Smoked Chorizo Mac and Cheese - Harry’s Bar

Harry’s Bar

5th May 2018 2pm

https://harrysedinburgh.co.uk/

Yet another Itison voucher (well actually two) brought Edinburgh Feasts to Harry’s Bar. On arrival they didn’t seem to have our booking, but this was no bother and they accommodated us. You can find Harry’s in a spacious basement, offering fab drinks and tapas. We greedily had a voucher each but we had chosen slightly different options. Each voucher offered four tapas dishes but mine came with a cocktail and my friend’s voucher came with a glass of prosecco (at a slightly cheaper price). Without the voucher, you can get 3 tapas for £14. I ordered the chorizo mac and cheese – which my friend highly recommended, moules frites, courgette tempura and calamari rings. My friend picked the mac and cheese, tempura fish bites, chilli and garlic king prawns and potato cubes, chorizo and cider sauce. I ordered the rhubarb and elderflower gin cocktail but sadly they were out of the gin. However, they did offer to make an alternative with ordinary gin and rhubarb bitters which tasted lovely.

The feast spread out before us and I really didn’t know where to start. I put my sensible hat on and started with the calamari as that was likely to turn quickly. They looked a little anaemic but actually tasted fine. They were generously sliced rings and the dip was delicious. The courgette tempura was great and also had a similar accompanying dip. I could pretend I was being a little bit healthy whilst also managing to enjoy the light tempura too.

The moules frites were probably enough to be a lunch on its own. I ended up passing the fries to my friend and focussed on the mussels, which were of good quality and sat in a light, creamy sauce. Lastly, but by no means least, was the chorizo mac and cheese. My dining companion was not wrong on how good this tasted. You even get a couple of bits of garlic bread alongside to dunk in it. If I bought this voucher again, I would seriously consider just ordering four of these. The cheese was oozy and the pasta luscious. The chorizo added a lovely twist.

Smoked Chorizo Mac and Cheese - Harry’s Bar

Smoked Chorizo Mac and Cheese – Harry’s Bar

Across the table from me, mac and cheese aside which was already a given, the dishes were also going down a treat. The potato, chorizo and cider was a particular favourite. The prawns were big and juicy but the fish bites were probably the most uninspiring of the lot.

The staff were great in Harry’s Bar, with what I assume was the manager giving us some light hearted chat which made us feel very welcome.

Food – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 9/10

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? I’ll be there and ordering the chorizo mac and cheese

Cost £18 for voucher with 4 tapas and a cocktail and £14 for voucher with 4 tapas and a prosecco.

Persian Spiced Goat Kebab - Ransacked Black Oven

Ransacked Black Oven

4th May 2018 12.30pm

https://ransackedblackoven.co.uk/

A lunch time jaunt with a colleague led us to Ransacked Black Oven. Inspired by their love of Persian street food, there is a large mix of delights that caters for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike. Most of the food is customisable and quite a fair bit can be ordered to take away. The place was busy but we nabbed a table and ordered the dukkah and honey sourdough to share, Persian goat kebab with spinach, lentil and apple salad with hummus of the day for me and my friend chose the halloumi kebab with broccoli salad.

The bread came out quickly and was lovely and warm. The honey was subtle but worked well with the dukkah. The kebabs followed and whilst sound like something you’d have at the end of a drunken night out, was actually a healthier interpretation. My Persian spiced goat was so soft that it was difficult to pick up on my fork but beautifully melted in the mouth. Delicious! The herby potatoes were lush as was the spinach, lentil and apple salad, which also had nuts in, which was a nice surprise. There was additional rocket and tomatoes as standard. I struggled to finish the flatbread, mainly because of the sourdough starter, but it was still nice to dip in the green pepper hummus. My friend let me have a taste of her halloumi and blimey, it was good. She enjoyed her kebab just as much as I had enjoyed mine. Her broccoli salad was full of flavour.

Persian Spiced Goat Kebab - Ransacked Black Oven

Persian Spiced Goat Kebab – Ransacked Black Oven

This venue seems to have a revolving door for restaurants. Hopefully Ransacked Black Oven will have some staying power, because it’s certainly worth a visit.

Halloumi Saganaki Kebab - Ransacked Black Oven

Halloumi Saganaki Kebab – Ransacked Black Oven

Food – 8.5/10
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 10/10

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yes, there are so many variations to try

£26 for a flatbread, two kebabs and a Diet Coke.

