City girl goes North!

The Storehouse

This post is not about somewhere new I have discovered, but it is about somewhere YOU need to go and discover. It’s about an old favourite which keeps getting better every time I visit. In fact, if you read this and go see for yourself, part of me might feel a teeny, tiny bit jealous that you are getting to take it all in for the first time…

First things first – look out the Barbour jacket, hunter wellies and any other “country accessories for a city gal” that you, like me, feel The North Of Scotland requires, and head to Inverness, the captial of the Highlands. The sausage dog unfortunately stayed put this time..

Hunters and Barbour jacket

Just a little North of Inverness, you’ll find The Storehouse of Foulis. It is a foodies dream location. The family run restaurant and farm shop sits on the shores of the Cromarty Firth, a gorgeous location all year round, with dramatic views across to the Black Isle.

The couple in charge of this operation are Quintin and Michelle Stevens, (Mr F&P’s sister and her husband) and it really is a family run business in every sense. Millie, their gorgeous working cocker spaniel can often be found moseying around whilst Michelle works in the office upstairs, and Quintin can be found at the Storehouse every day, and as a result knows all the regulars well. Their boys, 4 and 2, are also often around, adding to the friendly, relaxed family atmosphere of the place.

Storehouse sign

The restaurant at The Storehouse is open 7 days a week and offers an extensive brunch, lunch, supper and snack menu. With so many fresh, delicious plates on offer, it’s no surprise I’ve never been when the place isn’t buzzing. On Sundays there is no better place for a roast, as Quintin and his staff turn the food counter into a full blown carvery.

We arrived at The Storehouse late morning, meaning we attacked the brunch menu with gusto. I tucked into an enormous scone with blackberry and pear jam, whilst Mr F&P enjoyed muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurt, followed by a sensational bacon, gruyere and rocket sandwich – a fitting breakfast feast for a man who ran up Ben Wyviss at the crack of drawn that morning.

Muesli, fresh fruit and yoghurtScone with blackberry and pear jamGiant sconeBacon, gruyere and rocket sandwhichsandwich up close

After a perfect brunch, it was time to head to through to the farm shop. Just outside the main shop, there is another little wooden hut – a second treasure trove of gifts, but we will come to that later.

Inside the farm shop, Michelle and her team have the shelves and display cabinets bursting with attractive foodie treats. Alongside a deli counter and a Black Isle Dairy ice cream counter, you will find locally sourced meats, fruit and veg, preserves, biscuits, cheeses … everything you’d hope to find in a well stocked farm shop and more. Good relationships with local suppliers mean Quintin and Michelle can ensure both the food hall and restaurant are stocked with fresh produce all year round.

Deli The StorehouseCheese counter The StorehousePreserves at The StorehouseDisplay chest at The StorehouseIce Cream at The StorehouseWide view shop The StorehouseFruit & Veg The StorehouseCrockery The Storehouse

Impressive right? Make sure you factor in ample “wandering around the shop” time in your visit, because every time you look at a display cabinet you see something else you like the look of!

Now, you’re wondering what on earth could be left to go in the gift shop outside? Let me show you…

Gift Shop outsideGift Shop The StorehouseMore gifts at The StorehouseLadies accessories The StorehouseMore scarves at The Storehouse

And look at these little guys just chilling outside!

Garden animals The Storehouse

Finally after a wandering around the shop, you can pop down to the pebble beach and take in the highland scenery. In the summer months, when the sun is shining, the seating area outside is packed and little tots with sticky ice creams cones on the beach are plentiful. Perhaps it’s because I’m not from this beautiful part of Scotland, but for me, these views never get old.

The Storehousewpid-img_20140513_200546.jpgwpid-20140510_115127.jpg

For now, it’s back to base in Edinburgh, but I am content in the knowledge it won’t be long until I’m packing up my wellies and heading North again.

 

The Magnum, Edinburgh

Magnum foodYou don’t need to search for long to come across good quality pub food in Edinburgh, and The Magnum on Albany Street has just been added to my list. Other than enjoying a summer drink a few years ago, I’ll be honest and say it has not, to date, been somewhere that’s featured on my food and drink radar. Partly because I am not local to that area of town, but also because I was not really aware of food offering. My dining partner Fordie was in the same boat.

The Magnum is split into three sections, the bar occupying two of those spaces and a third, smaller restaurant section off to the right. We were surprised to find the dining area kitted out with heavy silver cutlery and white table cloths. Despite sitting in the somewhat fancier dining area, we chose to eat from the bar menu because the burgers just looked too good to say no to! I can’t comment on the a la carte menu, but I can say the plates on offer, such as the wild guinea fowl , sounded impressive.

