Independent guide to eating & drinking in Edinburgh and beyond
I'm a title. Click here to edit me.
"Oh my Cod", Eddie's seafood market sold to Merienda
By Sharon Wilson The owners of Merienda in Stockbridge announced last night that they have bought Eddie's Seafood Market. Giselle and Campbell said that despite a touch of 'chef's flair' patrons shouldn't notice much change to the Edinburgh seafood institution. Merienda burst onto the Edinburgh scene a couple of years ago offering a Small Plate Menu using small Scottish producers and complemented by European wines. Regarding their new venture Campbell said: " It's still going to offer the best selection of fish and seafood in Edinburgh. Freshness will always remain our priority. Sustainability is essential. We'll see you at Eddie's." Merienda's Small Plate Menu is still available for takeaway or delivery. Email with your order. These will be available to collect by arrangement on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. For deliveries, these are available locally. This is a curbside drop-off/collection and no-contact service, removing the need for direct contact for both parties. Merienda Restaurant Michelin Bib Gourmand 2020 30 North West Circus Place, Stockbridge EH3 6TP Exec Chef Cuisine Exquisite food for discerning palates Eddie's Seafood Market 7 Roseneath St, Edinburgh EH9 1JH
By Jill Blair Sundays, when I was young, were spent in the back seat of my parents’ car with my two brothers, driving to see my grandparents in Dundee. On the way back, if you were lucky, you would doze off during the Top 40 countdown on Radio 1 and wake up at home, missing the dreary drive down the M90. These days, however, I have a new route home, and it’s via Newport-on-Tay in the north of Fife. It might be a little out of the way, but it does involve cake, and that’s always worth a detour in my book. Towards the end of 2019, Jamie and Kelly Scott and the restaurant team behind The Newport launched their new bakery venture. Their beautiful hand made breads and pastries went down a storm at local markets, and plans to open a shop just a few minutes away from the restaurant came to life in February 2020. Alongside firm favourites such as croissants and sourdough loaves, the offerings in the shop change all the time, with seasonal sweet and savoury pastries, numerous breads and sandwiches, as well as stocking a great range of other products including flour, charcuterie and locally made Newport preserves and pickles. I treated myself to a selection including a giant miso peanut chocolate brownie that went down very well indeed with my sweet-toothed teenager, but the star of the show for me was a savoury tart with Arbroath smokie and crowdie. The smell of it taunted me from the back seat of the car the whole way home. It really delivered on taste as well as being incredibly pretty, with the attention to detail you would expect from The Newport restaurant. If you do pay them a visit, they have a “fruit for pastries” exchange at the moment. Ask them about it before you go if you have a glut of fruit in your garden; what a great way to reduce food waste and to keep their ingredients local. The Newport Bakery 7 Cupar Street, Newport-on-Tay, DD6 8AF 01382 541970
By Sharon Wilson Superico Bar & Lounge opens Saturday August 1 at 6pm. It is the latest venture from Juan José Castillo Castro owner of 83 & 99 Hanover Street. Now the two venues have been reimagined under one brand and the result is SUPERICO BAR & LOUNGE and SUPERICO RESTAURANT. The drinks list for the bar has been developed by general manager Michael Lynch and his team Johanna Cole and Claudio Poggi. A highlight is promised from the Padron Martini, served straight from the freezer to give it a rich, velvety texture . The Green Apple Collins is a twist on a classic with added depth from a house green apple cordial and a kummel caraway liqueur from Mothership Scotland. The clarified Five Star Milk Punch, is made in one batch by filtering coconut yoghurt through a coffee filter with Star of Bombay gin, Martini Rubino, Amaro Montenegro, raspberry, milk and lime leaving the drink a clear pinky-red colour with a rich, creamy texture. The food menu is 'under construction' but expect a selection of sharing-style plates of big, bold flavours - similar to those from SUPERICO RESTAURANT – with a focus on the best Scottish produce enhanced using South American flavours. There is a long-term plan to expand the Superico brand to more sites. Juan commented: “We were due to open SUPERICO BAR & LOUNGE in late March, but obviously plans changed due to Covid-19. As a result we’ve had more time to develop our offering and capture the positive energy of our South American heritage." SUPERICO BAR & LOUNGE boasts one of the best sound and visual experiences in the UK. A live events schedule will launch when Government guidelines allow. The interior is the work of Jaco Justice of Edinburgh-based Studio Ja!Coco!. It references South America with a palette of earthy yet contemporary pinks and ochres. A 2-metre-diametre Japanese paper supermoon by Italian product-design veteran Davide Groppi glows from the centre of the room.
