Chez Roux, Elià and Los Cardos amongst recent Glasgow and Edinburgh restaurant openings
OTHER RECENT OPENINGS Independent write-ups on all the restaurants worth knowing about in Edinburgh and Glasgow are available on our online Eating & Drinking Guide at list.co.uk/food-and-drink.
Prices shown are for an average two-course meal for one.
24 George Square, City Centre, 0141 221 9988, £6.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)
Well-established local restaurateur Georgios Leronmidis has brought the Greek dining experience to the ground floor of a grand city centre building looking onto George Square. Diners at Elià – meaning olive – are presented with olives and bread as a welcome. Starters are arguably the main attraction with huge portions of dips such as tzatziki, or tyrokafteri – a lightly spiced feta dip, as well as tigania sausage – something between a chorizo and a frankfurter – stewed with peppers. Mains are dominated by souvlaki and other grilled meats, although there are veggie pastas and salads on offer and familiar puddings accompany thick, sweet Greek coffee to finish.
The Butchershop Bar & Grill
1055 Sauchiehall Street, West End, 0141 339 2999, www.butchershopglasgow.com, £12 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)
In case you can’t guess from the name, the Butchershop is decorated with clues that steaks and burgers are the main attraction. All steaks are 28-day dry-aged Angus beef and the quality of the sourcing is clear. For non-meat eaters there is a seasonal veg risotto and some fish dishes. Blink and you miss the short dessert menu but there is a seasonal special, and the coffees are excellent. The view from the terrace of Kelvingrove and Glasgow University makes it an ideal spot for a sundowner, with an extensive choice of cocktails for pre-club action in the early evening.
Taco Mazama Mexican Kitchen
6 Renfield Street, City Centre, 0141 248 8940, www.tacomazama.co.uk, £8 (lunch/dinner)
This is authentic US-style Mexican food – clean, bright and fresh (and calling courgettes zucchinis) as you might find in an upmarket US mall. On offer are burritos, chillis, nachos, tacos and quesadillas; the side salsa comes in four different heat strengths and the jalapenos would be hot and crunchy enough to satisfy a real cowboy. The meat and veg fillings are a notch above what you might expect at a takeaway, and the massive burritos – rice, beans, sour cream, salad, cheese and meat or vegetables all wrapped in soft, floury, convenient and easy-to-carry tortilla – are a generous meal in themselves.
Greywalls Hotel, Muirfield, Gullane, East Lothian, 01620 842144, greywalls.co.uk, £22.50 (set lunch) / £25 (set dinner)
Albert Roux, the most influential restaurant chef in the UK in the last 30 years, is now within touching distance of Edinburgh with his consultancy contracted to establish a Chez Roux restaurant at Greywalls, one of three such arrangements in Scottish hotels. The menus – written by Roux and blending his rigorous French classicism with the inspiration of local food – are very approachable and certainly not over-priced. Set within the dignified country house designed by Edwardian architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901, the dining room is smallish with golf-course views beyond. It’s not La Gavroche, but it is 45 minutes from Edinburgh.
28 Bernard Street, Leith, 0131 555 4626, www.amanirestaurant.com, £8 (lunch) / £18 (dinner)
With carved black latticework, glowing panels of pink and purple, slick lighting and waiters in flowing black kurta pajama suits, new Indian about Leith Amani is out to make its stylish mark. A cocktail list, kids’ menu (albeit with fish fingers and macaroni) and chef’s special fusion menu incorporating Moroccan and Mediterranean influences alongside the underlying Punjabi base all confirm the ambition of Silvia Sanjurjo’s new venture, though familiar tandoori, jalfrezi, korma and biryani dishes are all there too.
281 Leith Walk, Leith, 0131 555 6619, www.loscardos.co.uk, £6.50 (lunch/dinner)
Another example of fast food and takeaways trying to re-engage with the world of real food, this small takeaway (with basic seating for about a dozen) promises ‘Fresh Mex’. Tortilla (made on the premises each day), beans, salsa, guacamole, cheese and sour cream are on offer alongside a choice of fillings which includes ‘Red Tractor’ (ie. higher welfare) chicken, slow-roasted pork and even Macsween’s haggis. Given that even well-made Mexican food tends to err on the side of blandness, you can rev things up on the spice front with your choice of chilli-kicking toppings.