive list of craft beers and enthusiastic bar staff. A recent refurbishment has provided ample options for large groups as well as some more intimate cosy corners. + Good selection of beers on tap - Sharing plates may not appeal to all

56a Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 19) 0131 557 5005, getpickled. | £10 (sharing platter)

It’s a wine bar, but not as you know it. Forget the 1980s notion of a posing spot for swirling expensive white burgundy while clinching deals. Here the staff are bend-over-backwards friendly, the wines are delicious, the ports and liqueurs stay flowing until midnight (or 1am on Friday and Saturday) and the meat and cheese platters make for an excellent way of catching up with old friends. Owner Johnny Bristow sources locally where possible, so smoky tomato chutneys and venison pâtés are from Edinburgh Preserves, ripe cheeses are from IJ Mellis, macarons are from Mademoiselle Macaron and beers are from Broughton Ales, among others. A miniature patio area outside, under the low stone archway of someone else’s staircase, surrounded by plant pots, makes for an ideal early-evening apéritif spot, and doubles as a smoking zone as the night goes on. Pickles only opened in 2013, but is already a victim of its own success: they don’t take bookings, and the couches and bar stools of the small, welcoming room can fill up fast. + A brilliant underground spot - The basement location makes it difficult for the less mobile

Pilgrim 3 Robertsons Close, Cowgate, Old Town (Map 2B: A3, 11) 0131 557 3768, | No Kids | £6 (one course)

32 Potterow, Southside (Map 2A: D5, 72) 0131 662 9788, | £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Queen’s Arms 49 Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1A: C4, 67) 0131 225 1045, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Located in a cosy, subterranean nook, the Queen’s Arms is only a short walk from the city’s main sights. The interior is warm and welcoming,

with leather armchairs and a hint of sophistication. The venue is always geared up for televised sport viewings and can accommodate large groups. A wide array of whisky, beers from local breweries, and spirits promises a fun evening. The French-Style Bloody Mary, with garlic confit and rosemary, is a topnotch libation, although the Great Wall of Vermont, with bourbon, maple syrup and Woodchuck 802 cider, falls a bit short of its Americana expectation. The main courses are all very hearty, while the grilled tiger prawn starter offers a lighter, tasty choice. For drinks, sport and atmosphere, this venue consistently performs. + Thoughtful cocktail list - Puddings are best left alone

Red Squirrel 21 Lothian Road, West End (Map 4: C1, 27) 0131 229 9933, | £15 (set lunch) / £15 (set dinner)

Gourmet burgers are still riding high on the trend bandwagon, but with over fifteen choices on the menu, Red Squirrel takes more pride in this affair than others. Naturally, being sister bar of burger-centric Holyrood 9A, and the Southern, one would expect nothing less. These fellows are particular about their choice of meat, sourcing from local suppliers to ensure a quality burger. Choose from carnivorous options including beef, chicken, venison, pulled pork and haggis, or go green with halloumi or mushroom buns. They come stacked with fancier-than-your-average toppings – smoked cheddar, caramelised onion mayo and Clava brie, to name a few – and with a generous portion of seasoned fries. Beer lovers will delight

While the Cowgate won’t quickly lose its reputation for after-hours debauchery, Pilgrim is symptomatic of a slow drag upwards in class. Where once this was generic and very ’90-s style bar Rush, its newest incarnation isn’t like any other drinking den in Edinburgh’s student heartland. We’re talking about the impressive commitment to recycling which brought the new interior together in the first place, with a stack of old suitcases forming the bar, 1930s cinema seating around the room and sinks from an old Glasgow rectory in the bathroom. Otherwise its offerings are fairly mainstream, with a loyalty card for students on food and drink and informal dining options including macaroni cheese, chilli con carne, lasagne and the ever-popular nachos. + Impressive use of recycled materials making up the interior - The design of the building means it’s a dark space at any time

The Portobello Palm Tree Portobello High Street, Portobello (Map 5B: C5, off) portypalmtree

Newly opened at time of writing, the Portobello Palm Tree is still finding its feet as a new and exciting venue amid the seaside district’s ever-expanding repertoire of good places to eat and drink. Risen from the (not-literal) ashes of old man’s boozer the Three Monkeys, the main selling point beyond a general air of freshness and conviviality (the owner is a partner in Leith’s popular Lioness of Leith bar) is the beer garden out the back, which is home to the eponymous palm tree. It also houses the kitchen ‘shack’, which cooks wood-fired pizzas and grilled street food with a Caribbean and North African flavour all year round. [Not open for full review at time of going to print – check food.list. for updates.] The List Eating & Drinking Guide 35



when assessing the rotational taps (with brews from Thornbridge, The Kernel and Magic Rock) and the extensive bottle selection, covering brands from nearby to far-flung locations. If you just can’t get enough of that sweet beer, ‘Growlers’ are on offer, allowing punters to take three and a half pints of the good stuff to go. A perfect present for the person who has everything. + The peppered seasoned chips - Ice-cream sundaes are slighly underwhelming

The Regent 2 Montrose Terrace, Old Town (Map 5B: C5, 33) 0131 661 8198, theregentbar. | No Kids (under 5) | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

It bears repeating annually, The Regent is one of Edinburgh’s most welcoming pubs, in its style, its décor, its staff and its patrons. The corner location enjoys ample natural daylight, on sunny days dappling deep sofas and comfy chairs. The warm colour scheme of ochres, reds and greens was introduced by a

TIPLIST FOR BEER & WHISKY • Blackfriars The eclectic range of beers makes this Old Town haunt a new favourite 41 • The Bow Bar An oldschool pub with an exemplary range of whiskies and real ales 24 • BrewDog Edinburgh Crisp and often quite quirky beer served in a super-cool setting 26 • The Dining Room Expert food and drink pairings at this celebration of the amber nectar 96 • The Guildford Arms A wide range of beers on tap in an atmospheric Victorian pub setting 30

local artist interpreting the palate of neighbouring Arthur’s Seat. Plants and swathes of dried flowers further pull the outdoors inside, softening edges and corners, enhanced by gentle lighting and music. Known for being a straight-friendly, real-ale gay bar, The Regent is equally a great local, a dogfriendly stop for walkers, and a relaxing place for a good bite and chat. Meals are available throughout the day, and although simply reheated by bar staff, all dishes are produced by Café Nom de Plume’s kitchen, reflecting their quality and sourcing. Soups, always vegetarian/ dairy-free, change daily. Mains include pub stalwarts haggis, chilli and baked pasta but all have good vegetarian alternatives alongside and an equally balanced specials board. It’s a really super place. + Relaxed, friendly atmosphere for all, including your dog - Closing time

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

The Riparian Rooms 7–11 East London Street, New Town See Scottish

Rollo 108 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, 2) 0131 332 1232 | No Kids | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Rollo is not the average neighbourhood wine bar – and even that label is far exceeded by its popular food menu which seems to be one of the main draws for its regular customers. Rollo’s Stockbridge location is an intimate space filled with unique art work, rouge hues and, of course, wine. The menu is an original selection of bites, bowls, plates and desserts and is a real celebration of local produce. allowing for a multitude of dining options from a relaxed selection of tapas style ‘bites’ and a bottle of wine to a romantic three-course à la carte meal. A trip to Rollo would not be complete without sampling the choice of ‘bonbons’ – from haggis with whisky marmalade to smoked mackerel with horseradish cream, they give a sneak preview of the quality that is offered

across all the food and wine here. + Quality across the board: food, drinks and setting - Shuffling between tables

4 The Roseleaf 23–24 Sandport Place, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 21) 0131 476 5268, | No Kids (after 5pm) | £13 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

A likeable neighbourhood café/pub serving rose-frosted cakes and Cullen skink by day, and organic beers and cocktails in teapots by night. Although the website might be off-putting with its OTT-tweeness (saying they serve ‘lunchies, brunchies, din-dins, munchies’ and ‘drinky-poos’ will be too cloying for some), in reality the pub is a friendly, reliable spot to while away time, especially at breakfast (which is most of the day here, serving brunch from 10am–5pm). Just under a tenner, their ‘Big Yin’ is recommended if you’re very hungry, or not sure you’ll be near any food shops for the next few days. For less challenging portions, there are summer berries and maple syrup, green peas and goat’s cheese with scrambled eggs, mushrooms and rosemary butter on toast or French toast with various toppings. There’s a good list of fresh juices and smoothies too, including homemade ginger beer, pomegranate, apple and raspberry juice, an excellent Bloody Shame, or when a cold threatens, try the hot ‘Cold Cure’ with ginger, lemon, cloves, honey and an optional nip of whisky. + Consistently good comfort food - Slightly OTT banter on the menu

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

The Safari Lounge 21 Cadzow Place, Abbeyhill (Map 5B: C5, off) 0131 661 4741, thesafarilounge. | £5.50 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

This safari-themed bar is determined to kick against the trend for serving food on planks of wood, and nor do they ride the trend wave for fancy burgers. They deliberately do neither, instead focusing on imaginative bar cooking and snacks. They’re particularly good

at thinking up interesting options for vegetarians too. Breakfast can vary from Istanbul eggs (fried eggs with paprika, bulgur wheat and paratha bread) to the meat-eater’s Morning Glory (chef’s handmade sausage, poached egg and Virginia smoked bacon on toasted brioche) or a health-restoring banana, pineapple, spinach and ginger smoothie. Their Momo Fuku steamed buns are popular, with fillings changing every week, and they also vary specials to feature Scottish seafood and game, jungle-inspired curries and stews. Hot cocktails are an excellent feature in winter, but they’ve also got a reliable selection of year-round drinks, including a good range of draught and craft bottled beers. There’s a downstairs function room that is sometimes used for gigs, plus a back room which is a good quiet spot for daytime laptopping or parents entertaining children. + Colourful vegetarian options that definitely aren’t just an afterthought - ‘Child-friendly’ could spell trouble if you’re going there to cure a hangover

The Salisbury Arms 58 Dalkeith Road, Southside (Map 3C: E4, 23) 0131 667 4518, | £11.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Having firmly exorcised its past life as a cheap, pack-’em-in student pub, this grand old townhouse on the Southside has become a local favourite for its opulent but relaxed atmosphere and its careful attention to detail for all-age diners at all times of the day and night. The place is maze-like, with a huge and impressive hall at one end featuring a fire and a bright glass ceiling above, and a more snug room off to the side with a central fire. While it fair packs diners in at any time – particularly for Sunday’s very reasonable roast menu – there’s still a personable feel to the space and the service. Bearing a menu which is so packed full it could be a disaster waiting to happen, the Salisbury Arms manages expectations and does a pretty good job of everything from starters of salt-and-pepper squid or smoked chicken liver parfait to main courses of confit pig cheeks with black pudding and sageinfused mash and prawn or crab and

• The Hanging Bat This popular bar leaves many of its kind hanging 30 • Holyrood 9A A range of local and global craft beers to match the popular burgers 31 • Scotch This singleminded bar brings whisky tasting to a five-star environment 37 • Spit/Fire With its huge range of draught and bottled craft beer, this New Town newcomer knows what’s hot 37 • Whiski A malt to suit everyone at this welcoming Old Town venue that’s not just for tourists 39 VDeep (page 39): the immediately popular craft beer and curry bar from Hardeep Singh Kohli and The Vintage 36 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


In association with


chorizo linguine. + First-class, neighbourhood family dining in a lovely building - The lack of specialism saps a little of the personality from the place

Scotch The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 524 7142, |

Past the doorman, through wooden revolving doors, then beyond the marble foyer of the Balmoral, there’s a grandeur and sense of occasion to this hotel bar even before you get inside. So much so, in fact, that many non-residents don’t even realise it’s open to them, when it definitely is, every day until 1am. As the bar’s name suggests, a cabinet of whiskies lines almost an entire wall of the bar, making this a shrine for anyone who loves their single malts. Drams come in almost 500 varieties, from a fiver up to a few hundred pounds each, from all six of Scotland’s whiskymaking regions, in rare bottlings and in dazzling cocktails (that’s right – they don’t believe in the old rule that single malts should never be mixed). ‘Whisky ambassadors’ are there to provide expert advice, and serve up smoked almonds and salted dark chocolate to complement the whisky flavours. To eat, a glorious goat’s cheese and mushroom duxelle wellington with beetroot carpaccio is an impressive vegetarian option, or there’s Scottish fare including smoked haddock risotto with scallops, or a neat haggis, neeps and tatties tower. + A treasure trove for whisky fans - Children aren’t allowed in – which will be a high point for some

The Scran & Scallie 1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, 1) 0131 332 6281, | £15 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The Shore Bar & Restaurant 3 The Shore, Leith See Bistros & Brasseries

Slighhouse 54–55 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 41) 0131 225 6936, | £7 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Quite why this new-for-2015 city centre cocktail bar and restaurant has named

Sofi’s 65 Henderson Street, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 23) 0131 555 7019, | No Kids (after 6pm)

Sofi’s bar calls itself ‘the port in the storm, the little squeeze in a hug, a home from home’, and its regulars love it for precisely those pally, welcoming, cosy vibes. One of five pearls in the chintzy necklace-chain of independent Swedish bars, this one down by the Shore doesn’t do food any more (besides crisps and nuts, and if you’re lucky, occasionally Swedish chocolate balls homemade by the owner’s daughter), but they will keep the cocktails and pints flowing till 1am every night. Their events programme remains packed - Mondays still mean Movie Night, with free popcorn to go with their cult and nostalgic film picks. Knitting groups, daytime guitar sessions, clothes swaps, quiz nights and beer tastings also regularly pack out the small bar - keep an eye on Twitter and Facebook for upcoming events. There’s a small room through the back too worth remembering for a smallish party venue, as it’ll hold around 15-20 people, and they won’t charge you a bean. + They’ve got your social life covered - Check what’s on, to make sure a quiet pint doesn’t clash with a busy quiz night

The Southern 22 South Clerk Street, Southside (Map 3C: D2, 14) 0131 662 8926, thesouthern. | £10 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Touches of contemporary and retro style give this local pub its own character. Heavy red velvet curtains at the door and a wood-burning stove make it a welcoming hideout for an evening’s eating and drinking. Bright prints on the walls, patterned tiles and a smattering of pot plants lift the ambience enough for a morning brunch. A plentiful breakfast menu alongside evening options of burgers, hotdogs and salads, reflect its different identities. While coffee and blueberry pancakes are more than possible here, a clear highlight is the pleasing lineup of craft beers. Food is also well-presented and well-sourced, with a selection of beef burgers coming from Shaws in Lauder. The Italienne is served in a brioche or sourdough bun with mozzarella, sun-blushed tomatoes

and pesto mayonnaise. Brownies and sundaes for dessert hit a sweet note, if a little unimaginatively. A wideranging appeal makes this a popular neighbourhood haunt with eclectic groups of regulars, from families and young professionals to evening drinkers and couples. + A laid-back family-friendly pub - Limited dessert menu

4 Spit/Fire Bar 26b Dublin Street, New Town (Map 1B: B4, 66) 0131 556 5967, spitfi rebars. com | No Kids | £8 (two bar snacks)

There’s much about the Spit/Fire bar (as opposed to the restaurant upstairs, which makes itself known from the street) that suggests it doesn’t want to be found. Set on the corner of two residential New Town streets, it’s accessed from late afternoon onwards by walking through the below-street basement restaurant, downstairs to the bathrooms and through a door at the end of a winding corridor. And when you get there, you’ll realise why it was worth the effort, for this darkened warren of bare-brick sub-basement rooms, with upturned shot-glasses for lights, is one of Edinburgh’s most atmospheric drinking spaces, enhanced by the fact the owners – the team behind esteemed Lothian Road craft beer bar the Hanging Bat – have also curated one of the city’s best drinks lists. The story is best told in numbers: the menu offers 50 different whiskies with an emphasis on American bourbons and ryes, alongside 15 gins, nearly 40 canned craft lagers and a good range of blackboard special craft ales. That the similarly Americanthemed range of bar snacks (quarter chicken with gravy and fries, buffalo wings in hot sauce, chicken popcorn, a baffling pickled hot dog) are worth stopping by for on their own emphasise this attention to detail. + Good drink, food and atmosphere working together in perfect harmony - Decent seated table space is limited

Stockbridge Tap 2 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B1, 9) 0131 343 3000 | No Kids | Closed Mon | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

It is hardly a wonder that Stockbridge Tap has remained a local favourite for so many years. Push through the front door to be welcomed by friendly and knowledgeable staff: with a break from the Stockbridge norm, the Tap is free from airs and graces. Simply great drinks, honest food, warm folk and their pups. The bar is stocked with an eye to quality over pretension with an impressive offering of seven cask ales, five of which are guests and a not too shabby offering of over 70 malt whiskies and 15 gins. Grub at the Tap is traditional pub fare of fish and chips, hotpots, burgers and sandwiches – all simply prepared with attention to quality rather than extravagance. In fact, that could be said of all aspects of this local institution. + Quality beer and whisky selection in a comfortable setting - Some faces in the bar become too familiar – it’s a true local haunt

The Street 2 Picardy Place, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 34) 0131 556 4272, | No Kids | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The staff might look a bit confused for a second when someone asks for food off the menu here, then the smile will reappear before they write down the order. This LGBT-friendly bar is maybe thought of more commonly as a drinking spot, but The Street does indeed describe itself as a ‘bar, bistro and nightclub’ – and has recently started serving ‘Street Food’ (see what they

There’s something y for everyone at

Spit/Fire Restaurant 26b Dublin Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Stac Polly Brasserie, Wine and Gin Bar 29–33 Dublin Street, New Town (Map 1B: B4, 65) 0131 556 2231, stacpolly. com | Closed Sun | £15.90 (set lunch)

A handful of house wines from a wellcomposed cellar and a smattering of bottled beers support the dozen or so gins on offer at Stac Polly’s brasserie, with Hendrick’s, Caorunn and the Botanist proving popular native tipples. A narrow, stone-clad room of timber tones and contemporary intent hosts an appealing menu du jour lunch offer featuring slow-roasted pork belly and apple sauce alongside goat’s cheese tart tatin and vanilla crème brûlée. Raspberry Gin Fizz and a classically dry Martini pop up on a focused list of cocktails washing down a short selection of bar snacks including ham hock terrine with chilli jam and trout with pickled cucumber. Opening for pre-dinner evening drinks in support of the lower-level à la carte, the gin and wine bar connects to a delightful private dining room, ideally suited to long lazy lunches or cosy fire-lit evenings. + Appealing lunch offer and respectable range of gins - The bar can be empty and un-staffed at times

The Stand 5 York Place, New Town See Arts Venues

0131 669 0082

A bit like an upmarket, Tweed-furnished country pub, the Scran and Scallie describes itself as a ‘public house with dining’. It makes sense in the context of Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin’s portfolio, as it is certainly less formal than his eponymous restaurant The Kitchin, down on Leith’s Shore, or Old Town fine-dining room Castle Terrace. That said, this collaboration with chefs Dominic Jack and James Chapman still doesn’t feel like a pub, rather a relaxed restaurant at the smart and well-heeled end of the gastropub spectrum. Culinary categorisations aside, the food is excellent. Midweek lunches may include exquisite bowls of celeriac and chestnut soup, with ox liver, barbecue brisket or braised pork shoulder specials, and intensely flavoured desserts to finish. Cocktails aren’t as flawlessly mindblowing as some may expect for the price, but the very knowledgeable staff will gladly help create something else if it’s not quite right. Squarely catering for the yummy mummy (and daddy) set, there’s a children’s soft-play zone in the corner too. + Cooking in the sweet spot between fine dining and gastropub fare - Overuse of words like scallie, puddin’ and swallie may bring on the Scottish cringe

itself after Enlightenment geologist James Hutton’s farm near Duns in Berwickshire isn’t clear, but it was going to have to make an impression after taking over from long-standing vodka-drinkers’ haunt Bar Kohl. The owners, Shilling Group, owned the latter before it was made defunct and – whisper it – the change is for the better. Their repertoire of renovated neighbourhood bars around the city have gained a reputation for doing most things pretty well, but Slighhouse seems to be the first example of their vision becoming a reality. From their fun cocktail list and well-chosen drinks selection (bourbons are a favourite, and their craft beers come in schooners) to the tightly designed and well-executed list of sharing food plates to the striking stone and neon design of the place, it takes Shilling’s previous efforts to another level. Cooked in the long open kitchen, the food is an unashamed highlight of the experience, including crisp, paprika-peppered pig’s ears served in a bag like crisps, cubed pork belly served skewered with confit figs, and breaded salt cod dumplings served with fried chorizo. + Contemporary trends in bar food shaken up with confidence - The inevitable over-ordering

Food Childrer n Welcome Drink FreefrWieifndi ly Music Dog 662-64 2-644 Bath Street Sttreet Portobello Edinburg Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 1HF The List Eating & Drinking Guide 37



did?) from around the world, including gyros, falafel, chilli and tapas. The main menu is served until 9pm, and ‘Street Snacks’ are on offer until midnight. The Street’s been open for over ten years now, providing a place to mingle, drink coffee, pose in the downstairs Photobooth, flex muscles in the big glass windows upstairs, listen to afternoon DJ sets, sip incredible espresso martinis, and now view art too, as the wall leading downstairs recently became a mini ‘street art’ gallery. (See Facebook for updates, as well as details of quiz nights, drag performances, cabaret nights, Edinburgh festival shows and DJs.) + Friendly staff and an unpretentious atmosphere - Retro decor and tunes won’t be for everyone

Sygn 15 Charlotte Lane, West End (Map 4: B1, 9) 0131 225 6060, | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Sygn takes its cocktails seriously. Tucked in a lane behind Charlotte Square, the place has a modern, stripped-back industrial feel and a serious bar. Phone for reservations and you’re likely to have a cocktail shaker temporarily interrupt your conversation – but it is all to the good as someone is about to be served some magical concoction. The list of three dozen cocktails can be a bit daunting but with clever icon coding (fizzy, boozy, aromatic, sweet, citrus, fruity, twisted classic) you can keep track of what you like even after the first few. Lavender margaritas float small fragrant flowers aloft, while the smoke of Normandy, mixing mescal, Hendrick’s gin and calvados is for the serious imbiber. And at a starting price of £5 you can have a lot of bar fun without maxing out your credit card. A cheerful munching menu concentrates predominately on burgers, wraps, pizzas and with some good add-ons like chunky homemade guacamole, pulled pork and meaty chilli. Can’t decide? Order their big tray of homemade nachos with all the trimmings, while you sip and consider. + Serious drinks and serious portions of food - Can get rather boisterous of an evening so be prepared to join in

Teuchters 26 William Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 3) 0131 225 2973, | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

With four venues in the same group, Teuchters is the low-key pub edition of the ‘Room in . . .’ family. The dogfriendly space makes it a great lazy weekend hangout, with a pint of beer in hand, naturally. The menu features novel ‘mugs’ that are filled with everything from olives, to Cullen skink, to an assortment of puddings. More substantial meals, baps and deli platters are also available. The sticky toffee pudding is definitely worth ordering and comes with a scoop of locally made vanilla icecream. The beer and whisky menus are extensive and varied while the wine list is surprisingly and pleasantly thorough. The best plan of action is to grab a comfy leather seat, order up some mugs and pints, and enjoy the evening however it comes in this relaxed space. + Dog-friendly, inviting space - Food has potential to improve

Teuchters Landing 1c Dock Place, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 6) 0131 554 7427, | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

The bar manager here is originally from France, and is used to sceptical French rugby fans piling in on big match 38 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Nobles Cafe, Bar & Restaurant (page 33): Leith’s grand Victorian pub now sports a Parisian bistro-style area

weekends, and upturning their nose at the prospect of ‘good’ Scottish cuisine. To them, he points out the Shetland mussels in a Dunsyre blue cream, or the deli sharing boards of Rannoch smoked venison, Perthshire beef or Morangie brie. Normally by the time they are working their way through the large single malt collection, or testing out the local real ale, they are converts, he says. Besides re-educating sceptics, Teuchters also helps refuel hungry Leithers with a ‘mug menu’ that includes stovies, macaroni cheese and kedgeree risotto in small or large mugs. Chips come with Hebridean sea salt, and optional chippy sauce, in case anyone doubts their commitment to local produce. Their winter hot drinks selection is worth bearing in mind come the colder temperatures, and they’ll gladly serve up warm, cinnamony rums, hot Whisky Macs, boozy hot chocolates and a tasty kummel, Moroccan mint and licorice tea combo. Board games and Scrabble only add to the reasons to loiter in this cosy waterfront pub. + Outdoor pints when the sun shines - Rugby days are often packed

Tigerlily 125 George Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Tourmalet 25 Buchanan Street, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 14) 0131 555 4387 | No Kids

There’s no shortage of bars in Edinburgh serving up craft beers, but there is still only one cycling-themed, Germanbeer specialising, dog-friendly boozer, and it’s on Iona Street. Where prices elsewhere can skyrocket, riding the current wave of thirst for ‘posh’ beer, the Tourmalet keeps things as cheap as it can, with bottles of imported Schlenkerla smoked weizenbier or Tegernseer Dunkel at non-ridiculous prices. There’s no kitchen, so bags of crisps or Tourmalet’s pickled eggs are the extent of their bar food, but customers are welcome to order in takeaway food (anything except chippies). Nearby pizzeria Origano also offers a 10% discount for Tourmalet customers. Quiz nights draw a good crowd, as do football nights, when football-avoiders know this is one place that won’t be showing the match. They do show cycling though, and other ‘minority sports’ on a large projector in the main bar, and dogs are very welcome (occasionally almost outnumbering humans). An understated gem of a boozer. + Excellent German beer selection - The toy railway running around the ceiling is still out of action

Tonic 34a North Castle Street, New Town (Map 1A: B4, 42) 0131 225 6431, | No Kids

Tonic is a destination bar for the cocktail drinker in Edinburgh. This low-lit, funkinfused basement has no food to distract from the main event: a drinks menu that provides for the seriously classic and the deliriously frivolous cocktail lover. A wide selection of spirits, with a strong Scottish contingent, provide the base for drinks like the mint choc chip-inspired Barney Rubble (ice-cream, Baileys and crème de menthe), or their take on a Porn Star Martini (a creamy caramel and passionfruit standout on the menu). Maybe kickstart your night with a North Berwick Breakfast (gin, fortified wine, orange juice and apricot jam) before moving on to the Cuban-inspired frothy rum and pineapple Hotel Nacional. The staff take their role in your experience seriously and are happy to talk shop or create something more personal if you want to go off menu. [Not recently visited.]

Traverse Bar Café 10 Cambridge Street, West End See Arts Venues

Treacle Bar and Kitchen 39–41 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 30) 0131 557 0627, | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

This buzzing Broughton Street bar is always a popular hangout with everyone from locals and students to the postwork crowd, and for good reason. An expansive cocktail menu features imaginative combinations of ingredients, such as smashed beetroot and grapefruit sherbet, or Noilly Prat infused with hibiscus pink peppercorn and Hendricks gin. The wine list isn’t bad either, with a concise selection to suit most tastes and budgets. This is a bar that prides itself on food, and the distinctive menu, much of which has a bit of an Asian slant, is a far cry from your usual pub grub. Crispy katsu chicken with pad

thai noodles arrives in a New York-style takeaway box, and has a subtly spicy kick, while the grilled chicken salad is given gorgeous depth of flavour with the addition of holy basil and coconut milk. Though the bar can get very busy, staff are always friendly and attentive without being overbearing. + Seriously tasty cocktails - Can be tricky to get a seat

Under the Stairs 3a Merchant Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 45) 0131 466 8550, underthestairs. org | No Kids | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Early in its existence, backstreet basement bar Under the Stairs was hit with a licensing issue which meant that all its customers had to be seated and served at their tables, restaurant-style, rather than stand. That the place has not just survived but continued to thrive is testament not only to how well-loved it remains among more fashionable drinkers, but how well the change accidentally helped define the busy but relaxed atmosphere of the place. In practice, then, it’s a drinker’s bar, with chunky wooden menus offering a strong selection of wines, spirits, liqueurs and cocktails (the beetroot and wasabi margarita is one creation which catches the eye straight away), and a decent choice of snacks such as meat or vegetable antipasti and a cheeseboard available until midnight. While the daytime food menu is well-stocked and ambitious, with pan-Asian influences in soy-marinated pollack or the spicy aloo burger, it’s not a destination feature as much as the great atmosphere. + A great late-night drinking spot - The food isn’t the main event

Usher’s of Edinburgh 32b West Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 45) 0131 662 1757, | £17 (dinner)

Get them in conversation about what they do, and those behind Usher’s of Edinburgh will contest that they’re the second-best beer bar in Edinburgh behind the Hanging Bat. It’s a bold claim, but there’s no question the place is doing things right, with an extensive basement bar below the Blind Poet which houses its own microbrewery and boasts a dizzying array of fifteen keg and five cask ales at once, taps lined up


In association with


all the way down the bar and into the distance. That they create their own beer (with at least three or four Usher’s lines on at all times) allows them to keep prices down on those brands alongside pricier imports from Austria, Germany, Argentina and New Zealand, while they also have a sideline in blending – this old building used to be the home of Andrew Usher (whose family gave its name to the Usher Hall), the man who invented whisky blending. Alongside such a repertoire, the food choice also manages to catch the eye, with a whiskycured gravadlax and a steak or house burger glazed in an IPA reduction amid the starters and mains. + An incredible beer selection - Spoilt for choice so much that overkill might be a worry

4 VDeep 60 Henderson Street, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 25) 0131 563 5293, | £10 (set lunch) / £17.50 (dinner)

The large, cartoonish mural depicting television personality and partner in this hugely popular new ‘craft beer and curry’ bar, Hardeep Singh Kohli, leaves us in no doubt that VDeep has been built on his large personality. To help eliminate any lingering sense that he’s wearing the emperor’s new tracksuit, the team who formerly ran this place as the Vintage are still in place. Specifically, wildly talented head chef Ruairidh Skinner still holds court in the open galley kitchen, and his sense of adventure and dynamism permeates such Kohli collaborations as venison meatball korma, pork cheek vindaloo and Bubble & Sikh, a spiced potato cake based on the Brit classic. Long bench seats and small sharing tins of each dish (the phrase ‘Indian tapas’ is forbidden) encourage a sense of bustling communality, while 13 beers on tap from Scottish brewers like Williams, Pilot and Drygate (try the mildly spiced Vindabrew) ensure that this is a fi rstrate bar as well as a brilliantly informal dining experience. Also look out for inventive weekend brunches like the ‘full Indian’ and desserts including rasmali, a trio of paneer balls made with butterscotch and black cardamom. + A contender for Edinburgh’s most unique and innovative curry house - Some may find the cult of personality off-putting

The Ventoux 2 Brougham Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 2) 0131 229 5066 | No Kids

The Ventoux feels a little like entering an eccentric country pub. There’s no food menu, minimal snacks, and everyone in there seems to know each other. The bar displays a strange charm with its woodchip walls, ageing film posters and scrubbed wooden tables – this is a proper pub. Pretentious cocktails would be severely out of place, and instead there is a wide beer selection, much of which is imported from German suppliers. Despite, or perhaps because of the bare bones approach, the Ventoux has a great appeal. The service is friendly, there are no dangers of being rampaged by squalling hen parties, so customers can calmly enjoy a pint without the side of sleaze found in so many central bars. Quirks include a hypnotic fish tank, board games, and bicycles strung up on the ceiling, undoubtedly a reference to the name (the bar is named after a French mountain often featured in the Tour de France). Grab an outside table in the summer and pretend you’re at a continental country saloon. + The relaxed vibe - Food would be a massive bonus


(lunch) / £22 (dinner)

265 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A2, 6) 0131 555 1638, |

Surrounded by mass tourism offerings lining the Royal Mile, Whiski enthusiastically promotes one of Scotland’s greatest assets and effectively showcases traditional fare from a hard-working kitchen. On entering this popular pub, the whiskyness of it all – posters, memorabilia, trivia – can overwhelm the uninitiated but the effect is less kitsch than homage. Upon settling in knowledgeable staff are keen to guide you through the whisky bible featuring more than 100 choices, some well-known, some unique. Dining hits the Scottish favourites but with consistency and quality. Cullen skink is laden with fish, complemented rather than dominated by potatoes and creamrich soup. Smoked haddock pâté is mellow fishy, not butter heavy. Grilled meats come as ordered, the venison rump with port and thyme sauce a particular standout. Classic pub fare like burgers, steak pie and caesar salad are ample – no one is leaving hungry. Live music nightly can be loud but is fun and atmospheric. + Superb whisky selection - The wine list deserves more attention

As soon as you step into this laidback Leith Walk watering hole, you’ll instantly feel at home. With friendly bar staff and a hip yet unpretentious vibe, drinkers could easily relax into a long evening, and the ice-breaking atmosphere lends itself to making friends with other patrons (or maybe even more at their monthly singles’ nights). There’s no cocktail list, but an extensive selection of good, honest booze won’t have you stuck for choice, and if you fancy something to soak it up, you’re more than welcome to bring your own food. With a busy calendar of live music and DJs, Victoria is a great place to enjoy drinks with pals, or to get a couple of rounds in before hitting the town later on. + Welcoming and friendly - You won’t want to leave

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

The WestRoom 3 Melville Place, West End (Map 4: B1, 7) 0131 629 9868, | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Elegant, intimate and welcoming, the WestRoom radiates class and comfort. The high ceilings cleverly make the room seem larger than perimeters allow, and combined with wooden panelling and candlelight, this creates a relaxed atmosphere prime for unwinding. The dinner menu is arranged into an artistic quadriptych of salads, meats, fish and vegetarian offerings. Many will be tempted by the gourmet beef burger, but there are plenty of other twists on gastropub favourites. Monkfish scampi is deliciously different, served with classic chips and well-complemented by a glass of New Zealand chardonnay. Those avoiding meat may be a fan of the poshed-up macaroni cheese (made with spring onion and cheddar), perhaps with a side of the roast root veg. There are no over-priced crisps in sight for afterwork drinkers – instead they enjoy the ‘bites’ menu, including smoked haddock arancini and haggis bonbons. All in all, this is a very tasteful West End nook, bursting with potential for their next seasonal menu change. + Attentive service, well-crafted menu - A vegetarian option on the ‘bites’ menu would get a huge thumbs-up

The White Horse 266 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 22) 0131 557 3512 | £7.50 (one course)

A pub venue on the Royal Mile finds itself in a strange position, being neither a truly local boozer in a bustling residential area nor a place which is quickly allowed to forget that its usual clientele are tourists and workers from the vicinity. Under new management since the summer of 2014, the White Horse is somewhere which appears to be trying to serve all these constituencies, with a bright bar area at the front serving a few craft beers and a range of premium Scottish spirits (including 15 gins and in the region of 40 whiskies) and a cosy, atmospheric snug room at the back. The bar snack range is modest, including macaroni cheese, chilli con carne and a couple of soups, but the pies are a definite highlight. Specially homemade, they’re large, bridie-style hunks of pastry wrapped round a hot steak or haggis filling and served with gravy and mash, a very Scottish meal to suit the location. + Great pies - Service can be on the slow side

Wildest Drams 209–213 High Street, Old Town See Scottish

Whighams Wine Cellars 13 Hope Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 17) 0131 225 8674, | £12 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Windsor

Even on a busy Saturday night, Whighams will make you feel like kin. The interior, while not overly imaginative, is certainly amiable and warm. The venue manages to play off of the energy of the bar and carry it throughout the entire restaurant, ensuring that the evening will be pleasantly boisterous. As for grub, while the main menu is a bit limited, there are also tapas and canapés available. If there happens to be sea bream on offer for a main dish, make sure to order it. While the wine list is as extensive and varied as expected, there are also generous amounts of other libations to choose from. Located just off Princes Street in the West End, Whighams makes for a notable meal in town. + Refreshingly attentive staff - Hard to initially locate reception stand

This much-loved, no-nonsense, ‘it ain’t broke, so don’t fix it’ kind of pub on Leith Walk has resisted the gastropub gentrification route that many of its neighbours have pursued. The Windsor remains reassuringly unchanged, while still offering an excellent selection of rums, single malts, real ales and cheap snacks (cheese toasties, nachos or Cajun popcorn for something more exotic). It’s popular with regulars and locals, who lean at the bar, casually trying to outpatter one another on some nights, or sip pints quietly in a corner on others. It’s dog-friendly too, as a jar of treats behind the bar attests. Football and rugby fans are made welcome, with matches screened on a TV behind the bar, and themed cocktails laid on for special occasions such as St Patrick’s Day. Keep an eye on their Facebook and Twitter for details of quiz nights, their ‘Rum World Cup’ (in association with sister pubs Kilderkin, Bennets and the Blue Blazer, all run by the same husband and wife)

Whiski 119 High Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A2, 4) 0131 556 3095, | £16

45 Elm Row, Leith (Map 5B: A5, 25) 0131 556 4558 | No Kids

and other events, plus what’s on the beer taps that day. + A great traditional Leith boozer - Food options are limited

Woodland Creatures 260–262 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A2, 5) 0131 629 5509, woodlandcreatures. | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

This lower Leith Walk bar opened back in 2013, and has been slowly building a reputation, not only as a dark and cosy place to sip drinks and graze on platters of snacks, but also increasingly as a performance space. Next to the main bar, which is decked out here and there with the rabbits, squirrels and bears that its name suggests, a 60-odd capacity side room has hosted Fringe shows, with plans for further poetry slams, queer cabaret nights, Leith Festival events and more (see Facebook for updates). Food wise, they serve until 11pm on weekends – handy to know when a dinner option is needed that’s in between a restaurant and a takeaway. Their burgers come in bouncy Manna House rolls, the macaroni cheese is comforting, chilli is available in a beef or vegan format, and desserts are good value. Craft beer fans might find a smaller range of beers here compared to other Edinburgh bars, but where else has a secret smokers’ garden, only accessible through a wardrobe in the back? + Warm and relaxing atmosphere - Not a great craft beer selection

TIPLIST FOR PIZZAS • BrewDog In-your-face toppings on crisp bases from ever-expanding craft beer giants 26 • Civerinos Quality sourdough pizza – slices or whole – in the heart of tourist land 80 • La Favorita Wood-fired beauties with over two dozen toppings from this pizza empire 81 • Kilderkin Good beer and pizza to match at this popular Royal Mile pub 32 • The Mash Tun Easter Road local with great twofor-one pizza deals 33 • Origano Handmade crisp bases with fresh toppings equals Leith Walk pizza heaven 83 • Polentoni Grab some authentic pizza at this Easter Road trattoria and salumeria 58 • Soderberg Pizza at the Bakery Classy sourdough pizza by the slice from Peter’s Yard offshoot 60 • Veritas Top pizzas in stylish Stockbridge surrounds 84 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 39



BISTROS & BRASSERIES Restaurants in this category occupy a substantial niche in the Eating & Drinking Guide. Choices range from establishments producing top-notch cooking verging on fine dining that showcases the talents of ambitious chefs to solid comfort food that fits neatly into the traditional interpretation of bistro and brasserie offerings – moderately priced, hearty and somewhat rustic. The venues themselves are equally diverse. At one end sit cosy places that are a focal point for the neighbourhood while the other extreme features multi-cover restaurants attached to some of the city’s finest hotels. Whatever place they occupy in that spectrum, bistros and brasseries compete for the diner’s cash with good service, excellent food and wine and, in many cases, a reliance on good local produce. Reviewers: Katie Conaglen, Sian Hickson, Theresa Munoz, Colin Renton, James Teideman

A Room in Leith 1a Dock Place, Leith See Scottish

A Room in the West End 26 William Street, West End See Scottish

Aizle 107–109 St Leonard’s Street, Southside See Scottish

Anfora 87a Giles Street, Leith See Bars & Pubs

The Apartment Bistro 7–13 Barclay Place, Southside (Map 3A: B2, 21) 0131 228 6456, | £15 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Just up the rise from the hodgepodge

Gothic of Barclay Church, the Apartment’s style might best be described as abbatoir chic, with solid pale chairs, polished copper fixtures and blood-red walls through which telegenic young staff glide smoothly between spotlit tables. The only thing missing is a Rothko print. Mercifully, they’ve revised the slightly manic ‘personality’ wine list of yore, which clears the way for a smart cellar selection to shine through. Alongside a rich palette of New World reds, a crisp house fizz is well worth a punt. The food menu, for its part, foregrounds a range of skewers including a lovely veggie sweet potato and citrus halloumi option. Ovenwarmed bread and soft, salty olives on a dark wood block make for a strong opener, and the sweet venison haunch (part of the reasonable set menu deal) is satisfyingly flavoursome. It’s a solid venue for a midweek dinner with your thirtysomething friends. + Despite the aesthetic, vegetarians will find much to delight them - The squid salsa is more of an apologetic shuffle

Apiary 33 Newington Road, Southside (Map 3C: D3, 20) 0131 668 4999, | £9.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The slightly high windows of this Southside bistro might be doing the restaurant a disservice, as it’s difficult to see inside. As the twin sister to Three Birds in Bruntsfield, Apiary follows the winged theme, but this time with bees. These striped creatures can be seen on the wallpaper, under the lights and hiding in the corners. In keeping with the theme, staff buzz cheerfully and efficiently from table to table. The menu is diverse, with frequent nods to American styles and Asian flavours. It focuses on individual plates, but there is also a long list of side dishes and sharing platters which are ideal for large groups. A brilliantly green avocado and feta dip with bread crisps provides a fresh start and a meaty lobster cocktail hits the right acidic notes. Seared venison haunch with shredded sprouts and redcurrant glaze is a highlight, complete with a confit duck, cranberry and chestnut hash. Ice-cream is a special interest here, with curious flavours such as peanut butter and jelly, or chipotle ketchup. Apiary is a vibrant eatery whose quirkiness shines in the dishes. + Inventive menu cheerfully served

- Discreet building exterior gives nothing away

The Apprentice Edinburgh College, Granton Campus, 350 West Granton Road, Leith See Scottish

The Atelier 159–161 Morrison Street, West End See Scottish

Bia Bistrot 19 Colinton Road, Southside (Map 3B: A1, 1) 0131 452 8453, | Closed Sun/Mon | £9.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The secret, it seems, is out. After five years feeding and watering the locals around Colinton Road, chef/proprietors Matthias and Roisin Llorente have seen their reputations spread. They are now attracting a burgeoning group of travelling supporters, lured by a menu that offers an imaginative take on traditional rustic French dishes, served in premises featuring a cosy area at street level and an additional space downstairs. A great value deal ensures a steady flow of lunchtime diners, while evening service is built around a selection of established favourites enhanced by daily specials. Starters could include a rich smoked haddock velouté packed with flavour and enhanced by a sprinkling of chopped apple and dill. Tender confit duck leg in a red wine jus transports the diner to the rural France of Matthias’ roots, while the colcannon cake – which is an ideal accompaniment – offers a nod to Roisin’s Irish background. And, although the dessert selection is somewhat limited, a light almond panacotta with pear, nut and cinnamon chutney contrasts perfectly with the hearty fare that has gone before. + Traditional bistro food delivered with aplomb - Limited selection of desserts

4 Bijou 2 Restalrig Road, Leith (Map 5B: C1, off) 0131 538 0664, | £13 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

No wonder Bijou has a loyal following. Ok, its out-of the-way location will not suit everyone, but owner James Harrison sprinkles good vibes front-of-house, making everyone feel like they’re regulars, even if they’re not, happy to be in on the secret, or lucky to live round the corner. There’s a banging breakfast,

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe (page 43): a stylish bar dominates this impressive West End dining experience 40 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

plus the ‘regular’ menu with a wide spread for those hankering after fish and chips or a burger. There are specials, like barnacle-fresh mussels, and a seasonal menu in place of the more pretentious and less generous dishes you might find uptown. To start, salsify is the star in a gorgeous duck egg gratin, which whets well for spelt kedgeree, as unctuous as can be, with haddock and preserved lemon, while similarly fresh sea bass fillets sit astride cockle and clam chowder. If you’re struggling after that, but still want something sweet, the selection of homemade ice-cream is a no-brainer, and the crumble of the day, served in a wee pot, is a must, as is a visit here. Careful – you may become a regular. + A unique, unmissable wine list - Location not glamourous enough for some

Bisque Bar & Brasserie Bruntsfield Hotel, 69 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 3A: B3, 25) 0131 622 8163, | £14 (lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Bisque is the bar-brasserie belonging to Best Western’s Bruntsfield Hotel. Through the bar, busy with business guests winding down watching Sky Sports, the brasserie is more peaceful, in neutrals, stone and terracotta, with an outside terrace for sunny afternoons. Bisque’s self-proclaimed philosophy is ‘casual gourmet’ and its house special is, of course, its fine fishy bisque, served with artisan bread. After an on-tap Schiehallion, it’s a good start. However, a venison and pheasant terrine comes doused with a redcurrant dressing that merges with the mustard dressing on the accompanying salad, which is less ideal. The light mains menu is mainly Med-ish: seafood linguine, roast veg and goat’s cheese, mushroom risotto and so on, while the rest of the mains and a grill list tick most boxes with a touristy Scottish flourish – steaks, salmon and Alba chicken. Desserts like the ubiquitous sticky toffee pudding look to please all comers, but the dark chocolate torte is sadly neither dark nor a torte. + The house bisque - Some dishes don’t live up to descriptions

4 Bistro Moderne 15 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 26) 0131 225 4431, | Closed Mon/Tue | £12.50 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

He may only appear in the kitchen one day a week, but Mark Greenaway’s flair is evident in the imaginative preparation of popular bistro dishes served up by chef Scott Catchpole and his team. So, while diners sip a cocktail and enjoy the surroundings of a brightly lit dining area divided into two rooms, the team in the kitchen are working to serve up starters that could include a leek, red onion and goat’s cheese tart. But this version comes with a twist in the form of an oat crust and hazelnut pesto that adds crunch and flavour. Mains are not all they seem, either. Steak and ‘chip’ turns out to be tender beef sliced and served in a rich béarnaise sauce with mashed potatoes reformed into a single block and deep fried. A dessert bearing the title ‘chocolate and peanut’ undersells a dish that combines a balanced mix of flavours with banana and honeycomb parfait bringing sweetness to the bitter chocolate – a hallmark of the Greenaway style. + A modern twist on classic bistro offerings - Just outside the buzzing Stockbridge restaurant hub


In association with

Bistro Provence 88 Commercial Street, Leith See French

4 Blackfriars


57–61 Blackfriars Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A3, 7) 0131 558 8684, | No Kids (under 5) | Closed Mon/Tue | £14.50 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Blackfriars (formerly vegetarian destination Black Bo’s, as they patiently explain) represents perhaps the platonic ideal of bistro dining: laid-back and softly lit surroundings, a touch romantic but by no means pretentious, with friendly, knowledgeable staff, delightful wine and robustly tasty food, all locally sourced. Treacle-infused soda bread kicks things off and will have you swooning at the depth of flavour, while a lightly spiced black pudding starter is offset by the sharp saltiness of capers and bedecks genuinely sour sourdough. In-house cured trout is a refreshing twist on the more de rigueur salmon version, and sits atop a light crisp radish and apple salad. The mains boast bold flavours and are perfectly cooked: wood pigeon is achingly juicy and tender, while the ribeye has both a charred, smoky, salty crust and a melting interior, accompanied by fries more crisp and delicious than you thought possible. Desserts won’t disappoint either, with the smart crunch of churros satisfyingly dipped in thick, cinnamon-infused chocolate. With all the flavour but none of the fussiness of fine dining, Blackfriars is a real treat. + Taste tests lead you to the perfect wine match - If you value choice, the menu is short

Blackwood’s Bar & Grill Nira Caledonia, 10 Gloucester Place, Stockbridge See Scottish

Blonde 75 St Leonard’s Street, Southside (Map 3C: E2, 12) 0131 668 2917, | £12.90 (set lunch) / £18.50 (dinner)

Blondes, they say, have more fun and this one is certainly enjoying life. In the 15 years since opening its doors, it has become a venue of choice for university staff, students being treated by their parents, and discerning Southside diners. Light wood dominates the décor in a dining room that is well laid out so that tables have a degree of privacy, even on those frequent nights when the place is busy. That layout keeps the cheerful waiting staff busy as they rush back and forth to the kitchen where chef Andy McGregor serves up his interpretation of bistro favourites. In addition to a good value wine list, Blonde has vegetarian, fish and meat options, with starters including mussels in a beautifully balanced sauce of white wine, chorizo and cream. Meat lovers will relish mains such as tender venison and mash in red wine sauce with the addition of chocolate bringing a decadent touch and boosting the plate’s richness. To offset that, among the lighter dessert options, is a creamy St Clements posset and a tart sea-buckthorn sorbet. + Excellent interpretation of bistro food and good value wine list - Service is slick but some diners may prefer a longer gap between courses

Bread Street Brasserie DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre, 34–36 Bread Street, West End (Map 4: D2, 42) 0131 221 5558, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Housed within the DoubleTree by

BISTROS & BRASSERIES 4 Bijou Great service, food and drink – Bijou is everything you could want from a neighbourhood bistro. 4 Bistro Moderne Top-end bistro food bearing the hallmark of Mark Greenaway but executed by the talented Scott Catchpole.

4 Blackfriars Laid-back, intimate and unpretentious, serving food with seriously robust flavours.

4 Café Cassis A haven of topnotch French cuisine, but with a local accent, in the Southside of the city. 4 The Dogs Bold and engaging, this modern British bistro regularly rates Best in Breed. 4 Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Classic French bistro dishes in an elegantly chic setting. 4 The Honours Creative and innovative gastronomy using the best produce from all around the world.

“Apart from the food, the atmosphere, the service and the approachable flexibility of the menu, the other commendable thing about David Bann is that his prices represent good value. ” Joanna Blythman, The Herald

56-58 St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh (off The Royal Mile and The Cowgate)

0131 556 5888

Eating and Drinking Open 7 Days from 11am


4 Royal Dick Bar & Bistro Summerhall’s curious hangout steps up into the big leagues.

4 Salt Café A hip Morningside


café-bistro with exceptionally thoughtful and tasty plates.

4 Sylvesters An unassuming family-run corner spot with serious gourmet clout. Hilton Hotel, Bread Street Brasserie actually operates as a franchise so its chef has the control to curate the seasonally changing menu. The smart-casual appearance is formulaic – without looking out of the window you could be in many a city. Turquoise leather seats, grey banquettes, artificial plants and aubergine walls are on the bland side, while the distraction of staff loading room service trolleys, reception right outside the restaurant, and a proportion of diners being lone travellers kept company by their iPads adds to the inescapable feeling of being in a hotel. The Scottish-based menu may start with smoked salmon or goat’s cheese mousse, followed by sea bass with a sweet kale-chestnut combo, or decent duck breast, and rounded off with plum and frangipane tart or brandy and raisin crème brûlée. The pre-theatre option is well-priced at £12.95 for three courses before a night at one of the many nearby venues, and it may surprise that the brasserie hosts a popular vegan night on the last Thursday of every month. + Good value pre-theatre deal - Inescapable hotel feel

Bar – Restaurant – Whisky shop -Fresh local Scottish food served all day -Extensive Wine, Local Beers, Cocktail & Whisky List -Ardbeg Embassy status -Daily Whisky Tastings and Events s 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:


p .c o


Follow us on twitter @whiskirooms | @whiskishop Join us on facebook whiskirooms | whiskishop The List Eating & Drinking Guide 41



4 Café Cassis Salisbury Hotel, Salisbury Road, Southside (Map 3C: D3, 22) 0131 667 8991, | Closed Mon | £9.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Café Cassis is a wonderful example of a traditional bistro, with a straightforward menu offering solid French fare in pleasant surroundings – ostensibly the restaurant for the adjoining hotel although external diners outnumber residents. Scottish produce adds a dash of local flavour but the cheerful service, bright décor, well-prepared food, substantial French presence on the wine list and Edith Piath warbling in the background could make diners feel they’ve been transported across the Channel. Coffee and cakes fill the gap after lunch service – in the garden if weather permits. Then the evening menu has several specials alongside regular starters like scallops draped in celeriac and butternut squash purée, the texture enhanced by the addition of black pudding. Thoughts of southwest France will spring to mind with the first mouthful of slow-cooked duck confit with Toulouse sausage and white pudding served on white beans. And if choosing pudding proves tough, an assiette gourmande is a selection of five mini desserts that should resolve the issue and is equally suitable for sharing. + A true flavour of France with a Scottish twist - Off the beaten track – but worth the trip

The Caley Sample Room 42–58 Angle Park Terrace, West End See Bars & Pubs

Charwood 47 Buckstone Avenue, Fairmilehead, Southside (Map 3B: A4, off) 0131 445 2233, | £13 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Taking its name from a blend of charcoal and firewood, Charwood boasts a Josper grill and wood-burning pizza oven at the heart of the bright, modern restaurant. After its opening in

June 2014 the talented and ambitious team have built a strong and appealing menu, presenting a tempting array of choices from starters including haggis spring rolls served with a delicious plum sauce to roast garlic wild mushrooms. For mains the specialities come from the grill, giving the food a wonderful flavour. From beautifully tender steak served with BBQ baste to homemade sublime and substantial hand-stretched rusticana pizzas. If you still have room you could take on one of the icecream sundaes (made with DiRollo of Musselburgh ice-cream) or surrender to the chocolate and orange torte – thick, creamy and incredibly moreish. The spacious restaurant bustles with a steady flow of customers, and with plans to extend its opening hours to include breakfast and a growing takeaway trade, this restaurant is one to watch. + Caters for all tastes and ages - In Fairmilehead, it’s a bit out of town

Clouds & Soil 4 Picardy Place, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 35) 0131 629 2728, cloudsandsoil. com | £12 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

At the time of publication, Clouds & Soil was accommodating the relocation of its sister establishment Bond No. 9, the attractive Georgian townhouse on Picardy Place acting as its custodian while new premises for the Bond are sought. Here, the basement holds the Compass Room for private functions and the street-level main bar serves a wide range of cocktails, drinks and a funky fondue menu. Upstairs there are selfcatering hotel rooms and a more formal restaurant area. Painted a cool green, the dining room offers guests views of themselves in its many mirrors, or a panorama of a busy cityscape if they sit near the large windows. Food is pleasant without being adventurous. A starter of thinly sliced beef carpaccio comes with a beetroot salad, while a main course of rainbow trout is huge and appropriately flaky, but a challenge to those who like to avoid bones in their fish. Desserts are a highlight, in particular a crunchy and

sweet cranachan Eton mess. This is a good place to reuel before joining the revelry below. + Beautiful room with a view - Limited menu at time of reviewing – check for updates

The Crafters Barn 9 North Bank Street, Old Town See Bars & Pubs

Credo 46 Queen Charlotte Street, Leith (Map 5A: D2, 27) 0131 629 1411, | Closed Mon | £16 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

The atmosphere can get a bit tense at Credo as the battle between diners intensifies for the final mouthful of luscious white chocolate parfait. If the tension boils over, Leith police station is just across the road – but that’s unlikely as the tussle moves on to a rich chocolate tart or possibly a banana and caramel panacotta. Sharing plates of four starters (duck confit, or perhaps an Indian-inspired spring roll could be among the daily changing choices) and four desserts are a popular feature of the fixed-price menu. Credo occupies a bright, airy space, with tables on three levels. The top tier offers an ideal vantage point to the kitchen, where chef Joseph Malik oversees a busy team serving up the likes of guinea fowl with pomme purée, crunchy seasonal vegetables and game jus, or sea bass with crab and ginger potato cake. The wine list has something for most tastes and wallets, rounding off a top-notch, good-value dining experience. + Imaginative menu offering great value - Not so good for those who don’t like sharing

David Bann 56–58 St Mary’s Street, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 17) 0131 556 5888, davidbann. com | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

David Bann’s vegetarian restaurant has long been the go-to for those who don’t mind giving meat a miss, whether that’s for life, or just for the night. Veggie-ness

aside, Bann’s more than stands up to scrutiny in its own right. The divided dining room is agreeably sparse yet soft, with service brisk and to the point. The menu, spanning continents and veganfriendly too, promises much, each dish a collection of inviting parts (some of which are, sadly, only slight – you’ll be wanting more of that side of sweet papaya salad). Start with arancini-like Thai fritters of tofu and broccoli with sweet-sharp banana chutney, or a ravioli wrap with a duo of artichoke heart and mash. For mains, stay with artichoke – Jerusalem this time – baked Wellingtonstyle, with barley and swede stew. Served with beetroot and butterbean broth, the parsnip, apple and Dunsyre blue pudding is not sweet, but light and lovely. For pudding proper, share a selection taking in luscious vanilla and whisky panacotta, an apple patisserie tart, and Sambuca-filled chocolates, best saved till last. + Vegan versions available on request - You could be in and out quickly

Diner 7 7 Commercial Street, Leith See North American

4 The Dogs 110 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 81) 0131 220 1208, thedogsonline. | £12 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

David Ramsden, one of Edinburgh’s most entertaining restaurateurs, has been drawing loyal crowds into The Dogs for close to eight years, and his energy and commitment to eating well without breaking the bank is hard to beat. The environment is open, buzzy, eclectic, modern and cheerful, and how could it not be with so many furry, faithful friends staring out from portraits on walls and even throw cushions? Unusual – yes. Fun – definitely. The menu is distinctly Scottish/British, playing at retro and modern fare. Throwbacks to traditional classics such as braised ox shin with roast vegetable and whole fish pie were comfort food before the term was coined. Modern spins provide local ingredients with new adventures, Arbroath smokies nestling contentedly in their dish of risotto. The wine list covers its bases soundly, here too focusing on value for money but keeping life ever interesting. A bit like Mr Ramsden himself. + Fun, informal and great value food - It’s less fun in the back room

The Dome Grill Room 14 George Street, New Town (Map 1B: A6, 56) 0131 624 8624, | £20 (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Edinburgh Larder Bistro (page 43): a basement space that’s proud about suppliers and seasonal provenance 42 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

A Corinthian portico, Devonshire marble interior, ten-foot-tall lily bouquets and of course that titular dome: there’s no doubting George Street stalwart The Dome is awe-inspiring to look at. And despite its opulence, it is pleasingly egalitarian in its approach to clientele, with diners of all ages welcome, and no dress code enforced. If you wanted to show Edinburgh to its best advantage it would be a dazzling place to take guests for a reasonably priced drink. But it arguably rests on the strength of its spectacular architecture: the food on offer struggles to match the surrounings. A mango and mint starter is a shade watery in taste, and haggis bon bons tend towards gluey. Mains are more successful, with a juicy chicken breast adorning an enormous portion of mash, drowned in a winsome whisky sauce. Similarly gargantuan in size, and steaming hot, the sea bass is well seared, but sits beside rather uninspired chorizo couscous. Genuine culinary


In association with

flair is brought to bear on a terrific fig, plum and pistachio frangipane tart to finish. + Trick yourself into thinking you’re living the high life - Sound of staff noisily stacking dishes shatters the illusion

EH15 The Club, 24 Milton Road East, Portobello See Scottish

Earthy Canonmills 1–6 Canonmills Bridge, Stockbridge (Map 1B: A1, 4) 0131 556 9696, earthy. | £11 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Purveyors of local, sustainable and organic produce, Earthy’s mission is simple: to feed people well, with the best ingredients. This they do from three ‘market stores’ in Portobello, Causewayside and Canonmills. Sourcing is not only local, but specific: fruit and veg from Phantassie Farm, chickens from Linda Dick, Tanny Gill’s cheese – the list goes on. So there is plenty of substance behind the foodie-hip styling of Canonmills’ distressed wooden tables, kooky mural, mismatched low-hanging lightbulbs, stencilled walls encouraging ‘Forage, Nourish, Share’ and condiments that tell you they’re organic too. A colourful, seasonally attuned menu opens with bites, like beetroot, sesame and black onion flatbread – which is dry, so team with morsels of spiced lamb and hummus from the small plates section. Grilled sprouts with chestnuts and pomegranate salad is typical in that the quality of ingredients is evident. It’s the same story with mains of buckwheat and blue cheese polenta with purple sprouting broccoli, and spiced venison puff pastry pie with pumpkin mash. Finish with frangipane and damson tart, or stay spicy with plum and pistachio crumble, which comes with a dinky jug of bay leaf custard. + Outstanding quality of ingredients - No obvious play-safe dessert options for granny

Edinburgh Larder Bistro 1a Alva Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 14) 0131 225 4599, | Closed Sun/Mon | £13 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

This basement place in the West End gets top marks for creating a uniquely rustic space. Though the woodpanelled interior is cavernous, there’s a deliberate nod to the outdoors with arrays of fresh flowers and charming terracotta pots as lampshades. The restaurant has also been decorated with recycled goods, such as chairs made from old scaffolding and lights made of lobster traps. Food-wise, they are open and proud about their suppliers, naming more than a few of them on table placards. Starters arrive on speckled plates with a dainty selection of freshly gathered wild garnish, such as pan-fried scallops with Jerusalem artichokes or smoked duck with pickled berries and mushrooms. A main course of halibut has a buttery texture enlivened by a scurvy grass pesto. For dessert, a chocolate slice has hints of orange and ginger, but is trumped by a wonderful blackberry trifle. Service can be on the slow side, but much thought has been put into the sourcing and design of this interesting place. + Innovative approach to space and sourcing - Service that doesn’t quite keep up

Field 41 West Nicolson Street, Southside See Scottish

First Coast 97–101 Dalry Road, West End (Map 4: A4, 69) 0131 313 4404, fi rst-coast. | Closed Sun | £12.50 (set lunch) / £16.95 (dinner)

Positioned on Dalry Road, the neighbourhood is not exactly salubrious, but this self-styled neighbourhood bistro certainly is. First Coast offers locally sourced, seasonal cookery at a more than fair price. Popular with locals for over a decade, there’s no sense of standards slipping, although the decor is arguably in need of a spruce: blue and white walls, paintings of seascapes – it’s polite in its tastes, if not breathtaking. Staff are friendly without being overbearing, possessing a charming knack for making diners feel welcome and relaxed. The food offers a fresh take on bistro classics, sharp flavour pairings that are innovative but never needlessly odd. A Thai marinated chicken salad is light, zingy, yet satiating, and its zesty flavours are nicely matched by an accompanying white from their extensive wine list. Venison is delightfully pink and elevated by a tangy onion purée. Desserts are lipsmacking and hearty: a chocolate and peanut tart is decadently adorned with caramel, while the malt pudding is a sticky steamed pudding made fresh with its malty inflections. Early dining and set-menu deals are a steal. + Laid-back, unpretentious dining in friendly surroundings - Could do with an interior design rethink

Edinburgh’s Finest Cocktails Drop by for a selection of long standing classics and contemporary creations And after a refreshing cocktail or two… why not stay for dinner?

Forth Floor Brasserie Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, New Town (Map 1B: B5, 58) 0131 524 8350, | £17 (set lunch) / £17 (set dinner)

Rising above the ornate old stone of St Andrew Square, Harvey Nicks’ Forth Floor Brasserie is equal parts restaurant and design experience. Come for the food, stay for the outlook (or vice-versa). The open space serves as a grandstand for the jaw-dropping vista across the north side of the city and the coast. Mirrors reflect the castle for a panopticon view, striking wire chairs are arranged in small neat circles, the low ceiling is paint-palette circles of orange and pink. The main restaurant is set off to the left adjacent to the produce purchase area (one hesitates to call it a food market) where some of the kitchen delicacies proffered on the menu are on sale, including a truly superlative Sorelle Bronca prosecco to sip on the terrace on those rarest of Scottish summer afternoons. In the brasserie, starters include mushrooms on toast – a prosaic description of an incredibly delicious concoction – and poached pear and blue cheese salad. For mains, garlicky moules marinieres redolent of Atlantic foam come with a generous portion of warm, golden fries. The Forth Floor is more than just a waypoint for wealthy shoppers – although one can’t help but feel sorry for the window cleaner. + Ice-cold prosecco and one hell of a backdrop - Floppy panacotta

4 Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 22) 0131 222 8988, | £16.50 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d crossed the Channel, so reminiscent is the Galvin Brasserie of a typical Parisian bistro. Black and white tiles, white linen, and a stylish (and very well stocked) round bar replete with crustacean tank dominate the centre

North Bridge Brasserie, 20 North Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1TR T: +44 (0)131 622 2900 -

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 43



of the room. Attentive, knowledgeable wait staff deliver hot bread and butter before deftly assisting you to the perfect wine match for your food. And that food is traditional French bistro fare, superbly done. A starter salad of endive, roquefort and candied walnuts is an exercise in contrasting textures and complimentary flavours, fresh and zingy. Moving on, a breast of pheasant is an earthy delight, the gamey bird offset by the pleasing bite of puy lentils, seasoned with quantities of salt that would make your doctor despair. Rump steak is similarly well treated, a juicy chargrilled slab accompanied by a sweet, garlicky tomato. Desserts are a true sensation, with the Galvin brothers’ signature apple tarte tatin a triumph of the form – apples treacly and burnished, crust light, flaky and pleasingly caught. A nougat glace is similarly transportive, a cool, light, nutty confection. + The prix fixe menu is an absolute steal - Anonymous muzak on the stereo

again to a green-grey, stripes-andswirls, carpeted-and-curtained dining room. In daylight hours the curtains may part to reveal Calton Hill, but the best view must be from the hotel’s twoacre rooftop garden, a city wedding venue favourite. A petite potted venison puff pie ably amuses bouches before the seasonal Scottish menu starts with scallop risotto and a giant ‘black haggis’ scotch egg. Mains vary from Thai sea bass to lamb rump with lentil and mushroom casserole, while a grill selection takes in fish and game. Dessert of a large cherry bakewell sponge with cherry sorbet prefaces a tipple in the Snug before your return to the outside world. + Delightful amuse-bouche - Struggles to avoid the chain-hotel atmosphere

The Glasshouse

Impressive food and excellent service from professional staff are what you would expect from Hadrian’s given its location in one of the city’s leading hotels. Little wonder then that it is popular with casual diners as well as tourists and business people. A lunchtime and pre-theatre deal offers good value and, while the à la carte options push the price limits associated with brasserie dining, the busy tables suggest the cost is not excessive. A map on the back of the menu indicates the restaurant’s sourcing policy and local produce features prominently, albeit with a French accent. Tomato tarte fine – a feather-light pastry disc with tomatoes and crumbled goat’s cheese – is a delicate entrée. And beef sourced from Perthshire is the key ingredient in a substantial Blairgowrie burger served with Mull cheddar and bacon, while slow-cooked confit pork belly with a crunchy black pudding croquette is also packed with Scottish flavours. Rhubarb crumble tart is a zesty dessert topped and tailed by sweetness, and good coffee with petit fours confirms this is

2 Greenside Place, Old Town (Map 1B: D5, 45) 0131 525 8200, | Closed Sun/Mon & Thu | £21 (set dinner)

If you don’t recognise the name, Marriott’s Glasshouse Hotel is squeezed between the Playhouse Theatre and the Omni Centre, fronted by the façade of what was once Lady Glenorchy Church. Opened in 2004, it’s now set to open its doors to non-residents in early summer 2015 to dine in its Observatory restaurant. Just getting there from reception works up an appetite: up in the lift, along corridors of bedrooms, through The Snug bar, down and along

Hadrian’s Brasserie The Balmoral, 1 Princes Street, City Centre (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 557 5000, | £14.50 (set lunch) / £16.50 (set dinner)

not your average brasserie. + Good quality Scottish ingredients impressively presented - Being overlooked by passengers in the upper deck of passing buses

Hellers Kitchen 15 Salisbury Place, Southside (Map 3C: D3, 24) 0131 667 4654, hellerskitchen. | £13 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Hardworking husband and wife team Richard and Michelle Heller serve a full range of breakfast dishes, meet lunchtime demand, then set up for evening service. And just in case there is a quiet moment, they also run a successful outside catering business. At first glance, the dinner menu on the restaurant’s website appears to offer a selection of tried and tested bistro favourites. In reality, the specials board that dominates the wall in the upper area of the two-tiered layout is where the chef’s talents are most evident. Possible starters include a haggis crêpe in a rich whisky sauce, a combination of flavours that exhibit the skills at work in the kitchen. Among main course specials could be a shin of beef so tender that it falls apart at the touch of a fork, and served in a red wine sauce with dauphinoise potatoes and crunchy vegetables. And desserts include hardy favourites like apple and raspberry crumble with a hint of cinnamon – comfort food to conclude an impressively executed meal. + Comfortable surroundings and skill in the kitchen - You don’t get a true impression of the menu from the website

Henderson’s Vegetarian Restaurant 94 Hanover Street, New Town See Scottish

Henderson’s Bistro 25 Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 78) 0131 225 2605, | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Famously the UK’s second-oldest vegetarian restaurant, venerable Henderson’s has long been well regarded in food circles as an

Edinburgh institution. Today it still goes strong, serving and satisfying veggies (and vegans) on four fronts, from its bakery, deli counter, canteenstyle restaurant, and bistro. The latter, if you haven’t been for a few years, has had a bit of a spruce-up, but still looks like a mature students’ common room. The food also lacks a little sparkle and imagination, its offering centred on daily variants on the themes of quiche, risotto, lasagne and curry (or chilli, or stew) plus haggis, a Mex wrap and burgers in the form of Hungarian bean, Thai nut and polenta. For starters or a lighter option, share a platter of bread and dips, or there are salads like warm butternut squash with tofu, or sweetsharp kale with cayenne and maple syrup-roasted walnut. Desserts allow for more playfulness, like dainty plum bruleé and the ‘frozen cheesecake’ that is indeed served frozen. Wash it down righteously with a wide selection of organic wines. + Organic wines won’t give you a hangover - Some of the dishes are a bit dull

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

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

4 The Honours 58a North Castle Street, New Town (Map 1A: B4, 38) 0131 220 2513, | £22.50 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Tucked on the left side of North Castle Street is this bistro from Edinburgh chef Martin Wishart. The décor is slick and modern with black leather chairs, oversized lamps and gold accents. During the week the clientele seems to consist of business meetings and couples on a romantic night out, but The Honours is family-friendly, and even offers a kids’ menu. Dishes boast top-grade ingredients which are not necessarily from Scotland, as the beef hails from Tennessee and the oysters

Salt Café (page 47): this new hipster hang-out brings local, seasonal thinking to brunch, lunch and dinner 44 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


In association with

are from Cornwall. Meals are served in flat and round white bowls and feature fashionable culinary trends. A good example is the crab cappuccino starter, with melted garlic croutons, strands of crab and a very prominent foam top. The Honours is reputed for its grill and a thickly glazed Black Angus sirloin is as tender as promised. Desserts are cleverly constructed and the creamy house sundae is topped with chewy honeycomb. House staff stride quickly across the dining area in their efforts to be attentive to diners. The atmosphere is more sophisticated than the average bistro, and dining here promises to be an memorable experience. + Exciting food combinations - No disabled toilet

Hotel du Vin Bistro 11 Bristo Place, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 52) 0131 247 4900, hotelduvin. com/locations/edinburgh/bistro | £25 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Housed in a former 18th-century asylum, close to Edinburgh University, Hotel du Vin boasts a cigar bothy, wine tastings and has a two-level dining area, with the main part facing large bay windows. Oak tables and scattered French posters define the room. True to its name, there is a massive selection of international wines and champagnes and knowledgeable staff to serve it. The dinner menu is on the safe side and includes classic French dishes, Scottish comfort food with a French twist and a variety of steaks. Tempura oysters placed in their shells have a thick batter and are buoyed up by homemade ketchup heavy on the onions. A salad frisée is a well-organised plate of soft poached egg, garlic croutons and chunky lardons. The menu links dishes with certain wines, and a salmon and prawn pie is uplifted by the smooth notes of an Austrian grüner veltliner. This is a refined hotel and bistro combination which goes down well with a more traditional crowd. + An impressive selection of wines and spirits - Menu plays it a bit too safe

Howies at Waterloo 29 Waterloo Place, New Town See Scottish

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

Iris 47a Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 76) 0131 220 2111, irisedinburgh. | No Kids (under 6) | £13.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Located just a few steps from George Street, Iris is a popular stop-off for hungry shoppers and workers eager to take advantage of a good value lunch deal which offers a change of menu every few weeks. Come the evening, the clientele changes and a mixed gathering of locals and tourists enjoy a range of imaginative options in the dining area which is divided into two distinct sections. The starter of risotto balls with feta stuffing and spicy dip may pack a little less flavour than it promises, but the same cannot be said of the mains where tender duck breast served in slices along with Drambuie and raspberries is pipped as the star of the show by lamb loin and haggis wrapped in puff pastry to create a dish that is given a dash of heat by a cracked pepper sauce. And desserts include several well-constructed options – a luscious chocolate beetroot cake with the sweetness offset by orange and cardamom cream takes the honours as the ideal way to round things off. + Skilful cooking in most areas

- Some tables are a little too close together for comfort

Itchycoo Bar & Kitchen 80 High Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A3, 5) 0131 473 6517, | £10 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Located on the ground floor of the Radisson Hotel Blu on the Royal Mile, this bistro offers a range of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. Since the hotel houses several business functions and conventions, the clientele seems to be a mix of locals and hotel guests. At busy times, the bar area overcrowds and service in the bistro may lag, but this situation soon dissipates due to the hardworking staff. The menu is divided into categories: field, farm, sea and heaven. The first three are self-explanatory, but the last one refers to desserts. The most popular dishes are often available in both starter and main sizes. A plump Arbroath smokie fishcake is paired with a rocket garnish and a pleasant creamy lemon vinaigrette, while for mains, a free-range chicken thigh arrives on a well-seasoned bed of cabbage. Desserts are a delight for the sweet-toothed and include a cheesecake with raspberry coulis and sticky toffee pudding with a small jug of very sweet custard. This is a reliable spot for a drink and a bite if you’re in the area. + Easily navigated menu - Proximity to bar can make for lots of ambient noise

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

Laila’s Bistro 63 Cockburn Street, Old Town See Round the World

Henderson's have an international reputation for cutting edge vegetarian cuisine while remaining true to the founding philosophy of serving delicious, wholesome food, using the best and freshest ingredients.

Restaurant Bistro Shop & Deli 94 HANOVER STREET, EDINBURGH EH2 1DR

t. 0131 225 2131

Malmaison Brasserie 1 Tower Place, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 9) 0131 468 5000, | £23 (lunch/dinner)

Sitting on the dock of the bay (well, OK, firth), the baronial bulk of the Malmaison building and its landmark clock tower have been a focal point of the Leith landscape since the late 19th century. Eschewing the bland design ethos of many hotel restaurants, Malmaison injects a little more character into its brasserie, with bloodred checkerboard walls, dark wood panelling, rich leather seating and sculptural wrought-iron candleholders conjuring up a classic bistro feel. The menu features standards like fishcakes, steaks from the grill and burgers aplenty, including a decadent foie gras variation. Service is charming yet unobtrusive and, sunshine on Leith permitting, the outdoor terrace offers a chance to further navigate the globetrotting, affordable wine list. [Not recently visited.]

Monteiths 57–61 High Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A2, 3) 0131 557 0330, | No Kids (after 5pm) | £15 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

If you ever fancied a trip to a deluxe hunting lodge without the inconvenience of having to leave the city, a jaunt to Monteiths would hit the spot. With dark wood interiors, mounted deer heads and modish tartan, this kitchen cum cocktail bar is stylish in a cosy, country way. Located right off the Royal Mile but not aimed exclusively at tourists, there’s a strong focus on game and seafood presented with flair and inventiveness. A starter of treacle-cured salmon is elevated by a rye toast crumb, making for a contrast of husky crunch The List Eating & Drinking Guide 45



have included reference to the intriguing history of the place itself – designed in the heart of the Georgian era by William Playfair, it was for 60 years the home of the Black Watch regimental club before its current reincarnation as boutique hotel in 2012. The menu varies daily, and might feature small but punchy scallops, buttery cheese fondue with a swirl of basil pesto, sparky sea bass or a ribeye with colcannon mash. Desserts are a strong suit – the Bombe Alaska is a sweet mudslide of meringue enclosing rich iced chocolate – and a fruity set of cheese with thick oaty medallions provides a fitting coda to a polite evening among well-heeled business clientele and older couples. By far the brasserie’s greatest asset is its attentive yet unobtrusive staff, who stage manage the experience to a fault. + The Bombe Alaska is well-named - Lighting a little dim verging on the gloomy

Olive Branch Bistro 91 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 21) 0131 557 8589, | £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

No. 8 Lister Square

This Broughton Street bistro has inviting large windows overlooking the bustling street. Inside, local artwork by Edinburgh artists hangs on calm olive walls. A specials blackboard features daily changing soup, mussels and cheesecake. The Olive Branch is also known for its weekend brunch menu, which has favourites such as eggs florentine, pacifico and benedict. For dinner, a rustic camembert and almond tart with a garnish of rocket has a pleasant sweet fig taste. The best part of a dish of monkfish wrapped in Parma ham and celeriac remoulade is the mash, flecked with crumbs of black pudding. Desserts are on the big side, so don’t be afraid to share. Look out for the day’s special cheesecake which might be an outstanding mango and vanilla confection. The wine list favours Italian bottles and also offers half-bottle options. There’s no pre-theatre menu as such, but if you show your theatre or movie ticket you get ten per cent off your entire meal. A deservedly popular bistro on the Edinburgh scene. + Relaxed atmosphere and fine wines - Can be hard to hear your dining companion

8 Lister Square, Quartermile, Old Town (Map 2A: B5, 59)

One Square

First Coast (page 43): popular with Dalry locals for over a decade for their fresh take on bistro classics

and silken flesh. Similarly successful is the main of sea bream smothered in brown butter hollandaise, a light, creamy dish offset beautifully by the earthiness of crispy kale. A dry-aged ribeye is artfully cooked and smacking of saltiness, though paired with chips so huge they could serve as doorstoppers. A chocolate delice and liquorice meringue dessert is a little too bitter, but any sweet tooth would be well served with an Eisenhower Old Fashioned, a perfectly balanced cocktail classic with cherry and orange overtones. + The cocktails are simply superb - Vegetarians are not well catered for

Montpeliers of Bruntsfield 159–161 Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside (Map 3A: A4, 31) 0131 229 3115, | £10 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Montpeliers is proof that when panache and smiling professionalism are deployed, a restaurant doesn’t have to labour to be revolutionary. There’s nothing specifically unique about this Bruntsfield institution – interiors are de rigueur hipster, the menu comprehensive and classic – but it is always packed with happy punters. This is perhaps due to its broad-church approach to bistro dining: from all-day brunches and meal-deal lunches to sharing platters and cocktail deals in the evening, every gustatory scenario has been conceived of and catered for. Dishes are well executed – arancini are sturdy, sticky, cheesy morsels brought to life with a zingy chilli sauce, while chicken with gnocchi is a fried, buttery, mustardy feast, an abundance of soul food peppered with shards of pancetta. Equally ruinously rich (though certainly satisfying) is the salmon with pappardelle – an accomplished dish, the richness of the salmon cut through with pinpoints of capers. A dessert of sticky toffee pudding is neither disappointing nor remarkable, but the cocktails are worth trying, the Bloody Mary boasting a strong kick and tailor made to taste. + Cheery, accommodating staff make no request seem too much - The interior feels a little calculated in its efforts to be hip 46 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Mums Great Comfort Food 4a Forrest Road, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 54) 0131 260 9806, | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

A stone’s throw from Edinburgh University, Mum’s Comfort Food offers a taste of home to the city’s huddled masses, providing robust comfort food in a winkingly 70s setting. The wallpaper is deliberately distasteful, and the toilets are adorned with images of Michael Caine and Diana Rigg. Staff are as friendly as you please, and the food feels restorative – it would ease you through the morning after, or more than set you up if you were about to tie one on. Unsurprisingly, it’s a haven for students and sports fans. Chicken pie (well, chicken stew with a pastry lid) features hot chunks of mustardy chick and an inch-high hat of moreish puff pastry, and is warming soul food. Sausages are premium, lamb bangers boasting a sharp peppery kick and matched well with oozing cheesy mash. Accompanying veg and chips feel a bit by-numbers in approach but they’re not the draw here. A real treat is a generous helping of treacle and date pudding, buttery rich and rib-sticking. You’ll have to roll home, but with a happy heart and content belly. + The place to head if hunting food in quantity - A 40-minute wait for starters makes for irritable dining

Museum Brasserie National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

North Bridge Brasserie 20 North Bridge, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 10) 0131 622 2900, | £14.50 (set lunch)

Did you know that the ground floor (also, confusingly, the fourth floor, depending on which entrance you use) of the Scotsman Hotel, where the brasserie now sits, was once the trading space for the renowned newspaper? Cosy tables now occupy the nooks where advertising brokers once leaned, but

the oak-panelled walls, rococo carvings and distinctive white marble and green granite columns still soar up to the spectacular ceiling above the soft-lit dining space. Some modern additions – the industrial steel staircase adorned by a rattling heating unit and the surprising service charge – have less appeal, but head chef Paul Hart has thankfully kept to tradition with a menu that chimes all the right notes. Loch Etive sea trout, roast Shetland cod and Highland beef are cooked with abundant care to preserve their rich flavours, although having to pay extra for side dishes is galling, particularly at these toothsome prices. + The warm, genuine wait staff and fine Scottish foodstuffs - Stealthy service charge feels unnecessarily greedy

While there’s still construction work going on, empty apartments and a prominent sales office, there’s no doubt that Quartermile, the redevelopment of the city’s former Royal Infirmary site, is filling up fast and emerging as an area with style and presence. Right at its heart, Lister Square is an appealing open plaza around which venues are beginning to cluster. The latest, due to open its doors in May, is No.8 Lister Square, from the team behind Steak Restaurant, Steak on Stones and Beer and Skittles. Mixing sheer glass walls with red-brick interiors, it’s aiming to be a social hub with food and drink in the mix alongside lounge areas, pool tables, live music and Sunday roasts. [Not yet open at time of going to press – see food. for updates.]

No. 11 Brunswick Street 11 Brunswick Street (Map 5B: A5, 27) 0131 557 6910, | £23 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Lamplit portico steps beckon guests through the original tiled hotel reception into a muted dining room with a large open wall displaying a monochrome exposition of the grand old men of Edinburgh’s Enlightenment. They might

1 Festival Square, West End (Map 4: C2, 38) 0131 221 6422, | £16 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

It may be attached to one of Edinburgh’s top hotels, but the number of locals sharing the long glass-fronted dining room with hotel guests suggests that One Square is much more than an in-house establishment. Nevertheless, diners can expect to hear a multilingual babble as they enjoy views of Edinburgh Castle or pore over a menu that tells of a skilled team in the kitchen. And although the price tag is in keeping with the venue’s status, the quality of the food and the friendly, professional service justify that expense. For starters, a terrine of Dryfeholm Farm pork belly with black pudding is a work of art that showcases fine local produce. Nor has the slab of tender venison with red-wine poached quince and black cabbage travelled far. But the showstopper is the duck burger – a heap of flavour-packed confit leg trimmed from the bone and topped with a fried duck egg. A delicate vanilla parfait with clementines and basil meringues is an excellent conclusion to what is an outstanding dining experience in anyone’s language.