By Sharon Wilson Monteith's new menu hits the spot. It's concise, but I could stick a pin in it and not be disappointed. Some items appear to have been chosen specifically for me - Fried Goats Cheese, Venison Scotch Egg, Halibut, Chocolate Tart. But dishes I wouldn't usually select like Cod seduce with additions of piquant Cafe de Paris butter, chard and black cabbage. It does what a menu should; gets the juices flowing in anticipation of a great meal. Monteith's entrance on the Royal Mile enchants with an arch of twinkling fairy lights while further inside, the restaurant has a cosy modern Scottish ambience. The perfect place for a catch up with the Italian 'food fairy'. Cocktails are top drawer, and I can recommend the Bees Knees (Ocho Blanco Tequila, burnt pineapple cordial & Cointreau). On this visit, though the barman declares us cocktail guinea pigs and delivers Stone Fruit Daiquiris made with Appleton's Gold rum and lemon (rather than lime). Chilled and confident the drink is in keeping with the general vibe. Monteith's has 'posh hipster' down pat. I choose that 'bite' of oozy Goats Cheese fried in crispy panko crumbs topped with - wait for it - truffled pecorino; it is a dish that is both dirty and divine. The food fairy has Hand-Dived Scallops beautifully presented in their Venus-like shells. Slippery pickled girolles and bacon fat butter are present as is cauliflower puree. She says the scallops perfectly cooked; tender and caramelised, but while the brassica complements the sweetness of the shellfish, it is also one element too many on the plate. Bacon, fungi and scallops are enough. I can't decide between Sea Bass, Cod and Halibut so ask our waiter. Halibut it is; that king of fish that comes here with 'chicken butter sauce '( a reduction of stock and fat). The first bite of both Jersey Royals and charred baby leeks results in bursts of flavour; nutty and grassy respectively. Pork Loin is served pink to the food fairy, and there are puffs of rich pig fat like pieces of knobbly rice cake in appearance only. We love that the house Chenin Blanc is served in elegant wine glasses that are as long-stemmed as a tulip or model. When the food fairy orders Crème Caramel for pudding, she does so with the wide toothy grin of a delighted child. The twist is that it comes in a tart form with a river of caramel sauce. I would be jealous if it weren't for my decadent Chocolate Tart with clotted cream and boozy cherries. The new menu at Monteith's salutes produce and transforms it into delicious plates of food that delight and satisfy. Food and drink are presented with pride by a dedicated team in a manner that befits the restaurant's location in one of Europe's top cities.
By Keith Taylor A few hundred words are not enough to pay tribute to a character that has made such an impact on so many people in so many different ways. But for those reading this who knew Richard Forbes, you will have your own memories. Richard was born in Aberdeen and studied in Edinburgh. Straight out of University he became one of the founding few at Renegade Communications - band and club promoters in the late 1980s, based at the iconic Venue on Calton Road. The Stone Roses, Nirvana, Jamiroquai, Pure, Tribal Funktion, Disco Inferno, all part of his story, and him part of theirs. After a brief stint opening The Garage nightclub in Glasgow, a small basement bar in Edinburgh’s Broughton Street came on the market. Richard and his sister Lynn bought, built and styled The Basement Bar, and in December 1994 changed the Edinburgh scene, and inspired businesses for decades to come. They put Broughton Street on the map, and followed the runaway success of The Basement with first one Smoke Stack two years later just across the street, and another in Leith. Marriage to Karen, and then the gift of two beautiful children gave Richard a different perspective on life, and he settled for the past 10 years in the first Smoke Stack, shedding the other restaurants. Always the entrepreneur, he also ran holiday-let flats, camper van hire, cycle tours and whisky blending sessions. For anybody who has dined, or drank, or stayed with Richard in any of his businesses, you will appreciate a little of the style, the confidence, the desire to do the right thing and do the best thing. He put so much of himself into his work and he will be sorely missed but very fondly remembered by decades of staff, customers and friends. (Keith Taylor)
Aizle to re-launch at Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, Edinburgh
By Sharon Wilson Aizle will re-open its doors July 22 but at Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel not at its former St Leonard's premises. Opened in 2014 by husband-and-wife team Stuart Ralston and Krystal Goff, Aizle became known for its signature surprise tasting menu. Diners being privy to only a list of local, seasonal ingredients. Chef patron Stuart Ralston, has said: “I am really delighted to announce this exciting new chapter for Aizle. We have had six outstanding years at Saint Leonard’s Street and I will be sad not to return there, but the time is right for a change. I am looking forward to having a bigger space, and being able to offer more covers. We often have a waiting list for Friday and Saturday nights, so hopefully we will be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to dine with us. Kimpton Charlotte Square is a stunning Georgian-built hotel in the heart of the New Town and very close to my other restaurant, Noto, which makes it handy if we need a cup of sugar! It also means I can bring all my staff out of furlough and guarantee them a job, which I would not have been able to do otherwise.” Kieran Quinn, General Manager at Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel, said: “We’re incredibly excited to be welcoming Aizle to Kimpton Charlotte Square. From the very initial discussions it felt like a natural partnership, we share a similar ethos and values and as a team, they are as passionate about providing service as full of charm and personality as we are and Stuart’s exceptional dishes are some of the best in the UK. “As we reopen our doors this month, it feels like the right time to make some exciting and innovative changes and Aizle will complement the existing offering within the hotel perfectly. The space is ideal for the Aizle team, an oasis at the heart of our hotel, and with BABA also reopening on 30 July this brings our Restaurant and Bar offering at Kimpton Charlotte Square to a truly exceptional level.” Aizle will be located in The Garden in the centre of the hotel and open for dinner Wednesday to Saturday. It will offer a six-course tasting menu for £70 per person, with an optional £50 drink pairing. There will also be a private dining room seating up to 14 guests. Everything at Aizle is made in-house, from the live ferment in the sourdough, and the hand-churned butter, to the aquavit and aged kombucha in the cocktails. Aizle, Kimpton Hotel, 38 Charlotte Square, Edinburgh, EH2 4HQ
By Sharon Wilson Who could resist coffee that goes by the name of 'Bum groove Beanery'? Mrs Bite bought a kilo of these Italian dark roast beans from Scottish commercial roaster and blender, Blendly. Previously only available to the hospitality trade the company pivoted during Lockdown to offer domestic coffee fans the opportunity to create bespoke blends. Started in 2016 by Mark Wilson, Blendly was set up to allow restaurant and coffee shop owners, the chance to access the green coffee bean market. He describes Blendly as a one-stop, online coffee roasting and blending service which puts the Barista not a coffee salesman - at the heart of a business. Now domestic customers can purchase coffee blends created by baristas and café customers or design their own. Well known High Street coffee shop brands can also be matched. The website has a repository of blends which can be shared with QR codes or referral links: "People are always looking out for products that reflect their character and personality" said, Mark. Individual purchases can be made, or you can opt for the subscription service – Barista Home, from £4.99 per month. Commercial plans start at £12.99 per month. Mark said, "We feel that online accessing of artisan food and drink products are here to stay. Some people are not keen to venture out to supermarkets any time soon, due to concern over the spread of COVID19." Blendly's Regional eProcurement manager, Johnathan Gray, explains how the business is helping charities. The company has been working with organisations like Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Scotland to help them launch their own blends. "Once these blends go live, they will be available to purchase online throughout Scotland, the UK and most of the EU, to help support the many services and good work they do." "We believe coffee is a big part of the community. We call it the Blendly marketplace, and it can have a very positive social impact. We are now being approached by national companies that are looking to build coffee into their communities in this way," added Johnathan. He finished by saying that as the hospitality industry rebounds, Blendly would continue to help this sector: "It's a very exciting time for our company that buys coffee beans and uses technology, to ensure that one of the world's greatest commodities is transparently available to all." As for Mrs Bite's Bum groove. The verdict is that the beans smell divine and deliver on taste too. Dark and strong but also full-bodied, smooth and creamy without any harshness.
AN AMBITIOUS new restaurant that launched just weeks before lockdown has come back from the brink – after its owner was told it was too new to qualify for grants and the furlough scheme. Pier Brasserie, the £100K transformation of the former Prezzo site, within Newhaven’s prime former Fishmarket building, launched with much excitement and anticipation in February. Within weeks it became clear that the spread of Covid-19 was set to devastate the sector along with the dreams of owner Mark Patonyi, one of city’s most esteemed restaurant manager, previously front of house at Martin Wishart’s The Honours, Manager of Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond and general manager of Steak Restaurant at Picardy Place. Now, Mark, 36, alongside head chef and friend Vladimir Garcik and a further team of two, has opened a take away offering, enabling foodies to sample high-quality bistro dishes while taking in the views of Newhaven lighthouse and the bridges, from the harbour. The father of one, who moved to the UK from Hungary in 2007, said: “It may sound cliché, but 2020 has been an unbelievable rollercoaster of emotions. “From the highs of our amazing opening – and those initial few weeks which saw us packed out – everything came crashing down. “It looked like we would never be able to recover – and it has been heart-breaking that we can’t even offer our team the small comfort of furlough, as we’re so new we didn’t receive our PAYE reference number until after the 19 March cut-off date. “We’re still doing everything we can to appeal that, as it just feels so unfair. As a new business we’ve not had any chance of building up cash reserves. “Up until a few weeks ago it didn’t seem feasible that we could launch a take-away offering, but it got to the point I couldn’t sit around and wait for my fate any longer.” He has subsequently launched a carefully selected menu utilising the best local and Scottish produce, including seafood landed in the harbour and meat from Donald Russell butchers. Included in the menu will be ciabattas, fish and chips, burgers, salads and desserts – as well as few options available each day for children. Mark added: “The menu is an honest reflection of the food we were serving in the restaurant prior to lockdown – and easily enjoyed outside or at home. “We’ve put in place all safety precautions too and had the team practice everything rigorously to ensure we can do this in the safest possible way. It gives us a chance to safely gear up to a potential part-opening in weeks, depending on how guidelines change. “I also want to give a huge thanks to those that have offered kind messages during lockdown, knowing the situation we’re in.” Ahead of the February launch Mark had been at the heart of the £100,000+ transformation of the site, project managing each process to ensure they meet his exceptionally high standards – as well as hand-picking a 15-strong team. For more information about Pier Brasserie or to get first sight of the new menu when it launches, visit: PierBrasserie or follow us on Facebook @pierbrasserie and Instagram @pierbrasserie
CHOP HOUSE at HOME - serving best of British beef and innovative cocktails
By Sharon Wilson The independent steak restaurant group has launched 'Chop House at Home'. Chop House's unique offering is 'Best of British' dry-aged beef as part of a sharing feast available for collection or delivery. The menu gives customers access to exceptional Scottish beef that can be cooked easily at home alongside a selection of popular and delicious sides. The focus is on ease or preparation, consistency, and minimal washing up! Cuts of beef range from 400-900g - chateaurbriand, porterhouse and bone-in-rib - and come with instructions on how to cook the perfect steak. Prices start at £65 each and include a bottle of wine, triple-cooked beef dripping chips, sesame 'slaw and wild garlic mushrooms. Additional items include placemats, napkins and wipes. Managing Director Mark Fraser pointed out: "restaurants are about much more than great food, they're a social ritual in this country and have been sorely missed - we want customers to be able to have a really special experience when they use 'AT Home'. In addition to steaks, Chop House have added a selection of extra items such as Newhaven lobster from Welch fishmongers, a cheese selection from Mellis and a range of cocktails and wines from in-house. The team have also added a BBQ range to their online store featuring steak sandwiches, dry-aged burgers, and larger BBQ packs for the Scottish summer. Director Michael Spink commented “the future for hospitality is unclear and we want to be able to safeguard as many jobs as possible by broadening our offer to include a permanent online store”