Smoked Iberian Black Pig - Black Pig and Oyster

Black Pig and Oyster

3rd May 2018 6.15pm

http://blackpigandoysteredinburgh.com/

Last October we had a booking with Black Pig and Oyster. We turned up for it only to be in darkness and subsequently found out it was closed (we even got a ‘how was your visit?’ email the day after). So, 6 months later, the same owners have re-opened the restaurant so we decided to give it another try.

There is no doubting that this is a lovely venue, having a light, bright part which is great for daytime dining, and a cosy vaulted part which suits a more romantic evening type affair. My friend enjoyed the Spanish slant to the music being played, having lived in Spain for a while. Our friendly waiting staff took drinks orders whilst we drooled over the menu. They have a really good value lunch menu but as we were there for dinner, so had a much larger selection to choose from. I chose the ‘steak tartare our way’ followed by the smoked Iberian black pig for my main. My friend chose the ‘posh fish supper’ for her starter and the butchers grill for her main.

Pink Pig - Black Pig and Oyster

Pink Pig – Black Pig and Oyster

Our starters looked appetising. My tartare was nestled under a small stack of toasted bread with a salsa sorbet on top. I do prefer a tartare with an egg on top. Alas, this was not to be but the salsa really made up for it by adding a freshness to the dish, cutting through the weight of the meat. I was really quite pleased with the overall result. Across from me, there was a generous portion as part of the fish supper. Served in a pot, it included battered versions of sea bass, oysters, squid and king prawns. The batter was light and had some beautiful seasoning in it which brought it all to life. Thumbs up for the first course.

Onto the mains, my meat was presented very simply, with a large number of slices of the pork sat on a tomato and red onion relish and had a few dots of their homemade aoli alongside on the plate. This came with a side of rustic, hand-cut chips, which were nice but I was a bit disappointed as the dish was advertised as coming with fries. My fries obsession will have to wait for another day. The meat itself was some of the most exquisite I had ever tasted. It was juicy and tender, also with bags of flavour. I’m salivating just writing about that (there’s a mental image you didn’t want to have!). This dish comes with a relatively hefty price tag (£26) but based on the quality of the meat, I think it’s justified. Across from me, my friend was tucking into her butchers grill. Not normally one to go for a meat heavy option, she really enjoyed the meat on offer. In included some of the Iberian black pig, picanha stead, chorizo, black pudding (battered) and haggis skewers. This also came with BBQ sauce and aioli as well as some properly advertised hand-cut chips. Whilst still expensive (£25), it probably represented better value for money.

Smoked Iberian Black Pig - Black Pig and Oyster

Smoked Iberian Black Pig – Black Pig and Oyster

My friend sacrificed most of her chips so she could have dessert, as she had eyed up the mojito panna cotta. I joined her in this course and ordered the ‘not so messy Eton mess’. Mine was accurate in its description, as a refined plate of food arrived in front of me. Consisting of charred Italian, baked and dehydrated meringue, with small cubes of Chambord jelly, whipped clotted cream, summer berries and a raspberry gel. This all worked wonderfully together but my favourite element was the charred Italian meringue. Across from me, the panna cotta had a suitable wobble and genuinely did taste like mojito. You can’t get much better than that.

Butcher’s Grill - Black Pig and Oyster

Butcher’s Grill – Black Pig and Oyster

It’s certainly worth heading to Black Pig and Oyster, even if it’s for a special occasion, as the food was delicious and the service excellent.

Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 7.5/10

Overall – 33.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes. That meat was something special.

£102 for two starters, mains and desserts plus one large and one small glass of wine and a cocktail

Six by Nico

Six by Nico

25th April 2018 7pm

www.sixbynico.co.uk/edinburgh/

As soon as I heard Six by Nico was opening in Edinburgh I was excited, as were the rest of us Edinburgh foodies. The concept is clever, certainly for creating repeat customers. It’s a set menu (including a vegetarian alternative) and every six weeks the menu will change. Each menu has a theme and the first theme for Edinburgh was ‘The Chippy’. My friends and I booked a table a good way into the six week run, so it was torturous watching fellow foodies photos appear on Instagram, whilst we waited.

Cocktail - Six by Nico

Cocktail – Six by Nico

The place was buzzing when we arrived. Not many restaurants in Edinburgh are this busy mid-week. We were sat at the front of the restaurant. To be honest, our table for four really should have been a table for two as we were squished in next to the station for waiting staff. Luckily there were only three of us. A minor quibble though. If you wished you could order some additional nibbles but we decided not to spoil our appetites. I ordered a cocktail and my friends chose the paired wines option, which is quite reasonable for £25.

