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Laila's Bistro and Takeaway
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Laila's Bistro
63 Cockburn Street,
Old Town,
0131 226 5097

This new eatery/café from the owners of Hanam's and Pomegranate certainly has a Med-style warmth and welcome. It is very cosy, comfortable and female- friendly, more a place to catch up for a coffee and bite to eat than a gourmet destination.

The menu is a  mix of Middle Eastern dishes, alongside Scottish bestsellers, pasta of the day, soup du jour, sandwiches and cakes.

I ordered the buffalo mozzarella salad and was very impressed. Mr Bite commented “it's just slicing" but the ingredients were vibrant, fresh and delicious; milky cheese, beef tomatoes and summery basil leaves. Top marks. He chose stuffed vine leaves which were equally good; glossy wraps, soft rice and lemony tang. There are a number of tapas-style dishes on the menu.

For main course I chose the lamb meatballs in tomato sauce garnished with almonds (£12). The meat was lean and tasty and the sauce had a deep tomato flavour.  Mr Bite pointed out however that the chef had been very liberal with the salt. In contrast, the chips accompanying his Aberdeen Angus burger with a salad on ciabatta (£10) were under -seasoned.

To finish I chose Sicilian lemon cupcake (it needed a punchier flavour) plus cardamom and saffron ice cream which was excellent (£3.50).  Mr Bite had the unadventurous hot chocolate fudge cake (£2.95).

 Packs of baklava to take away are priced at £3 and there are daily cakes and pastries, mint tea, apple tea and good strong Arabic coffee.  There is BYOB with no corkage and non-alcoholic beers.

Less than a week open when we visited, Laila's was still finding its feet with both the menu and its execution.  Despite this I see it being a regular Bite pit-stop. It is convenient, competitively priced and caters for those with a baklava weakness.  (S Wilson). 

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