Side dishes (19 February 2009)
News to nibble on
Following in the footsteps of established ‘blind’ restaurants in Berlin, Paris and London, the Grill Room in Edinburgh’s Sheraton Hotel is now offering a quarterly Sensory Dining meal, with a full five-course meal plus accompanying wines served to blindfolded diners. The experience is part parlour game (is that meat or fish I’m eating?), part dread (can that really be asparagus ice cream?) and part anarchy (well, no-one can see your table manners). The next Sensory Dining evening takes place on 6 March. The five-course set menu with wines is £60 per person including a donation to Scottish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Bookings on 0131 229 9131, www.sheraton.com/sensorydiningedinburgh
On Broughton Street in Edinburgh, the former premises of James Ritchie & Son clockmakers at number 56 has been transformed into a new restaurant, L’Escargot Bleu, which promises a ‘French twist on local Scottish produce’. Behind the new venture are Fred and Betty Berkmiller of Petit Paris, who plan not just the two-room bistro on the main floor but also a deli in the basement. Deliveries into the kitchen include rose veal from Sunnyside farm in the Borders and early menus have featured plenty of offal and cheap cuts. Bookings on 0131 557 1600.
It’s Fair Trade Fortnight from 23 February to 8 March, so look out for Fair Trade deals at your local food shops, further evidence of the spread of fairly traded products beyond coffee and chocolate (honey, olive oil and cotton clothes for instance) and coverage of Scotland’s efforts to become one of the world’s first Fair Trade nations. See www.scottishfairtrade forum.org.uk for more.