Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

New finds from the latest trip to London….


Meat sweats after a plate full of barbeque at Pitt Cue Co. It’s dining area is tiny and you have to queue at the door when it opens but the smoked pig cheek with green chilli slaw was worth it. Based on the buzz though the best thing on the menu is the pulled pork so I’ll have to queue again next visit.


If you’re going to Spittalfields market then go to this wrap stall. Cheap and delicious. I had haloumi and aubergine loaded with garlic and tahini. For breakfast.

And finally if you do nothing else at all go to Brick Lane market on a Sunday and hit the world food stalls. This mixed plate was only £5 and it could have fed two. I landed up plonked on the pavement to eat it and it was the best thing I had all weekend.

Read Full Post »


This week I came across a new pop up dining event with a special focus on community. The enterprising students of Linlithgow Academy are setting up a temporary restaurant that for the next week will be serving delicious food to the local inhabitants and visitors to Linlithgow. I was inspired by their enthusiasm and determination so I decided to help spread the word by asking them a few questions about the project…

Q: Can you tell me a bit about the project, the people involved and what you’re hoping to achieve?

A: In January 2013 the BBC came to our school and asked us to set up a takeaway – that’s all they said and we were left to decide, fundraise and advertise all by ourselves. Our management team is a real mix of people but that makes it all the better! We’re aiming to create a “Guilt Free Night Off for Mums” whilst being healthy, easy and having the ability to personalise the customer’s food to their tastes. The project has taught us so many things – I can now budget, work to schedules and I’m (a bit) less clumsy and messy than beforehand. I genuinely believe everybody taking part has learned something that will help them in later life. What we want to achieve is a redefinition of takeaway – we’re not a greasy chippy or a repetitive pizza place. We’re taking the essentials of speed and easiness whilst providing food of a restaurant standard using locally sourced ingredients. Community has also always been important for us and we’ve attempted to show this in many ways. We held assemblies at the local primaries to discuss local sourcing and how to help farmers in the area; we’ve used produce from nearby where possible and asked the townspeople to invest in the business.
Q: What happens after the week is over?

A: After the week is over us sixth years get back to normal life – which involves very little school work and quite a lot of parties. We’re still unsure of what do do with the profits – ideas have been putting it to local charities, spending it on our ball and holding an event to thank everyone who helped us. However, an idea I really like is to set up something memorable. Whether this is a community garden where people can learn to grow and produce food or it is a fund to spend teaching children in town about food I’m not too sure, but I really want the legacy of Teen Canteen to last beyond the week we are running. The potential is massive and we’ll make sure to take advantage of it!
Q: What type of food will you be serving and do you have any food heroes that have inspired you?

A: We decided to cook Scottish Soul Food – our own unique genre. It involves using the best Scottish ingredients available to us, cooked long and slow with plenty of passion and flavour. It’s the homely food that everyone craves when it’s cold outside and a proper family meal. The food doesn’t necessarily need to be Scottish ‘themed’. E.g. we have a smoky meatball stew and salsa verde on our menu. The main thing is it’s all been made using the best ingredients the country can offer. We’ve been inspired by quite a lot of people after some trips we made. Tom Lewis at Monachyle Moor showed us how prime ingredients can make the best food when treated simply and Ross Baxter of Dunbar bakery showed us how community and food can be linked so closely. Most importantly though, the two chefs who we have worked with closely, who have advised us and helped us understand the practicality of our ideas; Fiona Buchanan and Jonathan Macdonald of Scoop Events in Glasgow. They both helped us go from a bunch of teenagers with some crazy ideas, to teenagers who understand the food business and how we can turn the ideas we have into reality.

Q: West Lothian isn’t an obvious choice for an underground dining event. If you had a choice between staging the canteen in Linlithgow or Edinburgh would you swap?

A: I think we would stay with Linlithgow – the idea of our business being immersed in the community is key to the project and it works perfectly in a small town such as ours. Even though the project may gain more popularity and make us more money in a city, I believe that it’s going to bring so much more to here where everyone talks to each other and cares about their hometown. In my mind, our project should become a flagship and do two things, the first is it should prove to the population teenagers can be proactive and actually accomplish something and secondly it can inspire more people to try this – whether that is a school wide thing like us or simply a bunch of friends who are going to make some good food and take it to their local market to sell. In a city I think we would lose this ability to inspire. We are totally unique in Linlithgow whereas in cities this has been done before, just not by kids!

