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Divino Enoteca
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Divino Enoteca
5 Merchant Street,
0131 225 1770
Bar open- Mon-Thu 4pm-midnight; Fri 4pm-1am; Sat noon-1am; Closed Sun. Food served-Mon-Fri 4pm-11pm Sat noon-11pm (last orders for a la carte); Midnight for anti-pasti Closed Sun.

August festivities over, Autumn announced itself with the first rain and our automatic response was to scuttle to shelter.  The most civilised place in Edinburgh to enjoy the sensation of hunkering down with a glass of vino has to be this stylish dark cave deep under George IV Bridge in Merchant St.

They have a huge world list, from which you can explore a wide variety of wines by sampling tasting glasses kept in perfect condition in Enomatic machines.  But to make life even easier they offer half a dozen 'wine flights' available, in 25 or 50ml tasting sizes.

We tried the 'Italy & Abroad' red wine grouping - 3 Italians first, starting with an organic Cerasuolo, a lighter red from Sicily.  My favourite was a new discovery of 100% Gaglioppo from Casa Vinicola Librandi in Calabria.  At the richer end of the spectrum of 5 tasting glasses, Spain & Chile contributed a Ribera del Duero Crianza and a 14.5% Carmenere Reserva. 

We definitely needed to pair these with food - so whereas we normally have Divino Enoteca's very fine quality meat or cheese platters, this time we chose from the full menu.  While the starters, for example the 'surf & turf' scallop and sausage on squid polenta(£10) were perfectly cooked & beautifully presented, the large main courses were not up to expectations.  Both chicken and the veal Milanese were agreeably tender - often not the case with breadcrumbed veal. Unfortunately the veal lacked seasoning and was devoid of any tasty sauce to make up for it - and was accompanied by a cabbage side mixed with chewy pancetta which just didn't do it for either of us, especially as this was the most expensive dish at £20 - albeit a sizeable cut on the bone.  The chicken fricassee had some delicious sauce & soft gnocchi, but was swamped with large garden peas (£14.95).  Desserts helped to restore faith, my chocolate torte (£5.50) having a yummy apricot jam layer along with orange zest and dark chocolate flakes.

Our feeling was that this lovely 'library of wines' should stick to what they do best, providing various  platters of quality meat and cheese morsels and fine seafood bites to complement their wares, rather than trying to also cover the full meals best served upstairs in their busy Vittoria restaurant. (The Go-Between)

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