In association with

+ High-end food with a strong local flavour - Can be difficult to get a table at weekends

The Outsider 15–16 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 42) 0131 226 3131, | £11.50 (lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Lunchtimes at the ever-popular Outsider buzz with a very Edinburgh mix of ladies, lawyers, suits, students and academics. The lucky ones, or special requesters, get the coveted window seats with classic castle view: a tourist must-do. Hand-scrawled daily specials (served until 7pm) such as coley on grilled brioche with mint and pea pesto, or mackerel with coconut and tamarind arancini, are always interesting, and supplement lunch menu regulars like moules-frites and pie (rabbit, mushroom, leek and tarragon) with mash. Evenings dress up for dinner along Auld Alliance lines, Scottish sourcing to the fore in seafood, game and on-trend touches: rillettes of clams and cockles with scurvy grass, or pigeon breast with pak choi to start; then roast venison haunch or a salmon-centred bouillabaisse with crab parmesan toast. Sweets finish strongly: parsnip and white chocolate frangipane or a spiced earl grey and rhubarb fool. Try the daily bin ends too – an Argentinian shiraz malbec is a belter. The buzz isn’t just about the view. + Getting a table with a castle view - Disappointment if you don’t

and ale pie is unsophisticated but still satisfying. Desserts are an afterthought, though if you’ve a sweet tooth the caramel and chocolate tart is perfectly fine. + All the trappings of a style bar with cut-price food - Its basement location makes it easy to miss 14 Eyre Place, New Town See Cafés

Rollo 108 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge See Bars & Pubs

4 The Royal Dick Bar & Bistro 1 Summerhall, Southside (Map 3C: D2, 15) 0131 560 1572, bar-cafe | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Raeburn 112 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge See Scottish

The Salisbury Arms

Redwood Bistro

58 Dalkeith Road, Southside See Bars & Pubs

49–51 London Street, New Town See Bars & Pubs

Peter’s Yard Stockbridge 3 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge See Cafés

Petit Paris 38–40 Grassmarket, Old Town See French

Porto & Fi 47 Newhaven Main Street, Leith See Cafés

1 Meadow Place Road, Corstorphine, West End See North American

Rick’s 55a Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1A: C4, 68) 0131 622 7800, | £10 (set lunch) / £18.95 (dinner)

There’s a pleasantly faded glamour to Rick’s, once a famed style bar, now less trendy, but charming nonetheless. Wood-panelled and low-lit, it’s a little out of time, a surprisingly harmonious marriage of 90s slick and 50s cool. Staff are especially friendly, and little flourishes like frosted glasses for your beer encourage lingering visits. A set menu of two courses for £10 is a handsome prospect, the food cheerfully simple. For starters, fat piles of smoked salmon are served with outrageously good horseradish cream, the heat of the horseradish contrasting with the cool richness of the salmon, candied lemon providing the perfect citrus garnish. An eggy polenta dish is warming, if unwisely paired with beetroot. Mains are hearty servings with bold flavours. A chargrilled barbecue chicken salad goes heavy on the barbecue sauce and is plate-lickingly fine, while a steak

voucher for

The Roamin’ Nose

Shielded from sight inside the courtyard of Edinburgh’s former vet school, the Royal Dick bar is undeniably one of the city’s more unique venues. Animal specimens and surgical curios in glass-fronted cabinets adorn the walls alongside esoteric African carvings; the small rooms off the slightly labyrinthine bar featuring a railway platform weighing machine, old operating tables, a slightly warped piano and an intricately detailed scale model of a sailing ship, all lit by dozy golden candles. Summerhall’s dining and drinking wunderkammer has always been a feast for the eyes, but happily, since the recent launch of its pared-down menu, it has somewhat unexpectedly become a gastronomical venue that can hold its own with the best in town. Fresh mussels in zingy sauce sit alongside a bijou burger selection, and a ribeye steak is simply presented but gloriously full of truffle notes and rich umami flavours. Sensibly, the kitchen and bar play to the strengths of their (very) local suppliers, with cask beer from Barney’s brewery just feet from the door and Pickering’s gin with its herb-garden punch providing a mainstay of the astute cocktail menu. A real unexpected gem. + The food, the atmosphere, the prices - The bar can get a little crowded on occasion

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4 Salt Café 54–56 Morningside Road, Southside (Map 3B: A2, 2) 0131 281 1885 | £12 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With its robust red walls and cosy atmosphere, this Morningside Road café-bistro has a pleasant street view through the window. Salt is a bit of a local secret – there’s not even a website – but it doesn’t stop a steady stream of customers filling the picnic-style tables, even during the week. Salt stands for Seasonal And Local Thinking, and there’s definitely a celebration of local ingredients in their brunch, lunch and evening menus. Dishes arrive on dark slate plates and there’s a touch of the wild in the beautiful garnishes. Little cello-shaped partridge cheeks arrive with a tart beetroot remoulade and slices of ginger-spiced pear. Homemade ravioli is an outstanding dish, with tomato consommé served over delicate squid ink pasta stuffed with ricotta. Desserts might be along the lines of a slab of white chocolate and molasses cheesecake with rum-soaked berries. There’s humour in the drinks menu with its list of ‘anti-fogmatics’ – fizzy cocktails meant to buoy the human spirit before going out in bad weather. This

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Outside Catering Open all day from 9am (Sun 10am) Available for larger bookings. 15 Salisbury Place EH9 1SL (close to Queen’s Hall and the Commonwealth pool)

Tel: 0131 667 4654 follow us on: facebook twitter The List Eating & Drinking Guide 47



is a place where creative dishes and excellent ingredients go a long way. + Cosy and delicious dining experience - Picnic-style tables are not always that comfortable

Shackleton’s Bar & Brasserie 12–16 South Learmonth Gardens, Comely Bank, West End (Map 4: A1, off) 0131 315 2226, | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Recently rebranded in honour of the famous explorer who resided in the townhouse at the beginning of the 1900s, Shackleton’s is yet to fully reveal its new identity. Tucked beneath Channing’s Hotel, the brightly lit Antarctic-themed bar hosts an all-day brasserie menu with evolving plans to travel away from the more formal, neutral-toned dining area in favour of the more engaging and contemporary garden room. The menu looks to cover a lot of ground, with ciabatta sandwiches and nachos sharing platters supporting a three-course bistro menu and an appealing afternoon tea offer with optional fizz. Legacies from the evening à la carte include pigeon breast with puy lentils and red wine jus preceding deliciously yielding pork belly with black pudding mash and bread and butter pudding with crème anglaise. Borrowed from the previous bar menu are huge helpings of flaky fresh fish and chips, blue cheese and bacon burgers and sausages smothered in red onion gravy. While it’s confident of finding its feet, the bar-brasserie hasn’t yet worked out in which direction it wishes to travel. + Splendid fish and chips - Disjointed menu

The Shore Bar & Restaurant 3 The Shore, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 11) 0131 553 5080, fi | £10 pie and a pint (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

With its laid-back atmosphere, staff who are friendly but not intrusive, and regular jazz nights supplying mellow background sounds, the Shore is a great place to chill out. The busy bar area is an informal place to enjoy food and drink while the jazz performers do their thing in the corner. Meanwhile, a similar-sized area next door focuses on satisfying the needs of diners. The rich wood panels and low lighting may make the surroundings a little too dark for some. However, a menu with a bias towards fish but also offering enough to satisfy carnivores and supplemented by several daily specials, should make any peering worthwhile. Starters could include mussels with tomato and saffron with an added chilli kick that whets the appetite for mains where the fish of the day could be a stone bass or maybe a delicate monkfish served with a selection of vegetables and a crème fraiche sauce. Bakewell tart or perhaps a selection of excellent cheeses is an ideal way to finish off a relaxing meal. + Fresh fish in a relaxed atmosphere - Music nights mainly for jazz fans

The Skylark 241–243 High Street, Portobello (Map 5B: C5, off) 0131 629 3037, | Closed Tue | £13 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Once upon a time a windy walk along the falling-down front of Edinburgh’s seaside would be sound-tracked by Morrissey’s ‘Everyday is Like Sunday’. But as Portobello evolves, the Skylark, opened in 2012, is a signifier of its evergentrifying character. Self-styled hybrid of pub and French café-bistro, it’s a locals’ go-to for everything from coffee and croque madames to craft beer, cocktails and dressing (down) for dinner. As well as day-to-evening catering, it 48 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Sylvesters: a cheery, family affair offering fine creative cooking without the fandango

serves its community with all sorts from pub quiz to film nights and foodie events such as an Alpine Tyrolean takeover by street food truckers Alplings. The Skylark’s staff are smiley, the styling urban Euro-hip – exposed workings, crumbling plaster, primary class chairs and chunky wood mix-and-matched with melamine pastels. Dishes on the monthly changing dinner menu don’t always live up to billing – the sausages in a sticky cider stew could be meatier, and accompanying herb dumplings are a bit floury. Sweeten the mood with a peanut butter blondie, or chocolate and salted caramel pot. + Locals’ bistro with regular roster of events - Tables and chairs on the small side

Smoke Stack 53–55 Broughton Street, New Town See North American

Spit/Fire Restaurant 26b Dublin Street, New Town (Map 1B: B4, 66) 0131 556 5967, spitfi | £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

This two-storey venture from the talented crew behind the Hanging Bat comprises an upstairs restaurant specialising in rotisserie fare and a downstairs bar focusing on drinks. The restaurant works a strippedback, Brooklyn warehouse vibe – all concrete floors, wooden panelling and fancy light fittings. There’s a rotating selection of artisanal ales and tasty brews on tap to suit every beer-drinkers’ palate. Informed recommendations from staff and complimentary samples help you to find a perfect schooner. Foodwise, the menu moves between barbecue-inflected pub grub and more upmarket bistro dishes, the former the more successful. A starter pairs well seared scallops with apple purée, dried apple and bitter toasted hazelnuts. The Spit/Fire chicken noodle soup is a sumptuous bowl of Thai-inflected broth, crammed with noodles and generous chunks of chicken. As to the rotisserie dishes that lend Spit/Fire its name, the chicken comes with rich and delicious gravy, and the rotisserie

charred veg is a pleasingly oily, salty success. + Hanging Bat quality beer in the New Town - It can take a while for food to arrive

Spoon 6a Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D4, 77) 0131 623 1752, spoonedinburgh. | £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

This upstairs bistro is close to Edinburgh University and the Festival Theatre and is therefore often populated by students and theatregoers. Spoon also draws a crowd for its themed events, such as its Radical Burns Supper and an International Women’s Day dinner. The locally sourced menu covers brunch, lunch and evening dishes and includes several options for vegetarians and gluten-free diners. Quilted curtains, tea pots with cosies and old-style furniture by the window contrast with a modern, innovative approach to cooking which often harnesses unlikely ingredients. A sweet potato, pear and chilli soup, for instance, is an unusual and interesting taste combination. Slow-cooked lamb shank falls off the bone and is paired with soft flageolet beans, chilli and bacon. From the specials board, a flaky curry fishcake has great depth of flavour and arrives on a bed of springy pea shoots. For dessert, there’s a sticky toffee pudding doused with caramel sauce and a delightful fusion of dark chocolate with pear and shortbread. By day this is a charming café; by night diners congregate for a pleasant and generous meal. + Thoughtful, home-cooked dishes - Room can be a little chilly

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

Sweet Melindas 11 Roseneath Street, Southside See Fish

4 Sylvesters 55–57 West Nicolson Street, Southside (Map 2A: D5, 64) 0131 662 4493, | Closed Sun | £12.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Opened by young chef Kieran Sylvester

in 2013, this small and understated corner bistro is a family affair that punches seriously above its superficial weight. A cheery welcome awaits, with tables brightened by fresh red roses and a meal that demonstrates a staunch commitment to fine creative cooking without the fandango. The compact menu (regularly re-crafted around seasonal produce) features chunks of salmon with soy and wasabi foam and fat handmade parcels of rabbit ravioli dripping with a creamy and pungent walnut truffle sauce, a blue cheese-laced lamb dish with grainy apricot cous cous soaked in jus and a hearty champit and sausage dish. Mum may run the administration while Dad wrangles the accounts, but they also get their bespoke coffee roasted in Bristol and some intriguing experiments with the cutting-edge of molecular gastronomy may lie just over the horizon. This unassuming and under-visited spot serves some of the finest fare in town – and it gets very busy in the summer, so bag a table while you still can. + Three-day marinated lamb - It won’t stay a secret for long

Tempus 25 George Street, New Town (Map 1B: A6, 57) 0131 240 7197, | £14 (lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Commanding the main dining room of the George Hotel, Tempus keeps pace with its busy surroundings. Its rather grand setting is taken in stride by kilted waiters who deliver a fun and friendly service. Food is served throughout the day, a lighter selection of sandwiches and classic pub options giving way to greater adventure and more complex flavours in the evening. A balanced offering of meat, fish and vegetarian dishes should provide something for everyone. From burgers to Orkney steaks and shin of beef to roasted red mullet or a young leek and chive polenta cake, enhanced by chargrilled vegetables, the simpler options provide the more consistent results. Still, the atmosphere is very jolly and the call of the cocktail shaker delivers a pleasing addition to the gastropub menu. + Cocktails in a fun atmosphere - Can be a little loud


In association with

Three Birds Restaurant 3–5 Viewforth, Bruntsfield, Southside (Map 3A: A3, 29) 0131 229 3252, | £9.50 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Bruntsfield bistro Three Birds shares a similarly playful British-with-twists menu with its Southside sibling, Apiary. It’s an intimate space with a neighbourhood vibe befitting its position just off the well-todo suburb’s main street. The menu, each dish described in enticing detail, is a good read, and a wee side of crisp pig’s ear served with aioli makes for a great start. Smoked ham and goat’s cheese poppers are as easy a win as deep-fried cheese balls should be, but the avocado chips promise something more imaginative than they deliver. Mains shoot far and wide, from seared duck and mash to lime and coconut chicken supreme, to market fish of the day – maybe sea trout with spinach in Pernod and olive sauce vierge. Sharing plates such as global barbecue monster, the Three Birds and Beasts platter, and a daily changing seafood version are popular choices. Desserts like rocky road are great fun, the accompanying peanut butter and jam ice-cream one of many bespoke flavours made to order by Over Langshaw Farm. Curly Wurly and Kahlua? You got it! + Crispy pig’s ears are the perfect nibble - Some dishes don’t live up to billing

Tigerlily 125 George Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 44) 0131 225 5005, | £15 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

It’s a slick proposition, Tigerlily, all low-lit and glitzy, giving you a sense the interior decorator often utilised terms like ‘bling’. It sets a siren’s wail to the George

Street crowd, who regularly escape their corporate overlords to down fizz here. The drinks list is the length of a Russian novel (with the price of wine by the glass providing the tragic element) boasting stylish new cocktails and well-executed staples – a Cosmopolitan is zingy and fresh, and feels the perfect drink for the surroundings. Sharing platters are a convivial way to get started, although olives are suspiciously metallic tasting, but the charcuterie is good. A main of halibut sits alongside a wonderfully paprika-spiked mash with hearty chunks of chorizo throughout. The salmon is fresh and perfectly seared, paired with wilted pak choi. Desserts arrive in haste, suggesting microwave treatment, but an apple crumble is warming and moreish, with just the right amount of cinnamon. A Neapolitan trio of ice-creams also hits the spot. + The cocktails make for a giddy flush - Not the scene for those not wanting to be ‘seen’

Toast 146 Marchmont Road, Southside (Map 3C: A3, 28) 0131 446 9873, | £6.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

There is a peaceful, easy-going vibe about Toast as it shifts from breakfast café to neighbourhood bistro by night. It gets busy at weekends during brunch where you can trawl through the free papers over eggs benedict, French toast and the like. The tables outside on the wide Marchmont pavement soon fill up when the sun’s out, while at lunchtime they do a brisk trade in soup and sandwiches. Of an evening this bright, high-ceilinged space may lack intimacy, but this is compensated by a compact, well-chosen


1 Chambers Street Edinburgh EH1 1HR 0131 226 7177

Restaurant, lounge, bar, function venue & live music

Comfort food, great ambience & affordable prices

Bisque Brasserie is a neighbourhood restaurant in the Bruntsfield area of Edinburgh and features casual gourmet food. Menus are imaginative and include well known brasserie favourites with a focus on the freshest ingredients from Scotland. We take pride in serving Scottish beef steaks, Scottish fish & seafood and know the source of all our food. Servers are attentive, the carefully cooked food arrives quickly and the lunch and dinner menus change regularly. We have a heated garden terrace which is a sun trap for outside drinking and dining on warmer spring and summer days! 69 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh.

Open 7.30am - 9.30pm (last orders) 7 days a week. The List Eating & Drinking Guide 49



menu chalked on a blackboard. Starters include various soups, a mackerel pâté and a generous roast pepper and grilled cheese salad, while a standout from the mains is a creamy smoked haddock and prawn risotto. + Leisurely weekend brunch - Lacks a certain cosiness of an evening

The Turquoise Thistle Hotel Indigo, 51–59 York Place, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 33) 0131 556 5577, | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Right opposite the tram terminus on York Place, Hotel Indigo is a beacon for weary travellers with bright blue lights sparkling on its Georgian townhouse facade. Its dutifully colour-coordinated restaurant, Turquoise Thistle, occupies the airy front room of one of these residences. The decor, however, is firmly contemporary, from the statement lighting and framed thistle prints to the turquoise stag’s head on the wall. The kitchen confidently dishes up grill and bistro classics alongside pizza, pasta and salad choices, with only the occasional mis-step: crispy haggis bon bons and a 35-day-aged Buccleuch steak with a flourish of garlic wild mushrooms eclipse chewy lamb rump. It’s worth leaving room for dessert: the Thistle is popular for afternoon tea and baking skills show in feather-light ginger pudding with caramel sauce and pretty blueberry and white chocolate trifle. End the night in the hotel’s whisky bar or with one of their own cocktail creations: a couple of Irn Bru whisky sours and any minor quibbles are forgiven. + Moreish five-spice pork strips - The wine list is decidedly minimalist

Urban Angel 121 Hanover Street, New Town See Cafés

The Voodoo Rooms 19a West Register Street, New Town (Map 1B: B6, 51) 0131 556 7060, | No Kids | £14.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Tucked away from view but just a few steps from Princes Street, the Voodoo Rooms attract varied audiences to sample live music, cocktails and solid bistro food. The ballroom is an ideal venue for bands, while the bar area with its padded seats, candlelit tables and cosy booths is a good place to enjoy an impressive array of drinks. While the venue may be better known for its music and mixology, the food menu is also worth a look. Sunday specials and a fixed-price deal offer good value, while the wider offerings have many attractions. Starters might include king scallops served alongside baby asparagus and pancetta, with the saltiness offset by a zesty lemon butter. The choice of mains is short but varied, with pies, pasta and salad sitting alongside meat dishes that include deliciously pink duck breast served on a bed of wilted greens with sauté potatoes and a sweet Cumberland sauce. Taste is more important than style but flair is evident in the presentation of desserts – notably a chocolate and raspberry crème brûlée served in a teacup. + Solid bistro food served in atmospheric surroundings - Low lighting may be too dark for some

The Water of Leith Café Bistro 1 Howard Street, Canonmills, Leith See Cafés

Wildfire Scottish Steak & Seafood Bistro 192 Rose Street, New Town See Scottish 50 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

CAFES Edinburgh’s café scene remains vibrant, varied and competitive, with new places springing up and old favourites continuing to please. Many proudly proclaim the use of local, seasonal produce, and free-from options are par for the course these days. From gelato havens to afternoon tea with linen napkins to some serious coffee geekery, it’s clear that Edinburgh’s café culture is alive and kicking. Reviewers: Stan Blackley, Barry Cooper, Ian Hogg, Sandy Neil, Courtney Hyde Peyton, Claire Ritchie, Paul Trainer

Affogato 36 Queensferry Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 11) 0131 225 1444, affogatogelato. | Closed Mon

Could this be the finest ice-cream in Edinburgh? If it’s not, it’s right up there with the best. Strictly speaking, it’s actually gelato that Anna Campbell’s friendly West End establishment both creates (on the premises) and serves from its revolving display – with a fraction of the fat of ice cream, a denser product and a richer flavour. Choose from the more traditional chocolate, coffee or peanut butter right through to liquorice or apple and thyme, plus seasonal specialities – and Anna’s happy to try out customer suggestions. Take away a generously filled cone or relax with a tub or two on one of the spacious café’s welcoming sofas. Also on offer are crisp, freshly cooked waffles with an inventive selection of toppings (bitter cherries with amareno gelato makes a winning combination), plus panini, artisan cakes, good, strong coffee and a flavoursome collection of teas. But the gelato’s the star here – and it’s well worth a special trip to Queensferry Street to seek it out. + Dog-friendly to the point of offering doggie gelato - So much choice!

Anteaques 17 Clerk Street, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

Artisan Roast • 138 Bruntsfield Place, Southside • 57 Broughton Street, New Town • 100a Raeburn Place, Stockbridge See Cafés: Wee Places

The Bakehouse Co. 32c Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 26) 0131 557 1157, | £6.50 (set lunch)

Sandwiched on Broughton Street, the Bakehouse is a pleasant wee café serving breakfasts of porridge, bacon rolls, filled croissants, scones and sweet pastries, through to lunches of homemade cakes, salads, baked potatoes, quiches, pies and sandwiches. Undoubtedly diners can find similar counters of fresh bakery and tasty fillings – like smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and spinach, or chorizo, manchego and red onion chutney – elsewhere in the New Town, but what raises the Bakehouse above the rest is their daily soups and stews. Sweet potato, bacon and paprika soup is balanced and well seasoned, and a nourishing stew of slow-cooked beef with Guinness, mushroom and pearl barley proves the cook to be more than a good baker. The café looks like an old

patisserie, decorated with Edwardian chocolate adverts and cabinets displaying zesty blueberry and almond tart, lemon and poppy seed cake and rich, soft brownies. This is a fine spot to stop, sip tea served in silver teapots and milk jugs atop burr elm tables, and people-watch from the plush purple window seat. + The stew is a masterclass in the souper’s art - Big cups need to be heated to keep wee coffees hot

La Barantine • 202 Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside (Map 3A: A4, 32) 0131 229 0267 | £6.95 (set lunch) • 89 West Bow, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 34) 0131 226 4927, LaBarantine | £8 (dinner)

Vive la France! These two petite cafés in Bruntsfield and Victoria Street showcase some truly excellent French baking, and prove their popularity by always being so packed it can be hard to find room to swing a baguette. A selection of sandwiches encompass the ham, cheese and salad fillings that you’d expect from a French café, elevated by La Barantine’s own superbly crisp, chewy bread. In addition there’s a homemade soup of the day, some quiches and a croque or two, all of which serve as a filling lunch or mid-afternoon snack. But the real draw here must be the gorgeous patisserie, all of which are made in house by supremely talented owner/baker Vincent Alpincourt and his crew. Pretty, jewel-like macarons vie for attention next to eclairs filled with chocolate or vanilla crème patissiere, luscious fruit tarts and puffy meringues. Combine any of the above with a café au lait or chocolat chaud and imagine you’re in Paris for an hour or so. + Exquisite cakes - You’ll be lucky to get a seat

4 The Beach House 57 Bath Street, Portobello (Map 5B: C5, off) 0131 657 2636, thebeachhousecafe. | £9 (lunch)

Holding prime position on Portobello promenade, the Beach House enjoys great views of the beach and Firth of Forth. Pale blue walls, chunky wooden furniture, driftwood accessories and wildflowers on the tables give the place a welcoming, hippy-happy-homely feel. Popular with sand-sick parents with salty kids and tired buggy-pushers, it provides a welcome shelter from wild winter weather and a shady stop-off in the summer sun. The food here is simple and straightforward, and the menu demonstrates an admirable commitment to the ethical sourcing of quality ingredients, many of which come from ultra-local producers and suppliers. For example, the fruit cordials are made in Portobello, grown produce is sourced from nearby allotments, and the heartstopping cake selection is home-baked by local mums. This family-friendly, popular eatery is almost always busy, but the service is fast and efficient, so you’ll never queue too long for a table or wait too long for your order. + Simple, straightforward beachside sustenance using locally sourced produce - It’s always popular so you may have to queue for a short while

Bijou 2 Restalrig Road, Leith See Bistros & Brasseries

Black Medicine Coffee Company • 7/8 Barclay Terrace, Southside (Map 3A: B2, 22) 0131 625 5630

• 2 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D4, 78) 0131 557 6269, | £7 (lunch)

Appearances can be deceptive, for inside this tiny café by Bruntsfield Links there is seating for plenty thanks to a clever decking system that creates an upstairs area of intimate corners and comfy sofas – an ideal place to get lost in a book or work on a university project. With another branch over on Nicolson Street, the clientele at both Black Medicines tends to be students and academics, who are made welcome with free wifi and plenty of snacks on hand to aid concentration. The menu keeps things simple, with hot breakfast rolls (including veggie options) moving into soups and generously filled bagels and panini at lunchtime. Everything is prepared in house, and the £5 soup and sandwich combo is a cracking deal, made even more appealing by the prospect of super-friendly staff, great coffee and a selection of cakes and bakes. + The warmest of welcomes - Burning your mouth on a molten-hot toastie

The Blue Bear 9 Brandon Terrace, New Town (Map 1B: A1, 6) 0131 629 0229, cafebluebear. | £9 (lunch)

Brekkie in all its beautiful forms is the order of the day at the Blue Bear. Whether it’s a gut-busting full works (aka The Big Bear) or something on the healthier side – homemade granola or Stoat’s porridge – you’ll find it here, all day long. Eggs are free range and organic, produce is locally sourced and coffee comes from North Berwick’s Steampunk. A colourful mural of Edinburgh’s skyline and work from local artists adorn the long, narrow room and – for a small fee – you can even enjoy a game of ping-pong downstairs. A cute ‘Tales from the Crib’ menu caters for the little folks and four-legged friends are particularly welcome too. Lunch brings soups, sandwiches and antipasti platters to the table and there’s a counter stacked with home-baked goodies, including cracking scones as well as traybakes and cakes. + They’ve taken over the coffee kiosk in St Andrew Square - St Andrew Square is a dog-free zone

The Bluebird Café 5 Canonmills, Stockbridge (Map 1B: A2, 8) 07749 971847, | £6 (lunch)

It’s little more than a year since Kylie McGregor opened the doors, but Bluebird café has already taken off. Those looking to enjoy her hearty breakfasts and lunches need to be quick off the mark to bag one of the 14 seats, while regular takeaway customers can enjoy the banter of the staff and an impressive range of options. The owner starts work early, making scones, cakes and soup in her compact kitchen. The décor, background sounds and the menus are heavily influenced by McGregor’s travels in America. Breakfast temptations include

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to


In association with



CAFES 4 The Beach House Right on Portobello prom, the cakes and icecream here are local legends. 4 Café Renroc A neighbourhood café doing everything right. 4 The Caffeine Drip Welcoming to all, offering highquality fare for not very high prices. 4 Earthy Market Café Seasonal, sustainable and organic are the buzz words at this quirky Southside gem. Victor & Carina Contini Cannonball (page 61): three storeys of Scots-Italian culinary love by the Castle

buttermilk pancakes, while frankfurters, nachos and burgers steal the show at lunchtime alongside a good-value soup and sandwich deal. And the tantalising cakes and good coffee go down well at any time of day. + Hearty foods served from early in the day - Have to be quick to secure a table

Bon Papillon 15 Howe Street, Stockbridge See Arts Venues

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

Breadshare Bakery 11–12 Seafi eld Road East, Portobello, Portobello (Map 5B: C5, off) 0131 258 5165, | £7 (lunch)

‘Real bread for everyone’ is the cosily egalitarian message which greets visitors to the premises of this oddly located but hard-working communityinterest company on the outskirts of Portobello. And yes, this is certainly real bread. Established as a wholesale supplier at Whitmuir Farm in 2012, Breadshare Bakery moved closer to

town into this joint café and production premises at the start of 2015. Their range is limited, but is a contender for the finest bread in Edinburgh. Even the window display is a delight: a freshly baked stack of rich olive focaccia, cheesy bread overflowing with melted cheddar, rye breads, fruity and plain wheat breads, spicy buns, almond twists and so on. The teas and coffees are good, and the lunch menu of soup, salad or stew is heartily homemade, but the thick seeded toast on the side of the plate remains the star. Set up to serve the community and not to make a profit, the company’s workshops for adults and schools, volunteering schemes and ethical approach to sourcing are all worth learning more about. + We challenge you to find better bread in Edinburgh - Not in the most convenient of locations, and sadly no cakes

Brew Lab 6–8 South College Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D4, 79) 0131 662 8963, | £8 (lunch)

With its sharp-shabby designerdemolition interior, Brew Lab couldn’t look any less like a laboratory, yet

some serious caffeine calculations take place within these bare brick, stone and plaster walls. This place puts coffee at the centre of its science, augmenting americanos and cappuccinos from its shiny Victoria Arduino coffee machine with a rotating selection of pour-over brews from specialist suppliers such as Has Beans, as well as hot chocolate from Edward and Irwyn and teas from Pekoe Tea. These are given substance by quality cakes and pastries from local, artisan suppliers like Lovecrumbs and Le Petit Français, and a daily-changing menu of freshly made sandwiches and Union of Genius soups. Being so near the university, this innovative, comfortable and enjoyable coffee house is popular with laptop-wielding students and gets so busy that the wifi is turned off at peak times to ensure a turnover of seats. + Testing different types and brews of coffees to taste the differences - Suffering the jitters from the resulting caffeine overdose

Broughton Delicatessen 7 Barony Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 23) 0131 558 7111, broughton-deli. | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

4 Edinburgh Larder Café Sustainable, seasonal and local ingredients turned into some seriously inventive dishes. 4 Lovecrumbs Generous, innovative cakes in a quirky setting. 4 The Pantry Hearty, imaginative dishes served in a great atmosphere by friendly staff. 4 Patisserie Maxime Charming service and top-notch French fancies a stone’s throw from Princes Street.

4 Porto & Fi A Newhaven hideout for wonderful cakes. 4 Soderberg Pizza at the Bakery Pizza takes on a Scandinavian twist at this newcomer from the Peter’s Yard stable. 4 Valvona & Crolla Caffe Bar A light nibble or a lengthy feast, it’s all about sourcing the best ingredients. 4 Water of Leith Café Bistro A new location, but the same warm welcome and good food.

The Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar has been hit-listed 4 times in the last 6 years and 11 times in 19 years since 1996. If we have not yet had the pleasure of your company please come and visit Edinburgh’s original Caffè Bar.

19 Elm Row, Edinburgh, EH7 4AA 0131 556 6066 - Shop online at for mainland UK free delivery

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 51



The jumbled mix of parents with kids, young couples, and middle-aged people stopping in for a casual cup of coffee makes Broughton Delicatessen a wonderfully friendly and welcoming place to spend an afternoon. There are plenty of options for sandwiches and salads, and a vegetarian can easily navigate around these parts. There is an abundance of baked goods, of which the banana-blueberry cake is a must try. And the quiches can also hold their own. While the deli is not open for a proper dinner service, they do offer evening options, perfect for an early bird meal or a late, leisurely lunch. On top of their takeaway options, don’t forget about their packaged treats scattered around the counter. + Home-baked goods regularly on sale - Toilet is down some steep stairs

focus on ‘Hubmade’ dishes featuring largely local and Scottish ingredients. A daily special of Thai red beef soup is warming and packed with flavour, while a butternut squash, pea and parmesan risotto comes with grilled asparagus and truffle oil and is hearty and satisfying. A beef burger arrives in an artisan bun with tomato relish and thick cut chips and an additional topping of blue cheese. There are sharing platters, a competitively priced soupand-half-sandwich deal, and an excellent afternoon tea for two, and those looking to soak up the sun or enjoy the touristy buzz can grab a coffee or beer and head to the outdoor seating area. + Wholesome and satisfying cooking in a airy and arty venue - It’s breakfast and lunch only, as the chefs work on functions in the evenings

Cafe Hub

Café Marlayne

Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town (Map 2A: B2, 30) 0131 473 2067, | £6 (lunch)

13 Antigua Street, New Town See French

Situated at the junction of the Royal Mile and Castlehill, in a converted church that is home to the Edinburgh International Festival, Cafe Hub inhabits a large, airy space made bright by huge leaded windows and brightly painted walls. Its breakfast and lunch menus

Café Modern One

TIPLIST FOR TAKING THE DOG • The Blue Bear A great place for a coffee pitstop during a walk along the Water of Leith 50 • Cross and Corner Dogs and children are equally welcome at this Canonmills bar 28 • Machina Espresso Enjoy top-drawer coffee in Tollcross and bring Rover along too 62

Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art One, 75 Belford Road, West End See Arts Venues

Café Modern Two Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two, 73 Belford Road, West End See Arts Venues

Café Nom de Plume 60 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 18) 0131 478 1372 | No Kids (under 5) | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Café Nom de Plume is a relaxing hangout on Broughton Street, and a guarded secret for those in the know. The café feels like a living room, with a cluttered bar in the corner, glowing fireplace, bookshelves, hanging oddments, good music and an LGBT noticeboard. It’s a chilled haunt for a hangover, chats, or a solitary read, and they welcome dogs and smokers (in the basement) but not the under 5s. Come feeding time, there’s little or big nibbles of nachos, hot dogs, pakora and popcorn, plus soups, bagels, rolls and bread baked by the Manna House. There are also roundthe-world comfort dishes for carnivores, vegetarians and vegans: fish pie, mince

and tatties, mac cheese, haggis, lasagne, meatballs and mezze, plus salads made with stuffed vine leaves, smoked salmon or mackerel. Combine all these virtues with decent house plonks, unusual German beers and very friendly staff, and it’s no wonder the regulars keep going back. + Homely food at reasonable prices, in a relaxed atmosphere - They could install comfier chairs, and maybe a film screen, but then punters would never leave

Café Portrait Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 1 Queen Street, New Town See Arts Venues

4 Café Renroc 91 Montgomery Street, New Town (Map 5B: A5, 26) 0131 629 3727, caferenroc. | £8 (lunch) / £9.95 (set dinner: Friday only)

Café Renroc somehow feels like a continental café, cosmopolitan eatery and community hub all at once. At ground-floor level, this compact, street corner café-bar is bright and airy thanks to large shop windows, whitewashed walls and well-spaced, bistro-style furniture, while the cosier, low-ceilinged basement space remains light through clever use of large mirrors on bare brick walls and glass balustrades on the stairs. The impressive menu covers a great selection of breakfasts, boards and bowls, as well as sandwiches, salads and specials, all showcasing thoughtful sourcing of quality ingredients and an experienced hand in the kitchen, where everything is prepared in-house, not bought in. Kids and dogs are welcome, outside seats are available all year round, and the place buzzes with locals and regulars, many of whom are greeted on first-name terms. Every neighbourhood should have a café this good on one of its corners. + A continental café and community hub with great coffee - It’s a shame every neighbourhood doesn’t have a café this good

Café at the Palace Palace of Holyroodhouse, Old Town See Arts Venues

Italian On The Mound 15 Bank Street, Old Town See Cafés: Wee Places

4 The Caffeine Drip 10 Melville Place, West End (Map 4: B1, 6) 0131 538 9579, | £8.50 (set lunch)

Opened in August 2014, chef and coowner Christopher Wedge’s quirky, warmly welcoming three-level café is already making Melville Place a goto feeding ground for residents and visitors alike. And it’s not hard to see why. The Caffeine Drip’s extensive menu draws on Wedge’s South African heritage (with succulent boerwors and sticky braided doughnuts among the raft of tempting offerings), as do the evocative photos and vibrant colours of the recycled-chic interior – but it’s far from a theme café. From lavish, inventive breakfasts to freshly prepared soups, thick club sandwiches oozing with fillings, and abundant salads, everything is big on flavour, generous in size and tastes vibrantly fresh. There’s a counter groaning with decadent cake and tray-bake creations – including vegan/ gluten-free options – and the all-important coffee (a Fairtrade Darwin blend) is rich, smooth and lovingly prepared. A lot of love and care has gone into this Edinburgh newcomer, and it shows to superb effect. + Big flavours and a warm welcome - You might struggle to nab a table at weekend lunchtimes

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

Cairngorm Coffee 41a Frederick Street, New Town See Cafés: Wee Places

Casa Amiga 294 Leith Walk, Leith See Round the World

Café Tartine

Casa Angelina

72 Commercial Quay, Leith See French

42 London Street, New Town See Cafés: Wee Places

• The Magnum A home from home for New Town pooches 98 • Nobles A Leith local with a warm heart and plenty of space for four-legged friends 33 • The Ox Hounds mingle with locals enjoying good pub grub on Broughton Street 34 • The Roamin’ Nose A warm welcome for canine customers at this New Town favourite 58 • The Southern Bar A doggy haven as well as being a go-to place for beer and burgers on the Southside 37 • Toast Dogs join the students and after-school crowds at this Marchmont favourite 49 Edinburgh Larder Café: a dose of calm rusticity tucked away off the Royal Mile 52 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


In association with


Castello Coffee Co


- It’s not open on Sundays

4 Earthy Market Café

7 Castle Street, New Town See Cafés: Wee Places

8 St Mary’s Street, Old Town See Round the World

Cucina LC

33–41 Ratcliffe Terrace, Southside (Map 3C: D5, 26) 0131 667 2967, earthy. | £10 (lunch)

La Cerise

City Art Centre Café

199 Great Junction Street, Leith (Map 5A: B3, off) 0131 555 6065, | Closed Sat/Sun | £6 (lunch)

City Art Centre, 2 Market Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

Nestling on a quiet corner of Great Junction Street, La Cerise serves up a tried and tested mix of freshly made sandwiches and soups to Leith workers while concocting a dazzling display of cakes for those looking for a welcoming space to linger for a pot of tea, a chat and something sweet. The farmers’ roast sandwich incorporates bacon, brie and cranberry in an artisan brown seeded roll. In warm weather their ice-creams are popular with families. They pride themselves on creating cakes of impressive proportions that are available by the slice with special bakes prepared for seasonal treats. Look out for their decadent chocolate Guinness cake or a classic slice of red velvet cake. The family-owned café recently introduced its own range of hot dogs in time for the summer. + Delicious, innovative cakes - At busy times you may need to queue for a table

Coffee Angel

68 Haymarket Terrace, West End (Map 4: A3, 66) 0131 467 2671 | Closed Sat/ Sun | £10 (lunch)

• 24–27 Brandon Terrace, New Town (Map 1B: A2, 5) 0131 622 6235 • 99 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D5, 69) | £7 (lunch)

123 Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

With a thriving outside-catering arm and a second branch on the Southside, chef/owner Yalcin Eroglu, owner of Coffee Angel since 2013, is a busy man. Takeaways are popular among workers in surrounding offices, but regulars and tourists also like to linger in premises with a variety of dining chairs, sofas and stools by the window, or outside when the weather allows. The panini selection created by the boss features established favourites and innovative combinations. Portobello mushroom, blue cheese and red onion is a balanced mix of strong flavours, while brie, pear, walnut and honey is another winning ensemble. The Coffee Angel cake selection is devilishly good with perennial favourites such as honeymoon slice a great accompaniment to the five-bean blend coffees. + Innovative choice of sandwich fillings - Website information not updated regularly

Circle by Di Giorgio


1 Brandon Terrace, Canonmills, New Town (Map 1B: A1, 7) 0131 624 4666, | £5 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Signet Library, Parliament Square, Old Town See Arts Venues

The roots of husband and wife team Ivan and Nadia Di Giorgio are evident in this recently renamed establishment which they took over in 2013. Italian radio supplies the background music and the menu leans heavily on Ivan’s Sicilian background. Arancini and antipasti offer a tasty prelude to mains such as pasta made on the premises and served al dente, possibly with tuna, olives and a hint of chilli to produce a flavour-packed dish of sunshine. There are also more familiar local offerings such as fishcakes and burgers. And, with a selection of breakfast options ranging from a traditional cooked Scottish to continental pastries, an attractive evening deal two nights a week and an enticing selection of cakes, there is something here for everyone. + Strong Italian flavour with a local touch - Evening opening is only on Friday and Saturday

Connect Café

The Chocolate Tree

153–155 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A2, off) 0131 315 2003 | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch)

With its rustic wooden tables, ruby-red walls and tempting counter of cakes and bakes, Connect Café has a welcoming neighbourhood feel. Sitting opposite Waitrose, just along from the bustle of Stockbridge’s main thoroughfare, Connect combines a café and gift shop and has a large glass frontage encouraging you to watch the world go by while you indulge in their tasty selection of soup, open sandwiches, toasties, bacon rolls and daily offering of fresh cakes. From fruit scones to millionaire’s shortcake and moist and satisfyingly rich chocolate brownie, they cater well for the sweet-toothed customer. With quality ingredients, locally sourced, and a passionate and caring team at the helm, Connect Café is a lovely palate pick-me-up. + Fresh locally sourced ingredients

With a nod to the Mediterranean, Cucina LC dishes up lunchtime fare with hints of Italian flavour. With the option to sit in or takeaway, this Haymarket neighbourhood hangout is directly accessible from the tram or bus lines. Their sandwich list is vast and open to customisation, offering a nice amount of vegetarian options, while their wholesome, grain-based salads make for a filling and healthy weekday meal. There’s coffee and tea as you’d expect, while their lightly sweetened hot chocolate stands head and shoulders above your average cup. The baked goods on offer are the stars of the show; the plethora of choices (including actually pleasant gluten-free items) make for an excellent afternoon pickme-up. The cheery interior, sofas and stocked book shelves may entice you to spend a whole afternoon there. + Tasty gluten-free treats - Only open on weekdays

Cuckoo’s Bakery 150 Dundas Street, New Town (Map 1A: D1, 34) 0131 556 6224, cuckoosbakery. | Closed Mon | £9 (lunch)

Filled to the brink with cupcakes and clocks, Cuckoo’s Bakery is a quaint little hangout, great for anyone with a big sweet tooth. Their lunch offerings are modest, including the classic soup, salad, and sandwich options. The tea list compensates with many lovely choices, an ideal pairing for the myriad treats on offer. Standout bakery items include the cheddar scones (slathered in butter, naturally) and red velvet cupcakes, less sweet than other cupcakes, with a wee bit of tang from its cream cheese frosting. Cuckoo’s will deliver their cupcakes as well as their café items around town, which is nice considering they’re ever so slightly far flung from the city centre. + Plethora of cupcakes and teas - Slightly off the main drag

Dovecot Café by Stag Espresso Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

The Drill Hall Café 34 Dalmeny Street, Leith See Arts Venues

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

Earthy Market Café, down Causewayside, is the mother of the Earthy family, spawning the younger Canonmills restaurant and Portobello store, but all three champion local, seasonal, fair trade and organic produce. There’s a farm shop upstairs, with an industrialchic café downstairs, a greenhouse for summer sitting (and dogs), and a backyard for al fresco eating and events. Step up to view the colourful counter of seasonally changing, punchy vegetarian soups, fresh salads, worn breadboards of hefty sourdough sandwiches, granary baguettes and fruity cakes, such as vegan ‘raw protein balls’ in coconut, and glutenfree honey and almond cake. The picturesque beetroot salad features green harissa, yoghurt and coriander, and goes nicely with green beans, feta, dill and wheat in a pistachio and caper dressing. It all makes for a wholesome and satisfying lunch in a thriving community hub, where friendly staff know customers’ names, and entertain their children. + Earthy’s green harissa deserves its own cookery book or TV series - Not having enough room to try it all

4 Edinburgh Larder Café 15 Blackfriars Street, Old Town (Map 2B: A3, 6) 0131 556 6922, | £7 (lunch)

Tucked away off the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Larder is a dose of calm rusticity serving an ever-changing variety of café staples to tourists in the know and a loyal local following. The breakfasts are a traditionally hearty start to the day before the changeover to a lunch service that prides itself on elegant simplicity. Dedicated to seasonality, the freshly made salads, soups and sandwiches might feature asparagus in spring, tomatoes in summer and root vegetables in the winter. Celeriac, garlic and chicken soup is a perfect example: beautifully smooth with a balance of flavour any kitchen would be proud to achieve. The homemade feel goes beyond the main fare: traybakes and towering layered cakes, jams, marmalades and even elderflower cordial are produced on site by the dedicated staff who are as picky about their ingredients as the welcome they want you to experience when you step into this one-off spot. + Quality home cooking with seasonal local ingredients - Breakfast stops at noon

EDINBURGH LARDER The Edinburgh Larder team work closely with local suppliers and producers to bring you the best of the Scottish landscape on a plate.



15 Blackfriars Street, EH1 1NB 0131 556 6922

1a Alva Street, EH2 4PH 0131 225 4599 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 53



Embo 29 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, Leith See Cafés: Wee Places

Eteaket 41 Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1A: C4, 65) 0131 226 2982, eteaket. | £14.95 (afternoon tea)

This Frederick Street tea emporium purveys a vast menu of green, white, black, rooibos, flowering, oolong, fruit and herbal teas, complete with tasting notes and chichi names: chillaxin’ chamomile, awesome assam, rock the casbah, life’s a peach, and strawberries and cream. There’s even Victoria Beckham’s slimming pu-erh mini tuo cha, plus tea lattes and cocktails, like an iced tea white Russian, Royal Earl Grey G&T, or lemon and ginger hot toddy. You could have a nice cup of tea with your tea, or with your breakfast, brunch, sandwich, toastie, cake, scone or mini patisserie. Afternoon tea is a tempting

TIPLIST FOR BREAKFAST & BRUNCH • The Blue Bear This Canonmills cafe is dedicated to the allday breakfast – with or without the ping-pong 50 • The Caffeine Drip Lavish, inventive breakfasts with a South African flavour 52 • Edinburgh Larder Cafe Breakfast is a traditionally hearty start to the day at this Old Town hideout with a focus on seasonality and spot-on sourcing 53 • 52 Canoes At this tiki den, Polynesian inspired baked eggs make a delicious treat at any time of day 88

option (and can be made gluten-free), including a simple salmon sandwich, scone with clotted cream and petit fours. It’s a pretty display but perhaps not great value for £14.95. Overall, Eteaket has its heart in the right place but seems a bit worn in places and could use a refresh. + Eteaket are most definitely tea experts - If only they took as much care with their cakes as they do with their tea

Falko (Konditormeister) 185 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 3A: A4, 36) 0131 656 0763, | £10 (lunch)

To stand out from the crowd in Bruntsfield’s café heartland you have to be doing something a bit different. German Konditormeister (master pastry chef) Falko Burkert set up his bread and cake empire in 2008 and continues to provide discerning locals and homesick German students with their daily bread – but get there early because it sells out (the weekly baking schedule is on the website so you can plan ahead). Savoury items along the lines of soups, salads and open sandwiches – whether rarebitstyle or a take on a croque monsieur – pave the way for the tortes and kuchen sitting beguilingly in the glass-fronted counter, from the classic apple strudel and sachertorte to a surprisingly light raspberry cream sponge. There’s often a queue out the door for weekend brunch, and even though the absence of music and wifi discourages lingering with laptops, the café is always busy throughout the week. + The beautiful cakes - The bread is often sold out by midafternoon

The Forest Café 141 Lauriston Place, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 1) 0131 229 4922, blog.theforest. | £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

Now in its third home, the Forest Café has settled nicely into its new location on Lauriston Place. The venue attracts many university students and artists with its laid-back and slightly grungy appearance. If they’re not coming for the live music that happens almost every night, patrons are probably showing up for the large and filling plates of falafel or nachos. The full vegetarian menu offers a great choice for meat-free eaters who are tired of hackneyed fare. Two

floors means you can enjoy some quality music on the lower level or ascend to have a lovely hot chocolate on the ground floor. Thanks to a pay-it-forward system the team has in place, that drink could be free, courtesy of another customer’s kindness. The kitchen is run by three main managers while the rest of the staff is completely volunteer based, lending to the mellow atmosphere. + Live music almost every night - Bathroom is downstairs

Fortitude Coffee 3C York Place, New Town See Cafés: Wee Places

The Fruitmarket Gallery Café Fruitmarket Gallery, 45 Market Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

The Gateway Restaurant John Hope Gateway Centre, Royal Botanic Garden, Arboretum Place, Inverleith See Arts Venues

Gorgie City Farm is a little corner of countryside right in the heart of the city, and for 30 years has served as an important place for children and adults to learn about animals, food production and the environment as well as a place for volunteers to gain experience in animal husbandry and sustainable farming. The adjoining café is not staffed by volunteers but does use much of the produce grown on the farm, from the vegetables in a tasty leek and potato soup to the farm’s own sausages in the hot morning rolls. The affordable menu encompasses baked potatoes and toasties, with nothing costing more than a fiver. Being on a farm, it’s a no-frills kind of place but it’s not without its charms, with homemade scones and cakes to accompany a good cup of coffee and kids’ lunch boxes to keep the wee ones happy. + Soup made with vegetables grown just 20 metres away - Might be a bit too rustic for some

The Grassmarket Café Glass & Thompson 2 Dundas Street, New Town (Map 1A: D3, 36) 0131 557 0909 | £7 (lunch)

Glass and Thomson is still thriving in its twentieth year as a New Town staple. Hangout for literary types like Alexander McCall Smith and, rumour has it, a certain Joanne Rowling during her Harry Potter period, it is still producing the goods to retain the fussy Edinburgh regulars and draw tourist trade down from George Street. The food is kept simple, with hearty breakfasts of scrambled eggs or a greatvalue lunch where a small soup and sandwich really isn’t that small, as well as more bespoke options. The cakes are the star, artfully arranged to tempt as you walk in. They are made on site rather than bought in and feature a range of gluten-free options. The reputation should be the reason to visit; the homecooked food and friendly service will be the reason you go back. + Great service - Chairs aren’t the most comfortable

Gorgie City Farm Café 51 Gorgie Road (Map 4: A4, off) 0131 337 4202, | £5 (lunch)

The Grassmarket Centre, 86 Candlemaker Row, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 40) 0131 225 3626, | Closed Sun | £7.50 (lunch)

Situated at the foot of Candlemaker Row, and set back from the street by a bare-but-pleasant courtyard filled with chunky, wooden picnic benches, this café forms part of the Grassmarket Community Project, a social enterprise providing support and training for some of Edinburgh’s most vulnerable citizens. A surprising oasis of calm in an otherwise very busy part of the city, the double-height space, which also acts as the reception of the Project, has whitewashed walls, a tiled floor and simple furnishings and is lit by a large skylight giving it an open and airy feel, however the hard surfaces do mean it can feel a little noisy at times. It serves straightforward brunches and lunches, such as filled rolls, open sandwiches and soups, a few main dishes, like veggie lasagne and sausage casserole, and a selection of traybakes to complement the fair-trade hot and cold drinks on offer. The café is run by its members and all profits are returned to the Project, so eating here doesn’t just fill

• Nobles A well-mixed hair of the dog adds to the appeal of this popular Leith watering hole 33 • The Pantry Always a favourite with the Stockbridge set, this place is particularly great for a vegetarian brunch 57 • The Roamin’ Nose A weekend brunch of brioche French toast with fresh fruit is not to be missed 58 • Roseleaf A walk along the Water of Leith followed by brunch at this lively spot should sort out that Sunday feeling 36 • Urban Angel This city centre favourite is great for brunch 60 Söderberg Bakery (page 64): producing high-quality Scandinavian baking from the heart of Quartermile 54 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


In association with

you up, it makes you feel good as well. + An oasis of calm where eating helps the city’s most vulnerable citizens - The hard surfaces mean it can feel a little noisy at times

The Haven 9 Anchorfield, Leith (Map 5A: A2, off) 0131 467 7513, | £9 (set lunch)

This wee gem of a place sort of feels like a locals’ secret, except it’s also really popular with tourists. A large blackboard menu sits above a counter populated with staff working away like cheery busy bees. It’s a mismatched crockery café, peppered with charmingly vintage stuff. Serving the same food and drink from breakfast until tea, the all-day breakfasts (including veggie), filled morning rolls and eggy bread and bacon are tempting. Or perhaps opt for a massive fruit smoothie, porridge with honey and berries, or a warm croissant with butter and jam. Homemade soup of the day is always available, while generously sized sandwiches come with tasty fillings like goat’s cheese and beetroot or pastrami, gherkin, mustard and coleslaw. The Haven is known for its outstanding pancakes: two huge, thick and fluffy delights, either with a topping du jour or maple syrup with or without bacon. Team with Artisan Roast coffee or Suki tea – sorted. + Superbly massive pancakes - Super-busy lunchtimes

Henderson’s @ St John’s St John’s Terrace, 3 Lothian Road, West End (Map 4: C1, 18) 0131 229 0212, | £11.50 (lunch)

Younger brother to its long-established New Town sister venue, Henderson’s nestles serenely under St John’s Church in one of the city’s most dramatic stone-vaulted interiors. Spanning from breakfast eggs and soya milk porridge to afternoon tea and cakes from their Hanover Street bakery, the café proudly delves into its own cookbook to reveal a range of freshly made salads in healthy sized portions. Roast sweet potato and squash perk up white and red quinoa, alongside spinach and pumpkin seed salad and honey doused beetroot and apple. Parsnip and courgette layered lasagne, olive flecked stromboli and flaky spanakopita feature among half a dozen hot mains on a blackboard menu offering plenty of vegan and wheat- or gluten-free options. Exhibited artwork lines the walls and a stretch of sunnyaspect benches lines the garden terrace. + Heaps of vegetarian friendly fare - Tired-looking counters slightly unbefitting of their setting

Henri of Edinburgh 48 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, 4) 0131 332 8963, | £6.95 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

You know what Henri is about when you walk in the door and see the long fridges packed with cheese and charcuterie, sourced on one of owner Simon Lloyd’s many forays to the continent. Shipped weekly from Paris, as well as numerous other artisan suppliers, the store is a treasure trove for any lover of fromage. Thankfully devoid of laptops, Henri is a bustling venue all about a love of food. Assiette plates come loaded with a wide selection and are certainly enough for one. Soups, salads and cakes are produced daily, offering some French classics alongside more typical fare. Henri opens late on Fridays, when any bottle can be pulled from the shelf with only a £5 corkage charge, allowing diners to sample fine wines without the mark-ups found further along the road. It makes for a great start to a night out, or even an evening in itself. + The cheese - The menu doesn’t always do enough with the great ingredients on offer

Hula Juice Bar and Gallery 103–105 West Bow, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 35) 0131 220 1121, hulajuicebar. | £6.50 (set lunch)

Hula Juice Bar is fun and healthy – a bit like the hula-hoop craze decades ago. This popular café features other nostalgic nods to the 1960s and 70s: flowery seats and glass mugs, water served in milk bottles, Terry and June teapots and, in general, the Good Life with a 21st-century twist on nutrition. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets are catered for in breakfasts of granola and toasted bagels (served until noon), then lunches of salad or soups with bagels or wraps, and teatime cakes. But the star turn are the all-day, additivefree fruit juices such as the exotically named Rarotanga, Ginger Jack and Roastin Ruby Red; the green and super smoothies like the Popeye, Betty Ford or Whirling Dervish; and finally the milkshakes with names like Strawberry Fields and Nutty Professor. Hula offers an honest, fresh and quick sit-in or takeaway meal that doesn’t cost the earth. + Wholesome, delicious – and fun - Some salads don’t taste as dazzling as they look

Jacob Artisan Bakery • 42 South Bridge, Old Town (Map 2A: D3, 82) 0131 337 1791 • 62 Haymarket Terrace, West End (Map 4: A3, 65) 0131 347 8884 | £10 (lunch)

Giving up his original Gorgie location

Porto & Fi 47 Newhaven Main Street Edinburgh EH6 4NQ

Delicious breakfasts, lunches, all day weekend brunch, homemade cakes, unusual teas, and of course fantastic coffee. All our bread & cakes are made on site, and alongside traditional favourites our bakers make a fabulous selection of gluten free and dairy free cakes. 94b Fountainbridge Edinburgh, EH3 9QA

0131 228 9774

t: 0131 551 1900 e:

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 55



was a smart move as Jacob Philip now owns two bakeries, the first having settled in Haymarket and the second on South Bridge. The venues are lightsoaked and cosy, providing a wonderful backdrop for a quiet afternoon. Philip’s training from around the world has allowed him to introduce items like authentic sourdough breads, while he also puts out more standard favourites like haggis pie. His wife, Erika, introduces Hungarian recipes like kugelhopf and cardamom buns to the menu for even more variation. Their savoury choices, like spinach and feta parcels or roasted aubergine and sesame seed salad, are lovely options for a quick lunch stop, while croissants, either plain or filled, are best enjoyed with a cup of fair-trade coffee. Don’t forget to nab some bread to take home on the way out. + Masterful bread and cakes - Not a place for the gluten-intolerant

is a big deal here. While the much-loved favourites of bacon rolls, free-range eggs on toast and porridge are all present and correct, consider also the aubergine, spinach, basil and cream cheese bagel or perhaps a ‘croque-mon-scone’, a cheese scone with rosemary, ham and melted cheese. Lunch is honest fare of soup and sandwiches with a healthy dose of inspiration, marrying salami with feta, or smoked sausage with onion marmalade, as well as quiches and hot specials that change regularly. Dietary specifics are well catered for, as are children. All in all it would be hard to find a friendlier café in which to while away an hour or two – especially when you feel like a regular after one visit. + Super-friendly service and great brunch - Steep steps down into the basement are tricky for prams and the less mobile

La Locanda Leo’s Beanery 23a Howe Street, New Town (Map 1A: C3, 31) 0131 556 8403, leosbeanery. | £9 (lunch)

A sunny basement spot where the New Town meets Stockbridge, Leo’s is well-loved by locals and something of a delightful discovery for tourists who happen to be staying nearby. Breakfast

TIPLIST TEA & CAKE • Anteaques This quirky little venue offers over 70 types of tea and a small but perfectly formed range of cakes 61

61 Cockburn Street, Old Town See Italian

Loudon’s Café & Bakery Lochrin Square, 94b Fountainbridge, West End (Map 4: C3, 50) 0131 228 9774, | £11 (lunch)

When a café has a separate cake menu, you know where its priorities lie. As you enter this bright, high-ceilinged space on Fountainbridge, the cakes, tarts, brownies, cookies, pastries and scones, baked from scratch in the basement kitchen, immediately catch your eye as they fight for space on a buckling counter. There are savoury options here too, of course – a cheddar and spinach quiche benefits from crisp, thin pastry and is sumptuously cheesy – and hot breakfasts are consistently appetising.

Loudons does seem, however, to be more a place to drop in for a caffeine hit and a sweet treat. The service might be a bit scatter-brained, but that hasn’t dampened this venue’s broad popularity. The students lounging on the sofas with their vegan chocolate cake seem just as comfortable here as the suits holding business meetings around Scandi-chic pine tables with a latte and millionaire’s shortbread. + An abundance of gluten-free options - What is served doesn’t always tally with the menu description

22 Grindlay Street, Tollcross See Cafés: Wee Places

Maialino 34 William Street, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

The Manna House 22–24 Easter Road See Cafés: Wee Places

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

4 Lovecrumbs 155 West Port, Old Town (Map 4: D2, 31) 0131 629 0626, | £5.50 (coffee and cake)

Nestled cosily beside the vintage clothes shops and burlesque dance clubs of West Port, Lovecrumbs sets out a siren’s wail to the sweet-toothed of Edinburgh, serving up unapologetically decadent desserts of its own devising. Baked fresh each day by Lovecrumbs’ owners in Leith, flavour combinations are ever changing but there are always scones, tarts, cakes, and brownies on offer. The rye and smoked salt brownie is damply fudgey, its wallop of sweetness cut through by the tang of the salt. It’s a dessert at once comfortingly familiar and intriguingly complex. The rosemary and caramel cake, by contrast, is as light and airy as the brownies are dark and dense. Vegans are catered for with an option on Saturdays. Tea is from Anteaques, hot chocolate from Coco Chocolate, coffee from Artisan Roast: all are equal in quality to the confections on offer. It’s a perfect spot to indulge. + Generous portions of excellent cake - No card machine

• La Barantine Pretty French patisserie and masterful macarons in an understated setting 50 • Café at the Palace Afternoon tea served in regal setting with Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat close at hand 18

Mary’s Milk Bar 19 Grassmarket, Old Town See Cafés: Wee Places

Maxi’s 33 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, 5) 0131 343 3007 | £6 (lunch)

Slap bang in the middle of Stockbridge, Maxi’s was opened by Becky MacLean in 1997 long before café ownership became a hipster vocation of choice. Innovations such as Edinburgh’s only courgette and lemon curd cake ensure its continued popularity 18 years on. Early 2015 renovations have also revealed fantastic 1900s green and white tiles, now looking fashionably distressed, which enhances its Parisian patisserie feel. The menu is well and truly Scottish, however. Quality local butcher Bowers provides the ingredients for a popular weekend breakfast as well as lunch choices such as a generous honey roast ham and cheese baguette. Healthier options include a choice of salads, such as grilled goat’s cheese with roast peppers. Coffee courtesy of local supplier Artisan Roast is top notch, especially accompanied by one of the choice of freshly made sweet treats, which also includes a raspberry and white chocolate cake. To top it all, Maxi’s has a children’s menu and is licensed. + Community minded café with quality coffee and cake - Is it a disabled toilet or a broom cupboard?

Milk 232 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 56) 0131 629 6022, | £7 (lunch)

The extensive travels of this husbandand-wife team influence the eclectic menu at their compact Morrison Street café and Calton Hill outdoor outpost. A handful of narrow recycled tables and timber benches sit within a fairly modest backdrop of subway tiles and white painted walls, with attentive staff and chilled-out tunes generating a welcoming vibe. Stir-fried Chiang Mai noodles and Thai green curry feature on a focussed list of lunchtime mains, alongside an appealing selection of sandwiches, salads and hot wraps. Roast beetroot hummus and cumin-roasted carrots liven up Lebanese flatbreads, while secret recipe peanut dressing perks up a pulled pork and slaw salad. Popular breakfast burritos and bircher muesli pop up on the weekend brunch menu with near neighbour Better Beverage Company supplying the silky smooth Cuban coffee to wash down home-baked Guinness and ginger cake. + Clean tasting fare, well prepared - Thai green curry is flavourful, but soup-spoon thin

• The Chocolate Tree Bean to bar chocolate creativity and a gorgeous range of cakes 62 • Eteaket Fine teas in a spectrum of varieties ranging from oolong to assam and even strawberries & cream 54 • Lovecrumbs Their beautiful cakes end up at some of the best cafes around town, including their own 56 • Mimi’s Bakehouse There’s no stinting here – big portions are served with a big heart 56 • Palm Court A harpist provides the soundtrack to the elegant and indulgent afternoon tea 57

Mimi’s Bakehouse & Mimi’s Picnic Parlour

The Blue Bear (page 50): all-day breakfasts at this Canonmills favourite 56 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Mademoiselle Macaron

• 63 The Shore, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 19) 0131 555 5908, • 250 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 23) 0131 556 6632,


In association with

EDINBURGH | £12 (lunch)

Most visitors arrive at Mimi’s Bakehouse with only one thing on their mind. All eyes are on the counter which is laden with multi-coloured tiers of cake, slabs of chocolate creations and other sugary concoctions – their raspberry meringue slice is a particular favourite. This comfortable, relaxed café by the Shore is an ideal location for a leisurely lunch or weekend treat. Look out for the Beforenoon Tea, served between 9am and noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Pick your way through warm homemade fluffy Mull of Kintyre cheddar cheese scones served with cream cheese and chives or a pancake tower smothered with dulce de leche, perhaps with a pot of tea or a glass of fresh orange juice. Mimi’s also cater for Edinburgh’s sweet tooth at their Picnic Parlour takeaway on Canongate. + Freshly baked cakes made to put a smile on your face - Occasional queues for tables

Mint Café 3 Exchange Buildings, 3 Semple Street, West End (Map 4: C2, 48) 07561 197584 | Closed Sat/Sun | £7 (lunch)

Tucked away in the city’s business district, this minty fresh café is worth discovering. Breakfast-on-the-run smoothies with banana, jumbo oats and honey keep the office crowd content, with early-riser deals on Matthew Algie coffee and popular bacon and creamy scrambled egg rolls. Au Gourmand bread wraps up familiar sandwich fillings, ably supported by a rotating range of soups from Union of Genius and signature cheese toasties laden with fistfuls of Mull cheddar on organic sourdough rye. Fragrant mint tea and decadent ‘After Eight’ hot chocolate help to wash down a selection of home baked scones and traybakes including the splendid Mint Aero tiffin. Artwork for sale and shelves of related knickknacks soften a bright interior of floorto-ceiling glazing, with a nail bar popup appearing towards the end of each week and outdoor tables spilling out when the weather permits. + Friendly hosts with and local sourcing - Hasn’t quite shaken off its officeinterior feel

Nardini’s 1 Merchiston Place, Southside (Map 3A: A4, 34) 0131 228 4641, nardinis. | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

This Edinburgh outpost of the longstanding west coast ice-cream parlour is a relative newcomer to the burgeoning Bruntsfield café scene. Although lacking some of the old-world charm of the Largs seaside emporium, the Edinburgh branch of Nardini’s is nonetheless welcoming with its shiny chrome surfaces, friendly service and that counter stacked with frozen delights. Since opening in 2014 it’s been going like a fair, drawing in school kids, families and shoppers for their famous sundaes and cones. You can’t go wrong with a hot-fudge sundae or old-school banana split, and if you feel like sharing there’s the whopping 12-scoop Clyde Coast Extravaganza which comes with an extraordinary 16 toppings. It’s not all sweetness and ice, however, as a small but interesting selection of Italian sandwiches is also available – such as mozzarella with tomato and basil or pepperoni with peppers and jalapenos – all on homemade focaccia bread. + Kids are in their element - Rather cluttered interior

New Town Deli • 23 Henderson Row, New Town (Map 1A: D1, 33) 0800 073 1211, | £8 (lunch) • 42 Broughton Street (Map 1B: C4, 29) 0800 073 1211, | £8 (lunch)

In its fifth year, New Town Deli doesn’t take success for granted, instead it’s enhancing its appeal. This friendly corner café/deli still centres its seating round a large table, with stools tucked alongside counter space that wraps around the windowed walls. Now some small but valuable renovations have brought even more light into the space, increasing the flexibility and openness of the layout. Hot and cold rolls, panini and salad boxes are made to order as customers assemble their own creations or opt for one of the many suggested combos on the blackboards that dominate the wall above the plentiful deli counter. Well presented, fresh and appealing ingredients include cured meats, cheeses, homemade zippy salsa/chunky guacamole/ultra smooth hummus, deliciously un-oily roasted vegetables, pesto and many fresh vegetables. The counter top is filled with home baking, an unexpectedly spicy carrot cake tempered with classic cream cheese frosting. A short list of smoothies delivers large, bright glasses of cheeriness which taste too good to be healthy but are. Very much a local hub, catering is an ever-expanding part of this keen operation, with a scaled-down sister deli in Broughton Street. + A lovely atmosphere and some excellent lunchtime offerings - Acoustics aren’t the best so when busy things can get loud

No. 33 33 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B1, 10) £7 (lunch)

From the owner of the New Town Deli’s comes No. 33, opening its doors at the tail end of 2014 to the citizens of gentrified Stockbridge. This narrow café, with wooden benches pressed up tight against the exposed brick walls, may not be blessed in terms of capacity but the upside is you are within touching distance of the ever-changing array of baked confections at the counter. And, boy, does No. 33 have a sweet tooth. A pear and almond tart is a delight of contrasts – delicate poached pear, sweet frangipane and sharp apricot jam. The Portuguese custard tarts are a firm favourite here, and rightly so. Savouring the crunch through the buttery outer layers of puff pastry into the warm custardy centre is one of Edinburgh’s new foodie pleasures. A board behind the counter details the sandwiches, wraps and salads on offer, but the fact that it is intended more as a guide rather than a menu can be baffling. + The sweet stuff - The unsavoury bathroom

Oink • 34 Victoria Street, Old Town • 82 Canongate, Old Town See Cafés: Wee Places

Palm Court The Balmoral Hotel, 1 Princes Street, New Town (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 556 2414, | £29 (afternoon tea)

Imagine your most decadent afternoon. Might it contain sumptuous surroundings, champagne, cake and more cake? Then look no further than the Palm Court at the Balmoral Hotel. Mirrors, chandeliers, grand pillars, palm trees and woodland scenes painted on the pale green interior all add to the drama. It opens for breakfast, drinks and sandwiches but afternoon tea is the real star of the show. It all starts with an amuse-bouche, followed by a selection

of sandwiches and savouries, such as doughy cheese twists, a coronation chicken tart and the classic cucumber and crème fraiche sandwich. For round two the tiered cake stands are loaded with seasonal goodies, smoothies, chocolate fingers and homemade scones with clotted cream and jams. For the grand finale there is a trolley with even more cakes and chocolates to choose from. All this is served with as much loose-leaf tea and coffee as you can drink (or the exclusive Dalreoch, Perthshire teas at an extra cost) with or without a glass of champagne. With a harpist on the balcony playing popular classics, what more could you ask for? + A wonderful treat - This experience comes at a pretty steep price

4 The Pantry 1–2 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 27) 0131 6290 206, | £10 (lunch)

If you’re looking for a sun trap in the months of spring, look no further than The Pantry. The sunny interior is thoughtfully decorated with kitcheninspired décor; part of the venue also acts as a retail section, offering paintings, teas, and wool work for sale. The staff are very accommodating and helpfully assist in picking between the scrumptious offerings. For a substantial vegetarian brunch, go for the Vegetarians Anonymous, which includes guacamole, beetroot and sweet potato hash, wild mushrooms, grilled halloumi, roasted tomatoes, and a poached duck egg. Their sweet treats are not to be overlooked, especially the lemon-raspberry cake should it be on offer when you visit. This lovely neighbourhood hangout easily deserves a spot as a new favourite. + Plenty of vegetarian options - Limited menu on Tuesdays

The Pastures 24 Marchmont Crescent, Southside (Map 3C: A2, 29) 0131 623 3606, | Closed Sun | £5 (lunch)

This homely little café with a strong community focus is the work of owner Jane Kermack, who makes all the food and cakes herself, greets and serves customers and knows almost all of them by name. Weekend breakfasts are local legends, and the daytime menu of soup, sandwiches, hot specials and a reliably good cup of coffee is what keeps the regulars coming back. It’s a no-frills kind of place, compact in size but big in heart, and if Kermack doesn’t win you over with her banter, she’ll most definitely get you with her baked goods. Shortbread biscuits are a crumbly delight, and the rocky road is a perfect example of the form, full of cocoa flavour and marshmallows but far from the sickly sweet massproduced version. + A genuine welcome whether you’re a regular or first-timer - Feels a bit careworn in places

Patisserie Madeleine 27b Raeburn Place, Stockbridge See Cafés: Wee Places

4 Pâtisserie Maxime 6 Queensferry Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 16) 0131 225 6066, | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

It’s the croques monsieurs that make you want to return to Patisserie Maxime. Or is it the choux buns? Or the pain au chocolat? Zut alors! Perhaps it’s the whole package – the attractive window

crammed with beautiful patisserie; the courteous French staff all eager to explain the nuances of the menu; the calming interior an oasis of tranquillity at odds with the West End bustle outside. The pyramids of macarons and the mountains of marbled meringues are what draw you in but there is plenty more on offer. The aforementioned monsieurs are made with loaves baked on-site, and the harmony of crunchy bread and warm oozing cheese means this is bona fide comfort food. The sweet treats are equally gratifying, such as a simple millefeuille – crisp puff pastry sandwiched with sweet crème patissiere. Or perhaps tarte citron – a sharp lemon and lime cream atop perfectly cooked sable pastry. Now, anybody fancy some macarons to go? + Beautiful French patisserie - The inevitable expanding waistline

Pekoe Tea 20 Leven Street, Tollcross See Cafés: Wee Places

Pep & Fodder 11 Waterloo Place, New Town (Map 1B: C6, 48) 0131 556 5119, pepandfodder. com | £7 (lunch)

In a stretch of town not exactly brimming with fine cafés, this little gem from the Bon Vivant stable is just what’s needed. Just off the east end of Princes Street, Pep & Fodder captures the passing tourist and office trade, with a sprightly all-day menu ranging from breakfast staples – porridge, granola, bacon rolls – to great panini. It’s a simple room of wood panelling and vivid-green tiles, big picture windows onto the street and a row of high tables and stools (outdoor seats in warmer months too). There are hearty daily soups – say split pea and barley one day, red pepper the next – and a revolving lineup of salads, such as tuna, five bean, tomato and red onion. Quality is stamped through the menu, from smashing in-house cakes and bakes – including a top-notch cheese scone – to coffee from Glasgow’s Dear Green roasters and tea from Eteaket. [Not recently visited.]

Peter’s Yard 27 Simpson Loan (Quartermile), Southside (Map 2A: B5, 63) 0131 228 5876, | £8 (lunch)

Peter’s Yard is a Quartermile café championing Scandinavian breads, buns, biscuits, cakes, scones and their famous crispbreads, all supplied by founder Peter Ljungquist’s new Swedish bakery, Soderberg, which opened in February 2015 next door at 1 Lister Square. Identical baking is delivered to the other two Peter’s Yard cafés, on Queensferry Street and in Stockbridge – which also serves Soderberg’s sourdough pizzas. But here, in this busy but quiet minimalist box of glass and wood behind George Square, students, families and academics munch and mingle on long communal tables. A central cake stand showcases their traditional sweet treats, like kladkakka, mazarin, kokostopp and sharing cinnamon braids, within reach of intriguing biscuits, such as Fransk pepper kaka, sirapssnitt, Finska pinnar, dröm and Bryssel kex. Carnivores, vegetarians and vegans can opt for a frukostbricka (breakfast tray), elegant open sandwiches and filled seedy rolls, or daily soups and delicate, delicious salads, served with white sourdough and spelt crispbreads. + Everything is light, fresh and delicious, and the bread is superb - Strong espresso may leave you wired and palpitating The List Eating & Drinking Guide 57



Peter’s Yard Stockbridge 3 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 14) 0131 332 2901, petersyard. com | £10 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Swedish baker Peter Ljungquist’s artisan Scandinavian bakery, Peter’s Yard in the gleaming glass Quartermile, has found a natural second home in the upmarket Old World of Stockbridge, where families and lunching ladies sample Swedish baking favourites to sit in or take away. On simple, trendy display are sweet, pleated cardamom and cinnamon buns, superlative crispbread (knäckebröd) and fresh, open rye-bread sandwiches or rolls, filled with vegetarian and vegan options. Beside their daily soups, salads and vegetable cakes of parsnip or chocolate and beetroot is a spectacular sharing smörgåsbord of artisan cheeses, membrillo, charcuterie, herby olives and pickled romanesco piccalilli. Their signature thin-crust sourdough pizza, made at Söderberg but baked in their Deanhaugh Street pizza oven, is served every weeknight from 5–9pm, and from noon–9pm at weekends. Toppings vary

TIPLIST FOR COFFEE • Artisan Roast Edinburgh’s leading purveyors of the serious black stuff, now with three outlets around town 61 • The Beach House Warm up with a coffee and slice of something scrummy by the seaside 50 • Brew Lab Coffee geekery for the connoisseur on the Southside


• Café Modern Two An especially good cup of coffee is just one of the things this atmospheric venue does well 18

from a simple margherita to charcuterie of ventricina, finocchiona or salchichon Iberico, with daily special pizzas all served with a ‘pizza salad’ of pickled cabbage and dried herbs. To end, there’s a colourful spectrum of ice-creams. + The pickled seasonal vegetable in the smörgåsbord is a masterful work - Tiny espressos

Piecebox 2 Polwarth Crescent (Map 4: C4, off) 0131 629 6284, | £10 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Occupying a corner spot on a busy thoroughfare through Polwarth, Piecebox has quietly carved out its niche in the four years since opening. It’s a popular pitstop for local residents and students, who flock here throughout the day for a breakfast of porridge, pancakes and hot rolls or a lunch of homemade soup, interesting sandwiches and salads. All the food is made in-house by a team who care about sourcing and good produce: they roast their own ham, smoke their own salmon, make their own chutneys and coleslaw, and bake their cakes fresh daily. The interior is bright, with eclectic wall hangings, mismatched furniture and crockery and a welcoming, homely vibe helped in no small part by friendly staff, easy-access wifi and flexible seating options that mean you’re as welcome in a group of five as you are on your own. A new trial addition for 2015 sees evening openings Thu–Sat, with sharing boards and bites going further to showcase the skill and care coming from the kitchen. + A welcoming neighbourhood café - Soup a little lacking in seasoning

Polentoni 38 Easter Road (Map 5B: C5, 35) 0131 661 6182 | Closed Sun | £9 (lunch)

Polentoni is an Italian trattoria and salumeria selling pane and formaggi, which was opened in summer 2014 by a keen young couple, under the nickname of the polenta-loving North Italians. The baker is up at 3am, making the day’s exquisite Italian pane fresco, biscuits and cakes, while his wife manages their friendly and bustling café, which brings a taste of Italy to the vegetarian and gluten-free diets, and price points, of Easter Road. Cabinets tempt with hams from Florence, mortadella, Tuscan salami, ventricina, finocchonia

(Tuscan fennel salami), flanks of speck and pancetta, and balls of smoked mozzarella from Puglia. Above, shelves are adorned with dark, aromatic coffee, colourful sweeties, biscotti, nougat, pastas and homemade ricciarelli (soft, gluten-free almond biscuits), Venetian zaeti, and baci di dama (hazelnut and chocolate biscuits). Below, bakers’ boards brim with saltimbocca, friselle, pizza, crêpes and Sicilian arancini. Polentoni’s to-the-point menu advertises breakfasts from cannellini beans to waffles, and lunches of egg pasta ribbons with walnut, sage and parmesan pesto, polenta e salame, velvety soups, and tender porchetta calda. Bravo, all round. + Everything is eccellente - It can be busy, but deservedly so

order half portions of any item on the menu. Open every day for breakfast and lunch (and brunch on the weekends), the eclectic menu offers everything from porridge and homemade pancakes to burgers, salads and daily soups. Owner Jason Coles makes a point of sourcing as much produce as possible from the shops on his doorstep, so the meat comes from Saunderson’s butchers, the tea is from Pekoe Tea and the fruit and veg comes from the greengrocer up the road. Add to that the knitting and language conversation groups that meet here on a regular basis and you can see why the Purple Pig remains a valued addition to the Tollcross community. + Homemade comfort food - No soup & sandwich combos

4 Porto & Fi

4 The Roamin’ Nose

47 Newhaven Main Street, Leith (Map 5A: A2, off) 0131 551 1900, | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

14 Eyre Place, New Town (Map 1B: A2, 12) 0131 629 3135, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

With a tranquil view over the Firth of Forth and a simple menu combining Scottish staples with more exotic fare, Porto & Fi is a charming neighbourhood bistro with a devoted following. Great relationships with local suppliers ensure dishes are built around the best of seasonal ingredients and strong flavours – think venison, rabbit and smoked haddock. The bright, casual dining room caters for hungry visitors from breakfast onwards with an excellent eggs benedict on toasted muffin or Stornoway black pudding on a roll to start the day before a stroll along Newhaven harbour. Call in during the weekend for a pleasant welcome from the friendly staff, led by brother and sister owners Andrew and Fiona McInness, and try an impressive wedge of cheesecake or slice of fruit loaf. Their kids’ menu ensures little ones are well catered for too. + Great specials - Warm but basic dining room

Even with the clever pun in its title, you might not realize that the Roamin Nose serves up some standout Italian fare that mixes into their otherwise British menu with ease. The Sardinian-run family affair offers pasta tasting nights as well as musical Sunday sessions on top of their normal schedule; both make for an excellent evening out. Breakfast is offered all week long, but the weekend brunches, which serve up dishes like brioche French toast with fresh fruit, shouldn’t be missed. Their set menu has plenty of options for small, aperitivo bites along with entree-sized choices. The frequently rotating specials do an excellent job at highlighting seasonal provisions as well. Many of their ambient products, like oil and coffee, are imported from the owners’ hometown, making for a truly familial experience. Perfect for a lovely date night or tea with your kids, the Roamin Nose hits all the marks for a great neighbourhood meal. + Everyone’s idea of a great neighbourhood café - Menu is a bit too compact

The Purple Pig Café 12 Leven Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 14) 0131 261 8067, thepurplepigcafe. | £9 (lunch)

Since opening in 2012 the Purple Pig has been a beacon in the Tollcross neighbourhood. With little competition nearby the café caters to a steady stream of customers, in particular parents with young children who are well catered for with a toy box and the option to

Rocket Café 41 Morningside Road, Southside (Map 3B: A2, 3) 0131 447 0377, rocketcafe. | £7 (lunch)

Edinburgh’s café scene can be a fickle market, but it’s one in which Morningside’s Rocket seems to be thriving. You could put this down to the

• Café Renroc Top-notch coffee served with a smile in a relaxing hangout 52 • Cairngorm Coffee A refreshing air of unpretentiousness and lightly worn knowledge at this new city-centre pitstop 62 • Fortitude Coffee A New Town newcomer brewing serious coffee with zero snobbery 62 • Italian on the Mound Among many other things offered by this Old Town favourite, the coffee is bellissimo 62 • Machina Espresso Novel brewing methods and a masterclass in coffeein Tollcross 62 Milk (page 56): the appealing Morrison Street café has been joined by an outpost atop Calton Hill 58 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Where everyday meets extraordinary From our stunning historical setting, to our quality fare, the Colonnades experience is simply beyond compare.