If like me you’d like to go along and try some Scottish Soul Food or help spread the word, you can find details about the canteen via the links below.

teen canteen
Linlithgow Academy
Brae Head Road
EH49 6EH


Read Full Post »

Picture 1094

First of all… people of Britain, if you’re travelling to London from Scotland or vice versa, pay attention. Service station food can be edible! Not all service station food, and in fact not most, but if you are travelling on the M6 between junction 38 and 39 you’re in luck.

We were driving down to London for the weekend and I couldn’t face the thought of a six hour drive punctuated by fast food that tastes like cardboard so I went searching for foodie spots close to the motorway we could stop at instead. It turns out there is an independent service station in Britain! With a farm shop! And cake!

Westmoreland (aka Tebay Services) is accessible in both directions and it has a cafe which we were pleased to find serving proper breakfast and baked goodies with a stunning view of the countryside. I’ll be honest my scone wasn’t brilliant (think it had been baked a while earlier and got a bit tired and heavy by the time I got to it but I never understand how anyone gets scones to stay fresh for more than an hour out of the oven) but the cooked breakfast using fresh local ingredients was delicious. The only thing we didn’t like was the black pudding but it serves us right for trying to eat it outside of Scotland (sorry England its just better here).

tebay services

And despite the hour the farm shop next to the cafe was open, complete with butcher, shelves full of interesting jars and loads more baked goods to take with you (good if you happen to hit the cafe at an hour when your stomach isnt quite ready for the table full of cake – or in reality you’re greedy enough to need seconds later on). I’m so pleased the Dunning family decided to create this place and looking forward to my next trip south!

Right now second of all…. you need to stay on that M6 and get yourself to London even if only for one day. However, it must be a Sunday. This is non-negotiable. Now get to Waterloo and head for Blackfriars Street and The Laughing Gravy, for the best Sunday roast in… no just the best Sunday roast full stop.

This is not a gross exaggeration I promise. Friends took us here for the first time this weekend and I spent most of the journey back to Edinburgh trying to decide whether it was frivolous to spend the rest of my salary on weekly trips to London just to spend all my Sunday afternoons in front of their plate of Roast Aberdeen Angus beef onglet.

Picture 1095

This beef is prepared with love. Talk about slow food… its soaked in a locally brewed London porter beer, itself based on a 100 year old recipe that the brewers researched… for a week. I have checked this again with the pub since I got home to make sure I wasn’t so punch drunk on beef happiness that I was hearing things and its true I promise.

Besides the unusual cut of meat and the week long marinade in porter, the beef is served in a heavenly red wine gravy that starts off in a pot big enough to bath in and reduces down ever so slowly to just  a few litres. The exact recipe is a secret of course. To top it off there are beef dripping roast potatoes alongside fresh vegetables and a big spongy delicious Yorkshire pudding to dunk. I also recommend you start your Sunday brunch with a Laughing Gravy Bloody Mary or a Bloody Shame (the non-alcoholic version and not a shame at all) and you add a portion of their slow roast tomatoes which are equally delicious. This is a meal worth travelling for.

So hopefully I’ve convinced a few new customers to go and support these places so they’re still there when I next want to pop in and hopefully a few chefs in Edinburgh will read this and take on the challenge to better the LG Sunday roast so I don’t have to bankrupt myself with weekly trips to London (pleeeeeeaaase)!

Read Full Post »

Some (slightly dark) pictures from the food geeks November dinner at Cafe Saint Honore

I cant think how to describe the night without sounding annoyingly gushing but it really was amazing. Four courses of excellent locally sourced produce, all served as communal pass around dishes and topped off with some lovely Highland Park whisky and even better food chat (and a sniff of the house sour dough starter!) . The perfect night.

I cant wait to go back, I just hope I get left alone again with the chewy bits stuck to the apple crumble dish and the last of the vanilla ice cream next time.

Read Full Post »

20120927-194946.jpgI was looking through the pictures on my phone and realised Ive been storing up a raft of food snaps that Ive taken whilst out and about over the last month or so. So I’m doing something useful with them and mentioning a few foodie spots around Edinburgh (and beyond) that I would recommend as worth a visit.

The most recent (Im going back to front here) treat was a candle lit dinner for two at Steak.

At last.

I have been dying for an excuse to get there and it didnt disappoint one bit. This picture of my pretty and delicious smoked salmon mousse (with cucumber jelly and beetroot), was the only semi-usable image I remembered to take before I got completely side tracked by my Black Isle Ribeye steak with Bearnaise sauce and buttered greens that followed… nom. Oh, and then on top of all that I had rhubarb crème brulee which was equally nom. Sorry, the camera had been completely discarded by then so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Before my dinner at Steak, I had the luck of being invited to the relaunch of the new menu at The Old Bell restaurant on the south side of town.

