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I wonder whether anyone would like to sound off about their current favorites? 

Sure! Great everyday spots that I cross town for include Hanedan, a Turkish restaurant on the southside of town. We invariably eat mezze and then grilled things. Cheap and lovely.

Cathrine, you just made me very "homesick", if I can say so. I lived in Edinburgh for 7 years (have now been back to Estonia for 2,5 years). Hanedan opened during my last year in Scotland, and I was a frequent visitor there (living in Marchmont, it was close by). I've been back to Edinburgh twice since then, and have never failed to visit Hanedan :)

I wrote about it on my blog back in 2006, too. Glad to hear it's still thriving!!!

What a lovely picture of the chef - another nice thing about this place is that this is what you see as you come through the door, his grill is right there in the front room of the restaurant.

C

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  • 2 months later...

we had a quick visit of edinburgh last week and decided to try one of the vegetarian indian restaurants, we decided to go for ann purna on the day as the menu sounded more interesting to us than kalpna.

wanting to try as many dishes as possible we went for both the thalis. I though the food was ok, not great but not bad. perhaps this is because I can compare it to Prashad in bradford where the food is made by the queen of vegetarian indian dishes. ann purna in comparison was a bit bland with the exception of the dahl which was really tasty.

I might also have been influenced by the terrible service, it took over 90 minutes to receive our food, no explaination except a quick "we're short of staff" as the waiter (who was generally quite slack, taking ages to take orders bring drinks etc) finally brings the food out. I think by this time I was (amazingly for me) starting to lose my appitite. No wonder they feel the need to add a 10% service charge (the waiter did take this off the bill when we complained about the wait, perhaps preempting the argument)

I wouldn't revisit ann purna in my rare visits to Edinburgh, though I probably wouldn't if I did live there as I'm sure better indian food can be found in the city.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Right, going the festival, to perform in the Fringe for a Fiver (plug warning: name of the show is Que?, it's funny and different and great, come and see it, ok that's enough now), and need some recommendations to get me (and several impoverished fellow comics) through a few weeks. So think ethnic or the Scottish produce-driven equivalent of St John or Tom Ilic...

I've trawled through this thread, but not really found anything other than a slight taming of my desire to go to 21212. I probably will, as I never made it to Juniper, and everyone I know who had the mixed fortune of living near Altrincham said they liked it.

But there must surely be a good sub-Continental place or two? And perhaps even a reasonably authentic Chinese?

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There's The Dogs in Hanover St and it's Italian themed sister joint (A)more Dogs, also Hanover Street. There's also Centotre in George St, but it's not necessarily the cheapest.

I'd also suggest you venture to Leith, Marchmont, Stockbridge and Newington if you're looking for good local joints - most places in the City Centre (both Old and New Town) are mediocre, rather expensive or completely packed during the festival.

But there must surely be a good sub-Continental place or two? And perhaps even a reasonably authentic Chinese?

As for Sub-Continental, there are normally half eaten sausage suppers trapped beneath the many Bentleys you'll find in George Street.

You can use that in your show, no charge either.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Went to Chop Chop a while back and it was pretty good.

If you want good value dim sum for lunch go to Saigon Saigon on South Andrew Street - but ask for the dim sum when you walk in and you get taken downstairs to a basement section where you can get an excellent range of dim sum (there are around 40 menu choices including sweet dishes) and quick service.

There are always a lot of chinese families eating there at lunchtime which is a good sign and it is really well priced. Its fairly traditional - mark off what you want on a menu ticket and they bring it as and when its ready.I only work around the corner from there and have overindulged with a friend many a time and the bill hasn't gone much over £22 (and I eat a lot).

N.B. The main restaurant upstairs serves standard chinese buffet food - never tried it but haven't heard excellent things so be sure to clarify that you want the Dim Sum.

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  • 3 months later...

