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Leopardo's Bistro and Wine Bar
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Leopardo’s Edinburgh
6-8 Murrayfield Place,
EH12 6AA
0131 281 4918
Opening times : Tuesday to Saturday Breakfast: 08.00 – 11.00 (Except Saturday, from 9am) Lunch: noon -3pm Dinner: 18.00-22.00

Alessandro, the chef, hugs Profumi di Sicila, his bible of Sicilian cooking, and proclaims "food is my religion."

It's an enormous recipe book and likely all he needs in the kitchen of this Sicilian bistro and wine bar in Roseburn.

I reply, a little weakly, that I like The Silver Spoon and have watched 'Montalbano'.

Sicilian cooking like Italian often puts vegetables centre stage. There are 16 recipes for pumpkin alone in The Silver Spoon. Mr Bite and Isabelle order 'Zucca' for starter served with garlic and mint in a glossy but light sweet and sour sauce. You don't get more Sicilian than my caponata though; a delicious stew of tomatoes and peppers and yielding soft aubergine, the ultimate comfort food.

The North African and Greek influences on Sicilian cuisine show in the main dish of swordfish stuffed with pine nuts, raisins and breadcrumbs served with a fennel and orange salad. Three people out of our small dinner party have this, so I go for the ravioli. It's handmade, al dente and swimming in butter. Stuffed with pumpkin and walnut, it's autumnal, and seasonality means prices can be kept keen. Remember this is peasant food at heart.

Having said that my cake is indulgence incarnate, sponge with layers of ricotta and thick marzipan; toothsome and usually eaten at Easter time it is a Sicilian speciality.

I was thrilled to see Franciacorta on the wine list. If you haven't yet tried theses sparkling wines from Lombardy, I urge you to. They use Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meurnier grapes like Champagne and have a second fermentation in the bottle producing lots of bubbles.

We also tried a unique Chianti, 'Lelle' 2010 from the Scheggiolla organic vineyard. It has 95% Sangiovese, 5% Syrah, dark berry flavours, some cocoa and lots of tannins.

Leopardo's nestles just back from the main drag in Roseburn next to the water of Leith. It's a pretty spot, and the bistro serves as a cafe during the day. Can't wait to taste the coffee and croissants as they are bound to be good. (S. Wilson) 

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