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 the laid-back appeal of the bare-brick, leather and bare wood bar in a semi-subterranean slot on the corner of Woodlands Road that’s been gathering local kudos, 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.
Long Way Home
2 Byres Road, West End, 0141 337 1145, www.thelongwayhome.co.uk, £10 (lunch) / £15 (dinner)
Gin may not spring to mind when one thinks of the American singer-songwriter Tom Waits but that didn’t stop this gin bar on Byres Road being named after one of his songs. Waits would surely approve of the bar’s ambience, from its wood floors and brickwork walls with splashes of floral designs to the old doors cleverly recycled into low tables. The 27 gins here range from malty Dutch genevers to Scottish gins such as Hendrick’s and Caorunn, and they can be enjoyed straight up or in various cocktails – or take advantage of the regular tasting nights with food, which feature burgers and other standard bar fare along with some home-made specials.
Guchhi Indian Seafood Bar
9/10 Commercial Street, Leith, 0131 555 5604, www.guchhi.com, £15 (lunch) / £20 (dinner)
This new venture from ex-Loch Fyne Head Chef Vishant Das and partner Sachin Dhanola specialises in Indian seafood cookery. The lunch menu is tapas-inspired, with clam Koshimbir prepared in aromatic coconut and green masala, while shellfish stew is a little like an Indian bouillabaisse, with fresh shellfish nestled in a mildly spiced and delicate stock. The dinner menu offers larger dishes, utilising ingredients such scallops, mackerel, lobster and Scottish sole. If its early standard of cooking is maintained, Guchhi is set to become another one of Leith’s culinary gems.
3 Lochrin Terrace, Tollcross, 0131 221 1554, www.edindaba.co.uk, £5.95 (set lunch) / £15 (dinner)
Its name means an African tribal conference, but Indaba’s melting pot of influences is more exotic and eclectic even than that, with partners from South Africa, Spain and Venezuela bringing their native dishes to a compact space in Tollcross. Hearty boerewors sausages are served with mielie pap and chakalaka sauce, while other mains include the Latin-American street food staple arepas. Some of the biggest tempters – slow-roasted lamb, paella and pabellon (a traditional Venezuelan dish) — must be pre-ordered a day in advance. It’s also a shame that with three nations’ cuisines to choose from, the menu drifts into the workaday territory of chops, steaks and burgers.
19 Colinton Road, Southside, 0131 452 8453, www.biabistrot.co.uk, £9 (set lunch) / £30 (dinner)
Roisin and Matthias Llorente, the husband and wife team behind Bia Bistrot, have quite a culinary pedigree, having between them notched up time in the kitchens of Irish star chefs Niall McKenna and Derry Clarke, as well as a bloke called Gordon Ramsay. Their ethos of fresh-seasonal-local-sustainable-homemade may sound predictable, but done as well as this it’s clear they’re not just paying lip service to a gastronomic trend. Expect to see high calibre suppliers on the menu, with game from Braehead, seafood from Eddie’s in nearby Marchmont and an impressive wine list selected from Villeneuve.
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.