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Suzi Edwards

Edinburgh

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Andy, re: Marque Central. It's definitely still open.

And it's definitely still raining. I'm off for a drink.

Spanks

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The for let sign at the Marque in Causewayside gives the reason for the lease being available as "due to relocation", so perhaps the Marque is setting up shop somewhere else. Unless they're just reducing the chain to the Marque Central?

As a footnote on Centotre - it's owned by one of the Contini brothers (Philip, I think) of Valvona & Crolla fame. He's left V&C amicably to set up his own operation, so with that sort of pedigree you'd expect the ingredients to be high-quality, as they are based on my one visit. It does get mobbed, though.

V&C are also setting up an off-shoot cafe in Multrees Walk, next to Harvey Nichols. Due to open in "the Autumn", so it looks like they've missed the Festival boat.


PS

Edinburgh

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Andy, re: Marque Central. It's definitely still open.

Excellent news (for them and me). Thanks for letting me know.

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What a great discussion. I'm off to Edinburgh in a couple of weeks. I'm intending to visit a few Chinese places, the Atrium and V&C. Any thoughts on where I could go to sample some really good Scots food?

All the best,

--

Ian Fenn

http://www.chopstix.com/

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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

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I feel compelled (again) to respond here. Have I been missing something or has VLS now a self-professed food critic? (At this point I freely admit that I've only seen this guy write in the Evening Standard and Private Eye - and where did those dreadlocks come from - at his age!!!)

I have to totally agree with his American sentiment - I was in there last week on Tuesday and an American couple in their late sixties made complete fools of themsleves using their classical 20dB over the noise. When I bump into any of you I will relay the story, but it was both tortuous and comical at the same time - like watching a Fawlty Towers but worse...

Err... you walk into a restaurant like that and order a salad? Get a life. It became much worse, believe me.

Grouse really was truly orgasmic though ;-) plus they had a pot pourri starter including frogs' legs that was awesome, though tough to choose a wine for, but lady sommelier is great fun and makes you try stuff you wouldn't otherwise - thanks!

I feel that your average English restaurant goer should be forewarwned about the cheese trolley. Excellent though it is, the accent is most certainly on catching you out. Lots of Scottish cheeses plus lots of ecelctic French fromage, but for God's sake don't even think you'll recognise many of them!

For location, food and service at Number One is #1. For food and service Martin Wischart is on an even keel, but location is a bit out of the way. MW's is also a different dining experience. My recommendation - try both!

Cheers, Howard

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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 :sad:

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.

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I didn't have an issue with the location, but possibly in Edinburgh this will be an issue, after all the appearance of the city is one of its major selling points? Certainly crap food in a good location, seems to sell better then better food in a worse location in Edinburgh.

I went only once, about a month after it had opened. I though that the food was fine, but the service needed a lot of work. Our half full glasses of white wine kept being taken away (they looked empty in the lighting) and large amounts of 'extras' (potatoes, salads etc) kept appearing on the table without us asking for them.

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I worked at the Balmoral under Jeff Bland in '98 and '99. The gentleman responsible for the bread is Peter Hyde, the pastry sous. 6'9" of dry wit and motorcycle leathers, who had a great touch with bread. He possessed the largest pair of clogs I have ever seen outside of Amesterdam.

Incidentally the best pastry chef I have ever seen worked there at the same time as myself, a young German chef de partie by the name of Marcus Huber - brilliantly talented, and I wish I could find out where he is now.


Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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Martin Wishart – Dec 04

Pre-starters

- small cup of delicious potato & leek soup – stunning depth & length

- spoon with puree of pea & small fish croquette (cod?) – lots of lemon in the peas – v good

- small ball of haggis – good texture, very peppery

- small cone filled with chicken liver pate – smoothest, silkiest pate I think I’ve ever had

Starters

Mousse of lobster tortellini; pigs trotter with a brioche crumb encasing; lobster broth. The lobster broth was exquisite in every way – it was heavily whipped so that it was light and fluffy but there was a seriously good reduction base to this. The pigs trotter – braise for hours, skin removed then wrapped like a long swiss roll & sliced – the problem was that the diameter & thickness was a bit on the mean side – otherwise it was very enjoyable. This rested on a bed of very lemony wilted spinach. The tortellini – little cusp of pasta with very smooth mousse inside – covered with a more pasta. There were two of these, paced on either side of the trotter. Visually quite pleasing – but the mousse just didn’t have any flavour and was lost in the riot that was the lobster broth. Also, the texture was somewhat lacking.

