Food & drink news: September 2010
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.
Clark & Sons
14 Busby Road, Clarkston Toll, Southside, 0141 638 3911, www.clark-and-sons.com, £9.95 (set lunch)/ £17 (dinner)
Some ideas are so good you wonder why they took so long. Opening a sophisticated but affordable bar and restaurant in Clarkston is one – and it’s a gap just filled by Citation proprietor Ryan Barrie. Clark & Sons occupies a vast and comfy open plan area containing a bar, a restaurant and a function room and serving everything from breakfast eggs to rib eye steaks. Dishes are well presented and very tasty and before 7pm, the set menu – a tenner for two courses – even includes a glass of wine. See? How come it took so long?
1 Lynedoch Street, West End, 0141 332 7363, £14 (lunch/dinner)
The appearance of another cultured bar in the Charing Cross area of the city gives hope to a stretch challenged by the rise of Argyle Street/Finnieston. For now it’s laid-back appeal of the bare-brick, leather and bare wood bar in a semi-sub-terranean slot on the corner of Woodlands Road that’s been gathering local cudos, with a beer garden, decent drinks and grown-up bar menu featuring the likes of homemade terrines and cottage pie. Soon to come is a more ambitious restaurant area (open Thu–Sat evenings) on the floor above the pub, serving mostly blackboard specials.
76 Commercial Street, Leith, 0131 553 1818, www.chop-chop.co.uk, £12 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)
With a hugely successful restaurant, a wholesale operation and TV appearances with Gordon Ramsay under her belt, Jian Wang’s Chop Chop is already a success story. It stands to reason that expansion was on the cards, and a new Leith branch is now in place to meet that expectation. The menu is vast, so those unfamiliar with Chop Chop can choose an unlimited banquet which offers a selection of the most popular dishes with unlimited top-ups. As you’d expect, the quality of food is consistently good: pork and coriander dumplings are fresh and aromatic while prawn dumplings have a satisfying citrusy tang.
Angels with Bagpipes
343 High Street, Old Town, 0131 220 1111, www.angelswithbagpipes.co.uk, £21 (lunch/dinner)
A stylish new venture from Marina Crolla, who has made the step up from Café Marina on Cockburn Street, AWB (as those in-the-know are calling it) takes its name from a wood carving in nearby St Giles Cathedral. The deceptively small frontage leads to a number of different spaces including a large landscaped courtyard, while the menu is modern Scottish with a strong Italian influence: mains of Orkney gold beef, lamb rump or halibut fillet are complemented with ‘ingredienti’ such as cavalo nero, fregola sarda and gremolata, with desserts mixing Scottish berries with mascarpone cheese.
The Spice Pavillion
3a1 Dundas Street, New Town, 0131 467 5506, www.thespicepavilion.com, £6.95 (set lunch) / £17 (dinner)
Tucked into a New Town basement and a little uninspiring at the entrance, this lovely double dining has a modern, open feel with exposed stone and wooden floors. The large menu is based on the ‘frontier cuisine’ of the North-West Indian border, so think lighter curries with big, clean flavours. There’s a pleasing emphasis on fish – king prawns come grilled from the tandoor and are served in a punchy sauce with shards of fresh ginger sprinkled on top. A strong addition to Edinburgh’s Indian scene and worth seeking out for fresh curry and friendly staff in an attractive setting.
Under the Stairs
31 Merchant Street, Old Town, 0131 466 8550, www.underthestairs.org, £12 (lunch/dinner)
For more than two years Under the Stairs has been one of Edinburgh’s very best pre-club bars, its basement setting, stylishly lived-in ambience and youthful bustle giving it the kind of atmosphere which many bars try and fail to emulate. A recent overhaul in the food now sees a menu featuring sharply spiced mussels in chilli, coconut and basil broth, homemade fishcakes, pan-seared sea bass and smoked haddock risotto, along with four vegetarian mains including a grated carrot, courgette and fennel spiced up with grilled halloumi, pine nuts and a slug of olive oil.
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo, 134 Corstorphine Road, 0131 314 0336, www.edinburghzoo.org.uk, £13 (lunch)
Reappropriated from its previous use as a private members’ club, this grand old house in the heart of Edinburgh Zoo is being put to work providing somewhat finer dining than is available at various cafés around the park. The high-ceilinged main dining room has beautiful corniced finishes and a fantastic view over West Edinburgh from the bay windows. Parts of the menu wouldn’t seem out of place in a chain bar, including staples like battered haddock and chips and a triple-decker club sandwich, yet other parts demonstrate the apparent will to make this more than just the zoo’s fancy restaurant, including a starter of finely battered king prawns on skewers and a flagship slow-roasted pork belly with soft mashed potato and star anise sauce.