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1 Parliament Square, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 1RF. Tel 0131 226 1064 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 59




steady stream of school kids, students, mums and local ladies who file through the door daily, but more likely it’s down to the staff’s genuine welcome and can-do approach – and the far from runof-the-mill soups and sandwiches that form the bulk of the menu. Fresh green butchershop tiles and an oversized mural of an idyllic snowy mountain scene adorn the walls, while old-fashioned school chairs and wooden tables complete the funky, eclectic look. Two or three soups are offered each day, and sandwiches like the New Yorker (incorporating pastrami and blue cheese) show an eye for food trends and current appetites. Breakfast, brunch and kids’ options add to the mix, and it seems that no request is too much – in fact you get the impression that if you asked for the moon on a plate, they would climb on their eponymous rocket and try to lasso it for you. + Everything you want in a local pitstop - Overly sweet traybakes

Ronde Bicycle Outfitters

AOIFE BEHAN ON WHAT KEEPS HER GOING The flat white economy is that growing sector of the economy that contains all those creative businesses that you can’t easily describe. That’s us, a creative agency that designs food and drink experiences (huh?). Business is conducted in coffee shops across the land via the holy trinity of hot drinks, plug sockets and wifi. While the flat white is the drink that gives its name to a movement, approach with caution. One should only ever order these in coffee shops that evidently know what they’re doing: the ones with single-origin coffee credentials and an array of brew kit on display. More than two of these is a dance with the devil; few things are worse than staring into the abyss at 3am courtesy of the caffeine fairies. But for all the urbanity of the flat white, my hot drink hero is tea, a builder’s brew. Don’t trouble me with herbal infusions. Tea is hard to get wrong so can be safely ordered almost anywhere. And yet there are days when there’s just not enough tea to adequately lubricate the wheels of industry. ‘Tea deficit’ is a serious condition, requiring immediate attention. That’s it, flat white or builders tea – honest. OK, I admit, sometimes I have a secret cup of ‘coffee’. A milky bucket of latte. But somehow the big milky latte or builder’s brew economy doesn’t sound as sexy, so I’ll stick with flat white. Yes, that’s my fuel, a flat white. I swear. QAoife Behan is event director at Jelly & Gin,

66–68 Hamilton Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B1, 17) 0131 260 9888, | £7 (lunch)

The café at Ronde Bicycle Outfitters is a haven for lycra-clad cyclophiles returning from the organised Saturday club rides that set off from the store next door. They serve up hot bowls of Union of Genius soup and precisely made Steampunk coffee, as well as strombolis and assorted sweet treats from local producers, like gluten-free polenta cake or chocolate crunch traybakes which sit temptingly on the counter. In busy periods a sea of veterans and newcomers share experiences while browsing the merchandise. Those yet to take up the sport shouldn’t be put off: the friendly buzzing welcome from the enthusiastic staff makes you feel part of a community even before you’ve managed to squeeze on to the end of a communal table. This is the kind of place you can strike easy conversations – they just might be about cycling. + A great buzz and welcoming atmosphere - Can get very busy during peak times

The Scottish Café and Restaurant National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, New Town See Scottish

The Scottish Café National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, City Centre See Arts Venues

The Skylark 241–243 High Street, Portobello See Bistros & Brasseries

Social Bite • 131 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 52) 0131 220 8206 • 89 Shandwick Place, West End (Map 4: B1, 25) 0131 220 8206, | Closed Sat/Sun | £5.50 (lunch

Well positioned in pedestrianised western Rose Street, Social Bite is a café with a clear mission: to help people help themselves through positive entrepreneurial engagement, living their values by providing real jobs to formerly homeless people. Donating 100% of profits to social causes in Scotland, this is predominately a takeaway operation, and the café and the outside seating are informal and relaxed. Familiar filled pre-packed sandwiches, panini and wraps await easy collection. Soup is available but can run out during a busy lunchtime, while several hot options are available during the height of the lunch hour for hungrier visitors. Pulled pork with mixed peppers and Moroccan chickpea casserole provide filling portions on their bed of short brown rice. Social Bite operates a ‘suspended coffee and food’ scheme, whereby customers can pay in advance for a coffee or any item of food, to be claimed later by a local homeless person, so your custom can make a real difference. + A genuinely admirable business model - Food sometimes lacks flavour

4 Söderberg Pizza at the Bakery

St Giles’ Cathedral Café

Söderberg Quartermile, 1 Lister Square, Old Town (Map 2A: B5, 61) 0131 228 1905, | £6 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

St Giles’ Cathedral, High Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

Having first brought a stylish slice of Swedish artisan baking to Edinburgh in 2007, Peter’s Yard have recharged and

The Storytelling Café Scottish Storytelling Centre, 43 High Street, Old Town See Arts Venues

Terrace Café Royal Botanic Garden, Inverleith See Arts Venues

Toast 146 Marchmont Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Union of Genius 8 Forrest Road, Old Town See Cafés: Wee Places

Urban Angel 121 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 83) 0131 225 6215, urban-angel. | £13 (lunch)

The ethos of Urban Angel is that special ingredients should be eaten every day and not just as treats. With that in mind they source the best of Scottish produce and organic ingredients, and pride themselves on catering for vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free diets. In their central location, they offer breakfast, an all-day brunch, lunch, and freshly made cakes and pastries. Arbroath smokies from their brunch menu see award-wining smoked haddock paired with soft poached free-range egg with wilted spinach and a homemade hollandaise sauce. There are sandwiches and soups, daily specials and their own home-baked bread. Or choose from a selection of seasonal deli salads, such as mushrooms and blanched kale with spring onion and quinoa, Asian coleslaw with peanut dressing, and grilled aubergine with pomegranate and smoked aubergine dressing. To finish off, glutenfree almond and orange cake is light and fluffy and the coffee’s good too. The service is charming, the food delicious, and the whole experience simply wonderful. + Fantastic for brunch - Might be difficult to get in at weekends

4 Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar 19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, New Town (Map 5B: A5, 29) 0131 556 6066, valvonacrolla. | £20 (lunch)

La Barantine (page 50): crisp, chewy bread and gorgeous patisserie 60 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

expanded their operation in 2015 with a new overall name, Söderberg, and two new outlets to add to the three existing under the original name. The heart of operations is now the glass-encased North Pavilion of Lister Square, right at the heart of Quartermile, with a firstfloor production bakery and a groundfloor pizza café sprinkled with cool, minimalist Scandi design from honeycoloured wooden tables and floors to clusters of multi-shaded, fig-shaped paper lamps. There’s a sense of minimalism and precision too in the menu that’s centred around chewy, good-tasting sourdough pizzas baked in a prominent, gas-fired central oven. Bustling weekday lunchtimes see pizza sold by the slice, while evenings (currently just Thursday to Saturday) offer a slightly wider choice and some defiantly different toppings including artisan charcuterie or squid and prawns on a white yoghurt sauce. A sharing platter acts as the only starter option, with worthy but carefully constructed salads and a strangely restrained dessert choice alongside. + Good ingredients given respect - When coolness creeps into coldness

As much an Edinburgh destination as a food emporium, for over 80 years Valvona & Crolla in Elm Row have set UK standards for high quality, imported Italian fresh and packaged food and wine. If you can bear to keep walking past the deli counter stocked with well-


In association with


aged parmesan, milky-fresh burrata and peppery salami, continue up the stairs where a bright and beautifully hand-panelled café promoting Scottish and Italian ingredients awaits. Antipasti platters and selections of bruschetta laden with roasted vegetables, cured meat and cheese are convivial to share. Homemade tagliatelle bejewelled with emerald asparagus might be trickier to pass round, but do try as hoarding a dish this good would simply be selfish. Bigger plates for larger appetites may include organic chicken swathed in prosciutto with sage or meaty pork sausages nested in lentils. Puddings delight but also consider the ripened gorgonzola, drizzled with a stunning small-batch Italian honey as a treat. To extend the well-considered wine list, nip down to the shop to select your perfect bottle to match the meal. The retail price plus corkage is less than what many places charge and the selection is superb. + Dynamic sourcing put to wonderful effect with sincerely warm service - Discovering too late the wine tastings and book nights you didn’t know they hosted

4 The Water of Leith Café Bistro

Victor & Carina Contini Caffe & Gelateria

Word of Mouth

Cannonball House, 356 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town (Map 2A: B2, 33) 0131 225 1550, | £13 (lunch)

Hugging the castle esplanade, Victor & Carina Contini Caffe & Gelateria couldn’t seek a more prominent location for Edinburgh’s visitors. The bright, cheery caffe is bathed in light from large windows on three sides, enhancing the warm cream walls and appealing sea green detailing, Mackintosh-style lighting fixtures and simple food counter. A concise menu operates throughout the day, concentrating on light meals, beverages and gelato. Homemade soups come with artisan bread, and smoked salmon with a light lemon and pumpkin seed dressing or Inverurie warm steak, seared and rosy, can be enjoyed as either sandwiches or generous salads. But do save room for the gelato, even if it wasn’t why you came. Homemade flavours are multiple, distinctive and may be purchased in the café or the dedicated gelateria on the lower floor. A creamy rich vanilla, a sharp Sicilian lemon sorbet, silky 70% chocolate or fresh mint can be enjoyed either au natural or as part of rather tremendous sundaes that may demand an espresso before arising. Food service isn’t rapid so plan to allow some time unless it’s just a cone you’re after. + Superb gelato - Timing may not suit tourists rushing between sights

Rock & Roast gift boxes are an exhibition of the highest quality, artisanal

1 Howard Street, Canonmills, Leith (Map 1B: A1, 3) 0131 556 6887, | £11.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Taking an accomplished and revered operation and transplanting it can be fraught on many levels, not least the task of emulating that success elsewhere. Husband and wife team Mickael and Ana Mesle have done just that while retaining many of the regulars from their Leith establishment. Now they are dipping a toe in the evening market too. The surroundings are light and welcoming – diners can borrow sunglasses when the sun streams in – with facilities for dogs and toys for children. The menu offers daily changing specials and regulars such as a delightful croque monsieur or quiche of the day that could include spinach, feta and butternut squash. Everything is made on the premises by Mickael, who also produces a delicious array of cakes – the chocolate brownie in particular takes some beating. + New location, same high standards - Limited car parking in the area 3a Albert Street, Leith (Map 5B: A4, 18) 0131 554 4344, | £8.50 (lunch)

Welcome to a local Leith favourite sited just a few steps off the heart of Leith Walk, and a café with one of the most eclectic menus in the city. From morning you can get a full breakfast (vegetarian or otherwise) with a couple of continental options thrown in, eggs benedict or florentine among them. This French flavour stretches to the lunch menu, with croque monsieur et madame an endearing favourite, big hunks of perfectly grilled bread with fresh cheese, ham and salad on the side, while owner and chef Roshi Rama employs a broad Mediterranean influence elsewhere. For example, there’s a dish of fresh mozzarella served on ciabatta and a lemon chicken with roast vegetables on flatbread, while the Turkish red lentil soup is thick and well seasoned. That such variety inhabits the menu isn’t the big deal, it’s the fact that it’s all prepared with precise attention to detail and quality – and the fantastic range of cakes maintain similarly high standards. + A range of continental styles prepared with homemade heart - Some seats are a little cramped

Yellow Bench 31 Crighton Place, Leith Walk, Leith See Round the World

The Zulu Lounge 366 Morningside Road, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

CAFES: THE WEE PLACES This sub-section of the guide celebrates the eclectic range of artisan bakehouses, tiny delis, hog roasters, tea specialists and some of the finest coffee shops in town. Some have just a handful of perching stools, some have no seats at all, but all bring their own brand of colour and personality to the capital. They might be wee places, but they’re certainly worth knowing about. Reviewers: Stan Blackley, Barry Cooper, Ian Hogg, Sandy Neil, Courtney Hyde Peyton, Claire Ritchie, Paul Trainer

Anteaques 17 Clerk Street, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 9) 0131 667 8466, | £7 (lunch)

The not-so-centrally located Anteaques can be easy to miss if you’re not looking for it, but once you’re in, you’ll be glad you found it. Owners Cedric Maynard and Andrew Gillies initially just sold teas and antiques (hence the quirky title) but soon added on a sitting area and room for proper tea time. The teas are many, each accompanied by a tidbit of information from Gillies. Try their Milk Oolong, which tastes decidedly like it already has dairy in it. They even grow and process their own verbena leaves, which can only be sold as a cup of tea in the shop due to their fragile nature. Their baked goods, made in house, are the perfect accompaniment to a steaming pot of tea; the matcha cake is a slightly unorthodox but sound choice. Glutenfree options are also available, as are chocolates from the Chocolate Tree. The friendly nature of the owners, paired with the inviting décor and classical music, makes Anteaques an excellent weekend visit. + Very knowledgeable staff - No toilets

Artisan Roast • 57 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 27) 07590 590667 • 138 Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside (Map 3A: A3, 30) 07956 355054) • 100a Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, 3) 07542 314280

Eight years ago, a dark, aromatic café on Broughton Street joined the crème de la crème of Edinburgh’s coffee drinking

renaissance. Since then, Gustavo Pardo’s Artisan Roast has seeded two more espresso-sized cafés, in Bruntsfield in 2012, and early in 2015 Stockbridge’s Raeburn Place, mixing with the fragrance of a flower shop. The empire spreads to a tasting ‘lab’ in Canonmills and a roastery in Prestonfield, which together blend and package beans to serve and sell in their cafés, harvested freshly in seasonal batches from plantations around the world – it all has the feel of a finely honed marketing spiel. Artisan Roast’s baristas, and loyal aficionados, will pride themselves on knowing each coffee’s taste, aroma and crema artwork, and success has indeed come to Artisan with many awards. But the befuddled customer can still enjoy a pretty good cup of coffee and a chat amid the earthy, gap-year décor of hessian sacks, even if you don’t take it all as seriously as they do. If you’re hungry, there’s soup and single plate of pastries, and if you don’t like coffee, there’s Eteaket tea, plus hot chocolate spiced with Aztec chilli or rose and black pepper. + Great coffee - Opening times seem as fluid as the coffee

The Baked Potato Shop 56 Cockburn Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 11) 0131 225 7572 | £6.50 (lunch/ dinner)

If a giant ever took a train into Waverley, or took a job scaring tourists on Royal Mile tours, he’d almost certainly eat his lunch at the Baked Potato Shop on Cockburn Street, because the portions are ginormous. But he couldn’t fit inside this tiny, six-seat café, so he’d have to bellow his order through the door: ‘Fee fi fo fum, I smell the butter of a fluffy, steaming, crispy jacket potato with curried corn.’ He’d find no blood of an Englishman, or any living creature, here: everything is vegan or vegetarian. To explain the portions: a ‘small’ is one massive potato, a ‘medium’ is two massive potatoes, a £5.70 ‘large’ is . . . well, you get it. The fillings are singularly toothsome: gazpacho, spicy hummus, fruity coleslaw, trusty baked beans and cheese, and so on. Salads such as quinoa, beetroot and celery can go in a potato, or separately on a tray. There are cakes on offer too, and everything tastes fresh and wholesome, whatever your appetite. + Caring about animals has never been so reasonably priced - Guilt about wasting the life of a potato you can’t finish

Bollywood: The Coffee Box 99a Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside See Indian

Ordered online, delivered to your door. An ideal gift for a special occasion or just a treat. Order now for only £19.99 (plus postage) from

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 61



Cairngorm Coffee | Closed Mon | £9 (lunch)



41a Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1A: C4, 64) 0131 629 1420, | £6 (lunch)

Named after the owner’s Italian grandmother, Casa Angelina is run by two pastry chefs with a passion for cakes and vintage styling. Light streams into the back room, decorated with lace and antique trinkets but without making it feel like granny’s drawing room. It’s airy and bright, with inspirational quotes on the walls and a dress-up box of hats and accessories should the mood strike. Chintzy but not tacky, the mismatched plates and tea cups deliver superfood salads accompanying sandwiches on homemade bread, with super fillings like prosciutto, lentil paté and avocado with radish and rocket. The cake counter is set up a bit like an apothecary’s shop, with rosewater meringues, red velvet cheesecake and salted caramel chocolate tart just some of the tempting options on display. Children are more than welcome, and the tearoom can be booked for any type of private party that would benefit from cakes and fancy dress – from hen parties to baby showers. + Afternoon tea and vintage chic - The kids’ toy box has gone

29 Haddington Place, Leith Walk, New Town (Map 5B: A5, 23) 0131 652 3880, | Closed Sun | £8 (lunch)

30 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge See Spanish

Sparked by his father’s café on the A9 Highland highway, coffee-lover Robi Lambie opened his own quiet, calm but quick New Town café on Frederick Street in 2014. Its basement interior juxtaposes mountain bothy and modern iPads set into roughly hewn planks under a coffee sack ceiling, amid a refreshing air of unpretentiousness and lightly worn knowledge. Lambie’s Green Hill Blend, roasted in Stockbridge, includes beans from Costa Rica, India and Sumatra, and there are guest filters of single-origin beans brewed in an array of methods, served with tasting notes. The simple, decent food menu offers a breakfast deal of croissant and coffee for £2.65 before 10am, as well as pastries, bacon sourdough sandwiches or cut, iced watermelon from a giant jar. Top of the bill for lunch is Cairngorm’s grilled cheese sandwich, with its blend of three melted cheeses and chilli jam oozing from between Au Gourmand’s hefty sourdough bread. For £2 extra, you can have a daily Union of Genius soup with your toothsome sandwich. + Rises high in the city’s coffee scene, without disappearing up itself - A high chair would be a wise investment

Casa Angelina 42 London Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 15) 0131 558 1002, casaangelina.

TIPLIST FOR SNACKS ON THE GO • The Baked Potato Shop Vegetarian and vegan fillings are packed into huge fluffy potatoes for lunch and dinner 61 • Los Cardos Hearty burritos, tacos and quesadillas for a snack with a bite 85 • Milk at Collective Climb the steep slope of Calton Hill and be rewarded with excellent snacks while you take in the view 64 • Oink Hog-roast baps served with apple sauce and crackling at two Old Town venues 64 • Social Bite Wraps, sandwiches and soups at two city centre sites, with profits going to good causes 60 • Tupiniquim Tasty, wholesome crêpes and juices for a sunshiney Meadows lunch 92 • Union of Genius Some of the capital’s best soup, with the addition of summery salads for a picnic lunch 65

62 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Castello Coffee Co 7 Castle Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 49) 0131 225 9780 | £5 (lunch)

It comes as a surprise (and an encouraging one at that) to find a small, independent café surviving – and flourishing – amid the chains of Edinburgh’s main shopping strip. But with its small-scale but high-quality food and drink offerings, Sandro del Greco’s Castello Coffee Co bustles with regulars and passersby. At the centre of things is del Greco’s coffee – usually Allpress Espresso from London, although he varies blends from time to time – and it’s rich, smooth and packs a punch, joined by teas and hot chocolates in a generous menu. Food-wise, there’s a couple of soups prepared daily in the tiny kitchen – a sweetcorn and chilli chowder is rich, creamy and warming – plus everchanging filled bagels and croissants, and a small selection of decadent cakes. Perch on a bar stool inside, or if the weather’s welcoming, seating expands to tables and chairs on the edge of Castle Street. + High-quality food and drink - Selection is, unavoidably, rather limited

The Chocolate Tree 123 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 3A: B3, 28) 0131 228 3144, choctree. |

Firmly established in Bruntsfield’s café scene after more than five years on the block, the Chocolate Tree has its roots in East Lothian and its heart in the jungles of Madagascar and South America, where the cocoa beans are carefully sourced for their bean-to-bar products. The busy Bruntsfield shop adds to the Chocolate Tree’s presence at farmers’ markets around town (and a new occasional shop in Haddington) as an outlet for customers to purchase their artisan chocolates, organic bars and spreads. With just a sprinkling of seats, including a cute snug area at the back, it’s a good idea to reserve a spot if you want to guarantee a seat. Now serving ice-cream alongside their delightful cakes and macarons, and with sample bowls regularly dotted throughout the shop, there’s even more reason to pop in. Linger over a rose or orange-spice flavoured hot chocolate, perhaps with a few light-as-air churros to dip into it, and watch the world go by for a while. You deserve it. + The hot chocolate – packed with cocoa and not too sweet - The disappointment when you’ve not booked and there are no seats available

Up a short flight of stairs at the New Town end of Leith Walk, well-established Embo has been feeding hungry locals, office workers and commuters for over 15 years now. Its single-room space is a little rough at the edges, especially compared to some of the newer kids on the block, but it’s brimming with character and exudes a warm welcome and community spirit, with chunky stools and quirky wooden tables, a life-sized robot, fish tank, vases of flowers and a rotating selection of interesting art from local artists. The blackboard menu features veggie-friendly wraps, rolls and salads, as well as build-your-own options, and a changing list of specials, such as soups (ginger and coconut, chili squash, bacon and lentil) and mains (Vietnamese beef noodles) offering big flavours and substantial sustenance at affordable prices. Even a first visit here feels like a homecoming, which makes you want to return again and again. + A well-established local Leith café full of character - Starting to feel a little rough round the edges

Fortitude Coffee 3C York Place, New Town (Map 1B: B5, 62) 0131 557 3063, | Closed Sun | £6 (lunch)

The door opens every couple of minutes at this compact coffee house on York Place, as a brisk trade of takeaway lattes and sit-in business meetings with Americanos filters through. Thanks to its location near the bus station and tram terminus, the clientele consists of thirsty travellers as well as local shoppers and workers. Many people seek it out as a haven of serious coffee worship along similar lines to more established outlets over on the Southside. A charming display of clipboards shows off the coffee wares, from the now standard flat whites and long blacks to the new-fangled Kalita Wave pour over – a reinvention of the classic filter coffee, made with precision by staff with an obvious love for and knowledge of their craft. The well-rounded offer includes Union of Genius soups and Lovecrumbs bakes as well as breakfast items from local oat heroes Stoats. There’s a tempting coffee and chocolate pairing board on the menu, and tea drinkers are not left out either – a chalkboard displays the current brews sourced from Anteaques. + All the coffee passion with none of the snobbery - Not curently open Sundays

Gaia Delicatessen 32 Crighton Place, Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 16) 0131 553 7333, | £10 (lunch) £10 (dinner)

If you didn’t know any better, the coastal tunes and cheery decor of Gaia, an Italian deli run by Nunzio Dragotta and his flock, could make you think you were having a meal in sunny Palermo. The majority of the patrons are Italian natives, adding to the illusion. For a quick lunch, grab one of the panini – try the mozzarella and homemade caponata version when it’s available. Likewise, their pasta is homemade and the seafood diablo hits all the right spicy notes. Finishing the meal with a traditional canolo is the way to go – all of Gaia’s baked goods and breads are produced by a Sicilian baker in town. Paired with the Italian imports they bring in to create true, authentic dishes, an affordable lunch here is hard to beat. + Italian imports for proper panini - Downstairs toilet

Henderson’s Shop & Deli 92 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 79) 0131 225 6694, php | £7 (lunch) £10 (dinner)

It’s hard to believe Henderson’s Deli and Shop tops 50 years old, yet few can remember when this vegetarian haven was not perched on its corner where Thistle Street crosses Hanover. The open, bright premises, large windows catching morning sunshine, certainly haven’t hurt its longevity. Settled on a stool with herbal tea and a cake, New Town people-gazing would be hard to improve upon. Open shelves display floury loaves baked in-house for direct sale and use by the deli in homemade soup, like the unexpectedly light sweet potato and basil. Like the restaurant below, the deli displays savoury items – spicy lentil falafel, olive and potato frittata, flaky triangles of spanakopita for nibbling individually or partnering with a selection of interesting salads. Prepared daily and lightly dressed, the colourful selection may include crunchy Waldorf with apple and hazelnuts, vividly pink beetroot salad or Greek salad hosting chunks of tangy feta. Vegan-friendly cakes, not stinting on chocolate or nuts, are a worthy treat. Pre-packed offerings are ready to grab from the chiller for those in a rush. + Great location for a healthy feed - More pudding options would be a plus

4 Italian On The Mound 15 Bank Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C2, 18) 0131 220 4400 | £7 (lunch)

Bank Street’s Italian on the Mound, formerly named Café Espresso, is a tiny seven-seat café which workers, tourists and knowing Italian folk pack into for breakfast and lunch, and for a good cup of Portioli coffee and other tastes of Italy. Run since 1997 by Piera Vessella and then her son Stephano, who are members of the Crolla dynasty, the café espouses simplicity, family values, and value for money. Ten baguettes are chalked on the board, including their excellent signature Number 9: grilled spicy chicken, taco sauce, jalapenos, manchego and a choice of three graded hot sauces. Ten more ciabatta and focaccia are offered, stuffed with salami, pastrami, mozzarella, aubergine, sun-blush tomatoes, and Italian meatballs and parmesan, beside popular round-the-world and mix-andmatch fillings within wraps, bagels, croissants, bruschetta and flatbreads. There are also Piera’s homemade cakes and breads, plus two Italian soups, like chicken pastina or chorizo and butterbean, and family recipe pastas, such as crudaiola or la norma amatriciana, which are always available in vegetarian options. + The Italian coffee, and sweet cream filled pastries imported from Tuscany - Seating is limited, so get there early if you plan to sit in

Machina Espresso 2 Brougham Place, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 10) 0131 229 3495, | £8 (lunch)

Coffee is a serious venture. Selecting the perfect espresso machine, grinder and brewing kit is no simple matter – it’s really a bit of an art form, or so you will feel after spending a bit of time at Machina Espresso in Tollcross. Happily, you are not alone. Co-owners Steve and Michael know their stuff – whether it’s selecting


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CAFES: WEE PLACES 4 Italian on the Mound Laughter and a warm welcome await at this super-friendly pitstop.

4 The Manna House

This bakery-café specialises in all things baked and all things great.

4 Mary’s Milk Bar Fantastic range of ice-cream, shakes and floats in the shadow of the castle. Fortitude Coffee: a haven of serious coffee worship to flat whites, long blacks and new-fangled pour overs

equipment, sourcing single-origin coffees from small roasters in Bristol, London, Lancashire or Sweden, or demonstrating their barista skills. There is a certain odd calm that descends with that much caffeine at the ready – and many forms it takes too. While a traditional cappuccino or a long black may meet the simple desires of some, there will always be one who can’t resist the melted 70% Venezuelan chocolate that rounds out the double espresso shot in the steaming mocha. If peckishness descends moist cakey treats, sticky Bakewell tart or worryingly rich raspberry cheesecake chocolate brownie certainly take the edge off, but lunchtime visitors may look to the healthier soup or sandwich options, either for eating in or with high-quality caffeine to go.. + Coffee and knowledge – what’s not to like? - Withdrawal symptoms

Mademoiselle Macaron 22 Grindlay Street, Tollcross (Map 4: C1, 34) 0131 228 4059, | Closed Mon | £6.50 (lunch)

You may still occasionally see Mademoiselle flaunting both her wares and her beehive hair-do at the Edinburgh markets, but in May 2014 a tiny space opposite the Lyceum Theatre was designated Macaron HQ. The café straddles the line between kitsch and chic perfectly – to accommodate chaises longues, macaron toadstools and a colossal Eiffel Tower sculpture and still be highly respected as a purveyor of fine patisserie is no mean feat. Quiches and crêpes are available but the Steam Punk coffee and sweet treats are the real crowd-pleasers here. Patisserie du jour might be tartelettes, éclairs, or perhaps an inviting ParisBrest-inspired choux pastry filled with cream and hazelnut chocolate. The macarons themselves are compellingly flavoured: salted caramel, pistachio and Hendricks gin are big sellers, as is the Innis & Gunn variety, perfectly capturing the essence of this local tipple. Mademoiselle fell in love with macarons in Paris. The rest of us don’t need to go anywhere near that far to feel the same way. + Pick ‘n’ mix macarons - No bathroom

Maialino 34 William Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 2) 0131 477 7778, | Closed Sat/Sun | £6.50 (lunch)

Once you’ve tried one of Claudio Sapienza’s crispy pancetta breakfast rolls it may prove difficult to return to regular bacon. The blackboard menu in this piccola Italian deli and café offers a dozen or so well-composed sandwiches leaning on a small but carefully selected range of charcuterie, cured meats and cheese. Homemade fig relish and a killer caramelised onion chutney pimp up Parma ham, fennel salami and smoked scamorza cheese, all liberally packed into baguettes from Leith’s Le Petit Français bakery. Meatball sub Friday and Tuscan sausage Thursday provide popular weekday specials for a loyal band of office workers and clued-up locals, all wrestling over a smattering of soughtafter high bench seats. Toasted panini, homemade soups and a trio of appealing salads complete the mix, with a handful of the Ridiculously Sticky Brownie Company’s salted caramel and peanut butter offerings proving hard to resist. + A wee gem in the West End - Not many veggie-friendly sandwiches

Maison de Moggy 26 Hamilton Place (Map 1A: B2, 16) [After end May 2015: 17 West Port (Map 2A, A3, opp dot 38)]

Practical cats, dramatical cats, pragmatical cats, fanatical cats – the Jellicles have most certainly arrived in Edinburgh, ten in total, at last furry headcount. Cat cafés have become all the rage in Europe of late but their origins date back at least to Taipei in 1998 and subsequent spread across Japan, which today hosts over 150 cat cafés. Raised together from kittenhood, Edinburgh’s clowder are hardly typical moggies, with the majority representing some unusual and beautiful pure breeds but all uncommonly self-aware of how divine they are. That is to say, they are cats. And you are their guest, so a few house rules apply including removal of footwear, cleaning of hands, no chasing, picking up or interrupting catnaps. The no-feeding rule appears less popular with the furry friends but is sensible, so feel no pressure to share your cake and tea despite the fixed gaze you feel boring a hole in your plate. Bookings can be made online for hour-long sessions, with midweek calm

being more enjoyable and relaxing than weekends, when up to 20 humans can overwhelm the mood. [Moving location in May 2015 – see for updates.] + Being surrounded by so much beauty, intelligence, confidence and style - Weekends can get too hectic even within visitor number limits

4 The Manna House 22–24 Easter Road (Map 5B: C5, 34) 0131 652 2349, | £8 (lunch)

Celebrating an impressive tenth anniversary in 2015, the Manna House bakery-café specialises in all things baked. Breakfast features croissants, toasts and filled rolls, while the lunch menu showcases a daily changing selection of quiches, pies and pastries, alongside wholesome soups and salads, all of which are produced in-house. The cakes are the stars here though, with a rotating selection likely to include orange polenta, lemon and almond and glutenfree chocolate fudge cake, while Frenchstyle patisserie options include fruit tarts, glazed mousses and opera gateaux. There are also madeleines, meringues and macarons, as well as muffins, biscuits and brownies. With only 16 seats arranged over four small tables and three stools at the window – and a constant queue of hungry shoppers buying baguettes, bloomers, bagels, baps and breadsticks –

4 Milk @ Collective

Climb up Calton Hill and be rewarded with cracking views and great coffee.

4 181 Delicatessen Bruntsfield newcomers doing everything right. 4 Union of Genius

Wholesome, nourishing soup served with artisan bread and a clean conscience.

it can be difficult to get a seat, however there’s plenty to take away and the staff will package it up for you picnic-style. + Consistently excellent producers of heavenly bread and cakes - It can be difficult to get a seat, and it feels cramped when busy

Mary’s Milk Bar 19 Grassmarket, Old Town (Map 2A: A3, 38) | Closed Mon | £3 (ice-cream)

Mary’s Milk Bar is a marvellous icecream parlour in the Grassmarket, the work of Mary Hillard, an inventive chocolatier and ‘gelato graduate’ from an Italian ice-cream university, who has recreated the milk bars of her Yorkshire childhood. The black and white pinboard menu advertises ice-cream floats in hot malt (Horlicks), chilled pop (ice-cream soda) and spiced concoctions of sweet, hot milk, dark and white chocolate. These, combined with Mary’s fresh, daily changing ice-cream flavours, churned in the back room, result in numerous

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 63



interesting permutations – such as mellow milk, Assam tea and malt biscuits, cherry bakewell, or black olive and white chocolate. Sundaes come in bomb, split, knickerbockers and the daunting ‘challenge cup’ and, if you don’t like gelato or chocolate, you can always have a cup of old-fashioned Bovril. + A delightful discovery for ice-cream lovers - Too much ice-cream is bad for you. So, have a sorbet. Sorted

Meadowberry 100 Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside (Map 3A: B3, 27) 0131 228 6994, | £5 (lunch)

Independent, cheery and with a genuine local feel, tiny Meadowberry has settled into its Bruntsfield neighbourhood of quirky shops and specialist suppliers as smoothly as its frozen yogurt fills a vessel. Or perhaps overfills would be a better description as portions are generous to say the least. Two flavours are available daily, the fresh and tangy unsweetened natural maintains an ongoing presence working well alongside a rotating guest flavour – particularly appealing is mixed berry, sweet and tart simultaneously. A counter of toppings, fruit, nuts, cookies and candy bits are lavishing applied on request. If froyo is not for you, superb homemade, dairy-free sorbets might catch your fancy. Pineapple and chilli is tropical with a kick, grapefruit and strawberry tastes like a sunny breakfast in a glass. Good quality hot drinks are available, as are smoothies and occasionally freshly made pancakes. The petite café can fill up quite quickly but happily there’s a comfy bench just outside and the Meadows across the way to wander off those enjoyable (low fat) calories. + Fresh flavours without the fat in a very friendly venue - Given Edinburgh’s climate you can’t wait for warm weather to tuck in

4 Milk at Collective City Observatory & City Dome, 38 Calton Hill, New Town (Map 1B: D6, 46) 0131 629 6022, | £6 (lunch)

When climbing Calton Hill, your breath could be taken away as much by the climb as by the view from the top – but a sound word of advice would be to keep enough breath to cool what will be an unquestionably delicious soup from Milk, the unsung hero of Calton Hill. Snuggled in next to the Observatory you can be assured of top-notch coffee, excellent sandwiches made using artisan breads and Scottish cheeses, superfood salads, and a selection of cakes, cookies and a brownie which deserves a cult following. It is always both refreshing and thrilling to find truly exceptional food in an unexpected place, and you will be both thrilled and refreshed after a visit to Milk. + Excellent food where you really need it but don’t expect it - Might be a bit damp on a rainy day

of pulled pink fibres, scooped up into white or brown baps, and handed over to you wrapped in tin foil. It’s as simple as that: no vegetarian or vegan options, no salads, no soups, no cakes, no fi let mignon in sauce béarnaise – nothing except hot, steaming pig in a bap. The only matter up for discussion is what to have with it. Sage and onion, or haggis stuffing? Apple sauce, BBQ, mild chilli or hot chilli cheese? Finally, you need to decide the size: a ‘Piglet’ kids’ portion, an ‘Oink’ or a ‘Grunter’. Once that’s decided, dive in. + It’s cheap, filling and very quick - Vegetarians can forget about it

4 181 Delicatessen 181 Bruntsfi eld Road, Tollcross (Map 3A: A4, 33) 0131 229 4554 | Closed Sun | £8 (lunch)

Not another new café in Bruntsfield, you say? Well, yes, and this one not only fits in, it makes complete sense. Since the departure of Peckhams and Clarks from the area there’s really nowhere for local residents to purchase their cheese, deli meats and dry goods from an independent supplier. Step in Charlotte and Mike Billinghurst, a couple who in 2014 combined their expertise and food knowledge gleaned from years of working in delis as renowned as Henri and Valvona & Crolla to set forth on their own path. The well-stocked shelves offer all the products you’d expect from a high-end deli, with a chill counter showcasing cheese, meats and pies. A scattering of tables at the back of the shop makes for a calm space to sample some homemade granola with yoghurt and honey for breakfast, or a lunch of quiche, salad, paté or charcuterie. The producers platter puts together a daily selection of cheese, cured meat, paté and pickles from the owners’ favourite suppliers, complemented by granary bread and their homemade coleslaw. A meal in itself, or perfect for sharing if you’re trying to keep room for one of the cakes that sit temptingly on the counter. A wee place with a big heart, and a ‘source local, shop local’ ethos, long may it thrive. + A delicious way to support independent producers and shop locally - You’ve got to be quick to bag a seat at lunchtime

The Pastures 24 Marchmont Crescent, Southside See Cafés

Patisserie Madeleine 27b Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, 6) 0131 332 8455, | Closed Mon

With its minimal interior, stark grey walls and functional seating, it’s clear that the exquisite patisserie and macarons are the stars at Patisserie Madeleine. A chill cabinet sits in the window, enticing passersby in from bustling Raeburn Place, while a second cabinet inside displays colourful treats in a way that makes them look like edible works of art. Eclairs come in mango and vanilla varieties in addition to the classic chocolate, adorned with crunchy little white chocolate balls for added texture. Pistachio is said to be the most popular flavour of the delicate macarons, but a standout has to be the larger-sized rose and raspberry version, filled with cream and fresh raspberries to create a decadent but elegant treat worthy of any Parisian café. Excellent teas and coffee are also part of the deal here, or you can always buy a box of macarons to enjoy in your own time at home. + Faultless cakes and macarons - The interior is a bit stark

Pekoe Tea • 20 Leven Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: C2, 16) 0131 477 1838 | Closed Sun • 55 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, 4a) 0131 629 2420, pekoetea. | Closed Mon

Upon entering Pekoe Tea, the hectic world of Tollcross vanishes and a new world order emerges. Tea. More than 100 individual varieties. Carefully sourced, knowledgably described and respectfully infused, they quietly await your contemplation. Both a retailer of tea and tea equipment, and a café where you can try a cup of any tea they supply, Pekoe Tea’s goal is to expand and educate the palate, taking you far beyond the supermarket standards. The mood is one of calm - no dormouse and Mad Hatter here. A few small tables set with comfortable vintage chairs keep the numbers low and the atmosphere intentionally uncrowded. Jasmine Silver Needle, a Chinese white tea, wafts its flowery perfume, rising softly from a blown-glass cup. Lighter but brisker, a

slowly sipped pot of the 1st flush Rohini Darjeeling quickly convinces that very little can be wrong in the world. Such is the power of tea. For those wishing to increase their expertise, tutored tasting evenings for small numbers are on offer at the newer sister Stockbridge café, delving into the wonders of Japanese or Chinese teas. + The prevailing sense of calm - Making a choice from the huge selection of teas

Pig in a Poke 95 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1A: C5, 56) 0131 226 1616, | £5.90 (set lunch)

Eighteen hours! No more, no less to produce this joyfully pulled pork. Encapsulated in a handful of a bap, a wrap or a ‘poke’ (box), the meat is warm, wet and savoury – who could ask for more? But if you do then dress it up with one of many sauces (garlic mayo, chipotle, salsa, mustard to name a few), then add some apple sauce and some crispy crackling (you can be good tomorrow). Sourcing matters. A lot of thought went into selecting the breed of this fine pork. British whites are reared in the Scottish Borders and prepared by one of Edinburgh’s best butchers, Bowers of Stockbridge. Uniquely, only the gigots (haunches) and shoulders are shredded for these rolls, the fatty under belly left aside, producing a richly flavoured meat lacking in the greasiness often associated with pulled pork. Vegetarians, fear not. This simple lunch haven offers a fresh soup made daily without a whisper of meat stock to delight and warm you. Coffee is supplied by Artisan Roast and hot drinks are priced at a cost to tempt you back. + A new hog every day. Fresh, fresh, fresh - Homemade sauces and sweet treats would be valuable additions

Söderberg • Quartermile, Old Town (Map 2A: B5, 62) 0131 228 5876) • 31 Queensferry Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 12) 0131 228 1905, | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch)

Quartermile-based Swedish bakery and eatery Peter’s Yard now has two satellite bakery outlets, the first just round the corner from its Meadows HQ, and a recently opened second among the burgeoning high-quality cafés and

New Town Deli 42 Broughton Street, New Town See main entry in Cafés.

Oink • 82 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2B: D2, 29) 07584 637416 • 34 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 26) 07771 968233, oinkhogroast. | £5 (lunch)

Do you like pork? If yes, read on. If not, move on. Because at Oink there’s only one thing on the menu – or rather, in the window: a pig, roasted, crackled, and prostrate, with its back end a mass 64 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Chocolate Tree (page 62): a Bruntsfield café with its heart in the jungles of Madagascar and South America


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restaurants of Queensferry Street in the West End. This new branch is a nononsense affair, with counter and bakery trollies offering Peter’s Yard’s impeccable and thoroughly authentic Scandinavian baking, from several sorts of bread, to cardamom and cinnamon buns, raspberry/blueberry pastries and dense but delicious spelt scones, all baked fresh that morning (cooking times are displayed in the bakery’s window) and tasting just as good as you’d hope. Lunchtime diners can choose from daily changing sandwiches, soups and boxed salads – salmon, dill and sour cream often feature – as well as indulging in a sumptuous raspberry cheesecake, a lightly spiced parsnip cake or the chocolate ganache feast of a ‘Sara Bernhard’. With just two indoor seats, Queensferry Street’s Soderberg is mostly a take-away affair, although the Quartermile bakery has space for more. + Truly exceptional baking – fresh, proper bread and rustic patisserie - You pay more for this level of quality

The Stockbridge Kitchen 7 Baker’s Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 24) 07515 887587 | £8 (lunch)

Opening in February 2015 on the aptly named Baker’s Place in Stockbridge, this particular kitchen tries to offer something new in an area already noted for its cafés, delis and general foodie havens. A good example is the two-course Sunday roast with cuts of meat alternating each week – an option rarely found at many of the cafés nearby. The interior of wooden chairs and tables, shelves crammed with baking knick-knacks and warm red-wine walls is a soothing space in which to rest weary legs, but it’s the variety of eat-in or take-away options that pulls in locals and passersby alike. From the obligatory soups, salads and cakes to the more inspiring pulled-pork sandwiches, meat pies, and the popular roast beef and cheese toasties, there’s a lot to choose from here. + Substantial choice on offer - It has historically been a tricky site

Thyme 44 Earl Grey Street, Tollcross, Tollcross (Map 4: D2, 46) 07946 819982, | Closed Sat/Sun | £6.50 (lunch)

Keeping office workers happy and well fed is a bit of an art form. Now try doing it for more than a decade. But Thyme has succeeded and succeeded well, as the queues on weekdays at lunchtime make clear. The range of almost 30 sandwiches, rolls, wraps, salad boxes, all prepared to order, takes a moment to absorb but is quickly set upon by vegans, veggies and non-veggies alike. Thyme’s superfood salad hosts edamame beans, beetroot, roast sweet potato and other delights, with tuna if that appeals. Falafel arrives in veg and non-veg salad combos, enhanced by a very light honey and lemon dressing. The dailies blackboard announces four or five freshly made soups, gluten- and dairy-free among them, which warm the body and the soul. Sweets are the only let down, with trays of baked bars deeply in the shadows of the main event, but the healthier fruit salad is probably a better idea anyway. Outside catering forms a large part of Thyme’s business success, serving the office market but soon to spread its wings further. + Good variety and caretaking, a particular reward for vegetarians - Sweets could use a re-think with so many local sources to call upon

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

Twelve Triangles 90 Brunswick Street, Leith (Map 5B: A5, 21) 0131 629 0626, twelvetriangles

Opened just as the Guide went to print, this tiny takeaway just off Leith Walk is a little sister to West Port’s popular Lovecrumbs café. Housed in a former antiques shop on Brunswick Street, expect a small menu focusing on quality bread, sandwiches and focaccia, along with croissants, pastries, coffee and an enticing array of lush doughnuts, with fillings ranging from the the traditional – raspberry jam – to the more adventurous – maple pecan custard or chocolate peanut butter. Space inside the shop is pretty tight but plans are afoot for outdoor seating in the warmer months. [Not open for full review at time of publication – check for updates.]

CHINESE The days when Chinese food largely consisted of a gloopy sweet and sour dish or curry, rice and chips are long gone. Nowadays Edinburgh has an array of different restaurants, from dim sum to the spicier cuisine of Northern China to high-end restaurants in opulent surroundings. Dishes for more western tastes are still available, but now might be the time to take a chance on more authentic flavours. Reviewers: Teddy Craig, Catriona Crawford, Louise Donoghue, Sandy Neil

4 Union of Genius 8 Forrest Road, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 55) 0131 226 4436, | Closed Sat/Sun | £6 (lunch)

‘You need soup’ says the tiny café’s frontage, and when the soup is as good as Union of Genius’s, that statement must surely be true. But it’s not just during the chilly months that this place deserves your custom. They also serve up an eclectic range of wholesome salads – ideal for a picnic in the nearby Meadows – and a superb range of cakes and breads, including dairy-free, gluten-free varieties. Six seasonal soups made with local veg are chalked up daily, with all allergens carefully identified and plenty for vegans and vegetarians to get excited about. There might be Lebanese lentil and lemon, or a Thai-spiced mushroom, coconut and green bean concoction – check the daily Facebook updates to be sure. Popular mainly with the takeaway trade, there’s also a sprinkling of seats in the window and a couple of high stools, but these fill up quickly as the lunchtime rush descends. During term times, their soup van can be found on weekday lunchtimes in George Square, serving up soup to hungry students, professors and anyone else who seeks it out. + Bring your Vegware packaging back for composting to get loyalty points - Seating is at a premium during busy lunchtimes

The Zulu Lounge 366 Morningside Road, Southside (Map 3B: A4, 5) 0131 466 8337, thezululounge. com | £7 (lunch)

Close to the Morningside clock, a collage of colours spills forth from this tiny café much loved by locals. Zulu Lounge comforts homesick South African ex-pats with its familiar selection of products and meals, and is a feast for the eyes of the uninitiated. Practically every surface is bedecked, displaying fresh and packaged foods, for nibbling on the spot or cooking with at home. Daily soups, bright as the colours on the South African flag, are largely vegetarian and may be minted pea or bright tomato and olive. Hearty Boerewors sausages, made by Findlays of Portobello, enhanced with Chakalaka sauce, nestle in rolls or rest on maize meal. Biltong makes an unexpected appearance in a salad but also features in one of the foot-long Gatzby baguettes. Popular for its Redbush coffee and fruitpacked smoothies, the more indulgent visitor may fall victim to the posh hot chocolate. Working from a base of dark or white Belgian chocolate, whimsy takes off with the addition of Terry’s Chocolate Orange, or peanut butter, Mars Bars, Nutella or popping candy to name a few. Be brave. Gesondheid! + A vast variety of sandwiches, wraps and salads compete for attention - Super busy at lunchtime

B&D’s Kitchen 214 Dalry Road, West End (Map 4: A4, off) 0131 261 9248, | Closed Mon | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

At B&D’s Kitchen the surroundings are simple, the seating limited, but the menu is worth exploring long before arriving, because some of the most interesting, not-seen-on-other-menu options must be ordered 24–48 hours in advance to allow for preparation. Chicken with powdered ginger is subtle in its light gravy but the flavour builds impressively. Crisp roast pork crackles as you bite through the super-crisp skin and into the tender flesh of pork belly, touched by the deep musty sweetness of hoisin sauce. Didn’t plan ahead? The majority of the menu items can be ordered on arrival, with no less care given to delivery. Salt and chilli squid, cut in generous rectangular slices, is meaty but not chewy under its flashfried coating. Familiar dishes fill out the menu but sufficient attention is paid to detail that they prove better than usual. [Not recently visited.]

4 China Town 3 Atholl Place, West End (Map 4: B2, 1) 0131 228 3333, chinatownedinburgh. com | No Kids (under 7) | Closed Tue | £9.30 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)


CHINESE 4 China Town High-quality food, cooked to order, in a relaxing setting. 4 Wing Sing Inn The surroundings are sparse, but who cares when the food is this good? reorder any dishes free of charge. Dumplings are a Manchurian speciality: either jiao zi (boiled) or guo tie (fried), filled with pork and coriander, prawn, beef and chilli or vegetables, and dipped into your own mixed sauce of light soy, chilli oil, vinegar and garlic. In addition to the dumplings there’s lovely crisp chilli squid, liquorice-scented chicken wings, sweet and sour pork ribs and a tangy salad of cucumber, carrot, coriander and glass noodles. One of many highlights is a dish of aubergine fried with garlic and soy, a great example of head chef Jian Wang’s balanced, fulsome and fresh food. + The tablemats tell you how to pronounce and write Chinese words - You’ll be a bit stuck if you don’t like garlic

Golden Dragon Restaurant 21 Castle Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 51) 0131 225 7327, | £9.90 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The husband-and-wife team behind China Town have been serving highend Chinese food in the capital for decades. Set in their glamorous West End premises for the last six years, the quality continues with all dishes freshly cooked by owner and chef Thomas Chan. Starters such as shui mai (steamed pork and prawn dumplings) or spiced and salted chicken wings are tasty choices that prove why this restaurant retains its well-deserved reputation. Specialising in Cantonese seafood, the menu is packed with mussels, scallops, king prawns, squid and fish served in a variety of sauces, such as black bean, ginger and spring onion or satay. As everything is cooked to order, the emphasis is not on speed, and the charming staff are very adaptable to specific requests and keen to cater to dietary requirements. This is a place for relaxed dining and great Chinese food that doesn’t break the bank. + Good food in stylish surroundings - Not a good idea if you’re in a hurry

This is Edinburgh’s oldest Chinese restaurant, established in 1964 at 21 Castle Street under the name Dragon’s Castle, and over the years most Edinburgh folk have eaten there at some point. Its head chef since 1984, Chak Chuen Chan, bought the business in 1994 with his wife Christina Chan, who manages front-of-house, and they renamed it the Golden Dragon. Here, preserved, is the very familiar ChineseBritish restaurant: serving hybrid dishes catering for foreign tastes, such as a decent wonton soup, prawn dumplings, and fried, battered meats with or without a sticky sweet or salty sauce. The restaurant may owe its longevity to this tradition, and to its position picking up passing tourists, who step out below a lit Edinburgh Castle, full to bursting after a pleasant evening among old-fashioned courtesy, lanterns, fans, fish tanks and a sign of ‘double happiness’. Recall the Chinese restaurant of your childhood, with a tartan carpet, and you’re there. + A blast from the past - One for the nostalgia, if not the new and exciting

Chop Chop

Jasmine Chinese Restaurant

248 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 57) 0131 221 1155, | £7.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

32–34 Grindlay Street, West End (Map 4: C1, 36) 0131 229 5757, | £9.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The food at Chop Chop hails from northeast China where, the menu informs us, ‘diners order collectively and share all dishes, brought to the table in random order’. You can choose unlimited banquets for two to six or more, priced at £20.25 per head, and

Jasmine restaurant has the feel of a stately dining room, with glass cabinets nestled in the windows housing grand ornaments. There is an extensive menu and a ‘chef recommends’ icon that is linked to a variety of dishes. The mixed The List Eating & Drinking Guide 65



starter is one of these and there are a couple of standout elements of the six choices on offer – delicious salty and spicy chicken and the heavenly combination of crispy king prawns with wasabi. They specialise in fish and seafood, treated in the traditional Chinese method to preserve flavour, and this is certainly evident in stirfried monkfish with chilli in honey sauce, the fish beautifully cooked and complemented by a delicate sauce. With the usual frozen desserts on offer it might be best to opt instead for the toffee lychees, in a light, sticky batter sprinkled with sesame seeds. Their upmarket surroundings and formal (yet friendly) service make Jasmine slightly pricier, although they do have a goodvalue lunch deal. + Generous portions of tasty food - Disappointing barbecue ribs

Karen’s Unicorn 8b Abercromby Place, New Town (Map 1B: B4, 67) 0131 556 6333, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Dark furnishings and subdued lighting create a sense of intimacy in Karen’s Unicorn, somewhere to cut yourself off from the outside world and focus on the food – so it helps that the food is something worthy of diners’ attention. A starter of soft-shell crab is a tastebudtingling delight, with finely sliced fresh chilli adding a real kick. The availability of vegetarian hot and sour soup means that nobody need miss out on this classic dish. From the main courses, the salt and chilli chicken is a crispy pleasure, while the piquant chilli sauce accompanying the monkfish works well with such a meaty fish. Staff are on hand

with helpful advice about the menu and the best accompaniments to suit each dish, giving a reassuringly holistic feel to the restaurant experience – there’s no disconnect between kitchen and service here. An impressively expansive wine list completes the experience. + Chinese food with a spicy kick - Understated exterior could lead to it being overlooked

Kwok Brasserie 44 Ratcliffe Terrace, Causewayside, Southside (Map 3C: C5, 27) 0131 668 1818, | £16 (dinner)

Located in a part of town best known for real-ale boozers, some dispiriting kebab joints and a lot of boarded-up premises it’s easy to ignore Kwok’s uninspiring frontage. The huge menu focuses on the usual Chinese restaurant fare, but the drive is clearly in the Szechuan dishes and the specials. The classics are fine examples, with ribs sticky and generous and an aubergine hotpot that avoids the usual issue of being greasy and slimy. Fish here is a real winner: well handled, lightly cooked and gently seasoned to do the raw ingredient absolute justice. Though the settings aren’t glamorous, and you really do need to BYOB, Kwok is worth a visit as its many regulars will attest. [Not recently visited.]

Loon Fung 2 Warriston Place, Canonmills, Inverleith (Map 1B: A1, 2) 0131 556 1781/557 0940, loonfungedinburgh. | £8.50 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

the city. The menu retains a traditional feel but the striking bamboo tubes hanging from the main dining room ceiling and the tea house-style wood panelled windows create a brooding interior. Dishes are prepared in the Cantonese style with seafood as the speciality of the house. Market-priced fresh lobster features alongside an extensive list of seafood and fish dishes, always freshly cooked. The dim sum is homemade and offers some surprisingly authentic delights such as steamed spare ribs with black bean – a deliciously salty aromatic dish bearing little resemblance to the gloopy ubiquitous standard. Mixed seafood in bird’s nest arrives in an impressive giant noodle basket and sizzling dishes of chilli beef or cha cha chicken are poured on to the hot stone at the table to great visual and audible effect. This is a place that knows how to add a little drama to proceedings. + Better than average traditional dishes in dramatic surroundings - Dated dessert menu

Red Box Noodle Bar 51–53 West Nicolson Street, Southside (Map 2A: D5, 66) 0131 662 0828, | £8.50 (lunch) / £8.50 (dinner)

In the heart of student territory, Red Box Noodle Bar is busy and bustling: half takeaway, half restaurant, it serves up noodles in various forms. Order at the counter and choose your noodle, meat, sauce and vegetables. There is a host of options for your red box, like ramen or ho fun, duck, chicken

or prawns, as well as a wide selection of veg. The sauces range from the tasty black bean to the spicy Thai red curry. There are weekly specials like Chinese leaves or char siu pork for something new. Once ordered you can add starters of wings, ribs or squid rings before finding a seat with a soft drink or beer. The service is swift and the generous portions are enough for a substantial appetite. While the range on offer will not wow, the convenience and consistency makes it a popular spot before a night out or in between festival shows. [Not recently visited.]

Saigon Saigon Restaurant 14 South St Andrew Street, New Town (Map 1B: B6, 53) 0131 557 3737, | £8.99 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

From the large sign outside pointing the way to the all-day buffet, you might be misled into thinking that Saigon Saigon is just a cheap, all-you-can-eat spot – but that is far from the truth. On any night of the week you’ll find the restaurant busy with diners choosing from the extensive à la carte menu of classic dishes from many regions of China. The kitchen offers some of the most authentic Chinese food in the city which perhaps explains why, at the weekend, when dim sum is traditionally served, the place fills up with dumpling lovers and Chinese diners enjoying their homeland’s cuisine. Delicate crystal prawn dumplings, fluffy char-siu pork buns and honey spare ribs are examples of the high quality on offer. There is

Open since 1972, Loon Fung remains a popular spot for locals with its enduring reputation based on over forty years as one of the better Chinese restaurants in


‘Quality Chinese cuisine and a pleasantly tranquil ambience’ - The List 3 Atholl Place, Edinburgh EH3 8HP

0131 228 3333 (Restaurant Bookings) 0131 228 8883 (Takeaway) CERTIFICATE OF EXCELLENCE 2 YEARS RUNNING 2013 & 2014

d! Hitliste


Red Box Noodle Bar: busy and bustling in the heart of student-land 66 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


In association with


something to please everyone here. Familiar choices are well executed – try barbecue pork rice or roast duck with plum sauce, or if you’re feeling adventurous you can even order ‘off menu’ by asking the helpful staff for authentic dishes that don’t feature on the standard English menu. + Fast, friendly, authentic dim sum in a lively atmosphere - Don’t be misled by the all-day buffet

Stack Dim Sum Bar 42 Dalmeny Street, Leith (Map 5B: B3, 10) 0131 553 7330 | Closed Wed | £13.50 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Tucked down a Leith side street, Stack’s unassuming exterior belies the impressive operation going on inside. This is serious dim sum; traditional and contemporary dumplings, steamed buns, soya skin rolls and braised meat morsels, all freshly made in house. Stack take their food seriously – so seriously in fact they do not encourage take away, preferring you to sample the dim sum straight from the kitchen in its optimum condition. The chef, referred to only as ‘Tom’, is a true master of his craft and his execution is hard to fault. If you’ve travelled much in dim sum producing countries there are smells and tastes here that will transport you straight back there. Small cigar-shaped duck rolls come five to a portion with a sweet and salty plum sauce while Vietnamese spring rolls offer a light alternative served with lettuce wraps and refreshing vinegar. Come hungry and order more than recommended. + The ultimate dim sum destination, without breaking the bank - Perfunctory interior – but you’ll be too busy eating to notice

4 Wing Sing Inn 147–149 Dundee Street, Fountainbridge (Map 4: B4, 72) 0131 228 6668 | £13 (lunch/dinner)

Wing Sing Inn is on the main drag of Fountainbridge and is proclaimed to serve the most authentic northern Chinese food in Edinburgh. The surroundings are pretty basic – just tables, chairs and not much else. Making a choice could take some time and a few of the dishes are certainly not for the faint hearted. The more unusual cuts of meat on offer include pig’s ear, intestine and frogs’ legs, along with tripe and jellyfish if you are feeling really adventurous. Dishes can be spicier than some other restaurants – Szechuan-style chicken with chilli and pepper is hot-hot but perfectly balanced with the lightest of batters. The seafood is a speciality, a highlight being scallops served in a garlic sauce on a bed of vermicelli. Steamed dumplings with ‘juicy’ pork are so moreish you could burn your mouth. If you don’t fancy sampling the traditional Chinese cuisine there is even a section of dishes for western tastes, but it’s probably a good idea to stick with what they do best. + A great introduction to delicious northern Chinese food - Could be a squeeze if you clash with a bus load of tourists

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to

FAR EAST FUSION, JAPANESE, MALAYSIAN, KOREAN More and more restaurants serving cuisine from the Far East appear to be popping up in Edinburgh in recent years, mixing some prominent newcomers with more established locations. With at least nine Japanese restaurants in the capital, sushi is a firm favourite, but the fragrant tastes of Vietnam, Korea and Malaysia are fast gaining popularity and rightly so. Reviewers: Teddy Craig, Catriona Crawford, Louise Donoghue, Sandy Neil

Bar Soba FUSION 104 Hanover Street, City Centre (Map 1A: D4, 80) 0131 225 6220, barsoba. | £8.95 (set lunch)

You may well pass by the trendy façade of Bar Soba without noticing it. As the name suggests, cocktails reign supreme here (a mix of classic and original creations to match the food), but the slick basement also houses a restaurant inspired by street food from south-east Asia. Headed by an Australian chef who trained in Thailand, notable dishes include aromatic crispy five-spice beef with Chinese pancakes, ginger plums and hoisin sauce or the Thai flavours of peanuts and fresh spices in their Massaman beef curry. Sushi too is fresh and impressive, although the Vietnamese chicken wings are slightly off the mark, the promised spices a bit lost and less authentic than other dishes. With a DJ in residence at the weekends, Bar Soba is a pre-club venue for the younger crowd, but with a warm welcome for all diners. + A culinary trip around Asia with cocktails to match - Dim lighting

Bonsai Bar Bistro (Broughton) JAPANESE 14 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 31) 0131 557 5093, | £4.90 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The Bonsai name is already well established in Edinburgh, with the parent branch having been in business close to the Pleasance for some years now. The atmosphere is friendly and laid-back, in keeping with its vibrant Broughton Street location. And the food is good too. The soft shell crab gaijinzushi is pleasingly plump, while the rainbow version is as pleasing on the eye as it is on the palate. The sesame dressing on the daikon salad offers a satisfying richness that contrasts with the freshness of the vegetables. Classics like chicken teriyaki and yaki soba are present and correct, and a Kirin beer helps to tie all the flavours together. + The daikon salad is delicious - Trying to manage all the platefuls of food you’ve ordered

certainly compact and after ordering from the enticing the menu you could find that all your dishes may not fit on the table. Agemono are tapas-style deepfried dishes, such as cheese gyoza (tangy cheddar in pastry parcels with soy & chilli oil dip) and ika karaage (squid with lemon and sea salt). The usual suspects are all here, including sashimi, soups, handrolls and a teriyaki selection. Dishes cooked on a Japanese griddle include beef tataki with mustard miso, sweet chicken yakitori marinated in barbecue sauce, and salty pork gyoza. Bonsai is frequented by regulars, students and a flow of visitors during the Edinburgh Fringe, due to its location near the Pleasance. + Tasty sushi and tapas-style dishes - Can be a bit of a squeeze

Hakataya NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 120–122 Rose Street South Lane, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 48) 0131 629 3320, | Closed Tue | £8.50 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Nestling just off Rose Street, Hakataya opened in 2014 and shares the same owners as Tang’s on Candlemaker Row. Gleaming wooden furnishings and friezes depicting iconic Japanese scenery make for a relaxing environment in which to ponder the menu’s sushi, sashimi, ramen or dry noodle dishes. The appealing lunch menu is served until 7.30pm, allowing an opportunity to sample scaled-down versions of some of the à la carte dishes. Even the lunch menu version of the hell ramen has a satisfying heartiness, with rich miso broth and tender pork slices. The sushi offerings are presented in as pristine a condition as you would expect, though if you’re hungry it might be best to order


FAR EAST 4 Kanpai Chic décor, beautiful presentation and the freshest fish – this is the best sushi experience in Edinburgh.

4 Kim’s Korean Meals Warm hospitality and great value Korean cuisine in this intimate family-run restaurant make for a unique dining experience.

4 Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine Excellent and unsung Malaysian cooking, and a good reason to go to the Quartermile’s quiet Lister Square. a side dish or starter to go with the à la carte menu’s sushi and sashimi platter. The pork gyoza are an excellent choice. The flavours and quality of preparation on offer at Hakataya are hard to beat. + Excellent-value lunch menu - À la carte is slightly pricey

10 Gillespie Place, Edinburgh 0131 281 0526 CLT

Open: Tue/Wed/Thu: 5-10pm Fri/Sat: 12-10pm Sun: 12-9pm

A unique and exciting Japanese eating experience in the heart of Edinburgh. Authentic, traditional, home-cooked hot dishes and sushi made with fresh, local ingredients. Outside catering and private functions available 24/7

Bonsai Bar Bistro (Pleasance) JAPANESE 46 West Richmond Street, Old Town (Map 2B: B5, 14) 0131 668 3847, | £4.90 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Bonsai has been a favourite of Edinburgh diners for the past fifteen years. It’s The List Eating & Drinking Guide 67



Harajuku Kitchen JAPANESE 10 Gillespie Place, Tollcross (Map 3A: B2, 19) 0131 281 0526, harajukukitchen. | Closed Mon | £8 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Harajuku Kitchen brings a touch of style from Tokyo’s hip Harajuku district to Gillespie Place near Tollcross. Many of this popular Japanese bistro’s authentic recipes hail from chef Kaori Simpson’s family, and her exciting menu is genuinely hard to choose from. Takoyaki octopus and cabbage doughballs in tangy, sweet katsu sauce; mackerel braised in miso, sake and ginger; or beef tataki with citrus ponzu sauce, garlic and radish salad? Or perhaps a delicate savoury egg custard called chawanmushi, or fresh, moreish free-range pork gyoza dumplings dipped in vinegary soy. And then, of course, there’s the excellent sushi, beautifully sliced on boards beside ginger, soy and wasabi. Pots of hot or chilled sake set off the whole experience, as would Japanese shochu cocktails and plum wine. + New, interesting tastes and textures - Not having room to try everything

Hay Sushi JAPANESE 15 Dalry Road, West End (Map 4: B3, 62) 0131 337 7522, | £9.99 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Located just around the corner from Haymarket Station, Hay Sushi is not much to look at from the outside. Venturing inside, the space can lack atmosphere but this no-frills dining is nonetheless worth a try. Healthy eating is promoted here – emblazoned on the exterior of the restaurant and on their super glossy menu that offers a wide variety of sushi. Dragon roll (king prawn, cucumber, avocado) and soft shell crab roll are good and slightly cheaper than you’d find elsewhere. For a Japanese restaurant the portions are definitely on the generous side – chicken gyoza is succulent, miso aubergine is sweet and perfectly charred, and the salmon sashimi is fresh and thickly cut. Having a bit more space to move around means they are very family friendly, and also frequented by local workers, commuters and tourists. + Informal Japanese dining - Not much ambience

Kampong Ah Lee Malaysian Delight MALAYSIAN 28 Clerk Street, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 8) 0131 662 9050, sister-restaurant | Closed Tue | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Kampong Ah Lee is more couthy than its Tollcross sister eating house, Kampung Ali, but the menu and friendliness are the same, and both are reassuringly filled by Southeast Asian diners after a taste of home. Malaysia is a melting pot of Indian, Chinese and Malay dishes, illustrated by a street-food starter of roti cenai – flaky pancake dipped in delicious, concentrated coconut chicken curry – and a main course of beef rendang,

a dry, dark curry of tender beef slowcooked in onion, spices and coconut milk. There’s no dumbing down for western palates; instead the menu offers umami belacan (a fermented prawn paste, pronounced ‘blachang’), kang kong (thin leaved spinach) and hot satay beef, authentically made from peanuts, not peanut butter, to the owner-chef Mr Lee’s family recipe. You can BYOB, or try a non-alcoholic Malaysian drink, like pearl milk tea and gum balls. + The beef satay makes any of Mr Lee’s restaurants worthy of a detour - Desiccated coconut in some dishes

Kampung Ali Malaysian Delight MALAYSIAN 97–101 Fountainbridge, West End (Map 4: C3, 47) 0131 228 5069, kampungali. com | Closed Tue | £7.80 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

The South China Sea divides Malaysia into the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo, so this multicultural nation borders Thailand, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore, and sits near China and India. Malay cookery borrows dishes from all of its neighbours, and four years ago this melting pot came to Fountainbridge, thanks to Kampung Ali Malaysian Delight and its founding chef Mr Lee. The cheery décor is matched by friendly staff dressed in sarongs. The picture menu and whiteboard of street food specialise in ho fun, udon, wan ton and rice noodles, churned out constantly by a machine in the basement. There’s a creamy coconut and chilli chicken and seafood laksa curry from Singapore, and a vegetarian red Thai curry, full of fresh, delicious, crunchy vegetables. + Their (secret recipe) curry broth in which to dip roti cenai ‘flying bread’ - Not as cosy as its sister eating house

4 Kanpai JAPANESE 8–10 Grindlay Street, West End (Map 4: D1, 33) 0131 228 1602, kanpaisushi. | Closed Mon | £23 (lunch/dinner)

From the moment you enter, it’s clear that Kanpai is a cut above your average Japanese restaurant. The surroundings are sleek, the service charming – and that’s before you even sample the food. Tender and tasty teppanyaki sirloin beef is served on a sizzling platter, the freshest of fish is combined in a delicious sashimi salad and the gyoza are outstanding. Grilled aubergine in a sweet miso sauce is also a treat and although the sushi may be slightly more pricey than at other establishments it is certainly worth the extra expense. Sit up at the bar and be mesmerised by the chefs at work, for presentation is king here. The black sesame and white sesame ice-creams are a perfect balance between a creamy and nutty texture and are a great way to round off a very pleasurable dining experience. Booking is essential here, to ensure you can join the theatre-going crowd, along with a diverse array of diners who have discovered Kanpai’s excellent food. + Wonderful Japanese food - A little bit of a squeeze when diners are waiting to be seated


4 Kim’s Korean Meals

For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to

5 Buccleuch Street, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 2) 0131 629 7951, | Closed Sun | £8 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner) 68 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


It’s easy to see why booking is essential at this quirky little Korean restaurant with its loyal following and welldeserved reputation. It comes as no surprise either that the owners have moved in next door: a family business

in the truest sense, the cosy 20-seater dining room is practically an extension of their home. Mrs Kim cooks while Mr Kim and their son manage the floor with an efficient charm and palpable affection that puts you immediately at ease. There’s nothing predictable here: from the classical music to the displays of tiny trinkets collected on family travels and chairs wearing socks, every element has been treated with care and attention. You can expect excellent guidance on how to navigate the menu and eat the food. Main courses come with soup, rice, kimchi and delicious pickles and starters are big enough for two to share. Try rich strips of pork bulgogi with red pepper sauce, spicy ramen or jjigae – a traditional hot stew of silken tofu, seafood or pork. + Food prepared with love and chairs wearing socks – Kim’s is memorable in every way - It’s only open till 9pm and often full – call ahead to avoid disappointment

4Nanyang Malaysian Cuisine MALAYSIAN Unit 1, 3–5 Lister Square, South Pavilion, Quartermile, Southside (Map 2A: B5, 60) 0131 629 1797, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Nanyang hides away amid the shiny glass, steel and stone of the Quartermile’s Lister Square. But this plush, modern box is deservedly busy, because the chefs’ authentic cooking, fusing Malaysia’s Chinese, Indian, Thai and Malay influences, is truly excellent, and each dish is fresh and delicious – or ‘sedap’, as their language guide instructs. Start with light, spiced, battered soft-shelled crab dipped in homemade sweet chilli sauce, and don’t ignore the salty, hot salad. Then there’s delicate sweetcorn and prawn cakes to try before diving for titbits in a clay pot of sharp, glutinous hot and sour soup, and opening a steamed lotus leaf parcel of chicken in sticky rice. The classic Malay breakfast street food, nasi lemak, is a banana leaf beautifully filled with fragrant rice, creamy coconut chicken curry, sweet sticky sambal, pickled crunchy veg and a deep-fried boiled egg. For just a tenner, this dish alone is reason to visit this empty square. + Everything is delicious - You might be too full to try pudding

No. 1 Sushi Bar JAPANESE 37 Home Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: B1, 7) 0131 229 6880, | £22.50 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Handily placed for both the King’s Theatre and the Cameo Cinema, No1 Sushi also makes for a delightful destination in its own right. The variety of sushi on offer is excellent, with a range allowing meals to be tailored to different budgets. Dishes accompanied by Japanese pearl grain rice – such as the Japanese chicken curry – are served with complimentary miso soup, a steaming hot bowl of cloudy goodness. Sweet and savoury pumpkin croquettes feel like virtuous hash browns and are very munchable. Alternatively, the sashimi salad offers an eye-catching and delectable selection of fish. The staff are friendly but unobtrusive, making for a cosy and pleasant dining experience, whether you’re sipping a Sapporo beer or cold oolong tea. + Pumpkin croquettes - The cold oolong tea is unsweetened

Ong Gie KOREAN 22a Brougham Place, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 11) 0131 229 0869, |

£11 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Located close to the Meadows, Ong Gie is only a few minutes’ walk from both the King’s Theatre and the Cameo Cinema. While it doesn’t offer official pre-theatre menus, the staff in this compact but elegantly presented Korean restaurant are happy to suggest dishes with shorter cooking times if you’re on your way to a show. For most people, however, the meal itself will be the spectacle. Tables with their own barbecue grills (technology specially imported from Korea) allow you to get particularly close to the action. While this undoubtedly provides an element of novelty, there’s no messing around when it comes to the quality of the cuisine on offer from either the kitchen or the barbecue. The deep-fried pork dumplings feel substantial yet delicate, while the noo roong ji hae mool tang (seafood stew) offers an intriguing blend of textures. Squid and plump mussels are paired with crispy cakes of rice which soak up the accompanying rich stock. With all that in mind, an evening at Ong Gie can prove to be a real showstopper. + Who can resist the dumplings? - Only ice-cream or sorbet for dessert

Saiko Kitchen VIETNAMESE 15 Roseneath Street, Southside (Map 3C: A2, 30) 0131 281 5613, saikokitchen. | Closed Mon | £12.50 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

After falling in love with Vietnamese food, head chef Natalie Florance spent years visiting south-east Asia studying the local cuisine with the dream of bringing fast, fresh, pan-Asian food to Scotland. Now her bright, informal eatery offers a selection of popular street food from Vietnam, China, Thailand and Japan which makes for an enticing menu that reads like the culinary highlights of the Lonely Planet. From homemade duck and plum gyoza to agedashi tofu, the biggest problem is trying to decide what to order. Vietnamese specialities include beef pho (Natalie spent ten years refining the broth), rice paper spring rolls and contemporary banh mi sandwiches. Opened in autumn 2014, Saiko Kitchen is still cementing its offering. but it’s a promising start with helpful staff and some cool low-key decor creating a relaxed vibe that makes this a neighbourhood spot well worth a visit. With Vietnamese food becoming more popular, Saiko Kitchen is a welcome new addition that should soon be hitting its stride. + You’ll want to try everything - Aloe vera soft drinks – trend over taste

Sakura Tree NOODLE & SUSHI BARS 60 Home Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: B1, 12) 0131 656 0707 | £15 (lunch/dinner)

On the main street in Tollcross where there once was a hot pot restaurant, now stands Japanese restaurant Sakura Tree. With cherry blossom decorating the windows, the menu is posted on the exterior for passersby to peruse. Inside, the space is quite compact and the interior fairly basic with a sushi counter positioned at the front. The menu includes lots of the choices that you would expect – miso soup, edamame, sashimi, tempura, noodles, gyoza, teriyaki chicken or salmon, and set meals. There is also a long list of hand rolls, including their own special colourcoded creations, sweet potato (pink), vegetable (green), tuna and sweetcorn (yellow) and ham and cheese (orange). The sushi is of a decent quality but their aubergine with miso sauce is the highlight, sticky and salty with a melt-


In association with


in-the-mouth texture. They also offer the option to take away. + Great aubergine with miso sauce - Food may take a while to appear

Vietnam House Restaurant


The name may have changed slightly (dropping the ‘Pho’ part) but owner Jodie Nguyen still gives her restaurant a warm, personal touch, from her friendly welcome to convincing her mother to make wonderful Vietnamese puddings. Pride of place for starters is still held by the fresh spring rolls – steamed prawns, nestled with vermicelli noodles and fresh mint wrapped in delicate rice paper. Still a favourite, the braised catfish, so firm and fragrant a fish yet so rarely on Edinburgh menus, clings to its rice bed with sweetened shallots and ginger. But now it competes with some street food additions, like grilled pork with lemongrass, garlic and shallots, slightly sticky from the pan, piqued with fresh chillies. It’s easy to over-order but hard to know when to stop or why you should try. [Not recently visited.]

FUSION 94 Buccleuch Street, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 11) 0131 629 1190 | Closed Sun | £11.50 (lunch) / £11.50 (dinner)

Sodaeng is the name given to the lid of a traditional Korean gamasot or cooking pot. This desire to reflect the traditions of home country cooking is evident in a restaurant that also acts as a small-scale gallery for pieces of Korean artwork. The mixture of tradition and attention to aesthetics makes for a welcoming ambience at this restaurant on Buccleuch Street, a street fast becoming a hub for Korean cuisine. The menu is extensive, offering a whole range of options as well as the assured classic Korean dish, bulgogi. The enjoyable saeng sun jeon (fishcakes) starter is abundant and could almost be a main course in itself. The ccan pung saewoo (deep-fried tiger prawns with sea salt and chilli sauce) delivers on both kick and tang. This is an honest, homely restaurant that offers soul food as well as Seoul food. + Excellent food and green plum juice - Chilly toilet in winter

Sushiya JAPANESE 19 Dalry Road, West End (Map 4: B3, 63) 0131 313 3222, | Closed Mon | £14 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Although the interior of Sushiya is pretty small, the menu is anything but, and yet the kitchen produces sheer delight on every plate. Paper-thin dumplings encasing vegetables and chicken are pan-fried, perfectly caramelising the undersides. Teriyaki steak, grilled to rare perfection, clings against a bed of shortgrain rice, accompanied by a deep cup of soothing miso, the meat in perfect balance with the broth. Despite all this kitchen activity, the sushi station, perched in sight of customer seating, is abuzz with the made-to-order assembly of sushi, maki and nigiri. Pert rolls of maki sushi make a beautiful mouthful of sea flavour. Salmon, swordfish, squid, scallops, sea bass, surf clams – the list swims on to be glorified in melt-away sashimi. + Everything is delicious - Not enough space for a partyaste

VIETNAMESE 1–3 Grove Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 53) 0131 228 3383, | £10 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Yes Sushi JAPANESE 89 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1: D4, 86) 0131 220 1887, | £9.90 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

If you’re craving Japanese cuisine in the city centre, Yes Sushi might be worth a stop. The decor is simple, but there is more room than the exterior would suggest, and it’s often busy. Salmon sashimi and avocado maki are good, and there are new fusion additions to the menu including a sweet, crisp duck roll and tataki beef roll. The sushi chef is not on display, but nevertheless the fish is of a decent quality and not too pricey. Yes Sushi is catering for a wider clientele of Korean, Malaysian and Chinese diners, as well as local workers, tourists and shoppers. Glancing around the room, the hotpot is a very popular choice, with all manner of meat and seafood being delivered to the tables. + A decent spot for city-centre sushi - Service can be patchy

FISH Lapped by the sea and with superb sourcing from Scottish waters, Edinburgh hosts exuberant seafood restaurants embracing culinary curiosity, demonstrating more sustainable selection and delivering increasingly inventive menus. Seek out steamed mussels with a North African heat or fishcakes scented with lemongrass. Grab once outof-fashion spoots and brown crabs, dressed up or au natural, as the go-to picks, so redolent of the sea itself. But always trust in velvety Cullen skink to give comfort in a cold climate. Reviewer: Courtney Hyde Peyton

4 C-Shack 3 Pier Place, Newhaven, Leith (Map 5: A2, off) 0131 467 8628, | No Kids (under 5) | Closed Mon | £18 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Cross the road from the fishing boats of Newhaven Harbour, pop through the port-holed door and embrace the fun of C-Shack. Nothing coy here – it’s bright, it’s beachy, it’s unashamedly perky, it’s about eating tremendously well, while not breaking the bank. Chef Stuart Lynch builds his daily menu from what his raft of local fishermen catch. The resulting short blackboard selection will still leave you torn deciding, so dine with a witty companion who is keen to share. An absolute high point is the cold steamed crab claws, their lush, flaky white meat made richer still by the spicy dipping mayo. If messy work does not tempt, the chunks of steamed octopus, drizzled with dazzling green salsa verde, are a thing of beauty. Fish and chips sizzle, but roast hake, crisp skin shielding moist flesh, engulfed in a


FISH 4 C-Shack Fish couldn’t be fresher at this casual seaside dining spot, where charm and quality are paramount. 4 Ondine Elegant understatement sets the tone for some of the best seafood dining in town. light creamy sauce with surf clams, stands out. To counterpoint, simple but elegant roast turbot is pristine in butter sauce. Puddings are worth fasting tomorrow – the Belgian chocolate brownie with peanut butter ice-cream demands belt loosening. The clever, succinct wine and beer list completes a near perfect package. + Everything – this place is absolutely brilliant - Cosy venue won’t suit large parties

Café Royal Circle Bar 19 West Register Street, New Town See Bars & Pubs

Tang’s JAPANESE 44 Candlemaker Row, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 46) 0131 220 5000, tangsgohan. com | £18 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Tang’s is a traditional Japanese restaurant with a modern edge. Nestled in the heart of the old town and spr ead over two floors it’s a pleasing mix of quaint and quirky. Owner and chef Qun Tang likes to keep things interesting and the menu regularly evolves to reflect new trends. Well-known favourites of miso, tempura and gyoza all feature, but there’s much more on offer besides. Tang prides himself on producing dishes ‘like London, or Japan’ and he certainly has an eye for innovation. The new special rolls are wrapped in coloured soy paper in place of nori. The menu can be confusing, but it’s worth seeking advice from the well-informed staff. They’ll talk you through the different ramen on offer, graded for salt and spice; all start from the same rich homemade pork stock and are garnished with noodles, marinated egg and pork belly slices every bit as good as they promise to be. + Varied and interesting menu - Trying to navigate the confusing menu

Passionate about Seafood 61-65 Rose Street Edinburgh EH2 2NH Reservations 0131 225 5979 157 Hope Street Glasgow G2 2UQ Reservations 0141 572 1405 Ong Gie: tables with barbecue grills for a taste of Korean dining action The List Eating & Drinking Guide 69


Fishers in the City 58 Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 73) 0131 225 5109, fi | £14 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

New Zealand’s Most Awarded Winery

Fishers in the City, a founding member of Thistle Street’s gastronomic hub, glows with confidence. The converted warehouse is bold, bright and lively, containing, but not concealing, a wellheeled and loyal clientele in its inviting, light-touch nautical bar and overlooking restaurant. All the classics are available for lunch and dinner. Creamy fish soup, Shetland mussels steamed three different ways, Dunbeg oysters and, of course, haddock or cod coated in Belhaven Best beer batter with minted peas and chips. À la carte options prove trendier and more pointedly ‘international’. Seared Campbelltown scallops are sweetly caramelised among the Merguez sausage-accented jambalaya. Roast whole sea fmussel and bass receives an enlivening Middle Eastern infusion, stuffed with fragrant preserved lemon and olives, while coley and prawn curry cites zesty Keralan inspiration and the west coast sea trout is chummed by linguini vongole. It may sound a bit over-reaching on paper, but considered as influence, rather than authenticity, the kitchen delivers a solid performance. Challenging the menu for supremacy, the wine list is a true delight. + Fish favourites and new innovations joust eagerly for attention - Can get very noisy when busy

Fishers in Leith 1 The Shore, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 10) 0131 554 5666, fi | £14 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Fishers in Leith is a classic in its own right. Only a year off its silver anniversary, calm confidence and a real love of what it’s doing are exuded in its atmosphere, staff and menu. The nautical tone feels natural and unforced, perched as it is at the northern edge of the Shore, and reflects a bright breezy tempo despite traditional dark wooden décor. The menu maintains its longstanding appeal with Fishers Features ensuring those needing the comfort of creamily soothing fish soup, Anstruther smoked salmon and crisp-on-the-outside/moreish-on-theinside fishcakes tweaked with lemony mayonnaise can relax into their chairs. All is well. For those hankering to push the boat out, a sashimi of sea bream, sharpened with pickled ginger, or salt and pepper squid with blood orange salad and a tangy chilli dip focuses the mind. The gentle sweetness of the whole megrim sole is drawn out but not overwhelmed by wild garlic, basil and artichoke butter. Puddings please – a fun take on pavlova sees mini meringues with their lime, berry and passionfruit compote bring an evening to an elegant, but relaxed, conclusion. + Wonderful consistency and delight from a time-honoured friend - Carnivores really need to like steaks

The King’s Wark 36 The Shore, Leith See Bars & Pubs

The Mussel and Steak Bar

To find ou outt mo mo re more r aabout bo b o ut ut V Villa iililla l llaa M Maria aria ar riiaa iin nS Sc Scotland c contact 01344 871800 or


70 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

110 West Bow, Grassmarket, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 39) 0131 225 5028, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £29 (dinner)

Settled neatly into the eastern curve of the Grassmarket, Mussel & Steak is a popular choice with locals and visitors. The dining rooms bustle along pretty merrily on full nights but quieter evenings still maintain a jolly feel in a fuss-free environment. Shoals

of decorative blue and green metal fish swim across the walls as tables of families and friends ponder the simple but enticing menu. Daily specials may include super-rich potted prawns and crab, easily shared with a chum, followed by a succulent whole roast sea bream, with skin so paper-crisp it’s a treat all by itself. And the surf and turf does not disappoint. Rosy crevettes are tender, alongside squid and a half portion of mussels bathed in a choice of sauces but do consider the chilli, ginger, cumin and lime for a fresh, spicy alternative, the lime cutting through the heat of the other seasonings. The ‘turf’, an 8oz ribeye steak, matured for 38 days minimum, is cooked exactly to order and confidently meets customer expectations. It makes for a rewarding Grassmarket experience. + Really good specials add to the fun - A pre-theatre menu would be lovely given the location

Mussel Inn 61–65 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1A: C5, 60) 0131 225 5979, | £7.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Plum in the heart of Rose Street, Mussel Inn has been a mainstay for low-key seafood dining since 1998. In warmer months, the scale of operations expands considerably as families, tourists and locals enjoy the outdoor café in Rose Street’s somewhat sheltered environs, but in cooler months the indoor atmosphere is no less convivial thanks to enthusiastic staff. True to its name, mussels feature large on the menu. The daily specials blackboard announces their point of origin and five different steamed varieties are available, including classic white wine and shallots or a more unconventional Moroccan variety with chillies, ginger and cumin. Or for a twist, order them grilled with garlic butter. For those otherwise inclined there are plenty of prawn, oyster, scallop and fish options, including a generous fish stew with Asian spices, and pan-fried king scallops accented with sun-blushed tomato and pesto. Interestingly, fish and chips are absent from this menu but the selection is wide so consider trying the crab pasta with lime and chilli instead. Desserts continue the relaxed tone and should please children of all ages. + Central location for easy, family shellfish dining - Seating can feel a bit cheek by jowl

4 Ondine 2 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 21) 0131 226 1888, | Closed Sun | £17 (set lunch) / £41 (dinner)

Understated elegance is never easy to pull off – it takes confidence, conviction and quality. Ondine, now six years old and well established as one of Edinburgh’s best restaurants, continues to exude these distinctions. The sweep of the dining area, fanning out from the ice-sparkling oyster bar, casts its eyes over the Old Town and charming Victoria Street, the arched pastel facades prancing down the hill. The simple table setting draws greater attention to the artistry of each plate. Not overly designed, as can happen often, but presented to enhance the natural beauty of shapes, colours and textures. Oysters glisten in languid sea pools on half shell and tempura squid are accented by tiny rings of red and green chillies, enough to be noticed, not so much as to distract. Often it is true that less is more. Not so when met by a mound of crushed ice, studded with cold steamed, Scottish cockles, clams, mussels and Mull scallops, overlaid with Tarbet


In association with


langoustines, Dunbar lobster and crab. Tartare and addictive aioli for dipping demand finger bowls once the slopes have been laid bare but the feasting doesn’t break Ondine’s shimmering spell. Her magic continues undaunted. + Scotland’s seas could not be better honoured - Beauty comes at a price

The Ship on the Shore 24–26 The Shore, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 12) 0131 555 0409, theshipontheshore. | No Kids (after 5pm) | £20 (lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Tempting though the outside picnic tables may be in warmer months, atmosphere ranks a high draw at this longstanding Shore-front favourite. A bit like being invited into the captain’s dining room (in a ship seating 50+), the dark wood-panelled interior, brightened with nautical charts and ephemera, unequivocally says ‘seafood’. Known for its wine list, and particularly its champagne selection, this all-day eatery places a heavy emphasis on shellfish and hearty eating, be it kedgeree in the morning or a selection of grilled and pan-fried fish and shellfish throughout the day. Crustaceans, served both hot and cold, as starters or lavish platters, are given special emphasis with a menu of their own, but juicy fish deftly battered, and abundant mussels, in balance with their wine bath, hold their own at a significantly lower price point. Familiar puddings complete the indulgence – cheesecake and crème brûlée hold the mainstay position, while pain au chocolat and croissant pudding add an inventive twist. + Superb atmosphere consistent with a great nautical location - Choose cannily if you are on a budget

The Skerries Dunstane House Hotel, 4 West Coates, West End See Scottish

Sweet Melindas 11 Roseneath Street, Southside (Map 3C: B2, 31) 0131 229 7953, | No Kids (under 5) | Closed Sun/Mon | £12.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

Sweet Melindas has been shifting its emphasis under its new management – more relaxed, less pricey, while remaining one of Edinburgh’s exemplary locals. Tucked away in Marchmont, alongside Eddie’s fabulous fish shop, the low-key but stylish bistro feels more Greenwich Village than studentland. Quiet neutral colours and understated décor appear initially minimalist, until you realise that the artwork is on your plate. A glistening trio of blue sardines, so fresh they practically swim across the dish, are lightly garlic buttered, whereas the rosy king prawns, nestled under a duvet of bright green rocket, are powered by garlic, ginger and chilli. A huge pot of steamed island mussels gains a moreish zing from tomato, chilli and spinach. Fillet of trout sits proudly upon its multi-coloured bed of fennel, watercress and saffron potatoes. Puddings refresh and delight. Pale pink champagne sorbet cleanses the palate beautifully, while panacotta, perfumed with thyme, dressed with liquor-soaked citrus and berry coulis, could see off any Italian challenger. With a well-honed, value-for-money wine list, why would anyone travel further than this local? + Confident, welcoming, inventive – everything a great local should be - Offering dessert wines would be a welcome addition

FRENCH Edinburgh’s French restaurants are a diverse group ranging from Michelin-star haute cuisine to relaxed café bistros. The best don’t just mimic the dishes of France, but create something new, putting a Gallic twist on seasonal Scottish produce. You’ll also find a few places specialising in French regional cookery – these restaurants are often the singular enterprise of an enthusiastic patron who wants to bring some of the tastes of his province to Edinburgh Reviewers: Yana Thandrayen, Robin Wu

La Barantine 89 West Bow, Old Town 202 Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places


FRENCH 4 Bistro Provence A talented kitchen serving reasonably priced food inspired by the south of France. 4 L’Escargot Bleu Along with its Blanc sister, this restaurant shows genuine commitment to working with the best of Scotland’s larder. 4 La Garrigue A restaurant

Bia Bistrot 19 Colinton Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

4 Bistro Provence 88 Commercial Street, Leith (Map 5A: B1, 2) 0131 344 4295, bistroprovence. | Closed Mon | £12.95 (set lunch) / £21.50 (set dinner)

Set in a conservatory-style building near the Leith docks it’s almost a home from home for Marseille-born patron Michael Fons, albeit minus the weather. As the name suggests the food is inspired by the dishes of Provence, favouring herbs and oil over heavier butter and cream. The main evening menu is a set-price list of two or three courses that changes monthly – or there’s the four-course showcase menu degustation that can be matched with wine. The quality of the ingredients and skill in the kitchen is apparent in everything from the canapés to the side salads, with well-judged flavour and texture combinations. A starter of pigeon breast is enlivened with a juniper sauce; a silky fish soup has real depth and complexity. The mild gaminess of a dish of French rabbit is married with a creamy mustard sauce while a fillet of sea bass sings with the flavours of the south of France. The daily changing lunch menu is justifiably popular with nearby Scottish Government staff, among others. + Bringing a touch of Marseille’s Old Port style to Leith - Menu choices might be a bit limited for some

that has stood the test of time by serving consistently good provincial cookery.

4 Restaurant Martin Wishart Excite your palate with a Michelinstarred experience not to be forgotten. 4 21212 Michelin-starred cooking with a whole lot of creativity and originality from Paul Kitching. Café Cassis Salisbury Hotel, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Café Marlayne (Antigua Street) 13 Antigua Street, New Town (Map 1B: D5, 42) 0131 558 8244, cafemarlayne. com | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

From outside this looks like a simple café but through the back is a spacious dining room with dark walls and mirrorball lighting. It’s a very different place from the intimate, more traditional sister restaurant on Thistle Street. Food is served throughout the day, starting with a breakfast menu at 8am, plus all-day sandwiches and snacks and for lunch and dinner there’s a more formal menu du jour. The food isn’t strictly French – a Thai fishcake may be listed alongside a venison terrine on the starter menu, while the mains can range from cheeseburgers to duck breast served pink with petit pois à la française. It’s

11 BRUNTSFIELD PLACE, EDINBURGH, EH10 4HN Mussel Inn: a mainstay for city-centre seafood dining since 1998 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 71



relaxed bistro food made with simple, robust flavours and a nod towards seasonality. Puddings are homemade and generously portioned: a baked cheesecake is luxuriously rich while the treacle and apple tart is a must for those with a very sweet tooth. Despite there being no pre-theatre menu the speed and efficiency of service would make this a good choice before visiting the Playhouse or nearby cinema. + Good all-day option - Easy to miss from the outside

Café Marlayne (Thistle Street) 76 Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1A: C4, 66) 0131 226 2230, cafemarlayne. com | £13.50 (lunch) / £22.50 (dinner)

This petite Gallic charmer on Thistle Street has been popular since day one – due, at least in part, to its refreshingly unpretentious and relaxed vibe. Elbowto-elbow tables and assorted bric-abrac lend an idiosyncratic and slightly retro naiveté that’s echoed in a menu which seems blissfully unaware of current food trends. It’s none the worse for it, and offers a tempting mix of dishes that’s more pan-European than French. Think clams with chorizo and sherry, saffron risotto with almonds or ribeye steak with portobello mushroom and garlic butter. Dishes are generous, hearty and generally reliably cooked. A creamy duck liver parfait is both rich and light while a stuffed, boned rabbit with boudin noir is tender, delicious and shows skill in the kitchen. At the other end of the meal there is good cheese from IJ Mellis and decent puddings served in generous measure. Only the disappointingly wispy bread and foil packets of butter let the side down and seem out of place in a mid-priced establishment that clearly takes pride in its food. Still, for casual neighbourhood-style dining with some personality, Café Marlayne ticks a good few boxes. + A cosy bistro with good food and a warm heart - Cheek-by-jowl tables could be a little too intimate for some

Café St Honoré 34 North West Thistle Street Lane, New Town See Scottish

Café Tartine 72 Commercial Quay, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 4) 0131 554 2588 | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

To the restaurant strip on the ground floor of the old bonded warehouses along Commercial Quay comes a touch of homely French elegance. Within a long, slim and fresh dining room, selections include grilled steaks sourced from East Lothian, moules marinière, croque monsieur and the signature Tartine open sandwich. Heartier options encompass boeuf bourguignon, lamb navarin and daily fish specials. Given that the owners used to have a crêpe van in town, the sweet and savoury crêpe range also forms a distinct speciality. A small range of patisserie, a fine selection of wines and family- and dogfriendliness until late into the evening also combine to make a pleasant and distinctive local hangout. + French dining in a relaxed atmosphere - Can feel a bit too ‘daytime’ even late at night

Castle Terrace 33/35 Castle Terrace, West End See Scottish

Chez Jules 109 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 84) 0131 226 6992, | £7.90 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

One of two Edinburgh restaurants run by high-profile entrepreneur Pierre Levicky, Chez Jules is a cheap and cheerful operation. It supplies everything you could expect in a slightly eccentric Gallic bistro, from the redand-white check tablecloths, cheekby-jowl seating and blackboards with scrawled specials to the charming but slightly erratic service. Thankfully a recent refurbishment has improved the legendarily awful bathrooms, although they still smell less than salubrious.