So, a belated write up of a trip to Ondine, Roy Brett’s new(ish) restaurant in Edinburgh; you might not have heard of Roy before but you’ll have certainly heard of his food with 4 years as exec. chef at Risk Stein’s place in Padstow and another 4 years heading the operation of the Dakota hotel chain and specifically manning the helm at the award winning Dakota Forth Bridge where he was garnered with awards including Scottish Seafood Chef and Scottish Hotel Chef of the year.

Anyhoo, Roy has now fulfilled a long held ambition and opened his own restaurant in Edinburgh City Centre – it’s a bright and open room which is part of the Missoni Hotel building (but not part of the hotel); for those without local knowledge, a large glass wall overlooks Victoria Street and specifically the entrance to “Espionage” a club much beloved of students and stag parties, I suspect this may be where to sit for the best views of street theatre on Friday and Saturday nights. We went for lunch but for some reason I’m finding this really amusing and can’t wait to go on a weekend night.

So, the food – as one would expect from a chef with such a seafood pedigree (and a restaurant named after a water nymph), the menu is predominately seafood with a good lot of crustacean and a few other options as well as a selection of both daily and weekly specials.

We couldn’t decide what oysters to have while perusing the menu so they no problem providing a selection of Fine de Claires, Maldons and Cumbraes – all good but for the price the Cumbraes were far superior to the Fine de Claires. Starters were shared in so far as I had half of Fiona’s treacle cured salmon and wouldn’t let her near my barbecued salt and pepper squid; I despise reviews that constantly glow but in this case I can’t fault either dish, both were far above average.

I then had half a dozen langoustines with cocktail sauce for a main, and just to be sure a portion of the beef dripping chips; the langoustines were mammoth and juicy and the cocktail sauce perfectly adequate but I’m never sure why cold seafood tastes better in France than it does at home - both use Scottish produce! Perhaps it’s a state of mind? Anyway, both the cooking and produce were spot on and the chips! The chips came from an old uncles’ memory when everything smelled and tasted better, I can’t wait to have them again. I can’t remember what Fiona had, I think it was Grilled Seabass with brown shrimps, she seemed to like it but I was too busy protecting my langoustine and chips to pay much attention.

Pudding was the only disappointing note of the meal, we shared some doughnut thing which had a white chocolate custard thing to dip the d-nuts into; it was all just a bit too sweet and a bit too much for us, not exactly in keeping with the rest of the menu.

Service was great (especially as we managed to pitch up without a reservation in the opening week) and we were made to feel completely welcome by everyone, despite being a bit scruffy and having a 6 month old with us. On the downside though was a junior Maitre d’ (I think) who seemed to enjoy bossing about the waitresses and from my observations, made every single error of service in the room that lunchtime; the waitresses and the real Maitre d’ seemed to put up working with him well, I’d probably have knocked him out if I had to work with him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have to say that I'm pretty happy to have had Ondine open too. I've had lunch there once and was very impressed by everything there. I had a round of oysters (Maldon, Cumbrian and Oban from memory; the choice of champagne by the glass is very good, if slightly limited). I followed this with a fillet of Turbot on a bed of artichoke puree (garnished with some sort of cured pork, though my memory for the further detail fails). The food and service was top draw, though one waiter did seem slightly under-confident (understandable so soon after the restaurant opening). The wine list was a very limited affair, though I understand that they have a new sommelier arriving in January so this should be remedied soon.

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  • 4 weeks later...

So, Ondine then. I went with my wife and in-laws last night, it was father-in-law’s birthday and we’d just had some good news and were in the mood to celebrate. I’m still not sure if we did.

So, the food, well – there was a choice of 8 starters, 12 crustacea (which can serve as either a starter or a main), 8 mains and a 4 simple sides; with enticing dishes such as potted rabbit, treacle cured salmon, platters of fruits de mer and steak tartare offering a challenge for the indecisive or seafood lover.