Mains

Roast veal on a bed of wild mushrooms; potato gallette and a white raisin sauce. The veal was great – seasoning perfect. However, the potatoes fought against the sweet note of the white raisin sauce – in fact – the sweetness detracted from the meal as a whole. This reminded me of the use of white raisins at the Champingnon Sauvage last month – there they were balanced perfectly with the meat – here the stock used to cook the potatoes was at odds with the stock. Shame – the dish was very good but overpowered by that one taste conflict.

Dessert

Chocolate sugar disk – on one side a hemisphere of dark chocolate mouse; the other a hemisphere of white chocolate mouse. The white side had a small ball removed with the indent filled with coffee granite. Two long strands of chocolate were laid against the side of the complex making a V shape and sweet mint foam was spooned down the V. Very pretty and sculptural. Damned if I could detected any real chocolaty taste from the mousse.

Overall – not bad – a place to investigate further despite the odd bum note.

Number One – December 04

A lovely room but it failed the international we could be anywhere test. Also you’re in one of the most beautiful cities in the world; the castle lights up at night and appears to float effortlessly and pleasingly in the sky. The hotel couldn’t be better situated & what do they do – put the restaurant in the basement. A missed opportunity.

Anyway, starters – a cup of haricot cappuccino with truffle oil. Very good but lacked the depth Whishart’s achieved the previous day.

Starter – boudin of game with loin of venison and roast foie gras. The FG sat on a small cylinder of delicious onion compote – the FG itself was quite small but perfectly roasted; no evidence of any oil slick. The two together was a wonderful combination. The boudin was tasty and gamey and just what you’d want from a game back pudding. The loin of venison should have been squab but they ran out the day before. The sauce – well – this is where the problems started. Perhaps the curse of Sunday night eating – anyway – the game sauce was over salted and any aroma of maderia had long since vanished. I suspect this was perfect on the Saturday night – but a little more reduction work have left it lifeless and salty. The based was superbly gelatinous – but it masked the rest of the meal. Shame.

Mains – assiette of pork with morel and pea risotto. Belly of pork – this was lovingly and slowly cooked with all of the fat rendered away – cut into a square and placed on a bed of red cabbage; unfortunately I suspect the loving took place the day before & I got a dry & tasteless cube of white meat on cabbage jam. There was more boudin (made from the brawn?) in this dish. It came with a powerfully sweet apple compote which I just didn’t like. Lastly, loin of pork on a bed of risotto – I have a soft spot for risotto and have always believed that even when its bad, its still good. Proved wring again – the super concentrated parmesan blew away any notion of any other ingredient getting a look in. No taste of morel or pea – even dominated the accompanying meats & others sauces. One last disappointing thing to note – presentation. The belly & boudin was placed on the plate like two eyes & the loin sliced and arranged like a big mouth. It was like being 4 again (but without the irony). I also have to say - there was too much similarity between the starter & main which I put down to poor descriptions on the menu.

Pre-dessert – lemon custard with plumb was simply perfect and refreshing

Dessert – lemongrass brulee. The small brulee was accompanied on one side with coconut ice cream and poached citrus fruits in five-spice liquor on the other. The fruits were great. The ice cream tasted nice expect for the small ball of curdled (refrozen?) ice cream. Kind of put me off. The brulee – well – that was something entirely different. I’ve been trying to figure out how they made it. If doing it at home this is how I would do it: make the custard for the brulee had with a flour base or allow the custard to scramble and then blitz it in the food processor & sieve. Trust me, I didn’t put more than one spoon of that curious concoction in my mouth. Almost beats the artichoke brulee at Grand Vefour, but not quite.

Wonderfully pleasant & friendly staff but can’t say I’ll be rushing back.