Some diners may also blanch at a large picture of a generously proportioned naked lady glowering from the walls. The menu holds few surprises; think mussels and shoestring fries, steak and dauphinoise potatoes, frogs’ legs, confit duck or goat’s cheese salad. Haute cuisine it is not, but it’s simple, effective and you largely get what you pay for. Prices are keen as the stereotypical moutarde, with the lunch deals and the easily quaffable house wines offering especially good value. [Not recently visited.]

L’Escargot Blanc 17 Queensferry Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 13) 0131 226 1890, | Closed Sun | £11.90 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The slightly more discreet but equally likeable sibling of L’Escargot Bleu serves up the same successful mix of infectious bonhomie and quintessential bistro cooking – this time in a simple and bright first-floor dining room. Co-proprietor and lead chef Frederic Berkmiller’s passion for ingredients and care with their provenance shines through a menu that stretches from the familiar and homely to somewhat more adventurous territory. So among the starters you could expect a classic and well-executed fish soup with rouille, or boudin noir made in-house with fresh duck blood – a delicately seasoned pudding, with a light, crumbly texture. For those who wish to know more, provenance details are footnoted at the bottom of the menu – a nice touch. A daily casserole is also a welcome offering, with a comforting and creamy blanquette of Scottish ruby veal ticking all the right boxes. Decent puddings and great French cheese should be relevant to the interests of all those of stout appetite and doubtless contribute to an overall contented but lively buzz. + Gutsy cooking with great ingredients that will give you a big French kiss - A banquet of rare-breed beef on offer but no frîtes in the maison – might disappoint some?

4 L’Escargot Bleu 56 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 20) 0131 557 1600, | Closed Sun | £12.90 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Dynamic couple Frederic Berkmiller and Betty Jourjon are the patrons and creative force behind L’Escargot Bleu (and sister L’Escargot Blanc). Their particular take on the classic French bistro fizzes with quirky Gallic charm. A handsome dining room with vintage posters and big windows provides a suitable backdrop to bold cooking served up joyfully by mostly native French staff. A glance at the menu confirms a serious kitchen underpinning the fun – there are snails from Barra with crab bisque, or homemade sausages, terrines and boudin. Berkmiller, also lead chef, clearly has a vital engagement with his produce and his intrepid ‘whole hog’ approach previously brought notoriety in the delicious form of horse meat tartare. Beef is a highlight, offered in a variety of ways and breeds: eye-popping ribeye steak of Highland Wagyu (rich, tender and expertly cooked) or, if you are looking for a seriously good time, a Shorthorn côte de boeuf for two. Puddings are worth a look too, with tarte tatin and crème brûlée being exemplars of French classics that are reproduced here with genuine love and care. + Creative bistro cooking is elevated by some serious sourcing - Side dishes could play a more considered supporting role

Fleur de Sel 61 Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1A: C4, 69) 0131 225 7983, fl | Closed Sun | £10.90 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The look may be cool and modern, the interior grey and black with accents of orange, but the atmosphere is warm and friendly as the young French proprietor welcomes diners to the New Town’s only crêperie. The deftly made pancakes contain flour imported from Brittany, and there are two types: savoury galettes made from buckwheat flour and classic sweet crêpes. All are made

The Pompadour by Galvin (page 74): simply one of the most elegant dining rooms in the city, serving artfully arranged food with finesse 72 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


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fresh to order, with fillings ranging from simple butter to hearty combinations of chicken and potato covered in melted emmental and blue cheese. There’s even a ‘galette ecossaise’ stuffed with haggis and whisky sauce. A selection of salads and omelettes is also on offer, and there’s often some traditional bistro dishes on the lunchtime specials menu. It’s an informal place just as suited to families taking a break from shopping to couples whiling away the evening over crêpes oozing homemade chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream. The restaurant also serves an unusual selection of cidres imported from Brittany that have a gentler, mellower flavour than many British ciders and are well worth a try. + Quality food at reasonable prices near the city centre - Not a place for vegans

Galvin Brasserie de Luxe Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

4 La Garrigue 31 Jeffrey Street, Old Town (Map 2B: B2, 1) 0131 557 3032, | £14.50 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

La Garrigue has achieved what many restaurants in Edinburgh can only dream of – enduring popularity due to consistently good food. Cooking up brasserie-style dishes from the Languedoc region since 2001, Jean Michel Gauffre’s bright, cheerful place has the atmosphere of a great neighbourhood restaurant despite its proximity to the Royal Mile. It’s a place of sanctuary for smart regulars and cagouled tourists alike. Tartlets of

squid and crab or fish soup start you on your journey through the food of ‘Le Midi’. Many of the ingredients, such as rabbit with black pudding, are sourced directly from France. Although the menu changes every few days, dishes like the rustic cassoulet, filled with robustly flavoured Toulouse sausage, duck and pork are served year round due to popular demand. For dessert, the chefs’ patisserie skills are shown off in a chestnut millefeuille, or there’s comforting clafoutis with prunes and of course a crème brûlée. Of special note is the award-winning wine list showcasing some of the finest bottles from the Languedoc region. + Great regional cuisine from Languedoc - You might bump into Gordon Ramsay

Henri of Edinburgh 48 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge, Stockbridge See Cafés

The Honours 58a North Castle Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Hotel du Vin Bistro 11 Bristo Place, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Kitchin 78 Commercial Quay, Leith See Scottish

Maison Bleue 36–38 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 27) 0131 226 1900, | £9.90 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

A recent major refurb has breathed

new life into Victoria Street’s Maison Bleue. It’s easy to spot the North African influence of the Algerian owner and chef at this multi-storey labyrinth: the comfortable, low seating that greets you is more souk than chateau, while the menu has many nods to the immigrant cuisines now familiar in France. It’s delivered with chic finesse in an atmospheric setting that’s all creaky bare floorboards, spiral staircase, giant mirrors and bold paintings. What comes to the table is often strongly flavoured, always artfully presented. Peppery Merguez lamb sausages, lamb tagine, saffron and harissa couscous turn up the spice levels, while dishes like a slow-cooked duck leg deliver the Gallic touch. As they say in France, ‘vive la difference!’ Variety is the spice at this place. [Not recently visited.]

Le Marché Français 9a West Maitland Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 60) 0131 221 1894 | Closed Sun | £8.95 (set lunch) / £16.95 (dinner)

After a difficult few years with problems caused by the tram works, Pierre Pelletier decided to close Le Marché Français and refurbish it. The formula of providing good-value French bistro food that’s kept this place in business since the late 1990s will continue, but with a fresh look. There are now more high tables to sit at for those wanting a quick snack from the range of fresh breads and patisserie, as well as a formal sitting area. The menu aims to please all customers, from those who enjoy traditional French dishes to those wanting lighter more modern dishes. The atmosphere is one of casual

informality and, with the disruption and noise of the trams finally over, it should provide a relaxing experience away from the bustle of the Haymarket streets. [Not open for full review at time of publication – see for updates.]

Petit Paris 38–40 Grassmarket, Old Town (Map 2A: A3, 36) 0131 226 2442, | No Kids (under 5) | £12.90 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Sometimes it’s the little things that really make a place stand out, and with Petit Paris it’s the quality of the bread. Made by one of the restaurant’s former chefs, the open-textured crusty loaf puts other places’ pappy baguettes to shame. The restaurant recreates the typical Gallic look with whitewashed walls, check tablecloths and French posters. The seasonally changing menus serve up classic French dishes such as garlicky snails, a hearty boudin noir or a rich savoury onion soup. One of the specialities is the stew of the day which could be venison in a robust wine sauce full of meaty savour. Big strong flavours occur throughout the menu, whether it’s delicately grilled fish in a saffron sauce or steak with cognac and pepper. Desserts also demonstrate the beauty of classics done well: a warm chocolate tart achieves the perfect balance between bitter and sweet, while choux pastry filled with hazelnut cream is a light delight. The food isn’t breaking any boundaries but it’s consistently good and ensures the enduring popularity of this Grassmarket institution, so book in advance. + Good food in a tourist hot spot - Bit of a tight squeeze

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 73


La P’tite Folie

The Pompadour by Galvin

Tudor House, 9 Randolph Place, West End (Map 4: B1, 8) 0131 225 8678, | Closed Sun | £11.50 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Caledonian Hotel, Princes Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 22) 0131 222 8777, | Closed Sun/Mon | £46 (dinner)

Awash with light, La P’tite Folie’s wood panel-lined main dining room feels open and removed from the busy movement of neighbouring Charlotte Square and Queensferry Street. Whether it’s lunch from the succinct, casual set menu or lingering over the more expansive (and expensive) à la carte evening options, the feeling is decidedly French brasserie. Pots of plump mussels scented with, but not overpowered by garlicky, white wine cream feature regularly and rightly so, both as a starter and a main. Evening meals may include softly poached halibut on grilled pak choi, enveloped in rich langoustine bisque, whereas the lunchtime fish of the day often presents a lighter variation. Steak and frites during the day evolves into AberdeenAngus beef fillet wellington with gratin dauphinoise after hours. Fromage and rich desserts (yes, there is a highly respectable crème brûlée) round out the meal, which can be accompanied by a well selected range of wine by the glass or the bottle. In such comfortable surroundings it is easy to forget to return to work, so consider treating yourself to an evening in residence. + One of the most attractive casual dining spaces in town - It’s a pity it’s closed on Sundays

The Pompadour must rank among the most elegant dining rooms in the city; a fin-de siècle fantasy of pastel-painted birds and flora, soft grey walls and elaborate cornicing. Under the auspices of the star-studded Galvin brothers, this historic restaurant in the heart of Waldorf Astoria’s Caledonian Hotel has been luxuriously restored to heyday glory. The brothers are known for working magic in the kitchen and their head chef Fraser Allen and his team are deftly producing plates as pretty as the room. A signature Galvin dish of lobster lasagne comes with delicate yolk-yellow pasta and a shellfish emulsion that gives the aroma and flavour of the sea. An equally sensual dish of Jerusalem artichoke risotto is heralded by the heady scent of Périgord truffle before it reaches the table. This is artfully arranged and conceived food with lots of fine detail, finesse and intensity of flavour. Of course, fine dining like this comes at a price and this is also reflected in a wine list that is somewhat light on affordable choices. Fortunately approachable staff are on hand to navigate the possibilities and menus. + Fabulous food in a fantastical setting that includes a private cocktail salon - Overly loud easy-listening on the stereo seems incongruous

Pierre Victoire

4 Restaurant Martin Wishart

18 Eyre Place, New Town (Map 1B: A2, 11) 0131 556 0006, | £7.90 (set lunch) / £12.90 (set dinner)

With 29 years of history in Edinburgh, Pierre Victoire has experienced both highs and lows to triumph as a local favourite. Set at the north end of the New Town and next to Canonmills, the bistro is slightly secluded but this adds somewhat to its charm. A quiet street offers a contrasting backdrop to this lively spot that ticks all the boxes when it comes to bistro dining: daily specials scrawled on blackboards, bentwood chairs, checked tablecloths and of course classic French dishes. Diners should expect a selection of reasonably priced steaks, seafood, cassoulets and an ever-changing specials board which means that no two visits to the bistro will be the same. The extensive menu is accompanied by an equally impressive wine list with plenty of house specials to order by the glass, half-litre carafe or full bottle. To further tempt diners, they offer set-price monthly buffet nights and an incredibly reasonable lunch menu. [Not recently visited.]

Tudor House 9 Randolph Place Edinburgh Tel: 0131 225 8678

54 The Shore, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 17) 0131 553 3557, | Closed Sun/Mon | £28.50 (set lunch) / £70 (set dinner)

Martin Wishart’s Michelin-starred temple to elegant, inventive fine dining is one of the key destination restaurants in Edinburgh. It’s the place for special occasions, expense accounts and deeppocketed foodies. Set discreetly on the Shore in Leith, it has an atmosphere of hushed reverence for the gastronomic experience about to unfold. The tasting menus paired with wine provide the best way to appreciate what the kitchen can do. Surprises abound, from intensely flavoured beetroot paired with a cigarillo sugar crisp filled with foie gras, to the freshest halibut made into a delicate cocktail with mango and passion fruit. The best quality Scottish produce shines through whether it’s a beautifully cooked Orkney scallop or the sweet Borders roe deer. Each exquisitely presented dish is a new delight, a fresh sensory experience. Service is attentive with dishes and wines fully explained but done with sufficient humour to

9 Randolph Place. Tel 0131 538 1815.

Virginie, the owner regularly visits Ethiopia and supports 800 orphans with a feeding program |

74 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


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eschew stuffiness. In contrast to the explosions of colour and tastes on the plate, the dining room has a muted neutral palette of shades. It’s left to the cooking to provide the fireworks. + Incredible execution of every dish - Some diners wearing jeans – make an effort!

4 21212 3 Royal Terrace, New Town (Map 5B: A6, 32) 0845 22 21212 or 0131 523 1030, | Closed Sun/ Mon | £22 (set lunch) / £49 (set dinner)

Paul Kitching is a man who has clearly worked hard to evolve his own voice in the kitchen: a complex and witty patchwork approach to cooking with its own unique language. So on the menu you might see C.A.M x 123 or perhaps Beef Fillet ‘Cow Py’, Moooolllliiii, H.P. P.P.P.P.P.P.P.Nuts. Staff are well-versed in this weird dialect and will readily translate, but knowing constituent parts of these dishes doesn’t give a clear indication of the whole. This is the intention, and it’s certainly part of what makes this quirky, Michelin-starred venture fun. It is cooking that is less about S.S.S. (seasonality, specific ingredients, simplicity) and more about P.P.S. (play, process, synthesis). Fillet of beef arrives looking like a psychotropic caterpillar sporting flashes of electric pink and green, and concealing intriguing layers of texture and flavour. Postmodern sensibilities are at play in a whirligig plate of at least 12 cheeses, accompanied by a high/low culture pick’n’mix of biscuits that includes saffron crisp breads alongside McVitie’s ginger nuts. The ‘more is more’ approach yields some real hits and the odd miss but, perhaps more importantly, there’s never a dull moment. + Everything from cutlery to cauliflower and coffee is imbued with a sense of play and fun - Having to decipher your dinner might not be for everyone

INDIAN The Indian food scene in Edinburgh can’t be described as anything other than exciting. From restaurants that have broken the conventions of what we call Indian cuisine and are serving authentic street food, to tapas-style dining and eateries that have truly mastered the art of spice, the quality of Indian fare on offer spans the length and breadth of the city. Reviewers: Jennifer Alford-Thornton, David Kettle, Chiara Pannozzo, Elaine Reid

Agoon Pani 91 Henderson Street, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 22) 0131 553 3980, | Closed Mon | £20 (dinner)

In prime position looking down the Water of Leith through its walls of windows to the shining lights of the Shore, newcomer for 2015 Agoon Pani enjoys seeing and being seen. The sub-continental menu draws upon the repertoire of Indian flavours, but also those of Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bengal, reflecting, in their words, ‘the old, big India’. Puri, its puffed bread, tender and hot, is served with delicately seasoned and herbed prawns or chickpeas. The extensive selection of main courses brings together baltis, birianis, kitchuri and more. The ‘classic oldies’ (Korma, Bhuna, Dansak, Ceylon etc) climbing the scale from mild to very hot, are built around your choice of lamb, chicken, prawns or vegetables. Following the current tread for selecting a greater number of smaller dishes, these choices come as full size or testingmenu options. Vegetarian options are

numerous, the sobzi bahar cloaking a large medley of vegetables in its spicy sauce, while the cheesy peas (mutter paneer) is uncomplicated but nicely balanced and memorable. Puddings include the standard selection of frozen treats and would benefit from a bit more home cooking. + A room with a view - Some real ale would hit the spot

Bollywood: The Coffee Box 99a Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside (Map 3A: B3, 26) 07814 603938 | Closed Mon | £6 (lunch)

‘Tummy to heart’ is the slogan which appears on the front of this Bruntsfield institution, and it’s certainly a venue which has earned itself a place in the hearts of locals. Set on the corner of Bruntsfield Links in an inventively converted former police box, Bollywood is small but perfectly formed, offering an assortment of Indian meals and snacks for takeaway or for eating in the small corner of the Links that the friendly owner Nutan Bala has marked out as an informal seating area. Samosas, pakoras and potato and pea aloo tikka are among the smaller snacks, along with a few soups like lentil and mustard rasam, and vegetable or chicken wraps. Interestingly, there are as many vegetarian options as meat ones, with the chickpea masala cholle, mixed vegetable lentil daal and various paneer (Indian cheese) dishes complementing chicken curries including vindaloo, saag (with spinach) and chilli. + Great vegetarian options, in particular - Bring a rug for the grass

Britannia Spice 150 Commercial Street, Ocean Drive, Leith (Map 5A: A2, 1) 0131 555 2255, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Docked in the heart of Leith, close to

the Royal Yacht and Ocean Terminal, Britannia Spice may not be on a boat (it’s actually in an old bonded warehouse), but stepping inside you might feel as though you’ve happily stumbled into the captain’s dining room of an upmarket cruise liner. Tables are cleverly sectioned with boat sails, while the waiting staff are immaculately dressed in sharp white and nautical touches are spread across the restaurant. Bringing together a mix of culinary styles from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand, the talented chefs offer high-quality cuisine, giving diners the chance to dip their taste buds into a wide range of flavours. Highlights include tom yum (Thai soup with lemongrass and lime leaves) and indulgent amer murgh (succulent pieces of chicken cooked with sweet mango pulp and cream). The goong ob mordin – steamed king prawns with black bean sauce – will satisfy those looking for a hearty seafood alternative. + The mix of cusines on offer - Not the cheapest in town

4 Ignite 272–274 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 59) 0131 228 5666, | £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Located just along from Haymarket station, Ignite provides a fiery culinary oasis for travellers and commuters fighting through the West End crowds. The interior is impressive, with warm, textured walls, stylish Moroccan pendant lights and crisp linen-covered tables. Happily, the food is notable too, with a striking depth of flavour across the dishes. A salmon kebab starter is tantalisingly tender and beautifully spiced, while for mains diners can choose from a plethora of meat, fish and vegetable curry options including Ignite’s take on the classics. The chicken in the rogan josh is moist and plentiful in a hot and tangy sauce, while those looking for something a bit different have options including maracel chicken, served in batter with peppers and ginger. The restaurant buzzes with a pleasing hum of conversation as locals and visitors pass through, their hunger and thirst favourably quenched. + Spicy depth of taste across the dishes - No refreshing lassi yoghurt drinks on the menu

Kalpna 2/3 St Patrick’s Square, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 5) 0131 667 9890, | Dec–Jun: Closed Sun | £8 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Maison Bleue (page 72): a major refurb has breathed new life into this Old Town haunt

Still providing inventive, enticing dishes after more than 30 years in the business, Ajay Bhardwaj’s all-vegetarian Kalpna proves there’s far more to authentic Indian cuisine than a chicken korma or lamb jalfrezi. The restaurant’s dishes are often more complex than those of a traditional curry house – a harabhara kebab starter, for example, is delicate paneer and spinach patties with two contrasting sauces, while bateta vada is two subtly flavoured potato cakes with mustard seeds, coriander and ginger. There are generous thalis on offer, as well as a handful of South Indian dosas – a palak paneer is an enormous rice pancake roll filled with spinach, paneer and spices, served with a selection of accompaniments. Homemade dessert highlights include a fragrant cardamominfused rice pudding and a moreish honey kulfi. Service is speedy and attentive, and the restaurant interior is a welcoming combination of mirrorstudded plaster reliefs and Indian knickknacks. The List Eating & Drinking Guide 75



+ Inventive and delicious cuisine - Tired poppadom pickles don’t live up

to the delicious tastes elsewhere

Kama Sutra 105–109 Lothian Road, West End (Map 4: C2, 40) 0131 229 7747, | £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Kama Sutra has a monopoly on Lothian Road’s Indian food offering, occupying large premises well suited to big groups. The menu is extensive, with classics such as North Indian garlic chilli chicken and curries from the subtly spiced korma to a hot and fiery madras. There is also a range of tandoor and regional dishes, such as Kashmiri rogan josh. All dishes arrive promptly and starters are a highlight, the chandri chilli chicken making a particularly good impression. Main course portion sizes are ample, but don’t quite stand up to the quality of the starters – there’s a tendency towards over-cooked meat and the curries can be oily. However, the pleasant service, alcohol licence and good selection of beers and wines makes for a decent venue for a gathering of friends before or after a show at one of the many nearby arts venues. + Good for big groups - Main courses don’t stand up to the quality of the starters

Kasturi 35–37 Shandwick Place, West End (Map 4: B1, 24) 0131 228 2441, | £7.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Set among the mix of shops on Shandwick Place, Kasturi has a cavernous feel to it, stretching further back than you expect from its narrow front. With a prime location and an enticing menu, the restaurant attracts diners throughout the week. The interior’s bright blue and purple lighting gives it the feel of a swanky bar, partnered with tables laid with white linen and an open kitchen at the back.

Perhaps start with beautifully crisp vegetable samosas, while for mains the wealth of options includes a strong array of fish curries such as king prawn jalfrezi. Most dishes have helpful side recommendations: the salty tang of saag aloo perfectly balances the spicy kick of chicken bhuna. The naan bread is a delight – hot, puffy and garnished with flecks of garlic and herbs. To drink there’s a good range of options on the wine list, along with beers and spirits, but if you’re looking for dessert, your options are limited. + Extensive seafood curry selection - Bought-in ice-cream desserts

Kebab Mahal 7 Nicolson Square, Old Town (Map 2A: D5, 75) 0131 667 5214, kebab-mahal. | £8 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Having been around since 1979, Kebab Mahal, headed up by hands-on owner Mr Khan, is certainly an established part of the curry landscape in the Southside. With plastic menus, well-worn décor and a revolving kebab behind the counter, the set-up here is basic but the choice is wider than you might imagine, from onion bhajis to fish pakoras to the Friday night stalwart of takeaways: the classic doner kebab. Visited regularly by locals and students, the prices here are keen but the service for patrons dining in is a bit pedestrian as the focus is put on the queue of takeaway customers and telephone orders, rather than on the small scattering of tables at the back. The portions are plentiful, however, and the spices pack a punch, so you’ll be glad of the tall fridge of cold drinks in the corner offering lassis and cans of fizzy pop. + The authentic feel - The well-worn interior

4 Khushi’s 10 Antigua Street, New Town (Map 1B: D5, 41) 0131 558 1947, | £5.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

An institution for Edinburgh’s curry lovers, family-run Khushi’s has been

successfully satisfying the appetites of hungry spice lovers across the city for almost 60 years. Thanks to a recent facelift, the interior of the restaurant nods fi rmly in the direction of the establishment’s Indian roots, with colours and finishes that are authentic and stylish. The menu at Khushi’s perfectly merges well-known classics such as kormas, jalfrezis and biryanis with dishes that don’t tend to feature on most Indian menus, such as prawn kohliwara, an unusual dish of nuts and poppy seeds which is dubbed a Bollywood favourite and is truly delicious. The vegetarian dishes on offer are flavoursome and well thought out, with the dahl makhani being a real standout. The service at Khushi’s is quick and efficient and the family’s commitment to high-quality, delicious food is evident right through to the incredibly moreish naan bread. + A menu that caters to everyone’s tastes - Tables need to be turned around quickly at busy times

Mezbaan South Indian Restaurant 14/14a Brougham Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 4) 0131 229 5578, | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

South Indian cuisine does not get nearly the attention it deserves, but understated Mezbaan works hard to redress this loss. Light rice idli cushions absorb spicy sambar broth. Paper-thin masala dosa pancakes of rice and lentil flour, larger than their plate, are stuffed with savoury potato, scented with curry leaf and complemented by the open sweetness of a fresh coconut chutney that gains a gentle kick from chilli and onion. Chef Aji Kumar knows exactly how to deliver this kitchen magic, his light and confident touch rewarding his loyal customers. Seafood takes unusually high prominence by Edinburgh, if not by southern Indian, standards. Scottish salmon mappas is treated

to a special masala with cinnamon, kudampuli and goraka, challenging the sweet pink chunks of fish but without overwhelming or hiding their flavour. Meat and vegetarian curries from Goa and Mangalore build from a coconut milk base, which is rich but not heavy or oily. Many dishes come in either full or half size portions, enabling a greater exploration of this exciting menu and the variety this glorious sub-continent has to offer. + The number of relatively unknown but superb dishes on offer - The lighting is a bit harsh

Mintleaf 28 Bernard Street, Leith (Map 5A: D1, 13) 0131 555 5552, mintleafrestaurant. | £18 (dinner)

Velvet banquettes, silks and rich damasks create an intimate dining experience made romantic by the sparkles of candlelight and nods to the Orient. The menu is a lengthy read thanks to Mintleaf’s decision to double the usual number of head chefs in order to satisfy aficionados of both Thai and Indian cuisines. A starter of kanom bueong youn is a crispy Thai pancake filled with a rich blend of king prawn and coconut. This is luscious comfort food with sweet peanut flavours enveloped in the crunchy pancake shell. On the Indian side, a standout dish is sea bass tenga – delicate fish topped with an intense lime and chilli sauce to complement the crispy skin. Shat kora gust contains tender pieces of lamb in calamansi juice with lemon leaves and Bengali chillies. Flavoursome and surprising in a good way, the little bites of lemon rind add textural and zesty interest. When you try to please too many people sometimes you fail to please anyone – however Mintleaf appears to have beaten the odds and succeeds on both counts. + Ideal for groups with mixed palates - Sea bass tenga not available as a main course

The Mosque Kitchen 31–33 Nicolson Square, Southside (Map 2A: D5, 71) 0131 667 4035, | Fri closed 12.50–1.50pm. | £10 (set lunch) / £6.50 (dinner)

Stepping into the Mosque Kitchen does feel a bit like going into the canteen at school. Thankfully, however, the food on offer is a lot tastier. Grab your tray, plastic forks and knives and stand in a queue at the counter – the set-up here is basic but the prices are keen and there’s a selection of vegetarian and meat curry options from chana masala to spicy chicken biryani. The dining space upstairs is spacious, so it’s great for a quick bite to eat with a large group, or there’s the option at the weekend to go for the £10 buffet downstairs with proper plates and cutlery. Here you can choose a drink, selection of starters including samosas and an array of rice, chicken and lamb main dishes (some signage on the dishes would be helpful though) and flatbread-style garlic or plain naan. There’s not much of a sweet option at the buffet so if you want pudding, you’d be better popping upstairs where ice-cream and cakes are on offer. + The keen prices - The lack of atmosphere

4 Mother India’s Café 3–5 Infi rmary Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D4, 81) 0131 524 9801, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Spice Lounge (page 78): stylish and understated, with good food and impressive attention to detail 76 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

It can be a challenge for Indian restaurants to make their menus seem exciting. Most of the time, you know


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what you’re going to eat before you’re presented with the menu, down to the staples that normally come as part of this cuisine’s traditional offering. That’s unless you consider Mother India’s Café, which has put a whole new spin on Indian dining by serving it tapas-style. The atmosphere is one of a bustling café, with a menu that is well balanced and enticing. The meat options, although plentiful, don’t dominate the menu, with fish and vegetarian dishes holding their own. The portion sizes are generous and the recommended three dishes per person make for a generous meal. The lamb here is exceptional – the methi keema mutter, a dish of minced lamb cooked with fenugreek and peas, is a real standout. The chana dahl also shows the chefs’ talents in turning the humble lentil into a dish with real flavour. + A varied and interesting menu - The bustle can be distracting

Namaste Kathmandu 17–19 Forrest Road, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 53) 0131 220 2273, namastektm. | £7.25 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

With its clean-cut, modern wood-andmirror interior, Namaste Kathmandu isn’t your average curry house – and the broad selection of enticing Nepalese specials alongside Indian favourites on the two-sectioned menu show the restaurant’s true passion. Khasiko suruwa, a Nepalese lamb soup/stew, nicely balances richness and sourness, while mo-mo dumplings (available either fried or steamed) are little parcels of tender chicken or vegetables. Beans and pulses add depth and thickness to the tasty Nepalese main courses, with plenty of vegetarian options – and a vibrantly flavoured but not overly spicy khasi ko masu marinated lamb dish also stands out. Elsewhere, kormas, jalfrezis, dopiazas and the like are available for more traditional curry lovers in chicken, lamb or prawn varieties, and breads are fresh and well-executed – a peshwari naan is on the small side but generously filled and tastily singed. Service is knowledgeable and charming, with enthusiastic advice on how to mix the unfamiliar Nepalese dishes, and a goodvalue lunch deal and thali selection add to the restaurant’s appeal. + Nepalese specials and interesting, unusual textures and flavours - Can get busy during the festival

4 New Saffrani 11 South College Street, Old Town (Map 2: D4, 80) 0131 667 1597, | No Kids (under 5) | Closed Tue | £16 (dinner)

Nestled on a cobbled street near Old College, New Saffrani is not the usual student retreat you might expect from this part of town. Instead of cut-price cuisine, crisp white linen and folded black napkins await you, as does a selection of inviting Indian food with a few unexpected additions including crispy chilli squid and haggis naan bread. The staff are attentive despite the busy whirr of takeaway orders and there are cooling yoghurt lassi drinks on offer from banana to strawberry, along with a selection of wine and beers. For starters the vegetable samosas are beautifully moist and generously filled, while for mains there are a wide number of vegetarian, fish and meat options from the expected traditional curries such as chicken dopiaaza, spiced with the perfect amount of kick, to house specialities including Goan fish curry. Still a relatively new kid on the block, New Saffrani has a lot to offer Edinburgh’s curry scene. + The wide and inviting menu - Rice portions could be smaller


INDIAN 4 Ignite Beautifully spiced and generously portioned dishes served in stylish surroundings. 4 Khushi’s Skilled in the art of spice, the Khushi’s experience is always consistent and of the highest quality. 4 Mother India’s Cafe Tapasstyle dining teamed with authentic Indian food results in a truly unique way to enjoy this cuisine. 4 New Saffrani Fresh and inviting flavours cooked with flare, with some clever twists on the classics.

4 Rivage This local gem is a real people-pleaser and delivers innovative dishes alongside beautifully executed standards. Pataka 190 Causewayside, Southside (Map 3C: C4, 25) 0131 668 1167, | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Step into the unexpected but inviting Charles Rennie Mackintosh interior of Pataka and grab yourself a booth at one of the beautifully laid tables. This restaurant is not just a pretty face – the menu here is extensive, with starters including murgh tikka (chicken kebabs served with a deliciously spicy sauce) and ghobi bora (deep-fried balls of cauliflower, flour and spices). For mains take your pick from over 20 curries including delicate lamb passanda and spicy, succulent chicken bhuna, accompanied by fluffy pilau rice. A friendly team of waiters provide truly top service. Coming in a big group? Take advantage of the separate White Room function space for up to 35 people. Come and try the bountiful and flavoursome portions on offer and discover why Pataka is such a fi rm local favourite in Causewayside. You’ll be glad you did. + The unique and inviting interior - A busy takeaway service makes it a bit drafty near the entrance


* *City Centre Location* 35-37 Shandwick Place, Edinburgh, EH2 4RG 0131 228 2441 ‡

A Culinary Experience to Remember

Punjabi Junction

icate Certif llence e of exc 2014 2011–

122–124 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A1, 2) 07865 895022, punjabijunction. org | Closed Sun | £5 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Indian music on the radio creates a relaxed train-station vibe in this community-run café. A colourful tubemap style mural dominates one of the walls, depicting the spice trail across India and at the same time providing a useful signpost to the many flavours on offer as you set off from Punjabi Junction. A starter of crispy balls of haggis pakora reveal a hot and spicy centre concealed within the wafer-thin

“Every succulent chunk of prime fish had been perfectly marinated. The smoky flavour was truly amazing and the charred edges were a genuine treat for the tastebuds." - Tam Cowan, Daily Record

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 77




DAVID CRABTREE LOGAN ON COOKING STYLES, FORAGING AND POPUP RESTAURANTS I’ve been working since I was 15 years old, and now I’m about to turn 30 I don’t want to work for other people any more. I’ve tried to get a good smattering of different styles of cooking over the years. I’ve worked at dive bars and Michelin-star restaurants and I think they’re equally important. My roots are a grandma’s style of cooking, from the heart and off the cuff. I like the cook I am now, I like the food I make, I can see how much I’ve progressed. I do have some early memories of foraging – not that anyone would have called it that. My earliest memories are of picking brambles, and it wasn’t that it was cool, it was just that there was all this free, delicious fruit – why wouldn’t you pick it? Everything has to have a story now, and these scarlet elf cup mushrooms we had at the Scratch Series [pop-up restaurant] were the highlight of a lot of diners’ evenings. We could have done button mushrooms instead, but there’s no story there, no experience. The temporariness of a pop-up creates an air of excitement. Towards the end, the brilliant thing was when people came back for a second or even a third visit and brought friends and spread the word – the helpfulness of that can’t be overstated. By February, we were turning people away, and it was very humbling. QDavid Crabtree Logan, along with Ben Reade, ran the Scratch Series pop-up restaurant in Edinburgh from Jan–Mar 2015. Keep an eye on Facebook for their next project: TheScratchSeries

78 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

outer shell. Accompanied with sweet pickle, it could easily perform the role of a light lunch. The Junction thali is ideal for the diner who likes to try more than one dish. Presented on a compartment tray, the medium curry is accompanied by a sweet and comforting dahl, crispy poppadums, chapatti, rice and a salad. If you have any room left and are still suffering from indecision, the sweet taster plate provides a great selection including the moreish Indian candy jalebis. Run by the Sikh Sanjog charity with the intention of empowering Sikh women, the home-cooking and casual dining style attracts families, tourists and students on the hunt for a wholesome meal at a great price. + A great social hub in the heart of Leith - Informal approach won’t be to everyone’s taste

4 Rivage 126–130 Easter Road, Leith (Map 5B: C4, 36) 0131 661 6888, | Closed Tue | £8.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

You could be forgiven for walking straight past this understated restaurant. The unfussy theme extends inside with exposed brickwork, dark teak tables and whitewashed walls creating an open and airy ambience distinguished by the tandoor oven which occupies centre stage. Sonfiyani machli sees succulent chunks of monkfish, lightly spiced in a mustard marinade, served with a flattering selection of spicy dips. In a similar vein, the perfectly seared buttery scallops are infused with a mild lime and coriander glaze retaining a wonderful delicacy thanks to the chef’s steady hand with the grill. Jhinga 65 brings to mind lunch at a Goan sea shack with a generous portion of grilled tiger prawns instilled with smokiness and subtle hints of saffron. The tender chicken in murghi malai finds itself in good company with cashew nuts and fenugreek and offers up a silky sweetness complemented by a refined heat. With a great range of elegantly spiced dishes and a view of the dedicated chef in action, this neighbourhood gem is worth the trip. + A little off the beaten track - Good news – they deliver!

Ronaq 10–12 Craigleith Road, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, off) 0131 332 3362, | £6.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The muted plum paint has barely dried on this newcomer to the Edinburgh Indian scene, yet Ronaq is already proving itself a popular draw. Borrowing successfully from the boutiquehotel look, the contemporary and sophisticated interior feels modern and welcoming. The mixed platter starter offers up plenty of flavoursome delicacies – king prawn, lamb, chicken and paneer all benefit from the tikka treatment, the seekh kebab is beautifully tender, pakoras are light and crisp, and seared peppers complete this extremely moreish dish. Chicken bhuna (one of the ‘old school favourites’) has a good

depth of flavour while not being overly spicy. The thali option will appeal to the indecisive, offering the chance to enjoy a selection of four classic dishes along with zingy raita, aromatic rice and fluffy puri. Staff are stylish and professional – in fact everything about this new restaurant feels well thought out and, most importantly, the attention to detail extends to the food. + Décor and service provide a warm welcome - Location won’t be convenient for all

Shezan 24 – 25 Union Place, New Town (Map 1B: D5, 39) 0131 557 5098, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Shezan’s glowing multi-coloured sign is just one clue to this Edinburgh institution’s glittering facelift. Giant gold stars adorn the walls next to familiar faces from the Bollywood screen. The resulting interior is modern, plush and ever so sparkly. The poori starter (which in other extablishments often suffers from oiliness) contains succulent prawns in a fresh tangy sauce and comes wrapped in the fluffiest pancake. The seekh kebab is another noteworthy dish with delicately spiced lamb, beautifully cooked for optimum juiciness. The karahi bhoona, one of the house specialities, sets the bar high for the mains, while moist, succulent lamb set in an intense dark sauce delivers meltingly tender meat with flashes of fresh coriander and ginger to stop the dish from descending into heaviness. The fennel-infused pilau rice is fragrant and the naan bread comes in extremely generous portions. If room allows, the cardamom-infused Kulfi offers a refreshing end to the meal. While the décor has only been around for a short while, the food demonstrates the cook’s continued dedication to a centuries-old Punjabi tradition. + Ideally situated for a pre-theatre meal - Careful of those large portions or you may sleep through the show

Spice Lounge Kitchen 1 Craigmount View, Corstorphine (Map 4: A3, off) 0131 476 9999, | £6.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Don’t be deceived by appearances. What might appear an unprepossessing modern chain complex in the middle of suburban Corstorphine is in fact a well thought out and well laid out independent restaurant with separate bar and private dining area, and a stylish but understated spacious interior. More importantly, the food is seriously good, with impressive attention to detail. There are some carefully balanced homemade pickles with popadoms to start, and an Ajwani salmon appetiser is succulent and subtly flavoured. Main courses are strong on individual character but not overly spiced – Lucknow chicken, for example, is tender and vibrantly tasty – and the generous peshwari naan is filled to bursting with buttery coconut and dried fruits. A carefully prepared gajar ka halwa carrot

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to Accessible on all devices including smartphones and tablets, food. includes extended write-ups, connected events, linked features and search functions for food and drink venues across Scotland.

dessert is full of deep, rich flavours. With friendly, attentive service, Indian tapas bites available at the bar, and even a selection of fusion options (tandoori sizzler pizza, anyone?) this welcoming, accomplished establishment is well worth a trip to the suburbs. + Carefully prepared, subtly flavoured food - Dining room can feel rather cavernous when quiet

The Spice Pavilion 3a1 Dundas Street, New Town (Map 1A: D3, 35) 0131 467 5506, | £6.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Nestled among the cultured art galleries of Dundas Street and sitting just below street level, the Spice Pavilion is easy to miss. Nonetheless, it continues to prove a popular draw for local office workers eager to take advantage of their lunch deal. Despite its position, the interior is light and bright, with pale creams and woods combining to create a cheerful ambience. The menu boasts an impressive list of dishes with an emphasis on north-west Indian frontierstyle cuisine. The sheek kebab is strongly seasoned lamb set atop a crisp salad and accompanied by a selection of fresh dips. The chicken tawa arrives on the sizzler in dramatic fashion and delivers medium masala sauce, with flashes of interest provided by super-thin strips of ginger used in the garnish. The homemade kulfi is creamy and aromatic, providing a cleansing palate refresh. Service is friendly and lunch deals are good value. + Great value lunch deal - Little differentiation between dishes

Suruchi 14a Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D4, 76) 0131 556 6583, | £5.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Perched above a music shop in bustling Nicolson Street, and accessed by a strangely scruffy staircase, Suruchi offers a warm welcome and good-value, tasty food in an interior high on faded charm. The restaurant’s big selling point is its thalis – a selection of curries, rice, bread and even a dessert – which are offered in several options of meat, veg, seafood and varying degrees of heat. And they don’t disappoint – if flavourings tend towards standard curry-house fare, they’re nevertheless fresh, succulent and served in generous portions, with crisp, tender puris a particular highlight. If you don’t fancy a meal on a tray, there’s a generous offering of starters and mains, too – the Nirvana chicken is creamy and well-balanced, for example. A salmon tikka starter is well spiced if on the dry side, and a mango lassi is thick, tasty and almost a meal in itself. Service is unhurried but friendly, and there’s an endearing sincerity to the whole operation, almost as though you’re being welcomed into someone’s home. + Generous, well-flavoured thalis - Service can be on the slow side

Tanjore 6–8 Clerk Street, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 6) 0131 478 6518, | £8 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

A bright sunny interior with simple wooden tables awaits in this welcoming South Indian restaurant. The menu is impressively extensive, with a host of tempting dishes from dosa (long, thin savoury pancakes made from lentils and rice) to uthappam served with coconut and tomato chutney. To start don’t miss the exquisite spinach paneer dumplings – light but tasty discs served with a moreish house sauce. For sides,


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instead of the traditional naan there’s parotta, a layered fluffy bread. Fancy pudding? You’ll find a wider range of options than you might expect, including warm banana dosa with cinnamon and toffee sauce. The restaurant buzzes with conversation as locals stop in for a late dinner or to collect a takeaway, and the tables soon fill up, so book in advance. The service pace is a bit relaxed at points but this suits the homely feel of the place. No alcohol is served in the restaurant but a free corkage policy operates if you wish to BYOB. + The extensive and appealing menu - Decor could do with sprucing up

10 to 10 In Delhi 67 Nicolson Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D5, 70) 07536 757770 | £5.95 (set lunch) / £8 (dinner)

The bright, fabric-clad interior of this inviting café-restaurant bustles with a steady stream of happy customers taking advantage of tasty, well-priced food. Offering great value in a relaxed, friendly environment with its small tables and mismatched chairs, the compact yet considered menu (with options to personalise spice levels and a generous number of vegetarian dishes) offers a tempting array, from roti wraps with chickpea curry to chicken masala accompanied by a tower of fluffy rice. To drink, the mango lassi – a fresh yoghurt smoothie – cleanses and cools the palate, while to finish, the mango cheesecake is light but with a satisfyingly sweet tang. Too full? You could opt for one of the chai tea blends which have a deep mellow flavour, complete with a ginger biscuit for dunking. Students should bring proof of ID for a selection of offers. Overall the atmosphere is easy-going, and the

service impressively swift. This is a cosy, casual nook that will leave your stomach satisfyingly full, along with your wallet. + Tasty food, attractively priced - Its compact size leaves little room for manoeuvre

Tuk Tuk 1 Leven Street (Map 3A: B1, 13) 0131 228 3322, | £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The trend towards street food has taken the culinary world by storm in recent years, with a chosen few restaurants now showing how appetising this style of eating can be. Leading the charge in Edinburgh is Tuk Tuk, which brings with it 30 different dishes, blending the playful with the traditional. The decor is representative of a cool London canteen, with an orange colour scheme and old scaffolding used as furniture. The division of meat dishes versus vegetarian is well balanced, as is the spicy and the mild. The railway station lamb curry served on the bone is a delight, as are the fun and delicious chicken lollipops. The selection of delicious vegetarian plates includes tarka dahl and channa puri. Tuk Tuk’s BYOB policy is corkagefree so you can bring your preferred drink with you to enjoy with this range of very exciting Indian food. + The range of dishes on offer - Service can be a little slow

VDeep 60 Henderson Street, Leith See Bars & Pubs

Vinyasa 34 St. Marys Street (Map 2B: B3, 19) 0131 556 6776, | £6.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Taking its identity neither from Indian place nor produce, Vinyasa is less predictably named after a style of yoga. It’s quite appropriate really, as the experience of eating in this rather upmarket addition to Edinburgh’s curry scene is one that results in a satisfyingly agreeable state of mind, with a laid-back, family feel to proceedings. King prawn with puri has a surprising kick, and the lassi sauce of mango, yoghurt and mint is a lovely partner for assorted fish kebabs as a starter. Main dishes are of generous proportions, appearing in a wide range of specials based on chicken, lamb and prawns. The heat could be turned up for what they describe as very, very hot, but otherwise dishes such as shajahani chicken with spinach, or spicy mixed vegetables, are reliable and fresh tasting. Service is unhurried but friendly. [Not recently visited.]

Voujon 107 Newington Road, Southside (Map 3C: D3, 21) 0131 667 5046, | £8.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Behind an anonymous plate glass façade, the elegant interior of Voujon comes as a bit of a surprise. Crisp linen tablecloths, fanned napkins and an array of wine glasses on each table give the impression that a French restaurant from the city centre has been transplanted to the southern end of Newington. The slightly upmarket image is difficult to pull off in an area full of cheap and cheerful eateries, but Voujon tries hard, with unusually shaped crockery and a menu that stops short of being classic post-pub Indian. There’s a large number of fish dishes, including a strangely addictive starter called sardine bhorta.

More conventional curry fare, such as ginger murgh or the popular Keralan chicken, are firmly spiced, but with less emphasis on chilli than you might expect, and many dishes feature the unique citrus flavour of the shatkora fruit. [Not recently visited.]

Zest 15 North St Andrew Street, New Town (Map 1B: B5, 60) 0131 556 5028, | £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The colourful orange and yellow exterior might fool you into thinking Zest is a typical city centre bistro, but on closer inspection this modernstyled restaurant reveals itself to be of the Indian and Bangladeshi variety. Conveniently located in the heart of the business and shopping districts, Zest is ideally situated for a busy working lunch, a respite from nearby Princes Street or a little tram-spotting. A starter of chana puree delivers nutty chickpeas cooked in a medium-spiced sauce, with accompanying little rounds of puffy bread to complement this wholesome and tasty dish. The Sir Walter Scott lamb is slow-cooked meat in an unctuous, mild spring onion and mustard sauce. Jaipur chicken partners the vivacious heat of the Punjabi masala sauce with tender tandoor meat. Fried mushrooms and crisp capsicums complete this appetising dish. Naan bread is beautifully cooked, and the rice is fragrant and fluffy. One of India’s most popular desserts, gulab jamon (syrup-soaked doughy dumplings), provides a luscious ending. + One of the best-value lunches in Edinburgh - Food is not overly adventurous

201 2, & 20 2013 14! Mintleaf (page 76): a wide menu covers Thai and Indian cuisine thanks to the two joint head chefs The List Eating & Drinking Guide 79



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Dente being somewhat off the culinary beaten track. + Perfect pesto - Blackboard specials sometimes run out

Amarone 13 St Andrew Square, New Town (Map 1B: A6, 55) 0131 523 1171, | £14.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

From ice-cream to fish and chip shops, Italians have made an indelible imprint on our local eating culture for generations. That continues today with variety aplenty. And the great thing is you don’t have to have pizza with everything either (though there’s plenty of that, and it’s not bad either). Truly Italian dining can be enjoyed in the kind of cosy, casual places that your Nonna would love, right up to something chic and sophisticated enough to seduce even the most demanding Prada wearer. Reviewers: Tom Bruce-Gardyne, John Cooke, Sylvie Docherty, Nick Dunne

Al Dente 139 Easter Road, Leith (Map 5B: C4, 38) 0131 652 1932, al-dente-restaurant. | Closed Sun | £10.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

It’s clear that chef Davide Schalmana has a real passion for the regional delicacies of his homeland, and loves to bring a taste of Lake Garda and its surrounds to this elegant room off the rather more rough and ready end of Easter Road. This is a cut above your usual Scotia-Italiano hybrid, with a menu that’s clearly looking to balance a measure of authenticity with the expectations of the market. A dish of freshly made linguine with pesto and green beans stands out as a finely crafted example of treading the right side of this fine line. It’s a fresh burst of flavour, extremely satisfying. Daily meat and fish specials keep the menu ticking over. A slightly sweet venison stew wrapped in cabbage leaf is rustic without being rough. Salmon flavoured with rosemary and lemon steamed in foil suffers from a too-thin piece of fish, and too long in the steam. Tiramisu for dessert might seem an Italian cliché, but this is the real thing. As with most of what Schalmana and his team create, it’s well worth seeking out, despite Al

Amarone’s vast interior eschews subtlety for the glitz and glamour you might expect from a 1930s Chicago jazz club – a capacious horseshoe of ostentatious lighting, vertiginous ceilings, marbled pillars, private booths and more tables than you can shake a breadstick at. This is a venue that impresses – the clientele of tourists and suits from local businesses attests to that – and such engaging surroundings deserve food to match. However, stale bread on the signature dish of antipasti and mains cooked in butter rather than olive oil could be signs of indifference in the kitchen, compounded by a lack of attention sometimes resulting in undercooked pasta, gritty shellfish and over-oily mash. The desserts are a strength, however – a decadent chocolate semi-freddo and a velvety honey and ginger mascarpone cheesecake are both enticingly sweet. Amarone has all the ingredients required to be a destination restaurant – it just needs to know what to do with them. + Beautiful venue - Underwhelming food

La Bruschetta 13 Clifton Terrace, Haymarket, West End (Map 4: A3, 64) 0131 467 7464, | Closed Sun/Mon | £14.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

It’s always good to return to a restaurant after some years and find it as good as your memories. Chef/ owner Giovanni Cariello’s tiny maroonhued place remains a classic of calm and professionalism just across from the bustle of Haymarket Station. It epitomises a brand of Italian restaurant that hasn’t had its head turned by trend, but keeps faith in classic dishes (and good wine) done exceptionally well. It’s grown-up but, thanks to its warm heart, never stuck-up. Antipasti like a slice of

potato cake on a spicy tomato sauce or simply grilled calamari are a prelude to well-proportioned primi and secondi courses. Pastas aren’t smothered in sauce, and risotto has just enough bite. A generously proportioned, thinly pounded veal cutlet needs little accompaniment beyond a squeeze of lemon. Fish plays a major role, from herb-crusted Scottish salmon to shallow-fried fritto misto. Every day, the blackboard adds market options to a very comprehensive à la carte menu, and a decently priced threecourse lunch. Ciao, La Bruschetta, it’s very good to meet again. + Old-school still rules - Your gran will love it

4 Café Domenico 30 Sandport Street, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 7) 0131 467 7266, | Closed Sun | £9.50 (lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

Café Domenico’s look is delightfully retro. Mirrors on every wall – check. Sixties crooning from the sound system –check. Limoncello bottles hither and thither – check. Red and white checked tablecloths – literally, check. This diminutive restaurant an olive stone’s throw from the Shore in Leith may seem caught in a time warp, but thankfully not so the kitchen itself. At lunch there are queues out the door for pasta and panini made to order, but it’s in the evenings that the kitchen comes into its own and produces some seriously good Italian food. The specials are particularly enticing and many incorporate seafood. Lobster and ricotta ravioli comprise perfectly cooked wafer-thin pasta and a light and flavourful lobster mousse filling. Linguine marinara, loaded with mussels, clams and squid, tastes as if it’s been prepared straight off the boat, the ribbons of pasta shining in a simple tomato and white wine sauce. Steaks are excellent too and if you really crave some 80s food to match the 80s décor, there’s always the tiramisu. + Very fresh seafood - The website could do with an overhaul

Circle by Di Giorgio 1 Brandon Terrace, Canonmills, New Town See Cafés

Civerinos Italian Street Food & Pizza Slice Bar 5 Hunter Square, Old Town (Map 2A: D3, 88) 0131 220 0851, | £14.50 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

A cunning reverse on the low-quality, high-cost tourist-fodder outlets that tend to prevail on the Royal Mile, the focus of Michele and Olivia Civiera’s venture is on a fusion of age-old family recipes and the simple, tasty fare found in the markets of Florence, Venice and Naples. The achingly cool canteen-style wooden benches wouldn’t be out of place among the thriving market stalls of a Neapolitan piazza, and nor would the cibo de strada (‘street food’) on the menu. Served unpretentiously on paper plates by the super-chilled yet efficient band of waiting staff, zucchini tempura seems especially popular – light but crispy batter the perfect foil for the soft courgette within. Sourdough pizza slices and small bites, such as crispy (if slightly under-seasoned) arancini or beef meatballs in porcini gravy, are popular at lunchtimes but in the evening it’s the pizzas, served in full 360-degree glory, alongside steaming bowls of mix-andmatch pasta, that gratify the buzzing swarm of locals delighted to have discovered somewhere fresh and vibrant in tourist land. + Cool, casual ambience - Only two desserts on the menu, one of which is . . . pizza

4 Cucina G&V Royal Mile Hotel, 1 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 20) 0131 240 1666, gandv-hotel-edinburgh | £15.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

If you like your clothes more Prada than Primark, Cucina will suit you perfectly. What’s more, this spacious fi rst-floor restaurant in the ultra-chic G&V Royal Mile (formerly Missoni) Hotel is not all style over substance. In fact, this is as good an Italian meal as you’ll find this side of Milan. There are plenty of distinctive regional ingredients that give the menu a proper Italian accent, like the spicy Calabrian njura in a tomato and black olive rigatoni dish. Or the passatelli pasta served simply in a chicken broth. This style of la dolce

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to Vittoria (page 85): the original branch of this family-friendly Edinburgh institution is 45 this year 80 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


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vita needn’t cause a European monetary crisis either – you can sample Cucina’s elegant take on Italy at very reasonable rates, at lunch or pre-theatre. You might not get the à la carte menu’s more elaborate main courses, like a fillet of sea bass with parsnip purée, sauteed spinach, caramelised garlic and shallots with parsnip crisps, but the well-chosen selection will more than suffice. Finally, the wine list deserves particular mention for clarity and selection. Like the rest of Cucina, it doesn’t just look good on paper. + Milan without the air miles - Waiters should know where the loo is

Divino Enoteca 5 Merchant Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 44) 0131 225 1770, divinoedinburgh. com | Closed Sun | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Descending the steps beneath racks of wine, the main attraction of this classy basement joint appears obvious. There are bottles lining the bare walls and bottles behind glass in shiny Enomatic machines for dispensing wine in perfect condition. Yet if Divino began as a shrine to Bacchus with antipasti on the side, it has moved on and now offers some seriously good food in the intimate, candle-lit restaurant beyond the bar. A dozen starters are split between meat, fish and vegetarian, with dishes like ravioli, bruschetta and some very tender beef carpaccio alongside the excellent, if pricey, queen scallops on spinach. Main courses are split the same way with the addition of pasta and possibly the best risotto in Edinburgh, while to help choose the right wine you can have fun working your way through a flight of six 20cl sips. + Paradise for wine lovers - Can get pricey

Ecco Vino 19 Cockburn Street, Old Town See Bars & Pubs

La Favorita 325–331 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 13) 0131 554 2430, | £10 (set lunch) / £18.50 (dinner)

The heart and soul of La Favorita is its revolving, state-of-the-art wood-fired pizza oven. The key word is wood – a theme echoed in the dark panelling and pine tables inside, and the charcoallike fascia on which the pizzeria’s name is displayed outside. Prepared four days in advance, the dough is stretched into 14-inch pizzas with over two dozen toppings to choose from. There is everything from the classic margherita to gluten-free or seafood pizzas to the full-blown Giro d’Italia – a regional gastronomic blow-out of hams and cheeses from Milan to the ‘Deep South’. Not everyone makes it to Sicily. Beyond pizzas there’s a hefty range of primi piatti, seven of which can be had as a starter – including the excellent ravioli alla norcina, stuffed with creamy ricotta, parmesan and porcini mushrooms, sprinkled with Italian sausage and rocket. Among the antipasti are squid with chickpea purée, various bruschettas, and polenta chips with a tangy tomato dip. Drinks range from cocktail pitchers to an extensive all-Italian wine list. + Pitch-perfect pizza crust - Shortage of wines by the glass

Gaia Delicatessen 32 Crighton Place, Leith Walk, Leith See Cafés: Wee Places

Jamie’s Italian Assembly Rooms, 54 George Street, City Centre (Map 1A: D5, 61) 0131 202


ITALIAN 4 Cucina It’s style with plenty of substance at this modern monument to all good things Italian. 4 Locanda de Gusti Brilliantly authentic Italian restaurant serving super-tasty Neapolitan food, with a warm welcome. 4 Nonna’s Kitchen Comfort food is the speciality here at this family-friendly Morningside treasure.

Inspired by classic Italian cuisine. The freshest, seasonal ingredients, authentically prepared. Award winning restaurant set in the heart of the five star G&V Royal Mile Hotel.

4 Origano The pizza is second to none at this warm and friendly nook on Leith Walk. 4 Victor & Carina Contini Ristorante Beautiful, fresh Italian dishes served from breakfast to dinner.

1 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1AD T: +44 (0)131 2206666

5452, | £15 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Within the Georgian grandeur of the Assembly Rooms, wine-red walls, soft lighting and a central hub bedecked with cured hams and strings of dried produce create a soothing atmosphere. The menu covers the Italian classics a la Signor Oliver, like sausage pappardelle, crab spaghettini and caprese salad which sit alongside burgers and lobster al forno for something more decadent. There are some interesting touches such as buttery olives on ice served with tapenade, and heart-warmingly spicy arancini. Sharing planks are a selling point, offering diners the chance to sample a range of tasty cured meats or chargrilled marinated vegetables with pecorino cheese; sides include fresh greens and ‘funky’ chips seasoned with parsley and garlic. Children are well catered for with a fairly priced range of appealing and healthy options, and there’s no question that the venue is spectacular, even if the cult of personality will be off-putting for some. [Not recently visited.]

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La Locanda 61 Cockburn Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 7) 0131 622 7447 | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

A branch of the Crolla family tree, the name behind all kinds of local eateries, Marina and her son Dominic bring their take on easy Italy to this diminutive café-restaurant on steeply cobbled Cockburn Street. From what must be Edinburgh’s tiniest kitchen comes a short, familiar menu. Peppery minestrone is thick but a tad onedimensional, while roast vegetable bruschetta is a mighty pile of tomato, rocket, olives and, eventually, roast peppers – it’s a meal in itself. Re-heated from the chiller display, the pasta specials offer up hearty meatballs and tomato sauce, or ricotta and spinachfilled ravioli. Open for a wonderful breakfast choice, through to lunch – and

4 5 M O R N I N G S I D E ROA D, E D I N B U R G H E H10 4 AZ

tel: 0131 466 6767 The List Eating & Drinking Guide 81


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supper in the second half of the week – it’s a casual and friendly spot. Drop in for a lazy cappucino or full Scottish breakfast, a plate of pasta, frittata, or spicy Italian sausages, with vino, in the evening. And the lovely ice-cream for dessert? Crolla’s, of course. There’s nothing quite like keeping it in the family, when you know what’s good. + Friendly folks - Re-heated pasta

4 Locanda de Gusti 102 Dalry Road, West End (Map 4: A4, 68) 0131 346 8800, locandadegusti. com | Closed Sun | £12.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Ask for ham and pineapple here and you may very well be told to sling your hook. Having moved to busy Dalry Road from Broughton Street in 2014, this little gem looks like an Italian country kitchen and prides itself with turning out simple and authentic home cooking. Starters include a moreish marinated octopus with a potato and spring onion salad, or egg ravioli with its filling of the day served with butter, sage and nutmeg. Mains can include delicious hand-made rough-cut pasta with diced cured pig cheek, potatoes, scamorza cheese, basil and tomato passata. Fresh tastes and flavours leap from dishes on a regularly updated menu influenced by the chef’s home town of Naples. A well-selected range of pizza, seafood and vegetarian offerings are available, and leaving room for dessert is a must: the chocolate mousse is a wonder. Hats off to this lot, the place does comfort effortlessly, in everything from the food to the service and the surroundings. + So genuine, you could be in Italy - So popular, you could struggle to get a table

Mia 96 Dalry Road, West End (Map 4: A4, 67) 0131 629 1750, | £7.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

There was a time, before the ubiquity of pizza chains, that every neighbourhood would possess one local Italian restaurant. For those living on and around Dalry Road this tradition lives on in Mia. Crass Italiana is eschewed in favour of whitewash and dark wood. Bright lights illuminate the central island of brick bar and kitchen, the energy emanating from the latter adding to the already buzzing atmosphere. Hot antipasti has a seafood slant, with succulent calamari fritti and a fish soup being popular choices. There are some unusual combinations on the menu (sausage and pear risotto, anyone?) but a dish of veal and scallops is tender and well-seasoned, and the seafood linguine is a feast of squid, mussels, octopus and prawns – although beware the odd overcooked langoustine. The restaurant’s maxim is ‘simple, cosy and welcoming’ and the uncomplicated cooking, neighbourhood air and friendly service certainly ensure they live up to their motto. + Warm, accommodating service - Blank specials board

Nardini’s 1 Merchiston Place, Southside See Cafés

4 Nonna’s Kitchen 45 Morningside Road, Southside (Map 3B: A2, 4) 0131 466 6767, | Closed Mon | £14.50 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Okay, so there are no nonna’s in this kitchen, but nevertheless this bright and airy Morningside restaurant is aptly named. A pantheon of home-style Sicilian cooking, Nonna’s serves up the sort of unpretentious, comforting fare

Locanda de Gusti: Italian country cooking influenced by the chef’s home town of Naples

that has graced the dining tables of the old country since the grandmothers to whom the restaurant is dedicated were mere bambine. The pan-fried veal escalope is tender with a crispy breadcrumb exterior but it’s the accompanying spaghetti in tomato sauce that steals the show – the clean, simple flavours are spot on. Similarly, spinach and ricotta ravioli in a velvety parmesan and zucchini sauce is light yet flavour packed, and an indulgent torta cioccolato on crushed amaretti rounds off the meal with a reassuringly sweet cuddle. An astounding recitation of the twenty or so specials from memory exemplifies how the relaxed, amiable front-of-house team are just as knowledgeable about the food on offer as septuagenarian Mimmo holding court in the kitchen. After a hard day at work, if you’re craving culinary comfort, or if you simply need some time surrounded by family, look no further. + The whole experience is like a big grandmotherly hug - If you don’t book, you don’t eat

4 Origano 277 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 7) 0131 554 6539, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

If you didn’t know to look for it you could easily stroll past this cosy candlelit pizzeria on Leith Walk. The warm, chianti-red walls and dark wooden interior create an intimate setting where for the past four years authentic Italian cuisine has been served up to local pizza aficionados. Lasagne and other pasta does feature on the menu but the pizzas, crisp of base and fresh of topping, are the reason for much of Origano’s repeat custom. With a plethora of options on offer the decision-making process may be lengthy – veggies are well catered for, and alluring combinations abound on the specials boards. The Calabrese, is a real taste of Southern Italy – creamy garlic mascarpone nestling alongside piccante sausage and fresh basil. That’s not to say Origano is a one-trick pony, however. A vibrant antipasto platter, piled high with assorted cheeses and cured meats,

centres around an outstanding rosemary ciabatta which, like all the bread, is baked in-house. If you’re wearing your stretchy pants the tiramisu – generously rich yet velvety light – is a must. + A contender for the best pizza in the capital - Two 16” pizzas on one small table requires some dextrous cutlery wielding

of bruschetta. Beyond pasta and an excellent lasagne, main courses include various Italian takes on Scottish lamb and beef, but with everything cooked to order be prepared to wait – it’s not called the Osteria del Tempo Perso (‘Inn of Lost Time’) for nothing. + A real Italian experience - Some may find it a bit slow

Osteria Del Tempo Perso


208 Bruntsfi eld Place, Southside (Map 3A: A4, 35) 0131 221 1777, | £10.50 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

18 Howe Street, New Town (Map 1A: C3, 30) 0131 225 8204, | Closed Mon | £8.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This authentically Italian osteria, or tavern, is the latest venture to occupy this prime Bruntsfield site. As the sister restaurant to one south of Rome that belongs to the same family it’s the Real McCoy – an antidote to pizza-pasta chains and fast food in general. Once you have mastered the slightly eccentric menu where homemade pasta in all its myriad forms features strongly, ask for the wine list packed with goodies from small producers the length and breadth of Italy. Then relax over a bottle and choose from a sharing platter of antipasti like parmigiana di melazane, fennel soup or a generous helping

Papavero is very much your friendly, regulars’ neighbourhood eatery, with no-frills décor, discreet service and a family-run vibe. The very large Scottish/Italian menu is a bit jumbled; pizza and pasta staples sitting haphazardly amid meat and fish dishes. Among the starters are promising plates of grilled goat’s cheese or black pudding and Parma ham, served with slightly lacklustre salads. Of the mains, flavoursome, rib-sticking gorgonzola and walnut gnocchi are moreish and delicious. Squid ink and chilli pasta is chock-a-block with flavour, the spiciness kept just right so as not to overpower the


The List Eating & Drinking Guide 83



dish. The homemade dessert menu is short, but very sweet, with a well-turned out tiramisu and banoffee pie a pleasing end to the meal. The owners don’t shout about it, but are more than happy to bend the rules to please their customers who have requested all sorts of them, including hosting wedding receptions, baptisms, retirement dos, and the odd cheeky student popping in for an off-themenu evening take-out pizza. + Their forte lies in their sauces - Starters could do better

Polentoni 38 Easter Road See Cafés

Söderberg Pizza at the Bakery Söderberg Quartermile, 1 Lister Square, Old Town See Cafés

Strada 15 Castle Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 50) 0131 225 2213, | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The sole Scottish outpost of this London-centric chain attracts a mainly tourist crowd in the evening, replacing the daytime gaggle of shoppers and occasional business lunch. Yet, with the first warm rays of sunshine Strada’s appeal widens to anyone keen to eat al fresco. There is space for 22 in summer, and those who manage to grab a table can enjoy a fine view of the castle and no diesel fumes on this pedestrianized stretch of Castle Street. Inside, the design is boxy and functional, with well-spaced tables, comfy banquettes in the rear and big, dolce vita-style photos on the walls. Though popular for pizza and pasta, the

delicate, creamy vegetable risotto is a good alternative, and the chicken or beef puccia – wrapped in stone-baked pizza dough – is a speciality. For puddings try the sweet, semifreddo nougat with a shot of espresso, or go for one of the artisan ice-creams. + Al fresco dining when the sun’s out - The all-Italian wine list could be a lot more adventurous

Taste of Italy 9 Baxter’s Place, New Town (Map 1B: D5, 43) 0131 557 9996, vittoriagroup. | £9.50 (lunch) / £9.50 (dinner)

If not too busy in this small, bustling restaurant you can choose between the comfy, windowless space at the back or a bar stool out front where you can soak up any warmth through the giant fishbowl window and enjoy magnificent views from the head of Leith Walk. Throughout the day the place acts as a popular Italian pit-stop, shifting from breakfast café to lunchtime trattoria serving burgers, panini and soup alongside the all-day menu, to pretheatre restaurant and finally late-night drop-in, stretching into the wee small hours during the Festival. A compact selection of antipasti include focaccia, a garlicky bruschetta and slightly insipid arancini (rice balls), while for mains the choice is between a dozen pizzas (10 or 14 inch) and a slightly longer list of pastas. Some of the sauces can be on the bland and creamy side, but the lasagna, bubbling like molten lava in its ceramic dish, is generous and spot on. + The panoramic view - Somewhat uninspiring antipasti

Valvona & Crolla Caffè Bar 19 Elm Row, Leith Walk, New Town See Cafés

Valvona & Crolla Ristorante 11 Multrees Walk, New Town (Map 1B: B5, 59) 0131 557 0088, valvonacrolla. | £20 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Is it possible not to fall in love with food at Valvona & Crolla Ristorante? Owner Mary Contini’s passion for quality is so heartfelt, the commitment

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to Accessible on all devices including smartphones and tablets, food. includes extended write-ups, connected events, linked features and search functions for food and drink venues across Scotland. to sourcing the best of Scottish and Italian ingredients truly exemplary. If the menu featured anecdotes telling the who, where and why, you might completely ignore your witty dining companion. And that would be a shame, because food is to be shared. Homemade al dente pasta makes a nest for North Berwick lobster, the sauce drawn from a crustacean wine reduction. Spink Loch Etive trout is ever so lightly smoked. Mr Bower provides the venison, Mr Campbell the beef. Honey drizzled over gooey gorgonzola is from Ayrshire or an ever-questing Italian ‘honey man’. The superb wine selection deserves a special mention, as the £10 corkage on V&C’s retail prices enables diners to enjoy higher quality bottles than many purses can normally afford. But with 41 bottles by the glass, recommendations for matching alongside each dish, and staff committed to your enjoyment, you may just choose to settle in for the duration. + Luxuriating in such incredible sourcing and quality - Having eventually to say ciao

A Spritz, made with prosecco, Aperol (a herbal, citrus aperitif) and club soda is a fantastic way to start the night. Baccalà (salt-cured cod that is often rehydrated for cooking) makes its way into light and fluffy beignets. Gnocchi get a southern facelift with the addition of aubergine in the dough, pairing nicely with the smoked mozzarella and tomato sauce the morsels are dressed in. An espresso or wee dolci to end the evening is recommended, and while not exactly essential, a glass of Fernet or grappa is strongly suggested. + Italian food that’s a bit different - Not suitable for larger groups


In a palatial former bank, awardwinning Victor & Carina Contini Ristorante (formerly known as Centotre) has been serving up authentic Italian cooking in the capital for the last 10 years. Dishes here are simple yet beautifully crafted, allowing the fresh ingredients to shine. All are sourced with the greatest of care: the family has their own kitchen garden; fish and meat are local, and produce arrives weekly from Italy. Scottish baby squid with courgette, chilli and garlic is served in the lightest, most exquisite broth,

18–24 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 12) 0131 315 2860, | £16 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

If you’re looking for a little taste of Italy in Edinburgh, Veritas can satiate your craving with Molise flair from the chef’s birthplace in southern Italy. The intimate interior makes for a lovely evening out, offering just the right dose of energy to fill the space. More common Italian dishes are on offer, but newer faces shouldn’t be ignored.

Victor & Carina Contini Caffe & Gelateria Cannonball House, 356 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town See Cafés

4 Victor & Carina Contini Ristorante 103 George Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 54) 0131 225 1550, | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)





96 DALRY ROAD EDINBURGH | EH11 2AX 0131 629 1750 | Osteria del Tempo Perso (page 83): an antidote to pizza-pasta chains and fast food in general 84 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


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great for dunking garlic bruschetta. Homemade ravioli is generously filled with cod and subtly flavoured with Amalfi lemon. The well-executed menu covers everything from porridge and eggs at breakfast, to appealing antipasti, pasta, pizza, fish and meat dishes throughout the day. Desserts will charm the sweet toothed – anyone for 70% Valrhona chocolate mousse with mint and honeycomb? They are careful to cater for those with dietary requirements, with vegetarian and gluten-free options available. The Contini name has long been synonymous in Edinburgh with all-round quality and love for what they do. Long may their success continue. + Quality is king - Booths are best booked ahead

Victor & Carina Contini Cannonball Cannonball House, 356 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town See Scottish

Vittoria • 19 George IV Bridge, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 43) 0131 225 1740 • 113 Brunswick Street, Leith Walk (Map 5B: A4, 20) 0131 556 6171, | £10 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The original Vittoria on Leith Walk is 45 this year, though the outpost on George IV Bridge only opened in 2007. While they share the same menu, the ambience and clientele are somewhat different. Leith is the family-friendly Edinburgh institution, while George IV caters more to tourists, a lunchtime trade from the law courts and big parties downstairs in the evening. Its wide choice of gluten-free dishes also draws the crowds. With 22 pizzas, a similar offering of pasta, a spread of main courses including fish and chips and a steak burger, plus a choice of four steaks from the grill, Vittoria may be over-stretching things: less is often more when it comes to menus. Pizzas such as La Regina pizza with artichoke hearts and Parma ham are tasty although sometimes suffer from a rather limp base, while a bowl of gluten-free fusilli with squid and scallops is generous, but can arrive overcooked if the kitchen staff take their finger off the pulse. + Friendly staff - A lack of fire in the pizza ovens

Zucca 15–17 Grindlay Street, West End (Map 4: C1, 35) 0131 221 9323, | Closed Sun/ Mon (unless performance at Usher Hall/Lyceum) | £11.95 (set lunch) / £15.95 (set dinner)

As part of the Lyceum and a stone’s throw from the Traverse and the Usher Hall, Zucca sits slap in the midst of Edinburgh’s theatre land. In place of its popular pre-theatre menu which attracted many non-theatre goers, it now offers a simple set-price deal for lunch and dinner. The main restaurant is upstairs and has a slight open-plan office feel despite giant posters of past Lyceum performances on the walls, but the tables are well-spaced and the service is swift. A light, crumbly goat’s cheese and red onion tart in a sweet balsamic dressing is a good bet, compared to a somewhat bland tomato soup, while a generous ribeye of beef is tender, flavoursome and worth its £6 supplement among the mains. Although the Italian wine list could be more inspiring, Zucca is a worthy choice for a bite before a show. + Perfectly placed for theatregoers - Menu can be somewhat hit and miss

MEXICAN Long established as one of Edinburgh’s favourite cuisines, the city’s Mexican restaurants continue to thrive. Epitomised by a party atmosphere, where groups can confidently get together to catch up with a pitcher of Margarita, there’s something for everyone at these cantinas. To top it all, there’s a handful of fast-food joints serving up filling burritos, while the new wave of Mexican street food has brought the soft taco to the capital at last. Reviewer: Claire Ritchie

4 The Basement Bar and Restaurant 10–12a Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 32) 0131 557 0097, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Surfing the new wave of Mexican cuisine, the good old Basement has had a big facelift since being taken over by Signature Pubs in 2014. Gone are the Hawaiian shirts and nachos, replaced by a wall of suspended plant pots and menu of Mexican dishes that challenges as well as comforts. Sure, there are still burritos and fajitas to be had, but equally there’s ceviche, empanadas, tostadas and fish tacos – surprisingly hard to find in Edinburgh. A huge bowl of seafood chowder is packed with clams, mussels, monkfish, prawns and corn in a piquant creamy broth. The guacamole is a work of performance art, prepared fresh beside your table, adding chilli, garlic and citrus to your personal taste. The lively central bar is home to possibly the biggest range of tequila and mezcal to be found in the city, served as peppy margaritas (straight up, on the rocks or frozen) and the less-common sight of sipping tequilas served with a palate-cleansing sangrita. Far from the slammin’ varieties found in most bars, this is tequila for the connoisseur. + Snagging a table in the snug area - Can get too loud for easy conversation

The Blue Parrot Cantina 49 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 18) 0131 225 2941, | Closed Mon/ Tue | £15 (dinner)

A Stockbridge institution since 1993, the Blue Parrot is not for changing and that’s how its fiercely loyal band of regulars likes it: even the outdoor toilets have acquired legendary status. The compact dining room is decorated in shades of terracotta and blue with rustic, worn wooden tables, and is brighter than its basement location might suggest. A concise menu covers all the expected Tex-Mex bases, from nachos, dips and stuffed chillies to start, through to mains of fajitas, burritos and enchiladas. For the more adventurous diner, a tangy, seafoodpacked ceviche paves the way for the house special pescado baja – haddock fillet baked in a jalapeno and coriander sauce with a lime breadcrumb topping, a bit like a savoury Mexican crumble. There’s a good selection for vegetarians, and although there are few surprises on the drinks menu, starting off with a Margarita and finishing with one of the boozy desserts would make for a fun night out with friends. + Inexpensive neighbourhood dining - Decor and toilets in need of a refresh

4 Bodega 62 Elm Row, Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A5, 22) 0131 556 7930, ilovebodega. com | Closed Mon/Tue | £16 (dinner)

Recently Edinburgh has seen a clutch of new Mexican joints that offer something different from the traditional fajitas/ burritos/nachos triptych that defines how many of us discovered this cuisine. Soft tacos are now where it’s at, and Bodega gets the basics right, with fresh ingredients, prepared well, delivering knock-out flavours. You won’t go far wrong ordering the fresh guacamole to start and a brace of pork tacos to follow; both demonstrate that the chefs know their way around a chilli. But it’s on the specials board where the creative muscle is really flexed. Here you get Mexico via Japan, or New Orleans, or Southeast Asia. Once you’ve tried tempura avocado with wasabi dressing or Cajun-spiced honey-yoghurt chicken it’s hard to imagine going back to more workaday Tex-Mex staples. Puddings are always special – crocodile pie is a ‘shouldn’t work but it does’ avocado and lime concoction that just adds to the admiration for the kitchen genius. Luchadores and Mexican movie starlets gaze enviously down from the walls at the happy diners, and the long, thin arrangement of tables encourages a convivial atmosphere, ramped up by Bodega’s BYOB policy. + Bringing Edinburgh’s Mexican food into the 21st century - Seating for only 20 – so book ahead or prepare for disappointment

Cha Cha Laca 87 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 87) 0131 220 6733 | £7.50 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

One of the newest additions to Edinburgh’s Mexican scene is finding its niche on Hanover Street. Complete with post-industrial interior, bright lights and eclectic Mexicana, it’s welcoming and safe but far from boring. The extensive menu buzzes with possibility – choose from totopos, taquitos or fresh tuna carnitas in addition to the more expected burritos, enchiladas and fajitas. In short, there’s something to please all palates, in keeping with its city-centre location which caters to large groups, tourists, couples and groups of friends catching up. There are burgers and steaks for the cautious, but to really sample what modern Mexican food is all about it’s best to look at the street tacos section of the menu, which sees the likes of pulled pork, smoky chicken, cod tempura bites and even cactus wrapped in soft corn taco shells accompanied by cheese, crema and a spicy salsa. The guacamole is chunky, the ceviche is fresh and the

Margaritas come by the remarkably easy-to-drink pitcher. It all adds up to a fun night out – exactly what you’d want from a city-centre Mexican joint. + Modern, lively and fun Mexican food - Erratic air-conditioning

El Cartel Casera Mexicana 64 Thistle Street, City Centre (Map 1A: C4, 72) 0131 226 7171, |

From the team behind the Bon Vivant and the Devil’s Advocate, El Cartel gave the capital’s Mexican scene a welcome shot in the arm when it opened in November 2014. From its dark and sexy little Thistle Street bolthole, it shunned tired Tex-Mex cliches for more traditional Mexican street-food flavours, alongside quality tequilas and mezcals. Sadly, a fire in early January put them out of action, but they were back with a February pop-up weekender and Thistle Street is scheduled to reopen in April/May. The menu is a compact gem: just a handful of starters – say corn on the cob with crema, tangy cheese and a dusting of paprika or a zingy guacamole with plantain chips – followed by top-notch tacos, handmade from Mexican flour. [Not open for full review at time of publication – check for updates.]

Los Cardos 281 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 8) 0131 555 6619, | £6.50 (lunch) / £6.50 (dinner)

An unassuming shop front on Leith Walk is home to one of Edinburgh’s best-loved Tex-Mex takeaways. Los Cardos offers a small range of classics that include tacos and quesadillas, but it’s as a burrito joint that most folk know and love the place. The basic ingredients – tortilla, meat (or veg), beans, rice, salsa, cheese and sour cream – are all present and correct, but it’s how these individual elements are created and combined that can result in a soggy, mushy pillow or a warm, delicious bellyfull and this place succeeds in delivering the latter. Keeping it simple, fresh and tasty is the Los Cardos way. Fillings are satisfying but not stodgy: carnitas are unctuous with enough bite to provide a satisfying mouthful, while the chicken is marinated in chilli-citrus marinade giving a welcome kick. And, of course, there’s the signature haggis, including a veggie variety – it will divide the crowd but is worth trying at least once. Although primarily a takeaway, there’s a handful of seats for those emergency burrito pitstops. + The best burritos in town? - No toilet

FreshMex Takeaway on Leith Walk Burritos, tacos & quesadillas Open 7 days a week from 12pm 281 Leith Walk, Edinburgh (0131) 555 6619

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 85



Mariachi 7 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 24) 0131 623 0077, mariachi-restaurant. | £10 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Bringing the colours and spices of the Yucatan to Edinburgh’s Old Town, Mariachi is a fun place to kick off the weekend or jump-start a night out. The wooden floors and bare-brick walls are a blank canvas for the sprinkling of jewelled sombreros and colourful mosaic tiles, creating a vibe that manages to be more class than kitsch. The menu centres on dependable Mexican staples – burritos, nachos and enchiladas, with pulled pork and chicken the main elements – as well as steaks and a variety of burgers from the grill menu. The supporting roles are not overlooked: sweetcorn gets a Mexican twist, coated in chipotle mayo, cheese and a squeeze of fresh lime, while tortilla chips are homemade, served hot with a delightfully fresh salsa. Icycold margaritas flow from the central bar along with a range of affordable cocktails, wines and beers. There’s a downstairs room for private hire, and an outdoor patio area ideal for sipping a Pacifico on a warm summer’s evening. + A fun place for dinner with friends - No fish dishes on the menu

Miro’s Cantina Mexicana 184 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 46) 0131 225 4376, | £7.50 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The bustling warmth of Miro’s provides a welcome retreat from the wilds of Rose Street. This small space is big on personality, with vibrant décor and an authentic feel that entices locals and tourists alike. The usual suspects of nachos, fajitas and enchiladas sit happily alongside dishes that showcase regional Mexican cooking. The ceviche ‘Pacifico’ is tangy and refreshing, and a warm cheese and pepper dip with homemade

corn chips delivers the ultimate in comfort food. Tender sirloin steak served in a creamy Monterrey sauce, and succulent seafood stew cooked with lime and chilli are both plentiful and packed with flavour. The generous portions may leave you struggling to find room for dessert, but the blackboard options including pineapple kebabs, cheesecake and churros will test anyone’s willpower. Takeaway burritos are available at lunchtime, and the outdoor seating during summer months makes for a lovely spot to watch the world go by. The drinks menu is also worth a mention, with a wide choice of cocktails, tequilas and Mexican beers to help you get into the party spirit. + The interesting, varied menu - Booking is advisable

Pancho Villa’s 240 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 25) 0131 557 4416, | £10 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Bright colours, sombreros and piñatas welcome the crowds who flock to Pancho Villa’s thanks partly to its prominent location on the Royal Mile, but also thanks to the restaurant’s long-standing reputation as being a fun place to eat. With a mezzanine seating area that can easily accommodate more than 80 people, Pancho’s is well suited to large groups and parties looking to celebrate with some margaritas and fajitas. That said, it also works as a family-friendly, lunch between sightseeing, catch-up with friends kind of place thanks to its flexible seating and helpful staff. A new menu for 2015 has brought with it the modern Mexican street-food revolution, so sharing options of tacos, enchiladas and sopes (traditional corn cakes) are now on offer alongside the more familiar burritos and chilli con carne. With a variety of interesting fillings including crab, mole poblano (marinated chicken) and

carnitas (slow-cooked pork), as well as a good range of veggie options, these make for a fun mix-and-match dinner among friends. The guacamole is good and fresh, the accompanying salsas are plentiful, and there’s even tequila sticky toffee pudding to round things off. Pancho Villa’s is worth bearing in mind for a host of reasons. + Great atmosphere - The food may not be as revolutionary as the eponymous bandit


Pinto Mexican Kitchen • 119 Lothian Road, West End (Map 4: C2, 41) 0131 228 8269 • 6 Shandwick Place (Map 4: B1, 23) 0131 226 4289, | £6 (lunch) / £6 (dinner)

Since Illegal Jack’s closed its doors in 2014, there’s been a gap in the market for fast’n’tasty food on Lothian Road. Step in Pinto, the first Edinburgh outpost of the popular Glasgow mini chain, which serves up the holy trinity of burritos, tacos and quesadillas day and night. Prepared at the counter, the tortilla wraps are packed with your choice of chicken, steak, pulled pork or a tasty, super-spiced chilli (including a veggie version), embellished with salsa, beans, sour cream and cheese as you wish. Sides are limited to guacamole and tortilla chips, but there’s also fresh lemonade to sup on as well as a couple of beers and margaritas. A second branch on Shandwick Place offers the same menu in a venue twice the size, so you don’t have to go far to find your burrito fix. The bright interior is fun but doesn’t encourage lingering, making this a great spot for a quick bite before a show at one of the nearby arts venues. + A quick and tasty Mexican fix - Bright light, bright light!

