Monboddo at DoubleTree Hilton
It’s a lightly drizzly evening in Edinburgh’s city centre – the ground floor of the DoubleTree Hilton on Bread Street to be more exact. Sitting opposite me at a table next to the window, Monboddo’s executive head chef (and fellow South African) OJ Coleske is kindly going through the list of “wee plates” and “not so wee plates". “This isn’t how you order,” he jokes, ticking off his recommendations on the menu with a black pen. Basically, the idea is to choose three to four small plates per person to share, which are then brought out as they’re ready. To combine chef OJ’s suggestions with our own, these include Company Bakery sourdough with salted butter (a personal penchant), sesame-coated haggis bon bons, chicory salad, cauliflower fritters with cumin and mint yogurt, and Scottish trout rillettes. The “not so wee plates” are more of your mains – these can be combined with a wee plate or two as a starter or side but would be more than enough on their own. His pen hovering over the menu, OJ alternates between recommending the sirloin steak slices and grilled pork tomahawk. Can I admit the stewed figs sold me on trying the pork? And it was cooked to perfection (the pork too, not just the figs … I’ll get my coat). Dessert-wise, space wasn’t on my side, but I’ll certainly be back to try a ginger crème brûlée. Diverting from the menu somewhat, I was interested to learn the restaurant is named after 18-century Scottish philosopher Lord Monboddo. He was known to be on the eccentric side and, rather randomly, not a fan of wearing clothes. While nudism may be discouraged while eating out, the idea here is to strip back on any formalities. The focus is instead on creating a relaxing atmosphere, sharing a few dishes and just having a bit of fun – clothes included. (K. Wilkins) Monboddo: 34 Bread Street, Edinburgh EH3 9AF-0131 221 5555.
Sky Bar-a room with a view If you’re looking for a Bellini overlooking the city, try the Sky Bar on the top floor. While generally an exclusive events venue, it’s open for weekend-only bookings (and we do recommend booking ) – the view of the castle from the floor-to-ceiling windows is spectacular. There are also signature serves created by the in-house team, including, for instance, Malibu Barbie-tequila, malibu, crème de banane, pineapple juice, and lime.