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The Dogs
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The Dogs
110 Hanover Street,
0131 220 1208

Service at The Dogs can be a bit of a stretch. If it weren't actually a restaurant you would half expect someone to utter 'you'll have had your tea'. It's David Ramsden's bolshy stamp at work. If you happen to be Glaswegian I can only apologise and offer the caveat that the food is excellent.  

Ling is thick, salty and as see-through as a stripper's bra, its flavour balanced by juicy orange segments, a few fennel shavings, plenty of rocket and piercing pink peppercorns (3.95/6.95). It has all been deliciously plonked on the plate. The ambience is canteen-like and tables are being turned rapidly. 

An unlikely choice of venue for my refined friend 'the Dowager' but she agrees about the quality of the food so we have visited more than once. Her starter is a salad of goats' cheese, spelt, figs, red onion, spinach, mint, pomegranate and apricot  (3.95/6.95).  She loves it and we both rate the half carafe of 50 Forge Mill Chenin Blanc from  South Africa (£13.60).  The Dogs do have a good wine list and as the food is so cheap you can afford to indulge. 

Fish and chips is one of The Dowager's favourite meals but she is a light eater so I get to taste fresh, crispy, well-seasoned batter, chips that are homemade, chunky and crisp and fluffy in all the right places. Mushy peas are a solid disappointment. Arbroath smokie risotto has good texture some nice fennel fronds and peas dotted about but lacks a bit of flavour. The smokie is on top and perhaps if it had a few flakes throughout this would have done the trick. 

Desserts are superb - pear and almond tart, kiwi syrup, sour apple sorbet for me and at £3.95 - wow! Tart is warm, comforting and tasty; sorbet is sublime. The Dogs have been using Overlangshaw Farmhouse since they opened seven years ago for ice cream and sorbet; they obviously know a good thing when they taste it. 

The Dowager tucks into a glorious mess of dark chocolate mousse, berry flapjack, cranberry sauce (£ 4.25). It's delicious and I ask David Ramsden about the cloves in the flapjack - "oh yes we've chucked all sorts in" comes the reply. 

And that just about sums up the ethos at The Dogs; DIY punky food albeit underpinned by an obvious affinity for flavour and produce, (S. Wilson) 

Reviews of more Modern British restaurants here


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