Sharon Wilson Neil Forbes and his head chef Joe at Cafe St Honoré are the latest chefs to head back to the kitchen. They join the rosta of restaurants now offering a take-away service. The menu includes a selection of Cafe favourites using great produce plus a bottle of organic wine. Orders start Monday (29 Jun) for collection from the restaurant on Thistle St Lane on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. (2, 3, 4 July). Menu Below. You can book here THE MENU - £67.50 for two Sourdough bread with a whipped crowdie & black pepper dip Starter Belhaven smoked trout with heritage potato salad, horseradish, organic salad leaves & fennel Main course Confit Kype Muir duck leg, braised lentils, root veg & Peelham Farm organic salami Side Cabbage with Arran mustard & tarragon Dessert Organic lemon posset, Perthshire raspberries & shortbread Flapjacks to enjoy with coffee
By Jill Blair If 2020 has been good for anything, the restaurant takeaway is a contender for the top spot. So what do you do about all the packaging they require when sustainability is at the very heart of your business? I spoke to Neil Forbes, Chef Director of Edinburgh’s Café St Honoré, to find out how he and his team have approached this in order to provide an “at home” dining experience whilst remaining true to the restaurant’s core values. Neil explained that sourcing the right packaging was a major factor in the decision to offer a takeaway option, "We were only going to do it if we could source sustainable packaging that was reusable, compostable or biodegradable. My philosophy has always revolved around sustainability, and it does actually help improve the bottom line. Plus, who doesn’t want to look after our planet? As one of the founding members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), we really do care about what we do at Café." After chatting it over with fellow SRA pals, Neil tried out some products from BioPak that fitted the bill. It's been a learning experience for the team in the kitchen, and not without mishap! "I learnt the hard way that a hot custard cannot be poured into a see-through biodegradable container as it melts with the heat," Neil told me. "It was funny finding it out! Now of course, I cool the custard first, then pour. At home, people need to make sure they don’t put the see-through lids in the microwave, as they are made from veg starch and they will melt. Fascinating stuff really." Their at home offerings have gone from strength to strength since then. The suet crust Pie of the Week went down very well in my house, and festive menus for Christmas and Hogmanay were released this week. The new online shop is full of treats such as shortbread and oatcakes, plus delicious jams and pickles in jars that customers are encouraged to refill with their own home made efforts: "One thing that’s so good about Scotland is the amount of really good, but inexpensive, seasonal produce. I’ve always said that if you eat alongside the seasons, you will eat cheaper with no compromise on quality. For example, strawberries in season are dirt cheap, so eat lots and make jam for the rest of the year. Don’t wait until January to buy strawberries as they will be coming from the other side of the world, very unsustainable!" Neil Forbes will be at Edinburgh farmers' market on 12th and 19th December selling goodies from their shop as well as festive favourites like mince pies and Christmas puddings. And if you haven't had a Café St Honoré Christmas pud before, get down there early to grab one - you're in for a real treat! 0131 226 2211 34 North West Thistle Street Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 1EA
By Jill Blair As fans of Café St Honoré's steak and their fabulous dark chocolate fondant, we were over the moon when the 'Café at Home' menu included both beef feather blade and a brownie. Little did I realise it though it would be a starter of Isle of Wight organic tomato soup that had me emotional. Fresh, tomato flavour whisked me off to happy summer childhood's playing in my Uncle Norman's greenhouse in the Hilltown in Dundee. There I munched delicious tomatoes straight from the vine. Heaven! Topped with some fresh basil pesto and tortellini filled with Katy Rodgers crowdie, the soup was a lovely start to the meal. This was followed by beef feather blade which was tender and indulgently gelatinous, falling apart with a gentle nudge of my fork into a rich, deep-flavoured Bordelaise sauce. Mash was the buttery treat I love at 'Café', and the greens were bright, al dente, and perfectly seasoned; a beautifully balanced dish.
The combination of the chocolate brownie and honeycomb for dessert was a little on the toothsome side for me, but no less delicious for it. The dark, decadent brownie oozed when warmed in the oven.
Unable to do them justice in one sitting, creamy Clava brie with oatcakes, and the coffee and flapjack provided a tasty Sunday morning treat in the garden.
For a very reasonable price of £67.50 for 2 of us, which included a bottle of Le P'tit Roubie organic red wine, we were well fed and enjoyed playing with the presentation of the dishes.
The packaging was all recyclable, compostable, or reusable underlining the restaurant's commitment to sustainability. Values haven't been compromised for the sake of adapting the business to suit the current climate. (J. Blair)
Café St Honoré, 34 North West Thistle Street Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 1EA 0131 226 2211