Food at the Fringe

There is so much to do at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You could spend the entire month of August attending shows and discovering weird and wonderful venues and not even have scratched the surface. What is essential though, is making sure you stay well fed and watered. So, whether it’s planned dinner with friends after a show, or a quick bite to eat in-between rushing from one venue to another, here’s the low down on where to eat and drink this August…  Continue reading “Food at the Fringe”

The Promise of a Proper Burger

For a while it felt like every new restaurant opening up in Edinburgh was doing Thai food, and now it seems we’ve moved on to burgers. Burgers and Beers, Bread Meets Bread, just Burger or maybe even just Bun… I’m not sure, it’s quite confusing! Continue reading “The Promise of a Proper Burger”

Brunch at Gusto, Edinburgh

If you read my blog or my Instagram you’ll know I take brunch pretty seriously. I am obbessed with anything served with avocado, I love eggs all ways and would choose breakfast over lunch every time.

When Gusto, on George Street, launched their brunch menu a month or so ago, complete with a new smoothie and cocktail menu, I was delighted to pop along and check it out along with one of my best girlfriends.  Continue reading “Brunch at Gusto, Edinburgh”

Jamie’s Italian, Edinburgh

I don’t often choose to go out for Italian food as we eat a lot of it at home. I adore making pastas and risottos and our freezer is always stocked with a good, homemade bolognese sauce (check out my tried & tested sauce recipe.) I have even delved into the world of homemade pizzas… I’ll admit that with one is with varying degrees of success. Continue reading “Jamie’s Italian, Edinburgh”

Stockbridge: The Best Place to Live

Stockbridge has been named the ‘Best Place to Live in Scotland’ in the recent Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide. This won’t be news to locals, but for those of you who are just discovering this cute pocket of Edinburgh, where should you hang out? I’ve pulled together a rundown of my favourite places to eat, drink, shop and generally mosey around in Stockbridge… Continue reading “Stockbridge: The Best Place to Live”

Serrano Manchego

Stepping into Serrano Manchego is like being transported to a proper little, bustling, Spanish tapas bar. For starters, you certainly don’t feel like you are half way down Leith Walk in Edinburgh, and on a Friday night, by the time we left the place was rammed with a total mix of people. Continue reading “Serrano Manchego”

Siam Restaurant & Bar, Edinburgh

An early supper a couple weeks ago took Ruth and I to Siam Restaurant & Bar, a thai place right in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town on Howe Street. The restaurant was recently taken over and re-opened in August this year following a full kitchen refurb and a few little touches to the inside and exterior. Continue reading “Siam Restaurant & Bar, Edinburgh”

Gusto, Edinburgh

Our trip to Gusto was yet another occasion where I was wishing I had a proper camera and not just my phone! I’m sad to say my pictures do not these delicious dishes justice, thus I will just have to be as descriptive as possible.

Having attended the Perrier-Jouet tasting dinner at Gusto on George Street in Edinburgh, when I was asked to review the new menu, it was an easy yes. Gusto is a chain of Italian inspired restaurants you can find in many of the big cities up and down the country. To be specific, the restaurants are “inspired by the traditional grand cafes of Europe, Gusto is all about making the everyday exquisite.” It’s suppose to be ‘everyday decadence’… that’s something I can get on board with.

Edinburgh’s Gusto is located at the Charlotte Square end of George Street. The set up downstairs is a mix of round booths and high bar stool tables. We were taken upstairs to the mezzanine level and sat at a table overlooking the restaurant – a great spot for watching everyone coming and going, for there is a lot of that with it being a fairly large dining space.

Our waiter, very friendly and polite, was straight over with the wine list and menus. Being mid-flat move, Mr. F&P was on the sparkling water as unfortunately we had chores to complete that evening, however I opted for a glass of Novita Trebbiano, correctly described as ‘wonderfully easy drinking’.

I love when waiters or waitresses recommend dishes from the menu, so when I ordered the calamari and our waiter suggested the Fritto Misto instead, it was a no brainer to change my order. What was thinking just going for calamari when I could have with sardine, prawn, calamari, and courgette as well?! I made the right decision. The batter was so incredibly light and nicely peppered, and spiced tomato mayonnaise reminded me of a dip that is served at The Outback in America when you order their famous ‘Bloomin’ Onion’. A joy of a dish to start the evening off.