When Fordie and I first met we discovered a mutual love for cheese boards, and over the years we have sat and enjoyed plenty cheese and wine whilst putting the world to rights. Seeing no reason to break a delightful habit, we ordered a bottle of pinot grigio and we tucked into a baked camembert with bread and a little pot of what tasted like cranberry jam to start. It is not a dish that can be done badly, as there’s really nothing to it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not extremely tasty and quite indulgent.Baked Camembert Cheesecamembert

We both chose burgers for our main course. I went for a beef and rosemary burger, topped with cheese, crispy, streaky bacon and a lovely bbq sauce. The chips were chunky and crunchy, and the homemade slaw had a nice tang to it. Fordie’s chicken and bacon burger came in a toasted foccacia bun with a sweet chilli sauce. I think the pictures speak for themselves…

Beef and Rosemary Burger
beef and rosemary burger

close up

chicken and bacon burger
chicken and bacon burger

chicken burger close up

After such a feast we couldn’t manage any dessert, so I’ll just need to go back for that 🙂

The staff were so friendly and welcoming, and the clientèle was a real mix of post work drinkers, couples and friends enjoying the bar menu and families dining out in the restaurant area. Thanks to the location on the corner of Dublin St and Albany Street, the seats outside The Magnum will be a lovely sun-trap in the summer months.

Although this time we opted for the relaxed bar menu, I am now keen to try the more sophisticated a la carte menu. In my eyes, if you can do a good burger… I’m all yours!

The Magnum
1 Albany Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3PY,
0131 557 4366

Le Di Vin, Edinburgh

Le Di VinFor those of you have read more than a couple of my posts, you will know by now that I love the Mediterranean style of eating and drinking. In my eyes food should be social, and there’s nothing nicer than sharing dishes and taking your time over a meal.

My passion for this style of eating comes from a short time spent au-pairing in the North of Spain during my summers at university. Most Sundays the family I worked for would sit down at home with cousins and grandparents to enjoy an afternoon of grazing. From about 2pm until 5 or 6 in the evening there was a gentle flow of sharing platters brought to the table – everything from fresh clams and enormous langoustines, duck pate and melba toast, to melt in your mouth Iberico ham and creamy manchengo cheese. This style of eating in the North of Spain in called “pica”.

Le Di Vin, in the West End of Edinburgh, is somewhere that recreates this somewhat luxurious and lazy style of eating. The French wine bar on Randolph Place belongs to Virginie and Ghislain Brouard, the owners of La P’titeFolie which sits next door.

The bar occupies an impressive building, once known as the Oratory of St. Anne. Inside, the bar runs along the side of the room, showcasing what must be hundreds of bottles of wine. Above the entrance way is a quirky mural of famous Scottish and French faces, sitting in a “last supper” arrangement at either ends of the table.wall art

At 6.30pm on a Tuesday night I was pleasantly surprised to find the bar busy. The main wine list is extensive, and for those know very little about wine, like me, I’d advise asking the bar staff for a recommendation. If it’s just a glass you are after, there are also plenty options. We decided to share a bottle of Chablis, no. 25 from the wine list, which is described as a dry wine, light in colour with a touch of hazelnut.

The food offering is simple – shared platters of meats, cheeses and fish. We chose a mixed platter of charcuterie and cheeses and a platter of the garlic prawns.meat and cheese platter

Garlic PrawnsOur feast at Le Di VinOur platters, served with a mix of bread and oatcakes, were loaded with the following:

Cheese:

  • Tome de Savoie ( French alps- cow’s milk)
  • Comte
  • Brie de Maux
  • St Agur
  • Pie d’Anglois ( Creamy-soft)
  • Reblochon
  • Morbier

Meat

  • Italian Ham with Herbs
  • French Rosette (from Lyon)
  • Coppa ( Corsica)
  • Jambon de bayonne
  • Petit Saucisson des Pyrenees

And to top it off, some rillettes of Pork.

All of the above was delicious, and we took a good two hours picking our way through the platter, guessing what was what and enjoying our wine. The garlic prawns should not go without a mention, for they were perfect. Huge, juicy prawns still in their shells, with plenty garlic, salt and herbs – what’s not to like!

We left knowing it won’t be long until we are back. With summer in sight (well, almost, if you crane your neck quite far around the corner), Le Di Vin will be a great place to spend a lazy summer afternoon with a group of friends, or even just enjoy a single glass of wine, a nibble and gossip after work with girlfriends.

Le Di Vin
9 Randolph Place
Edinburgh
EH3 7TE

0131 538 1815