Taco Mazama Mexican Kitchen 38 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A:

MEXICAN 4 The Basement A rejuvenated Broughton Street favourite offering inventive Mexican cooking, brilliant tequilas and possibly the best guacamole in town. 4 Bodega Riding the wave of Edinburgh’s Mexican street-food renaissance, this Leith Walk hangout is all about tacos. D5, 63) 0131 629 1892, tacomazama. | £6.49 (lunch / dinner)

The Edinburgh offshoot of this popular Glasgow Tex-Mex mini chain is firmly settled in Hanover Street after a couple of years, serving up tacos, burritos and fajita wraps to local workers and shoppers all day and well into the night. Available in three sizes, from small to ‘conquistador’, each tortilla is packed with chicken, beef, pork or veggie filling and accompanied by a choice of salsas, from mild to ‘diablo’. Carb-watchers can opt for a salad or burrito bowl instead, which offers all the filling without the tortilla wrap. The basic interior and fast-flowing counter service mean this isn’t a great place for a lingering meal – so it might not be somewhere to bring a date – but for a quick lunch or sustaining stomach filler before a night out, Taco Mazama hits the spot. + Cheap and cheerful food with a kick - The interior doesn’t encourage lingering

Viva Mexico 41 Cockburn Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 6) 0131 226 5145, | £8.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The Basement Bar (page 85): surfing the new wave of Mexican cuisine, where guacamole is performance art 86 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Edinburgh’s oldest Mexican restaurant is also one of its most popular, thanks to its central location on lively Cockburn Street, its charming labyrinthine interior and the warm welcome offered by the Gonzalez family since opening in 1984. Some things have changed over the years, not least in the outside world, but inside the decor is still bright and colourful, with Mexicana objects and photos of the old country dotted around the place. The nature of the restaurant’s layout means it’s just as suitable for a romantic dinner, perhaps with a bottle of Mexican wine, as it is a large party celebrating with pitchers of margarita. The menu covers all the expected tortilla-based favourites – burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas – and also fajitas due to popular demand although they are not, strictly speaking, a Mexican dish. There’s also a handful of chef’s specials featuring pork, steak and fish, and the recent addition of a taqueria-style menu has proven popular, offering sharing portions of tacos and tostadas which makes for a fun way to mix and match the zippy flavour combos. + A fun place for a lively party - The accompanying rice and salad don’t always add to the dishes


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North American is a broad church, and while brilliant burgers and succulent steaks still dominate the scene, this year sees a couple of cheeky newcomers who are showcasing something different. Big on taste and big on hospitality, while refreshingly low on fuss, this is a kick-off-yourshoes, loosen-your-tie kind of approach to eating and drinking. Buckle up and tuck in. Reviewers: Miranda Heggie, Jo Laidlaw, Caroline Rye, Paul Trainer

Bell’s Diner 7 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 23) 0131 225 8116 | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Once upon a time burgers were kids’ food, fast food, weekend BBQ food. Today they form part of most gastropub menus and the variety of toppings with which they are dressed include the exotic and bizarre. Sometimes it just becomes too much. So take a deep breath, book a cosy booth and head down to Bell’s Diner in the heart of Stockbridge, home to truly excellent burgers for coming on to 43 years. Chargrilled, juicy, cooked to order as you wish them, these high-quality beef, chicken and, yes, nut burgers are anointed with seasoned butters (mustard, garlic or Roquefort to name a few) or draped in cheese or bacon for the classicists at your table. A groaning tray of savoury sauces lands that will make US ex-pats sigh with contentment. Fries come crispy and golden, as they should, doing their part in making subsequent dessert options more of a challenge. A short but sensible wine list suits the style but an ice-cold Red Stripe certainly completes the picture for many loyal, longstanding fans. + Superb burgers for over four decades - High demand for tables

The Boozy Cow 17 Frederick Street, New Town (Map 1A: C5, 59) 0131 226 6055, boozycow. com | No Kids (under 5) | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Rebranded in March 2015 on the site of the former Amicus Apple, the Boozy Cow is the second in a line of booze and burger joints following an earlier opening in Aberdeen. It’s kept the cocktail bar-with-restaurant formula, serving food till 10.30pm at weekends. Inside, it’s a thick slab of industrial chic, all graffiti artwork, bare bulbs and woodchip table tops. Rumours of no cutlery prove unfounded, but with food mostly of the hand-held variety (burgers, hot dogs, subs) it helps to have plenty of kitchen roll to mop up the spills. Despite a super-styled menu described as ‘Cows, Chicks and Dogs’, the food delivers with a triple-minced burger meaty and tender, with heaps of onions and well-housed in a brioche bun. Restraint isn’t the order of the day with the chilli dog and loaded fries smothered in cheese, chilli and mustard and none the worse for it. If you don’t mind bovine puns, low lighting and drinks in tin cans it’s worth stopping by next time you need a break from the Princes Street crowds. + Great food that’s not just jumping on the Americana bandwagon - If you like proper napkins it’s probably not for you

Buffalo Grill • 12–14 Chapel Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D5, 65) 0131 667 7427 • 1 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B1, 7) 0131 332 3864, buffalogrill. | No Kids (under 5) | £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

The Buffalo Grill has been in business since 1986, which means they’re doing something right by anyone’s standards, let alone those of the ever-changing Edinburgh restaurant scene. Both the original in Chapel Street and a younger sister in Raeburn Place retain a cosy, lived-in feel and reliable menu which keep the regulars coming back, even if they do stick to what they know. As the name suggests, it’s heavy on steaks, burgers and other American favourites. The burger is generous with chargrilled bite; asking if you want it medium or well done is a nice if novel touch these days, and inspires confidence in the quality of ingredients. Lesser carnivores shouldn’t be put off as there’s a varied selection of chicken, fish and veggie dishes, with a lively jambalaya a highlight. It’s BYOB only at Chapel Street (don’t forget as it’s a bit of a walk to the off licence) while Raeburn Place is fully licensed. However that’s really the only difference between the two, both offering the same menu and friendly service come rain or shine. + Neighbourhood restaurant that feels reassuringly familiar - A saucer-sized serving of nachos feels a little uninspired

4 Burger 94A Fountainbridge, Tollcross (Map 4: C3, 49) 0131 228 5367, | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner) 91–93 Shandwick Place, West End (Map 4: B1, 26) 0131 228 1429, burgeruk. | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

Burger is one of a new breed of fast-food restaurants that have sprung up across Edinburgh in recent years. Instead of reclaimed meat patties and movie tieins, independents and small chains offer beef that comes with a family tree, ecocredentials and lots of retro condiments. Burger is no exception, down to the compostable plastic glass for your craft beer. It’s a casual affair: you still order at the counter and both the original in Fountainbridge and a bigger second branch in Shandwick Place veer towards industrial chic inside. The burgers are meaty and well-seasoned, but oodles of fried onions, house sauce and a brioche bun move them into gourmet burger territory. Dishes such as the chilli dog are pleasingly messy, the smoky, limey chilli worthy of its own spot on the menu. The temptation to order everything with cheese and extra slaw mean there’s little room for dessert so

the small selection of ices won’t be your main reason for stopping by. If you must, try one of the milkshakes, with full-fat milk and ice-cream – homemade, of course. + There’s more than just beef on offer, with gluten-, dairy- and meat-free options and quirky specials - Single 4oz burger feels a little on the small side


Burger Meats Bun 1 Forth Street, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 29) 0131 556 7023, burger-meats-bun. | Closed Mon | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

As the name suggests Burger Meats Bun specialises in one thing and doing it well. With a reassuringly simple menu, all cuts of meat are from named suppliers (beef from the Aberfoyle Butcher in the Trossachs, chicken from Alloa’s Gartmorn Farm). Juicy beef patties come in three different regular guises, with daily changing specials, while those opting for chicken can choose between breast or the more unusual confit leg meat that comes with the ‘cluckin’ BLT’. The array of sides, though not extensive, work to complement the main event, notably with the weirdly delicious Thai chilli cheese chips – triple cooked fries with melted cheddar, red chilli, spring onion and coriander – while homemade slaw adds a zesty crunch. The wine list leaves a lot to be desired, but the selection of beers, ciders and cocktails make up for it. Rum and Ting (Ting being a Caribbean grapefruit soda, for those not in the know) comes served in the can, adding a fun twist, and local beers include a rotating guest ale from Glasgow’s WEST Brewery. + Seriously good quality meat - Loud music can drown out conversation

4 Calistoga 70 Rose Street North Lane, City Centre (Map 1A: C5, 55) 0131 225 1233, | £12 (set lunch) / £26 (dinner)

Let’s just put it out there: this is never going to be the plushest venue in town. But get over it, because here is a restaurant that’s not so much hitting its stride as redefining it. Owner Gordon Minnis cheerfully admits that in Calistoga’s ten years his menu has moved from ‘Californian with Scottish influences’ to ‘Scottish with Californian influences’ and that’s a thing of joy. It puts a meltingly tender lamb shank centre stage, with cumin and zinfandel notes providing a very able back-up. A smoked chicken chowder feels like a clever twist on Cullen skink, while the accompanying rice crackers add a witty dash of texture. Albondigas – spicy

THIS LANE CALISTOGA Speciality Restaurant of the Year

Tel - 0131 225 1233

NORTH AMERICAN 4 Calistoga California soul, with one of the best wine lists in town and a creative approach to Scottish/ Cali fusion. 4 Frontier Ribs, buffalo wings and burgers combine in a slice of Americana that’s just the right side of kitsch.

meatballs – are perhaps less refined, but still delicious and warming. In short, the food’s all good, and with the fruits of an exceptional Californian cellar available at a mere £5 mark-up, the value’s tremendous too. Definitely try one of the short wine tastings which can be bolted on to your meal – they’re informal, informative and a great way to build knowledge of the product as well as increase enjoyment of the wine list later on. + That wine list - Not a lot of choice for veggies

52 canoes

Tiki Den


Polynesian Food Great Cocktails World Wines-Real Ales

0131 226 4732 13-14 Melville Place Edinburgh, EH3 7PR The List Eating & Drinking Guide 87





FRED BERKMILLER ON BARRA SNAILS Three years ago, Gerard [MacDonald] sent me a picture of a fencepost and the top of it was covered in snails. ‘Fred,’ he said, ‘you run a French restaurant, what do you think of these?’ I said, ‘they look like snails to me, like what we call petit gris in France.’ ‘Send them over,’ I said, ‘I’ll have a look.’ Apparently they’re picking the snails from all over the island. You can’t believe it until you see it. They’re everywhere. At the top of a fencepost, there must have been 70 snails. No one knows why it’s just Barra. No one’s eating them there, no one wants to touch them. When I got to Barra, Gerard said to me, ‘Fred, can you cook in the school?’ ‘Sure,’ I said. I thought I might as well cook whatever I can find on the island, so I cooked some snails. It turned out that was the first time Gerard had eaten them for himself. I was the first one to get Barra snails – only a few other chefs have had some. They’re not on my menu all the time, because in winter we can’t get them. Gerard has them starved on the island for me for five days. Because the island is really clean, they don’t need to get any toxins out of their system. I finish them off with salt, wash them, boil them, split the shell off the body, and I usually poach them in a court bouillon vegetable stock at 65–70 degrees overnight. People that are coming to my French place expect something different. I feel I can give it to them — and it’s from these wonderful places in Scotland like Barra. QFred Berkmiller runs L’Escargot Bleu and L’Escargot Blanc restaurants in Edinburgh (see p.72), and won The List Eating & Drinking Guide’s Special Award in 2014. Gerard MacDonald gathers wild snails and farms oysters on Barra,

88 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Diner 7 7 Commercial Street, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 8) 0131 553 0624, | Closed Mon | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Comfortable booths and a friendly welcome await in this now well established Leith local. Emphasising that diner feel, the setting is simple, the menu equally straightforward. Yes, there’s swordfish steak and daily, nonbeef specials, but that’s not the main focus. Chargrill is the name of the game, and beef headlines. Burgers, with a range of toppings that go beyond the usual cheese or bacon to include garlic butter, jalapeño or pineapple salsa, lead the charge chummed by a sizeable pail of chunky chips. A choice of Scottish steaks – sirloin, ribeye and rump – can be dressed with an interesting range of sauces – mushrooms bathed in red wine jus, or for a tangier alternative there’s white wine, blue cheese and cream. If you can manage to find room, a knickerbocker glory, where ice-cream scoops are pillowed by marshmallows, fudge and biscuits, might be the ticket, but vanilla cheesecake or chocolate brownie could happily fill those tiny remaining gaps. The wine and beer list match the low-key dining style, without sacrificing on interest or taste. + Those booths are mighty comfortable - Some additional grill items could add a bit more variety

Fat Yankee’s 10–12 Bonnington Road, Leith (Map 1B: D1, off) | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Tiki twist. Portion sizes are certainly bountiful, so make sure to arrive hungry. + Seriously tasty tropical cocktails - Gargantuan food portions

4 Frontier 8 Gillespie Place, Tollcross (Map 3A: B2, 18) 0131 228 1145, frontierestaurant. | £10 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Opened in 2014 by the people behind Mum’s Great Comfort Food, Frontier is a recent addition to the range of eateries springing up across the Bruntsfield/ Tollcross border. Promising authentic American food, it’s a menu light on starters and desserts, with most of the action taking place on the mains front. A separate burger list provides solid options with all the trimmings, or tackle the mountain of loaded nachos if you dare. Sticky bourbon-glazed ribs fall from the bone and come with fries served on the side. Service is enthusiastic and well informed, and there’s cute attention to detail too, with a short but varied US wine list, proper tequila and comic book art in the loos. While the all-American soundtrack, craft beers and gluten-free hot dogs veer close to hipster territory, it has quickly attracted a mixed crowd of locals, tourists and whoever can get a table first on Saturday nights. Elvis-inspired breakfasts served at weekends mean there’s now life beyond the usual posh fry-up and eggs benedict suspects for brunch in this part of town. + Buffalo chicken wings worth wearing a bib for

After a successful string of pop-up venues, this US-style diner has found a permanent home in Leith. Inspired by the TV show Man Vs Food, Fat Yankee’s is set to bring a slice of unashamedly dirty American street food to Scotland’s capital; even the breakfasts come served with fries, and a bacon and egg sandwich comes with no less than ten rashers of crispy bacon. US classics such as Philly cheesesteak sandwich and BBQ chicken wings dominate the menu, although global influences are sprinkled throughout, in the form of pulled-pork samosas and their ‘Sushi Burger’ made with pork, spring rolls, topped with shredded duck and served in a rice bun. Milkshakes are more akin to desserts than drinks, with brownie and apple pie shakes on offer, although if you really can’t choose between sweet and savoury and are feeling dangerously hungry there’s always the Krispy Kreme doughnut burger – a cheese and bacon burger sandwiched between a glazed ring doughnut. + You won’t leave hungry - You arteries won’t thank you

TIPLIST THE EDIN-BURGERS • Bell’s Diner This oldschool charmer is now into its fifth decade of serving up quality burgers to its adoring fans 87 • Burger Still a relative newcomer, but now with two central venues, this joint buzzes like a wellestablished diner 87 • Burger Meats Bun Glasgow’s obsession with the meat patty makes its way along the M8 87 • The Cambridge Bar Famously good patties to go with the well-poured pints 26

52 Canoes 13 Melville Place, West End (Map 4: A1, 5) 0131 226 4732 | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This kitsch and quirky basement bar in Edinburgh’s West End is like a secret den: the fun, cosy vibe gives an instant feeling of belonging, and the wacky decor makes you smile almost as much as the enticing menu and extensive cocktail list. Pina Coladas are fresh, nutty and zesty, and sweet and creamy without being cloying, while a Miehana packs a fruity, tropical punch with flavours of pineapple, orange and coconut. If you’re not a rum lover, don’t despair, as their Den Originals feature a variety of spirits, a highlight being the sophisticated and refreshing ginbased Bengal Fizz. With an interesting take on breakfast dishes, a variety of Polynesian-inspired baked eggs are on offer as a delicious treat at any time of day, alongside more traditional fare such as burgers and fajitas, all given a

• Holyrood 9A They set the trend for quality burgers back in the day, and they’re still going strong 31


• New York Steam Packet The no-frills approach has a wide appeal, serving one of the tastiest burgers in town 88 • Red Squirrel A Lothian Road stalwart from the same stable as Holyrood 9A, where a tasty burgers is guaranteed 35

Desserts are limited – but you’re unlikely to have room

Katie’s Diner 12 Barclay Terrace, Southside (Map 3A: B2, 23) 0131 229 1394, | No Kids (under 5) | Closed Sun/Mon | £16 (dinner)

Nestled into a corner just off Bruntsfield Links, this cosy, homely little diner has been serving up old-school Americanastyle comfort food for over 15 years. The menu comprises mainly burgers, steaks and chicken dishes, all of which can be tailored to personal specifications and come served with Katie’s coleslaw and your choice of chips or buttered new potatoes. Sirloin steak seasoned with pepper and lemon has a piquant citrus tang, deepened by different shades of spice, and Hawaiian chicken – seasoned chicken breast with cheese and pineapple – is subtly spiced, the chargrilled pineapple ring adding a tropically sweet dimension. Desserts, though heavy duty, are definitely worth leaving room for. Katie’s homemade chocolate brownies are decadently gooey and served warm with lashings of rich vanilla ice-cream, while apple crumble comes topped with beautifully buttery pastry. + Skilled home cooking and friendly, personal service - Starters are a tad uninspired

Miller & Carter Cramond Brig, Cramond (Map 1A: A1, off) 0131 339 4350, millerandcarter. | £10.95 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

This significant refurbishment of the old Cramond Brig pub was the first foray over the border for the Miller & Carter brand in 2014. It’s a tight ship – a commendable focus on traceability and training, including a spell at ‘steak school’ for managers and chefs, means it really is all about the beef. Sourced from farms in Lanark and Lothian and aged for 30 days, the steaks are excellent – although perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the bewildering array of sides, including a monster wedge of iceberg lettuce smothered in sauce and a substantial ‘onion loaf’ (which tastes a lot better than it sounds). Clearly aiming at the family market, there’s a lot of good things going on here – staff are brisk and knowledgeable and there’s a nice buzz about the place. But a little more focus on elements like the starters and puds, which feel like a bit of an afterthought, wouldn’t go amiss. That said, for those days when nothing but a T-bone will do, this is a reliable, if ever-so-slightly vanilla choice. + Has to be the steak - Uninspired desserts

The New York Steam Packet 31 Rose Street Lane North, New Town (Map 1A: D5, 62) 0131 220 4825, | Closed Sun | £16.50 (set dinner)

Tucked away up the stairs, in an alley, off a lane and down a street, the New York Steam Packet has been serving up American food since 1972. Ownership has changed over the years but the short, set menu continues to offer burgers and steaks to a crowd of regulars, groups and tourists stumbling in from Rose Street. As with the menu, things aren’t too flexible – there’s a maximum two-hour stay at weekends and midweek opening only when there’s bookings – but inside a warm welcome awaits. The food is intentionally simple yet the homemade beef burger is one of the tastiest in town, with lots of herbs and a bun smothered in melted cheese. The sirloin steak is generous and comes with a lake of


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peppercorn sauce to dip your fries into. It’s a no-frills approach that the regulars like, with hens, stags and office parties booking out the small and cosy interior on a regular basis. With the added bonus of BYOB it’s worth seeking out if you fancy a central independent option. + Juicy burgers - Starters of mussels, haggis and paté are solid but not hugely Amer ican

Redwood Bistro 1 Meadow Place Road, Corstorphine, West End (Map 4: A3, off) 0131 281 2576, | Closed Sun/Mon | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

It’s been some years since chefpatron Annette Sprague closed the door on the much-loved Redwood in Stockbridge, so Edinburgh diners will celebrate the restaurant’s reincarnation – only this time on a larger scale, in a bright converted residential property on the edge of the city. Sprague’s food continues to feature ingenious combinations using the bold, sunny flavours of her native California. Hand-cooked tortilla crisps topped with sliced smoked duck breast with gooseberry ‘cheese’, sunflower seeds and yoghurt makes for a tantalising pre-starter, while a whole head of garlic, roasted in olive oil, is resplendent in its simplicity. Salads still feature heavily in the starters,

while mains tend to be meatier – herbmarinated lamb is impeccably pink in the middle, uplifted by a drizzle of mint and coriander pesto, while a Scottish ribeye steak is beautifully juicy and tender. When it comes to dessert, the addition of rosemary gives a welcome savoury bite to a fig, honey and mascarpone tart, and passionfruit ice-cream offsets the sweetness of a coconut and lemon curd sponge. + Clever use of flavours and ingredients - Food can be lacking in technical finesse

served in a sundae glass, of course. Definitely save room for dessert – a cheesecake of the day is cheerfully billed as being laced with ‘whatever liqueur the chef can steal from the bar’ and the banoffee pie’s been made to the same recipe since 2000. Fair play to them: they stick to what they know, do it with a lot of care and attention, and serve it all up with a smile. New tricks? Overrated. + A perfect steak - Not a huge amount of choice if you’re not in a red-meat mood

Smoke Stack


53–55 Broughton Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 28) 0131 556 6032, | £12 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

7–8 Queensferry Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 15) 0131 220 0036, wannaburger. com | £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ isn’t always a successful maxim in a world where we’re programmed to seek the new and the fresh. But it works for Smoke Stack. A refurb a few years ago and a clear understanding of their loyal customer base means a menu dominated by steak and burgers, with few forays elsewhere. This is no bad thing. It means a quality steak, cooked exactly as ordered and – strike up the band – really nice chips (although some veg or salad would be a welcome addition). Starters hit a lot of the guilty-pleasure buttons – calamari, paté and a cracking prawn cocktail,

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As Edinburgh’s love affair with a wellconstructed beef burger continues to thrive, up-scale fast-food joints like Wannaburger provide a steady supply of American classics in a clean, bright, no-frills dining room that takes its style cues from the big chains. Survey the menu before you approach the counter to place your order, taking time to choose from beef, chicken, veggie burgers or hot dogs, all available with layers of tasty toppings and attractive sides. Ingredients are of a high standard and cooked up to order, meaning a bit of a longer wait for your meal than you’d find in other fast-food chains, but you end up with a superior meal as you tuck into a burger topped with Swiss cheese, pulled pork, crisp lettuce and tomato, sandwiched between an artisan bun. This is a popular spot for students, workers on the go or shoppers to grab a booth and a bite. Save room for a blueberry muffin or a brownie if you fancy something sweet at the end. + Impressive range of toppings for custom burgers - It’s a cut above, but still a fast-food joint

ROUND the WORLD There’s no better way to get to know a culture than through its food, and Edinburgh’s diverse range of restaurants mean you can munch your way around much of the world, armed only with your copy of this Guide and your trusty Daysaver bus ticket. From Poland to Portugal, Mongolia to the Med, it’s all here – and with BYOB which will make your travels even more affordable and enjoyable. Reviewers: Miranda Heggie, Jo Laidlaw, Caroline Rye, Paul Trainer

Beirut MIDDLE EAST 24 Nicolson Square, Southside (Map 2A: D5, 74) 0131 667 9919, | £6.50 (one course lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s only Lebanese restaurant, Beirut offers up a plethora of Middle Eastern delights in elegant, stylish surroundings. A meal here could easily be made up from the starters alone; the wide selection of cold meze includes a fresh and zesty tabbouleh and smoky, garlicky hummus, while the hot offerings feature some more adventurous dishes such as deep-fried pastry rolls with minced lamb, pine nuts and onions and spicy Lebanese sausage. A main course of mixed grills boasts a generous portion of minced lamb kebabs alongside beautifully marinated chicken and lamb cubes, simply served with rice, Lebanese bread, chilli and garlic. For those after something a little less protein heavy, okra stew with lamb comes with a rich, dense tomato sauce, though the balance of okra to lamb is weighted a touch too much to the former. Sweets vary between bought-in Italian-style desserts and homemade Lebanese, with Beirut nights, made with pistachio and coconut, being a particular highlight. + Delicious food at modest prices - The music’s a bit loud

Boteco do Brasil BRAZILIAN 47 Lothian Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 50) 0131 220 2487, botecodobrasil. com | £5.95 (set lunch)

The Boozy Cow (page 87): a thick slab of industrial chic with a super-styled menu that delivers tiptop burgers

With an array of vibrant dishes and colourful cooking, Boteco Do Brasil offers a kaleidoscope of Brazilian cuisine in the heart of Edinburgh, inspired by the traditional neighbourhood ‘botecas’ of Rio de Janeiro. Tapas dishes of pan-fried tiger prawns with seasoned strips of beef served with cassava provide a zesty snapshot of Brazilian flavours, while traditional main dishes offer an insight into the essence of Brazilian cooking. Moqueca, a traditional Brazilian seafood stew, comes with the choice of white fish, prawns or seafood in a rich coconut sauce. Feijoada, a stew with black beans, pork ribs, smoked bacon, salt beef and smoked sausage served with rice, chilli salad, flavoured cassava flour and slices of orange has a deep spiciness, although the offerings of meat are a little meagre. If you feel like dancing off your dinner over a couple of caipirinhas, the club downstairs is open till 3am every night, playing an eclectic mix of Latino and salsa beats. + An infectious carnival vibe - Not much choice of wine by the glass The List Eating & Drinking Guide 89



Brazilian Sensation BRAZILIAN 117–119 Buccleuch Street, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 10) 0131 667 0400, | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Having been bringing the flavours of Brazil to Edinburgh for nearly 20 years, Brazilian Sensation is a tropical haven tucked away in Edinburgh’s Southside. Whether you fancy a casual lunch or a more substantial evening meal, colourful is certainly one way to describe the food on offer, with plates being as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. At dinner, a main course of xinxin, a traditional dish of spicy chicken, dried shrimp and coconut, has a beautiful balance of tastes and textures, while batata doce, a vegetarian dish made with sweet potato, is given a fiery kick by the addition of ginger, quelled with the sweetness of coconut. Chocolate and banana cake is decadently gooey and a perfect pairing with guava and passionfruit and lime ice-cream, homemade with tropical fruits sourced directly from Brazil. + Delicious Brazilian cuisine - You’ll need to book quite well in advance for an evening meal

The Caffeine Drip 10 Melville Place, West End See Cafés

chorizo-packed bread and baccalao fritters, plus homemade soup of the day and corn bread. More than likely it’ll be the promise of sweet treats that entice casual passersby, in particular the mound of pastel de natas – Portuguese curd tarts – that are crisp, creamy and every bit as good as the ones to be found in Lisbon. Not easy to find in Edinburgh, they alone are worth the trip down Leith Walk. Coupled with beautiful cakes, great coffee, wifi and an easy-going vibe, it looks set to become a local favourite with Leithers. + Not having to visit Portugal to find great pastel de natas - There’s not much space inside – but you can always take away

Cha Cha Laca 87 Hanover Street, New Town See Mexican

lunch (with busy takeaway) to dinner. There’s bags of potential here, which could be realised by doing just a little bit less. Dishes like spag bol and burgers side-track from more interesting choices like cigar borek – lovely crisp filo rolls filled with feta. Mackerel salad is almost a meal in itself – no mimsy sprinkle of rocket here, rather a five-a-day bowl of texture and colour. The mezze platter is similarly generous, with stuffed vine leaves, hummus and the ubiquitous falafel, while grilled lamb is smoky and tender with a garlicky yogurt sauce – although veg or bread would accompany this better than a pile of pale chips. There’s good stuff at Circus: a little more confidence and a more focused menu could take it all the way to the big top. + That courtyard - A menu trying to be all things to all people



8 St Mary’s Street, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 21) 0131 556 6963 | £8 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)


The courtyard at Circus is exactly one of those places you should have up your sleeve for a surprise sunny day up the toon. A charming wee space with fairy lights, chunky benches and bright ceramics, it’s perfect for whiling away some time. The food’s fairly charming too – moving from breakfast, through

24 St Mary’s Street, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 20) 0131 466 0100, empirescafe. | £15.95 (set dinner)

Tucked away in St Mary’s Street, Empires is all rickety stairs, cosy nooks and bright ceramics. There’s a nice simplicity about the menu – a list of 20 or so mezze, available as three or five mezze plates. The classics are all present and correct, but there are

Casa Amiga EUROPEAN 294 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 9) 0131 467 5664, | £5 (lunch)

Continuing the trend for high-quality dining options from around the world springing up all the way down Leith Walk, Casa Amiga popped up towards the end of 2014 specialising in Portuguese cakes and bakes. The long list of savoury items includes dense,

TIPLIST FOR STEAK • Blackwood’s Impressively crusty steaks from the unpronounceable Josper grill 92

4 Hanam’s KURDISH 3 Johnston Terrace, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 28) 0131 225 1329, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Whether visiting or local, Hanam’s offers a welcome alternative if you’re tiring of the tourist shops and tartan in this part of town. The canopied ceiling, vermillion walls and traditional artwork transport you from medieval Edinburgh to a scene straight out of the Arabian Nights. The menu revolves around Kurdish and Middle Eastern classics, all served with fresh flat breads, replenished as if by magic. Starters such as thick, chalky labneh and spicy Lebanese sausage are made to be shared, adding to the sociable feel. Shish kebabs and shawarma form the bulk of the mains but it’s not all lamb: minced chicken marinated with spices, chilli and herbs is a world away from a polystyrene carton at 2am. It’s BYOB (at no extra charge) but the wide range of non-alcoholic wines, beers and ciders deserve a look too, even if only on occasion. Outside on the terrace with a view of the Grassmarket, there’s also the chance to enjoy shisha of many flavours while watching city life go by. + Civilised dining for families and not a kids’ menu in sight - Huge portion sizes mean you’ll need to consider skipping a starter or lunch

4 Indaba AMERICAS/AFRICAN 3 Lochrin Terrace, Tollcross (Map 3A: B1, 8) 0131 221 1554, | Closed Sun | £14 (dinner)

• Kyloe Attention-worthy steaks and quality sides in the West End 96 • McKirdy’s Steakhouse Owned by butchers, the steaks are well sourced and delicious 97 • Mussel & Steak Bar Grass-fed Scotch beef aged for 38 days results in superlative steaks 71 • Shebeen Quality meat prepared on site in downto-earth surroundings 90 • Smoke Stack Just the place for people who enjoy a big slab of quality meat cooked simply 86 • Steak Blow-thebudget steaks for special occasions 99 Yellow Bench (page 92): a cosy wee Polish cafe serving pierogi and crepes 90 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

more interesting choices too: cacik, an addictive and versatile garlicky yogurt dip and tarator, a dip made with crushed walnuts both being worthy of note. The food is laid out simply on big plates and there are some nice touches – the hummus has a pleasantly chunky texture and a good hit of tahini, while the aforementioned cacik is as good as it should be. However the rest of the dishes don’t quite stack up. Dry chicken and an uninspired moussaka (bearing the unmistakable hallmarks of the microwave) mean that baklava and apple tea to finish – while excellent – can’t quite manage to redeem the memory of what’s gone before. + The baklava - Shop-bought pitta

Billed as a mix of tapas from Spain, South Africa and Venezuela, the departure of one of the original partners means Indaba’s focus is broadly Spanish, with unusual meat like ostrich ticking the South African box. But with such an appealing menu (and daily-changing specials) that’s really no bad thing. It feels easy to eat well, even healthily, here: courgette strips are lightly grilled, wrapped round feta and drizzled with just a little bit of rosemary oil. Patatas bravas are ovenroasted and not completely smothered in sauce. And while the gambas mixta are definitely fried, it’s in a light, fruity olive oil – practically a health food, or that’s what you’ll tell yourself when you’re dunking your bread in the garlicky, chilli-nippy sauce. It’s all good – not in a joyless ‘Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t feed her kids carbs’ way, more in a ‘moderately priced, tasty food in a warm, friendly neighbourhood restaurant’ way. Until you get to the puds, at which point throw caution to the wind and indulge in a torta llorana – warm chocolate fondant with a melting middle. Heaven. + Warm-hearted home cooking - The restrictive loo: no baby changing facilities or access for wheelchair users


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Khublai Khan Mongolian Barbecue Restaurant MONGOLIAN 43 Assembly Street, Leith, Leith (Map 5A: D1, 14) 0131 555 0005, khublaikhan. | £24.95 (set lunch) / £24.95 (set dinner)

Expect the unexpected from Kublai Khan’s, a Mongolian barbecue that attracts diners with a sense of fun. Lurking beneath a veneer of questionable history about the traditional recipes of Mongol warriors (how many spices did they carry while marauding through villages?) you’ll find a highly entertaining and somewhat experimental culinary experience. You’ll be ushered into the spacious restaurant where the idea behind your meal soon becomes apparent. Choose from a list of unusual starters – perhaps kangaroo haggis, which is decidedly odd, but tasty. Next up, approach a table of ingredients: noodles, rice, vegetables, sauces, myriad spices and herbs, then a selection of exotic meats. Take the opportunity to build your own dish in a bowl to be cooked on a hot plate by the chef and returned to you as a simmering mound of your favourite foodstuffs. The unexpected comes in the form of diced zebra, wild boar or crocodile to add to your mix. It’s a food adventure ideally suited to large groups. + Exotic meats and spices - Service can be slow during busy times

Laila’s Bistro MEDITERRANEAN 63 Cockburn Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 8) 0131 226 5097, | £12 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Joining Hanam’s and Pomegranate, Laila’s is the newest member of what’s by now surely a mini-Med-chain. First impressions are good – exposed brick, cosy booths and lots of soothing green, designed to invoke the olive groves at the heart of Mediterranean cooking. Those flavours drive the menu (apart from a short detour into tourist-land with a couple of bistro classics). Batata harra – a Lebanese dish of tiny cubes of potatoes with chilli and peppers – catches the eye and rewards with a good kick of spice. Their own-made Iraqi bread is thicker than the usual pitta and makes a great sponge for mopping up the garlicky oil too. For mains, a prawn skewer is recommended: smoky, sweet and handsome on its bed of bulgur wheat. A lamb sausage casserole comes in a wee pot and is suitably warming and homely, although perhaps a little unrefined. For dessert, the baklava is present and correct served with a good, well-balanced saffron and cardamom ice-cream. With lighter bites including wraps and sandwiches served all day, this is a solid choice for a shot of Mediterranean sunshine. + Attractive venue with a warm welcome - Menu’s a little bit predictable

Los Argentinos AMERICAS 28–30 West Preston Street, Southside (Map 3C: D3, 17) 0131 668 3111, losargentinossteakhouseinedinburgh. | £22 (dinner)

This Argentine steakhouse is fairly understated, with nods to South America coming through in the menu rather than in any overt décor choices. Homemade chimichurri sauce is already on the table, ready to be added to whichever meat feast you choose to order as a main course. It also comes in handy for adding a bit of lubrication to the enjoyable empanadas (Argentine meat and corn pasties). The gran parillada mixta for two offers the chance – or should that be the challenge – of sampling a huge

selection of meat dishes. Grilled chicken breast, sausage, and a variety of steaks (cooked to your preference, naturally) all appear, with chips supplied on the side. It’s an impressive and very enjoyable spread, but it does mean that dessert is likely to be a step too far. Still, you’ve come to Los Argentinos to experience carnivore heaven, not the ice-cream. [Not recently visited.]

4 My Big Fat Greek Kitchen GREEK 6 Brougham Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 3) 0131 228 1030, | Closed Mon | £19 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s take on Mediterranean food tends to be based round the cuisines of Turkey and the Levant, so My Big Fat Greek Kitchen sticks out – and not just for the name. It’s a chirpy, cheery, Aegean-bluey kind of place, with a menu based round platters and mezethes (small plates which aren’t actually that small); or the traditional starter/main approach. Either way, it’s good. It’s a home-style approach, with lots of slow cooking, grilling and chips with almost everything – and why not? Beef stifado is rich, warming and spiked with cinnamon, while chicken gyros are chunks of sticky, tender meat with chargrilled flatbread, peppers and onions – a guaranteed hangover killer. Of the small plates, light courgette fritters deliver a good hit of feta, while generous slabs of spanakopita make you realise how great this combination of salty cheese, metallic spinach and crisp pastry can be. With a warm welcome and a mostly Greek wine list too, this is one place where you’ll swear you can feel the sand between your toes. + Best baklava in the ‘burgh? Believe! - Stiff hummus will divide the crowd

Nawroz KURDISH 26–30 Potterow, Old Town (Map 2A: D5, 73) 0131 667 2299, nawrozrestaurant. com | £7 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Situated firmly in the multicultural university-meets-Newington area, Nawroz offers Kurdish cooking in a relaxed atmosphere with traditional décor. There’s a large range of solid mezze dishes to start or to share, served up with the ever-present nan bazary flat breads. While choices can feel a little heavy on the lamb side, the chicken biryani makes up for basic presentation with tender meat and a fresh vegetable rice worth asking for alone on your next visit. Kebabs are many, seasoned with chilli, garlic and spices, satisfyingly crisp and smoky from the charcoal grill. Like many Middle Eastern restaurants in town, there’s no alcohol for sale but BYOB at no extra charge. Lunch deals mean students and university types populate by day, while an ornate banqueting area for large groups attracts a mixed crowd, from the local Middle Eastern community to office parties. The shisha seating area facing Potterrow brings both regulars and the curious to smoke and enjoy dark Turkish coffee with their hookah from open to close. + Friendly Kurdish food at a reasonable price - The smell of shisha inside on arrival can be overpowering

as many international eateries as Leith Walk. One of the latest additions to its global food scene is the cosy and welcoming Pera. Founded in late 2014, owner and head chef Orkun Akan opened the restaurant alongside his candle-making business, to show diners in the capital that Turkish cuisine is so much more than doner kebabs and chips. A starter of mixed mezze contains no less than nine different dips and salads, with a zesty beetroot salad and smoky hummus among the highlights. Pan-fried halloumi with sucuk (traditional Turkish sausage) is one of the more substantial starters on offer, with the spicy depth of the sausage deliciously offsetting the salty tang of the cheese. A main course of mixed kebabs sees generous offerings of lamb kofte and beautifully tender barbecued chicken and lamb, all marinated on the premises. For those in the mood for a little something sweet, the sticky baklava, accompanied by a cup of Turkish coffee, could be the perfect way to round off this authentic dining experience. + Authentic Turkish food in individual surroundings - Because of its size, it can be hard to find a table at weekends

Pomegranate MIDDLE EAST 1 Antigua Street, New Town (Map 1B: D5, 40) 0131 556 8337, | £7.50 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

From the owners of Hanam’s and Lailas’s, Pomegranate provides an oasis of Middle Eastern colour and charm a stone’s throw away from the bars, shows and cinema at the top of Leith Walk. Appealing to locals, shoppers, office parties and the theatre crowd, the menu focuses on mezze dishes, with lots of stuffed veg and lamb options and light, bubbly flat breads. Kebabs and shawarma take centre stage, the meat well-marinated and tender, yet crunchy from the charcoal grill. Most desserts are delivered from specialist suppliers, including a delicate rosewater sorbet worthy of attention. Renovated in 2014 to provide space for another private dining room, the real action happens outside in the basement area where shisha aficionados gather to enjoy the scents and sounds of the Middle East. With cosy booths carved into the wall, outdoor heating and a wide range of shisha flavours to enjoy (including tobacco free), it’s the ideal respite if you’re looking for a bit more escapism than the average blockbuster can offer. + A cracking example of Edinburgh’s diverse restaurant scene - Couples may feel a bit left out among the large groups


ROUND THE WORLD 4 Hanams Middle Eastern feasts to share, served straight from the charcoal grill in the Old Town. 4 Indaba This wee room in Tollcross demands appreciation for fresh, sprightly Spanish tapas fused with South African sensibilities. 4 My Big Fat Greek Kitchen Don’t be put off by the name, here is homely Greek cooking you’ll want to return to again and again. 4 Pera Bringing a true taste of Turkey to the capital, this intimate little venue is a fantastic place to sample Eastern cuisine without breaking the bank. 4 Tugas Amor Venture further than the city centre and be rewarded with authentic Portuguese food and hospitality. Rodi Restaurant TURKISH 121 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 51) 0131 229 2727 | £16.50 (dinner)

A relative newcomer, Rodi is dominated by the huge charcoal grill which sends out smoky sweet smells as well as highly piled plates into the dining area. Starters are based round a compact mezze selection, but it’s hard to look past a pile of garlicky, juicy prawns, just chargrilled enough, accompanied by lovely traditional bread. Mains are mostly along the lines of grilled chicken and lamb, often served with a puddle of smoky aubergine which enhances that charcoal flavour. It’s all very simple and very Turkish: few frills, no alcohol (BYOB is welcome), but a warm welcome and great food, with lots of little additions like dressed onions and generous side salads building up into a real feast. + Chargrilled prawns - A bit too brightly lit

4 Pera: Turkish Mangal & Meze Bar TURKISH 57 Elm Row, Leith (Map 5B: A5, 24) 07756 122730, | Closed Mon | £5.95 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)


Surely no street in Edinburgh can boast The List Eating & Drinking Guide 91



Sabor Criollo AMERICAS 36 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B1, 11) 0131 332 3322, | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Stockbridge has long been a byword for genteel Edinburgh, featuring a cluster of upmarket bistros and well-appointed dining rooms competing to attract the local professionals. Carving out its own niche in the neighbourhood, Sabor Criollo brings some of the colour and flavours of Latin America with a menu packed with Venezuelan and Mexican classics. It’s affordable street food in a casual restaurant setting: think enchiladas, fajitas and nachos with seafood stews and other exotic concoctions. The restaurant’s signature dish is Pabellón Criollo, a substantial Venezuelan meal that brings together shredded beef, delicious simmered black beans and fried plantains with hot rice. For a quick bite with friends, pop in and share a few tasty starters over a couple of glasses of wine. A comforting plate of nachos sees corn tortilla chips piled high with cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and jalapeños with a dollop of chilli beef or beans. + Strong flavours and relaxed atmosphere - Unsuitable for large groups

on authentic Portuguese food. A chorizo flambéed at the table is more artisan black pudding than the orange stuff you’ll find in the supermarket, while a starter of grilled sardines is simple and beautiful, the sort of food you’d want to try and track down on holiday. Mains include traditional smoked sausage and the ubiquitous chicken piri piri, here properly jointed, blackened from the grill and served with extra sauce to up the heat factor as you will. Inside is filled with traditional artwork and family photographs and food is served in lovely earthenware pottery. Matched with BYOB, knowledgeable service and a buzzy neighbourhood feel, it’s definitely worth seeking out. + A little bit of Portuguese sunshine distilled between four walls - Not the prettiest location in Edinburgh


healthy gluten-free treats prepared with love and served with a smile by Fernando and Gardenia Miranda. Considering the location near Edinburgh University and the Meadows, it’s not surprising to discover groups of students or tourists crowding round the stall or sitting on chairs at the side, munching on chicken curry piri-piri or slurping on a freshly squeezed juice. When this spot is bathed in sunshine it is a particularly relaxing place to hang out. Lunchtimes see the crowds swell with queues forming to place their order and chat with the staff, with sweet crêpes being a particularly popular option – try one with cinnamon, honey, bananas and pecans. On Saturdays, the feijoada is a big draw – a tasty Brazilian stew made with pork ribs and sausages, served with rice and spring greens. + Great, affordable street food - Seating area is weather dependent

BRAZILIAN The Green Police Box, Middle Meadow Walk, Lauriston Place, Old Town (Map 2A: C5, 58) | Closed Sun | £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s distinctive police boxes have had mixed fates – some falling into disrepair, others providing a useful space for doling out freshly brewed coffee or tasty street food. Tupiniquim take their menu cues from Brazil with

Yellow Bench POLISH


31 Crighton Place, Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 17) 07510 861842, | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)


If Leith was to look for a national dish, emblematic of its spicy Scottish character and ability to absorb elements of the immigrant

Shebeen AFRICAN • 8 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: C2, 44) 0131 629 0261 • 103 Dalry Road, West End (Map 4: A4, 70) 0131 629 3030, | £25 (lunch) / £25 (dinner)

With bright colours and a relaxed style, the South African influence is immediately clear in Shebeen’s quirky dining room. This is a meatlovers’ paradise with dishes boasting gargantuan cuts of beef sourced from local farms, butchered in house then hung for five weeks for a steak with a rich, complex flavour. What passes for a small sirloin on the bone still comes in at around 480g of well-cooked steak, prepared with a special rub of African spices. It arrives on a chopping board with thick hand-cut chips, grilled mushroom and a pile of onion rings. Visiting rugby fans, local families and workers from nearby offices enjoy the casual atmosphere, while groups might want to take on the Joburger, a titanic 1.2kg homemade beef burger that is so large they have to specially order a bun to contain it. The tasty treat is served up with cheese, gherkins and mushrooms and provides enough meaty sustenance for around four people. Save room for a slice of melktert, a sweet pastry with a creamy filling and delicate flavour. With a second branch now open on Dalry Road, Shebeen looks to have found a popular and winning formula. + Big steaks that pack a flavour punch - Definitely not one for vegetarians

With a Mediterranean mezze menu transcending a significant number of borders, it’s hard to imagine a diner who won’t find something to suit their taste at Yeni. That’s no bad thing – it’s a great choice for colleagues and crowds, but it’s going to be hard to resist a smug smile at a co-diner tucking into bruschetta and arancini when there are some seriously more imaginative choices on offer. Far better to angle your thoughts towards iskender (particularly successful, with layers of pitta bread, meat, yoghurt and butter playing with texture); shaksuka (meltingly soft aubergine with tomato) and sucuk (spicy Turkish sausage). Don’t ignore the humble falafel though – it’s pleasingly zhooshed up, shaped into soft, light, yielding croquettes rather than the usual crispy bullets. Dessert choices are simple and baklava based, but if you’re full an apple tea or Turkish coffee will do just fine. Warm and friendly service matches the food – something that’s certainly not a given in this part of town – and a willingness to adapt menus and dishes shows a genuinely flexible approach to looking after their customers. + Really lovely service - It’s easy to over-order TURKISH 176 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 47) 0131 281 1360, | Closed Sun

19–20 Teviot Place, Old Town See Spanish

4 Tugas Amor EUROPEAN 161 Dundee Street, West End (Map 4: B4, off) 0131 228 8804, tugasamor. | Closed Mon | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

92 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

73 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 88) 0131 225 5755, yenirestaurant. com | Closed Sun | £9.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Zara’s Mediterrranean Bistro


Opened in 2014 by Lisbon native Caitia Sousa and her father, Tugas Amor is located in the slightly unloved area where Fountainbridge meets Gorgie/ Dalry. Just along from the multiplex and chain restaurants and a bit removed from the Haymarket footfall, it’s taken guts to set up a family business in this part of town. The menu impresses with a focus

communities that thrive in the area, then the haggis pierogi at Yellow Bench would be a natural contender. The deep-fried dumpling parcels of rich haggis, served with fried onion and garlic sauce, are a standout dish in this cosy wee Polish café. Part community centre, part arty hangout, at lunchtimes local workers flock here to grab a table and order up savoury crêpes with fillings like cheese, bacon, spinach and tomato. In the evenings, enjoy hearty soup or comforting pork stew served with sour cream and potato pancakes. You may also be tempted by locally baked cakes or freshly brewed coffee. The Yellow Bench is gaining a reputation for its simple, well-executed menu and quirky style. Look out for art shows and acoustic performances in the downstairs lounge. + Conversation and interesting dishes - Small café with limited seating

Beirut (page 89): Middle Eastern delights in elegant, stylish surrounds

Having relocated to Rose Street from a nearby dingy back lane, Seyhmus Aslanalp’s restaurant – originally called Turkish Kitchen – has undergone a name change too, partly inspired by his daughter. But despite the fact that the new title is also suggestive of a broader scope, the menu continues to be composed almost entirely of Turkish cuisine. The takeaway element has gone, and the surroundings are now somewhat glitzier, but it’s still the dishes that are the main draw. There’s a fine, if slightly pricey, selection of hot and cold mezze, including tasty sucuk (spicy sausage). For mains, kebabs and well-spiced kofte jostle for attention alongside traditional favourites such as iskender (chopped pitta with tomato, yoghurt, onion and doner) and the satisfying hunkar begendi (marinated lamb with creamed aubergine). Sofrasis – set banquets – offer the


In association with



• 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 • New indoor Shisha Bar • Extensive Dry Bar • No corkage charge BYOB

3 Johnston Terrace, Edinburgh, EH1 2PW T: 0131 225 1329 or 07888 677 613 E:

(just beside Edinburgh Castle)

Hitlisted: The List Eating & Drinking Guide 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2013 Runner up at Scottish Entertainment Guide Restaurant Awards 2013 ‘One of Britain’s top 5 Middle East restaurants’ The Telegraph

Located in Edinburgh city centre (next to the University) we are open every day from 12noon until late, offering unique homecooked kurdish and middle eastern cuisine.

- Two course lunch menu from 12-3pm every day - £7 - Pre-theatre menu from 3pm to 6pm - Shisha in different flavours is available -£10 - We can accommodate a large party up to 60 people - See our website for special offers on kurdish feast - Bring your own bottle to make a cheaper dinner out

Tel. : 0131 667 2299 26-30 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT

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chance to share and sample a wider choice and are certainly good value, especially for groups. Just remember to wear some relaxed fit trousers you’ll have a hard time stopping until it’s all gone. + The kofte are bursting with flavour - The name could be misleading for those who don’t know what to expect

Zuhus EUROPEAN 29/30 South Bridge, City Centre (Map 2B: A3, 10) 0131 557 3750, zuhus. | ÂŁ13 (lunch) / ÂŁ13 (dinner)

A fairly recent addition to Edinburgh’s global food scene, this Portuguese piri piri chicken joint serves up sizzling plates of spiced chicken in varying guises, from wraps, burgers and shredded platters to wings, halves or (if you’re seriously hungry) whole chickens. Diners can choose their spice level, from mellow mild right up to daredevil hot. Sides are pretty typical of fast-food fare, featuring chips, rice, garlic bread and coleslaw. A starter of cheesy chicken strips arrives in its own miniature cast-iron pot with an astonishingly stringy cheese sauce, while chargrilled halloumi skewers come with juicy pepper and courgette. For dessert, freshly made Belgian waffles are topped with a copious amount of fresh fruit, and the ice burger – two scoops of ice-cream inside a brioche bun – works surprisingly well. Though perhaps not the best place for a romantic dinner, Zuhus is a great pitstop for a bite to eat, and a nice alternative to the big national chains. + A good value fast-food option - The restaurant is unlicensed

SCOTTISH From the simple comfort of haggis, neeps and tatties through to the more avantgarde techniques of the Michelin brigade, you’ll find something here to whet most appetites. At the heart of it all is a love of sustainable, locally produced food in all its seasonal glory. It’s time to celebrate the best of the Scots larder, from beetroots to beef; seafood to soft fruits. Dig in and sample the best that Scotland has to offer. Reviewers: Stan Blackley, Ian Hogg, Hilary Lloyd, Tracey Reilly, Justin Tilbury

A Room in Leith 1a Dock Place, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 5) 0131 554 7427, | ÂŁ13 (set lunch) / ÂŁ23 (dinner)

Hidden round a corner, in a courtyard, at the end of a cobbled lane, A Room in Leith can be hard to find, but it’s worth the effort. Consisting of three smart adjoining rooms including a conservatory, as well as a waterside terrace, this ‘Room’ showcases the best of Scottish produce. The menu offers pan-roasted venison loin, chargrilled steaks and slow-braised ox cheeks, as well as smoked halibut, steamed mussels and seared king scallops. There are also traditional favourites like haggis and Cullen skink, plus veggie options, sharing platters, group menus and more. A super-satisfying starter of a Stornoway

black pudding Scotch egg is crisp on the outside with a perfect runny yolk in the middle, while a generous main of monkfish is served with celeriac, artichokes, capers, new potatoes and cherry tomatoes and is both tasty and filling. Dessert options include clootie dumpling, cheesecake, banoffee pie and crème brÝlÊe. The restaurant has access to drinks from the adjacent Teuchters Landing bar, including 18 beers on tap, 16 wines by the glass and over 90 malt whiskies, so there’s something here to please everyone. + Great quality, well-cooked Scottish produce - It can be hard to find it if you’ve never been there before

A Room in the West End 26 William Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 3) 0131 226 1036, | ÂŁ13.45 (set lunch) / ÂŁ21.50 (dinner)

A Room in the West End sits in the basement of Teuchters bar in Edinburgh’s West End. Benefiting from a recent change to a lighter colour scheme and the installation of new air conditioning, the space feels open and comfortable despite dark tongue-andgrooved walls and a low ceiling held up by thick stone arches and pillars that punctuate the atmospheric dining space. Diners seeking a bit more privacy can eat in one of the quirky two-seater cellar alcoves. The sister restaurant of A Room in Leith, it has a similar focus on quality Scottish ingredients but a separate menu and individual style. Starters include haggis, venison carpaccio and Cullen skink; mains feature salmon fillet, beef cheek, duck breast and pork three ways, while desserts include banoffee pie, sticky toffee pudding and Scottish cheeses. Popular with family groups and parties, the restaurant staff can bring down drinks from the bar upstairs. With a good value set-price lunch deal and veggie options always available, it’s no surprise that this ‘Room’ continues to pull in the West End crowds. + An ever-popular Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End - Gets booked out very quickly on rugby weekends

The Abbotsford 3 Rose Street, New Town See Bars & Pubs

4 Aizle 107–109 St Leonard’s Street, Southside (Map 3C: E2, 13) 0131 662 9349, | Closed Mon/Tue | £45 (set dinner)



Try H John anam¡s Hitlis ston Terr on ace ted and d in the Ea , rinkin ting 5 yea g guide rs in a row .



94 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Owner and head chef Stuart Ralstonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worldwide travels and Michelin-starred background combine to reveal one of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most innovative and intriguing dining experiences. A blackboard list of ingredients offers clues to the hidden menu, heightening anticipation of the delights to follow as five carefully balanced tasting courses emerge from an accomplished and creative kitchen. With seasonality and ethical sourcing to the fore, the evening-only menu refreshes monthly, matching to an astutely assembled wine list with an informal front of house orchestrating across two compact rooms of confidently understated candlelit dĂŠcor. Chicken liver and hibiscus poached rhubarb dresses a delicate rice cracker starter, before pickled carrot with crab and chicken salt ushers in monkfish with nasturtiums and seaweed beurre blanc. Award-winning cheese with honeycomb and bee pollen follows blushing pink Peking duck with pear and chicory, while exquisitely formed dehydrated milk wafers mop up malted barley icecream and Michel Cluizel chocolate.

Every now and then a restaurant pops up that you just have to eat in â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Aizle is one of those. + When you are just ahead of trend and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re inventive . . . - . . . it can be difficult to be completely flawless

Amber Restaurant The Scotch Whisky Experience, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Old Town (Map 2A: B2, 32) 0131 477 8477, | ÂŁ9.95 (set lunch) / ÂŁ18 (dinner)

Named for the warm hues of Scotlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s national drink, Amber is tucked away inside the basement of the Scotch Whisky Experience (and right next to a bar serving over 300 varieties of it). By day, the restaurant caters for guests on the popular whisky tours; in the evening, spotlights are dimmed, candles lit and tables set to signal the switch to dinner. Just as the tours encourage visitors to sample whisky from all over Scotland, Amberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s menu is set up for a similar gastronomic journey â&#x20AC;&#x201C; thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s even a map showing where key ingredients are sourced. Starters might take in Rothesay smoked salmon, Perthshire game terrine and Isle of Mull mussels â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or bite-size portions of each as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Scottish tapasâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Hearty staples like haggis, stovies or Cullen skink are great value, while more refined mains could include roast venison, guinea fowl or cod. The quality of such stellar ingredients shines through, despite the occasional flavour mismatch or heavy-handed sauce. And letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not forget the all-important whisky: matches for any course are readily provided by the knowledgeable and friendly staff. + Offers good value for money in the touristy Royal Mile area - Struggles to shake off the daytime cafĂŠ feel at night

Angels with Bagpipes 343 High Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C2, 14) 0131 220 1111, angelswithbagpipes. | ÂŁ14.95 (set lunch) / ÂŁ25 (dinner)

Despite its vanishingly small frontage, Angels strikes deep into the flank of the Royal Mile, broadening out into a lowceilinged, intimate space overlooking Warriston Close. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a very professional operation, smoothly assured and quietly confident from the off. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a small but select cocktail menu to consult and freshly baked bread rapidly arrives to accompany the decision making. And itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not easy: thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imagination and flair here. A parsley root veloutĂŠ with spinach and ricotta tortellini is a smooth and deeply flavoured piece, while spears of crisply charred mackerel are artfully presented with chicory, apple and a mild curry sauce. A main of lamb with spiced lentils, aubergine, shallots and baby turnip is a little workaday despite the imaginative accompaniments, but a ribeye steak is matched with a deliciously herby tomato, a tangy, creamy peppercorn sauce and some crisp fries. Winning the dessert wars is the ginger, honey and pear cheesecake. Light, meltingly soft and gently spiced, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a perfect finish. + Table for two to four available in its own wee area - The main room is intimate verging on claustrophobic

The Apprentice Edinburgh College, Granton Campus, 350 West Granton Road, Leith (Map 5A: A2, off) 0131 559 4030, zeroonebooking. | Closed Satâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;Mon and outside term time | ÂŁ7.95 (set lunch) / ÂŁ14.95 (set dinner)

Within the modern, slightly forbidding Granton campus of Edinburgh College,


In association with



SCOTTISH 4 Aizle Beautifully crafted and continually evolving tasting menu that innovates and enchants. 4 The Atelier One of last year’s best newcomers, newly become one of the best. 4 Café St Honore Impeccable sourcing from an accomplished kitchen in a charming bistro setting. Aizle: one of the city’s most innovative dining experiences, with a list of ingredients in lieu of a menu

there beats a romantic heart. The Apprentice allows catering students to hone their skills in an authentic atmosphere with a restaurant full of diners. This advantage is twofold as the students get to design the menu and create the dishes, but the diners get haute cuisine for the price of a pub lunch. Be prepared for enthusiasm and ideas that sometimes outstrip ability, but only rarely. For the most part, this is exceptionally skilled artistry. Following a judiciously contrasting amuse-bouche, a starter of chargrilled lamb shoulder is a poem of a dish, rich in grill smoke, pink and juicy in the centre, and served with a sharply citrus mint salsa verde. A soup course follows, which is a little anonymous thanks to its neighbours, as the subsequent Sicilian rabbit is rich and gamey, paired with pistachio, beetroot and olives. An alternative main of saddle of venison with shallots maintains those bass notes of sticky, earthy goodness and a dessert of raspberry mille-feuille is as light and airy a concoction as you could hope for. + Such good quality for such a low price - Low lighting helps, but this is still a canteen

4 The Atelier 159–161 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 54) 0131 629 1344, | No Kids (under 5) | £15.90 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

The Atelier’s calm atmosphere, understated décor and relaxed service are all shocked into contrast by the food on offer here. Boldly presented, unusual flavour combinations shout from the plate. One of the winners of last year’s Eating & Drinking Guide best newcomer awards, The Atelier offers an interesting and entertaining menu of modern European dishes partnering classic Scottish ingredients with considerable creativity and an eclectic drinks list. A starter of pheasant and prune ballotine is accompanied by ‘what’s-that?’-provoking smoked couscous and a lip-smacking harissa yoghurt, while a main of venison loin is paired with naughty-tasting smoked parsnips and a luscious cocoa nib jus. If the savoury offerings shout, then the desserts absolutely scream. A deconstructed sticky toffee pudding

comes with cardamom-spiced pear, salted vanilla ice-cream and a zingy apricot pouring sauce, while a chai tea opera gateau sings while consorting with clementine gel, hazelnut custard and dark chocolate and clove ice-cream. Despite this quite startling cookery, The Atelier manages to be casual and relaxed, delivering a down-to-earth yet exhilarating experience all at once. + Boldly presented food and a relaxed dining experience - Daring flavour combinations not for the faint of palate

The Atholl at The Howard The Howard Hotel, 34 Great King Street, New Town (Map 1B: A3, 13) 0131 557 3500, | £32 (lunch) / £32 (dinner)

The Atholl is part of the Howard Hotel, itself comprising three interlinked townhouses discreetly located in the New Town. Midway through an upgrade, the bar area – where you can enjoy an elegant afternoon tea – has been beautifully updated, combining original features like the impressive chandelier and cornicing with a sophisticated hint of heather and tartan. By contrast, the dining area feels somewhat muted with beige walls, starched linen and comfortable (if slightly rickety) seating. The compact menu – four choices per course – generally ticks the classic Scots dining boxes, such as seared salmon or steak and dauphinoise potatoes. A trio of haggis, neeps and tatties is attractively presented, although could do with more of the accompanying whisky sabayon, while a ham hock terrine is competently done. Desserts are a notable high point; a silky anise crème brûlée comes with crisp, buttery shortbread and a carrot and ginger cake is both airy and appropriately squidgy. Service is faultlessly polite although feels slightly disjointed, a sensation reinforced by a frequently sticking CD player in the background. + Prime Scottish ingredients served up in a classic New Town setting - Dining room decor suffers in comparison with the bar

Bistro Moderne 15 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge See Bistros & Brasseries

Blackwood’s Bar & Grill Nira Caledonia, 10 Gloucester Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 28) 0131 225 2720, | £27 (dinner)

Nestling in the Nira Caledonia Hotel, Blackwood’s is a pleasingly plush New Town dining room of dark timber tones and sink-in armchairs, bathed in candlelit warmth. Enthusiastic and informative staff clad in dapper garb offer up an evening-only à la carte menu, showcasing well-sourced steak and game with a sprinkling of seafood options. Perth’s Highland Drovers supply the 21-day-aged fillet and ribeye, with venison medallions and pheasant on the bone appearing alongside the increasingly popular buffalo steaks from Puddledub Farm. Preparation is key with the charcoal oven and secret recipe seasoned rub combining to impart a signature smoky crust, matched to a range of sides and sauces including grilled bone marrow and homemade béarnaise. Either side of the main event, a standout starter of braised pig head and black pudding croquette leads to homemade pistachio ice-cream and decadently dark chocolate and hazelnut tart. At the end of the evening it’s a short stroll to the connected bar for a slouch in a flamboyantly high-backed chair and a relaxing post-pudding coffee or brandy nightcap. + Great steaks in an intimate setting - Sauces and sides can begin to add up

Blonde 75 St Leonard’s Street, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

4 Café St Honoré 34 North West Thistle Street Lane, New Town (Map 1A: C4, 71) 0131 226 2211, | £14.50 (set lunch) / £28 (dinner)

Delightful French bistro décor meets the pick of Scotland’s larder in one of the city’s most compelling fusions. Black and white checkerboard flooring and sepia-toned walls link with linenclad tables and dark timber warmth to offer an appealing glimpse of Paris in the heart of the city. Chef Neil Forbes leads an accomplished kitchen drawing on knowledgeable local sourcing and focused foraging matched with strong sustainability credentials. A fistful of fizz and a confident mix of French and

4 Castle Terrace One of the most sublime dining experiences in Edinburgh – a stunning marriage of expertise and imagination. 4 The Gardener’s Cottage Communal dining with seasonally inspired and skilfully composed tasting courses. 4 The Grain Store Engaging and quirky, this atmospheric venue offers beautifully balanced food and personal service. 4 The Kitchin Tom Kitchin and team make the journey from nature to plate an exciting and challenging one in this Leith institution. 4 Number One The epitome of fine dining – sumptuous dishes delivered with style and sophistication. 4 Timberyard Seasonal Scottish produce is treated with great love and care in these impressive surroundings. 4 Victor & Carina Contini Cannonball Breathing new life into the Royal Mile dining scene, in a historic bilding full of character. New World wines support carefully composed lunch and evening à la carte and set menus. Seasonality is to the fore with beautifully balanced coley and fennel-infused mussel chowder arriving alongside Perthshire venison, dressed with black pudding rosti and a killer braised red cabbage. Pork rillettes with cornichon mayonnaise and a deep flavoured fish soup pop up on an increasingly popular express lunch deal, along with ruby veal breast with savoy cabbage broth and rhubarb wrapped honey and crowdie cheesecake. Seldom has French and Scottish union appeared in such perfect harmony. + French bistro vibe and the pick of Scotland’s produce - The décor is beginning to look a little threadbare in places

4 Castle Terrace 33–35 Castle Terrace, West End (Map 4: D1, 29) 0131 229 1222, | No Kids The List Eating & Drinking Guide 95



(under 5) | Closed Sun/Mon | £28.50 (set lunch) / £45 (dinner)

From the professional, warm welcome to the seamless service to the faultless food, Castle Terrace is something of an exercise in superlatives. With its simple decor – a muted palette of lavender and dark wood – your focus is on the food. A canapé of salt cod in ravioli is a concentrated punch of flavour, and an amuse-bouche of carrot and coriander with cumin crumble manages to pack a bowl of sharp, herby flavour into a tiny cup. A starter of Arbroath smokie with what initially appears to be a poached egg, but is actually a panacotta filled with a ‘yolk’ of mango purée, is both theatre and flavour, the egg’s richness underlining the smoky and sweet, fresh notes of the rest of the dish. Oven-roasted hake with sautéed squid a la Catalan is a standout of the mains, the fish delicate, meltingly soft and atop a beautifully rendered patchwork of vegetables, olives and pitch-perfect squid. For dessert, don’t miss a chocolate and hazelnut confection marrying flavours and textures with a surprising burst of liquid chocolate at its core. + The lunch menu is tremendous value for money - Does rather spoil you for eating anywhere else

The Riparian Rooms (page 101): a contemporary spin on Scottish food with a delightfully straightforward menu

David Bann 56–58 St Mary’s Street, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Dining Room

TIPLIST FOR SET LUNCH DEALS • Castle Terrace A walletfriendly introduction to some of the city’s best cooking 95 • EH15 The training restaurant of Edinburgh College proves fertile ground for a great lunch deal 96 • First Coast This modern Scottish cooking with a seafood slant is a steal at the price 43 • Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar Lunch is a great introduction to this ambitious young chef’s creativity 98 • Montpeliers of Bruntsfield Two main courses for £10 makes this a great venue for a catchup lunch with a friend 46 • Ondine An exceptional value seafood lunch overlooking bustling Victoria Street 70 • Ruan Siam Delicious Thai food with possibly the widest choice of any set menu in town 107 • Wedgwood the Restaurant Stunning value for this quality of cooking 103 96 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, 28 Queen Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 77) 0131 220 2044, | No Kids (under 14) | Closed Sun | £35 (set lunch) / £35 (set dinner)

The welcome to the Whisky Society’s urbane, city-centre location is as warming as a dram on a cold night. It’s a small, stately space, although the high ceilings of this beautiful Georgian building do something to dispel any impression of it being too cramped. Service is friendly, informed and discreet – a condensed masterclass accompanies the smoky dram offered with your amuse-bouche of lightly smoked salmon with fennel, orange, crowdie and cubes of fresh walnut bread. It’s a surprisingly light confection, despite all the smouldering layers. A follow-up of scallops lightly charred, but soft and sweet, or a rich, sticky venison tartare pack an umami punch. Mains offer the likes of juicy venison steak, caramelised where it’s caught and juicy and tender in the core. Alternatively, the duck breast is deliciously rich and pink, with a hint of star anise and the tart sting of sea buckthorn. Desserts offer a deconstructed stollen which is lighter and spicier than it has any right to be, or a chocolate brownie that’s really more of a torte, but who’s splitting hairs when it tastes this good? + Guest membership to the Whisky Society’s members’ room for the evening - Cutting venison with a butter knife isn’t easy. Steak knives please!

The Dogs 110 Hanover Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

EH15 The Club, 24 Milton Road East, Portobello (Map 5B: C5, off) 0131 344 7344, | £5 (set lunch) / £10 (dinner)

If you fancy spotting the star chefs of the future then get yourself down to EH15. Edinburgh College’s catering and hospitality students are put through their paces at this training restaurant on the Milton Road campus, delivering a compact menu showcasing skills ranging from pastry to pasta. Starters

might include soup, salad, savoury tart or crunchy battered calamari. For mains, lamb shanks come with a gorgeously buttery sweet potato mash and a glossy, well-reduced sauce while crisp-skinned salmon is partnered with tangy chilli jam, caper-infused spinach and lemon potatoes. Desserts don’t perhaps reach the same high standards as the rest of the menu: while a panacotta is pleasant enough, a citrus tart has a sadly soggy crust. Dishes are attractively presented and the young waiting staff are focused and eager to please, dealing with large tables without becoming flustered. With a menu – and a drinks list – as keenly priced as this it’s hard to begrudge any small wobbles. + In these times of austerity it offers fantastic value for money - Feels a little like being in a hotel restaurant

Edinburgh Larder Bistro 1a Alva Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Field 41 West Nicolson Street, Southside (Map 2A: D5, 67) 0131 667 7010, fi | Closed Mon | £11.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The people behind Field have created an unpretentious little restaurant in a single shopfront room. The atmosphere is warm, the décor simple and the food a cross between fine-dining and stripped-down rustic. The short menu champions local and seasonal Scottish produce where possible. A choice of five starters might include a sweet and sour quail breast with quail cannelloni, or seared scallops with black pudding, cinnamon satay sauce, peanut tuile and pomegranate. Mains of guinea fowl with ham hock and pearl barley croquette, roasted fennel and a port sauce or smoked trout, sweet potato dauphinoise, curried mussels and cauliflower continue the inventive theme, while delightful desserts include a chocolate and passion fruit delice with mango sorbet and cocoa nib tuile or a peanut butter choux bun with banana milkshake and Nutella ice-cream. With great value lunch and pre-theatre menus and a worthy wine list, Field offers a substantial experience that’s at odds with its diminutive scale. There’s a saying that goes: ‘if you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way.’ Which just about sums up what’s happening at Field.

+ Good things come in small packages – especially in this case - Some tables are better positioned than others

First Coast 97–101 Dalry Road, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Forth Floor Restaurant Harvey Nichols, 30–34 St Andrew Square, New Town (Map 1B: B5, 58) 0131 524 8350, | £25 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

There’s a temptation with a venue like Harvey Nichols to anticipate style over substance. So it’s a pleasure to report that the Forth Floor Restaurant offers cuisine with heft and confidence. Entering the restaurant through the brasserie is like turning left as you enter a plane and, fittingly, all that separates you from economy is a thin beaded curtain. However, once you’ve passed through this liminal barrier there is a tangible shift of gears as the smooth, purring engine of fine dining takes over. Start with the choose-yourown-adventure appeal of cauliflower velouté, its accompanying selection of chargrilled cauliflower, piccalilli purée and béchamel croquettes circled around the rich pool of the dish like overcautious bathers. Mains offer a herbcrusted salmon which is crisp, juicy and wholesomely garlicky and served with a honey-rich selection of diced vegetables. A ballotine of chicken is paired with a contrastingly sharp accompaniment of chorizo and peppercorns and is a satisfying, sticky treat. Mont Blanc wins the desserts, its contrastingly crisp and densely chewy meringue sitting atop a globe of chestnut ice-cream. + A sommelier who is not only knowledgeable, but perhaps the nicest person you’ve ever met - There’s no getting away from the fact you’re sitting in a department store

4 The Gardener’s Cottage 1 Royal Terrace Gardens, New Town (Map 5B: A6, 31) 0131 558 1221, | Closed Tue/ Wed | £22 (lunch) / £35 (set dinner)

In a delightful detached stone cottage bounded by an emerging kitchen garden, background jazz from oldschool vinyl lilts across long communal dining tables in two compact rooms of elegantly simple candlelit décor. An assured and informative front of house


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presents a fairly focussed lunchtime offer, with sourdough bread smothered in potted pheasant and crab mayonnaise, alongside a pair of mains and desserts and weekend brunch staples Arbroath smokie and brioche sandwiched meatloaf. A splash of in-house infused sloe gin kicks off the evening tasting menu with delicate mackerel tartare followed by langoustine dumplings bobbing in an intensely flavoured ham hock broth. Matched to an evolving list of Old World wines, rabbit with rocket purĂŠe and barbecued king cabbage with homemade ricotta emerge, with a rhubarb and gingerbread crumb palate cleanser ushering in exquisitely formed burnt-leek crackers, wensleydale and carrot jam. By the time the seventh course of sea buckthorn sponge and curd arrives, you know youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been well looked after by an accomplished open kitchen drawing upon careful sourcing and knowledgeable foraging. + Seasonally focused tasting menu can be a triumph - No evening Ă la carte and shared-table dining may not suit all

Ghillie Dhu 2 Rutland Place, West End See Bars & Pubs

4 The Grain Store 30 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 23) 0131 225 7635, | ÂŁ12.50 (set lunch) / ÂŁ33 (dinner)

Fast approaching its 25th year, the Grain Store has seen off many younger competitors and continues to thrive. Entered through an unassuming doorway, with fairly underwhelming signage, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only once inside that the centuries-old building reveals its charms. The dining area is a series of interlinked spaces, with bare stone walls, vaulted ceilings and shuttered sash windows. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an ideal space for candlelit romantic trysts, lengthy lost lunches or the hatching of plans. Original owners Paul Mackay and Carlo Coxon remain at the helm and their infectious enthusiasm and desire to please is hard to resist. The menu is concise and classically inclined, dominated by seasonally available seafood, game and meat. Vegetarians arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forgotten, with an artfully presented heritage beetroot, toasted goatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cheese, candied walnut and orange salad a standout dish. Breads, pastry and other accompaniments are made in-house and the kitchen does its own smoking and curing. The attention to detail is clear and the quality of the raw ingredients shines through in refined, well-constructed dishes which are stylish without being fussy. + The homemade bread â&#x20AC;&#x201C; good enough to justify having seconds - Lack of disabled access

Hellers Kitchen 15 Salisbury Place, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Hendersonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Vegetarian Restaurant 94 Hanover Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 79) 0131 225 2131, | Closed Sun (except August and December). | ÂŁ10.50 (set lunch) / ÂŁ16.50 (dinner)

Trends may come and go but for more than 50 years Hendersons has been a stalwart of vegetarian city-centre dining. The u-shaped room is homely and informal, its walls showcasing the work of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s artists (including iconic portraits of the firmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s original founders, Janet and Mac Henderson). Open from breakfast to dinner, the

restaurant operates a busy daytime counter service, offering salads, the house lasagne and other hot plate dishes. In the evenings the mood changes, the lights dim and local musicians serenade customers as they dine Ă la carte. Chef Barry Baker, in charge for more than 25 years, oversees a monthly changing menu which offers a selection of pies, pasta, stews and curries using seasonal ingredients. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s good, wholesome, satisfying stuff served with a generous spirit and a charming smile from the waiting staff. There is a good choice of vegan and gluten-free options, plenty of home-baked cakes and desserts and a wine list offering local, organic and biodynamic beers and wines. + As comforting and familiar as a pair of slippers and an open fire in winter - Menu could be more adventurous in the spicing and ingredient choices

Hewatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Restaurant 19â&#x20AC;&#x201C;21b Causewayside, Southside (Map 3C: D3, 18) 0131 466 6660, | Closed Sun | ÂŁ22 (dinner)

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to see why Richard and Margaret Hewatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s restaurant has thrived for over a decade despite the competitive nature of Edinburghâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dining scene. With its dark red walls, twinkling chandeliers and linen tablecloths, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s posh enough for a romantic or special night out, yet still relaxed enough to present a midweek alternative to cooking. Offering affordable early-bird, pre-theatre and midweek menus, it attracts a mix of tourists from Southside guest houses, local couples and groups out for a catch-up meal. The menu, with a half-dozen options each course, should be broad enough to keep most folk happy. For starters, try a rich, comforting Cullen skink with mussels, or some Stornoway black pudding with haggis risotto and pancetta. Main courses might include steak with peppercorn sauce, green chicken curry or herb-crusted fillet of coley. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worth leaving room for the homemade desserts, as a caramelised lemon tart provides a lovely, well-balanced finish to a meal. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s plenty of attention to detail (they bake their own bread, oatcakes and other accompaniments) and the warm and personal service ensures diners feel at ease. + Owners who take real pride in delivering great food and a welcoming atmosphere - Few vegetarian options

Howies (Victoria Street) 10â&#x20AC;&#x201C;14 Victoria Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C3, 22) 0131 225 1721, howies. | ÂŁ9.95 (set lunch) / ÂŁ19.75 (dinner)

While Howies proudly celebrates its 25th birthday, its teenage Victoria Street outpost continues to offer a goodvalue glimpse across Scotlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s larder. Whitewashed stone walls, bleached timber floors and dark wood tables generate a pleasing bistro buzz with well-priced lunch and early-dining deals supporting Ă la carte offers and a sprinkling of appealing specials. Cullen skink and haggis with thyme jus keep the tourist hordes content while a loyal band of locals enjoy white winedoused west coast mussels and pigeon breast dressed with black pudding and parsnip purĂŠe. Herb-crumbed salmon with scallop beignet pairs with buttersoft venison from owner David Howie Scottâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Glen Lyon estate, alongside his mumâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s own recipe banoffee pie and gluten-free chocolate and beetroot torte. An evenly priced wine list from a wellstocked bar is boosted by a barrel load of whiskies in well-composed flights, with







knowledgeable staff keeping it relaxed and convivial. In tune with its Waterloo Place sister venue, this is a restaurant working hard to keep just the right balance of quality and cost. + Popular pitstop for well-prepared Scottish fare - The kitchen isn’t overstretching itself

Howies at Waterloo 29 Waterloo Place, New Town (Map 1B: C6, 47) 0131 556 5766, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Bright, airy and high-ceilinged, Howie’s Waterloo Place incarnation still offers a refreshing burst of unpretentious and assured cookery. Its pale wooden flooring, muted tartan seats, high windows and walls bedecked with blackboards and antlers match the contemporary with the traditional in a way that has defined the brand since opening this site in 2001. Starters put a spin on locally sourced ingredients, with squash, carrot and Orkney cheddar croquettes crisp on the outside, and oozing with melted cheese within. Mains include a herb-crumbed Shetland salmon that is served piping hot, rich and juicy, topped with a salty pink peppercorn butter sauce and resting on a small mountain of roasted potatoes. The Scottish dry-aged ribeye steak is everything you could hope for – chargrilled and served simply with fresh fries and a salad. It might be foolish after all that to go for the signature banoffee pie, so perhaps try instead the lighter, piquant rhubarb panacotta. + Location and venue make this a very ‘Edinburgh’ experience - Generous portions make a post-lunch snooze inevitable

4 The Kitchin 78 Commercial Quay, Leith (Map 5A: C1, 3) 0131 555 1755, | Closed Sun/Mon | £28.50 (set lunch) / £50 (dinner)

Refurbished in early 2015 and now twice the size, Tom Kitchin’s original Leith site continues its impressive evolution while the approach remains consistently on-brand, promising ‘from nature to plate’. The new surroundings reflect the natural approach, being artfully artless, allowing diners a view of the kitchen but otherwise keeping things simple and focusing attention on the food. A chilled beetroot and horseradish velouté is a sharply appetising amuse-bouche, but the following starter of rolled pig’s head steals the show – rich, sticky and earthily spiced, it’s such a bold opening gambit it rather overshadows the mains. The selection of Highland lamb is an expertly chosen, contrasting medley of texture and flavour, resting on a creamy bed of macaroni. Desserts offer a coffee soufflé that demonstrates admirable technical expertise, and is as light as a cloud and gently flavoured. The revitalised bar provides a relaxingly muted backdrop to petit fours including the likes of crumbly, chewy and tart sea buckthorn macarons. + Despite the revamp, it still retains The Kitchin vibe - This is destination dining, but there’s not much else to do when you get to Commercial Quay

Kyloe Restaurant & Grill The Rutland Hotel, 1–3 Rutland Street, West End (Map 4: B1, 19) 0131 229 3402, | £31 (lunch) / £31 (dinner)

Choice is king at Kyloe. While the restaurant’s proposition is pleasingly straightforward, with the emphasis firmly upon meat, there is no shortage of options on how you can have it served. There’s the opportunity to be introduced 98 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Forth Floor Restaurant (page 96): confident cooking in a high-end setting with some cracking views

to the cuts of meat, and questions are rewarded with real enthusiasm and knowledge. Once you’ve chosen your cut, there are the choices of AberdeenAngus, the ‘steak of the week’ or 60-day-aged sirloin. Then there’s the range of sauces, the additional toppings, the combination of sides. So, until it arrives, enjoy a starter of smoked fish: salmon, trout and mackerel are sharp, tart, rich and joined by caviar and crostini. Alternatively, the pulled pork and chorizo is a tiny, densely flavoured and rewarding parcel, accompanied by earthy black pudding and a dainty quail’s egg. To the steaks then, and they’re a pretty flawless example of the art – charred and crisp on the outside and rich and juicy within, these are sizeable cuts and well worth the anticipation. To finish, the milk and dark chocolate pavé is deliciously rich, meltingly soft and, frankly, huge. + You’re in the hands of experts - Dessert could be the definition of too much of a good thing

The Magnum Restaurant & Bar 1 Albany Street, New Town (Map 1B: B4, 64) 0131 557 4366, | £12.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

The Magnum has occupied the same New Town corner premises for more than 30 years. Part pub and part restaurant, it spreads across three smart adjoining rooms where its muted decor and low lighting give it an elegant appearance and intimate feel. A changing menu containing what could be described as ‘the usual’ Scottish ingredients sees them used in surprising and creative ways. A starter of haggis fills a crisp spring roll and is served with a smoky-sweet hickory relish, while a main of venison haunch is accompanied by a triumphant trilogy of broccoli and blue cheese purée, parsnip dauphinoise and redcurrant jus. Desserts follow

the same out-of-the-ordinary trend, with chocolate truffle cake containing star anise and served with elderflower and gooseberry ice-cream, and an assiette of apple turning out to be ‘apple umpteen ways’, including tarte tatin, panacotta, purée, sorbet and crisp. The cooking here is confident and the whole experience leaves you feeling like you’ve been in the hands of an experienced and competent team. + ‘The usual’ Scottish ingredients used in surprising and creative ways - Not being able to try a little bit of everything on the menu

McKirdy’s Steakhouse 151 Morrison Street, West End (Map 4: B2, 52) 0131 229 6660, | £13.95 (set dinner)

The McKirdy family have been butchers in and around Edinburgh since 1895 and have sold their meat directly to diners at their eponymous Steakhouse since 1999. When you eat at McKirdy’s you meet McKirdys, with fathers, brothers, uncles and sons working side by side to serve up locally sourced and reasonably priced rump, ribeye, sirloin, fillet and T-bone steaks, which are pan-fried or chargrilled to order and arrive with your choice of fries, mash or baked potato. The muscular menu is fleshed out with other meaty cuts such as ribs and racks, homemade sausages, burgers, black pudding and haggis, and there are even a few fish and vegetarian options. The restaurant feels reassuringly oldfashioned, which some might view as outdated, and the steak sauces and desserts hint towards some bought-in shortcuts in the kitchen, but the quality and price of the steak here is what keeps the carnivores coming back. + A family-run steak restaurant where the staff know and care about their meat - Less rigorous sourcing of non-meat products

Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar 21 Old Fishmarket Close, Old Town (Map 2A: D3, 87) 0131 226 4747, | Closed Sun/Mon | £11.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

When Michael Neave opened his eponymous restaurant in 2012, aged just 21, he had a recipe for pleasing the demanding Edinburgh diner: a relaxed restaurant serving great Scottish produce at reasonable prices. The pace is laid-back and the service warm and friendly, encouraging diners to enjoy a drink or two in the extensive whisky bar upstairs before claiming a table (yours for the night) in the restaurant below. Despite its location on a steep close off the Royal Mile, the building is modern and boxy – a tricky space to create atmosphere. However, the menu has plenty of local colour, replete with west coast scallops, Borders lamb, Gilmour steak and bonnet goat’s cheese. Neave puts this wonderful produce centre stage, pairing complementary flavours in sides and sauces. Earthy beetroot purée and candied walnuts bring out the gaminess of pigeon carpaccio; venison harmonises with carrot and whisky jus, and a truly pillowy raspberry soufflé gets tang and texture from lemon shortbread. All in all, it’s a recipe for success that’s quietly building him a well-deserved local fan base. + Lunch deals offer incredible value - Anonymous decor lacks ambience, especially at night

Monteiths 57–61 High Street, Old Town See Bistros & Brasseries

The Mussel and Steak Bar 110 West Bow, Grassmarket, Old Town See Fish


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CANNONBALL “Orkney lobster thermidor macaroni cheese. I mean, come on, if this isn’t entrapment, ZKDWLV"$QGWKHUHDOLW\¿WWHGWKHELOO Comfort food for millionaires - what more do you want? - yet at an approachable price.” – Joanna Blythman, The Herald


THE FORTH FLOOR The best contemporary eating and drinking in Edinburgh, with unparalleled views of the city skyline. Book now to dine at the Forth Floor Restaurant, Bar or Brasserie by calling 0131 524 8350 or by visiting

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 99



No. 11 Brunswick Street 11 Brunswick Street, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

4 Number One 1 Princes Street, New Town (Map 2A: D1, 2) 0131 557 6727, | £70 (dinner)

No. 1 Princes Street is the address of that grand dame of Edinburgh hotels, the Balmoral, and its Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant. Open only in the evenings, and having undergone a major refurbishment in early 2015, Number One’s red lacquered walls (relic of a former owner’s passion for Hong Kong) now provide a stately backdrop to an achingly contemporary colour scheme of mustard leather, grey and gold. The modernising sweep extends to the menu, overseen by head chef Brian Grigor. There’s now more emphasis on Scottish produce, including a nightly four-course Scottish Experience (one of three tasting menus), but even more welcome is the thoughtful creativity Grigor brings to his dishes. Salmon is smoked to the chef’s own recipe over Balvenie wood chips; a delicate crab dish teases the palate with just a hint of curry mayonnaise; Orkney fillet steak harmonises with smoky baba ganoush and unfeasibly good bone marrow-filled potato fondant. Desserts are almost too beautiful to eat, while the cheese trolley is groaning and the wine list expansive. Yes, all these delights come at a cost, but it’s oh so worth it for a special occasion. + Impeccably crafted food from the first amuse-bouche to the last petit four - An equally sumptuous price tag

The Magnum (page 98): proudly showcasing Scottish ingredients

One Square 1 Festival Square, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

The Pompadour by Galvin Caledonian Hotel, West End See French

Purslane 33a St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 21) 0131 226 3500, | No Kids (under 6) | Closed Mon | £14.95 (set lunch) / £24.95 (dinner)




0131 337 6169

4 West Coates, Haymarket Edinburgh, EH12 5JQ

Enthusiastic owner and head chef Paul Gunning works hard to cultivate just the right neighbourhood buzz in this intimate Stockbridge restaurant. In a well-lit basement room of dark wood tones, informal fine dining is the key, with an assured front of house delivering well-conceived and flavoursome fare from an ambitious and skilful kitchen. A carefully composed wine cellar supports a pair of increasingly popular tasting menus, each topped and tailed with a chicken and celeriac amuse-bouche and a divinely dark chocolate dessert with caramel ice-cream. Smoked haddock risotto is the standout starter on an appealing list of à la carte evening options alongside a comfortingly clear chicken and mushroom consommé and pan-fried mullet with boulangere potatoes. A fairly tight menu-du-jour lunch offer features roasted hake in a fragrant saffron broth and red wine jus coated breast of duck, all leading to a selection of cheese from near neighbour IJ Mellis. Confidently looking after its loyal band of returning regulars, Purslane continues to showcase seasonally influenced Scottish cuisine in relaxed and convivial surroundings. + Composed dining in a casual setting - Not every dish can be a winner