My highlight of the evening was this dish which consisted of clams with borlotti beans and herbs, in a very delicate white wine and garlic sauce. I don’t know why now that I’ve tried it, but I would never have thought to serve beans as a side to clams in this way and it was so simple but full of flavour at the same time.

I have been thinking about it ever since and trying to remember each element so I can try to recreate it at home. I like food that makes you jealous because you wish you had invented it yourself.

Now, before the steak… and the clams… I had some damn good ice cream.

B. Janetta’s Italian gelato from their little shop in St Andrews. I’m sorry to betray the gelaterias in my own city but I havent been in one in Edinburgh that has the volume and creativity of flavours you can find in this one (if there are any Gelateria owners currently reading this who think I have just missed out on your shop I would be more than happy to be proved wrong and find that I have something better on my doorstep so please feel free to correct me should you feel I am doing you a disservice).

I chose buttered pecan ice cream which would have been delicious just on its own but I went OTT and had it topped with caramel crunch pieces and toffee sauce.

See what I mean?

20120927-195157.jpgLast but absolutely not least, I managed to get round to another foodie event Ive been managing to miss out every month due to a combination of bad timing and a slow trigger finger (the tickets are gone within minutes of being released).

I finally went to Burgher Burger! The three course menu for BB9 started with this bowl of freshly made miso soup full of crunchy veg and zingy ginger. It might seem odd that I’ve mentioned the soup first when the whole thing is about the burger but it made me realise the miso soup I have tried in the past was frankly, rubbish. I wish someone had given me this one the first time I tried it. Unfortunately the lovely mood lighting also meant it was too dark by mains to capture my beautiful handmade burger with mushroom ketchup and parmesan crisp but all I’m saying is that tickets for BB10 are being released tomorrow and I will be hovering over my keyboard with trigger finger at the ready.

Take my ticket and you’re dead! ♥

Read Full Post »

I’m breaking my own rule about food blogs without pictures. I did something fun and food related last weekend which I intended to write about here afterwards but as it turned out I was enjoying myself so much at the time I forgot to take any pictures, even dodgy fuzzy iphone shots. Still, I just cant go without writing something about it but I’ll keep this brief.

On Saturday I went to my first supper club, one of the last to be hosted by Aoife of MyHomeSupperClub (recently rebranded Jelly+Gin and organising other pretty cool pop up dining events if you’re interested). If you dont know what a supper club is just google it – others have already written long and interesting articles and I said I would be brief.

Tickets for most supper clubs sell out in seconds and I have been dying of excitement since I booked them a couple of months ago. I was excited but also equally unsure whether I would enjoy eating dinner in someone’s lounge with a table of strangers, but as you can probably tell it turned out well.

Maybe I got lucky with my dinner companions but it was very relaxed and not awkward at all. Of course nothing to do with the delicious green tea bubbly on arrival and several glasses of red wine after… mildly pished, ahem. Thankfully I didnt follow through on my cunning plan to nick the table cloth and pudding bowls which I took quite a fancy to.

Most importantly of all the tea inspired menu was delicious (chai pannacotta and rhubarb sorbet for pudding… dribble) and unlike a restaurant meal, I have a much better chance of bribing the chef for the recipes.

Unfortunately the next MyHomeSupperclub in May will be the last one for at least a while so I’ll have to go and try a few of the other ones in Edinburgh instead (probably a good thing as I think I would have got quite attached), but I just thought I’d write this short message to thank Aoife and her husband for their hospitality and let you know that the supper club is a secret worth sharing.

Just dont share it too far… I’ll never get tickets if you all start going!

Read Full Post »

I’m full of the back to work depression and too lazy to write this week but I had such a cornucopia of good cake last week, and one hell of a good lunch at Restaurant Mark Greenaway so I present you instead a dribble inducing week in pictures and urge you try out these three establishments at the earliest opportunity.

That is all.

Pear and Almond cake from Frederick’s coffee house  – great cake and a sunny spot by the window with a nosy view of the street below.

Cake overload at French fancies with the Edinburgh Cake Ladies – seriously delicious patisserie and charming owners.

And last but not least….

One seriously good lunch at Restaurant Mark Greenaway. How can the man not win Great British Menu!?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: