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Everything posted by spanky

  1. As a wee warning to any citybreakers, according to its website, the Lydmar Hotel's had to close (as of Monday) because the bank that owns the building wants it for office space. I stayed there four or five years ago. Terrible room (definitely not one of the ones you see in the magazines), too cool for school service, but not bad food. Still, it's gone now. Spanky
  2. Now this is funny! A thread about Waitrose metamorphosing into a "my-dumpling's-better-than-your-dumpling" tit for tat! Is that because this is the class without a teacher (i.e. forum manager)? Spanky
  3. So the consensus seems to be: YEE-HA! Excellent news. As for fish, cheese and poultry buying, we're blessed with a pretty decent fishmonger, a branch of the town's best cheese emporium and a French deli that sells Label Rouge chickens and guinea fowl. Cream cakes, though. I'd walk over hot coals carrying a donkey for a decent cream cake. (I should add that the second Edinburgh Waitrose will be in Stockbridge/Comely Bank, so you northsiders won't miss out either!) Cheers Spanky
  4. Hello, all-- Morningside, where I live, seems to be coming up in the world. We're exchanging our Iceland for a Marks and Spencer's Simply Food and the local Morrisons (formerly Safeway) is, I'm given to understand, becoming one of the first two Waitroses to open in Scotland. Without sounding too provincial(!), this sounds like a decent move to me. Am I right in thinking so? Is Waitrose one of the better supermarkets? Can I expect something a bit more, shall we say, upmarket? And should our neighbourhood specialty stores (I M Mellis's cheese store just around the corner and a new French deli Henri's) worry about this move? Spanky
  5. After his (I thought, very decent) restaurant Rogue went to the wall a while ago, David Ramsden went to Monster Mash, which was looking to expand its business. They now have a Mexican joint called Monster Mex on Thistle Street (on the site of the Japanese restaurant, Niji), which apparently serves a mean margarita and is said to be worth the visit. I recommend Monster Mash as well, though you'll need some give in your waistband if you go for the main course/dessert combo. Cheers Spanky
  6. spanky

    WTN: Wines with dinner

    This piqued my interest. The Josmeyer site talks about a Greek game that related wine with love and women, so I looked a bit further and came up with this: "In kottabos, the dregs or drops of wine were flicked from the drinking cup at a target set in the middle of the room. Pride was taken, not only in hitting the object, which usually was a small metal disk balanced on a lamp stand, but in the the correct form of the throwing motion. A simpler form of the game was to hit a basin without spilling any wine, or the symposiasts could attempt to sink one or more small saucers floating in a basin of water. A more complicated version involved striking a small scale and bringing it into contact with a figure below. There were prizes, perhaps special cakes or kisses from a serving girl or boy, as well as penalties. Athenaeus says that some took as much pride in playing kottabos as others did in hurling the javelin." Oh those ancients and their japes! Spanks
  7. Smaller shops might be closed on 23 May, but most of the bigger shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants etc will be open. Unfortunately, the bookshop that highchef referred to is now a taxi place. Something to do with bankruptcy, I hear... (The Grassmarket, by the way, is stag/hen night hell at the weekends, so take some body armour if you're venturing down there!) Can I also suggest The Atrium? Great food, unstuffy ambience. I also like Blue (upstairs from the Atrium) for a drink or two, and maybe a quick bite of lunch. Ricks is pretty good for cocktails, but not for food. Be warned--I was there on Saturday night and there was so much sharking going on I thought I was in a remake of Jaws. Meat market! The bar at Harvey Nicks is also good for cocktails, and then you go get a table in the restaurant with a view over the city. Pop into the Dome on George Street for a drink in splendid surroundings. Oloroso on George Street--okay bar, pretty rubbish (and absurdly expensive) restaurant. Inside, the bar has wonderful views over the city, but the tiniest windows to see them through. If it's a nice day, go out on the terrace, although service can suffer if it's busy. Better to try Centotre (service still somewhat erratic, according to the missis, but now with new downstairs bar addition so not as packed) or the Valvona and Crolla VinCaffe on Multrees Walk (close to Louis Vuitton, Armani, Calvin Klein etc). For an intimate (ie tiny) place, try Cafe Marlayne on Thistle Street. They've also opened a second expanded place at the old Le Sept site just off the Royal Mile. As dellis453 says, loads of places to go! Have fun! Cheers Spanky
  8. Hi-- I believe the restaurant with the woman's name in the Ostermalm Saluhall is Lisa Elmqvist. On the other hand, you could just buy up some pasta salads, meat, pastries etc at the saluhall and take them over to Skansen or have lunch down by the sea. Speaking of Skansen, I loved Rosendals Tradgard, which is a kind of garden centre cum cafe famous for its cakes, where you can have a nice boozy lunch under apple trees and buy some (extortionately priced!) but gorgeous plum jam. Cheers Spanky.
  9. Hello all-- We're heading over to Glasgow for a spot of shopping next month and since it's so far away from Edinburgh we're staying the night at Saint Jude's Restaurant and Hotel on Bath St. I've since heard that St Jude's was taken over last year (you always hear these things after you book them). Does anyone know if it's still worth eating there or should we ditch it and check out Gamba, Arta or other places? Cheers (it's been a while!) Spanky
  10. Just discovered that Rogue, a restaurant I've always had a great time in, has closed its doors after a long and hard battle to stay afloat. RIP PS Only just discovered the lead-up story here. Have to say it was in a pretty crap location, as part of the Scottish Widows monstrosity, but all the same it's only five minutes' walk from the Atrium, which is housed in an equally unprepossessing building and has kept going for over a decade now.
  11. Hi folks-- Just checking in again with some news on Ra Burra scene. The original Marque restaurant (see above) has become something called Hewat's Restaurant. I had a look at its menu a week or so ago and can't remember a thing about it. From a nosy at its rather staid looking innards, I wasn't too jazzed, but I suppose you can't judge on appearances (the Atrium hasn't changed its decor since it opened!) A Jamaican restaurant called Coyaba has opened in Buccleuch Street on the site of many a failed restaurant. Haven't been yet but Joanna Blythman in the Sunday Herald gives it a great write-up. She also gives a great review to 1 Alva Street which has opened on the site of the old Bouzy Rouge. Again, I haven't been, so can't vouch for this. Valvona and Crolla's much heralded vin caffe in Multrees Walk near Harvey Nicks still hasn't opened (c'mon already!) As for me, I've been saving my hard-earned for my wedding, which is a week on Saturday at the Atrium then Blue Bar Restaurant for jazz and soul/funk. My best wishes to all at egullet. See you now Spanks
  12. Apologies for not replying earlier--bitching about the lack of security in the new Scottish Parliament building has taken up my time, I'm afraid. Thanks to those who replied for taking the time to consider this story. It wasn't really a slow news day, what with all the hunting protesters shoving their way into the House of Commons. Perhaps it was a case of licking wounds with some Franco-bashing. Who knows? When we're in Paris next month, we fully intend to make as much use as possible of Cafe Vavin, which is just around the corner from our hotel and which I'm sure won't charge 14 euros each for our breakfasts (fingers crossed!) as the hotel will. We've eaten there before (not so great for an evening meal but I'm told perfectly fine for a coffee and some viennoiserie) and the waiters are preoccupied but not rude, surly or otherwise (especially if you speak a wee bit of French). That's fine by me. I've found myself scalded by the too cool for school attitude of, say, Starbucks employees before now. I suppose decent places find their clientele and rubbish places go to the wall. I just find it a little odd that people feel the problem--if there is one--of getting people back into these places needs an institute and charter. Lip service, perhaps... Still, I watched "La Maman et La Putain" not too long ago and still harbour rather romantic ideas of having a cafe on the terrasse of Les Deux Magots... Cheers all Spanky
  13. Idly surfing when I should have been working, I came across this on the BBC website. Having been to Paris only twice (but coming for a third time next month for my honeymoon!), obviously I can't comment on the incidence or not of "poor or non-existent welcomes", "lack of basic courtesy or reactivity" and so on. But I'd be interested to hear France-based (and other) egulleteers' perceptions on this article. Have people noticed that service has been getting poorer? Have the numbers of cafes, brasseries etc been visibly dwindling over the past 15 years? And would an institute and/or charter of quality make much difference? Cheers Spanky
  14. Andy, re: Marque Central. It's definitely still open. And it's definitely still raining. I'm off for a drink. Spanks
  15. I just remembered I made this recommendation. Please ignore it--the place has since shut up shop, which is a shame. Howard, great post on those three restaurants! Oloroso is usually fine for a cocktail or two, but not somewhere I'd go for dinner. As you detected, it has an inflated sense of its own importance with prices to match. (£150 for a bottle of Tignanello--japers!!!) I should also note in passing that I went to the "hot" new Italian place, Centotre, on George St. Impressions: hectic, packed, barn-like space (ex-bank) where you can't hear what your partner/friend/elsewho is saying even though they're sitting only a few feet away from you; terribly erratic service (for example, left waiting for our table while couples who came in after us were guided to theirs, brought the wrong orders, some very nice staff, some very unresponsive staff etc etc); strange lapses in detail (food-stained menus, for God's sake!) BUT very good food (my partner claimed that the mozzarrella was the best she'd ever tasted and I had a very toothsome veal milanese--I think (it's been a month or more now) and very interesting wine list. All the wines are from Italy and all are available by the glass. However, I would imagine that it's hell on earth to eat there at the moment. Tarka, sorry to hear you couldn't make it. If it's any consolation, the weather's unconscionably pish up here. Cheers all Spanks
  16. Centotre in George Street opened a wee while ago. It's run by several members of the Contini family (who run Valvona and Crolla's). It's been getting very good write-ups in the Sunday Herald and the Independent, but when I went one Saturday afternoon it was mobbed, so we didn't stay. Might try it before the Festival strikes. An "official" Valvona and Crolla vin caffe is being opened near Harvey Nicks, but it doesn't look anywhere near completion yet. Cheers Spanky
  17. I'd third Dellis453 and Culinary Bear's recommendation of the Atrium--not least because I'm getting married and having my reception there in October! Good food, good wine list, very friendly service--although it has to be said that the toilets are on the tiny side and the decor needs to get out of the early 90s. The upstairs bar/cafe Blue, which is owned by the same people, is also pretty good and less expensive (and that's where the night do's going to be). Cheers all Spanks
  18. Certainly The Canny Man's boasts a menu with about a hundred choices of topping--including Georgian dust bunny, old fag fug and floor-dried catarrh. Darn it, I told myself I wouldn't get ranty again today!
  19. Don't get me started on this subject. They might have a bajillion malt whiskies clinging to their nicotine-slathered walls and they might not have changed the dust and stour for 150 years ("ambience", don't you know), but breadth of choice and quirky decor can't quite make up for the owners' obscenely arrogant attitude to customers they don't know and their fawning over the gouty old trouts who've been pickling themselves at the bar for the past century or two. They take inordinate pleasure in making you feel as if they're doing you a favour serving you and take even more pleasure in throwing you out if they don't like the looks of you. Oh, and you have to ask for the key to the toilet cubicle. Personally, I wouldn't shed a tear if some act of God levelled the place. Okay. Rant over. Not a bad (but hugely overpriced) "smorrebrod" lunch, if you like that sort of thing. Cheers all Spanks
  20. Indeed--the very one! It's a small e-Gullet world! And I'm off to Mellis's in a mo to stock up on some cheese for a family dinner tonight. Now shall it be the 18-months Keens cheddar or...?
  21. Glad you enjoyed your Scottish excursion, rlibkind! From your description of your Morningside location, I've a sneaking suspicion that you stayed in the same street that I live on! Spooky, huh? Cheers, Spanks
  22. When you're on Skye, get yourself if you can to the the Three Chimneys. It's still on my to-do list (although given your $50 dollar threshold, lunch might be more of an option than dinner). I haven't eaten in any restaurants in Oban, but for a quick snack there's a great seafood stand on the walk to the ferry that does the best freshly cooked scallops in garlic and prawn sandwiches I've ever tasted. Friends tell me that the Waterfront Restaurant is very good, but as I say I haven't eaten there myself. Have a great trip! Spanky
  23. Going a bit further off-thread but-- Not quite Edinburgh, yet. There's a bill going through the Scottish Parliament on banning smoking in public places, but it's still at stage 1 (or, in Westminster speak, the consideration stage). In fact, I'm reporting some of the bloody evidence-taking on this bill even as I--er--type this. Feel free to resume the thread now, folks! Spanks
  24. mdibiaso--many thanks for the heads-up. Oh well, never mind. In this case, the weather will probably (hopefully) take precedence over food and for my partner the jazz will take precedence over both! (Skiddly-biddly-bap etc etc...) Spanky
  25. Hello all-- I note that the last entry on this thread was a year and a half ago and I'm off for six nights in July. (Better half wants to catch some of the Stockholm Jazz Festival, although Stevie Wonder plays three nights before we arrive (goldarnit) and I've seen Van Morrison's back too often on stage to get excited by the prospect anymore.) We're staying at the Hotel J--anyone eaten at the Restaurant J? Also, any new recommendations for Stockholm restaurants in the cheap(-ish) and cheerful category and the more expensive(-ish) category? Cheers, Spanky
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