Don’t think about hibernating for the autumn/winter months just yet! From swanky, 7 course tasting menus to places to grab a relaxed meal after a long day at work, these eateries are all worthy of a visit. Read on and discover 5 new restaurants to try this autumn. Continue reading “5 new restaurants to try this autumn”
For 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.
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.
- Tome de Savoie ( French alps- cow’s milk)
- Brie de Maux
- St Agur
- Pie d’Anglois ( Creamy-soft)
- 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
0131 538 1815
I am a big fan of Sunday lunch, and on a windy, rainy, Edinburgh day I can think of few things better than sitting down to a tasty, three course feast. As luck would have it, it was a east coast day just like that when I ventured to Steak, the restaurant belonging to No. 12 Picardy Place at the top of Leith Walk.
The restaurant is headed up by Chef Jason Wight and does exactly what it says on the tin. Their tagline, “where beauty meets the beast” is quite true. On entering you are given a glimpse of the quirky, boutique style hotel at Picardy Place, and at the end of a dark, luxurious entrance hall you find Steak. The restaurant space is dramatic to say the least – a large, completely open hall, finished with beautiful traditional cornicing. Stylish cast iron rods are suspended mid air by chunky ropes and these fill the vast space above the tables to the high ceiling.
On the wall as you go in there is a chalk board with a detailed drawing of “the beast”, explaining exactly where all the different cuts of meat come from on the animal. Some people will love this, others will hate it, but I thought it was quirky and if I’m honest, helpful!
The lunch menu is, quite frankly, amazing value for money. Two courses for £9.95, an additional £3.50 for a glass of house white or red, and a desert for £3.50 on top of that. And just wait till you hear what was on the menu…
After ordering we were offered warm rye, soda or cheese and bacon bread – the third one there was moorishly tasty. To start I enjoyed an apple and walnut salad with blue cheese whilst my other half (that’s other, not better :D) had the chicken and leek terrine. The salad was delicious, little shavings of apple and these lovely pieces of caramelised walnuts, both of which worked really well with the blue cheese. I am told the terrine was “a solid choice”.
On to the main course, and the star of the show – rump steak frites with béarnaise sauce. I like mine cooked medium, and my other half medium rare. Both were cooked to perfection. The steaks had a lovely charred finish and mine was perfectly pink in the middle, the juices from the meat spilled out onto the plate as I cut into it. The béarnaise sauce was not as garlicky as I expected, but tasty all the same. Alongside the crispy chips I tried a side of the parsnip macaroni cheese. In my mind steak and macaroni cheese is a brilliant combination and I never pass up the opportunity to have it. My other half added a surf and turf element to his main by trying the side of cauliflower and shrimp. This was not a combination I’ve thought of before, but I can assure you it went down a treat and will be replicated soon as home I’m sure!
We probably didn’t need anything else but decided to go for it anyway. I tucked into a peanut butter smore with hot chocolate sauce (*admission* I chose this one from the a la carte menu, the lunch menu included peach cobbler). You’ve got to have a sweet tooth to enjoy this dessert, and for chocolate lovers like me it was fantastic. The marshmallow in the middle honestly tasted like it had been toasted over an open fire, and the hot chocolate sauce was delicious with the cold peanut butter filling.
All in all, quite a delicious experience. Once you add on a couple sides, desert and a glass of wine, the bill comes in at about £20 a head.
I had originally thought this fab lunch deal was only available from 12.-12.30pm, and that was my only niggle, but I must need my eyes tested as you can enjoy this offer right up until 2.30pm! Apologies Steak for misreading the menu, but JOY to all other steak goers – two more hours of foodie delight 🙂
Until last weekend I have often passed The Pantry on Circus Place on the way to Stockbridge and thought, due to the steamed up windows and packed tables, it looks like the type of cafe I could happily enjoy some food, a large pot of tea and have a good natter! After a lunchtime visit on a particularly blustery Edinburgh afternoon I am pleased to report it was exactly that. Inside there is a lot of exposed wood and tartan pillows on benches and the walls are littered with cute sayings and interesting posters – the type of posters in frames I lust after on Not On The High Street.