Olorosso – Dec 04

Can’t face writing this up – its was so monumentally awful. If I was preparing roast artichokes they way they had, this is how I would do it: take brined artichoke out of jar; slow dry in oven; pan fry sides so they look roasted. Just a guess, of course, but that’s how I’d do it if I was trying to emulate them.

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I have a sneaky suspicion Martin's going for a second star.

The wise old sage of Tollcross, a.k.a. Davy from Pro-Chef Catering Supplies, said they're really expanding the front-of-house staff as well as hiring two more hands in the kitchen.

Sadly, I've only eaten there the once, a year ago; the food was by and large spot-on. Nothing terribly cutting-edge, no nods to the molecular approach, but what was there was technically superb, including the finest gazpacho I have ever had (not to mention the bonbon of confit quail). The only gripe I had was with the dessert (we had the degustation menu) which seemed to let the overall standard down with a clumsy citrus brulee.

What's the considered opionion? Does MW merit two stars, or is he close to the threshold?


Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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It;s been a while since I ate there and I thought that it was a solid one star then. This thread has made me realise that I don't really know what the differences would be between 1-2 and 2-3 so I'm going to start a thread here


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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The new issue of Delicious has an article by Tony Singh of Oloroso on eating in Edinburgh. Covers restaurants and food shops. Can post to anyone who is sufficiently interested.

Restaurants are Oloroso (obviously); Annapurna (run by TS's brother); The Apartment; Le Cafe St Honore; Chiang Mai; Duddingston Fry; Kweilin; Marmaris Kebab House; number one; The Outsider; Petit Paris; Rhubarb; and Vittoria

Shops are: Caledonian Fish; Campbells Prime Meat; I J Mellis Cheesemonger; Pat's Chung Ying; and Polypack.


Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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The new issue of Delicious  has an article by Tony Singh of Oloroso on eating in Edinburgh.  Covers restaurants and food shops.  Can post to anyone who is sufficiently interested.

Restaurants are Oloroso (obviously); Annapurna (run by TS's brother); The Apartment; Le Cafe St Honore; Chiang Mai; Duddingston Fry; Kweilin; Marmaris Kebab House; number one; The Outsider; Petit Paris; Rhubarb; and Vittoria

Shops are: Caledonian Fish; Campbells Prime Meat; I J Mellis Cheesemonger; Pat's Chung Ying; and Polypack.

I can pare a few of them down here and now for you if you like.

Oloroso is laughable - It has very few grand ambitions, which is just as well considering it couldn't help but fail to live up to any of them.

The Apartment has had the same menu running for the last three years. A half-pitta pocket on the side of most plates filled with the same nauseating pink beetroot coleslaw does not make for a happy bear. Confusingly, it seems to be one of the most consistently popular restaurants in the city. The service was of an immpeccably consistent standard, somewhat lower than whale shit.

The Outsider is run by the same team as the Apartment, with the same identikit approach to the menu, and slightly less atrocious service.

Rhubarb is run by one Kenny Coltman, formerly sous chef at Number One. Interestingly, this means that the three chefs at the top of the Edinburgh tree (Jeff Bland, Martin Wishart and Kenny Coltman) all worked at the Balmoral at the same time. I haven't eaten at Rhubarb yet, but Kenny's a solid chef, and the failure of Farfelu. his restaurant in Glasgow, shouldn't be taken to mean much in the overall scheme of things. James Thompson has spent a great deal of money refurbishing Prestonfield House, and I can only hope that Rhubarb doesn't go the way of the Tower, and to the same extent the Witchery, in starting off well and then declining, at least from the kitchen perspective. The Tower used to be run by Steven Adair, now heading up Searcy's contract to run the restaurant in the National Gallery of Scotland, but after David Haetzmann's exit (formerly of Blue) things have lurched downward at the tower.

If such things were posible, I would glady bear Iain Mellis' children. The man is a godlike affineur.

It strikes me as an interesting choice of restaurants to review; not a list most people would make. The inclusion of teh Apartment and the Outsider, both rather flaky places, smacks of a bit of unofficial advertising.