My wife and I started with a dozen oysters (3 each of Cumbrae, Caledonian, Carlingford and first-arrival-of-the-year-so-not-on-the-menu Maldon) which were testament to Roy Brett’s sourcing ability, each was subtly different and all sublime, though my one observation is they hadn’t been loosened from the shells while being shucked. The in-laws kicked off with grilled scallops which mother-in-law was most happy with and she found the accompanying mini chorizo both cute and complimentary. Silence and focus greeted father-in-law’s baked brown crab which was (oddly for a starter portion) served with some thin cut chips, the chips were snaffled by the rest of the table and proved to be well cooked and well seasoned. There were no complaints about the crab either.

I had also spotted that the onion soup was accompanied by a bone marrow toast which sounded lovely and they were more than happy to provide one for me to try – it was really quite nice, though I feel it could have been heavier on the bone marrow.

Onto the mains and we moved from a cheeky little Muscadet (£22) to a “Little Beauty” Sauvignon Blanc which at £29 was the waiters recommendation and £5 cheaper than my initial selection. It was excellent.

For mains both wife and mother-in-law indulged in a Lemon Sole, perfectly cooked on the bone and served with a Meunière sauce and they loved them, they were perfectly cooked with good, complimenting flavours; father-in-law had the roasted John Dory with caramelised fennel and chantarelles which elicited favourable grunts during a steady demolition. I had the “Mixed Grilled Fish, Chilli Greens” which turned out to be a fillet of Red Mullet, two mighty tranches of Sea Bass and another equally large piece of John Dory served on what appeared to be shredded, wilted kale; the fish was cooked to perfection, with the John Dory and the Mullet proving my favourites – though there was so much that I could barely complete half of the Sea Bass. I found the chard a bit too bitter and there was no discernable chilli element, but the fish was so good I didn’t really care.

Anyway, by the time the desert order was taken half of the party was beyond eating with a pavlova (judged as fine) and my cheese platter was well balanced. Which all leads us onto the second element of the meal, the service. Which was god awful.

The “Junior Maitre D’”, who in my earlier lunch review I noticed being condescending to the waitresses has now expanded his repertoire to being rude to the customers; plates were delivered at random timings – there was almost 10 minutes between the oysters and the other starters we ordered, something which wasn’t exclusive to our table. Our neighbours had a potted rabbit starter served and then they waited over 10 minutes for half a dozen oysters; now that’s just a joke – the rabbit comes from the fridge and the oysters are shucked, that’s it.

The servers themselves (with the exception of the aforementioned prick) are really nice, but when you spend 10 minutes looking for a refill of water and 35 minutes trying to catch someone’s eye to order desert, then it doesn’t really wash.

It’s just not cool and really lets down the food; I think I’ll call Roy B

rett to let him know, his food deserves so much better. I'll let you know how I get on...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone know what's going on with Abstract? An attempted booking last Saturday and a glance at the place as I walked by last week seemed to indicate that they had moved, shut down etc. It'll be a pity if it is the latter.

It closed on Hogmanay and they've decided it's not viable to reopen for 2010; for me it lost a lot of it's lustre when Sean Kelly moved on and it became more of a high-end steak and chop house, but it will still be sorely missed, if only for having some of the best front of house people in Edinburgh.

Hold on, a thought occurs - good FOH people from Abstract, contact Ondine as the great food there desperately needs good service.

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Apparently, Abstract did send out a press release saying that they were closing the Edinburgh branch in order to concentrate on Inverness (easy enough to read between the lines on that one). It's a pity to see that lunch deal disappear from the city. I get the impression that it was almost too good and that dinner (especially the a la carte) seemed a rip-off, even if only by comparison.

Re Ondine, they took on two new senior FOH the week before last: a sommelier and a new assistant restaurant manager. It looks like Tom Kitchin took on a number of the old Abstract staff.

Edited by beef_and_burgundy (log)
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That's interesting; my big issue with The Kitchin was mainly the service, I'll probably venture there soon to give it another try if the chaps from Abstract have joined.

I'll give Ondine another go as well, though I am disappointed that Roy Brett never replied to me email.

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  • 1 month later...

Dear Malcolm Duck,

I understand you are away watching the rugby this weekend (great result wasn’t it?) and so I thought I’d drop you a note to let you know how Ducks at Kilspindie runs when you’re not around to supervise.