It’s always great to see independent cafés full at the weekends, and my friend and I were lucky to get a table as soon as we walked in. If you’ve read my blog before you might have picked up that I’m a bit of brunch fiend. Usually when confronted the option for an all-day breakfast, I find it hard to deviate from eggs or pancakes, however The Pantry menu had me fully engrossed in the sandwich options. I went for pulled pork sub with homemade slaw and home cut chips, and my friend had the roast beef on rye bread.
Our chatter stopped for a full five minutes when the food arrived – always a good sign! The pulled pork was melt in my mouth delicious and the fresh sub was packed with salad leaves and a lovely bbq relish on the bottom which had quite a kick. The star of the plate was the home cut chips, they were so light and crispy I could have eaten a whole plate full. On to my friend’s plate – she said the roast beef on rye was not at all dry (she worried after ordering it might be) and like the pork, melted away.
What would have made it *absolutely perfect* was if there had been some mayo to dunk the chips into. There was mustard mayo on offer (it came with the roast beef), but for the non-ketchup lovers out there, how good is mayo with your chips?! Perhaps that’s just my mayo addiction coming through there. That aside, there were lots of interesting options on the menu, and you really could have had breakfast, lunch or even an early dinner. I’d happily sum The Pantry as one of those places where there is something for everyone.
On Friday evening I was treated to dinner at The Honours, one of Martin Wishart’s restaurants in Edinburgh. Located on North Castle Street, there are plenty of nearby options for pre dinner drinks, and we decided to go to Tonic, a cocktail bar a few doors along from The Honours.
Take a peek online at their cocktail menu, I think you’ll like it as there are lots of fun combinations to try. On this occassion I opted for a Rasberry Kiss. Made up of tanquery gin, grapefruit, homemade rasberry syrup topped with prosecco, it was yummy! The Haribo lips sweetie on top, is a good reflection on the sweetness of the drink!
After a couple drinks I only had to totter a few steps down the hill in my heels to arrive at The Honours. Unfortunately I don’t have any of my own pictures of the meal, so hopefully we descriptions will do the dishes justice! You can take a look at the menu online here, and I’ll try and talk you through the yumminess!
To start I opted for the crab cappuccino, and I’ll admit I was not quite sure what the expect. I was greeted with frothy and intense crab soup. It came in a large shallow bowl and had lovely pieces of soft crab and garlic through it. I’m a huge garlic fan, the more the better, so this was right up my street. The size of the dish was deceiving and due to the richness of the cream based soup I wasn’t able to finish it which is extremely unlike me!
For my main course I enjoyed the fillet steak, which the waitress informed me was cooked on the bone. A technique, she told us, used to hold in the flavour and juices from the meat when cooking. I had never tried fillet on the bone before, so that was quite exciting. The steaks are are served with vine tomatoes and choice of sauces, I went for a bearnaise sauce and ordered a side of potato dauphinoise (see, garlic again!) and shared some green beans. The steak was cooked to perfection – I like it medium and it melted in my mouth. Absolutely delicious and totally worth the special occasion price tag (£32).
Dinner was washed down with a bottle of Fleurie. This wine, in my opinion, (and I have to say I’m no wine expert, at all) is a really light red wine – perfect for those who are eating red meat but aren’t wild about red wine!
The dessert menu was extensive, and after two very filling courses all I could manage was a scoop of passion fruit sorbet. All the ice creams and sorbets on the menu are offers as a whole dish or simply a single scoop. A really nice touch for those who aren’t quite finished but can’t manage a whole dessert.
After coffees and a desert wine we decided to call it a night. I mentioned that our trip to The Honours was a treat, and I’d love to say I’ll be back in a flash, but the prices simply don’t allow for that. However at the end of the day we were looking for a special evening we would remember, and that was exactly what The Honours gave us. So, thank you!