Edited by culinary bear (log)

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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Does MW merit two stars, or is he close to the threshold?

no - solid 1 star - nothing exceptional to make it 2 IMHO

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Thanks for all the reco's - am heading to Edinburgh for a couple of days in late January. Anyway, after a long flight from Australia I'll be ready for a good lunch, but would prefer somewhere with a decent winelist.

Any reco's for winecentric restaurants - Do Number 1 or Martin Wishart fit the bill, or are there other places worth investigating?

Thanks in advance,

Kenny

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Thanks for all the reco's - am heading to Edinburgh for a couple of days in late January. Anyway, after a long flight from Australia I'll be ready for a good lunch, but would prefer somewhere with a decent winelist.

Any reco's for winecentric restaurants - Do Number 1 or Martin Wishart fit the bill, or are there other places worth investigating?

Thanks in advance,

Kenny

MW's wine list is more substantial than Number 1's, but sadly the markup at MW's is astronomical. So bad that I stick to the wines by the glass matched with the menus.

If you go to Number 1 in late January sadly you may miss meeting the delightful Sam, the sommelier at #1, who I believe will be heading to Perth on a Margaret River wine junket.

Oloroso has a great winelist, a shame neither the food nor the service is up to it.

Cheers, Howard

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Thanks Howard - much appreciated.

Cheers,

Kenny

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If you go to Number 1 in late January sadly you may miss meeting the delightful Sam, the sommelier at #1, who I believe will be heading to Perth on a Margaret River wine junket.

Howard, did you ever met David Harvey? He was the sommelier when I worked there, and he would bring the heeltaps of unfinished bottles into the kitchen for me to try. Delightful man. Last I heard he was working in Cliveden.


Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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It's been announced that Martin Wishart will be upgraded from three rosettes to four in the 2005 AA guide... Second star, anyone?


Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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If you go to Number 1 in late January sadly you may miss meeting the delightful Sam, the sommelier at #1, who I believe will be heading to Perth on a Margaret River wine junket.

Howard, did you ever met David Harvey? He was the sommelier when I worked there, and he would bring the heeltaps of unfinished bottles into the kitchen for me to try. Delightful man. Last I heard he was working in Cliveden.

Hi Allan

No I didn't - but I am certain that Sam takes my unfinished business into the kitchen with her... I often suggest it if I don't take it up to my room.

Cheers, Howard

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Andy's thread on the state of the Brighton market remined me that Edinburgh often lacks a variety of decent fish in its fishmongers and resturants, which is bizarre since we are located near some great fishing grounds.

However, if in Edinburgh you don't have to get sucked into eating mushy farmed seabass. Great fish is found at "Eddies Seafood". These people are lovely and they stock a range of North Atlantic and Austral-Asian fish. The latter being fresher then the majority of 'local' fish I see elsewhere in Edinburgh.

gallery_1643_978_154815.jpg

Dublin bay prawns, razor clams and crab

gallery_1643_978_451079.jpg

Sabre fish. I have seen these in Sicily, but they are also very popular in the local Chinese community.

gallery_1643_978_453515.jpg

Kingfish from the Indian Ocean and some local Halibut. The king fish is about 120 cm long.

gallery_1643_978_65183.jpg

A mixed bin of South-East Asian fish, including tonights dinner.

gallery_1643_978_511598.jpg

Which will be these Pomfret.

gallery_1643_978_43369.jpg

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Fantastic pictures! I've known Eddie for getting on for ten years now; firstly as the fish supplier to a restaurant where I was working, and then latterly when I moved to Marchmont and he became my local fishmonger.

I still vividly remember the time when I went in to find about a dozen Chinese guys animatedly haggling over a 12-foot basking shark lying on the tiled floor.

He's a really, REALLY nice guy and to all the Edinburgh (or visiting) eGulleteers I'd recommend going - if you can visit a few times you'll soon find yourself being offered the very nice stuff, usually at a bit of a discount. I go no more than three or four times a year due to my being in England, but I still get

a) treated like a pasha

b) trade discount

c) to poke about in the back fridges and see what's good

I'm so happy to see the pics up here, thanks Adam. :)


Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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