Fritto Misto

Fritto Misto close up

Fritto Misto sauce

Mr F&P tucked into salmon tartare which was served with a soft boiled quails egg (inside the salmon tower – a fun touch) and some crème fraîche and red gazpacho. Another delicious, and very pretty looking, plate of food. 

salmon tartar

salmon tartar plate

And that’s the quails egg, right there in the middle.

quails egg

For my main I ordered the 6oz chargrilled fillet steak, medium, which came with garlic butter, roasted vine tomatoes and fries. The steak was cooked exactly to my liking. What can you say about garlic butter, other than it’s totally delicious, by far by steak sauce of choice. I’m not convinced the chargrilling added much, however certainly it didn’t detract from a very flavoursome, juicy piece of meat. The ‘vine tomatoes’ were just one large vine tomato, but no problem with that, and the fries were lovely and crispy. No need for the dish.

fillet steak plate

steak medium

steak close up

I was less convinced by the pasta dish – white crab, chilli, garlic and fresh lemon spaghetti. Perhaps we eat too much pasta at home and I don’t appreciate it as much when I go out. I also find it fairly easy to make a damn good pasta dish at home, thus when I go out I really expect to be wowed. That said, the spaghetti was fresh, the lemon sauce coated the spaghetti well, not too much, not too little. Just not a patch on my steak, but perhaps I am trying to compare apples and pears.

crab spaghetti

A little break as we surveyed the dessert menu. This is where I struggled… I am fairly confident I would have enjoyed absolutely every dessert listed. This is a dessert menu for chocolate lovers.

dessert menu

I was torn between the nutella and mascarpone calzone and the ‘bombolini’; homemade mini doughnuts with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Thinking I may not have room for something that called itself a ‘calzone’ I chose the mini doughnuts and was rewarded with a really simple, but yummy, dessert. Bizarrely light for pudding of doughnuts, the chocolate sauce had an edge to it which I’m putting down to some sort of liqueur. Again, too many dishes on the plate for my liking, or perhaps a different shape of under plate would work better.

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The star menu was the ‘Baked Flaming Alaska’, served and lit at the table, it glowed purple for a good 30-40 seconds. As you might have guessed by the quails egg inside the salmon tower, I’m fairly easy amused and I thoroughly enjoyed the dramatics.

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On a side note, Baked Alaska is a dessert that never ceases to amazing me, just the science behind it, how does the ice cream stay cold? But let’s not get into that just now…

With the departure of The Living Room from George Street, Gusto will be a good staple haunt for large groups – plenty space and something for everyone on the menu. What I liked most about Gusto is that it did not feel too much like a chain. I’ve yet to visit the one newly opened in Glasgow, but my overall feeling is they take on the character of the buildings they live in, hopefully making each one a tiny bit different.

Make a trip, I promise your dishes will be look more spectacular than the ones captured in this post, and I hope they are just as tasty. For now I’ll weigh up the cost of a new camera and think some more about baked Alaska.

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More Sunshine, More Wine!

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Spring has arrived in Edinburgh and we spent every moment of the Easter weekend soaking it up. Our spot of choice – The Magnum on Albany Street. The few tables available on the street outside are an amazing sun-trap, and we were lucky to snap one up for lunch.

The Magnum is a great little New Town pub and the menu is slightly fancier than you might expect from a such a relaxed venue. It’s also great value for money with 3 courses coming in at £14.95 – lunch or dinner.

To kick start the afternoon we tucked into a bottle of Chocolate Box wine (actually ordered by accident and slightly more expensive than we bargained for, but very enjoyable none the less) and ordered our starters.

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I opted for the courgette and smoked cheddar frittata, served with saffron yogurt and cherry tomatoes. I could take or leave the frittata if I’m honest, but Mr F&P’s smoked salmon bruschetta was absolutely delicious and with the sun beating down we could dream we were sitting somewhere in along the Almafi Coast, enjoying up some real Italian cooking!

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More sunshine, more wine, and onto our mains which included a perfectly poached fillet of coley served with a raisin puree on a bed of roast potatoes and green beans. The seasoning was just right, and the potatoes were booked in a indulgent amount of garlic and salt, making them extremely moorish.

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Our table also ordered a plate of fish and chips, one of the more traditional pub dishes on the menu, and it was enjoyed every bit as much as the poached coley.

Dessert did not disappoint. Two scoops of ice cream were just what I felt in the mood for on such a sunny afternoon. One vanilla and one butterscotch and caramel, it was a bit of a race to eat them before they melted – but of course I had help. I’m pleased to say we devoured the ice cream and won.

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The cranachan cheesecake was oaty and creamy with a good biscuit base, but the most interesting dessert by far was the butternut squash tart with blood orange sobert. A really colourful and different pudding which went down a treat.

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Roughly four and bit hours later, with full bellies, slightly red foreheads and odd sunglass marks, the sun finally crept behind the New Town buildings and we scampered across to Spit/Fire, a new pub across the road from The Magnum which is definitely worth a visit. The rotisserie menu upstairs looked incredible, and the plates coming out from the kitchen smelt even better – another place to explore next time the sun comes out to play.

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