I suppose we should all expect people to take their eye off the ball slightly when the boss is away, but when one is a paying customer should we be the ones expected to compromise? Well at Kilspindie it seems the answer is yes.

The meal had an inauspicious start with the restaurant manager greeting us with the wrong name and then, when leading us to the table, stopping in the bar to chat to another party. Leaving us to stand in the middle of the bar waiting for their conversation to end.

When we finally got to our table the situation improved, a delightful waitress (Helen I believe) and an interesting menu which suggested ambition; the wine list was good, if a bit too biased to the pricier end of the spectrum, but it did hold a gem in the form of a Chinon of decent age for only £19 so we can forgive that.

So, decisions made and order taken we found our starters arriving quite quickly, before the wine in fact, with a couple of plates being passed over my head to the diners on the other side of the table. Service faux pas aside, the Gravadlax was pronounced very nice, the crab and shrimp tian fair and the quail bland and under seasoned.

Mains came, again with plates passed across the table as if serving to a chimps’ tea party, and the slow-roast pork belly was promptly returned due to burnt crackling. Now, I know that most blogging, and most especially food blogging is an act of vanity on the bloggers’ part and that the wide majority really don’t care about our opinions but please, if I care enough about food enough to write about it as a hobby, perhaps I know a little. I certainly know the difference between cooked and burnt and so was more than a little offended when the same plate was brought back a minute later with the offending carbon scraped and trimmed from the crackling with an accompanying explanation that it wasn’t over done and that was the way pork belly is cooked. I love pork belly, it’s a luscious, meltingly tender piece of beauty when prepared properly; at Duck’s it wasn’t prepared properly. It may have been cooked slowly but not slowly enough and at too high a temperature, the fat hadn’t rendered and the meat was tough and chewy; the accompanying braised shoulder was the best thing on the plate but too small, the dauphinoise potatoes underdone and the roasted shallot puree would have been a fitting sauce had the pork been edible.

The others all had the Duck (when in Ducks etc..) and found it uninspiring, not as tender as it could be and under seasoned.

Had dessert not been included in the carte (3 courses, £28) we’d probably have left at this point, but as it was paid for: the Ice-Cream was “acceptable”, the apple tart was a semolina cake, the chocolate fondant underdone and burst before it hit the table and the cheese had been pre-cut and was beyond its best (with wrinkled, brown grapes accompanying it).

Funnily enough, we left on a positive note when our main waitress, Helen, embarrassed about the quality of the meal, asked for my card so the proprietor could contact me. I wonder if he will.

As we left, we noticed two chaps in chef’s tunics sitting with a couple of pints at the bar; now I’m not certain they were the chefs from Ducks, but as the meal seemed prepared without love or pride, perhaps by someone who just wanted to get things done before starting their Saturday night, I have my suspicions. At £208 (plus tip) for four I’d rather not feel like an impediment to someone’s drinking time.

So, will we be back? As Duck’s at Kilspindie is the closest restaurant to me then I’m sure I will, probably when snow or storm have prevented me from making it into Edinburgh where I’ll get better food and service for the same price.

Yours etc.

Ross

The Itinerant Appetite

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  • 2 months later...

Hi all,

I'm going to be in Edinburgh for an overnight stay and was looking for somewhere nice but not too pricey (<£35/head for food) for a saturday night meal, or as an alternative somewhere for a sunday lunch? Basically looking for somewhere nice to go out to with some friends that's fairly casual

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  • 9 months later...

Some Chop Chop discussion further up the thread, I thought it was worth mentioning their quite cool set menu idea. I've been going there more regularly since I discovered this. Basically you order "Set menu A" for the whole table, like you would in a typical Chinese restaurant, although you will get less than typical dishes and some of their famous dumplings in that menu. Then, once you'v eaten it (or before that if you see a pressing need), you can re-order anything that came that you enjoyed and the re-orders are all included in the price. Fun, tasty, filling!

