Side Dishes (11 December 2008)
News to nibble on
Just two months ago we featured an interview with an ambitious young chef, James Stocks, who was about to open his own place in Edinburgh just a few months after his resignation from his high-profile post at Balbirnie House Hotel in Fife. Wild Sorrel was to be the place where he would ‘let the food do the talking’. Barely a month after opening and with some tentatively impressed notices emerging from Old Fishmarket Close off the Royal Mile, the doors were shut and there was neither food nor chef left to do any talking. In October Stocks told the List, ‘The publicity hasn’t finished. I know that.’ It proved a more prescient remark than his avowed aim that it was to be the spot where he gathered his first Michelin star.
There’s little doubt about the most coveted book on the List kitchen bookshelf this Christmas. The Complete Book of Mince, possibly penned by a ‘cordon brun’ chef from Paisley, René La Sagne, is a paean to the meaty staple of Scottish life and cuisine. With chapters such as ‘The Magic of Mince’, ‘Mince Around the World’ and a handy guide to ‘Mince Through the Week’, no tattie has been left unturned in giving mince a right going over. Some very special photographs show the subject matter in its fullest glory. Pure mince from cover to cover. You can get it for £9.95 from booksfromscotland.com
Offering a glimpse of balmier days to come is Portobello’s new Beach House Café, located on the promenade at the end of Bath Street, serving freshly prepared soups, sandwiches and platters, as well as cakes, coffee and snacks. Its role as a community-minded place is also marked out by good local produce and a welcome attitude to families.