Date Night

date nightThursday nights are the best date nights. After a hectic week that’s very nearly over, there’s nothing better than sharing a bottle of chilled wine, or sipping that first G&T, and enjoying some good food and even better company.

But here’s a question for you – where would you go for date night in Edinburgh? Where would you book, or like to be taken, depending on who is reading this, for that first, all impressive date night? When match.com posed that question to Mr F&P and myself, we both knew exactly where to head…

On a warm Thursday summers evening, Stockbridge is buzzing with city dwellers enjoying the menagerie of eateries in this upmarket part of town. For us, that particular sunny Thursday night, Tom Kitchin’s new-ish gastro pub, The Scran and Scallie, was to play host to our “first date”.

Scran and Scallie outside

outside of restaurant

We decided to meet straight after work. Content with my day to night work outfit (a dress, blazer and wedges) I touched up my make-up before leaving the office and headed down the hill from town to Stockbridge.  Despite this “first date” really being four and a half brilliant years into our relationship, I can honestly say I was excited to meet Mr F&P that evening, and I soaked up all the details of the evening with a first date in mind.

The Scran and Scallie is an impressive, yet relaxed choice of restaurant for a first date. The staff are incredibly friendly and attentive, and there is warm gastro-pub look and feel to the place. At 6.30pm, with near full height windows, the restaurant is bright and inviting. Pleased to find my date already at the table, I headed on in.

restaurant

As well as bright open plan spaces there are cute little corners of the restaurant where I could quite happily relax with a glass of red wine in the winter time.

corner of restaurant

Drinks ordered and conversation flowing, we turned out attention to the menu. Tom Kitchin is known for cooking with plenty of fresh, Scottish ingredients, and also for transforming old-fashioned, and often obscure, cuts of meat. There were lots of classic, homely dishes on the menu, and “scran” really did feel like an appropriate way to describe what this menu had in store for us.

G&T

Menu

table setting

I didn’t know it at the time, but my starter dish was the star of the evening on the food front – pea soup with poached egg. Simple, stunning and scrumptious. The flavour was just as intense as the colour, and the poached egg in the middle was cooked to perfection.

Soup side view

Soup birds eye view

soup close up

Meantime Mr F&P enjoyed Pig’s Heid Pate with gribiche – a mayonnaise style cold egg sauce. He claims it was as good as my soup but I’m not convinced 😉

pigs head starter

pot close up

pate with sauce

By the time we finished our starters almost all the other tables were now full with earlier dinners, and there was a real buzz to the place. The fact I don’t recall any music playing is a good sign in my mind, the buzz was atmosphere enough. And despite having booked an early table, at no point did we feel rushed, and there was a comfortable amount of time in between our starter and main course.

On hearing the specials, there was only one choice; a whole plaice with lemon and spinach, on the bone or off. I certainly didn’t need a side to go with the plaice, and on reflection, my eyes were probably slightly bigger than my stomach, but every bite I did manage to eat was amazing.whole plaice

whole plaice with lemon wedge

plaice close up

Oh go on then, one more…

plaice on fork

Mr F&P choose equally well with the Highland BBQ brisket and chips…talk about food envy, probably not the most attractive trait to disclose on your first date. Fortunately Mr F&P knows me well enough and quickly offered me a taste… the meat quite literally melted in my mouth and the BBQ sauce was deliciously sweet and sticky.Highland BBQ brisket

BBQ brisket

chips

BBQ Brisket close up

One espresso and strawberry Eton Mess later (guess who had dessert 😮 ), our “first date” was drawing to a close. With full tummies and happy hearts we enjoyed a leisurely stroll home.

eton mess

eton mess close

espresso

espresso top

Had we wanted to carry on for more drinks, we would probably have stopped off at Hamiltons, just along the road. A watering hole where good drinks and a friendly crowd are guaranteed.

If you’re not yet convinced that Scran and Scallie is the perfect first date, maybe this next part will seal the deal. The following evening this happened…

engagement

Ok, ok, you know it wasn’t really our first date, but I say who’s to argue when love is in the air!

With lots of love, from me to you…. xx

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Shaking Things Up

The Bon Vivant, Thistle Street, Edinburgh, cocktails and food 1 (2)

This week was all about cocktails in my world. Whilst one of my favourite Edinburgh haunts earned an incredible title – the best bar in the world, I spent some time honing my French Martini making skills. More on that later, first up, let me tell you about this gem of place…

The Bon Vivant on Thistle Street picked up the glittering title of Best International Restaurant Bar, at the Tales of the Cocktail 2014 Spirited Awards. I already knew, from lots of sampling of cocktails, that I was lucky to have this kooky, little bar on my doorstep, but what I did not realise is that this is the first time a Scottish bar/restaurant has scooped this impressive award.

You’ll find this stylish bar on Thistle Street, a beautiful cobbled street in itself oozing cool restaurants, bars and upmarket boutiques, bang in the middle of Edinburgh’s main shopping distinct.

On entering, to the left you have the bar, manned by some of Edinburgh’s finest bar staff, often sporting impressive beards and bow ties – these guys look like they know how to mix you a good cocktail. At the back is the dining area where the walls are covered in french inspired prints and posters, and wax candles in bottles on the tables create a cosy atmosphere. Finally in front of the bar is a collection of mismatched tables, chairs and stools – my favourite being the giant champagne cork stool.

The food offering is almost tapas style, with lots of little “bites”, “middles” and “sides” on the menu – my kind of dining. We usually go for a selection of bites to start, giving you a chance to try everything from hand dived scallops, to haggis bon bons to grilled halloumi – these are just some of the delights on the menu last time I was there.

And of course, they mix a reeealllly good cocktail! You just need to take one look at their instagram feed to see what treats they have in store for you.

http://instagram.com/p/qRxb9Gtb3b/?modal=true

It’s well worth a visit, even if it’s just so you can say you’ve been to the best bar in the world. If you can’t make it to Thistle Street, you can visit them in Stockbridge as well, and they have an excellent sister bar and restaurant in the Old Town – read my review of The Devil’s Advocate here.

Now, let me tell you all about these French Martinis! An easy peasy summer cocktail you can make at home with friends. Whilst I love a good cocktail, I’ve never actually been taught how to make one, and I was dubious my efforts would pay off. I have decided to start with a French Martini, mainly because I already had the ingredients to hand.

French Martini ingredients

Chambord and Vodka

All you need is a cocktail shaker, measuring device, Chambord, Vodka and pineapple juice. At first I followed this recipe, but it didn’t give me the bright pink colour I was after. So I adapted to this:

Serves  2 and bit for tasting…or if like me, you’re not great at cocktails yet, spilling:

30ml/2fl oz vodka
30ml/½fl oz raspberry liqueur
50ml/ pineapple juice

Now the fun part – pour all the ingredients in your cocktail shaker with ice and go for it. Just shake, shake shake, pour, and sip immediately! The result will be delicious…

Cocktail shaker

French Martinis

Cocktails

And a close up of that froth…

Froth close up

A fresh raspberry or two would have finished these ice cool cocktails off perfectly. Now that I’ve mastered this one, I have a valid excuse to have some fun hunting down some proper cocktail glasses – roll on a fun summer of cocktail making.