The Raeburn 112 Raeburn Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: A1, off) 0131 332 7000, theraeburn. com | £12 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

With its classy styling and boutique vibe, this reincarnation of the longderelict Raeburn Hotel should tick all the boxes for the Stockbridge set. There’s a bustling, dog-friendly bar, cosy library, outdoor terrace and, tucked 100 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

away at the rear, the smart and spacious restaurant. Studded velour chairs, acres of wooden floor and artfully tarnished mirrors give it the air of a private members’ club but in fact it’s a convivial, relaxed place where you’re just as welcome to pop in for a quick burger and a beer or Sunday brunch with the kids as to linger over a three-course dinner. The brasserie menu employs Scotland’s bountiful larder – locally sourced wherever possible – to create contemporary British dishes. A trendy Josper grill provides the centrepiece, its super-charged heat imparting charcoal flavour to 40-day-aged steaks, burgers and even (a little less reliably) fish. The classics are done well: meat is cooked perfectly, chips are chunky and golden, homemade ice-creams are mouthwatering. More ambitious dishes sometimes miss the mark in trying to do too much: the Raeburn is at its best delivering the crowd-pleasing classics. + Feeling like one of the neighbours as you rub shoulders in the bar - Hasn’t quite settled into its groove yet

Reekie’s Smokehouse 20 Holyrood Road, Old Town (Map 2B: B5, 15) , | Sun/Mon | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

They say the Channel can be wider than the Atlantic, and the husband and wife team behind Reekie’s Smokehouse certainly give credence to such a statement. This North Americaninspired Scottish barbecue joint offers a reassuringly simple menu, with favoured cuts such as beef brisket and pork ribs, all from local pigs and cattle, slow cooked on their American-built smoker. This is definitely one for the carnivores – even the baked beans are meaty, with tender, smokey chunks of beef adding depth of flavour. A playful take on condiments includes Irn Bru barbecue sauce and Buckie broon sauce, the latter giving a surprisingly delicious fruity tang to the sticky ribs. The gorgeous selection of homemade bakes includes chocolate brownies with a subtle yet fiery kick from the addition of ginger, and a fragrant Scottish heather honey sponge. With its relaxed, friendly vibe, there’s plenty to keep children amused in the kids’ corner, while a selection of

books and magazines can keep grownups occupied too. + Beautifuly tender meat - A plate from which to eat it wouldn’t go amiss

Restaurant Mark Greenaway 69 North Castle Street, New Town (Map 1A: B4, 37) 0131 226 1155, | Closed Sun/ Mon | £16.50 (set lunch) / £65.50 (set dinner)

The dark-green interior of Restaurant Mark Greenaway has an understated feel, as if it’s been purposefully designed not to distract from the theatrical and technically accomplished food that takes centre stage here. A starter of crab ‘cannelloni’ enters stage right in a glass cone atop a smoke-filled mini goldfish bowl of cauliflower custard and lemon pearls. It’s eye-popping (especially when the cone is lifted) and sets an enigmatic, playful tone for the rest of the spectacle to follow. A main event of roasted halibut with butter-poached leeks, crispy artichokes and bouillabaisse sauce feels too slight to justify its significant price tag and does an all-too-quick disappearing act, while a baked Alaska enters the spotlight as a giant dome of convincing-but-fake meringue, which, when lifted, reveals a deconstructed dish of salt-baked pineapple, green tea sponge, coconut meringue, lime espuma and vanilla ice-cream. There’s plenty of skill, ingenuity, character and humour on show here. + Playful, theatrical and technically accomplished food - Not everyone wants drama with their dinner

Restaurant Martin Wishart 54 The Shore, Leith See French

Rhubarb Prestonfi eld House, Priestfi eld Road, Southside (Map 3C: E5, off) 0131 662 2211, prestonfi | £20 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

Before you even set foot in Rhubarb, the 17th-century Prestonfield House Hotel will do its best to seduce you. Expect to be welcomed like a returning laird, swept into one of the house’s opulent


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sitting rooms and plied with drinks and menus. By the time you reach Rhubarb’s twin oval banqueting rooms, dripping with red damask and black lacquer, you’re already in love. And at its best, the restaurant serves food as rich and elegant as the rooms it inhabits. Jerusalem artichoke velouté with caper bread and whipped truffle butter is truly decadent. Beautifully cooked goose, its flesh the same deep garnet as the walls, duets deliciously with its own haggis. Some dishes are a little heavy-handed on flavour or cooking, but if you’ve been delving into the wine list’s 800+ bins you may be feeling indulgent. After all, a visit here is about more than the restaurant: in the summer, you can play croquet after lunch; in the winter, retreat to a log fire in a panelled room straight out of a Bronte novel. It’s just a pity you have to go home at some point. + Romantic baronial splendour like nowhere else in Edinburgh - It’s hard not to feel you’re paying for the glamour as well as the food

The Riparian Rooms 7–11 East London Street, New Town (Map 1B: C4, 17) 0131 556 6102, | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Hidden round the corner from the bustling bohemia of Broughton Street, the Riparian Rooms opened their doors at the start of 2015, offering a contemporary spin on Scottish food. This means that the decor is somewhat eclectic, as hunting lodge paraphernalia rubs shoulders with archly vintage tables and chairs, while the downstairs room has a smooth, dive-bar vibe. The menu, on the other hand, is delightfully straightforward with a dedication to delivering big, honest flavours with a dash of sophistication. The chicory leaves with poached pear, caramelised walnuts and Dunsyre blue cheese are a crisp, light confection, contrasting rich, salty and sharp cheese with the gently spiced sweetness of the pear. Of the mains, the burger is a standout. The patty is deeply savoury, its chargrilled smoky outer layer giving way to a juicy and aromatic core. A slow-braised lamb shoulder is a sticky, full-flavoured beast, even if the accompanying sauce is a little anonymous. Desserts are well worth investigating, in particular the peanut butter parfait with roasted rum banana, which balances the creamily sweet and salty combination without becoming overwhelmingly rich. + Enough goodwill radiating from the staff to power a small country - Toilets are delightful . . . when you find them

Rocca@Holyrood Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, 81 Holyrood Road, Old Town (Map 2B: D3, 28) 0131 550 4520, roccaedinburgh. | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Rocca is transitioning. Shifting its emphasis from a formerly Italian menu to one joining the growing trend of celebrating Scottish cuisine and ingredients, Rocca is also taking steps to distinguish itself from its host Macdonald Hotel at the bottom of Holyrood Road and create its own slightly separate identity. Opening directly onto the street, the relaxed dining room still has that slightly hotel feel but isn’t stiff or stuffy. Warm, effusive staff are keen to share the day’s specials, deliver that well-earned drink and help you settle into your evening. Traditional fare of grilled steaks and battered fish and chips can be found, and the specials board may include a slow-cooked ox cheek, melting in deep flavour onto its bed of mash. Puddings

are still finding their Scottish feet and the cranachan could use more oats, but overall indications are that Rocca is doing a good job of finding its feet. + Attractive daily specials board - Would be more fun if the journos hadn’t left the neighbourhood

The Scottish Café and Restaurant

WHISKI Bar & Restaurant

National Gallery of Scotland, The Mound, New Town (Map 2A: B1, 1) 0131 226 6524, | £17.95 (set lunch)

Striving to be regarded as the UK’s best gallery restaurant, owners Victor and Carina Contini are passionate about sustainability and seasonality. A blackboard map of the country highlighting ingredient provenance showcases impeccable sourcing from the best of Scotland’s larder and the restaurant’s own kitchen garden. A large, bright, split-level room of timber tones and traditional fabrics accommodates an appealing all-day offer stretching from breakfast butteries to afternoon high tea with a monthly changing lunch menu and an array of snacks and sharing platters. Orkney hand-dived scallops with carrot and ginger purée kick off the fixed-price lunch alongside mussels in a cider-creamed tarragon broth and slowcooked Inverurie beef cheeks in celeriac and lentil stew. A splendid Sunday roast, the occasional ceilidh and a long run of wonderful-aspect outdoor tables complete the mix in one of the city’s strongest all-rounders. + Proudly passionate about great sourcing, sustainability and seasonality - The passion occasionally doesn’t translate onto the plate

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: follow us on twitter @whiskibar

The Scran & Scallie 1 Comely Bank Road, Stockbridge See Bars & Pubs

The Skerries Dunstane House Hotel, 4 West Coates, West End (Map 4: A3, off) 0131 337 6169, | £21 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

The grand Victorian façade of the Dunstane masks a contemporary, plush, boutique hotel, with The Skerries as its house restaurant. The menu is actually a little less Orcadian than the name suggests, although Orkney’s own Grimbister cheese fritters appear as a starter. These ping-pong ball sized affairs are a little doughy, and the delicate cheese is rather lost, but the haggis bon bons are much more successful, light and crispy with a rich peppery filling. Of the mains the sea bass is a delight, rich and salty and accompanied by full flavoured and herby cherry tomatoes. A fillet of salmon is perfectly judged and served on top of a surprisingly hearty pea and mint risotto and a lime crust, giving it a delicately citrus air. Grimbister appears again in the cheese selection, accompanied by rich and sticky goat’s cheese and a punchy blue. A sweeter option is available in the form of port-poached pear, a big festive burst of flavour that stands on its own but is served with a curiously delicious parfait with a popcorn crust. + Innovative and original cooking - A little far out of town unless you’re staying nearby or upstairs

Do you have a passion for food and drink and an appetite for learning? If so, Queen Margaret University’s innovative MSc in Gastronomy could suit you. Cultivate your understanding of food culture and food systems by studying how food is grown, prepared, traded, considered and communicated. ;OPZX\HSPÄJH[PVUPZ[OLVUS`VULVMP[ZRPUK in the UK. Fully funded places are currently available. For more information please visit:

Stac Polly 29–33 Dublin Street, New Town (Map 1B: B4, 65) 0131 556 2231, stacpolly. com | £30 (dinner)

After 25 years at the helm, owner Roger Coulthard understands there’s no need to change a winning formula. While The List Eating & Drinking Guide 101


its baby brother ground-floor brasserie hosts the lunchtime offer, it’s the older sibling evening à la carte that remains the primary draw. An assured front of house links linen-clothed tables and gleaming glassware across two charming stone-clad basement rooms of dark timber tones, whitewashed walls and photos of a bygone Edinburgh. A confident kitchen delivers flavoursome, well-prepared dishes, drawing on solid sourcing and ingredient knowledge, with culinary gymnastics and elaborate plating reassuringly kept to a minimum. Haggis filo parcels in sweet plum sauce are familiar favourites; less so an apple and celeriac slaw, cleverly cutting through duck liver parfait and game roulade. A well-composed cellar accompanies Angus beef fillet with potato dauphinois and a wonderfully rich game jus, while steamed Shetland mussels are a perfect partner to cod fillet with citrus mash and orangeinfused fennel. Now well into its third decade, Stac Polly shows little sign of bowing to its younger and trendier rivals. + Great tasting Scottish fare - Unashamedly old-school

fillet is a pitch-perfect marriage of salty, chargrilled exterior and meltingly soft, juicy interior. Desserts offer the theatrical flair of crêpe suzette, prepared at the table – a suitably dramatic finish. + The friendliest bar staff ever - You’ll need a stiff drink in order to face the bill

Stac Polly Bistro

The Stockbridge Restaurant

38 St Mary’s Street, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 18) 0131 557 5754, | Closed Sun/Mon | £17.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

54 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 19) 0131 226 6766, | Closed Mon | £32 (dinner)

Stac Polly Bistro eschews the wannabe cool of its sister restaurant in favour of more homely comforts. Simple wooden furniture, thistle-patterned curtains and views of Edinburgh decorate its three cosy rooms, which manage to feel comfortable rather than twee. The regularly changing set menu majors on traditional Scottish dishes: you’re pretty much guaranteed to find haggis, whether pimped up in a crispy bon bon starter or keeping company with its old pals neeps and tatties. Game and lamb are also well represented in hearty meat-and-two-veg combinations. And there’s nothing wrong with that, when your roast pheasant arrives pink and juicy, bedded on tangy mustard mash and savoury four-day-marinated game jus. It’s unpretentious, honest fare and in that sense, an authentic taste of home-style Scottish cooking – albeit with a slightly high price tag. With its Old Town setting and avowedly nationalist menu, Stac Polly Bistro is, unsurprisingly, a magnet for tourists. However, its polyglot audience rub shoulders with a few locals too, drawn by the lure of a place that feels like a home from home. + Caledonian comfort food - Pudding-by-numbers

Tucked away in a basement on a side street, you could easily miss this restaurant’s low-key entrance. Once inside, the interior is striking and unusual, with dark-hued stone walls, black and gilt-trimmed mirrors and prints of elegant New Town interiors by the colourist painter FCB Cadell. The stylish setting attracts a mixture of well-heeled locals, tourists and family groups. Chef Jason Gallagher sends out beautifully executed dishes with similar pizzazz. Presentation is precise and the flavours are rich but not overpowering. A starter of seared scallops with a raisin and caper dressing comes with a silky smooth cauliflower purée, while a venison loin is accompanied by a glossy port sauce and the dinkiest potato-topped venison pie. Desserts are no slouch either, as a simultaneously sharp and sweet passionfruit sorbet demonstrates. With cheery service, a wine list with a good range of prices and varietals and BYOB on Sunday evenings there is plenty here to justify a visit, even if you live on the other side of town. + A refined and elegant dining experience - Slim pickings for vegetarians


Following a slick and stylish face lift, 6WRFNEULGJH·V +DPLOWRQ·V%DU  Kitchen is looking better than ever!

A favourite with the locals, Hamilton’s promises a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere and unique independent style.

16-18 Hamilton Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5AU Tel: 0131 226 4199 @HamiltonsEdin

Add to that great craft beers and ales, a diverse wine menu and masterful mixology will ensure thirsts are quenched into the small hours!

Priding itself on a quality, seasonal approach to both food and drinks, menus promote the best of local suppliers and classic techniques.

102 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

14 Picardy Place, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 37) 0131 556 1289, steakedinburgh. com | £35 (lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Nothing about the narrow entrance of Steak prepares you for the sheer, cathedral-like hugeness of the interior. Heavy planks of wood, strung from ropes on high and peppered with spotlights, are both light source and makeshift false ceiling. The rest of the space is artfully broken up by freestanding shelving filled with boozethemed bric a brac, and it’s a measure of both this design and the warmth of the welcome that the giant room feels so approachable and friendly. To the food then, and a starter of smoked haddock paté is light and smoky, if a touch thin. The haggis soup is a bold idea, a slice of haggis resting in clear broth, but only mildly flavoured. Of the mains, steak is obviously the focus, and that focus is richly rewarded – the Aberdeen-Angus

Steak on Stones 14 Picardy Place, New Town (Map 1B: C5, 36) 0131 556 1289, steakonstones.

Steak on Stones is the latest offering at 14 Picardy Place, current home of Steak Restaurant and Beer & Skittles Basement Bar and Courtyard. Offering a sizzling twist on the meaty encounters in Steak, here hot lava stones heated to 350C are brought to your table along with thin slices of aged Orkney beef, which you season and cook on the hot stones in front of you. Sauces and sides join in at this point, or there are some simple alternatives for non-sizzlers such as smoked mac and cheese or fish and chips. Freshly made filled doughnuts follow for dessert. [Not open for full review at time of going to press – see for updates.]

4 Timberyard 10 Lady Lawson Street, West End (Map 4: D1, 30) 0131 221 1222, timberyard. co | Closed Sun/Mon | £34 (set lunch) / £50 (dinner)

From the décor to the service to the food on your plate, everything at Timberyard is carefully calibrated and there for a reason. Exposed beams and hefty timber doors give a nod to the venue’s industrial past, while whitewashed walls, flickering candles and tartan rugs bring texture and intimacy to the space. The sparsely described menu blends foraged and seasonal ingredients with offerings from Scotland’s best artisan producers, while the drinks list includes craft beer, homemade soft drinks and some cracking cocktails alongside the wine. Changing regularly, the menu is designed to be eaten as four courses (bite, small, main and sweet) and might include intriguing flavour and texture combinations such as cauliflower, goat’s curd, rye and ale or sea buckthorn, carrot and crowdie.


In association with


turn tables) to the inventive food and carefully sourced wine list. Chef Paul loves to experiment, which results in some wonderful culinary sleight of hand, such as savoury bread-andbutter pudding with fennel ice-cream; a delicious interplay of taste, texture and temperature. Intriguing flavour combinations pepper the menu: how about some basil pesto with your venison or Caol Ila whisky in your butterscotch sauce? Meanwhile, wine is Lisa’s passion and she’s keen to share her discoveries, helping diners find the right pairings to complement Paul’s dishes. With 25 wines by the glass and reasonable mark-ups, it’s a great place to try something new. Despite its Royal Mile location, the restaurant is not at all touristy: the contemporary interior with its textured wallpaper and cavorting lamp shades is just as suited to a business lunch as a romantic tête-à-tête. + Imaginative cooking that does justice to the impeccably sourced ingredients - Sometimes feels like there’s one thing too many on the plate

Whiski Rooms 4, 6 & 7 North Bank Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C2, 17) 0131 225 7224, | £12 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

Timberyard: from the décor to the service to the food on your plate, there’s nothing else like this in town

Not many places could fuse this eclectic mix of Nordic cool, Scottish produce and French cooking techniques into a coherent whole but the Radford family have managed it here. From the whipped bone marrow and butter accompanying the malted sourdough bread to the soundtrack of thunderstorms played in the bathrooms, you won’t find anything else like this in town. + Savvy floor staff who don’t miss a beat - It will all seem a bit too studied for the no-fuss brigade

Tower Restaurant National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 47) 0131 225 3003, | £18.95 (set lunch) / £40 (dinner)

Hovering high above Scotland’s national museum, James Thomson’s Tower Restaurant remains a popular go-to venue for cork-popping catch-ups. In a long, elegant room of contemporary fabrics and stylish seating, a run of dark wood window tables enjoy unrivalled views across the city’s rooftops towards the castle beyond. Timed to match doors opening downstairs, an appealing brunch menu reveals French toast with Ayrshire bacon and a splendid eggs benedict with a hair-of-the-dog Bloody Mary. Scottish steaks, game and seafood are to the fore across the all-day à la carte, with a fairly minimal two-course menu stretching from lunch to pretheatre and a popular afternoon tea with all the trimmings and optional bubbles. The 28-day-aged Buccleuch beef fillet appears alongside Highland red deer and hand-dived scallops, with desserts like peanut butter parfait with salted caramel popcorn and a well-sourced selection of Iain Mellis cheese. A sunny terrace proves a popular spot for pre-dinner cocktails or a post-pudding digestif from the well-stocked bar and carefully composed cellar. + Popular choice for special celebrations - The dining experience doesn’t always match the setting

The Turquoise Thistle Hotel Indigo, 51–59 York Place, New Town See Bistros & Brasseries

Twenty Princes Street: Grill & Smokehouse 20 Princes Street, City Centre (Map 1B: B6, 52) 0131 556 4901, | £24 (lunch) / £24 (dinner)

As the new Hotel Indigo springs from the tartan ashes of the Royal British, Twenty Princes Street should finally start to feel at home in its parent hotel. Its magnificent Victorian dining room, spiced up with neon-lit booths and striped black and gold chairs, certainly ticks the boutique design boxes. Nevertheless, the restaurant remains determined to carve out its own identity, with head chef Tony Sarton aiming to bring a little theatre to hotel menu staples. Warm-up acts could include smoked haddock and leek soufflé or beef tartare, inventively paired with crisp rice cakes, chilli and miso. Main courses put steak and seafood centre stage, with top billing accorded to the Josper grill – a show-off piece of hardware that will chargrill your chosen hunk of beef at up to 500ºC. The results are indeed delicious, and testament to an emphasis on quality local ingredients: substance as well as style. Sunday sharing roasts (pre-booking essential) and Alice in Wonderland-style afternoon teas provide other outlets for a culinary creativity that should win Twenty Princes Street a following well beyond its hotel guests. + Bag a window table for showstopping views of Princes Street - Can feel cavernous when it’s empty

of light and space despite the weight of history. The menu has a distinctly Scots-Italian slant with frequent references to named local suppliers. The ingredients take centre stage and – much like the decor – the food is classy and attractive without feeling overworked. Choose from an extensive seafood selection (including a stunning platter of tempura hake and langoustine) or opt for Peelham Farm lamb with a ‘Scotch broth’ croquette. An airy blood orange mousse with shortbread crumble makes for a zingy finish. Service is relaxed and friendly and the team know their food and wine menus – and the appropriate pairings – inside out. + Well-paced tasting menu offers a culinary tour of Scotland - Not every table can get the cracking view of the Castle and esplanade

Perched high on The Mound overlooking the city centre, Whiski Rooms is composed of three classy inter-linked spaces – a shop, a bar and a bistro. Distillery paraphernalia covers the dark wood-paneled and bare stone walls, the shop stocks over 500 different bottles, the bar offers a bewildering list of nips, drams and cocktails, and there’s even whisky to be found on the menu in dishes, desserts and sauces, and as recommended pairings. There are separate à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner menus as well as good value fixed-price deals, all of which feature locally sourced, well-prepared and nicely presented Scottish meat and fish dishes, with plenty of veggie options too. Non-whisky drinkers are not ignored – there’s a long wine list and good range of draught and bottled craft beers. + A great venue for whisky lovers, or those looking for an introduction - Is there such a thing as too much whisky? If so, this is it!

Wedgwood the Restaurant 267 Canongate, Old Town (Map 2B: B3, 24) 0131 558 8737, | £12.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Husband-and-wife team Paul and Lisa Wedgwood set out to create a restaurant that would be their own perfect night out. That personal vision inspires every aspect of Wedgwood, from the friendly, relaxed service (they never

Wildest Drams 209–213 High Street, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 12) 0131 226 2289, | No Kids (under 5) | £12 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Accessed through a small doorway on the Royal Mile, and down a short flight of steps, the venue is split into two distinct areas. The first is a rustic, bierhalle-type cellar bar offering

The Glasshouse Observatory Restaurant,

Launching Summer 2015!

4 Victor & Carina Contini Cannonball Cannonball House, 356 Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town (Map 2A: B2, 33) 0131 225 1550, | Closed Mon | £18 (set lunch) / £27 (dinner)

Nestled among the tartan tat and deepfried Mars bars of the Royal Mile, Cannonball is something of a culinary oasis. The 17th-century building – so named after the cannonball embedded in an exterior wall – has previously served as a private home, a school, and a base for the Continis’ partner in this venture, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Restored in 2013/14, the building offers a spectacular setting, retaining a sense

Enjoy the best locally sourced, Scottish cuisine against the backdrop of the stunning Calton Hill. Keep up to date with developments at 2 Greenside Place | Edinburgh | EH1 3AA | T: 0131 525 8200 | E:

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 103




FERNANDO MIRANDA ON CONNECTING WITH CUSTOMERS At our little kiosk by the Meadows, we make glutenfree pancakes using tapioca (cassava) from our native Brazil, where very little wheat is grown. The vulnerability of being on the street – out in the weather and pollution – it all helps us connect with other people. The limitation of space makes us think of ways to host, serve and interact. Anything can happen; there are no physical boundaries – even between customers, interaction is likely to happen. On the street, people feel more relaxed than in a shop. They dance, they play, as if everybody belongs to the same tribe. Once a month, after sunset, the kiosk is transformed into a street cinema where screenings of short films about sustainability take place, accompanied by free soup. There are over twenty musical instruments in the box (accordion, djembe, ukulele and so on) which people can play while waiting for their food, although, more often, they bring their own and just play for the pleasure of passers-by. People seek us out, both for the gluten-free food and for the one-to-one service. After the success of our Kickstarter campaign in 2014 – when our wonderful customers helped to raise over £14,000 in just a couple of weeks to help us buy our police box from the landlord – it feels more important than ever to be out in the street and connecting with people. QFernando Miranda is the co-owner of Tupiniquim, the Brazilian crêpe police box on Middle Meadow Walk,, see page 92

104 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

an extensive range of bottled beers from Scotland’s ever-growing list of craft brewers, and an impressive selection of limited edition and unusual expression single malt whiskies from independent bottlers. The second is a lighter, more formal restaurant space, which is reached by climbing a long set of stairs at the rear of the bar area. The focus here is on wild shot game, rare or unusual breeds of meat and fresh fish with a good range of patés, pies, terrines, casseroles, soups and steaks on offer. The menu exhibits an admirable commitment to using only Scottish ingredients and changes to reflect the game seasons rather than the four seasons. The staff are happy to offer beer and whisky pairing advice to novices or ‘nervouses’ and veggies and non-drinkers are well considered. + An admirable commitment to serving the best Scottish brews and beasts - The quirky layout makes getting to the restaurant a bit of a trek

Wildfire Scottish Steak & Seafood Bistro 192 Rose Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 45) 0131 225 3636, | No Kids (under 5) | £12.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

With cool sea-green walls and twinkling lights, Wildfire offers a cosy respite from the hurly-burly of the Rose Street nightlife. It’s perfectly placed for passing tourists, late-night shoppers and pre- or post-pint diners. The seasonally changing menu offers classic bistro options with an emphasis on locally sourced steak and seafood. In pride of place among the main menu are the house speciality: 21-day-aged AberdeenAngus steaks, superbly tender with trademark chargrill cross-hatching and a lovely smoky edge. For seafood lovers, a baked salmon fillet packs a hefty Cajun spice kick, ideal when mixed with a cooling dollop of its accompanying avocado, lime and coriander crème fraîche. A keenly priced wine list and personable service add to Wildfire’s attractions. Chances are it’s just the place for that after-work catch-up you’ve been meaning to arrange for ages . . . + Hard to find a better-cooked steak in Edinburgh in this price range - Starter options could use an update

The Witchery by the Castle Castlehill, Royal Mile, Old Town (Map 2A: B2, 31) 0131 225 5613, thewitchery. com | £18.95 (set lunch) / £38 (dinner)

A destination dining experience for wellheeled tourists, occasional starlets and locals celebrating special occasions, James Thomson’s Witchery shares the same lavish, theatrical atmosphere as its stable mates at the Tower and Rhubarb. There is a single menu but two dining spaces. Upstairs, the Witchery (a 16th-century merchant’s house) is an intimate, lowceilinged space, with flickering candles illuminating its tapestry hung walls, reclaimed wood panelling and opulent red leather seating. Downstairs, the Secret Garden is a lighter, more summery affair, featuring a hidden courtyard, copious fairy lights and a painted ceiling depicting bagpipe-toting cherubs. The food is as extravagant as the surroundings and features high end, carefully sourced ingredients such as oysters, hand-dived scallops, game and Scotch beef. For the indecisive, or the sweet toothed, a pudding selection offers an indulgent finale to a meal in unique surroundings. + Dining in historic surroundings – with plenty of added bling - Atmosphere easily broken by loud diners or frequent table turning

SPANISH For those keen to relive the simple pleasures of sun, sea and sangria without boarding a plane, there’s a small collection of restaurants in the capital offering a taste of halfremembered holidays, even though the weather usually refuses to play along. As with most imported cuisines, there’s an element of modification for local palates, but there is also a healthy degree of authenticity, with many of Spain’s regional cuisines faithfully represented both by stalwarts who continue to please, and a handful of exciting new kids on the block. Reviewer: Keith Smith

Café Andaluz 77B George Street, New Town (Map 1A: C5, 58) 0131 220 9980, cafeandaluz. com | £14.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The low-key nature of this tapas bar’s George Street facade gives little clue to the elaborate – and deceptively large – interior contained within. Decked out with terracotta flooring, decorative moorish tiling and ornate trinkets, the space rings with the sound of get-togethers. It’s no surprise this is a perennially popular spot, brimming and bustling even at midweek lunchtimes. All the tapas standards are present and correct, with authenticity sometimes making way for accessibility. Tortilla espanola is a perfectly passable rendition of the potato-based favourite, while the chorizo y butifarra negra (chorizo and Spanish black pudding) is rich and heady, the blood sausage crumbled into the spicy tomato purée. Ensalada Sevillana (roasted beetroot, Seville orange and goat’s cheese) is fresh and zesty, although the accompanying croutons lack substance and crunch. The North African influence creeps from the walls to the plates, in complete dishes like bomba picante (Moroccanspiced lamb mince and potato croquette) or in elements of others, with cumin, chickpeas and tahini featuring in some of the forty plus option on offer. + Excellent lunch and early-dining deals - Big groups and busy setting can make it feel impersonal

hints of Castilian-Manchegan cuisine satisfying the titular link to Cervantes’ bumbling hero too. Adobo de bacalao (fried marinated cod) is nicely crisp and salty, while a special of corazones de alcachofas (fried, anchovy-stuffed artichoke hearts) is agreeably savoury. Croquetas de setas (wild mushroom croquettes) are pleasant if a little underwhelming, although the secreto Iberico con jamon – a ‘secret’ cut from the loin, topped with cured ham and griddled to add a touch of smokiness – is juicy and flavourful. And with many of the dishes available in three different portion sizes, there’s an element of flexibility not always afforded by some of it’s counterparts. + Friendly and authentic - A little bit frayed around the edges

Goya23 30 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 25) 0131 220 0984, | £9.50 (lunch) / £9.50 (dinner)

The most eye-catching thing in this attractive deli is the long line of jamón ibérico joints – black Iberian pig fed on acorns and olives and cured for up to four years – hanging by the hoof behind the counter. Sandwiches are simple but stylish affairs. Crispy, chewy artisan breads are rubbed with fresh tomato and drizzled with oil while, once again, the jamón ibérico stars, this time as the filling, whether in the form of ham, loin, chorizo or salchichón. Combined with a crumbly, semi-hard sheep’s cheese, they’re an uncomplicated pleasure. Elsewhere there are soups and salads, including bonito – white tuna – with piquillo peppers or sardines with avocado. The owners, Amaya Berroya and her husband Roberto Rodrigo, source everything directly, from the ethical foie gras from Estremadura to drinks from Spanish craft brewers and independent wineries. The recent award of a drinks licence means it’s now possible to enjoy these on the premises, with a new evening snack menu set to follow too. + The amazing hams hanging behind the counter - Menu choice is fairly limited

Indaba 3 Lochrin Terrace, Tollcross See Round the World

4 Malvarosa El Quijote 13a Brougham Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 5) 0131 478 2856, quijotetapas. | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

With rustic wooden furniture and terracotta earthenware at the fore, the homespun interior of this cosy Tollcross restaurant might play to ideas of stereotypical Spanish dining, but the menu largely eschews the anglicised tapas-by-numbers route. Instead, with owners Maria Gimenez and Oscar Mateos both hailing from the region, there’s a distinct Andalusian direction. There are examples of Galician and Asturian influences as well, with

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to

262 Portobello High Street, Portobello (Map 5B: C5, off) 0131 669 7711, | Closed Mon/Tue | £7.90 (set lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

Named for the sandy Valencian beach, Malvarosa is a venture borne from selfish desires. After a decade working in Edinburgh, Madrileño Alvaro Bernabeu longed for a taste of home, but finding few places in the city that catered, he decided to set up his own. The result was this genial neighbourhood restaurant, which manages to remain true to both Bernabeu’s native and adopted homelands. While some ingredients – olives, cheese and the fine-grained chorizo that’s crumbled through the excellent paella and studs the homemade bread, txoripan – are brought in from Spain, much of the rest of the ingredients are sourced locally. Albondigas are made from meat supplied by Portobello butcher Tom Gordon, and the organic potatoes used to make the satisfyingly crisp patatas dishes come from a nearby farm. And given it’s location immediately behind the promenade, their own take on traditional fish and chips – moist bites of haddock, marinated in sherry vinegar


In association with



SPANISH 4 Malvarosa Charming, likeable neighbourhood dining that manages to combine authenticity with some good cooking and sourcing. 4 Serrano Manchego Sunshine on Leith, Spanish-style, thanks to a vibrant, all-day offering that has socialising at its heart.

Goya 23: jamón ibérico joints hang by the hoof at this deli where everything is sourced directly from Spain

and lightly battered that come served with those crisp cubed patatas and a lipsmacking aioli dressing – make it well worth a trip to the seaside. + Tasty, hearty portions make for goodvalue Spanish dining - No tablecloths would be better than paper tablecloths

Rafael’s 2 Deanhaugh Street, Stockbridge (Map 1A: B2, 13) 0131 332 1469, | Closed Sun/Mon | £22.50 (dinner)

Step down into the warmth of Rafael’s basement restaurant and prepare to be charmed by this intimate, family-run bistro. Couples chat at tables decked in white tablecloths in the compact dining room decorated with Spanish ephemera. Chef-patron Rafael Torrubia is a genial presence, regularly emerging from the kitchen to whisk away plates and chat with diners. His food, inspired by his native Spain with wider Mediterranean influences, has a homely feel in the best sense of the word: generous, flavoursome and not overly fussy. The daily-changing menu, delivered to your table on a blackboard, is a traditional three-course affair (no tapas or sangria

here). There’s garbanzos de Andalucia – a moreish chickpea and chorizo stew infused with red wine, garlic and smoky paprika – and hearty main courses such as steak with salsa brava. A low markup on the wine list is a welcome bonus. Expect to emerge feeling well fed and part of the family. [Not open for full review at time of publication – check for updates.]

La Sal 6–8 Howden Street, Southside (Map 3C: D1, 4) 0131 667 3600, | £14.50 (lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

Behind an unassuming frontage on a quiet Newington street, you’ll find La Sal and Alba Flamenca, the flamenco dance school with which it shares premises. The restaurant comes first, tucking in some small tables at the windows before you come to the main room at the back, ideal for larger parties. In between is the dance studio, where performances are held on the popular ‘tablao flamenco’ dinner and dance nights. Whether or not you’re lucky enough to have a flamenco soundtrack to your meal, there’s a lot to like about this cosy Spanish restaurant with its laid-back vibe and hospitable feel. The

food delivers Spanish flavour in an array of traditional, home-style dishes. A steaming saffron-yellow paella is made to order and served with a flourish in a cast-iron pan. It’s a good example of the reliable menu from this colourful and welcoming neighbourhood restaurant. [Not recently visited.]

4 Serrano Manchego 297 Leith Walk, Leith (Map 5B: A3, 12) 0131 554 0955 | £11 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

It might have taken longer to open than originally planned, but this Leith Walk newcomer was worth the wait. Open right through the day, it’s the closest thing the capital has to the pinchos bars that litter northern Spain. The original concept has been tempered to including table service (pinchos are generally served at the bar with each drink ordered) and the menu expanded too. As the venue’s name suggests, good quality cured Spanish meats and cheeses play a big part in proceedings, as do skewers featuring juicy chunks of chicken, chorizo, prawn and more. House croquettes are excellent; creamy, smooth and toothsome, while those with an addictive personality should really

avoid the glorious almendras marcona – blanched, fried and salted almonds that will soon have you attending the local chapter of Bar Snacks Anonymous. Alhambra beer on draught and a small but select choice of Spanish wines and sherries ensures that, in the evenings especially, the central area buzzes with a boisterous hum. Best of all, the little coffee shop-style benches built into the huge glass windows overlooking Leith Walk offer a more intimate retreat without losing the essence of the atmosphere. + Something new and interesting for the city’s Spanish scene - If you’re peckish, the price soon adds up

Tapa 19 Shore Place, Leith (Map 5A: C2, 20) 0131 476 6776, | £10 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Leith isn’t quite La Mancha, but with a hint of sunshine, a healthy dose of imagination – and a large glass of rosé – you might be able to convince yourself otherwise at Tapa. The terrace seating outside makes for an alluring suntrap on long summer days, perfect for idling away after work with drinks and nibbles. Inside, it’s reminiscent of a modest hacienda, with stone flagstones, exposed beams and white-washed walls adorned with Spanish-language versions of classic movie posters. With Sevillan chef Paco Martin Romano making regular trips to Bilbao for inspiration,

Traditional Spanish Tapas Restaurant

sted Hitliears

4 y ow! in a r 13 / A Brougham St EH3 9JS ‡ 0131 478 2856


The List Eating & Drinking Guide 105



there’s a contemporary feel to much of the tapas. Seafood, such as the calamari or a special of octopus salad with orange and nut dressing, is delicately handled. Delicias de ternera (shin of beef croquettes, rolled in polenta) remain pleasingly moist inside, although the accompanying salsas could do with more piquancy to really elevate the dish. Tartaletas de queso de cabra (goat’s cheese and sweet potato parcels) look and taste good, while berenjenas con miel (honey-drizzled aubergine crisps) are understandable house favourites. + The kitchen is entirely gluten-free - The occasional dish doesn’t live up to its promise

Tápame 19–20 Teviot Place, Old Town (Map 2A: C5, 57) 0131 220 6804, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Formerly late-night student hangout Favorit, this Teviot Place venue has found a new direction under the same ownership. Gone is the halfhearted diner theme, to be replaced by a Spanish-Greek hybrid of tapas and mezze (from where the name is derived), and which also makes this new incarnation perfect fodder for the chronically indecisive. The resulting menu is a fairly even split between each style, with many of the dishes suitable for vegetarians and vegans. The Iberian speciality of bunuelos de bacalao (salt cod fritters) are the highlight; hot, crisp and delightfully super-salty. Fresh, crusty bread served with a trio of spreads including melitzanosalata (aubergine tapenade) and tirokafteri (spicy pepper and feta), plus fried potato rounds covered in oregano and kefalotyri cheese, work fine on the Hellenic side. Attempts to combine dishes common to both cuisines however – such as a pork and alcohol stew – don’t work quite so well, largely failing to live up to either of their respective traditions. + Great-value lunch deal - The partnership of both cuisines can seem incongruous at times

THAI A broad range of styles and venues give Thai food in Edinburgh real character. There are classic high-end restaurants pumping out bowls of lovingly dressed green curry, hotspot street food gems with pad thai in paper boxes and now even fusion, with venison and haggis making an appearance on some menus. Whether you’re looking for a romantic spot, a quick bite, or something a little different, there’s plenty to choose from. Reviewers: Barry Cooper, Steve Morton, Susan Smith

Absolute Thai 22 Valleyfi eld Street, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 15) 0131 228 8022, absolutethai. | Closed Sun | £18 (dinner)

Tucked round the corner from the King’s Theatre, this tiny little familyrun eatery is a good choice for a pretheatre bite. Its simple décor is set off with cute little knick-knacks and traditional Thai prints on the walls. The menu has a good but not overwhelming selection of classic dishes with a focus on seafood, freshly bought in each day. Starters, handmade by chef Vasana Gardphol, are particularly enticing so if you can’t decide go for the mixed sharing plate, the highlights of which are fantastic little dim sums and beautifully cooked prawn tempura. The choice for mains is a little less exciting, such as an under-seasoned chargrilled sea bass, although the traditional streetfood favourite, pad Thai, is a good bet. A delicious banana crèpe with coconut ice-cream goes down well to round it all off. + A strong, good-value pre-theatre menu - Maybe it’s time for a makeover – the basic décor undermines the menu

Celadon 49–51 Causewayside, Southside (Map 3C: D3, 19) 0131 667 1110, | Closed Mon | £7.99 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Tucked away on Causewayside, Celadon is more upmarket than you might predict from its student location. Rustic furniture against bare stone walls and wooden floors makes for a cosy atmosphere set off with elegant touches such as fresh flowers and contemporary Thai art. The extensive traditional menu with a few modern twists makes Celadon a worthy discovery in the Thai restaurant scene. Tod mun pla (cod fishcakes) are a solid starter with plenty of flavour and set off with a sweet chilli sauce, and equally good are beautifully cooked spare ribs in a honey and herb sauce that melt off the bone. Fans of green curry will be well satisfied by the medium-spicy lemongrass-infused option that can come with crispy tofu chunks. The pad med mamung himmapan, a cashew stirfry with prawns or chicken, is billed as Bangkok’s most popular stir-fry, and with a light aromatic sauce you can see why. To round things off, the Thai pancake with banana, ice-cream and a syrup sauce is worth leaving room for. + Good food in a friendly and comfortable atmosphere - Where is it exactly?

Chaophraya 33 Castle Street, New Town (Map 1A: B5, 53) 0131 226 7614, chaophraya. | £13.95 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

With views across the city, plus private dining, a separate cocktail bar (Palm Sugar) and a terrace in the summer, there is little this expansive restaurant can’t accommodate. The menu veers towards aromatic and distinctive rather than blazingly hot: ribs with charred pineapple are sweet, and golden baskets of flaked cod are fragrant. The main courses are hearty plates – the curries rich with coconut, the stir-fries

packing complex flavours. The success is in the innovations like turmeric fried rice and fat prawns served in half a pineapple, with a side of sauce that lets diners ramp up the Thai heat to their heart’s content. These big dishes can be balanced with a simple som tum, or one of the more expressive Thai salads topped with beautifully cooked steak, to give contrast. Desserts offer the usual staples, although pancakes stuffed with pandan leaf offer something different. While the decor may not appeal to all, the generosity of the food and the quality of service cannot be denied. + Innovative Thai creations - It’s not cheap

Dusit 49a Thistle Street, New Town (Map 1A: D4, 75) 0131 220 6846, | £13.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Alarm bells often sound when a menu the size of Dusit’s arrives to block the view of your dining companion. Such concern is unfounded here, however, as it owes its length to the vociferous complaints from regulars whenever a dish’s removal is mooted. Seafood features prominently among the starters. Fishcakes are succulent patties of haddock and prawn, flecked with crunchy snippets of green yardlong bean, while gung ob mordin is a tempting fusion of steamed jumbo prawns and glass noodles in soy and ginger sauce. The classic Thai green curry is hard to resist, and if you fancy a change from the standard chicken, it can be made with beef, duck, prawn or even steak. Pad prig tai dumm is a spicy treat; a huge portion of seafood, heavily scented with peppercorns and lively with chilli. When coupled with something from an imaginative wine list brimming with fragrant selections, it’s difficult to see past this city centre restaurant for a successful evening of sophisticated Thai food. + Consistently well-executed cooking - Service can be a bit over-enthusiastic at times

Krua Khun Mae 29 Cockburn Street, 1 Craig’s Close, Old Town (Map 2A: D2, 5) 0131 225 7007, | £7.95 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Hidden away off Cockburn Street on one of Edinburgh’s many medieval closes, Krua Khun Mae aims to turn us on to Thai home cooking. Featuring recipes taken from his own family repertoire, chef Anan Cattanach has created a menu including classic and fusion elements. While the decor seems rather populist, with carvings, heavy wood chairs and a mixture of Asian decoration, the food is more robust and provides some innovations among the usual curries and stir-fries. A standout is an old family pork recipe, moo yang – a marinated pile of flame-grilled pork served with tangy sauce and chilli. The smaller plates are what you would expect from a Thai restaurant, but occasionally local elements creep in. Wontons stuffed with haggis, and whisky used in some marinades are all part of an attempt to capture the spirit of Scotland in the cooking. They’re looking to specialise in a form of street food known as E-Sarn, so keep an ear to the ground for one-off events showcasing the flavours and techniques of Bangkok markets. + Some genuine Thai home cooking - Some of the dishes lack precision

Mintleaf Absolute Thai: Near the King’s Theatre, this family-run restaurant is a good choice for a pre-theatre bite 106 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

28 Bernard Street, Leith See Indian


In association with


Noodle N Ice 24–25 South Bridge (Map 2B: A3, 9) 0131 281 0301, | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Wagamama’s appealing offering of Asian street food in relaxed surroundings has resulted in it becoming a familiar sight in UK city centres. Now local start-up Noodle N Ice presents a similar proposition but with the twist of an ice-cream bar, courtesy of Luca’s of Musselburgh. Tom yum chicken soup is a spicy success, or there’s also Thai-style calamari to start. Panang chicken curry comes with a ‘hotness’ rating but there are chilli flakes on the table for those who need things to be even more fiery. All stir-fries and curries can be prepared with veg or tofu so vegetarians will find themselves well-accommodated and the menu helpfully highlights those dishes which can be made vegan-friendly. Unlicensed at time of publication, there’s a wide range of teas, coffees and soft drinks, even extending to a selection of alcohol-free fruit beers. There’s a huge choice of ice-creams which can be taken out in cone, carton or milkshake form to enjoy in Edinburgh’s near-tropical climate. + Quick, cheap and informal - Downstairs could be warmer

4 Passorn 23–23a Brougham Place, Tollcross (Map 3A: C1, 9) 0131 229 1537, passornthai. com | Closed Sun | £12.75 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Passorn’s star is very much in its ascendancy. Hard work and attention to detail have paid off for this destination Tollcross restaurant, resulting in their 2015 Michelin Bib Gourmand award (for good food at a moderate price) and an ever-increasing demand for tables in its modestly sized dining room. Starters include fiery tom yum soup and a special of hoi yang nang ruk, where lightly spiced king scallops in a delicate coconut sauce are presented in their shells. Several signature mains are highlighted on the menu, such as kaeng passorn, a full-flavoured red curry of Thai vegetables, while pad ka prow is a chicken stir-fry turbo-charged by a sizeable hit of red chilli. Those with specialist dietary requirements are well accommodated and the courteous, attentive staff will offer you spice options from 1 to 5 – handy for those operating at the extreme ends of the heat spectrum. Wine and drink options are a cut above the usual standard, even extending to an intriguing range of cocktails. + Quality ingredients and excellent cooking sets the standard for Thai food in the capital - Advance booking is essential, especially at weekends

Ruan Siam 48 Howe Street, New Town (Map 1A: C3, 32) 0131 226 3675, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

There may be restaurants that are better hidden in the capital but Stockbridge’s Ruan Siam is definitely a contender. Despite its low-key basement entrance, once through the door a charming arched space opens up. And the food is something of a revelation too. Start with gra beoung talay, deep-fried prawn and crab parcels with a killer sweet chilli sauce, or kanom buang yuang, a crisp crêpe filled with prawn, bean sprouts and enough coconut to fill a Bounty. Spice lovers can opt for a main of kaeng piroth, an aromatic, sweet and sour curry with a fiery kick, while seafood lychee is a classy blend of shellfish in a coconut milk and lime leaf sauce. The dessert menu won’t take up too much of your time but the Great Grog supplied wine list is

respectable and there’s even the option of Thai vino by the glass if you’re feeling adventurous. The lunch menu is worth checking out: it’s possibly the widest choice in town for such a budget price. + Interesting, intimate dining space - Contact with the outside world will have to wait as there’s no chance of phone reception

Saiko Kitchen 15 Roseneath Street, Southside See Far East

Spirit of Thai 44 Grindlay Street, West End (Map 4: C1, 37) 0131 228 9333, | £9.50 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Entertainment hotspots are often well served by a range of eateries, though the dining experience can sometimes be sacrificed for speed and convenience. Despite being only a few steps from the Lyceum and the Usher Hall, however, Spirit of Thai feels like a world away, and its pretty, understated interior seems to have a calming effect the moment you enter. Starters include the old favourite satay gai, skewers of tender chicken under a generous dousing of peanut sauce. Vegetarians need not be concerned by the initial apparent dearth of suitable options. There are dedicated sections further down the menu with choices including tom yam pakruam, a spicy hot and sour soup with a heavy hit of lemongrass. For mains, gaeng daeng pakruam (mixed vegetable red curry) possibly trumps phad krapao tha-lay, a medley of seafood stir-fried with basil leaves and chilli. Desserts are perfunctory but the short, economically priced wine list is worth a look. If you’re planning a matinee, the budget threecourse lunch is a good bet. + Cheery waiting staff exude Thai hospitality - If requested, increased spicing can lack a little finesse

Suree Thai 42 St Stephen Street, New Town (Map 1A: B2, 22) 0131 226 5111, sureethai. | Closed Mon | £10.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

Maneenwan White, known as Eev, was a chef at a popular golf club in Bangkok before moving to Scotland and opening this traditional little place in Stockbridge. Restaurant competition here is steep but Suree Thai entices diners with a welcoming Buddha in the window and a warm glow reflecting onto busy St Stephen Street. Inside, the simple decor is enlivened with embossed gold nature prints. White likes to experiment with new dishes regularly and one such creation is the goong bacon starter, a fried prawn wrapped in slightly overpowering bacon with a chilli dipping sauce. Traditional spicy and strongly tomato-based tom yum soup fares better. The signature scallop sam rod of lightly seasoned grilled scallop might need a hot crispy som tum side salad to be truly satisfying, while gaeng phed ped yang (roast duck red curry) is sweet and tasty but completely misidentified on the menu – so take care when ordering. Dessert is coconut ice-cream. + Simple, traditional no-frills Thai menu - Not for the uninitiated – if you don’t know your Thai food, you might struggle to order well

Thai Lemongrass 40–41 Bruntsfield Place, Southside (Map 3A: B2, 24) 0131 229 2225 | £8.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

This traditional Thai restaurant in Bruntsfield has had the same menu for a decade, but why change what works? The warm and cosy interior is simply but

stylishly decorated with wooden tables, red place mats and the obligatory big gold Buddha. The extensive menu has a seafood focus with a good selection of meat and a spattering of vegetarian options. A Thai sampler starter comes with three separate tangy sauces that bring out the flavour in the slightly underseasoned selection, the best of which is a light and crispy spring roll. A spicy, tasty green curry hits the spot as a main and comes with your choice of chicken, prawns, pork or beef. It is perhaps a safer choice than jumbo king prawns steamed and very lightly done in white wine, which are unaccompanied, so could disappoint if you’re hungry. Desserts include light and refreshing mango icecream or a generous chilled banana in a sweet coconut milk and palm sugar sauce – not to be attempted on a full stomach. All in all this is a safe and pleasant choice for neighbourhood Thai dining. + A warm and welcoming atmosphere - Perhaps not the most inspiring of menus

Thai Orchid 5A Johnston Terrace, Old Town (Map 2A: B3, 29) 0131 225 6633, thaiorchid. | £9.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

The king and queen of Thailand preside over Thai Orchid from high above the bar and what a happy scene they survey. The warm colour palette of brown, pumpkin and ochre is matched by the relaxed geniality of the serving staff. For newcomers, a mixed appetiser is a good starting point, featuring four of the twenty (yes, twenty) mouthwatering starters. Chargrilled chicken skewers have an addictively aromatic peanut sauce, and there are tender Thai spare ribs and prawns wrapped in rice paper, but the star of this little show must be the ‘kari pup’. These tiny Thai samosas are pale and understated on the outside, but bite in and they release a flavour explosion of curry chicken, chilli and coriander. An intricate tapestry of flavours and textures is woven together from the heat of ground fresh chillies, the sweetness of plum sauce and palm sugar and a sour saltiness from citrus and fish sauce. Often busy, especially in the evenings, it’s worth booking a table to avoid disappointment. [Not recently visited.]

Time 4 Thai 45 North Castle Street, New Town (Map 1A: B4, 41) 0131 225 8822, time4thai. | £16.95 (4-course set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Luxuriously decorated, Time 4 Thai appears every inch the traditional Thai restaurant. But while taking its inspiration from central Thai cuisine, there is still invention to be found on the menu. Among the starters are some robust soups and a selection of Thai classics – but there are surprises. A salad of scallops is one gem: morsels of sweet flesh counterbalanced against a Thai salad bursting with heat and sour notes. It’s pricey, but well worth it. Sharing is the way forward here, as the main courses are too rich to tackle on their own. Thick green curry is given added weight with young coconut flesh and the


THAI 4 Passorn Stylish food and exquisite service combine in one of Edinburgh’s most welcoming restaurants. 4 Ting Thai Caravan This top quality street-food hotspot features cool surroundings for sociable eating.

only lightness is the touch with which the kitchen team cook the prawns to the second. The accompanying sticky rice presented in a woven bowl gives the diner a mountain to climb. A dish of monkfish in peppercorns is similarly robust: well made and a pleasure to eat, but the flavours are nevertheless an assault on untrained tastebuds. This is a restaurant for those who like the richer side of Thai cuisine, or want to try something new. + An unctuous green curry that’s not to be missed - The menu takes some manhandling to get into

4 Ting Thai Caravan 8–9 Teviot Place, Old Town (Map 2A: C4, 51) 0131 225 9801 | £10.50 (lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

Paper menus and spotless high benches say fast food, but in reality Ting Thai Caravan has stripped away the frivolity and tat that adorns many Thai restaurants. This is about the food. Cardboard boxes and simple steaming bowls of delight are delivered from an open kitchen while the stereo plays a low volume, modern eclectic set. The khao mun gai tod is a shallow-fried crisp chicken with a sweet and hot spice of ginger and garlic, while the green curry is lighter than many but makes up weight with a balanced flavour. The usual sides and accompaniments are available and there’s a range of salads that balance the key flavours of sweet, sour, heat and salt as well as anywhere in Bangkok. With cheaper eats before 6pm this is a place to go for a quick lunch, and it also makes for a great stop-off on a night out. The queues outside on the weekend are testament to the food, service and style. Get there early or late for a great beginning or end to your Edinburgh night. + Great Thai food that doesn’t break the bank - Not for those who like private dining

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to Accessible on all devices including smartphones and tablets, food. includes extended write-ups, connected events, linked features and search functions for food and drink venues across Scotland. The List Eating & Drinking Guide 107


Glasgow CITY OF


he success of the Commonwealth Games in 2014 gave the world a glimpse of what Glasgow has to offer. Beyond the sport on show in the city from Team Scotland, Glasgow had a chance to show off its dynamic, globally recognised music and arts as well as the vibrant eating and drinking scene highlighted throughout the following pages. The last year has been a busy one for the city’s restaurants, cafés and bars, with many taking the chance to impress the influx of visitors for the Games, and new and exciting places springing up to showcase their offerings. With 2015 designated the Year of Food & Drink for Scotland, Glasgow is playing an important part in proceedings with a noticeable focus from many establishments on getting the produce from our nation’s renowned larder into their kitchens and on to our plates. Full of independent operators, many of whom are Glasgwegian to the core, the hundreds of bars, cafés and restaurants featured in the guide demonstrate a bewildering collection of dining options. From neighbourhood cafés doing the basics with flair and imagination and the several independent coffee roasteries dotting the city, to high-end fine-dining restaurants and everything in between, be it a curryhouse, craft brewer or a casual Italian trattoria, Glaswegians are spoilt for choice when looking for options to go out, eat good food and enjoy themselves.

108 The List Eating & Drinking Guide


Recently the city’s past has come to the fore with restaurants such as Hutchesons, the Anchor Line and Alston Bar & Beef tapping into Glasgow’s rich heritage by renovating and giving new life to important buildings or commemorating historical aspects. There’s a strong sense of adventure, too, particularly over the last couple of years when the street food pop-up scene has flourished with new operators springing up to take over kitchens or feed the willing masses in unusual locations (see page 112 for a round-up of current pop-ups and takeovers). Of course, there are still plenty of burgers around, with various chains having joined in to compete with the city’s homegrown independent specialists. As these trends come and go, and areas of the city rise up to signal their credentials, such as Finnieston, Kelvinbridge and the regenerating East End recently, it’s our job at The List to keep track of the ebbs and flows on the scene, reporting on what is new and exciting as well as an annual update on what old favourites across the city are busy creating and cooking up for our enjoyment. We’ve highlighted the favourites across each section with our Hitlists, while the Tiplists dotted throughout the pages identify the places worth seeking out for their strengths, whether it be a cup of tea and cake, a curry delivery or a glass of wine. Here’s to good eating and drinking, and a taste of this great city.



• Peter McKenna • George Mewes • Kathryn

124 130

140 • Sam & Anna Luntley 150 • Jacqueline O’Donnell 162 • Dan Taylor 170 Hamilton Knight



FOR A SENSE OF PLACE • • • • • • • • • • • •

Alston Bar & Beef Art Lover’s Café Café Gandolfi Café Source The Edwardian Kitchen Restaurant Hutchesons Inn Deep Rogano Ubiquitous Chip The Vintage at Drygate WEST Brewery The Western Club Restaurant

Bibi’s Cantina

130 114 131 169 115 133 123 152 171 128 128 172

FOR NEIGHBOURHOOD DINING • • • • • • • • • • • •

Bibi’s Cantina La Brava Cafezique Celino’s Ian Brown Food & Drink Michaelangelo’s Ollie’s Simply Fish The Sisters Jordanhill St Louis Café Bar Tibo Wee Lochan

163 158 131 159 170 161 135 152 171 165 136 17

An Clachan Biscuit Brooklyn Café Buddy’s Bar Diner Grill Di Maggio’s The Glad Café

The Italian Bistro Ketchup No 1 Chocolate Factory St Louis Café Bar Tony Macaroni WEST Brewery

160 165 142 165 162 128


FOR KIDS & FAMILIES • • • • • •

• • • • • •

136 137 138 165 159 139

• • • • • • •

Avenue G Charcoals Dakhin The Hidden Lane Tearoom Lychee Oriental Martha’s Naked Soup

137 155 155 115 148 141 141

• • • • •

North Star Panevino Red Onion Roots and Fruits Usha’s

142 161 135 146 157


La Bodega Tapas Bar The Calabash Restaurant Chaophraya Citation The Corinthian Club

172 167 175 131 132

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 109

The Very Essence of Burgundy

Wee Lochan

• • • •

The Dhabba Hutchesons Juan Chihuahua Khublai Khan Mongolian Barbecue Restaurant • Metropolitan • The Vintage at Drygate • WEST Brewery

155 133 163

• Ubiquitous Chip • The Vintage at Drygate • WEST Brewery

167 135 128 128


FOR WINES BY THE GLASS • • • • • • • • • • • •

Booly Mardy’s La Brava Café Gandolfi Cail Bruich Hotel du Vin Bistro The Italian Caffè Panevino The Pelican Café Porter & Rye Stravaigin Ubiquitous Chip Vroni’s Wine & Champagne Bar

118 158 131 169 170 160 161 135 135 136 171 128


“With the image of Bacchus adorning its labels, Jadot is one of the most recognisable French brands.” decanter

To find out more about Louis Jadot in Scotland contact 01344 871800 or

110 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Asian Gourmet La Bodega Tapas Bar BRGR Cailin’s Sushi The Calabash Restaurant Cook and Indi’s World Buffet Dennistoun Bar-B-Que Dumpling Inn Lucky 7 Canteen Restauracja U Jarka The Shandon Belles Yadgar Kebab House

147 172 164 149 167 167 165 147 134 167 136 157

• • • • • • • • • • • •

Cail Bruich Enjoy Gandolfi Fish The Gannet Ho Wong The Honours Hutchesons Ian Brown Food and Drink The Market Kitchen Number 16 Red Onion The Sisters Kelvingrove

Artisan Roast The Finnieston Firebird The Grumpy Goat Inn Deep McCune Smith Café The 78 Stravaigin Café Bar The Two Figs

136 151 133 122 123 141 126 136 128

169 132 152 170 148 133 133 170 134 170 135 171

FOR OUTDOOOR DINING • • • • • • • • • •

An Clachan 136 Art Lover’s Café 114 Chinaski’s 119 Citation 131 The Finnieston 151 Inn Deep 123 Saramago Café Bar 116 Siempre Bicycle Café 143 The Tea Room at the Botanics 116 Ubiquitous Chip 171

FOR TAKING THE DOG • • • • • • • • •

171 128 128

The Honours

• The Vintage at Drygate • WEST Brewery

128 128

FOR A ROMANTIC MEAL • • • • • • • • • • • •

Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or Cail Bruich Gamba The Honours Hotel du Vin Bistro Hutchesons La Parmigiana Rogano Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery Ubiquitous Chip Urban Bar & Brasserie Wee Lochan

153 169 152 133 170 133 162 152 152 171 136 172

FOR PRE-THEATRE • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Bath Street Palomino Le Bistro Beaumartin Brian Maule at Chardon d’Or Cail Bruich Enjoy Hotel du Vin Bistro The Market Kitchen Ollie’s Red Onion The Sisters Kelvingrove Ubiquitous Chip Urban Bar & Brasserie

117 153 153 169 132 170 134 135 135 171 171 136

FOR ITS SOURCING POLICY • Cail Bruich • The Fish People Café

169 151

• • • • • • • • • •

Gamba The Market Kitchen Martha’s McCune Smith Café Porter & Rye Roots and Fruits Siempre Bicycle Café The Sisters Tapa The Willow Tea Rooms

152 134 141 141 135 146 143 171 144 116

Brilliant moments Taste them

FOR BYOB • • • • • • • • • • • •

Banana Leaf Brooklyn Café Cail Bruich Cushion & Cake El Gusto Matilda’s Mother India Nur Roastit Bubbly Jocks Shilla The Sisters Jordanhill The Wee Curry Shop

154 138 169 139 174 141 156 167 171 151 171 157

FOR LATE DINING • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ashoka Ashton Lane Asian Gourmet Bloc+ Café Gandolfi Cafezique The Calabash Restaurant Charcoals The Hanoi Bike Shop The Howlin’ Wolf Juan Chihuahua Kebabish Grill Stravaigin

154 147 118 131 131 167 155 150 122 163 155 136



• • • • • • • • • • • •

Bar Gumbo Bloc+ The Glad Café The Howlin’ Wolf King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut MacSorley’s Mono Nice ‘n’ Sleazy The Rio Café Slouch Stereo The 13th Note Café/Bar

164 118 139 122 123 123 124 125 143 127 127 117

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




Good Pub Grub


Breakfast & Brunch




Tea & Cakes


Snacks on the Go


Vegan & Veggie Dining




Burgers & Dogs




For a memorable dining experience head to Ashton Lane in Glasgow, home to The Ubiquitous Chip

Look out for the Taste Our Best logo throughout this guide, proudly displayed as a guarantee of the finest, locally-sourced food and drink on offer. From restaurants, B&B’s and hotels to visitor attractions, café’s and takeaways, you can sample famous fare made with the freshest, Scottish produce. Choose from hundreds of accredited outlets at

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Glasgow Food Events 5–28 JUNE WEST END FESTIVAL Various venues, West End, This burgeoning festival tantalises all the senses with music, a carnival and art exhibits, as well as restaurants and bars joining in the fun with special events.

accompanied by lots of food and drink. 7–9 AUG CRAFT BEER RISING Drygate Brewery, London-based beer festival returns to the East End with lots of brewers and street fooders setting up stall.

25–27 JUNE GLASGOW REAL ALE FESTIVAL The Briggait, Organised by Glasgow CAMRA, expect over 100 ales from breweries in Scotland and beyond, all under the glass roof of the old fish market.

21–25 OCT OKTOBERFEST Glasgow Green, Party like you’re in Bavaria, minus the plane fare. Drink the beer, eat the bratwurst, wear the lederhosen and grab a stein.

23 JUL–3 AUG MERCHANT CITY FESTIVAL The Briggait, Various venues, Merchant City, The swanky part of town celebrates culture at this diverse festival, with comedy, theatre and art events,

6–8 NOV BBC GOOD FOOD SHOW SCOTLAND SECC, glasgow. The food and drink extravaganza heads north of the border again for another serving of celebrity chefs and

POP-UPS & TAKEOVERS BABU BOMBAY STREET KITCHEN Babu’s been a longtime presence at farmers’ markets and other events, dishing up Indian street food, often with a Scottish twist. They have a café in town (see p.154) and are part of the Scran street food collective ( who can often be found doing ‘street food showdowns’ on the Southside. CHOMPSKY With a global mentality to pop-up street food, Chompsky has done Korean dishes at Booly Mardy’s and US s’mores and more outside Devil’s Deli on Hyndland Street. Follow his social media to find out which cuisine will be getting the Chompsky treatment next. EL PERRO NEGRO Despite a very crowded marketplace for burger makers, El Perro Negro is riding high thanks to a series of successful kitchen takovers at Bloc+ and more recently BrewDog. Expect mighty meaty treats including the Top Dog featuring bone marrow, roquefort butter and black truffle mayo. FIRE IN BABYLON With a mission to bring people together through West Indian food, music and culture, expect big

112 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

jerk flavours and curried dishes whenever this social enterprise organisation are cooking up some Caribbean treats. Plans are afoot for their diner and takeaway to open up in the city centre in 2015. GASTRO PUNX Specialists in ‘unhostile kitchen takeovers’, the Gastro Punx have recently popped up at TransEurope Café. Expect their playful gourmet versions of Glasgow favourites including the all-day breakfast and that takeaway classic, the munchy box. SECTION 33 Underground and guerilla are the vibes from the secretive Section 33 who ran a successful (if slightly chilly) pop-up in the empty pool at Govanhill Baths in autumn 2014. Keep an eye on their website for the next event, although where that will be nobody knows until the tickets are all sold. SMOAK One of the original proponents of US-style food, Smoak began life on Old Dumbarton Road before popping up at various spots around town including Variety Bar and Pivo Pivo. These days their take on Texan pit food and smoked goodies can be found in the evening at the three Tribeca branches (see p.166).

star culinary attractions. 14 NOV GLASGOW’S WHISKY FESTIVAL Venue tbc, This festival of the national tipple covers distillers and bottlers from in and around the city and beyond. 5–6 DEC VEGFEST SCOTLAND SECC, Europe’s prime vegan festival comes to Scotland, with stalls, talks, cookery demos and a kids’ area. 5–6 SEP LOCH LOMOND FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL Loch Lomond Shores,lochlom Tasty tipples and nibbles on the banks of Loch Lomond, with free cookery demonstrations and food markets plus tasting sessions, a real ale tent and live music.

FOOD SHOPS FANTOOSH FISH 537 Great Western Road, West End GEORGE MEWES CHEESE 106 Byres Road, West End LOCAVORE 66 Nithsdale Road, Southside THE GOOD SPIRITS CO. 23 Bath Street, City Centre HIPPO BEERS 128 Queen Margaret Drive, West End RODGERS BUTCHERS 180 Byres Road, West End ROOTS AND FRUITS 455–457 Great Western Road / 1137 Argyle Street, West End


Larder THE GUIDE TO FOOD & DRINK IN THE CITY A guide to the emerging food & drink scene in Glasgow AVAILABLE FROM

MAY 2015

FARMERS’ & FOOD MARKETS • Glasgow Farmers’ Market Mansfield Park, Hyndland Street, 10am–2pm, second & fourth Saturday of the month • Glasgow Farmers’ Market Queen’s Park, corner of Langside Avenue 10am–2pm, first & third Saturday of the month • Paisley Farmers’ Market County Square, 9am–1pm, second & last Saturday of the month • Clarkston Farmers’ Market Station Car Park, 9am–1pm, fourth Saturday of the month • Milngavie Farmers’ Market Douglas Street 10am–2pm, first Wednesday of the month

The Glenrothes is only released when it reaches peak maturity, regardless of the time it has spent in the cask. We call this a Vintage. And you can choose to enjoy our exceptional Vintages on their own as a Single Vintage, or married together in one of our exquisite Reserves. Our lastest, the Vintage Reserve, is a stunning combination of a good many carefully chosen Vintages from the last three decades. So not to worry, because whichever you opt for, you’ll have made a very good choice.

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The List Eating & Drinking Guide 113



ARTS VENUES & ATTRACTIONS This section shines a light on the dining options available at a wide variety of venues, from the city’s excellent tourist attractions to cabaret clubs, student diners and even cafés overlooking climbing walls. Some act as handy pitstops for visitors to various museums and galleries, while others worthy destinations in their own right, serving up tantalising cuisine that is the attraction in itself. Reviewers: Miranda Heggie, Donald MacInnes, Jay Thundercliffe

All That is Coffee South Block, 60 Osborne Street, City Centre (Map 7: B3, 32) 0141 271 4777, | Closed Sat/Sun | £6 (lunch)

The blank white walls and minimalism might be a clear indication that ATIC is the café of a gallery/arts venue, but they also make for a profoundly calming place in which to sit and drink a coffee – a little spot of zen right round the corner from the Trongate. Custom is pretty evenly split between local business and organisations based within the South Block complex to which it is attached – mainly creative types with discerning tastes. Accordingly, Dear Green coffee, Pekoe tea and sandwiches from Cherry & Heather form the small menu. Drinks are served in compostable paper containers, which keeps cost down. All That Is Coffee is pretty cool – and £2 for a great cup of coffee in a lovely space in the city centre is pretty cool, too. + Unique décor - Very small selection

The Arches Café Bar & Restaurant 253 Argyle Street, City Centre (Map 6: D6, 124) 0141 565 1035, | Closed Sun (unless performance on) | £11 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

There’s a modern nightclub feel to the bar-restaurant in the Arches, a one-stop spot for gigs, theatre and club nights housed beneath Central Station. There’s plenty of choice here with separate bar, restaurant and market menus available. Pulled pork chilli nachos from the bar menu make a generous starter or light main, though more chilli would have been welcome for a more potent kick. Caesar salad is fresh and crisp, with a good dressing. Mains include burgers, daily specials, Arches classics such as fish and chips and a mixed bean cassoulet, plus there’s a small pizza menu on offer – the black pudding, bacon and chorizo pizza is not light on topping, perhaps a bit overwhelmed by the black pudding, but an enjoyable pizza, and good value, too. Desserts can lack the attention given to the rest of the menu with sticky toffee pudding and chocolate brownie proving a little lacklustre. To wash it all down there’s a decent cocktail menu as well as a great selection of draught and bottled beers. + Hand-cut chips - Dessert

4 Art Lover’s Café House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, 10 Dumbreck Road, Southside (Map 8: B1, off) 0141 353 4779, | £15 (lunch)

Cafés attached to arts venues are often little more than a necessary sideline to make the main attraction more attractive. 114 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Willow Tea Rooms (page 116): city centre teatime in Charles Rennie Mackintosh interiors

The Art Lover’s Café, however, is a culinary destination. Yes it’s sited in a beautiful park in a beautiful house, but the food is the main draw here. It’s surprising, ambitious and delicious. Good value, too, with a two-course set menu priced at £11.99, so book ahead, even for a midweek lunch. The à la carte menu features crisp ham hough croquettes, a meaty, comforting, way to start. The duck breast with pomme galette is tender and simply cooked with a port wine jus bringing out the strong flavours in the meat. Cheesecakes may be ubiquitous and often uninspiring, but here the passionfruit and orange cheesecake has a delicious tang, balanced by the sweetness of orange sorbet. Gluten-free cakes are also on offer, with the victoria sponge a light and airy classic. Pop-up evenings are planned, and with a reasonable selection of low-alcohol wines and beers on offer, drivers are looked after as well. + Sophisticated cooking - Paper tablecloths on top of linen

4 The Balcony Café Upstairs @ The Glasgow Climbing Centre, 534 Paisley Road West, Southside (Map 8: A1, off) 0141 427 9550, | £6.60 (set lunch) / £7 (dinner)

The Glasgow Climbing Centre is housed within a disused church and the balcony café is situated on a mezzanine floor within it. As you dine you can watch climbers scaling walls – while wishing that they could burn off some of the calories that you are consuming. It’s an unusual location and the surprises continue within the appealing, adventurous menu. There’s a wide range of sandwiches on offer and the kitchen, despite it’s tiny size, is very accommodating and will amend or make sandwiches to suit your taste. The haggis nachos are popular, and although

the menu changes regularly, the chatty chef Liam McAlpine (as seen on local TV) is banned by his regulars from removing them from the menu. The daily specials are very well priced and include a salmon fillet accompanied by a salmon fishcake, as well as a pan-fried pigeon breast salad – both for under £8. The pigeon meat is nicely cooked to taste and generous in portion. While it may not be the sort of place you’d go for a romantic dinner, there’s no doubting the quality of the cooking, which utilises good local produce, nor the ambition evident. + Great-value adventurous cooking - Can be a draughty dining space

Bar Varia Snow Factor, Xscape, Kings Inch Road, Southside (Map 9B: A1, off) 0141 885 7078, | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Bar Varia is a conundrum wrapped up in a mystery wrapped up in a Germanic beer bar overlooking an artificial ski slope in a retail centre on the outskirts of town. It’s strange – but in some ways, really good. Rather like the beer selection: genuinely the best range of German bottled beers in the entire Glasgow area, over 30, including kölschs and dunkels as well as pilsners and wheat beers. They’ve got three types of Paulaner on tap as well. And the sausages are tasty, featuring a fiery red one and a white pork and chicken number that you only get in the city centre when the Christmas market arrives. The bangers are the best food options (elsewhere, the schnitzel and the chicken burger fall short of flavour peaks and the goulash lacks oomph), while its big, open spacing is nice to chill out in. Skiers, snowboarders and beer connoisseurs will be happy. + The beer selection - Much of the food pales in comparison

The Burrell Café The Burrell Collection, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Rd, Southside (Map 8: A4, off) 0141 632 3910, | £10 (lunch)

The Burrell Collection, the impressive art haul accumulated by shipping magnate Sir William Burrell and gifted to the city, is housed in a purpose-built museum in Pollok Country Park. After perusing the eclectic mix of sculpture, paintings, tapestries, furniture, weapons and other artefacts, it can be a relief to get to the airy ground-floor cafeteria-style café, which offers views through floor-toceiling glass of the park outside. While it is doubtful that anyone comes for the café itself, that’s not to say it hasn’t got enough to offer visitors. There’s decent coffee and a range of food from freshly made packed sandwiches, salads and soup to hot dishes such as fish and chips and haggis. It’s also licensed so visitors can enjoy a beer or glass of wine with their lunch. The café will close when the Collection undergoes a 4-year refurbishment, planned to start in January 2016. + Impressive venue - Food fairly functional

Café Source 1 St Andrew’s Square, Merchant City See Scottish

Café Cossachok Trongate 103, 10 King Street, Merchant City See Round the World

Café at GOMA Royal Exchange Square, Merchant City (Map 6: F5, 105) 0141 287 3058 | £6 (lunch)

The impressive 18th-century building that dominates Royal Exchange Square is home to the Gallery of Modern Art


In association with


ARTS VENUES 4 Art Lover’s Café Beautiful surroundings and seriously good food make this the ideal place for a long, lingering lunch. 4 The Balcony Café Set in a unique location inside the Glasgow Climbing Centre, the café serves very good food at great-value prices. 4 Saramago Café Bar Animalfree dining that is good enough to please die-hard carnivores in a cool, relaxed, multi-faceted venue within the CCA. 4 The Vic Café Bar Not the sort of place that will suit all occasions, but this Art School diner serves great quality grown-up food at student prices.

– one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations, along with the Duke of Wellington statue outside the front, which almost eternally has a traffic cone on its head (the council takes it off; someone invariably, almost immediately, puts it back on, with a worrying degree of endangerment to their wellbeing). The rather small yet serene café in the basement library space is little more than a coffee shop and resting point, serving up a decent cuppa with a compact choice of soups, sandwiches, quiches and cakes, including some gluten-free options. + A rather relaxing hideaway from the city centre - Food options limited

The Doocot Café and Bar The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, City Centre (Map 6: E5, 113) 0141 276 5367, | £7 (lunch)

The Doocot Café – Scots for dovecote – is in the lofty heights of the Lighthouse, a Mackintosh-designed building on a side alley off bustling Buchanan Street and home to the Scotland’s Centre for Design and Architecture. After perusing the shop and various exhibitions, visitors can head up to this attractive, bright and rather stylish fifth-floor spot for a pickme-up coffee and cake or something more substantial, whether soup and sandwich or a baked potato. It’s another council-catered venue in the hands of Encore, who tend to play it safe with the menu options, so diners shouldn’t expect anything too exciting on offer, but it is sustenance in a splendid situation. + Housed in a great building - No surprises on the menu

The Edwardian Kitchen Restaurant Pollok House, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 8: A4, off) 0844 493 2202, uk/Property/Pollok-House | £17 (lunch)

The old kitchen of this National Trust

gem makes for an evocative dining experience, where images of Mrs Bridges sweating over a hot stove are easily conjured up. Breakfast is served from 10am and features Stornoway black pudding among the regular fry-up offerings. Lunch from noon is on the sophisticated side with smoked duck breast and baked camembert among the starters on offer. A main course of braised chilli and ginger beef tastes like it had been prepared well in advance, leaving plenty of time to let the flavours infuse, with beef that is lean yet not dry. The platters are generous and range from traditional ploughman’s to smoked salmon with a cucumber and dill relish. There’s also plenty of home baking on offer, too, from scones and cookies to meringues and banana loaf. A small wine list and a few well chosen bottled beers are on offer, including Arran blonde and St Mungo. Booking is generally advised and is essential if you are in the mood for afternoon tea, available from 3pm daily. + Location location location - Some home-bakes lack the homely touch

The Glad Café 1006a Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Cafés

Herald Café Bar Mitchell Library, North Street, West End (Map 9B: G2, 55) 0141 287 2917, | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch)

The studious need sustenance and Encore run a decent café in the Mitchell Library – a landmark in the city and Europe’s largest reference library (and be sure to check out the secretive wee puppet museum inside). It’s a suitably hushed environment tacked on to the banks of computers for hire, crisp and cleanly furnished in clear plastic chairs, and generally full of whispering workers tapping on laptops. Named for Glasgow’s favourite (and only) broadsheet, the cafe playfully riffs on the theme from the ‘early edition’ breakfast offerings including a full monty to the ‘first edition’ standard snacks including sandwiches, salads and baked potatoes. There’s also a few hot dishes such as haggis, neep and tatties. Should the weight of academia become overbearing, there’s a decent range of boozy beverages, including local bottled brews from the Drygate Brewing Co. + Library cafés don’t get much better than this - Tables cleared at the speed of a leisurely read

The Hidden Lane Tearoom 8 Argyle Court, 1103 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: D2, 35) 0141 237 4391, | £9 (lunch)

The ambience at this secreted-away tearoom is one of days gone by, with mismatched flowery crockery adding to the oldy worldy feel. Afternoon tea is popular here, well priced at £12 for a selection of sandwiches, a scone with cream and jam and some mini cakes. The soup of the day is worth checking out, the spicy lentil packing a hot punch. A wide selection of sandwiches include kettle ham with piccalilli, chorizo with blue cheese and a delicious pastrami with cream cheese, sauerkraut and gherkin – unusual combinations that are a real tasty treat. The cakes are all made in-house and many are gluten-free, but get there early for the best choice as they regularly sell out. The tea menu includes black, white and green teas, and fruit infusions, iced as well as herbal numbers. The chai and tea cocktails list is also well worth a browse with combinations including

cardamom and lemongrass, and chai and chilli rooibos with chocolate and steamed milk. A busy little place that’s full of surprises and delights. + Quality of the sandwiches - Running out of cakes later in the afternoon


KG Café Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove Park, Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: C1, 2) 0141 276 9530, | £12 (lunch)

The Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum is not only one of the most famous buildings in the city but also contains a most impressive collection of artworks, artefacts and interactive displays. Venture down to the basement and a bright, spacious and surprisingly good-looking restaurant offers some quality food, with pleasing views across to the university from the conservatory extension. Here you’ll find a range of options from breakfast to more substantial Scottish-flavoured lunches served from noon until 3pm such as Cullen skink and haggis or crowdpleasers like fish and chips, pasta or afternoon tea and cakes later in the day. Plus there are good choices for the kids, who form a considerable part of this family-friendly and accessible café’s custom. + Surprisingly good food in a nice setting - No al-fresco option

The Pipers’ Tryst The National Piping Centre, 30–34 McPhater Street, City Centre (Map 6: E1, 25) 0141 353 5551, thepipingcentre. | Closed Sun | £9.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)

THE EDWARDIAN KITCHEN RESTAURANT Open daily 10am–5pm 0141 616 6410 Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, G43 1AT

Enjoy a delicious lunch, afternoon tea or home-baking in the atmospheric setting of the Edwardian kitchen at Pollok House - Scotland’s answer to Downton Abbey! The National Trust for Scotland for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty is a charity registered in Scotland, Charity Number SC 007410

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 115



Charming is the word which describes the décor, the service and the food on offer here. As it’s part of the National Piping Centre, the Scottish emphasis on the menu and on the stereo is hardly surprising. So favourites like haggis and smoked salmon are among the choices as is an enjoyable Cullen skink – a creamy chowder benefiting from chunks of potato and smoked haddock. There’s a less generous helping of haddock in the fishcake, although the salad dressed with lemon crème fraîche is a crisp accompaniment. The main courses are dominated by comfort food such as tasty fish and chips, the Scottish supper of the day and a deliciously creamy macaroni cheese. The calorific desserts include a rich chocolate tart and the ubiquitous sticky toffee pudding. A taste of Scotland sharing platter is an ideal way of sampling the range of food on offer. It’s more granny’s ‘heilan hame’ than sophisticated urban dining room, but that adds to the charm and old-school heartiness of this restaurant. + Warm and charming - Fish bones in the Cullen skink

The Project Café 134 Renfrew Street, City Centre See Cafés

Riverside Café Riverside Museum, 100 Pointhouse Place, West End (Map 9B: A1, off) 0141 287 2720, encorehospitalityservices. | £12 (lunch)

Dining next to the Clyde is a surprisingly rare privilege in a city that almost defines itself by what the river has brought in as well as floated away in the many Clyde-built ships that used to stream outwards and around the globe. There is much information on the background to shipping as well as all manner of other impressive automotive and transportive exhibits housed in the Riverside Museum, the architecturally stunning home to the former Museum of Transport. The café’s ceiling soars, with huge windows framing the Tall Ship Glenlee berthed on the Clyde outside. The varied menu offers something for any taste from salads, soup and sandwiches to pies, stews and burgers, plus hot puddings and kids’ meals. There is also plenty of information for specialdieters, helping ensure all-comers are catered for at this busy café with views to dine for. + Check out the stunning views - Check out the peak-time queues

St Mungo Museum Café 2 Castle Street, East End (Map 7: D1, off) 0141 276 1627, | Closed Mon | £4.50 (set lunch)

The serene Zen Garden is just one of the attractions of Glasgow’s Museum of Religious Life and Art. Sitting atop the ancient core of the city, next to the cathedral, sits the museum building, less than three decades old but built to reflect the architecture of the original Bishops’ Palace that sat adjacent to the now sootcovered medieval high kirk. The café itself has handsome arched windows allowing views out to the contemplative

garden. Standard lunchtime fare includes baked potatoes, paninis and a soup and sandwich deal, featuring a range of fillings and homemade soups, plus a few hot meal options, finished off with decent cakes and coffee. + Serene surrounds - Few opportunities to sit out in the Zen Garden

4 Saramago Café Bar CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 6: B2, 14) 0141 352 4920, | £6.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

There’s nothing on the menu that indicates the fact that the kitchen is vegan at this impressive airy and arty city centre café – which has a separate bar and outdoor terrace upstairs. It’s only when the pizza arrives with no cheese on it or the haggis fritters are filled with vegetarian haggis that you know something’s different. It’s quite a large menu with a small plate selection serving as tapas or starters depending on your appetite. The marinated, griddled aubergines with mint, chilli and lemon are a refreshing and light way to start. There’s also plenty of tasty soups on offer, accompanied by delicious homemade bread. Main course salads are substantial with strong flavour combinations such as roast beetroot and avocado with broad beans, hazelnuts and sherry vinegar dressing. The vegetable tagine is hearty and wholesome served with delicious spelt couscous. Ice-cream made from soya milk works well as does the warm chocolate cake, which is dense and very rich. It’s the sort of animal-free dining that goes a long way to proving we can kerb any carnivorous leanings and still enjoy delicious food. + A skilled vegan kitchen amid the city centre bustle - Pizzas a bit disappointing

The Tea Room at the Botanics Botanic Gardens, 730 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: D1, off) 0141 276 1640, encorehospitalityservices. | £9 (lunch)

Glasgow’s paucity of outdoor dining spots means the tearoom in the old curator’s house in the Botanic Gardens already has a headstart over numerous competitors offering afternoon tea. The council’s caterer Encore has made the most of the spacious patio, with rows of ornate metal tables topped with smart green brollies – add in a very leafy surrounding with views of the Victorian glasshouse Kibble Palace and it is one of the nicest al fresco options in town. Inside the old building there are two smallish rooms for when the weather gets grim. The menu covers the tearoom essentials: morning breakfast basics including bacon baps, smoked salmon and scambled egg, and pastries, while lunch from noon offers sandwiches, panini, baked potatoes and afternoon tea options on tiers – and, of course, lots of cakes ranging from carrot to cup. + One of the best al fresco spots in town - Food can be a bit lacklustre

menu include plenty of healthy organic ingredients. From organic mixed beans in a herby wrap to a halloumi, pesto and mushroom burger and veggie casseroles, the options will have you leaving feeling satisfied and just that bit healthier than when you went in – you can, of course, scupper that with a glass of wine or an Aperol Spritz from the drinks menu. + Healthy, hearty food - Rain stops play in the gardens

Tron Theatre 63 Trongate, Merchant City (Map 7: C3, 31) 0141 552 8587, | £12.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

Housed in one of the city’s oldest buildings in one of its most historic areas, the Tron Theatre plays host to a variety of theatre, music and comedy events as well as offering a handy spot for food and drinks, whether pre-theatre or any time. The compact menu mainly consists of bar food standards, with some exceptions, including spiced lentil dhal, which is a tasty and wholesome starter. The goat’s cheese fritter is meltingly good, with a rich fig, apple and chilli chutney on the side. Mains include burgers, a Caesar salad, and a tasty ribeye steak – albeit a little on the slim side. The stand out main is battered haddock and chips – the fish is fresh and well cooked, and although it’s far from an unusual sight on a menu, few places do it this well. Desserts stick to the bar faves – the warm chocolate brownie is very rich and sweet and the tablet ice-cream sundae is good, topped with handmade shortbread crumble. A full bar service includes a decent range of wines by the glass. + Fish and chips - Disappointing desserts

4 The Vic Café Bar Glasgow School of Art, 168 Renfrew Street, City Centre (Map 6: C1, 21) 0141 353 3642 | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch) / £7 (dinner)

Glasgow Art School student union houses the Vic, where the lighting and décor is dark, and, well, studenty. The food is surprising, very good and great value to boot. To start the lentil dhal is cheap (£2.50) and very cheerful. Delicately spiced, this tasty student staple is accompanied by a delicious beetroot chutney. As well as decent burgers, there are also salads and pizzas, but the street food is the thing to try here. Jerk chicken served with rice and peas comes across as really authentic and cooked on the bone to juicy delight. Yum bun, a Chinese savoury bun topped with slowcooked pork belly, more than lives up to its name. The rice-based veg stir-fry is simple but well spiced. It’s a small kitchen here and yet they also manage to create daily specials. Look out for the toasted panettone with cranachan and praline parfait, which is more of a semifreddo – light, airy and delicately topped with pomegranate. Don’t judge a book by its cover, and book a cover at this arty, welcoming eatery – priced for students but open to all. + Good food, fantastic value - Not the sort of place for a romantic meal

Tramway Café Bar

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to 116 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

25 Albert Drive, Southside (Map 8: D1, 1) 0141 276 0953, | £10 (lunch)

Fragments of old tram lines are almost all that remain of the past inside this 19thcentury listed building that has become one of the country’s most well-known arts centres. The spacious café area at the rear enjoys views out to the Hidden Gardens – home to an active community organisation, and a great place to dine when the sun’s out. The appealing range of veggie and vegan options on the

Wild Cabaret & Wicked Lounge 18 Candleriggs, Merchant City (Map 7: C3, 28) 0141 552 6165, | Closed Mon/Tue | £14.95 (set lunch) / £24.50 (set dinner)

There’s a real buzz when you enter the Wild Cabaret restaurant. It’s a smart, theatrical room and the service is good, even when the place is full. There’s a lot of live performance associated with the venue and each weekend they have big cabaret nights with

entertainment as you dine. While it’s not the cheapest option around – £15 for the cabaret and then the set-price meal on top of that with two courses for £24.50 – it does offer an evening’s worth of entertainment and good food. Starters include a retro prawn cocktail that features a generous portion of small prawns, and a scallop with black pudding and a ball of haggis, which rather overwhelms the single mollusc. The Angus sirloin steak is wellexecuted and enjoyable, although it does require an £8.45 supplement. The cabaret itself is lively and varied with dancing girls, a topless male trapeze artist as well as local comedians included in the line up. All in all it’s an entertaining night out that is well suited to parties looking for some fun while they dine, and it’s a surprisingly unique proposition in a city that prides itself on its combination of nightlife and food. + The buzz - Starters rather let the side down

The Willow Tea Rooms 97 Buchanan Street, City Centre (Map 6: E5, 112) 0141 204 5242, willowtearooms. | £9 (lunch)

The timeless elegance of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-inspired Willow Tea Rooms on Buchanan Street is widely frequented by locals and tourists alike, and it’s easy to see why. With two rooms modelled on Kate Cranston’s original Buchanan Tea Room, closed in 1928, the White Dining Room is fresh and light with long-backed Mackintoshstyle chairs, while the upstairs China Room is equally beautiful, yet softer and more warming, with the walls painted a vibrant teal blue. Afternoon tea is a popular choice; served on a three-tiered cake stand, a selection of finger sandwiches, freshly baked scone and your choice of cake come paired with one of their many loose-leaf teas, or for those wanting something extra special, a glass of champagne can be added. Breakfast is served throughout the day alongside a wide selection of lunch options, all made from the freshest local ingredients. A classy city centre stop-off the Willow Tea Rooms prove that a good cup of tea never goes out of style. + Elegant and historic surroundings - You may have to wait for a table at peak times

The Willow Tea Rooms 217 Sauchiehall Street (Map 6: D2, 40) 0141 332 0521, | £9 (lunch)

Sauchiehall Street’s Willow Tearooms are very much a Glasgow institution, and a great spot for afternoon tea or lunch while in town. Designed by one of Glasgow’s most famous sons, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, many of the original features are still in place today, making it an architectural as well as culinary destination. Using an impressive array of local suppliers, food is of the freshest quality, with many gluten-free options available, too. Breakfast is served all day and includes delicious Scottish favourites such as Arbroath smokies, smoked salmon and Ayrshire bacon, while standard lunch options of soups, sandwiches and baked potatoes are also freshly made with local ingredients. An extensive list of black, green, fruit and herbal teas are on offer alongside a stunning selection of home baking, making this a great stop-off for either a light lunch or a quick cake and a cup of tea. + Wonderful showcase of local Scottish produce - The building could do with a bit of freshening up


In association with


BARS & PUBS After serving the city through its most significant (and busiest) year in 2014, the bars and pubs of Glasgow have not grown complacent. Instead, exciting new openings have married food and drink from foreign shores with homegrown produce, and in turn, established venues have upped their game by creating innovative dishes in hip environs. These days, edible output from some of Glasgow’s drinking holes is as revered as what’s on offer from the city’s best-known restaurants. Arrive for a craft beer, expertly blended cocktail or speciality coffee, and leave with a satiated appetite, happy in the knowledge that good food and good drink don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Reviewers: Gabriella Bennett, Beth Darbyshire, Tiff Griffi n, Ruth Marsh, David McPhee, Laura Muetzelfeldt

Ad Lib 111 Hope Street, City Centre See North American

The Admiral 72a Waterloo Street, City Centre (Map 6: C4, 81) 0141 221 7705, theadmiralbar. com | Closed Sun (unless event on) | £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

Slap-bang in the business district and boasting one of the city’s best small club spaces in its basement, The Admiral successfully juggles catering to its mixed clientele of post-office Friday night drinkers and arty young things waiting for Mr Scruff to kick off. The relaxed bar is stylish in a warm, low-key way and just the right side of dim. Its drinks list is strong on continental lagers of the Moretti and Sagres kind, while a bottle of very decent house wine will impressively give you change from a

tenner. The separate, brighter dining area is lined with simple bare wood tables and offers a similarly no-frills menu. The ubiquitous burgers and pulled meats on brioche are done well and served in hefty portions, but the pizzas here are the real deal – hand-rolled, blistering crisply and imaginatively topped with the likes of goat’s cheese and rocket pesto. + Fantastic homemade pizza always on 2-for-1 - Beer selection a bit uninspired

The Arches Café Bar & Restaurant 253 Argyle Street, City Centre See Arts Venues

Baby Grand 3–7 Elmbank Gardens, City Centre See Bistros & Brasseries

Bar Gandolfi 64 Albion Street, Merchant City (Map 7: C2, 14) 0141 552 6813, | No Kids | £17 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Two flights of stairs open into a surprisingly large and airy attic space with skylights maximising natural light. Rippled natural wood contrasts with modern lighting suspended on high-tension wires and everywhere there is the kind of attention to detail you’d expect from an offshoot of one of the Merchant City’s most respected establishments. With the standard Café Gandolfi menu available, plus a pizza menu that’s exclusive to the bar, there’s plenty of choice. The Cullen skink is thick and creamy, and the smoked haddie is perfectly cooked with haddock that almost tastes of the sea. Everything is perfectly executed but some plates, like the smoked haddie and the haggis, neeps and tatties might be improved with a splash of sauce. The créme brûlèe is one of the best in Glasgow and there’s an impressive wine list or selection of whiskies if you’re lucky enough to be able to linger. + A beautiful space offering up the best quality, local ingredients - Composition of dishes doesn’t always match the faultless execution

Bar Gumbo 71–77 Byres Road, West End See North American


Bar 91 91 Candleriggs, Merchant City (Map 7: C2, 19) 0141 552 5211, | £12.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

Upon entering Bar 91 you will quickly appreciate the openness of the place, not just structurally but figuratively. What they strive for is a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city and a place to find soul food and your soul amid the daily grind. It is a bar to be relied upon not least for its good food, pleasant staff, and quality beer but for enduring as an independent establishment within the maelstrom of chain pubs and style bars. This philosophy is conveyed through their menu which, though it certainly boasts a set section, is much more geared towards its specials with a ‘come in and see’ attitude. A wonderful setting for outdoor summer drinks or – more likely – a refreshing pint of Innes & Gunn and their famous roast beef sandwich on Glasgow’s more frequent cooler evenings. + Can always be relied upon for quality - Wouldn’t suffer from a little refurbishment

Bar Soba • 116–122 Byres Road, West End • 11 Mitchell Lane, City Centre See Far East

Bar Varia Snow Factor, Xscape, Kings Inch Road, Southside See Arts Venues

The Bath Street Palomino 207 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 6: C2, 18) 0141 221 9444, bathstreetpalomino. | £9 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Elegance and simplicity can be, on occasion, considered underrated features. Yet there is a deft skill in applying both and it can often be the difference between an excellent or uninteresting establishment. With its sultry lighting and elegant décor Bath Street Palomino reassures and induces you to enter. Having lured you in they then ply you with their fine selection of meats, wines and cocktails. Prepare for an inspiring start with salty and smoked beef brisket and Swiss cheese croquettes (with optional maple mustard dipping sauce) then feast upon superb smoke-cooked meats. The flat-beaten rump steak and smoked butter is quite simply the real deal, and if the fat pig burger doesn’t ensure a swift return then cocktails tailored to the customers whim certainly will. + Wonderfully tailored cocktails - Ribs lacking seasoning

BARS & PUBS 4 Chinaski’s A secretive bourbon bar at Charing Cross, brimming with effortlessly cool ambience and a food menu that is full of imagination. 4 The Grumpy Goat A familyrun bar-bistro at Yorkhill offering a cosy but refined atmosphere and lovingly prepared food. 4 Meat Bar This popular city centre subterranean smokehouse is a meat-loving cocktail-drinker’s paradise. 4 The Pacific Lavish, potently prepared fresh-fruit cocktails and ingenious soul food await you in this celebration of Pacific island culture. 4 Redmond’s of Dennistoun This marvellous Duke Street bar has come out roaring with an uncontrollable passion for outstanding food and well-chosen beer.