Catherine

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My manager went to Edinburgh last weekend , dined at The Witchery , Kitchin , Martin Wishart and the Plumed Horse.

He said that Martin Wishart was by far the best meal he`s eaten in a long long time.I must try it next time im there.

CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie
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  • 3 months later...

I had a very pleasant, fulfilling, uncomplicated lunch at Ondine, a crustacean feast with dishes like this:

IMG_3138.JPG

Service was smooth, prices kind given the quality (and quantity) of the offering. On the basis of this experience, I would also recommend, and I will be back (more details and photos in the near future at my place!).

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  • 3 weeks later...

A few days ago we went to Number One, the only star in the Michelin Edinburgh firmament that for some reason we hadn't had a chance of trying.

There were some hiccups in the beginning (rabbit bone in an amuse, shell in a crab amuse), probably due to the ongoing changes in the kitchen, but the rest of the dinner was a great experience. It's pretty straight, French style cooking with wonderful Scottish produce.

One of the best dishes was this 'Nicoise', the rabbit very tasty, with many layers of flavours supportig it (e.g. anchovies):

IMG_3191.JPG

The fussy might complain about the seeds left in the tomato, but we were not bothered. Less satisfactory was a starter of scallops, but the mains, beef fillet with sweetbread and a lamb were very impressive, deep flavours that stay in the memory. One special mention is deserved by the patisserie, this slow cooked cherries with goat cheese and fennel and honey sorbet

IMG_3197.JPG

achieved a quite rare elegance and balance.

Perhaps overall not quite at the level of elegance of Martin Wishart and missing the raw power of The Kitchin, but this was excellent cooking indeed, and definitely the most comfortable eating environment of the three, with acres of space between tables just as we like.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Last weekend we tried The Honours, the new Martin Wishart 'bistro' in central Edinburgh.

The space is pretty grandiose for a bistro, with very high ceilings and elegant decor (we liked it). The cooking by Paul Tamburrini's team is generally quite straightforward but far from basic (Lobster Thermidore is on the menu). More importantly, all our dishes were cooked and assembled very precisely and had very clear flavours, with excellent produce. We were surprised by the only oysters on offer being Cornish instead of Scottish - anyway they were great. The veal sweetbreads below were among the best I've ever eaten, with a marvellous crispiness on the outside:

P8130255.JPG

There is a certain lack of generosity for a bistro (very few side elements in the dishes, so you have to order side vegetables if you want some, no amuse bouche, no petit fours, scarce bread, expensive coffee). So in the end we felt that the pricing, while not unreasonable, was at the very least not very competitive (except the weekday lunches which are a great deal). But we ate very well and if you don't mind spending 10% or so over par, it's a nice place.

The service has some former components of the mothership in Leith, notably the manager Steven Spear, and it looks like the junior members of the team do need them.

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  • 5 years later...

I had a few days in Edinburgh this past weekend. In addition to a really excellent take away lunch from a small café in Dunkeld (Robert Menzies), we had three quite good dinners.

 

Café St. Honoré (http://www.cafesthonore.com/)

A menu full of classic flavors, all well-prepared and the ingredients fresh. I thought the texture of the duck terrine was a bit loose, but the flavor was good. The salmon was excellent, and the lemon posset with roasted rhubarb was exactly to my taste (not too sweet). Bonus points for being relatively inexpensive for the quality.

 

Angels with Bagpipes (http://www.angelswithbagpipes.co.uk/)

I have to admit to starting out biased against a restaurant in this location (in the heart of tourist district), with a name like this. They are well-regarded online, however, and the food was actually very good. The haggis was a standout, but everything was a competent.   

 

Timberyard (http://www.timberyard.co/)

The trendiest of the lot. Also the most spacious, with a very large dining room for the small number of tables. One of those pretentious menus where you can't figure out how anything is going to be cooked. In the end, it didn't matter, the food was terrific, with courses ranging from very good to amazing. Some unusual (and successful) flavor combinations featuring produce from their own gardens. Expensive, but worth it as an occasional splurge.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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