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”

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

Click to add a blog post for The Scran & Scallie on Zomato

The Stockbridge Restaurant, Edinburgh

The Stockbridge Restaurant is one of the many eateries nestled away on St Stephens Street in Edinburgh. Not far from the new Scran & Scallie, across the street from Purslane, this family run restaurant certainly has competition. I should mention that St Stephens Street used to be home to one of my favourite restaurants in Edinburgh, The Saint. That space is now home to a great cocktail bar called The Last Word, but there remains a food shaped hole in my heart when it comes to eating out in Stockbridge. For this reason I was very intrigued to see what The Stockbridge Restaurant had to offer.

Interior

Fairy lights guide you down the stone stairs and into a cute and cosy restaurant. The welcome from the waiting staff is very friendly and on a Thursday evening my dining partner Cakes (a nickname I will explain sometime) and I are told we can choose any table we fancy. The room is intimate, with perhaps 12 or so white covered table tops, substantial covered chairs and chunky, heavy silverware. Immediately I think we are in for a fine dining experience.

Before we get started on our menu choices we enjoy an assortment of warm breads, walnut bread being the one that stuck out for me. The breads are served with a lovely herby dip – I am keen to find out what’s in that. Then appetisers arrived – little dishes with fresh tomato & Serrano ham, nothing complicated and very delicious

Breads

Tomato and serrano ham

To start I enjoyed pigeon with pork belly, black pudding, celeriac puree and port wine sauce. The pigeon was tender and the cubes of black pudding were moist and there was just enough. The little rectangle of crispy, perfectly pressed pork belly was a joy! Cakes tucked into the crab cakes which were packed full of crab meat and flavour. They came with a fresh, zingy tomato salsa and avocado puree.

Spiced pigeon breast, black pudding, pork belly, celeriac mash
Pigeon with pork belly, black pudding, celeriac puree and port wine sauce

close up of main

crab cakes
Crab cakes with tomato salsa, avocado puree and aioli

At this point we paused; topped up our wine glasses (we were drinking a Sauvignon Blanc from Chile) and both admitted to really looking forward to the main course.

Coley was our unanimous choice. On the menu said it “served with pancetta, a fried quail egg, sautéed potatoes and a mustard sauce”. I was pleasantly surprised to find a whole crispy strip of bacon with the dish! The fish was light and full of moisture, the fried egg had yummy, runny yolk and the mustard sauce went well with the saltiness of the dish.

Coley
Coley

close up 2

Following the main, a passionate fruit sorbet was served as a palette cleanser, and for me chocolate heaven followed. Chocolate crème brulee served with milk chocolate ice cream, a chocolate and walnut brownie and white chocolate mousse. I could take or leave the milk chocolate ice cream, the crème brulee was good. Put simply, it tasted like melted terry’s chocolate orange, I could have had 5 shot glasses of the stuff. However we both decided that Cakes’ dessert was the star of the show – banana tarte tartin with a butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream. Not a dish I had tried before, and one I am desperate to have again. The pastry was so light and fluffy it melted in the mouth and the caramelised bananas were sweet and tangy. Oh and the sauce, the sauce was to die for!

Chocolate
Crème brulee served with milk chocolate ice cream, a chocolate and walnut brownie and white chocolate mousse
banana
Banana tarte tartin with a butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream

Banana tarte tartin

Needless to say we rolled home happy and full. The food alone was fantastic, and the attention to detail along with the little extra touches made the evening very special, but in no way pretentious. What’s more, the prices for such a delightful dining experience are incredible. The set menu, which includes all of the above minus the banana dessert, runs Sunday – Thursday and is only 2 courses for £19.95 or 3 courses for £23.95. You can read the A La Carte menu here – I think it’s worth every penny.

It makes me slightly sad to think I have lived in Edinburgh for almost five years and I am only just finding out about this hidden gem… but I am delighted to say the food shaped hole in my heart has officially been filled. Roll on another dinner out in Stockibridge!

The Pantry

The Pantry, Circle Place, Edinburgh

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.

Pulled Pork Sub with homemade slaw
Melt in your mouth pulled pork sub!

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.

Pulled pork sub with homemade slaw and chips
Pulled pork sub with homemade slaw and chips
Roast Beef on Rye Bread
Roast Beef on Rye Bread

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.