4 The Salisbury A Southside newcomer that is now focused on delivering excellent food with great drinks to match. 4 The Vintage at Drygate Dainty, dramatic dishes pack a flavour punch alongside global and local beers at this enticing newcomer based in an East End craft brewery. 4 WEST Brewery German expertise and local history find their perfect match at this Bavarian brewery and restaurant set in a striking building on Glasgow Green. + Prosecco by the glass is an unexpected surprise - The tiny toilets require some amount of flexibility

The Belle 617 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: E1, 63) 0141 339 2299 | No Kids

Lebowskis (page 123): White Russians and dude food in Finnieston

Glasgow’s dog-watching mecca, the Belle is a venue guaranteed to play host to a furry friend or two at any given time of day. The appeal for humans and canines alike is simple: a log fire kept burning long into spring plus a convivial atmosphere makes for a cosy traditional pub that would be more at home in a rural town than Great Western Road. The countryside’s loss is Glasgow’s gain though, as there’s plenty to lure urbanites inside and keep them there. Prosecco by the glass? Check. Good guest ales and Anchor Steam plus Brooklyn Lager on tap? Check. Procuring a seat is the most difficult part of the Belle experience, especially for larger parties. But for lone rangers or those who don’t mind waiting patiently this is a venue that will reward in rich dividends.

The Ben Nevis 1147 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: D2, 25) 0141 576 5204, thebennevis. | No Kids

In almost wilful defiance of the current gastro regeneration of ‘the strip’, this long-standing Finnieston temple to whisky boasts arguably the shortest food menu in the city (pie and beans or bridie and beans). But it’s the single malt that draws the throngs of knowledgeable tourists, locals and students who keep it constantly standing-room-only in this small, street-corner bar. Staff are eager to recommend a dram from the vast selection, arranged library bookstyle on the precariously high shelves. You can drop big money on some of the rarer nips here; the well-chosen malt of the month (if you’re in luck, it might be the Laphroaig Select) is often the best introduction and is always a bargain at The List Eating & Drinking Guide 117



£2.75. A surprisingly broad range of rums and unusual beers like Union’s unfiltered lager Beast Of The Deep mean if you can get that coveted seat by the fire, you may never leave. + Enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff - Constantly busy – be prepared to stand

Black Sparrow 241 North Street, City Centre (Map 9B: G2, 52) 0141 221 5530, theblacksparrow. | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

With plush red-leather seating and dark wood adorning the interior you could be forgiven for thinking you’d mistakenly entered a private members’ club. However, upon further inspection the vibe is much more Cotton Club than any other. Borrowing its name from the publishing company created to release the work of Charles Bukowski it is certainly much more aligned with those elegant publications than that of the writers own beatnik prose. The menu offers both opulence and variety as crispy pork belly with a sweet and spicy glaze competes with the revered Black Sparrow burger loaded with smoked cheddar, caramelised onions and jalapeños. In this tastefully dim-lit establishment the cocktail list beckons and does not disappoint on choice and flavour. The Minted White Russian wins on presentation and taste while the Long Island Iced Tea will do everything but call you a cab. + The grand interior makes it memorable - Some mains could stand out more

Bloc+ 117 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 6: D3, 35) 0141 574 6066, | £3–£5 (onecourse set lunch); £8.95 (daily twopizza deal) / £13 (dinner)

Bloc+ is a basement dive bar with a smile and a welcome haven of independence on a street heavy with identikit bars. Its Soviet/Redneck mash-up theme may seem a bit bewildering, but with Anchor Steam and Sam Adams on the taps, loud alt-rock on the stereo and unabashed dude food coming out of the kitchen, the lean is definitely towards Americana rather than Eastern Bloc. Furious Food Ltd have recently taken over the menu, offering up self-proclaimed street trash dishes, loaded up on red plastic trays and wax paper. It’s messy-but-fun grub, with plenty of unexpected twists – the Not Dog with squash, tahini and avocado cheese sauce lets oft-overlooked vegans in on the street-food trend, and where else would let you top your burger with shredded kale and Irn Bru pork? With one of the latest food licences in the city, you can chow down on those dogs plus pizzas until 3am. + Unexpectedly good vegan dishes - Fries a bit bland

Blue Dog 151 West George Street, City Centre (Map 6: E3, 75) 0141 229 0707, | No Kids

With a nod to the decadent, the velvet upholstery, flock wallpaper and bare brick walls are reminiscent of a style aesthetic that originated in SoHo. At the far end, the dark, deeply shiny grand piano, with lid cocked, sets out their stall: this is somewhere refined. The cocktail list is so long you might need a break while leafing through but the real drawback is the same pleasurable hazard of all good cocktails places: it’s hard to stop at just one. Puffs of orange fire punctuate busy nights as bartenders ignite carefully carved slivers of orange peel while the foolhardy and brave order the Super Zombie – so lethal it’s restricted to one per person. Long drinks are always popular while champagne cocktails delicately fizz. All are artfully 118 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Meat Bar (page 124): carnivorous delights and cocktails at this subterranean hang-out in the city centre

mixed: lemon cuts through the sweetness of the passionfruit and cassis of the LA Noir – the colour of sunset and beautifully studded with passionfruit seeds. + Getting tipsy in style - Not great for those on a budget

Bobar 383 Byres Road, West End (Map 9A: D1, 54) 0141 341 6516, bovinerestaurant. com/essentials/bobar | £11.50 (lunch) / £11.50 (dinner)

Cozy tweed booths hug one side of this Byres Road spot and the well-stocked bar inside, twinkling with fairy lights, adds a touch of glamour. The stylish interior, however, hides something of a split personality. As afternoons run into evenings, local mummies sip white wine while kids nibble on triple-cooked chips. Then, at 8pm, the last of the buggies make way for well-heeled groups drinking expertly mixed, dangerously good cocktails. A pretty predictable bar food menu includes pulled pork and burgers in brioche buns. But there are surprises: the fish-finger roll is actually gurnard goujons in ciabatta, and you can add truffle oil and parmesan to hand-cut chips for an extra pound. With a menu revamp planned and house DJs signed up to soundtrack weekends, a thoughtful reboot promises to keep regulars happy, while widening its twilight appeal. + Elegant, easy-drinking cocktails - Slow-cooked pulled pork a bit dry

La Boca 189 Hope Street, City Centre See Spanish

La Bodega Tapas Bar 1120 South Street, West End See Spanish

Booly Mardy’s 28 Vinicombe Street, West End (Map 9A: D1, 52) 0141 560 8004, | £12 (lunch) / £17 (dinner)

While the bar across the road has changed names three times, it’s no accident that this place has endured. By refusing to broaden its appeal, it succeeds in providing a cosy but classy location for grown-ups with good taste. Cocktails are a draw both for sophisticated, young groups and older couples equally at ease under the flattering, ‘date’

lighting. There’s a startling choice of wines available by the glass (over 50) and the genuinely seasonal menus are easily bistro-standard. Among the starters, there is imaginative use of the cocktail the bar’s name is a nod to: pickled beetroot perfectly cuts through the sweetness of Bloody Mary-cured salmon. Main courses are equally wellbalanced: roast hake is served skin on – perfectly crispy – with buttery, truffled new potatoes, and trio of cauliflower. Weekends can be busy; for a relaxed evening meal, book a booth so the lively atmosphere doesn’t impose. + If it rains before noon they offer free soup with your lunch - Diners should leave plenty of time on busy nights

but real footfall. A valuable association with Fyne Ales means that quality beer is on constant rotation but it is their originality when it comes to creating quirky cocktails that seems to have really grabbed the public’s imagination. Each week sees a new addition of an inventive cocktail such as their Bounty White Russian or the refreshing Strawberry Bon Bon. However, creative mixology is not their only draw and they are proud of being the go-to place for Finnieston’s sports fans. What this bar lacks in space it certainly makes up for in enthusiasm and forward thinking as their online and offline popularity testifies. + Quirky cocktails - Music too loud for conversation

The Brasserie at Òran Mór Boteco do Brasil 62 Trongate, Merchant City See Round the World

731–735 Great Western Road, West End See Scottish

Brel Boudoir Wine Bar Merchant Square, Candleriggs, City Centre (Map 7: C2, 16) 0141 552 4774, | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Moody, candlelit and nestled in the Merchant City is Boudoir Wine Bar. The décor is a little less provocative than the name suggests – a curious mix of draped purple organza, wooden barrels and tealights. The booze list has something for all – cocktails, fizz, continental beer and a wine list that spans the globe with a French/Italian lean. Wine buffs are sure to find a few favorites by the bottle from some of the world’s top producers. The four-glass mixed sampler has some solid popular choices for the less adventurous. The food is designed more for complementing the libations than for a substantial feed. The creamy ‘parfait of the day’ or the bresaola carpaccio make for a simple graze as you sip. + Off sales mean you can take a nice bottle home - Unconcealed toilet door in the bar is distracting

The Brass Monkey 1004 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: E3, 41) 0141 243 2170, | No Kids

With a strong focus on promoting itself through social media, the Brass Monkey has gained not just a virtual following

39–43 Ashton Lane, West End (Map 9A: C2, ) 0141 342 4966, | £6 (set lunch) / £21 (dinner)

Where does a bon vivant or raconteur stop in for a Belgian beer and a pot of mussels? The answer is irrevocably Brel. Under sterling management this bar has now fully realised its place and purpose. The beer selection is simply tantalising with the option of 18 Flemish/ Lambic associated beers such as the Rochfort 10 and the terrifyingly sublime Delirium Tremens. Despite their Belgian allegiance they don’t encourage you to stop there, offering the finest suds from New Zealand, Germany, Scotland and the USA, too. Under the dim lights of the conservatory you could be tempted to forget which part of Europe you even live in, and if that doesn’t do it, the creamy moules frîtes certainly will. What is great to witness is the evolution of an establishment that has reached its potential and is committed to enhancing the experience – and exciting the tastebuds – of everyone who steps through their door. + Increased beer selection is a standout - Heaters can be uncomfortably hot

BrewDog Glasgow 1397 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: C1, 1) 01413395070, | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Across the street from the imposing


In association with


majesty of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, BrewDog’s modern façade stands out like a beacon. There are few drinking holes in the area, though this is not the only reason for the success of this bar, which is one of a plethora of BrewDog pubs opened worldwide in the last few years. One reason is the staff. They are passionate about their brews and the excitement is contagious, with a dynamic roster of house-label beers, eclectic imports and guest taps. Another reason is the menu. It is succinct and focused, making it easy to decide on a nibble between gulps. ‘The platter’ boasts well-chosen Mellis cheeses, meats and beer chutneys. Burger-wise, the juicy ‘up and atom’ is a fine choice, though the fabled heat could be bumped up a notch. BrewDog may be beavering away at expanding an empire but this particular beacon of beer stands alone and is worthy of attention. + Inspires a ‘kid in a candy store’ feeling for lovers of beery libations - Small platter could use a smidgen more meat

Brutti Compadres 3 Virginia Court, Merchant City (Map 7: A2, 1) 0141 552 1777, brutticompadres. com | £9 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Meander through the alleyways in the Merchant City and you’ll discover this relaxed and arty continental-style barbistro in the lesser-known Virginia Court – as much at home in Glasgow as it would be in any European city. Al-fresco tables out front lead into a happy buzzy vibe. Eyes are drawn along the backlit glow of the lengthy well-stocked bar, with sparkling wines, champagne, aperitifs, draught and bottled beers aplenty. Small plates for the peckish include uber-long

skinny Brutti chips – all earthy with their skins on. Plump flavoursome whitebait come coated in crunchy jackets, ripe for dipping in aioli. Options are plentiful: from peaceful to angry prawns, haggis croquettes in whisky, a steak fritte sandwich, to halloumi and chickpea stew and signature piccolo Brutti bread with savoury toppings. While the bar feels industrial with its high exposed pipework rafters and open kitchen, the downstairs snug lounge affords more privacy for a small group reception or party. + Brutti chips and beer - No-frills small plates are pricey

Brutti Ma Buoni Brunswick Hotel, 106 Brunswick Street, Merchant City (Map 7: B2, 8) 0141 552 0001, | £14 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Postcards sent from around the world by happy visitors artfully cover the walls and ceiling, hinting at the good times had in this bar. Without trying too hard (one of its endearing qualities), the name – ‘ugly but good’ in Italian – sums up an ethos that sets it apart from other nearby Merchant City eateries. Here, the emphasis is on creating the kind of easygoing and fun environment where it’s not unknown for patrons and staff to spontaneously start dancing. With a new pared-down menu, there’s still plenty of choice, such as thin-based pizza, spaghetti and salads. The food favours a mediterranean slant and the tapas dishes, in particular, offer excellent value as part of their lunchtime Cinco Cinco Cinco promo. The trio of homemade icecream is a perfectly sweet ending which – like the guests who send postcards might write – is hopefully au revoir not goodbye.

+ The music is a perfect soundtrack to

good times - The toilets, shared with the club downstairs, feel like club toilets

The Bungo Bar & Kitchen 17–21 Nithsdale Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

The Butchershop Bar & Grill 1055 Sauchiehall Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

The Butterfly and the Pig 153 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 6: D2, 39) 0141 221 7711, thebutterfl | £12.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Gravy in a teacup typifies the chintzy but cheeky approach of a city centre venue that manages to pack a lively bar and classic tearoom-style dining room into one Bath Street basement. The menu doesn’t take itself too seriously but a range of excellent dishes show the food is no sideshow: ‘Cilla the Black’ combines Stornoway pudding, sliced apple and quail’s egg to create an imaginative salad. Elsewhere expect chunky, simple plates of food that satisfy: lamb chops are tender and packed with flavour while the fish and chips are a crisp, hearty delight. Amidst lace tablecloths and chic retro wallpaper, it’s easy to forget that, through the wall, there’s an often packed space where crowds enjoy DJs and live rockabilly music at the weekends. Afternoon tea with china and cake, conjuring up images of Dorothy Parker with prosecco, is another reason to come. Stylishly kitsch but never too cool for school. + Great food and quirky atmosphere - Wall-mounted TV doesn’t really fit

The Butterfly and the Pig @ the Corona 1039 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 8: A4, 18) 0141 258 1811, thebutterfl | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The emergence of the Southside Butterfly and the Pig from the chrysalis of the Shawlands Corona Bar may be another step towards the realisation of the urban myth that the Southside is the new West End. The menus echo the Bath Street original’s retro 1950s typewritten sheets and the décor is the familiar assorted granny-style tableware, linen and crockery. The interior architecture buffed up a bit is more than splendid and what with good lighting this is indeed an inviting place to relax and spend time. The fishcake and the fish and chips provide ample sustenance – the fishcake having been reinvented as a pan-fried and grilled offering of crushed potatoes with good chunks of haddock. The lightly poached egg on top is a nice finishing. As a newcomer, time will tell if this appealing bar-restaurant can become something more than just another home for the Butterfly and the Pig brand. + Another notch for the Shawlands revival - A more localised twist would be welcome

4 Chinaski’s 239 North Street, West End (Map 9B: G2, 53) 0141 221 0061, | £5.95 (one-course set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Some bars don’t need to maintain a huge social media presence because their cool environs and quality comestibles do the talking for them. Chinaski’s is one of those places. To newcomers it’s almost impossible to identify from

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 119



the street thanks to its blank fascia – something that’s more than made up for when opening the doors and heading in. The venue’s interior (and its name) pays homage to Charles Bukowski with various portraits of the pre-eminent writer dotted around, as well as signed copies of his greatest works framed on the walls. Behind the bar, there’s an especially fine selection of rums to be enjoyed in the green leather booths or outside on the heated terrace and garden, both which are open all year round. Dishes are keenly priced and, for a bar known primarily for its liquid offerings, a surprising triumph. Highlights include golden deep-fried pickles, and the crispiest bowl of whitebait you’ll eat all year. + Brimming with ambience and great food - Downstairs landing could do with a makeover

Citation 40 Wilson Street, Merchant City See Bistros & Brasseries

Clockwork Beer Co 1153–1155 Cathcart Road, Southside (Map 8: D6, off) 0141 649 0184, | £5.95 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Before all this craft beer madness hit Glasgow, there was the Clockwork – Mount Florida’s very own microbrewery, which has been keeping Southsiders, CAMRA enthusiasts and football fans (it’s right beside Hampden) happy for years now. Recent management complications have been resolved and what remains is a recently renovated big space with lots of seats, a separate dining section (standard pub fare – fish ’n’ chips, mac ’n’ cheese, burgers ’n’ pizzas) and lots of TVs that show all the major football matches. All of which makes it a steady choice. But it’s the eight microbrews, two guest brews, and the impressive selection of American and European beers in the fridges that sets the Clockwork apart from your average local. Being able to take their beers home in 5-litre mini-kegs is a cool and quirky little touch as well. + Genuine microbrewed beers - Food is the weak link

The Crafty Pig 508 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: F1, 66) 0141 237 4040, | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

After getting through a number of guises in recent years, this piggy is happily settling into life as a smokehouse with plenty of craft ales. Brooklyn Lager, Bitter and Twisted plus regular guests from Drygate are all worth filling your glass with and also make fine sparring partners for the carnivorous cuts on offer from the kitchen. No amazement to see American-inspired dishes and slowcooked meat dominating here, except that the prices are reasonable and the quality represents genuinely good value. The redneck burger is a juicy southern-fried chicken fillet while the house classic burger with smoked bacon is enjoyably sloppy bar food. Leave the airs and graces at the door, reach for the serviettes and you’ll leave happy. + Nice burgers and nicer prices - Lacks a bit of atmosphere

Curlers Rest 256–260 Byres Road, West End (Map 9A: C1, 46) 0141 341 0737, | £8.50 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The site of Curlers Rest has played host to drinkers for 600 years. Its current incarnation is named for the wayward sportsmen who drank here after a day’s 120 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Raven (page 125): Maclay Inns latest city centre bar dishing up smoked food and craft brews

wintery exertion on the local pond. Inside feels remarkably clean and homely with thoughtful chintzy decorative touches. The food has all the usual cornerstones of pub grub. The fish and chips are nicely interpreted, with a light cider and tarragon batter coating fresh-off-theboat hake. The southern-fried chicken is expertly cooked with an appetising coleslaw that vies for attention. More refined than your average bar offerings, the menu is broad without being overwhelming, and excellent value. On the beer front, a rotation of artisanal newbies sit alongside a fine selection of recognisable favourites. The wine and spirits cover all the bases, and there is a surprising selection of top-end champagnes if you’re feeling fancy. + A tidy, welcoming haven on busy Byres Road - Television screens might ruin the mood for some

Darcy’s The Courtyard, Princes Square, City Centre (Map 6: F5, 111) 0141 226 4309, | £14 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

It’s handy to have a few go-to venues that can be relied upon when miniature family members come to visit (or if you’ve little ones of your own). Darcy’s, on the ground floor of high-end shopping centre Princes Square, certainly merits its inclusion on any kid-friendly list thanks to its 3D children’s menu and close proximity to the large open courtyard space at the bottom of the precinct: the perfect spot for epic knee-skidding when wee ones need to let off steam. Darcy’s has the pre-requisite leather booths, pared-back lighting and dark wood you’d associate with its swanky location, but there’s also an appealing cocktail menu and its brunch list, featuring fancy eggs and French toast, makes it an ideal spot for breakfast meetings. + Good lunchtime options - There are venues with better ambience

Den Bar & Restaurant 128 Drymen Road, Bearsden, West End (Map 9A: A1, off) 0141 942 7272, | £17.50 (lunch) / £21.50 (dinner)

Gourmet burger may be an over-used

term but the Den’s is worthy of a trip to the suburbs. An ongoing relationship with the local Edenmill Farm is clearly one advantage of being on the city’s outskirts: a wonderfully tender venison burger – one of several available – is the welcome result. Four distinct menus available in the bar or dining area cover brunch to dinner and suggest why the bar deserves a place in Glasgow’s bistro-bar scene. Hearty Italian meatballs hit the spot, southern-fried chicken strips are a great appetiser while loftier ambitions are on show elsewhere. Scottish lamb rump with salsa or month-aged sirloin with chimichurri combine well with a fullbodied valpolicella, one of an admirable 12 wines by the glass, a nod to the owner’s background as a wine merchant. It’s an immensely likeable space, popular with locals but equally welcoming of curious visitors, who’ll quickly realise that it’s the equal of anything the big smoke has to offer. + Beautifully cooked burger - No dining deals

Distill 1102–1106 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: D2, 30) 0141 337 3006, distillbar. | £11.50 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

At weekends it buzzes expectantly with crowds en route to gigs and clubs, while DJs drawn from Glasgow’s underground music scene provide an expertly crafted soundtrack. A well-stocked bar has quality beers and a vast array of rums but start with a cocktail. The Rum Raspberry Cobbler tastes like your favourite holiday memory while margaritas and verditas are smooth and sharp in equal measure. The food menu balances nicely between bar and bistro, with consistently highquality cooking throughout. Quirky but satisfying mac and cheese with green chillis or light and crunchy chorizo pizza make ideal quick fillers, while wonderfully tender beef cheeks with onion jus add a touch of sophistication to proceedings. It says much about the fast-moving pace of this fashionista neighbourhood that Distill is now a veteran of the Finnieston bar scene. The secret of this enduring success is simple: great music, good food and classy cocktails are a winning combination. + Killer cocktails

- No lunch deal

The Doublet 74 Park Road, West End (Map 9A: F2, 82) 0141 334 1982 | No Kids | £6 (lunch) / £6 (dinner)

With its oak beams, horse brass and knick-knacks, the Doublet feels every inch the village pub transported to the heart of the West End. The cosy main bar constantly buzzes with regulars, so a pint always comes with the guarantee of a chat, even if you arrive solo. Real ale is the star here, with three perfectly maintained rotating cask ales from Scottish and English breweries always on tap. Prosecco by the glass and bowls of olives with feta and balsamic are a nod to the Doublet’s location in one of Glasgow’s most upmarket areas, but if you need something to wash down all those Williams Bros brews, plump for the irresistibly named Toastie Royale, packed with cheese, ham and a good slug of Tabasco. A decent shelf of single malts – including a large malt of the month at £2.95 – rounds off a night at one of the city’s most endearing and enduring drinking dens. + Friendliest welcome in the West - Basic but honest food

The Drake 1 Lynedoch Street, West End (Map 9B: F1, 46) 0141 332 7363, | £6 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

When old-style pub meets forwardthinking publican, the result looks pretty much like the Drake. With its fireplace and exposed brickwork, its cosy couches and big-screen sport, it is a comforting hang-out. While its striking upper-level tenement dining rooms have taken on a role catering for private functions, the bistro area in the basement has a lively atmosphere and a solid gastro-pub menu. There’s a warmth throughout, from lowlevel lighting to the buzz of the crowd, and the food itself. Sure, there’s the option to tuck into a hearty burger or an abnormally large fish and chips, but there’s more going on here than mere pub grub. A beetroot and mackerel pâté to start certainly hits the spot. It’s a great lead into a seafood broth, with a huge salmon fillet nestled on top of a dozen mussels in a rich, peppery tomato sauce.



An overly rich pork belly main doesn’t quite hit the same heights. Hearty and filling is the name of the game here though, and the drinks offering is highly conducive to a good night out. + The atmosphere - Desserts can lack imagination

DRAM! 232–246 Woodlands Road, West End (Map 9A: G3, 94) 0141 332 1622, | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Apart from the qualified Whisky Ambassadors that work here, there are over 50 reasons why whisky lovers visit DRAM! Reams of single malts are on the gantry, including the usual suspects but also more unusual tipples, with the Macallan Ruby and Glengoyne Cask Strength proving popular. There’s also a generous choice of real ale and craft beer, with Drygate and Williams Bros on tap. The main bar area, with its thick tables and high bar stools, encourages patrons to have manly pints. The large seating area is lit by striking cut-metal lampshades, and the biscuit-coloured leather seats are a comfortable place to enjoy sliders, back ribs or whole smoked chicken. Different kinds of meat are well represented – all smoked on-site. The flat screens see plenty of action thanks to a comprehensive sports schedule, but live comedy and musicians are also a regular feature. + A whisky lover’s paradise - Tartan and saltires make the place feel a bit themey

Dukes Bar 41 Old Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 9B: C1, 9) 0141 339 7821, dukes-bar. | £9 (lunch) / £9 (dinner)

Since its creation as a drinking den 130 years ago (though not always trading under its current name), Dukes has enjoyed an enviable history and can even claim to have hosted The Clash in 1985. Not bad for an 80-person capacity bar tucked inconspicuously behind the main drag of Argyle Street. In 2015 changes are planned for the venue as its kitchen transforms into something a little more edgy. From late spring, gourmet bratwurst will dominate the menu as well as a more flexible approach to eating adopted with the start of supper clubs and pop-up nights, beginning with a Bengalithemed event. Away from stomachfilling, there’s much to be enjoyed by way of live music. A pub quiz, open mic and jazz night all run once a week, and if the latest jam-packed Kate Bush homage is anything to go by, more regular tribute nights will feature on the schedule, too. + A cosy nook set back from the hustle of Argyle Street - Toilets are a tight squeeze

The Finnieston 1125 Argyle Street, West End See Fish

Firebird 1321 Argyle Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

The Grosvenor Café The Grosvenor Theatre, Ashton Lane, West End (Map 9A: C2, 35) 0845 166 6028, | £12 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Situated within the grand loft space above the Grosvenor Cinema and overlooking Ashton Lane, the Grosvenor Café looks, from the inside, like the sort of place in which Jay Gatsby would feel right at home. Though 1920s’ flappers may be rather thin on the ground, the interior has been restored as a wonderful tribute to the period. Yet the very same cocktails Zelda Fitzgerald approved 122 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

Redmond’s of Dennistoun (page 125): steamed buns and more at this ethically minded East End newcomer

of still abide. Sample the elegant Pink Lady or prepare yourself for the Return of The Flaming Zombie which takes no prisoners as it marauds toward your willing brain. During daylight weekend hours this space is a haunt for families basking in the afterglow of cinema trips or parents enjoying a bit of peace thanks to the ample children’s area and face painting on offer. At all other times, be sure to try the fried baby chicken with béarnaise sauce to really maximise your Grosvenor Café experience. + Excellent choice of wines and cocktails - Its cavernous size means staff can forget about you

4 The Grumpy Goat 90 Old Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 9B: B1, 7) 0141 237 4730, | £12 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

On a quiet street, set back from Kelvingrove Museum, the warm, homely atmosphere means it’s very easy to enjoy spending time here. The food is exceptional. Every dish comes well prepared and beautifully presented. Seafood is a speciality – no surprise when you learn the owners are part of the Matteo family, of City Merchant fame (one of the city’s best-known seafood restaurants). The fishcake is one of the best you’ll taste, with flakes of salmon and haddock coated in a crunchy golden crumb. The rooster chips – crispy skin and cloud-like inside – are also worth returning for. Thoughtfully partitioned spaces add to the appeal; the bar area has cosy couches, with the restaurant beyond. An eclectic scrapbook of patterns, artefacts belonging to the family, and pictures of old Glasgow sit alongside an original mahogany gantry (a remnant from previous incumbent the Stirling Castle). Respect for the past complements their desire to improve, an ethos that will hopefully ensure it continues to be shortlisted for awards. If there’s any justice, it shouldn’t be long before it starts winning them. + Excellently prepared dishes with a setting to match

- Not being able to spend all day here

The Hill 94 Byres Road, West End (Map ?9A: C2, 27) 0141 339 8558, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £15.50 (dinner)

There’s been a bar on this corner for decades and the Hill may turn out to be the best resident yet. A sleek bar takes centre-stage; plush leather seating is busy with groups in for the sort of sociable weekend gatherings that wash into early evening. Pick from the enticing cocktail list – offering some classy gins – sit by the windows and watch the crowds go past outside. The versatile menu is wellcrafted to suit these different guises: ‘wee bites’ like bruschetta and fish goujons for sharing; a fine Cullen skink in a suitably homely porcelain bowl for healthier appetites. For a superior version of a classic combo, a pint of Edinburgh 3 Hops and a signature brisket burger is hard to beat. Meaty intensity and the twist of nutty manchego as a topping are well-matched with the refreshing summery notes of the craft beer. + Exceptional burger stands out from the rest - Ice-cream in cranachan is a bit excessive

Hillhead Bookclub 17 Vinicombe Street, West End (Map 9A: D1, 51) 0141 576 1700, hillheadbookclub. | £9 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

Just around the corner from Hillhead Library sits the Hillhead Bookclub. While the former caters for actual kids the latter has plenty to excite those wishing to relive the halcyon days of their youth. In the wings of the upper tier you can choose to challenge friend or foe to some retro gaming or best them at a lively bout of ping pong. Either of these endeavours, however, is always best undertaken after a few pints of Dead Pony Pale Ale, served in beer mugs not seen since the demise of working men’s clubs. Yet for all its quaint touches this bar is forward thinking when it comes to its food; offering separate vegetarian and meat menus. The spinach and potato saag

is lovingly prepared while the Stornoway black pudding-stuffed chicken is as tasty as it is ornate, proving the Bookclub is more than just a novel idea. + A very beautiful and unique building - Lager options could be better

The Howlin’ Wolf 100 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 6: D3, 33) 0141 333 3333, | £10 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Southern America with a dash of the north, Howlin’ Wolf is undoubtedly a goto bar for the city’s fervent blues lovers yet it also manages to retain a certain Manhattan charm thanks to its blacktiled ceilings and industrial stylings. Patrons can choose to sit at long wornwood benches in the bar area or in more intimate booths at the back and pore over comprehensive menus that focus on popular bar food done well – plus, it’s possible to eat until 2am. The real pull of Howlin’ Wolf is its music schedule, which offers live bands most nights of the week as an aural accompaniment to its American inspired cocktail list. An unassuming but atmospheric addition to the city centre’s late-night venues since opening in 2014. + For a relatively new opening it has an assured identity - A little menu editing wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world

Hyde 9–17 Partick Bridge Street, West End (Map 9A: B4, 18) 0141 212 4870, | £7.50 (set lunch) / £14.50 (dinner)

You’d be forgiven for thinking Hyde was part of a swanky members’ club chain thanks to its glossy black branding, opulent interior and metal art on the walls. But it’s a family-run affair, opened just last year and offering seriously good cocktails, plus staff who are capable enough to recommend a drink not on the menu. Food revolves around giving a luxurious spin to classic dishes plus a dedicated ‘mac bar’ offering treats like mushroom and truffle or lobster mac and cheese – the latter of which is rich


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enough to check its not got a £50 note hidden inside before eating. Hyde hosts live music every week and there’s even a well-hidden private dining room in its cavernous depths which can be hired for functions, complete with glorious hand-painted mural. Two-faced in name perhaps, but in nature a reliably highstandard eatery. + Function room feels as well-thought out as the main bar – a rare find - Live music can be distracting if having a late dinner

deals) and Tut’s does a dependable line in mainstream pub fodder (pizzas and gourmet burgers in brioche buns) and de rigeur dude food – smoky chilli cheese fries, Cajun chicken or paprika fish tacos. A tasty Texan growl is likely to linger on your lips if you munch here. Strong ties with Tennent’s means a broad range of booze is available, while the music and the artwork on the walls are suitably cool. + Pub with attitude and atmosphere . . . - . . . but only when it’s busy

Inn Deep

The Lansdowne Bar & Kitchen

445 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: F2, 75) 0141 357 1075, inndeep. com | £13.50 (lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

With the rise in popularity of cask and craft beer, many pubs find it difficult to meaningfully compete on quantity and choice. Inn Deep, however, with its close affiliation to brewers Williams Bros, has successfully managed to carve a niche for itself and in doing so has been taken into the hearts of Glasgow’s real ale enthusiasts – helped by a great riverside location by the Kelvin. Eight alternating guest kegs and three regular guest cask ales exhibit their dedication to finding the best-tasting beer from around the globe and stocking what other bars don’t have. Guest ales Ported Amoor by Moor Co. and Williams Bros’ New Beginnings complement the Red Ale ribs that arrive in breathtaking portions; however, if size doesn’t count, Inn Deep has a rather relaxed ethos when it comes to burger and pizza toppings and will simply allow you to create your own. This is truly an independent establishment. + A dedication to stocking unique and uncommon ale - The interior could use a freshening up

7a Lansdowne Crescent, West End (Map 9A: G2, 88) 0141 334 4653, | £11 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

Jacker de Viande

Set back from Great Western Road in a quiet, residential street, this basement bar has a laid-back feel. Prices ensure a discerning crowd, attracting football managers and Scottish comedians on occasion, as well as students and older professionals. The menu offers some adventurous options: red snapper with tomato, caper and olive sauce or crab linguini with chilli. A squeeze of lemon lifts the crab, but the red snapper can be a little dry. Perhaps more cautious choices are safer – the battered chicken is dip-ably good. For dessert, lemon tart is a good choice: feisty, creamy and too good to share. The décor is somewhere between glamorous boudoir and classy sports bar. However, despite numerous flat screens, it’s kid friendly, with lots of space. It’s busy for big matches and a comfortable place to watch football and rugby, especially if you call ahead and book a table. + Relaxed, sociable space for cocktails, football fixtures and families - Fish edging towards being overcooked

111 West Regent Street, City Centre See North American


Kelvingrove Café 1163 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: D2, 23) 0141 221 8988, kelvingrovecafe. com | £18 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

1008 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: E2, 40) 0141 564 7988, | £9 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The Kelvingrove Café’s shabby, peeling façade belies a very different interior – one where dark leather booths and a brass bar create a chic vibe with all the appeal of an old-school cocktail bar. It makes sense, then, that the Kevingrove Café excels with its drinks menu. All kinds of unusual (and not so unusual) ingredients are combined to result in some truly startling beverages, while beers are well-covered with some less mainstream bottles from American breweries a highlight. Sharing is the aim of the game when it comes to food: platters are large and well-filled with focaccia, pickles, and your choice of cured meats or fish. Small plates are a little more unorthodox – Eggs Kelvingrove is more a breakfast choice than a tapa, but who’s being picky? Breakfast for dinner is one of life’s simple pleasures. + Some of the finest cokctails in the city - Platters overpriced compared to other establishments

If you look hard enough, chances are it’s possible that a whole A–Z of ephemera from the film that Lebowskis has taken its title and inspiration from can be found inside the premises – but in the interest of brevity, T is for ten pin bowls integrated into a table and W is for a whole load of White Russians (26, to be precise). Food comes by way of soup, sandwiches, salads and killer burgers that have been in no way diminshed by the rash of new openings in the city lately. Portions aren’t for the faint-hearted, and neither is the sprawling collection of toppings ready to pimp your patty – mozzarella coats a free-range Fife chicken fillet like a melted-cheese spider web. Lebowskis wine list is laid out cleanly and pleasingly, and Scottish beers also feature in its repertoire, but it’s got to be a milk-based bevvy. It’s what the Dude would have wanted. + Good-quality comestibles prove this place is niche without being gimmicky - You’ll struggle for a seat towards the end of the week

King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut

The Left Bank

272a St Vincent Street, City Centre (Map 6: B3, 48) 0141 221 5279, kingtuts. | Closed Sun (unless gig on) | £5.50 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

33–35 Gibson Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

For some years now King Tut’s has lived two lives. It’s still a prerequisite for many an up-and-coming band to play the hallowed stage upstairs and, even if the gigs aren’t seven nights a week these days, when there’s live music on the bar throbs with musos and indie kids. But as one of the few bars at the far end of the financial district, lunchtimes cater to local office workers (lots of good

166 Bath Street, City Centre See Bistros & Brasseries

Lucky 7 Canteen

MacSorley’s 42 Jamaica Street, City Centre (Map 6: E6, 122) 0141 248 8581, | £12.50 (lunch) / £12.50 (dinner)

‘Music. Food. Drink.’ declares the bold lettering outside MacSorley’s Music Bar, a punchy rebrand for a bar originally The List Eating & Drinking Guide 123




PETER MCKENNA ON SEAFOOD Growing up, fishing to me was heading out with my older cousin in the hope of catching brown trout. My grandmother always had the task of gutting our catch. Luckily for her we weren’t prolific! It wasn’t until I arrived in London at the grand old age of 20 that I got my hands on a multitude of different sea creatures – urchins, lobsters, hake and the strange-looking but wonderful-tasting St Peter, more commonly known as John Dory. It was during my time in Sydney, Australia, that I really got to grips with preparing seafood to a high standard. Attention to detail was key. I then scored a job with a Saudi prince and was given the freedom (and funds) to trawl the markets of Mediterranean coastal towns, Caribbean islands and the Middle East. I embraced everything – the sweetest red prawns, savoury vongole, freshest octopus, perfect little red mullet that bouillabaisse dreams are made of, many different types of oyster, gooseneck barnacles that daredevils risk life and limb to gather and last, but certainly not least, tuna. I had the task of preparing a 150kg tuna off the coast of Malta on the aft deck of a tugboat in the blistering sun, just hours after being caught, something I repeated in the Maldives cooking for a Russian oligarch. The fish used was caught off the back of his 73-metre private yacht – how’s that for sea to plate! At the Gannet, we use produce from both land and sea but, if I’m very honest, it’s when I’m opening scallops and filleting the stunningly fresh fish we get our hands on daily that I am most excited. QPeter McKenna is chef and co-owner of the Gannet (see page 170).

The Tiki Bar (page 127): transport yourself to sunnier climes at this Bath Street cocktail specialist

opened in 1899. Its central location invites a diverse mix from students to tourists. The interior tells an interesting story of its history – blending original victorian fixtures and an enormous wraparound bar with some more modern tweaks. The busy live music rota can fill the place to the brim with punters, meaning you’re unlikely to notice that the interior is a touch drab. The sizeable cocktail list is unexpectedly eclectic with ingredients such as rhubarb bitters and falernum. A choice of 13 wines by the glass exceeds the norm, making the range of beers seem standard by comparison. Also unexpected are the fine offerings from the kitchen; platter-licking dishes like herb-encrusted sea bream with well-made mustardy clapshot, and a lovely twist on cassoulet with lentils and chorizo shows inventiveness and cooking prowess. + Food - Loud

Maggie May’s 60 Trongate, Merchant City See Bistros & Brasseries

Malone’s Irish Bar 57–59 Sauchiehall Lane, City Centre (Map 6: D2, 32) 0141 332 8899, | £5 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

There are plenty of Irish pubs in Glasgow, but not all of them are equal. Malone’s Irish Bar, tucked away in the heart of the city on Sauchiehall Lane, is one of the best thanks to its pared-back theme – think wall-mounted fiddles and vintage travel posters rather than all-green everything. In tune with its environs, WEST Brewery’s St Mungo is an option drinks-wise as well the prerequisite Guinness pumps, and its

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to 124 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

menu is a melting pot of global influences – Irish stew, yes, but also a finger-licking Mexican chicken burger and a daily pasta dish. Malone’s greatest draw is its packed schedule of live music, which attracts a regular gathering, especially on weekends. If it’s a taste of the Green Isle (figuratively, literally and aurally) you’re after, this could be it. + Malone’s will never be short on atmosphere - An Irish-themed bar isn’t going to appeal to everyone

4 Meat Bar 142 West Regent Street, City Centre (Map 6: D3, 37) 0141 204 3605, | £10 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

This subterranean haunt allows you to unashamedly placate your inner lumberjack. The décor is rustic, american and woodsy – think Twin Peaks, but less creepy. The pleasing odour of ‘smoked’ intermittently fills the air, kickstarting your salivary glands. The menu offers staples such as steak, brisket and ribs, with more adventurous choices that hit the mark, including delicate corned beef with crispy croutons, a succulent French dip sandwich with rich horseradish gravy, and well-balanced smoky rabbit and bacon meatballs. The grand theme continues into pudding and ‘carnivorous cocktails’. The ice-cream oyster owes its silkiness to bone marrow (though the smoked cherry is the star). The Meatojito and Suckling Sour show marvellous drinks acumen, with smoked pig-infused spirits and a clever meaty garnish. Not forgetting the decidedly meatless beer selection that exceeds expectation, featuring microbrews from the US. Meat’s confidence and humour are endearing and its charm will surely pull you back. + A meat-lover’s paradise - Menu descriptions could be more accurate

Metropolitan Merchant Square, Candleriggs, Merchant City See Bistros & Brasseries

Molly Malones 224 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 6: E2, 30) 0141 332 2757, | £10 (lunch) / £12.50


The Irish pub is a constant in practically every city on the planet. Hope Street fixture Molly Malone’s does a decent job of carrying the torch, melding modern sports bar with the traditional Irish boozer. The atmosphere here is vibrant and the lighting unexpectedly warm and soft. The menu is packed with hearty pub staples to fill the hunger gap and could easily feed ravenous groups of all sizes. This Belhaven pub’s lauded fish and chips are tasty enough, comical plate-engulfing haddock aside. But it’s the Guinness pie that is worthy of the accolades with flaky pastry and rich gravy. The alcohol choice ranges from good-value wines and assorted interesting bottles to the compulsory pint of black, of course. + Top-notch service - Toilets could use an update

Mono 12 Kings Court , King Street, Merchant City (Map 7: B4, 35) 0141 553 2400, | £8 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

Having shed its coat of staid crustiness, veganism in Glasgow is alive, kicking and proving more than a little bit attractive to omnivores and carnivores alike. There are few places that do it better than Mono: a light, bright layout with interesting architecture when eyes stray skywards provides the background to a relaxed, if at times too relaxed, eating experience. Vietnam’s answer to the baguette, the bahn mi, is given a kick up the backside with shreds of chilli then freshened up with coriander, while the seitan burger boasts the kind of mustard that warms the mouth and the soul simultaneously. The soundtrack is provided courtesy of the boffins that man music institution Monorail Records next door, so prepare to hear something new and hip. After dinner, head through to flick through the latest vinyl releases – just watch your sleeves for errant mayo. + Range of flavours hint at an inventive head chef - Food can take a while to appear

Moskito 200 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 6: C2, 20) 0141 331 1777, | £11.50 (lunch) / £11.50 (dinner)

Moskito has often come to the rescue of many a barfly wishing to escape the usual


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pitfalls of nightclub culture or the postwork football fan requiring a simple beer and burger to enjoy with the match. Its unfussy, laid-back approach is a welcome departure from many of its Bath Street neighbours whose admission policy can at times be unnecessarily rigorous. Celebrating its 15-year anniversary in 2015 is testament to its continual popularity and its canny understanding of its customer base. The poolroom may be history, but in its place is a cosy backroom snug complete with woodburning stove and opulent leather seating. Not only that, a fresh alliance with local brew shop Hippo Beers ensures that wellchosen beer will certainly be flowing in Moskito for many years to come. + Great new beers on offer - Menu could do with a freshen up

Mulberry Street Bar Bistro 778 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 8: C3, 13) 0141 424 0858, | £6.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

A bustling neighbourhood bar-bistro, the Mulberry sets out to please everyone and is largely very successful. The modern, airy bar area is perfect for a pint (there’s an impressive list of continental lagers and draught guest ales) and a nibble, while the informal separate bistro houses comfy booths packed with a mix of lunching ladies, families celebrating birthdays and date-night couples. They’d all be hard-pressed not to find anything to tempt them on the broad menu, spanning seafood, burgers and salads with western and Asian influences. Starters include the house-made haggis tempura and a generous bowlful of blueshell mussels in a rich, wine and garlic infused cream while mains continue in the hearty vein with tender pork fillet on noodles, pakchoi and ginger and spiced chorizo links on sweet potato with a smoked paprika sauce – like bangers and mash turned up to 11. The Mulberry sticks to a winning formula and continues to be one of the Southside’s most popular and reliable haunts. + Grab a drink in the sunshine on the outdoor terrace - Puddings not quite at the savouries level

Munro’s 185 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: H3, 97) 0141 332 0972, | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Having celebrated its two year anniversary, Munro’s on Great Western Road seems to be firmly in this for the long haul. It could be argued that it had a difficult task to win over the hearts and minds of those who frequented its longstanding predecessor, the Captain’s Rest, but on the back of a massive structural overhaul, a proven keen eye for cask and craft ale and an unpretentious yet appetising food menu, it has undoubtedly carved out a niche for itself. Proudly proclaiming that they are all about ‘burgers, beer and sport’ this mantra serves them well as they remain true to this straightforward ethos. Munro’s has perhaps unsurprisingly also become a popular haunt for those who have just conquered one of Scotland’s many peaks and mountaintops. But what is certain is that Munro’s has no intention of coming down off the pedestal its placed itself upon. + Pleasant setting for sport - Quite male oriented

Nice n Sleazy 421 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 6: A2, 4) 0141 333 0900, | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

An integral part of the vibrant Glasgow

music scene and a bastion of cool since 1990, Nice n Sleazy certainly stands alone, yet its weighty influence is evidenced by the number of bars vying to do the same thing without ever quite succeeding. Sleazy’s is many things to many people; great live venue, late-night drinking den, alternative cinema, and the rightful home of Glasgow’s best burger, the Love Bite. Competing with some of the best bread and meat combos around, their concoction of burger, bacon, chilli jam, chargrilled onions and peanut butter(!) will truly set your heart a-racing. Twinned with a pint of organic Black Isle beer and finished off with their now famous White Russian, you begin to understand why Sleazy’s has so few rivals. The difference is quite simply quality and reputation. + Fine selection of Scottish craft ales - Duct-taped seating repairs are not for everyone

4 The Pacific 562 Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 9A: A3, off) 0141 334 9000, | £5.95 (one-course set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

For those who appreciate something blissfully different, thankfully there are bars like The Pacific, a fully licensed Tiki hut a mere stroll down Dumbarton Road. Happy to twin the unusual but fantastic combination of food and cocktails famous for their connection to the Pacific Islands and Thailand, the bar and kitchen here are also willing to give a respectful nod to the best of Mexico, Cuba and Jamaica. The interior

TIPLIST FOR BEER & WHISKY • The Ben Nevis Dedicated dramsters at this cosy pub 117 • Brel Speciality brews from Belgium and beyond 118 • BrewDog Everexpanding crafters with exceptional brews 118 • DRAM! Whisky galore at this Woodlands specialist 122 • Inn Deep Riverside refreshments from the Williams Bros 123 • The Pot Still Whisky looms large at this city favourite 125 • Republic Bier Halle Exotic beers in the city centre 126 • Three Judges CAMRA favourites pulling at Partick 127 • The Vintage at Drygate Quality beers from the Duke Street craft brewery 128 • WEST Brewery Germanic brewers, now also in Woodlands 128

is wonderfully serene with bamboo adorning the bar and a blowfish lamp or two to light up the joint. The chicken satay ayam starter with peanut sauce is deliciously moreish while the flavours at work within the main dish of Baja fish tacos could satisfy the population of Partick and more. Yet, where this bar really excels is in the quality of its cocktails with each a standalone triumph of fresh fruit and alcohol mixing prowess. Just don’t steal the Tiki mugs. + Pacific Rim Job Volcano Bowl will blow the mind - Can be a tight space when busy

The Pot Still 154 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 6: E3, 54) 0141 333 0980, | £5 (lunch) / £5 (dinner)

It may seem like your typical old codger pub with sporty inclinations but the Pot Still is indeed something to behold. The cavernous insides are a shrine to its past – past bottles consumed, games won, pies eaten. It boasts one of the largest whisky selections in Scotland with bottles reaching the ceiling requiring precarious acrobatics by staff to retrieve them. The bottle count ebbs and flows between 600 and 650, so says effervescent proprietor Frank Murphy, whose family has owned the pub for three years. Not forgetting the interesting beer selection, which nods at fine German, UK and European brews. Whisky always goes well with a good pie or sarnie and theirs is a short and quintessential selection made locally and in-house. The rustic charms of the Pot Still should impress the countrified and the urban booze sophisticate alike. + Whisky galore - Whisky hangovers galore

Rab Ha’s 83 Hutcheson Street, Merchant City See Scottish

The Raven 81–85 Renfield Street, City Centre (Map 6: E3, 57) 0141 332 6151, | £12 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Located on a main city thoroughfare, Maclay Inns’ latest venture in Glasgow has two distinct areas separating diners from drinkers, with twinkling lights adorning the perimeter. The menu can be ordered in both bar and restaurant and popular lunchtime deals pull workers from the surrounding offices – at £5 for a main it’s good value for the city centre. What’s on offer showcases current food trends from sliders and hotdogs to burritos, plus some classic snacky bar stuff to nibble on such as nachos and chicken wings. Smoked slow-cooked meat is the main feature, like back ribs that come in varying portions or sharing platters; it’s also worth making space for sweet potato chips, which go well with smoked barbecue sauce. At the bar a range of craft ales from UK suppliers include Willams Bros and Stewarts, whose Ka Pai is an enjoyably fruit pale ale. These supplement regular guests on cask that change weekly, such as Lomond Brewery’s Bonnie ’n’ Blonde. + Fantastic service from smiling staff - Food can be a little unremarkable

4 Redmond’s of Dennistoun 304 Duke Street, East End (Map 7: D1, off) 07943 222 650 | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Leading the pack of impressive bars springing up around the East End, Redmond’s of Dennistoun is an establishment dedicated to pleasure. Not merely content to provide quality beer, wine and pre-mixed cocktails at a fantastic price, the food menu is an imaginative medley of meat and




NEW SHOP! WINE & BEER 105 West Nile St, Glasgow G1 2SD

0141 332 4481

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 125



vegetable plates designed to stir the senses and satisfy the soul. Dedication to fresh produce and ethical sourcing ensures that each dish, from the glorious David Chang-influenced pork belly steamed bun to the delectable gluten-free salted caramel brownie, is as rewarding on the palate as it is on the conscience. Yet their ethical gusto stretches even further with an insistence on fair trade and the accomplishment of being the first bar in Scotland to ensure the Living Wage for their staff. Passion radiates from Redmond’s in spades and expands not only the distance we are willing to travel for splendid sustenance but also the possibilities. + The glorious salted caramel brownie - Greens a tad limp

Republic Bier Halle 9 Gordon Street, City Centre (Map 6: E5, 97) 0141 204 0706, republicbierhalle. com | No Kids | £6.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

If it’s beer and pizza in a basement you’re after, this is your place. Most nights the long canteen-style benches are packed and the pizzas disappear fast, all to the sound of loud and lively up-tempo house. Loosely based around Bavarian drinking halls, it’s a sociable space ideal for pre-night-out pitstops and post-work catch-ups while beers from around the world flow with the conversation. Thin and crisp-based pizzas with some tasty toppings, such as pastrami and blue cheese or spicy merguez sausage, are undeniably good value at 2-for-1

TIPLIST FOR COCKTAILS • Alston Bar & Beef Subterranean gin specialists at Central Station 130 • Bath Street Palomino Quality creations at this winning pony 117 • Blue Dog Dedicated bar with enticing creations 118 • Booly Mardy’s Exceptional Bloody Marys and more 118 • Blythswood Square Salon Sophisticated sipping from the bar book 170 • Distill Expertly made rum classics in Finnieston 120 • Hyde Top-end beverages from Partick cross


• Kelvingrove Café Oldschool dedication to classic concoctions 123 • Lebowskis White Russians to keep dudes happy


• The Tiki Bar Kitschy and cool drinking den 127

126 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Vintage at Drygate (page 128): craft beers galore and quality food from this newcomer inside a brewery

all week and all day. Add a rocket and sun-dried tomato salad and it’s a nicely balanced bar meal – once you add a beer, of course, and you’re spoiled for choice here: Belgian blondes, Australian IPA Little Creatures or plenty to keep craft beer fans happy with Yardbird or Scotland’s own Arran Blonde. It’s a simple and enduringly successful recipe. + Wide range of exotic beers - Works if you like it loud

The Rio Café 27 Hyndland Street, West End See Cafés

Rioja 1116 Argyle Street, West End See Spanish

Rockus 1038 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: D2, 39) 0141 204 5075, rockus-glasgow. | £11.50 (lunch) / £11.50 (dinner)

Suitably enough this rock rebel sits in contrast to rest of the Finnieston strip, offering a different experience. Food probably won’t be the draw here but the menu offers burgers and nachos for those who work up an appetite. Smaller nibbles range from breaded mushrooms and spicy chicken wings to fried mozzarella sticks. Drinking and rocking out are the main attractions though: there’s a classic rock look with a black bar, dark brown leather seating and a jukebox. Plus, it’s probably safe to say, they have the only Metallica pinball machine in Glasgow. Drinks go from Trooper beer – made by Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson – to Angostura rum and gin cocktails to get the party started. Live music from rock and blues bands most nights of the week provides lively entertainment and while it won’t suit all tastes, if you like it lo-fi and loud this could well be for you. + Smart range of bottled beers - Too grungy for some

The Rum Shack 657–659 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 8: C3, 9) 0141 237 4432 | £12 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

This Southside bar’s co-owner Michael Smith is behind MacSorleys and chef

Brian Austin hails from Tobago, so the combination of the Scottish love of a party and authentic island flavours make this place worth seeking out. Split into a T-shaped bar area and downstairs venue, the former has quality beers on tap like Estrella Damm and Bitter and Twisted to choose from but it’s all about the rum really. There are over 50 on show, hailing from all over the Caribbean, which go into superb cocktails. The food is a truly unique experience in the city -- jerk chicken and curried goat are classics but the culinary tour takes in regional dishes such as fried prawns with tamarind or chaana aloo. Of course, it’s not a rum party without music and the lively basement room provides space for dancing and live gigs from local reggae bands and DJs. Bringing a little ‘irie’ to Glasgow, it’s no surprise that the Rum Shack is making waves south of the river. + Rum, reggae and good times - If only it opened later . . .

4 The Salisbury 72 Nithsdale Road, Southside (Map 8: C2, 5) 0141 423 0084, | £7 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

In this ambitious Southside newcomer, it looks like boho Strathbungo might have finally gotten the grown-up bar-diner it deserves. The bare walls and filament bulbs are modern design staples, here matched with warm vintage greens and upholstered booths that beg you to slide into them and make a night of it. The drinks menu boasts its own Salisbury Brew pilsner on tap and a short but smart cocktail list with classic Collins and Coolers alongside original concoctions such as The Southsider – gin and vermouth with house-made plum and ginger syrup. The monthly-changing menu takes seasonal Scottish ingredients and adds no small amount of flair. Isle of Mull scallops come with chorizo stew, Shetland monkfish is turned into highclass scampi with a sour-sweet lime aioli, West Coast oysters are washed down with whisky and cranberry Red Snapper shots which rather surprisingly works really well. The Salisbury is a welcome and serious new contender on the Glasgow bar scene.

+ Local ingredients prepared with real flair - Only one vegetarian main option

Saramago Café Bar CCA, 350 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre See Arts Venues

The 78 10–14 Kelvinhaugh Street, West End (Map 9B: C2, 16) 0141 576 5018, | £10 (lunch) / £10 (dinner)

Like the 78 veggie burger that’s taken years to perfect, this bar’s built up a wide fanbase over time. It’s busy – sometimes very busy – at weekends; step inside and you’ll realise why. With a welcome so friendly you’ll wonder whether you’ve met the staff before, and a relaxed atmosphere, this is a great place to hang out. There’s a real fire, a mishmash of charity shop pictures, and dusty-blue velvet couches, not to mention a troop of shiny draft beer fonts lined up, ready to serve organic and local craft beers. Regulars keep coming back for the exceptional and very reasonably priced food, such as coconut and bean chilli nachos or falafel wrap. Daily soups, salads and special burgers reveal a commitment to keeping the (vegan) menu fresh. The venue, previously Stereo, still has links with the music scene; weekly nights include reggae, jazz, and an openmic night. Meanwhile, one-off gigs from touring bands – Franz Ferdinand played a secret show – let you know this place is something special. + Food that tastes as good as the music sounds - Can be hard to get a table at weekends

Sloans 62 Argyll Arcade, City Centre (Map 6: F6, 120) 0141 221 8886, | £13.50 (lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

Though some of the fixtures may have changed, Sloans still retains the traditional grandiosity of its lavish 18thcentury formation. While boasting to be Glasgow’s oldest pub, it certainly shows no sign that it intends to rest on this status as their popular EatFilm


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night clearly illustrates. Yet, they haven’t forgotten their past, hosting Mrs Sloans Cake Salon each Sunday; a delightful ritual for those wishing to add a bit of class to their weekend. The bar itself offers a charming selection of beers, ciders and cask ales with two alternating ales from the Kelburn Brewery. The menu exhibits Sloans shrewd marriage of old and new as cosmopolitan Italian deli sandwiches sit alongside their legendary macaroni cheese and fries. In an era where traditional can sometimes be viewed as out of date, Sloans proves that this need not be the case. + A welcome haven from the city’s hustle and bustle - On occasion the city makes an unwelcome appearance

Slouch 203–205 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 6: C2, 19) 0141 221 5518, slouch-bar. | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

It might have a reputation as a rock bar, but with live jazz, blues and acoustic music on offer Slouch readily overdelivers on this count. Large basement windows allow for people-watching and a big meandering space – split into cosy wee areas – gives this city centre bar a neighbourhood feel. Wooden crates behind the bar shelve an extensive array of spirits; Deadhead rum, in a bottle shaped like a shrunken head, is pricey but popular. Meanwhile, a large selection of craft ales means there’s always something new to try. In general, the food is pub-grub offerings; ‘support acts’ such as crab cakes, as well as ‘headliners’ featuring pizza and fajitas. But it’s the eclectic playlist, impressive drinks selection and laid-back crowd that make this venue worth a visit. + Pub grub served till 2am - Too much choice on the menu

The Sparkle Horse 16 Dowanhill Street, West End (Map 9A: B3, 12) 0141 562 3175, thesparklehorse. com | £9.50–£12 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

In an unassuming street off Dumbarton Road, this could seem at first glance like a regular neighbourhood bar. Open the doors though and warm chatter under twinkling lights draws you into the open bar and raised dining area beyond. Embossed black wallpaper creates a stylish but laid-back feel. The intriguing menu is delivered with skill and care. Pork loin tenderised by crisp Parma ham is enriched by carefully rationed Stornoway black pudding stuffing, while the halloumi salad with honey mustard dressing is good enough to make it worth having as a main. From the range of £6 weeknight dishes, tender sea bass represents outstanding value: smoky, crisp skin yields to the bite atop citrusy sun-blushed tomato risotto. Such quality would happily grace the city’s better bistros so it’s worth savouring in the pub on the corner. This horse is an undoubted thoroughbred. + Exceptional standard bar food - Disappointing brownie

The Squid & Whale 372–374 Great Western Road, West End See Mexican

Stereo 20–28 Renfield Lane, City Centre (Map 6: E4, 88) 0141 222 2254, stereocafebar. com | £6.50 (soup & sandwich) (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Vegan food is all spicy bean burgers and variations of tomato-based pastes, right? Not in 2015. Joining its animal productfree brethren Mono, the 13th Note and the 78, Stereo is a venue frequented not just by those pursuing a vegetable-heavy lifestyle but also gig-goers (downstairs

hosts live music most nights), pre-dinner drinkers (it’s city centre location makes it an attractive spot to duck in to for a pint) and patrons looking for a seat on which to consider this smorgasbord of offerings. Stereo’s food menu draws from all corners of the globe with a nod towards the Middle East by way of muhammara (a Lebanese red pepper and walnut dip) and a double fist-bump with Greece and Scotland via its haggis koftas. Of particular note are the quesadillas: refried beans and roasted peppers in gluten-free tortillas – plus ‘cheese’. How? Don’t question the magic. + Meat-free Mondays out just got cool - Weekend nights are busy busy

Stravaigin Café Bar 28 Gibson Street, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Tabac 10 Mitchell Lane, City Centre (Map 6: E5, 114) | 0141 572 1448

After almost 25 years in the business of dining, drinking and prepping clubbers for the night ahead, the closure of Bar Ten on Mitchell Lane will have the city’s older nightlifers raising a glass to one of Glasgow’s first style bars and one of its most enduring venues. Taking over the venue is Tabac, courtesy of Fergus McVicar, of Chinaski’s, and Paul Crawford, former owner of Sub Club. Expect a flavour of Barcelona brought to the wee lane off Buchanan Street, including a dedicated weekend bar selling Leche de Pantera (Panther’s Milk), a Spanish cocktail made with condensed milk. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check for updates].

are very much that of a traditional local pub and though that’s the way they like it here, it’s warm and welcoming to visitors. Weekdays are music free if it’s the art of conversation that’s required while Sundays slip past with live jazz and a pint of guest ale. + Selection of quality cask ales - A bite would be nice

The Tiki Bar 214 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 6: C2, 17) 0141 332 1341, | £8 (set lunch) / £13.50 (set dinner)

A champagne-filled conch sails past to the swaying sound of Bob Marley, and if Tom Cruise popped up with a silver shaker it’d be no surprise. This surf shack-style cocktail bar is just a few steps from a city centre street but bamboo cladding and Hawaiian-shirted staff put visitors in holiday mode straight away. It’s lively at weekends with an eclectic crowd of large groups and couples enjoying a stream of vigorously agitated cocktails. Made with panache but very little pretension, it’s much more beach-hut party than piano-bar chic. Like the bar, the drinks are bold, colourful and tongue-in-cheek – choose from an Angostura-based Rum Bongo or Auchentoshan whisky Och Aye The Bru. There’s an abundance of rum and vodka as might be expected with quirky creations inspired by the Big Lebowski, Elvis and a homage to Scarlett Johansson whose Under The Skin was filmed here. So kick back with a ceramic coconut for a glass – it’s the sort of place where a quick drink turns into a lost evening doing the hula-hula until midnight. + Unashamedly good fun - Group bookings can make finding a seat tricky

The 13th Note Café/Bar 50–60 King Street, Merchant City (Map 7: B3, 33) 0141 553 1638, | £9 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

This feels like the kind of place you might go to for a drink and leave as a member of a new band. The venue downstairs features up-and-coming bands, mainly hardcore, metal and rock, but the jukebox upstairs is easier on the ears. The food shines compared with other restaurants, not just other vegan/ vegetarian places. The Greek salad is pretty authentic with rich Kalamata olives and a snowfall of crumbly feta. For main course, the halloumi kebab is an excellent choice as is their veggie burger, which has been around considerably longer than some of the bands on the jukebox, and for good reason. They also do bar snacks, such as their awardwinning chips: hand-cut from Ayrshire potatoes and sprinkled with rosemary and salt. But it’s also a great place to have a drink – a welcome alternative to more self-conscious city centre bars. + One of the best veggie/vegan places in town - The chips are so good your friends will steal them

THE STAND COMEDY CLUB 333 Woodlands Road | Glasgow | 0141 212 3389 StandGlasgow


Get your fill of the tastiest live comedy

Three Judges 141 Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 9A: B3, 16) 0141 337 3055, threejudges. | No Kids

The Judges, as it’s affectionately known to locals, is a long-standing fixture at the crossroads of upmarket Byres Road and streetwise Partick. Not a hipster in sight and, though there’s no pulled pork, the fine selection of cask ales equals more fashionable establishments. It has long been a champion of real ale – a recipient of multiple CAMRA awards and host of several festivals throughout the year. On a weekly basis there are nine on tap, from stouts and porters to summer ales and milds, with staff happy to offer tasters of anything new. The layout and atmosphere

OPEN 7 NIGHTS A WEEK The List Eating & Drinking Guide 127



Tomboy 44–46 Ashton Lane, West End See Mexican

The Two Figs 5 and 9 Byres Road, West End (Map 9A: B3, 14) 0141 334 7277, | £5 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

On cold days, two fires warm both the bar and separate restaurant of this friendly place, tucked away at the foot of Byres Road. With two talented cocktail waiters on the staff, it’s warming in more ways than one. As well as twists on classics, such as Royal Edwardian Mojito, there are also tempting ‘perfect pours’, such as Grown Up Doctor Pepper. The food is reliably good and the portion size should please those with avid appetites. Southern-style ribs – enough for two as a starter – have a glossy glaze, the colour of tempered chocolate, coating tender meat that falls off the bone. Mains range from classic burgers and Oriental noodles to superfood salads. Desserts are a mix of homely and more unusual offerings such as nimish – flavoured with saffron, rosewater and pistachio, and the texture of warm ice-cream. The bold, fig-patterned wallpaper adds to the cool but quirky contemporary feel, and vast windows that stretch to the high ceilings provide non-stop entertainment. + Real fi res when chilly and a warm atmosphere whatever the weather - Compared to the starters, some of the mains threaten to let the side down

Variety Bar 401 Sauchiehall Street, City Centre (Map 6: A2, 6) 0141 332 4449 | No Kids

The Variety has been a staple of Sauchiehall Street since the early 1990s and, quite frankly, bears the well-worn scars to prove it. Yet the occasional scuff or dent here and there cannot besmirch the beauty or reputation of this wonderful establishment. It has all the character – and some of the adornments – commonly associated with a New York dive bar; low lighting, the occasional potted palm and a precariously positioned fish tank, which manages to allure and repel all at once. Refreshingly they aren’t out to fleece you either – assorted beers and spirits can be purchased for around the £3.50 mark. While awaiting your beverage, a hasty glance over your shoulder will quickly establish whether this is the place for you. If not, keep your eyes on your pint and don’t ruin the fun for everyone else. + Has the coolest clock in Glasgow - The inevitable descent to the toilet

The Vic Café Bar Glasgow School of Art, 168 Renfrew Street, City Centre See Arts Venues

4 The Vintage at Drygate 85 Drygate, East End (Map 7: D1, off) 0141 212 8810, | £12 (set lunch) / £12 (dinner)

Edinburgh’s loss is Glasgow’s gain after The Vintage travelled west last year to conceive the menus at the new Drygate Brewery. The brewery itself is one of the most exciting advancements in Scottish brewing to happen in the last few years, and its vast premises in the East End don’t disappoint: on site is a bottle shop, beerhall, and terrace, as well as some seriously creative edible offerings. Reflecting the hip environs (think pared-back, minimal décor), The Vintage’s brewhouse menu focuses on small plates ideal for sharing – though the big flavours, bold presentation and unexpected flourishes mean you might find it hard to give anything away. There’s no doubt this is trendy cooking: remoulades and rillettes feature, but using comforting homegrown ingredients 128 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Grumpy Goat (page 122): a warm welcome to all at this enticing new bar-bistro at Yorkhill

like beetroot and barley. What’s more, the dizzingly vast beer selection, from the brewery’s own to global guests, means brews can be paired to pretty much anything ordered. + Seriously creative food matched with equally impressive beer - Not the easiest to get to, public transport-wise

Vroni’s Wine & Champagne Bar 47 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 6: E4, 66) 0141 221 4677, | No Kids | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

Live in Glasgow for years and you still could have walked by the reassuringly timeless front to this wine bar countless times. Inside, it’s Austrian influenced, not Italian (as the name might suggest) and modelled on an Alpine bar the owner once visited. The bottle-green leather seats are worn (and all the better for it) and dark wood partitions off tables. With over 50 wines offered by the glass and four different wine flights available, it successfully appeals to a seasoned and discerning crowd. An economical menu complements the vast selection of wines, for example smoked salmon with capers for starter, and Greek salad or soul goujons for mains. But many simply plump for the cheeseboard, while the regular pop of prosecco corks launches many convivial conversations. In fact, they sell so much that if their suppliers run out they phone the bar to ask if they can spare any. + An Alpine mountain top bar minutes from Buchanan Street - No food on Friday and Saturday evenings

The Waverley Tea Room 18 Moss Side Road, Southside (Map 8: A4, 21) 0141 616 6818, socialanimal. | £10.99 (not Sat) (set lunch) / £10.99 (Sun–Thu) (set dinner)

While it may boast the largest beer garden south of the Clyde, the Waverley Tea Room is definitely out to cater for

the lucrative family market over groups of beer-swilling sun-seekers. Hosting regular Monday baby yoga sessions, Mini Movie Clubs and arts and crafts sessions, there’s plenty to keep wee minds entertained, leaving mum and dad breathing space to enjoy more adult pursuits. Where else can the kids wear themselves out in the soft play while you sample ten varieties of champagne or endearingly retro cocktails like a rum, gin and peach liqueur-laced Iced Tea poured straight from the pot? Recently the kitchen has given space to fellow G1 Group favourite Ketchup, with its Cajun steak and chicken katsu burgers sitting alongside hearty bistro standards such as rich duck shepherd’s pie with roasted roots and the predictable but nonetheless tasty mushroom risotto vegetarian option. Its late drinks licence (rare in this neck of the woods) means you can sneak back for a nightcap once the kids are tucked up in bed. + Brunch served seven days a week - Can feel a bit like dining in a crèche

4 WEST Brewery Building 4 Templeton Building, Glasgow Green, East End (Map 7: D5, off) 0141 550 0135, | £14.95 (set lunch) / £16.95 (set dinner)

Like nearby landmark the People’s Palace, WEST Brewery is fast becoming part of the very fabric of Glasgow. The grand Templeton building, where carpets that lined Clyde-built ships were woven, is an ideal setting to savour masterfully prepared food and drink. The food’s presentation matches the simple elegance of the spacious bar’s restrained wood tones, while the cooking is clearly given the same care as the brewing. Scottish venison stew with sauerkraut is enriched with Munich Red beer jus, giving a warming depth of flavour that expertly showcases WEST’s ethos. Potato pancakes with apple sauce make a deliciously tangy starter and the apple strudel is a buttery delight. There’s also

the chance to sample authentic bratwurst and wash it down with St Mungo – a crisp Munich-style signature beer named after the city’s patron saint. Founder Petra Wetzel has successfully sprinkled a little Black Forest magic across Glasgow Green: a Bavarian rhapsody. Also, watch out for the refurbed WEST on the Corner, taking over the old Halt Bar venue on Woodlands Road, planned to reopen late spring/early summer 2015. + Beer and plate in perfect harmony - Stretching across the gap to the bar

Wild Cabaret & Wicked Lounge 18 Candleriggs, Merchant City See Arts Venues

Yesbar 14 Drury Street, City Centre (Map 6: E4, 89) 0141 204 0060, | £13 (lunch) / £13 (dinner)

Amid the intensity surrounding Scotland’s referendum, renaming a bar after one side is undeniably partisan. Whether Yes, No or don’t care, however, visitors to this warm and inviting bar find more pizza than politics. No bad thing when it’s this good. Served classic style or by the metre for groups, the stone-baked pizzas are worth savouring. Italian-American toppings such as meatballs and red onion match the 1950’s diner feel upstairs, encircling the chequered floor below. Calamari is an appetizing starter, crunchy peppery batter and delicate squid, but save space for a slice or two. A rich sauce and fine base result in a roll-it-up-and-it’sgone take on Italian cuisine – relaxed, sociable and easy to enjoy, like the bar itself, whose bubbly atmosphere is a welcome addition to the city centre. Get classy with on-tap prosecco served with a raspberry, or stay late to enjoy regular stand-up at the comedy nights downstairs. + Laid-back buzz of the bar - Pizza on slate boards is a bit messy


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0141 212 8815


The List Eating & Drinking Guide 129




GEORGE MEWES ON CHEESE I’ve always had a passion for good quality food especially perfectly matured, worldclass artisan cheese. So ten years ago, I made the decision to change the direction of my career by switching from being a chef to work exclusively with cheese. I’ve been hooked ever since. This then led me to fulfilling a lifelong ambition of becoming my own boss which I achieved when I opened the doors of George Mewes Cheese five years ago. While I never imagined how demanding having my own cheese shop would be, it has been a hugely rewarding experience. Our mission is to provide the best quality cheese and cheese accompaniments for our customers combined with a consistently high standard of service. We want to make the cheese shop experience as fun and accessible as possible while never compromising on the quality. We view each customer as an individual and it’s our mission to help them find their perfect cheese. There is nothing more enjoyable than seeing a smile on a customer’s face when they try one of our cheeses for the first time. It’s an amazing feeling when they are overwhelmed and leave the shop as excited about the cheeses as we are. We work very closely with our farmhouse artisan cheese makers and affineurs who are all at the top of their game. We have great respect for our cheeses and we nurture them from the minute that they arrive so that they maintain the finest possible taste and texture. We like our cheeses to be happy and when our cheeses are happy so are our customers. QGeorge Mewes is owner of George Mewes Cheese, 106 Byres Road, West End.

130 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

BISTROS & BRASSERIES This year it really feels like Glasgow’s bistro scene has come of age. From the grandiose interiors of Merchant City buildings evoking nostalgia to boho neighbourhood hangouts with buzzy feelgood vibes, there’s an overall sense of community. It’s a celebration of diversity with local provenance highly prized. Among the Hitlisted, you’re likely to discover your ‘bestever’ steak, ‘freshest’ seafood or that ‘umami’ moment thanks to passionate and creative chefs crafting simple honest ingredients into something sensory and magical. So call up your friends, family and lovers to sample Scotland’s finest produce, craft beers and spirits that are so this season, and likely to be around for some time to come. Reviewers: Sucheta Dutt, Carolyn McTaggart, Andrea Mullaney, Kevin Scott

Alston Bar & Beef Central Station, 79 Gordon Street, City Centre (Map 6: E5, 87) 0141 221 7627, | £13 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

Rushing in and out of Central Station, it can be easy to miss the unassuming staircase that leads to Alston Bar & Beef, but venturing down offers up more than you’d expect from a train station restaurant. Stylishly decorated throughout with a stunning bar area set under one arch, and a restaurant under another, the focus here is on gin and beef. The gin offering is impressive, with over 50 on the menu, though a pre-dinner Royal Passage cocktail could do with a little more boozy kick. Steaks here are impressive, with beef from Tweed Valley offered in the usual cuts (and topped with bone marrow for the bolder diner) along with some intriguing starters that include a rich filet mignon and a shortrib with scallops that impresses. Beyond the steaks, there are a couple of fish dishes and, for the less adventurous, a burger loaded with pulled pork that easily matches the best of Glasgow’s countless burger joints. Alston has created an interesting concept here, and it’s proving to be a successful one – whether dining for business or pleasure, or simply looking to indulge in a cool G&T. + Choosing from all the gins - Low-arched ceilings not ideal for claustrophobics

dining rooms and choice of menus extend this venue to meet many occasion. Subtle applewood and juniper smoked salmon woven between pepper-crusted tuna carpaccio is a fresh, albeit no-frills appetiser that leaves you hankering for the mains to arrive. Finest Scotch beef cuts are given the Josper grill treatment with choice of signature hand-cut chips or straw fries. Grilled whole sea bass has nicely crisped skin and soft flesh beneath served with well-seasoned baby roast tatties that warrant a tangier salsa verde for balance. If you’re in a New York state of mind then try the classic cheesecake or signature sundae with a dash of bourbon for a true celebration of Scots-American nostalgia. + Classic Bloody Mary at its best - Bling prices

Art Lover’s Café House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, 10 Dumbreck Road, Southside See Arts Venues

Azur Bistro Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street, City Centre See French

lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Located in a busy spot, this suburban restaurant is a place where locals can stop off, take a break and enjoy a glass of wine with a leisurely lunch or dinner. Covering the different reasons why residents might choose to eat out, they have a range of menus to cater for all budgets and occasions, from a light lunch to a more substantial and expensive dinner. The food is modern British – at lunch you can enjoy open sandwiches and salad bowls while the à la carte is confident with city prices for dishes like roasted monkfish wrapped in Parma ham with mashed potatoes in a crayfish and mussel cream sauce. The thoughtfulness might be its weakness – a smaller and simpler menu with greater definition and distinctiveness might be a better draw. But, if it’s working why change it? And this popular and busy spot is testament to a winning formula. When the charismatic, welcoming owner is around engaging in light-hearted, friendly conversation, coupled with good food and efficient service, there is not much more you can ask for from a quality neighbourhood restaurant. + The relaxed neighbourhood ambience - Slight over-enthusiasm with seasoning

Baby Grand 3–7 Elmbank Gardens, City Centre (Map 6: A2, 8) 0141 248 4942, | £9 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The Brasserie at the Chip

Fondly regarded as an institution, this classic-looking piano bar-bistro (locked between office blocks and an alternative entertainment venue) has changed little since it started serving Charing Cross workers, commuters and a theatregoing public 31 years ago. With service underpinned by the camaraderie between staff, you can see why customers keep returning for more, particularly with the good-value two and three-course menus on offer. To get you started while choosing from the menu, there is an enticing and extensive global artisan gin menu. Demonstrating glimpses of originality and thoughtfulness on the food front, there are dishes such as braised pig’s cheek with omelette drizzled in truffle oil. When you feel like putting together cocktails and a good meal with accompanying smooth piano classics (Wednesday to Saturday evenings), a trip here can result in an experience not likely to be had anywhere else in the city. Slick in execution from start to finish, as it should be after all these years, it’s an often overlooked little gem. + A fondly regarded and reliable bistro - Distracted staff

Housed in former stables, the Chip is the West End’s most iconic eating and drinking establishment that retains much of its original character and culinary ethos, shaped by its patrons for over four decades. The mezzanine dining room sits directly above the twinkly-lit leafy courtyard restaurant below. Intimate yet unpretentious, it’s an offshoot that plays no second fiddle. More casual and laid-back is the Brasserie’s extension off the snug bar. Scotland’s natural larder is very much in the spotlight throughout. Cutting the mustard is a duck egg starter with sautéed baby tatties, wild mushrooms and syboes (aka spring onions). Gin-cured salmon is a more delicate affair – subtle flavours and textures of the silky lemon emulsion, wafer-thin beetroot carpaccio and snappy Breton crostini preserve its integrity. Chip ’71 full cask ale from Loch Fyne brewers adds a rich flavour depth to the smoky broth, which envelops a main course of plump and meaty Loch Melfort mussels. For carnivores, there’s the likes of own traditional haggis, neeps ’n’ tatties, a salad of smoked Galloway venison, grilled Ramsay’s pork loin and Aberdeen-Angus steak. Desserts are given plenty of TLC. Try dark chocolate ganache with rosewater marshmallow – it’s mesmerising and seductive to the very last mouthful. + Unique bohemian setting like no other in the city - Portions may need topped up with side dishes

Barça Tapas and Cava Bar Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street, City Centre See Spanish

Bell & Felix 248 Kilmarnock Road, Southside See Cafés

The Anchor Line

12 Ashton Lane, West End (Map 9A: C2, 36) 0141 334 5007, | £16 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)


12–16 St Vincent Street, City Centre (Map 6: F4, 100) 0141 248 1434, | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Le Bistro Beaumartin

The Anchor Line is a venue of scale exhibiting all the opulence of its heyday – a sympathetically restored A-listed building once the home of the shipping company of the same name. Edwardian architecture and memorabilia reflects a rich maritime heritage of transatlantic ocean-liners that brought prosperity and lasting legacy to the city. Smart bartenders, all waistcoats and shiny shoes, will lovingly mix ‘speakeasy’ classic cocktails to your taste from the art deco focal-point bar. Flexible private

La Bonne Auberge

161 Hope Street, City Centre See French

39–43 Ashton Lane, West End See Bars & Pubs

Brutti Compadres 161 West Nile Street, City Centre See French

3 Virginia Court, Merchant City See Bars & Pubs

Brutti Ma Buoni The Bothy 11 Ruthven Lane, West End See Scottish

Brunswick Hotel, 106 Brunswick Street, Merchant City See Bars & Pubs

Brasserie 19

The Bungo Bar & Kitchen

19 New Kirk Road, Bearsden, West End (Map 9A: A1, off) 0141 942 0865, brasserie19 | Closed Mon | £12.95 (set

17–21 Nithsdale Road, Southside (Map 8: C2, 6) 0141 423 0023, | £15 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Neighbourhood dining is a concept


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BISTROS & BRASSERIES 4 The Butchershop Bar & Grill This New York-style steakhouse remains one of the city’s most exciting venues, with beef and fish dishes from a highly skilled kitchen.

Alston Bar & Beef: steaks and gin are specialities at this good-looking newcomer beneath Central Station

the Southside is growing increasingly comfortable with and few venues have played a bigger part than the Bungo. A relation of the Left Bank and Two Figs, it has created a convivial personality of its own, one where dogs are as welcome as paying customers. A cosy bar complete with booths and tables and bare brick walls shares a menu with a more refined restaurant area. A number of small plates can either be divvied up or treated as starters, and it would be remiss not to tuck in: beetroot gnocchi is stunning, sweet and full of harmonious textures from pesto, parmesan and salad. Mains include variations of pub grub along with more creative dishes. A chickpea and vegetarian haggis burger is smooth, nutty and smoky, while densely seasoned Goan seafood curry comes in a huge bowl stuffed with mussels, prawns and masala fish. A number of deals and themes throughout the week ensure the place is always bustling with diners and locals enjoying a decent range of beers and cocktails – particularly an awesome Bloody Mary. + Neighbourhood dining doesn’t get better - Bathroom upgrade required

4 The Butchershop Bar & Grill 1055 Sauchiehall Street, West End (Map 9B: C1, 15) 0141 339 2999, | £13.95 (set lunch) / £34 (dinner)

Restaurateur James Rusk once had a vision to bring a New York-style grillroom to Glasgow. In 2010, that vision became the Butchershop, and Glasgow is all the better for it, from the stone, oak and leather interior to its lively atmosphere, evident even on week nights. Directly opposite Kelvingrove Art Gallery, the view is stunning, whether you look outside or down at your plate. Beef is the order of the day, of course, but the entire menu is packed full of invention. Take the pork cheek starter; tender, wholesome and served with langoustine tails and figs. While choosing one of the 35-day-aged cuts of beef is a thoroughly sensible option for main, a Goan curried monkfish is a worthy alternative. The quality extends to desserts, which make you feel like a kid again – see the chocolate pave with treacle marshmallows and salted caramel for proof. Knowledgeable staff are genuinely keen to share food and wine recommendations (from an impressive list), and with plans to introduce 45-day-

aged on-the-bone cuts, the Butchershop continues to be a must visit for any carnivore. + It’s all about that beef - Disappointing range of beers

Café Gandolfi 64 Albion Street, Merchant City (Map 7: C2, 14) 0141 552 6813, | £22 (lunch) / £27 (dinner)

A Glasgow institution beloved by city workers and weekend shoppers, Gandolfi very much sticks to the principle of ‘If it ain’t broke . . .’ when it comes to both its décor and its menu. The heavy carved oak benches, chairs and tables around the cosy bar and the old photos of the city haven’t changed for years. And regulars would be disappointed if staples like haggis, neeps and tatties, macaroni cheese or scallops were dropped for trendier dishes. Light meals and starters include piquant Arbroath smokies, perfectly balancing the strong flavour with light tomato, cream and parmesan sauce, topped with pieces of toast, or a hearty chickpea dhal with onions and pitta bread for dipping. There’s also a good choice of pastas, but a chicken kiev dish is let down by a rather glutinous texture and soggy spinach. However, there’s nothing to fault the peat-smoked salmon from the Summer Isles, simply presented with bread, lemon and salad to let its subtle flavours linger. A dessert of fondant cake more resembles a chunky brownie, but is accompanied by their high-quality ice cream. Overall, a classy experience with a timeless air. + Excellent wine list - Not a place for surprises

Cafe Source Too Hillhead Sports Club, 32 Hughenden Road, West End See Scottish

Cafezique 66 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 9A: B2, 5) 0141 339 7180, | £15 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Beyond the stripped-back shabby shopfront is a modern, buzzy and cosmopolitan café bar. It’s a hubbub of activity and the neat L-shaped mezzanine affords a birds-eye view of proceedings. Nose-twitching aromas waft from the open kitchen whetting the appetite. It’s a popular neighbourhood destination for cake and coffee, light bites, brunch or dinner. And there’s nothing quite like a bit

of name-dropping on the menu when it comes to reassuring provenance – smoked Rannoch venison, Aberfoyle beef and pork, Puddledub bacon, Stornoway black pudding, Loch Duart salmon and Orkney crab showcase some of Scotland’s finest produce. Among the ‘small’ plate section are Shetland mussels with broth of choice accompanied by freshly made artisan bread straight from their sister deli next door. From the ‘big’ section curried hake has just the right spicing to elevate the softly sweet white flesh. It’s served on a bed of airy puy lentils with peas, shallots, tomato and coriander oil – a refreshing combination. Risotto of wild mushroom is loose, not heavy, with lipsmacking umami flavours that’ll have you licking the plate clean. No skimping on ’zique’s desserts, they’re among the best in the West – from huggable bramley apple crumble to homemade marshmallow, meringues and scoopfuls of Scottish berries. + Taste of the season using quality Scottish produce - Space can be tight when busy

Central Market 51 Bell Street, Merchant City (Map 7: C2, 15) 0141 552 3530, | £14 (lunch) / £21 (dinner)

It’s the hugely stylish interior that first beguiles customers in Central Market. With its dark floor, pristine white tiled walls, marble tabletops and the greenery that hangs from the mezzanine over an open kitchen and bar right in the heart of the restaurant, the chic and sharp contemporary design represents everything the venue tries to achieve. It may have changed owners in the last year, but the focus remains on a tight menu of Scottish-inspired dishes (though a Spanish influence is imminent). There’s a warm atmosphere that is enhanced by the heartiness of the dishes. Rich and earthy flavours are a hallmark, from a tangy beetroot salad or Cumbrae oysters to start, to a main of venison stew that is thick and bursting with spicy cinnamon. Game features strongly and fish dishes, too, are worthy of praise. Desserts are limited, but light and fragrant – such as poached pears with blackberries. There’s a strong wine offering as well as cocktails that can be enjoyed either predinner or in a newly created bar area. + Inspiring interior - Limited vegetarian options

4 Eat Café A focus on evening dining with consistently exceptional food adds to the appeal at this cafébistro on the Southside. 4 The Honours Martin Wishart’s two-year search for a Glasgow venue has paid off with a classy brasserie at Malmaison showcasing expertly prepared dishes. 4 Hutchesons Situated in an iconic Ingram Street building, the glorious menu isn’t the only reason to visit this painstakingly restored former hospital. 4 The Market Kitchen This stylish city centre newcomer pushes boundaries with its creative take on Scottish surf and turf to deliver a heightened sensory experience. 4 Ox and Finch This trendy lively bistro is a breath of fresh air, attracting discerning diners with its jaw-dropping mini-creations for that ultimate sharing experience. 4 Porter & Rye Achingly hip steakhouse from the owners of Lebowskis and The Finnieston, showcasing Scottish beef at its very best with invention aplenty. 4 Stravaigin Café Bar The epitome of neighbourhood casual dining, Stravaigin draws on its global influences, finest local produce and 20 years’ experience to create exciting innovative dishes. 4 Urban Bar and Brasserie A classy city centre bar and restaurant housed in a grand building, offering understated fine dining at accessible prices. Le Chalet Beaumartin 518 Great Western Road, West End See French

Chinaski’s 239 North Street, West End See Bars & Pubs

Citation 40 Wilson Street, Merchant City (Map 7: B2, 7) 0141 559 6799, citation-glasgow. com | £15.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Bastion of law and order for the best part of a century, this iconic former court building is a key landmark in the city’s cultural quarter. The fi rst floor restaurant The List Eating & Drinking Guide 131



The Anchor Line (page 130): transatlantic dining courtesy of the Di Maggio’s group at the restored offices of the eponymous shipping company

nestles behind the elevated portico, all twinkly-lit and inviting. For the best views, dine in style with a cocktail on the heated terrace. Otherwise inside it’s a less grand affair with lowered ceiling and shabby chic furnishings, incongruous even. A relaxed vibe from the downstairs taverna flows through the venue keeping it informal. Dine from breakfast, prix fixe lunch, bar or à la carte menus, which lean toward surf and turf using quality local ingredients. Flair and precision with flavour-texture combos is illustrated in the dish of seared scallops – imagine a spring garden of tender asparagus, dreamy pea and mint panacotta and swirls of earthiness from red beet purée connecting all elements. Marinated pork tenderloin doesn’t quite meet texture expectations but good flavour depth is evident. Next up is the highly recommended fresh catch of pollock, served on an aromatic bed of spiced green lentils and seasonal veg – damn, it’s good! Praise also to friendly staff that really do step up to the mark to optimise your dining experience. + Catch of the day - Vegetarians may feel left out in the cold

The Corinthian Club 191 Ingram Street, City Centre (Map 7: B2, 3) 0141 552 1101, thecorinthianclub. | £12.50 (set lunch) / £24 (dinner)

Don’t be surprised if conversation stops upon entering the opulent brasserie at the multi-function Corinthian Club. It is genuinely stunning, with its colossal ceiling and ornate finishes. It’s an inclusive venue, with pub and club supergroup G1 ensuring that its mainstream audience is well satisfied. That’s apparent in the menu, which while not coming close to reflecting the grandeur of its setting, is busy enough to have something for everyone, from classic pub food to a decent range of seafood and steaks. Starters such as spinach and asparagus risotto are well presented although the flavours are somewhat muted. From the main courses, a crispy duck leg is done well – meaty and rich, with an accompanying puy 132 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

lentil gravy that could be bolder in flavour. For diners feeling flush, a half (or whole) lobster is great fun to pull apart – though a side order is recommended to go along with it. The last year has been one of change, with the casino moving to the basement and a function suite taking its place on the ground floor, plus the introduction of Charlie Parker’s cocktail bar for those after-dinner indulgences. + Looking up at the ceiling - Attention to detail can be lacking in the food

Cottier’s Bar and Restaurant 93–95 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 9A: B2, 3) 0141 357 5825, | £15.95 (set dinner)

Some restaurants need a little effort to get to and there are quite a few stairs to negotiate when reaching this charming and pretty venue, perched at the top of a converted church, also home to a theatre and bar. Glowingly warmed with a copper-looking ceiling and a woody interior, memorable views can be had when you are sitting fi reside. Serving good value for money two and three-course menus alongside a newly introduced à la carte, the latest chef is Spanish and currently finding ways to filter his own culinary experiences into Scottish bistro cooking. The scallops with grape salad and onion jam may seem an unusual combination but works well, while guinea fowl with chestnut cream and confit potatoes was a midweek delight. Traditional desserts, such as the double chocolate brownie with toffee sauce and vanilla ice-cream are both appealing and comforting. The reasonably priced wine list favours the New World and together with friendly and knowledgeable service, the small effort to get here is worthwhile, particularly if you time it with a night at their theatre. + The main courses - The stairs

Delizique 70–72 Hyndland Street, West End See Cafés

The Drake 1 Lynedoch Street, West End See Bars & Pubs

4 Eat Café 69 Kilmarnock Road, Southside (Map 8: A5, 22) 0141 649 6705, | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

The dining-out experience is always a sum total of constituent parts, although the food inevitably plays the vital role – and at this Southside diner, blending daytime café and evening bistro, those parts come together to great effect. The space is cool with minimalist straight lines of wood and large glass windows, where a hatch to the small kitchen allows a snapshot opportunity to see the people preparing your food. They work peacefully with ease and rhythm, and as each table fills they continue at the same uninterrupted pace without raising an eyebrow. Therefore, it is a joy to see that every timely plate comes out looking fantastic and tasting delicious. The menu takes a clean and incisive approach towards modern cooking, so no surprises a dish like buttermilk fried chicken with hand-cut fries and sweet chilli mayo sells out before evening service begins. The gourmet burgers are creative and generous, while the butternut squash and feta fritters are as light as a feather. Top marks for the memorable creamy vanilla ice-cream, too. Service is friendly and considerate helping create a dining experience that is warmly satisfying and laid-back, with delivery that appears remarkably effortless. + Professional, considerate staff and wonderful food - Parking can be tricky

Enjoy 393–395 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: G2, 86) 0141 334 6622, | Closed Mon | £12.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

Former café now continental-style bistro, Enjoy has a homely feel – friendly, informal, with stylish décor featuring corniced ceiling, ornate lights, giltframed mirrors, exposed peach-pink brickwork, muted colours and light oak

furnishings. It’s family-run, and skilled chef Martin Cooper heads up the kitchen serving dishes with thought, passion and generosity, using top-quality ingredients at favourable prices. The set-price market menu is particularly good value for two or three courses, and you can dip into extended surf and turf options for dinner. Creamed cauliflower soup with a hint of truffle is velvety smooth with nice flavour depth. A chorizo crumb adds another dimension to classic Stornoway black pudding – a great partner for soft duck egg with that just-right runny sunshine yolk. Pan-roasted hake is cooked to perfection, its light texture and subtle flavour lifted by the dreamy sweet crab bisque and crunchy samphire. Shredded beef shin arrives crépinette style, all glossy coated and tender throughout, accompanied by a kaleidoscope of fresh market vegetables. Great homemade desserts, too – try breakfast-style pistachio pancakes with white chocolate mousse and juicy mouth-popping amarena cherries. A fine wine list and decent coffee add to the enticement, making this a neighbourhood diner well worth a visit. + Great-value continental flavours - Modest exterior

Fanny Trollope’s 1066 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: D2, 36) 0141 564 6464, fannytrollopes. | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

While new openings are celebrated every other weekend in fashionable Finnieston, Fanny Trollope’s has been part of the local scene before it became the place to be seen. Its ethos of cooking with quality, locally sourced produce hasn’t changed over the last 14 years, though a change in policy away from BYOB at the turn of the year may test the resolve of some regulars. The interior is small and it can be a popular and busy place. The kitchen does a top job of turning out a menu with its own personality, such as sweet and sharp crab and chilli mash, which is served alongside a crispy sea bass fillet. Pigeon breast is peppery and rich, with a blend of mushroom and cabbage that only


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add to the earthy flavours of the dish. The vegetable accompaniments can be on the light side, however, so the optional sides are worth considering. Desserts are light enough that you won’t feel stuffed afterwards – particularly if you opt for the pineapple carpaccio, served with coconut ice-cream. In an area awash with eateries, this old favourite still excels. + Freshness and vibrancy of ingredients - Tables a bit tightly packed

good discounts encourages return visits and satisfied regulars. So, if it is a fun night out and a decent bite to eat you are looking for, this is a popular choice. + The steaks - Looking a little worn

sorbet is on the menu – combined with a sharp chocolate parfait, the result will stifle conversation until the plate is clean, which won’t take long. + Exceptional quality of cooking - Décor a little subdued

The Grill Room at the Square

4 Hutchesons

29 Royal Exchange Square, City Centre See Scottish

158 Ingram Street, Merchant City (Map 7: B2, 4) 0141 552 4050, | £15.95 (set lunch) / £34 (dinner)

The Grumpy Goat Firebird 1321 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: C1, 11) 0141 334 0594, firebirdglasgow. com | £7.50 (set lunch) / £18 (dinner)

This hip neighbourhood bar-bistro has been a shining oasis among the West End’s dining scene for 18 years – popular with students, young families and professionals, from lunchtime until late. Renowned for its handmade woodfired pizzas, there’s no mistaking that smoky charred aroma as it draws you over the threshold. High floor-to-ceiling windows, a stripped-back natural feel and chilled tunes give the place a laidback spacious vibe. From a handful of small plates, mains and pastas, there’s a global influence running through the offerings. The mezze platter is as pleasing to the eye as it is on the palate – full of fresh herbs, textures and flavour including Lebanese seven-spice falafel, harissa red peppers, caraway-pickled carrots and tabbouleh. From the mains, masala spiced monkfish and mushroom and pak-choi laksa stand out. Veal and pork meatballs with penne are lovely and herby, firm, a tad on the dry side yet plenty of roasted tomato ragu comes to the rescue. Heading to a gig? You’re only a 10-minute walk from the Hydro and SECC so dine off their discounted ‘Gig-a-bite’ menu to save a few quid for a return trip. There’s the bonus of outside tables, perfect to rock up for a chilled beer, rum cooler or appetiser. + Wood-fi red pizzas - High-ceiling acoustics heightens the chatter

Gandolfi Fish 84 Albion Street, Merchant City See Fish

The Gannet 1155 Argyle Street, West End See Scottish

The Grill on the Corner 21–25 Bothwell Street, City Centre (Map 6: D4, 83) 0141 248 6262, blackhouse. | £22 (lunch) / £22 (dinner)

The atmosphere at this city centre restaurant is definitely upbeat and convivial, and there aren’t many places like this where dining into the late evening can be enjoyed. While being an ideally located glamorous spot for gathering friends intent on getting the train home to different parts of the city, it is also a place for after-work colleagues to meet up, off-load and socialise . . . a place where people play hard after they’ve worked hard. It does look a little tired around the edges after working faithfully for its guests over the years, whispering out for some TLC and décor refreshment. Central to the menu are flavoursome, delicious steaks and there are various tender cut and ounce combinations from which to make a tantalising choice. For a busy restaurant that rightfully prides itself on the indulgent side of life, the food coming out from the kitchen can feel a little rushed – the fish part of fish and chips could have done with a little more lingering in the fryer. Service is enthusiastic and pitch perfect while the attractive membership scheme offering

90 Old Dumbarton Road, West End See Bars & Pubs

4 The Honours Malmaison, 278 West George Street, City Centre (Map 6: B3, 47) 0141 572 1001, | £18.50 (set lunch) / £35 (dinner)

Housed in the basement of the Malmaison hotel, The Honours is a comfortable space with a warm atmosphere that befits the menu, which fully replicates its Edinburgh sibling. This is high-end brasserie dining with prices to match – though a prix fixe menu at £22.50 is great value. Former One Devonshire Gardens head chef Andrew Greenan has returned to Glasgow to head up the kitchen in impressive style. Innovative starters include a light and foamy crab cappuccino that doesn’t scrimp on meat, and tagliatelle with scallops in a dense truffle purée. A grill range from a choice of three farms is cooked in a 650°F Josper grill which results in tender, flavour-packed meat. A rump of lamb – also cooked in the Josper – comes on a bed of puy lentils so bursting with seasoning that the excellent meat itself takes a back seat, while a range of fish and game options give the menu depth. Desserts are showy and it would be remiss not to indulge, particularly if pear

For years Glasgow waited for life to return to the old Hutchesons’ Hospital, a glorious 19th-century building in the heart of the Merchant City. Following success with the Butchershop, James Rusk teamed up with the building’s owners The National Trust for Scotland to create an elegant restaurant that would shine in any city. From a cocktail bar and café on the ground floor, resplendent in marble, mirrors and palm fronds; to the sumptuous brassiere and its huge ornate ceiling, the restoration is spectacular, but similar attention has been paid to the dining experience. The cocktail list is excellent and the menu is shaped from the best of Scotland’s larder. A meaty dressed crab to start is topped with shaved egg, while mixed shellfish on ice certainly looks the part. The quality continues into mains dominated by meat and seafood. A roasted monkfish tail shows there’s more to the kitchen than steak, though a fillet with scallops is immensely satisfying. A light blancmange served with raspberry sorbet rounds off a meal perfectly, but not even that can come close to the experience of being immersed in part of Glasgow’s architectural history. + The stunning setting - Tables for two are a bit small

The Hyndland Fox 43 Clarence Drive, West End (Map 9A, A1, off) 0141 341 6671, thehyndlandfox. | £15 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

This well-named neighbourhood spot captures something of the alternative night-time activity of this leafy West End district, and it’s notable how the right name can become part of a place’s appeal – particularly when it conveys a sense of insight into its clientele. The à la carte reaches out to varying budgets whether it’s a salad, sharing plate or three-course meal, and you won’t feel unwelcome if in for a casual glass of wine. There’s a Gallic whiff to the menu with quiche, crab and spring onion omelette, coq au vin and steak frites primed as menu stalwarts. Such sensibility sets high expectations from simple bistro dishes where the challenge is to produce them consistently well, and the Fox does not disappoint. Themed nights such as Steak Frîtes Wednesday or Lobster Saturday certainly help fix in your mind this lovely, contemporary eatery serving modern traditional fare. The evening lighting and intelligent interior serves to create an ambience of magical informality. Watch for the prix fixe ‘locals’ menu’ mentioned discreetly on the bottom of the à la carte and available on request from noon until 6.30pm. + The evening ambience - The fish:mash ratio in the fish pie

The Italian Bistro 1051 Great Western Road, West End See Italian

Lamora 1166–1170 Argyle Street, West End See Italian

TIPLIST FOR GOOD PUB GRUB • Bar Gandolfi Great dining from the Gandolfi stable 117 • Bath Street Palomino Smoking pit food and more 117 • The Butterfly and the Pig Great food in a kooky basement 119 • Den Bar & Restaurant Bistro quality in the suburbs 120 • Mulberry Street Bar Bistro Southside spot with great food 125 • Nice n Sleazy Magic from Meathammer in the kitchen 125 • The Rum Shack Caribbean eats with lots of live sounds 126 • The Sparkle Horse Exceptional food at this Partick pleaser 127 • The 13th Note Café Bar Top quality animal-free food favourite 117

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The Lansdowne Bar & Kitchen 7a Lansdowne Crescent, West End See Bars & Pubs

The Left Bank 33–35 Gibson Street, West End (Map 9A: E3, 77) 0141 339 5969, | £16 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The Left Bank’s natural tones and textures create a pleasant neighbourhood haven for relaxing with friends over a well-prepared cocktail, decent glass of wine, refreshing pint or cuppa. The brunch menu stands out with the likes of heuvos mexicanos, Lebanese breakfast of shakshuka (spicy chickpea râgout and baked egg), fried halloumi, sautéed potatoes and warm pitta, or poached eggs five ways. For starters, green chilli garlic tiger prawns taste as good as they look, served on a banana leaf with side of aromatic coconut chutney and wafer thin crispy papads. Coriander chickpea fritters, moist and crumbly inside and nicely crisped on the outside are balanced by cooling yoghurt mint raita. Main of pork belly and crackling is a feisty portion, overcrowded by one too many veg which detract from the central ingredient. Scottish-Asian fusion is celebrated in the delicious black salmon fillet marinated in mirin and sake or try west coast mussels in tam yam broth – a nice diversion from traditional haddock and chips or burger. To round things off it’s a toss-up between a hot toddy and warm pecan brownie – resistance is futile. + Heavenly tiger prawns and coconut chutney - Tongue-twisting crispy noodles make for messy eating

Lucky 7 Canteen 166 Bath Street, City Centre (Map 6: C2, 41) 0141 331 6227, lucky7canteen. | Closed Sun/Mon | £9 (lunch) / £12 (dinner)

From the crooked floral lampshades and vintage peeling wallpaper to a feature wall of tree stumps etched with wee messages, you’re soon scanning the décor like a hawk for other quirks. The lunch menu talks of ‘food yer mammy made, for prices yer granny paid’, which pretty much nails it. Options include spiced tomato homemade soup with chunks of chargrilled rustic bread, smoky halloumi with grilled baby gem or dreamy creamy seafood chowder with clams – a delicious dish that’s like a big warm hug. Most mains in the evening are £7.77 – traditional burgers, fish ’n’ chips and veggie options such as ubiquitous mac ’n’ cheese. Daily specials promise wider creativity to reflect Lucky 7’s ethos. With exposed brickwork, wood panelling, candlelit booths and a large canteen-

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style bench running centrefold, it has a laid-back vibe with cracking playlists to soothe the ears. Sip signature gin, rum and vodka cocktails for a fiver or dive into bottled beers from around the globe. You can even play your own vinyl in the private retro dining room at the rear. Whatever takes your fancy, It’s a venue with soul come the weekends, with busy bar and adjoining party ‘Flat 0/1’ to crash into the wee hours. + Good value comfort food in quirky surroundings - Blink and you might miss it

Maggie May’s 60 Trongate, Merchant City (Map 7: C3, 26) 0141 548 1350, | £6.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

With a live music venue in the basement, a busy, buzzing bar upstairs, and bands doing rock ’n’ roll covers seven nights a week, this place caters for a young, lively crowd. And Mick Jagger would probably like it because it is very much painted black – well, the outside facade is anyway. The inner dining area is decorated with black and gold wallpaper, quirky chandeliers and a hatch looking on to an open kitchen. Don’t come here for a quiet night: electric guitars pulsate into the dining area, as does the buzz of chatter from the noisy bar, which is separated by a thick velvet curtain. The menu has a range of pub food with a few twists: for example a starter of nachos has the option of coming with pulled crab meat. Choose from main courses such as Chinese five-spiced tempura, slow-cooked beef bourguignon or a vast variety of burgers and hot dogs. The black and blue burger comes with Dunsyre blue cheese and Stornoway black pudding, and a bucket of thick-cut chips on the side. Unusually, the pretheatre menu goes for a slightly more upmarket style while the kitchen serves up late-night bites for hungry punters until 2am most nights. + Great if you love live music - Not so great if you don’t

Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill 75 Waterloo Street, City Centre (Map 6: C4, 82) 0141 226 7726, | £18.95 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)

‘Affordable glamour’ is what Glaswegians want, says the chef turned businessman, and of grander places we are increasingly accustomed to plush, traditional contemporary surroundings. Reflecting MPW, the menu is strong, considered and confident, appealing to many who enjoy straightforward, modern British cuisine. With four out of the five à la carte steaks priced considerably higher than other main courses, coupled


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Eat Café (page 132): all-day dining at this Southside café and bistro

with only a handful of reasonably priced bottles on the list, it seems odd for this steakhouse that their selection of cuts could arguably take the overall offering beyond the affordable to the expensive. Therefore, it is reassuring to hotel guests and other diners that a two and three-course table d’hôte menu runs alongside the à la carte. A starter of a seafood sharing platter could take some improvement in flavour and composition. However, the main courses are of a very high standard, robust and well-presented. Likewise, the unfussy and simple traditional desserts are generously portioned, satisfyingly sweet and real crowdpleasers. In addition to a celebrated name, generally good food and slick, professional service, what is perhaps needed in a busy marketplace is something more in the way of a point of difference. + Strong modern british menu - Off-beat location

and 35-day dry-aged – pack in flavour and tenderness for that ultimate steak experience. Dive into gin and herb homecured wild Scottish salmon, scallops with seaweed salad, crispy soft-shell crab with wasabi mayo or an eye-popping sharing platter of Cumbrae oysters with fresh kelp and spiced vinaigrette shallots. Pan-seared monkfish medallions are meaty and tender, plated artistically with refreshing lemon caper dressing to enhance the earthy beets and nutty, buttery Ratte potato. There’s no skimping on desserts – homemade orange ginger marmalade and salty sweet caramel with lush bitter dark chocolate tart is a dream. Or try George Mewes cheeses paired meticulously with velvety Partick-hive honey, iced baby grapes, pickled fig and quince. Putting the grande in finale is a fiesty espresso with bay leaf, lemon rind and rum shot. + Evolving sensations where the last forkful is as good as the first - Wanting it all in one sitting

4 The Market Kitchen 69 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 6: E3, 63) 0141 332 9755, | £13.95 (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

The McMillan Southside

What you’ll discover behind this modest exterior is far from ‘vanilla’. Muted tones and progressive ambient beats create a cool urban space for savouring Scotland’s natural larder. Using the best of what’s in season, fresh ingredients are given exemplary treatment by talented and creative chef Ian Hoey. What’s delivered is a heightened sensory experience all the way to the last morsel. Beef cuts from Scottish Border coos – grass/barley-fed

Joining the trend in meaty eateries that are popping up across the city, the McMillan plugs the chophouse gap for eager Southside residents. It’s a family-friendly venue of scale, serving up breakfast staples, classic lunchtime favourites and extended seafood and grill options in the evening. These include 30-day-aged hanger steaks with choice of cut, tender pork loin and Tweed valley lamb chops. Push the boat out and add

862 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 8: B3, 14) 0141 649 9055, themcmillan. | £12.95 (set lunch) / £19 (dinner)


In association with


half lobster, fiery prawns, seared scallops or devilled mushrooms, or fix your price for two or three courses from the table d’hote menu. Starter of walnut, pear and stilton tart is a classic flavour combo – buttery pastry is crisp and light, just as it should be. The modern bar offers a quality wine list, cocktails, and wide range of spirits, craft and continental beers. Comfy spacious booths in the dining section afford more privacy, as does a private function room to the rear, which can seat a party up to 26 people. For cracking views of Queen’s Park sit window-side in the main dining area or choose the bar lounge to the right. + Nice vantage point overlooking Queen’s Park - No-frills dishes on the pricey side

Meat Bar 142 West Regent Street, City Centre See Bars & Pubs

from breakfast, through lunch and into dinner. While pizzas and burgers will please many, a fish soup to start is more enthralling, with prawn dumplings and a slab of bread to soak up the meaty, peppery soup. For mains a sea bass salad with crab and fennel is fresh and vibrant, though won’t fill everyone. Step forward then a Tuscan take on sausage and mash, with a bean casserole and basil mash that has all the richness anyone could hope for. Desserts are playful, too, with a Mojito crème brûlée coming sharp and zingy. Steak Tuesday, including a bottle of good-value house wine, is a weekly highlight, while a two-course pre-theatre at a tenner is about the best value in the city, pleasing neighbouring residents and giving northside dwellers another reason to head south of the river. + Neighbourhood dining at its best - Limited drinks menu

4 Ox and Finch Metropolitan Merchant Square, Candleriggs, Merchant City (Map 7: C2, 16) 0141 553 1488, | £12 (Sat only) (set lunch) / £23 (dinner)

From the main bar to the balcony overlooking Merchant Square and the tables on the cobbled square itself, Metropolitan has the feel of composite venues. It’s as comfortable entertaining people-watching tourists as it is with weekend revellers and romantic dinners. The cocktail menu is extensive, with bright drinks and brighter descriptions positioning them more at the 18–25 demographic. The food is more sophisticated, pitched as high-end bistro and pretty much hitting that mark. To start, a playful savoury cheesecake is tangy and creamy, while from a range of fish options, the scallops are peppery and crisp. Scallops appear again aside a fragrant red mullet, which the accompanying saffron potatoes can’t match in flavour. Duck breast with a truffle risotto is spot on – earthy, dense and smooth. Desserts are maybe lacking in imagination but make up for it by packing in lip-smacking flavours. Away from the à la carte, a fantastic wine and dine menu offers couples two courses and a bottle of wine for £29.50, while an afternoon tea has been introduced – and there aren’t many more atmospheric places to enjoy it. + The weekend atmosphere on the balcony - Uninspiring and under-seasoned potatoes

920 Sauchiehall Street, West End (Map 9B: D2, 20) 0141 339 8627, oxandfinch. com | £20 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Straight-up fresh natural ingredients, creativity and precision in flavours and textures have earned Ox and Finch a Michelin Bib Gourmand award for topquality, good-value food – one of only three held in Glasgow. This unpretentious place is buzzing with open kitchen and bar exuding efficiency through to the chattering diners cooing over sharing plates. Packed utilitarian-style shelves tagged with an array of regional continental wines reinforce provenance all the way to the wide choice of craft beers, ales and ciders. Scanning the placemat menu (noticeably free of fluffy descriptions) it’s hard to resist wanting it all in one sitting. Dishes speak for themselves. Apple-cured mackerel is exquisite and sensitively balanced in flavours accompanied by wasabi yoghurt and spiced Granny Smith. Colours are important too – salt and pepper squid with blood orange, chilli and saffron aioli is sunshine captured. Lemon and Earl Grey baked Alaska is like diving headfirst into a big cloud of squishy meringue and finding subtle citrus treasures with every spoonful. Decadent flavour depth unfolds in the layered torte – zingy blackcurrant and bitter dark chocolate the ideal bedfellows for silky smooth honeycomb ice cream and a scattering of crunchy sweet cornflakes. + Heightened sensory experience - Can feel claustrophobic when busy

The Pelican Café Moyra Jane’s 20 Kildrostan Street, Southside See Cafés

Mulberry Street Bar Bistro 778 Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Bars & Pubs

Mussel Inn 157 Hope Street, City Centre See Fish

Number 16 16 Byres Road, West End See Scottish

Ollie’s 122 Nithsdale Road, Southside (Map 8: B2, 3) 0141 424 4600, olliesglasgow. | £14 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)

Away from the bustle of city centre sister venues that include Vroni’s, Urban Bar & Brasserie and recently opened The Western Club, the renowned Glasgow restaurateur Alan Tomkins’ daughter Emma is the mastermind of this picturebook pretty Southside venue. Designed to resemble a large dining-kitchen, Ollie’s is on the go

1377 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: C1, 3) 0844 573 0670, thepelicancafe. | £12 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

The Pelican has preened itself. It’s a cosy and intimate bistro, mixing dark wood, leather-clad booths and window seats. The bar area is smaller since the recent refurb but bigger on choice: regional wines, craft gins, Scottish beers, whiskies, rums, vodkas and signature Pelican Sling among its cocktails. The Scottish provenance behind the surf ’n’ turf menu is a talking point – as too is the striking vista towards Kelvingrove Art Gallery. With prime MacDuff Scotch beef rich in omega-3, ethically produced Lochbyre rare-breed pork, and west coast oysters, mussels, langoustines and scallops on offer, what’s not to like? Potted Scottish hot-smoked salmon is a texture-flavour sensation – soft and flaky, hints of chilli and lime – that’s delightful with sourdough toast and herby leaves. Slow-braised steak pie has generous chunks of beef that simply melt on the palate with buttered new baby spuds. Sea bass and prawns, however, probably warrant more delicate treatments than being wrapped in Joker Ale batter,

but the chunky coley can take it. It’s a delicious meaty portion with mammothsized wedged chips ideal for dipping in homemade tartare sauce. + MacDuff beef carpaccio - Desserts need some loving

4 Porter & Rye 1131 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: D2, 33) 0141 572 1212, porterandrye. com | £15 (lunch) / £28 (dinner)

This new outpost of the Lebowskis family is all about the beef, which is dry-aged in a meat locker in front of diners. It develops flavour for a month or so before being turned into steaks so tender and tasty that carnivores may weep. As well as sirloin, rump, porterhouse, etc, there are juicy bavette and rich onglet, part of the admirable commitment to using almost all the animal – bones used for stock, fat for dripping, and other meat makes burgers. Sauces, butters and sides showcase the steaks. The menu emphasises transparency, carefully attributing the mostly local provenance of their small plates, influenced by molecular gastronomy techniques and beautifully presented. Crowdie cheese bonbons come with a carrot purée, carrot crisps, cumin and parmesan foam and spiced sultanas for a light, sweet starter, while a tin of smoky ham hock rillette is perfectly complemented by burnt apple purée, kicky apple caviar and a cute mini-candy apple. Desserts include a deconstructed apple pie with unusual frozen custard. Enthusiastic, wellinformed staff explain it all and offer a choice of steak knives, while a quirky drinks menu and the stylish, dark décor adds to the sense of occasion. + Strong commitment to local sourcing - Not the best choice for vegetarians/ vegans

sea bass fillet with perfectly seasoned crisped skin and velvety flesh beneath surfs high on plump risotto of tomato and crayfish dressed with fresh basil oil and parmesan shavings – it’s big on flavours that marry beautifully. Innis & Gunn four-hour braised blade of beef is also cooked to perfection – its rich emollient gravy sheen is a thing of wonder. Flavours ensue with every chunky forkful melting on the tongue, complemented by black pudding mash, house pickles and seasonal vegetables. Loosen belts for classic puds of crumble and cheesecake. Pre-theatre and lunch menus offer good value so book ahead – and specialist dieters can enjoy dedicated menus. + Full gluten-free pre-theatre, à la carte and vegan menus - Incongruous décor

Red Onion 257 West Campbell Street, City Centre (Map 6: D3, 38) 0141 221 6000, | £9.95 (set lunch) / £22 (dinner)

With seasoned Scottish chef/owner John Quigley at its helm you can rest assured of enjoyable dining at this established restaurant. Ten years on, it’s still going strong, testament to the quality of dishes that everyone knows and loves – a twist on classic home-style Scottish cookery using the best market-fresh ingredients. With a modest exterior, it’s surprisingly spacious inside – mixed seating includes booths and a mezzanine to accommodate couples, families or bigger parties. Starters of meaty king prawn trio wrapped in crisp tempura batter, or the silky smooth chicken liver parfait with crunchy oatcakes serve to tease palates for what’s to follow. Large

The List Eating & Drinking Guide 135



Riverhill West Nile 3 West Nile Street, City Centre (Map 6: E4, 94) , | £10 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

Riverhill have been making their impressive mark on the city and wider Glasgow area for a few years. The now-gone café-deli began it all in the Clydeside town of Helensburgh, which is now home to their excellent and attractive Courtyard restaurant in a B-listed former warehouse. In Glasgow city centre, their coffee bar on Gordon Street dishes out great brews, snacks and cakes and is regularly on our hitlist (see Cafés: Wee Places). Their new restaurant is just around the corner and is a chance for Glaswegians to taste what Riverhill have been dishing up further down the Clyde. There is a global influence to the menu alongside solid local favourites: breakfasts feature stuffed potato naans as well as the full Scottish, bar snacks include cauliflower skordalia and flatbread along with haggis croquettas while mains feature pierogies, rendang and Indian-spiced fish. Drinks include a range of classic cocktails given a modern twist. [Not open for a full review at time of going to press – check for updates].

definitive offering here since 2007, their recognition of the city’s appetite for budget-friendly dining makes a mark in this informal and cosy basement eatery. The food is not adventurous but there is something very honest and upfront about the bistro menu – where a sweet chilli chicken burger with potato wedges can peacefully co-exist alongside a more delicate dish of sea trout with chive mash and a butter sauce. What marries the two, and indeed all the dishes here, is the considered top-quality preparation, cooking and presentation accompanied by astute and unobtrusive service, that is shared with their fine-dining restaurant upstairs. Accompanying the monthly changing two and three-course fixed price menus (there is no à la carte here) is the pleasurable opportunity to enjoy a modestly priced half or full carafe of wine. Desserts such as poached pear with butterscotch sauce rubber stamp the positively satisfying experience to be had, and one which invites you to return multiple times. + Excellent food at good-value prices - Chintzy cushions

Simply Fish 111 Cleveden Road, West End See Fish

Roastit Bubbly Jocks 450 Dumbarton Road, West End See Scottish

east of High Street is certainly worth exploring, and setting the standard is Tibo. Open since 2006, the bistro has a café vibe, with colourful furnishings coming together in perfect harmony to create a welcoming neighbourhood venue. The menu replicates this, with all manner of influences finding their way onto the plate thanks to an inventive kitchen. Soups are among the venue’s most popular dishes, so check out the daily specials, while a kedgeree starter allows the haddock’s smokiness to dominate, getting the balance of cream and spice just right. A Moroccan lamb for main is cooked for six hours, giving the meat a tender, flavour-packed quality that really hits the spot. It’s not all about flair though – there’s a wide range of pizzas and burgers on offer in addition to the seasonal mains, plus an express lunch menu at a fiver. Hearty portions won’t leave much room for dessert, but the chocolate brownie with coconut icecream is a total winner – a bit like Tibo itself. + Its experimental kitchen . . . - . . . but this isn’t reflected in the vegetarian dishes

Tron Theatre 63 Trongate, Merchant City See Arts Venues

The Sisters Jordanhill Two Fat Ladies

Rock Lobster Bar & Grill

1a Ashwood Gardens, 512 Crow Road, West End See Scottish

1/4 Virginia Court, Merchant City See Fish

The Sisters Kelvingrove

Two Fat Ladies in the City


36 Kelvingrove Street, West End See Scottish

118a Blythswood Street, City Centre See Fish

11 Exchange Place, City Centre See Fish


The Two Figs

The Scullery

62 Argyll Arcade, City Centre See Bars & Pubs

5 and 9 Byres Road, West End See Bars & Pubs

4Stravaigin Café Bar

4Urban Bar & Brasserie

28 Gibson Street, West End (Map 9A: F3, 76) 0141 334 2665, | £13 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)

23–25 St Vincent Place, City Centre (Map 6: F4, 98) 0141 248 5636, | £15.95 (set lunch) / £25 (dinner)

10 Claremont Street, West End (Map 9B: E3, 42) 0141 221 6200, | £5 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

There is a focus on chic contemporary venues serving the best of local produce throughout Finnieston, and The Scullery fits right into this ethos – though doesn’t go as far as to top the table amid stiff competition nearby. From the appealing exposed brick and timber interior to the bright windows and enticing menu, this relative newcomer has been winning admirers thanks to its well-considered dishes. Dispensing with starters and mains for the trendier small plates / large plates, there’s a pleasing mix across both lists. A slick, melted camembert, sweet with oozing honey tastes every bit as good as it looks. This is food cooked to enjoy, with former Ubiquitous Chip manager Kathleen Sheridan teaming up with her husband to realise their ambition of creating a neighbourhood eatery. A venison haunch shows a bold hand from chef Laurie McMillan, while younger appetites are catered for with burgers – including a pulled pork in brioche special. Moules frîtes and a market fish of the day are the only fish options, but this limitation aside, The Scullery is a very welcome addition to the area – especially with its strong brunch and takeaway lunch menus, offering all-day options to please all-comers. + Great £5 lunch deal - Desserts let the side down

The Shandon Belles 652 Argyle Street, City Centre (Map 9B: G3, off) 0141 221 8188, shandonbelles | £16 (set lunch) / £16 (set dinner)

Housed in a historically iconic building, well known in the Glasgow restaurant scene, Shandon Belles is found downstairs on entering Two Fat Ladies at the Buttery. Having extended their 136 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

True to its ‘think global, eat local’ mantra, dishes here evoke a culinary wanderlust across the Asian-Pacific and beyond; the finest sourced produce from Scottish farmers and coastal waters meet with exotic spices from afar to elevate the senses. An exemplar of neighbourhood casual dining, it’s a friendly, feel-good homestead – all natural materials and upcycled wood furnishings etch its boho character. Evolutionary thinking behind its seasonal à la carte, breakfast and brunch menus delivers on value, too. Starter of Orkney crabcake is moist and light with good texture–flavour balance – crunchy sweet potato crumb, complemented by pickled red chillies, sharp tamarind mayonnaise and earthy rocket and beet salad. Flavours run deep in the roast pork belly and prawns, and kimchi jjigae hot pot with boiled egg. Signature spice route ‘curry of the moment’ is beautifully aromatic, too, with a cheeky kick to finish, while Louisiana spicing adds another dimension to naturally firm and subtle sweet hake with pumpkin and lime rice, green chilli sauce and tempura okra. For dessert, the moist frangipane cake topped with zingy lemon curd and home-churned ice-cream is a delight. Meanwhile, fantastic wines spanning the globe will ease you into the wee hours. + Pushes the boundaries of ScottishAsian fusion - Wincing on sour pineapple

Tibo 443 Duke Street, Dennistoun, East End (Map 7: D1, off) 0141 550 2050, cafetibo. com | £13 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

The East End isn’t quite the new West End but the mile or so of Duke Street

88 Dumbarton Road, West End See Fish

CAFES Generous, straight-talking and no fear of the unusual; Glasgow’s cafés share the values that make the city so unique. Big portions, quality ingredients and selective, wellchosen menus lead the way, with ever-improving catering for those with food intolerances. If you’re in the mood for sweet things, afternoon tea in Glasgow is taken pretty seriously, while few cities can rival the Weeg’s ability to dish up a hangover-curing plate of pancakes. Concept cafés thrive by knowing their tribes, while the coffee affectionados have more to choose from than ever. Reviewers: Jennifer Armitage, Kat Borrowdale, David Kirkwood, Ruth Marsh, Ellen Renton

Alba 481 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: F2, 71) 0141 237 7902, albacafe. | Closed Sun/Mon | £8 (lunch)

Alba has a very homely, neighbourhood dining atmosphere, which is maintained through the slightly mismatched yet nonetheless effective décor, the bright upstairs space where regulars can be found relaxing on sofas while enjoying a coffee, and above all, the comforting food. As well as a choice of sandwiches made with bread from Tapa, baked potatoes, soups and toasties, Alba strive to liven up lunchtime with their quiches, tartlets and specials. The asparagus quiche is packed with tender veg, served with a leafy salad and coleslaw, and the brie and caramelised onion pastry is an inventive twist on a popular combination of flavours. Cake is another strength, most notably the soft and satisfying iced gingerbread, and the warm chocolate fudge. + All baking done on site - Closed Sundays and Mondays

Classically grand with a slice of the contemporary, together with an atmosphere reminiscent of old European brasseries – you get a strong sense at Urban of a restaurant where elements of a fine-dining experience specifically tailored to the Glasgow sensibility are nailed. For one thing it is comfortable on the wallet for such an elevated dining experience, suitably accompanied by swift, smart, quietly confident and informed service, delivering carefully selected wines and an intelligent, pleasing-for-all menu with an accent on fish. When appropriate, serving fish on or off the bone is offered, and when opting for the former the lemon sole is cooked to perfection, gliding off a bone which remained fully in one piece – a sure sign of exquisite cooking skill. To accompany, frîtes instead of chunky chips might be a better fit for the sophisticated vibe here. Expect understated fine dining without the baggage of pomp. For those who enjoy booth dining, you’ll find the best here – private and spacious with most having good views over a chattering restaurant. It’s an elegant choice, thoughtfully catering for a mix of casual, celebratory and business dining. + Exceptional cooking, particularly of fish - Can feel too big during quiet times

No day spent in Kelvingrove Park would be complete without a stop off at An Clachan, a tardis-like hut which houses a café focused on serving seasonal produce in a relaxed family environment. Dishes such as the chorizo and bean burrito are the ideal antidote to a blustery winter’s walk, whereas in the summer months you might be more tempted by a salad tub or a Cream o’ Galloway ice cream. Those just popping in for a cake and a coffee will not be disappointed either thanks to the range of locally sourced Charlie Mills coffee blends and sweet treats on offer, most notably the warm and gooey chocolate brownie, which has to be tasted to be believed. + £3.50 kids’ lunch platter - Can be a struggle to get a table on sunny afternoons

Wee Lochan

Artisan Roast

340 Crow Road, West End See Scottish

15–17 Gibson Street, West End (Map 9A: F3, 79) | £7.50 (lunch)

The Wilson Street Pantry

There’s a devout quality to this place, one of the first serious coffee shrines in Glasgow. The bookish, the bohemian

6 Wilson Street, Merchant City See Cafés

All That is Coffee South Block, 60 Osborne Street, City Centre See Arts Venues

An Clachan Off La Belle Place, West End (Map 9B: E1, 45) 07846 463614, | £7.50 (lunch)


In association with


and the aficionados have kept it steadily busy ever since – and with good reason. The Artisan roaster supplies a fair few other cafés but the best place to drink a cup is among the bric-a-brac comfort of its home right here – big, well-balanced flavours in snug surroundings. At least five or six different bean varieties are always available, manually ground and made as Chemex filter coffees if desired. They know their stuff alright. You can buy beans for home, or join their subscription club. Coffee is understandably the principal focus here but from 11.30am a small selection of veggie and (some) vegan dishes are on offer, which are thoroughly agreeable, like a crunchy asparagus, egg and pesto sandwich, or an elegant miso broth with chunky tofu. There are always some nice gluten-free cakes, as well. + The devotion to the coffee - Food takes a while at peak times

4 Avenue G 291 Byres Road, West End (Map 9A: C1, 48) 0141 339 5336, | £8.50 (lunch)

What’s not to love about this coffee enthusiast’s heaven? With freshly sourced coffee from around the world and a true passion for quality ingredients and locally sourced food, Avenue G is a good bet for an afternoon treat. Eggs (en cocotte) are cooked with expert timing and go splendidly with rich, salted Loch Duart salmon, while a goat’s cheese salad comes with an entire toasted round of soft, tart cheese, caramelised onions, walnuts, sweet cherry tomatoes and fresh leaves. At least three different coffee blends are on offer at any time,

with a diverse range roasted at the Great Western Road shop. Chocolate brownies are excellent in both glutenfree and flour-filled form, and the house cakes are always alluring. There’s great attention to detail at Avenue G, from friendly, considerate baristas to the meal presentation. A well-deserved reputation. + Sublime coffee - Can be a short wait for a table, but staff will look after you well

Avenue G Speciality Coffee House 321 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: G2, 92) 0141 339 1334, | £7 (lunch)

Just like its bigger, older brother on Byres Road, this relatively recent addition to the neighbourhood is all about the coffee, and due to the small selection of food on offer the focus is firmly on the beloved beans. Tasting events are regularly held here to demonstrate the art of different coffee-making methods, while passionate baristas will eagerly chat to you about the latest single origin. Freshly made soups along with a selection of cakes and granola bars mean you won’t go hungry, and it’s no surprise that young professionals are attracted to this receptive environment. + World-class coffee - Limited number of seats

The Balcony Café Upstairs @ The Glasgow Climbing Centre, 534 Paisley Road West, Southside See Arts Venues

The Bay Tree Restaurant 403 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: G2, 85) 0141 334 5898, | £7.95 (set lunch) / £14 (dinner)

The Bay Tree Restaurant has a longestablished reputation for providing the West End with vibrant and traditional Arabian food. The authentic decoration of the café, from the dark wood to the glass jars of tea behind the counter, contributes to a strong sense of place, which all heightens the dining experience. The broad menu encompasses everything from Scottish breakfasts to seafood, stews and samosas. The vegetarian and meat mezze plates are a great way to sample a variety of dishes, with the latter including tastes of falafel, tender barbecue chicken and fatosh. The aromatic aubergine bake served with minty yoghurt and a generous heap of couscous makes for both a comforting main and a delicious vegetarian option. + Beautifully refreshing teas in exciting flavours - Long menu might benefit from some refinement

Babu Bombay Street Kitchen 186 West Regent Street, City Centre See Indian

bakery47 76 Victoria Road See Cafés: Wee Places

Bell & Felix 248 Kilmarnock Road, Southside (Map 8: A5, off) 0141 649 1684 | £10 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

This latest exponent of the new selfconfidence of the city’s Southside, is clearly run by people who love food. The menu looks standard – burgers, soups and sandwiches – but delve a little deeper and the delight is in the detail. A daily special doesn’t just mean a soup – cakes, salads and even the pâté is a new creation on every visit. Local producers are named, and crucially, this is backed up by expert cooking and creative dishes, from customer-favourite chicken and roast veg ciabatta to chunky rosemary chips and delicious pickled beets with salmon pâté. A joyful place and a great addition to the Southside. + Pâté of the day - Back tables overlook kitchen

Big Mouth Coffee Company 167 Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 9A: B3, 11) 0141 337 7023, | £5 (set lunch)

Big Mouth is a welcoming place to wander into, escaping the bustle of Dumbarton Road. It’s nothing fancy, but both staff and customers are ‘real’, and pleasant. In fact, new ownership has increased the focus on customer service. Food is straightforward enough: a nice pesto-chicken baguette, or a simple chilli bowl, and there’s a vegan menu – which comes to the fore on specially organised vegan nights. There are good deals for the lunchtime crowd, and their coffee selection is good too – they do Thomson, Matthew Algie and Dear Green. As the gentrification of Partick continues there are undoubtedly trendier places to go on Dumbarton Road, but Big Mouth has an old-fashioned charm about it that is endearing, enlivened by acoustic nights and other events, adding to a strong community vibe. + Unassuming - Sandwiches can lack the wow factor

Biscuit 17 Skirving Street, Southside (Map 8: A5, 20) 0141 632 3466, | £9 (lunch)

Artisan Roast: big on the black stuff at this West End roastery and café


On a good day the sun shines right

CAFÉS 4 Avenue G Passionate about their top-quality coffee and locally sourced café classics, with an attention to detail that is rarely matched. 4 Delizique Hyndland favourite, with neighbouring sister Cafezique, demonstrating a do-it-yourself ethos and dedication to good food. 4 The Glad Café Not just a cafe but an entire ethos – a hub for communities to talk, watch and think, and enjoy great food. 4 Kember & Jones This buzzing Byres Road favourite ticks all the artisan boxes – bread, cakes, coffee and platters, all from the top drawer. 4 McCune Smith Café Enlightened coffee, concept sandwiches and great cakes, styled around the rich history of Glasgow. 4 Martha’s Fast food reinvented as a healthy, well-sourced option at this stylish city centre café and takeaway 4 No Way Back At a time when street food is all the rage, this Southside café’s big sandwiches and creative combinations are the real deal. 4 North Star A friendly neighbourhood café close to the Botanics doing traditional Mediterranean food to perfection. 4 The Wilson Street Pantry A welcome addition to the Merchant City, doing classy food in a slick, urban space. down Skirving Street and Biscuit’s outdoor seats are a cracking spot to soak it up. Décor is bright and crisp, coffee is good and strong, while the kitchen’s café/deli favourites make for a pleasant balance of healthy and hearty. The ‘small plate’ of crostini is anything but – a plentiful assemblage of smoked salmon and gigantic, juicy capers and crème-fraîche. Carb-lovers will enjoy fish finger sandwiches, hotdogs and burgers, but crispy chicken Caesars and a proper vegetarian concern (meat-free BLTs, halloumi salad) really broaden Biscuit’s appeal. New ownership this year has reinforced this, with glutenfree and vegan diets catered to alongside the ice-cream floats and banana toasted bread that make up some of the more unexpected temptations. Shawlands is saturated with cafes but this chirpy venue holds its own. + The outdoor seating - Kitchen shuts before café does The List Eating & Drinking Guide 137



Bocadillo 569 Sauchiehall Street, West End (Map 9B: F2, 50) 0141 221 0069, bocadillo. | Closed Sun | £6 (lunch) / £16 (dinner)

This smart café, and now occasional bistro, is in the perfect location to feed the many local office staff looking for a quick reliable bite. Large windows let the light flood in, and there is plenty of table space for sitting in away from the inevitable lunchtime takeaway queues. During the day there’s a wide range of sandwiches, panini and fajita wraps, plus various bigger specials including curries, pasta dishes and macaroni cheese. Recently the café has transformed into an appealing bistro, open on Thursday to Saturday evenings. The Scots-inspired tapas dishes on offer feature the likes of beer-battered langoustine tails, foraged mushrooms, and haggis Scotch eggs. + Reliable lunchtime bites - Like a business convention at times

Brooklyn Café 21 Minard Road, Southside (Map 8: A4, 16) 0141 632 3427 | £9 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)

In a city full of ever-multiplying hip burger joints, it’s refreshing to find somewhere that offers up a taste of Americana at its best, and Brooklyn couples American cooking with a rustically appealing, fairy-lit interior. This long-standing café specialises in burgers, ribs and stacked pancakes, and the recently revamped menus have adapted to offer even more choice. Ribs softly melt off the bone, covered in a rich house barbecue sauce, while the burgers are encased in just enough bun to keep the generous helpings of Scottish beef, cheese, bacon and salad from escaping. Portion sizes are large,

in keeping with American tradition, and the owners have been getting enthusiastic responses from their breakfast and burger eating challenges. The liberally stacked pancakes are a must try, accompanied by delicious Glasgow-made artisan ice-cream. + Beautiful slow-cooked meat - Cheese a bit flavourless

The Burrell Café The Burrell Collection, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Rd, Southside See Arts Venues

Café Hula 321 Hope Street, City Centre (Map 6: E1, 26) 0141 353 1660, | £7 (set lunch) / £13.50 (dinner)

For their many regulars, Hula’s bizarre ordering system and its discombobulation of seats and cushions probably add to the charm. You could almost see the six Friends drinking here, though in reality it’s frequented by creatives and students from the nearby Conservatoire, and Theatre Royal. Their sandwiches are well-worn combinations with sassy touches, like pastrami with sun-dried tomato mayo, or chicken and pear salsa, all between positively gigantic slices of bread. The soup and sandwich combo tends to take care of your lunch and a snack for later as well. Elsewhere, a daily-changing fish stew (think mussels, salmon), a risotto (say, mushroom) and a pasta dish keep things fresh, while the atmosphere is always buzzing and arty. Later on, Hula’s alcohol licence means it

pleasantly segues from lunchtime hub to early evening chill-out spot. + Charming quirkiness - Frustrating quirkiness

Café D’Jaconelli 570 Maryhill Road, West End (Map 9A: H1, off) 0141 946 1124 | £7 (lunch)

One of the few remaining ItalianScots cafés which once served every neighbourhood in the city, the pristinely well cared for Café D’Jaconelli stands firm with an interior, menu and jukebox lovingly unchanged since its last refurb in the 1960s. Hungry locals, nostalgic celebs and visiting Partick Thistle fans (Fir Park is just over the road) knock back bacon rolls and platefuls of molten macaroni cheese and and chips, washed down with strong and steamingly hot tea, but the ice-cream is the main event. Snow-white, vanilla only and authentically Italian, have it tutti frutti or banana split style or – if you’re pushing the boat out – go for The Big Yin, covered in a lifetime’s supply of whipped cream, sauces, sprinkles and sparklers. As you watch grandparents treat the grandkids to the same Knickerbocker Glories they wolfed down when they were wee, you hope this institution will continue to remain for decades to come. + Retro in the best, irony-free way - Mains a bit stodgy

Café at GOMA Royal Exchange Square, Merchant City See Arts Venues

TIPLIST FOR BREAKFAST & BRUNCH • Avenue G Quality wakeups on Byres Road 137 • Café Gandolfi Oldfavourite brunch specialist


Café Phoenix 262 Woodlands Road, West End (Map 9A: G3, 93) 0141 339 3020 | £7 (lunch)

The concept of Café Phoenix is built upon the union of two of life’s greatest pleasures – eating cake and reading books. The combination of a relaxed atmosphere, walls stocked with novels, and laid-back yet nonetheless attentive staff, creates the ideal destination for those who enjoy leisurely afternoons spent drinking coffee and getting lost in a good story. When it comes to lunch, the spinach, mozzarella, pesto and sun-dried tomato ciabatta is a colourful and healthy way to refuel, and the chicken Caesar salad is well presented and perfectly balanced. It’s impossible to resist the shelves of tempting cakes beneath the counter, but no one could regret a slice of the sweet and creamy yet surprisingly light cookie cheesecake. + Books for 50p or for free with any coffee - Rather tired shop front could be a turn off for some

Café Wander 110a West George Street, City Centre (Map 6: E3, 68) 0141 353 3968, | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch)

Occupying a middle ground between classy café and laid-back restaurant, Cranachan’s main dining room is decorated in pleasantly plum and white and its terrace overlooking upmarket Princes Square is warm and airy. Cranachan has a broad menu of Scottish dishes along with soups, sandwiches, and the curries and burgers of Scotland’s adopted cuisines. Mackerel pâté is roughly mashed with horseradish and spring onion, providing a contrast to the smoky fish, while haggis bonbons, the size of ping pong balls, are served with a generous dip of whisky sauce. Chicken with black pudding and mash is well cooked, and their haggis, neeps and tatties are served in a tower, typifying elevated home-cooking aspirations. Cranachan has a pre-theatre (or postwork/shopping) menu on weekend evenings. + Honest, efficient service is perfect for city lunch breaks - Traditional menu won’t excite food fadders

Cherry and Heather Fine Foods

• Cafezique Hyndland neighbourhood haunt for hip brunchers 131

7 North Gower Street, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

• Cottonrake Artisan brunch at Kelvinbridge 135

Coffee, Chocolate and Tea

• Gusto & Relish Homemade treats for Southsiders 139

Coia’s Café

• Hyndland Café Weekend deliverers for those lazing about 140


• Ollie’s Southside café-bistro doing great brunch 135


944 Argyle Street, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

473–477 Duke Street, East End See Italian

497 Great Western Road, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

Unit 51, Princes Square, 48 Buchanan Street, City Centre (Map 6: F5, 111) 0141 248 6257, | £8.25 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

• Siempre Bicycle Café Grab a healthy start at this cycling specialist 143 • Stravaigin Weekend brunches for the discerning 136 • Tribeca Three venues for big US plates 166 138 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

The Tearooms @ The Butterfly and the Pig (page 144): tiered treats

Occupying a middle ground between classy cafe and laid-back restaurant, Cranachan’s main dining room is decorated in plum and white with cardboard structures of stags’ head on the walls, and its terrace overlooking Princes Square is warm and airy. Cranachan has a broad menu of familiar Scottish dishes along with soups, sandwiches, and the curries and burgers of Scotland’s adopted cuisine. The mackerel pate is roughly mashed with horseradish and


In association with


spring onion providing a contrast to the smoky fish. Haggis bonbons, the size of ping pong balls, are served with a generous dip of whisky sauce. Chicken with black pudding on a bed of mashed potato is well cooked but unfussy, and their haggis, neeps and tatties are served in a tower, typifying the elevated home cooking that Cranachan aspires to. The coffee break doesn’t take a back seat however, and Cranachan cake is a good choice for those who shy away from the traditional dessert. While Cranachan mostly caters for shoppers throughout the day, it has a pre-theatre (or post-work/ shopping) menu on Friday and Saturday evenings. + Relaxed atmosphere - Broad menu hints at an identity crisis

Crolla’s Gelateria 221 Byres Road, West End (Map 9A: C2, 40) 01413410465, | £8 (lunch) / £8 (dinner)

On a drizzly, grey, Tuesday afternoon, you would think that buying an icecream wouldn’t rank too highly on anyone’s list of priorities, yet the several occupied tables at Crolla’s stand testament to the café’s popularity. As well as the rainbow palette of ice-creams at the counter which includes imaginative delights such as apple crumble and Kinder chocolate flavours, a menu which reads like a childhood fantasy presents savoury dishes such as toasties and baked potatoes as well as sundaes, waffles and cold stone creations, which consist of various tastes and toppings combined on cold marble to form unique flavours. The hot chocolate fudge sundae with tastes of vanilla, toffee, fudge and praline is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth. + Traditional Italian ice-cream in an array of flavours - The doughy waffle consistency

Cushion & Cake 35 Old Dumbarton Road, West End (Map 9B: C1, 10) 0141 339 4114, | Closed Mon | £6.20 (set lunch)

There’s something very appealing about places that don’t try to follow trends or mimic their competition, which makes Cushion and Cake a refreshing alternative to the hordes of dimly lit hipster hotspots dotted all over the West End. With its pastel décor, vintage crockery, and welcoming staff, the experience of entering the café, set on a quiet street close to Kelvingrove Art Gallery, is more akin to that of arriving at the world’s best tea party. Classic sandwich combinations like salmon and cream cheese, and chicken and pesto, come served on deliciously soft bread from a local artisan baker, and taste even better when accompanied by one of the numerous loose leaf teas available. With always at least one gluten-free cake option on offer, thankfully no one has to miss out on the exquisite sponge. + Chatty, friendly staff - No cutlery with sandwich and side salad

4 Delizique 70–72 Hyndland Street, West End (Map 9A: B2, 4) 0141 339 2000, | £11.50 (lunch)

Renowned for sourdough pizzas and slab-thick sweet pancakes, Delizique and next-door cousin Cafezique serve up top-quality neighbourhood dining with understated panache. As it has settled into its nook over the years, the café has picked up some endearing quirks such as school furniture and a surprisingly substantial indoor tree decorated with fairy lights – but what will catch your eye most will be the much-lauded Big Piece, a giant sandwich from which you can order a slice. Elsewhere on the menu

a pancake is ingeniously conceived as a single inch-thick batter cake with carrot, walnut and maple syrup, so consider this the kind of breakfast that will leave you full until dinnertime. Salmon is a generous hunk of Loch Duart fish complemented by beetroot and a sharp crème-fraîche. Delizique is an upmarket option for brunch, and certainly an appealing one. + Sublime salmon - Pancakes on wooden boards; goodbye maple syrup

Devil’s Deli 5 Hyndland Street, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

The Doocot Café and Bar The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, City Centre See Arts Venues

from the small frontage into a large pleasant café, there is plenty of room for the planned exhibition space at the back. It’s an attractive spot with arty touches and mixed furniture, doing a good line in local deli supplies-to-go including a chance to pick up a loaf from Byres Road favourites Kember & Jones or a bag of coffee from local roaster Dear Green. The food offerings include healthy options for brekkie alongside the standard bacon and sausage rolls (on artisan bread), DIY boards with a choice of charcuterie or cheeses, Asianinfluenced banh mi as well as the more standard soups, sandwiches and cakes. It’s an enticing, comprehensive and much-needed independent café-deli in this part of town. + You’ll never need to go in the nearby corporate chain again - Natural light in limited supply towards the rear

Eat Café 69 Kilmarnock Road, Southside See Bistros & Brasseries

Eat Deli 16 Busby Rd, Clarkston, Southside (Map 8: A5, off) 0141 638 7123, | £11 (lunch) / £11 (dinner)

There’s something of the ‘high street café’ about Eat Deli – a welcoming step inside from the cars whizzing up and down Busby Road. And there’s a crisp, continental feel, too, with Portugese tarts at the counter, Italian wines on the shelves, and fresh, hot pasta dishes from the kitchen. Food is simple and effective, like a chorizo and warm chicken salad bound by just the right amount of balsamic, or king prawn linguine, with no more than a bit of chilli, olive oil and garlic so the quality and freshness comes through. The ‘Stornoway Stack’ (black pudding, poached egg, hollandaise on a muffin) is a regulars’ favourite for breakfast, as is a comforting ham and cheese panini with chilli jam at lunchtime. Corney & Barrow supply the wines and there are beers from WEST and Williams Bros – nice little touches all round. And these make Eat Deli a pleasant early evening destination also. + Equally adept at breakfast, lunch or dinner - Bit cold on chilly days

4 The Glad Café 1006a Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 8: B4, 15) 0141 636 6119, | £6.45/£7.50 (set lunch) / £13 (dinner)

The Glad Café has quickly become a Southside stalwart, morphing from babyfriendly café during the day to hip arts venue in the evening. Carved wood and boxy shelves make it feel a little like a playgroup for big people, which is not altogether inappropriate. The Glad Café has nurtured cultural and creative events, from film festivals to poetry readings, and plenty of live music across all genres. Its menu is equally fresh and inspiring, with a good range of daily and seasonal specials. Burgers change regularly but never disappoint: a juicy beef burger with mustard seeds throughout is topped with cheesy rarebit served, de rigeur, in a brioche bun. Even simple options such as a ham and smoked cheese sandwich is elevated with a spicy pickle mayonnaise. Cakes are served in such massive wedges that you need to plan for them in advance. That said, the rich coffee and walnut cake or sponges flavoured with parsnip or sweet potato are well worth the effort. + Big portions and flavours - Service laid back

Gordon Street Coffee The Edwardian Kitchen Restaurant Pollok House, Pollok Country Park, 2060 Pollokshaws Road, Southside See Arts Venues

Enjoy 393–395 Great Western Road, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

The Flavour Co

79 Gordon Street, City Centre (Map 6: E5, 86) 0141 221 1367, gordonstcoffee. | £7 (lunch)

Another addition to Central Station that improves on the standard train and chain offerings, this coffee-roastery and café is advantageously positioned at the main exit, in the eyeline of thousands of commuters. Owned by the firm behind Waxy O’Connor’s and subterranean neighbour Alston Bar & Beef, it has

the feel of an independent more than a conglomerate – and for the company’s first venture into coffee it must be applauded. Kitted out in metal, tile and marble with huge sacks of coffee stacked on shelves, it feels like stepping into a bygone era. Coffee is roasted on site, on a mezzanine level – which means there’s more than one blend on offer. An attractive range of cakes and hot and cold sandwiches completes a compelling offer. + Cracking coffee for commuters - Fairly limited food menu

The Great Western Sandwich Co. 657 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: E1, 61) 0141 334 6732 | £7.50 (lunch)

The rebranded Café Pop’s claim to serve ‘outrageously tasty sandwiches’ might initially seem a bold statement, but when the plates arrive at the Great Western Sandwich Co it’s evident that this is no exaggeration in the slightest. The menu, which is divided into four sections of beef, pork, bird and veggie, is far more creative than these headings might suggest. The Jackie Chan is an Asian-inspired whirlwind of flavour that combines soy and apple in a tangy chicken marinade, whereas the Suarez sandwich relies on more traditional tastes including chorizo, refried beans and salsa to create a warming Hispanic dish. With meat, cakes and bread all supplied by local producers, it’s good to know that despite the globally influenced menu, the ingredients haven’t travelled far to reach the plate. + Creative menu offering something different - Communal benches might not be to everyone’s taste

Gusto & Relish 729–731 Pollokshaws Road, Southside (Map 8: C3, 12) 0141 4241233, | £9 (lunch)

Entering Gusto & Relish is a pretty typical café experience – bright, unassuming décor, adults talking over coffee while children play. But a few items on the menu set it apart. Baked eggs are a real treat, a comforting mix of egg, cheese, cream and spinach with big slabs of bread for dipping. What’s not to love? They cure their own bacon and they make their own links sausage – available in the ‘big breakfast’ or in one of their gigantic ‘door stop’ sandwiches. All their sandwiches are popular lunchtime options, served on wooden boards and packed with stuff that’s classy and fresh, like smoked salmon with beetroot and horseradish relish, or homemade hummus and sweet peppers. Thought and care have gone into the food. Cakes are made

517a Great Western Road, West End See Cafés: Wee Places HIT LIST CAFÉS

Gesso 20–22 St Georges Road, City Centre (Map 6: A1, 1) 0141 258 3540 | £8 (lunch)

Rubbing shoulders (or standing toe to toe) with global coffee giant Starbuck’s, Gesso is housed in the A-listed Mansions at Charing Cross. Stretching far back

ONLINE LISTINGS For full opening hours, further details on facilities, individual location maps and links, go to







The List Eating & Drinking Guide 139




KATHRYN HAMILTON KNIGHT ON THE SOUTHSIDE SCENE In early 2000 when we moved to the Southside, the food scene seemed to be trailing behind its West End or city centre neighbours. As we were in the trade, we wanted to fill that gap in the market. So, in 2002, eat deli opened and was enthusiastically received by people happy to have something a bit ‘West End’ on their doorstep. Since then the deli has changed enormously. We still offer the same great produce, but these days people tend to sit in and enjoy their food with a glass of wine or a cold beer. It’s a social hub and a home from home to our loyal regulars. A few years down the line, it was time for expansion. We decided to stay Southside again, as we had built up a reputation here. Once we found the right spot, we opened eat cafe in shawlands. Our focus was to create a café with a relaxed, stylish, informal environment serving restaurant quality food. A place where the menu caters to all-day dining, with globally inspired mains and daily specials, as well as dishes that feature our own fantastic Scottish produce, such as Stornoway black pudding, Mull cheddar, bread and pastries from Taylors of Strathaven, sharing platters and gourmet burgers. With lots of hard graft, the eat cafe team have built up a strong presence on the Glasgow restaurant scene and made the cafe a destination of choice for many Southside and city diners. It’s great to see the Southside food and drink scene flourishing. So northerners, venture south if you haven’t in a while . . . we think you’ll like what you find! QKathryn Hamilton Knight is co-director of eat deli and eat café (see pages 139 and 132).

Gordon Street Coffee (page 139): in-house roastings at this coffee specialist at Central Station

in-house (carrot cake and gooey, glutenfree brownies are favourites) while occasional supper clubs (BYOB) and community events make Gusto a firm local favourite. + Little details that set it apart - Bit hectic at times

Herald Café Bar Mitchell Library, North Street, West End See Arts Venues

The Hidden Lane Tearoom 8 Argyle Court, 1103 Argyle Street, West End See Arts Venues

The Hyndland Café 96 Clarence Drive, West End (Map 9A: A1, off) 0141 334 2719, thehyndlandcafe. com | £6.25 (lunch)

The Hyndland Café sits on a residential stretch of its well-heeled namesake district and is the kind of place where everyone will find something to their taste – be it a burger, a toastie, or an all-day breakfast. In addition to the menu, a chalkboard boasts a daily soup and a special, which can range from a spicy chicken wrap to moussaka. With cheery, chatty staff and the availability of a children’s menu, the café has a strong family-friendly atmosphere, but the West End artwork on the walls and soul music on the radio bring a touch of maturity. With a weekend breakfast delivery service and plans to extend their hours in the summer months to include an evening menu, this is a café that truly works hard to keep the many and varied customers happy. + Weekend breakfast delivery service - Some tables disrupted by busy takeaway queue

The Hyndland Fox 43 Clarence Drive, West End See Bistros & Brasseries

Jelly Hill Cafe/Bar 195 Hyndland Road, West End (Map 9A: A1, 2) 0141 341 0125, | £5.95/£7.95 (set lunch) / £8 (dinner)

Decked out with a stunning wine bar, 140 The List Eating & Drinking Guide

this café nicely straddles the evening restaurant/daytime café divide, plus there is outdoor seating for a spot of al fresco dining, which doen’t get overawed by the busy road nearby. Quirky Paul Hodgkiss-sculpted wooden tables are distinctive features of the décor, and Jellyhill also benefits from being one of the few spots to stay open late in this stretch of Hyndland. Sandwiches include the JellyReuben house special, which combines peppered pastrami ham, Swiss cheese and homemade ’slaw for a great balance of textures and flavours, or the tasty and reliable house ‘Bee El Tee’. Frangipane tarts feature soft sponge and intensely sweet raspberry notes. + Relaxed yet immaculate décor - Salad dressings are a little too sweet

Juice Garden • 23 Renfield Street, City Centre (Map 6:E4, 74) 0141 221 3876 • 223 Byres Road, West End (Map 9A: C2, 41) 0141 339 6275, | £10 (lunch)

This aspirational health lifestyle café makes a welcome addition to the city centre and Byres Road, where it nestles among the ice-cream parlours and pizza joints like an oasis of clean living. Capitalising on the Bikram yoga and dance studios round the corner, Juice Garden have picked a tried and tested formula. Food is fuel for the body, and yours will be supplied with a quick, healthy and appetising service. Menus come with an explanation of terminology, just in case you’ve not encountered maca, spirulina or moringa before, and you can concoct your juice or smoothie with two broad aims in mind (either weight-loss or energy replenishment). Lunch options include raw zucchini pasta salads where long noodle-like threads of raw courgette are mixed with tomatoes, onion and a lemon dressing, with no starch in sight. You can practically feel yourself becoming healthier, even as you tuck into a third piece of raw carrot cake. + Big range of juices for fitness fans on the go - Juices are on the expensive side

KG Café Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove Park, Argyle Street, West End See Arts Venues

4 Kember & Jones Fine Food Emporium 134 Byres Road, West End (Map 9A: C2, 30) 0141 337 3851, kemberandjones. | £14 (lunch) / £14 (dinner)

It’s no surprise that one often has to wait for a lunchtime table at Kember & Jones – its virtues are many. They roast their own coffee and they bake their own bread, and most of what is on the menu is available to buy from the deli, such is their faith in the quality of the produce. The platters are a lovely way to try as much as possible – a real celebration of taste and texture. The Spanish version has slices of Serrano and chorizo alongside almonds, figs, cheeses and quince jelly. You may have tried all the parts, but to get ‘best in class’ varieties beside each other on the same board makes a lunch fit for an Iberic prince. Sandwiches and salads are balanced and big on taste, while sweet things like brownies (properly rich and gooey) and Scandic-style parsnip and orange cake bring up the rear. It’s a buzzing, chatty favourite with many West Enders (and some local celebrities). + The bread and the coffee - Not cheap for a café

The Kitchen Window 187 Hyndland Road, West End See Cafés: Wee Places

La Tea Doh 136 Nithsdale Road, Southside See Cafés: Wee Places

Laboratorio Espresso 93 West Nile Street, City Centre See Cafés: Wee Places

The Little Café 1361 Argyle Street, West End (Map 9B: C1, 4) 0141 337 2068 | £5 (set lunch) / £11 (dinner)

This effortlessly stylish, admittedly small café houses numerous delights beyond


In association with


its huge windows that frame a great vista of Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. Owner Ersan Sherifi is a welcoming host, warmly greeting the stream of regulars, tourists and lunchers (including staff from the café opposite) in for the compact yet creative menu of great coffee, ciabatta sandwiches, soup and pizzas. And what pizzas! Freshly prepared and stone-baked, they are arguably the best in town (i.e. the best), coming in at nice prices, too – and available to order for takeaway, or delivery at certain times. The pastrami, rocket and parmesan version is a delight – thin, crispy and chewy, and utterly delicious. A top café whose outlook, whether from inside or on the few seats outside, is nearly as mesmerising as the pizzas. + Best pizzas in Glasgow - Anyone who thinks they aren’t the best

Lola and Livvy’s 254 Argyle Street, City Centre (Map 6: D6, 123) 0141 258 0161, lolaandlivvys. | £7.50 (lunch)

Glasgow has a fair few Italian cafés, but Lola & Livvy’s is the only one with a menu that specifically shows south Italian and Greek influences – reflecting owner Ed Avdiasi’s heritage. The counter’s delights include spanakopita, their Greek spinach pie with crisp and buttery filo pastry. Lasagne stands out too – a lighter, fluffier version than we’re used to here (less stodgy, too). The Mediterranean characterises the sandwich fillings, while their homemade focaccia is a hit of olive oil and salty sunshine. It’s an unlikely occupant of a wee unit opposite Central Station, perhaps, but it does a roaring trade – especially before 9am (their Italian Aroma takeaway coffee is better value than anywhere else nearby) and then at lunchtime, when getting a seat

TIPLIST FOR COFFEE • Artisan Roast Top roasters on Gibson Street 136 • Avenue G Speciality Coffee Shop Sister venue handling the brew 137 • Coffee, Chocolate & Tea Espresso bar with sweet treats 145 • Gordon Street Coffee Cracking coffee for commuters 139 • Laboratorio Espresso A cool city centre bar for top brews 146 • Papercup Coffee Company West End roasters near Kelvinbridge


• Riverhill Coffee Bar Excellent cuppas and cakes in the city 146 • Smile Café Exceptional coffee near the Botanic Gardens 146 • Tapa Dennistoun and Southside roasters 144

can be tough. Keep an eye out for the owner’s planned expansion into the West End with another café. + One for lovers of the Med . . . - . . . but not claustrophobic ones

LUV Café 1121 Govan Road, Southside (Map 9B: A1, off) 0141 445 0200, | Closed Sat/Sun | £6 (lunch)

A first glance, LUV Café’s open brickwork and rustic charm could be a village trattoria in Italy rather than a neighbourhood café in Govan. It really is a most pleasant little space – and it gets the sun from both the north and the east sides of its corner unit on a good day. The Italian influence is evident also in their coffee and their signature ‘tasca’ toasted breads, which have a crust of parmesan on the outside. Elsewhere, it’s more traditional, doing a roaring trade in breakfast rolls and homemade cakes to locals and workmen from the endless building work that goes on in Govan. Despite all this, LUV’s chatty staff seem to know everyone’s name and background. With the soon-to-open allnew Southern General just up the road, that might prove increasingly difficult, but it’s a good problem to have for this neighbourhood favourite. + Lovely setting - Sandwich choice is small

The Mad Platter 360 Great Western Road, West End (Map 9A: G2, 90) 0141 334 8894 | Closed Mon | £6.45 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)

A sign saying ‘The Mad Platter’ is an indication of the whimsy within, where bowler hats and fezzes adorn the bannisters, the floors are chequered and the walls are candy-striped, while the music veers merrily from Julie Andrews to Creedence Clearwater to the Dixie Chicks. It’s all amusing and endearing. The food (thankfully) isn’t quite as crazy, but alongside their chunky soups (with sourdough bread) and sandwiches, there are a couple of café curveballs such as mince ’n’ tatties or a chunky wee fish pie with faintly tangy and tomatoey sauce. Jolly good. Of course, no place that’s as much fun as this could neglect the most fun course of all – thus, they do pear crumble, banoffee pie, tarte de framboise, croissants, muffins et al. Understandably, West End bohemians (especially those with kids) seem to like this place a lot. + Uniquely quirky and fun - Quite cramped

4 Martha’s 142a St Vincent Street, City Centre (Map 6: D4, 79) 0141 248 9771, mymarthas. | Closed Sun | £7 (lunch)

Tucked away amidst the sea of burger joints that crowd St Vincent Street and around, Martha’s is a café and takeaway with a difference, offering office workers and shoppers something a lot more exciting, flavoursome and locally sourced than a packet sandwich or crispy filled roll. The flatbreads are generously filled and deliciously constructed – both the chipotle chicken and falafel fillings are worth a try. Alternatively, salads packed with seasonal ‘hero’ ingredients can be found in the fridge alongside an adventurous range of juices, which are ingeniously displayed in their fruit form and blended at the counter on demand. A Greek yoghurt with rich berry compote makes for a refreshing palate cleanser. The quality of the menu at Martha’s could undoubtedly convince even the most ardent fans of greasy spoon cafés that healthy food can be both satisfying and enjoyable. + The menu – annotated with calories and ingredient info

- All food served in takeaway containers

Matilda’s 378–380 Byres Road, West End (Map 9A: D1, 56) 0141 339 8809, | £3.95 / £4.50 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)

Throughout the day the glass frontage of Matilda’s reveals a hubbub of families devouring cakes, and takeaway customers popping in to pick up a sandwich deal. However, on Friday and Saturday nights the café is transformed into an entirely different eatery altogether with the availability of their bistro-style market menu. Dishes vary from the traditional, such as haddock with hand-cut chips, to the more creative, most notably the beautifully tender duck with pak-choi, soy, chilli and sweet potato. Naturally, as Matilda’s is first and foremost a patisserie, dessert is something truly special, and the passion fruit meringue pie is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the cake selection. In an area dense with daytime coffee spots, it’s exciting to see a café fully exploring its potential. + Lots of options of exceptional quality - BYOB corkage a bit pricey

4 McCune Smith Café 3–5 Duke Street, East End (Map 7: D1, off) 0141 548 1114, | Closed Sun | £7.50 (lunch)

Not many places go quite so far with a concept while maintaining an outwardly minimalist style, but McCune Smith succeeds. Stripped back and hip on the surface, this cafe references Duke Street as the original site of Glasgow University, where James McCune Smith was the first black man in the world to receive a medical degree. Sandwiches are more than meets the eye, with each one designed around a different figure of the Scottish Enlightenment; the house special is pastrami, relish and gouda on rye bread. Dear Green coffee and remarkable cakes (you can’t go wrong with a Rocky Road containing whole teacakes) are also good reasons to pay a visit. Take or leave the historical slant, there’s no doubt that McCune Smith Cafe is perfectly suited for the present day. + Stimulation for the mind along with your food - A little off the beaten track

Moyra Jane’s 20 Kildrostan Street, Southside (Map 8: B2, 4) 0141 423 5628, | £5.95 (set lunch) / £16 (dinner)

Moyra Jane’s is shedding its tearoom image and maturing into a Parisiennestyle brasserie, complete with candlelight, mirrors and piped piano jazz. Like any