‘Chips and Cheese’ - Six by Nico

‘Chips and Cheese’ – Six by Nico

The first course out was ‘chips and cheese’. Of course, this was no ordinary chips and cheese It arrived in a small bowl, with crispy, finely chipped potatoes covered in a wonderfully light parmesan espuma and a drizzle of curry oil. Oh my word, this was delicious. It had bags of flavour and danced on the tongue. We all said we could eat several more bowls of the stuff. Yum.

‘Scampi’ - Six by Nico

‘Scampi’ – Six by Nico

Next we had ‘scampi’ which actually was Scrabster monkfish cheek, with pea ketchup, herb pesto and bergamot. Whilst there was no matched wine with the first course, the one expected for the this one wasn’t delivered and had to be chased. That aside, this plate of food was wonderful. Light and delicately playful flavours made for a tasty experience. The bergamot was the surprise element, with gentle citrus notes.

‘Steak Pie’ - Six by Nico

‘Steak Pie’ – Six by Nico

Then we moved onto ‘steak pie’. This consisted of Speyside beef shin, charred and caramelised onion and red wine. The matched wines came out early for this course and all our remaining courses – all is forgiven. The beef on this dish just fell apart beautifully. It was succulent and melted in the mouth. The textures were spot on here. Another champion of a dish.

‘Fish Supper’ - Six by Nico

‘Fish Supper’ – Six by Nico

Next up was ‘fish supper’. This was Shetland cod, beer emulsion, pickled mussels, confit fennel and samphire. The fish flaked apart wonderfully. The beer emulsion surprisingly working well in a subtle way. The little scraps on top of the fish were a delight and I even liked the confit fennel, which is usually my foe, as is had an unusual sweetness to it which complemented the pickled mussels.

‘Smoked Sausage’ - Six by Nico

‘Smoked Sausage’ – Six by Nico

The next course was one we were seeing be delivered across the restaurant to other tables so we knew what was coming. Arriving in a smoked closh, the lids were lifted and a beautiful smoke and aroma filled the air. This was ‘smoked sausage’ and was Ayrshire pork, salt baked celeriac and caramelised apple. The sausage itself wasn’t a sausage but the pork wrapped up in the shape of one by potato and the smoke lightly permeated the meat. The celeriac was nicely balanced. I really enjoyed the apple elements of this dish, finding them pleasantly contrasting with the meat, but one of our group found it a little too tart.

‘Deep Fried Mars Bar’ - Six by Nico

‘Deep Fried Mars Bar’ – Six by Nico

The last course was dessert. Called ‘deep fried mars bar’, I was looking forward to this. Although I’ve never tried a deep fried mars bar, so actually have no comparison. The plate had chocolate sorbet, mousse, orange and caramilla nougat. Now this isn’t going to be everyone’s type of dish. It was quite sweet but I was totally enamoured with it. The squeals of delight as I tucked into the caramilla nougat couldn’t be contained. It wasn’t to everyone’s taste on the table (those with the paired drinks also got an irn bru concoction as well)as it was sugary, so I finished off their plate too! Loved it.

Menu ‘The Chippy’ - Six by Nico

Menu ‘The Chippy’ – Six by Nico

We had to wait a little while for the bill, which was a little frustrating, but otherwise we had good service. The food was great and definitely has me hooked. The next six week stint has opened up for booking – Cooking Wonka. Yes, I already have my reservation sorted.

Food – 9/10
Service – 8.5/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Value – 10/10

Overall – 36.5/40

Would I eat here again? Well, I’ve re-booked already, so yeah!

Cost £146 for three set menus, two paired wines, one cocktail and two soft drinks

Steak Frites - Buffalo

Buffalo

19th April 2018 12.30pm

www.buffalogrill.co.uk

Also known as Buffalo Grill, I met a colleague here for lunch. A small frontage gives way to more space than you’d think, with a light and airy dining area. The lunch menu is quite varied and includes a build your own burger option. I was tempted by the steak frites option and my friend chose the beef burger but added blue cheese and a side of chips. She had contemplated the steak frites but wanted a sauce, which they offered to make for her, which was a nice touch but she stuck with the burger in the end.

Steak Frites - Buffalo

Steak Frites – Buffalo

We didn’t have to wait too long for food, which was great for a lunch break. My steak frites looked good. Strips of skirt cut steak with tomatoes, mushrooms and chips, it was a substantial lunch offering but somehow still wasn’t over facing. The meat was juicy, the chips were skin on fries and I have to say I really enjoyed the mushrooms. I was really pleased with the flavour and scoffed the lot. Across the table from me the burger bun was branded with a buffalo outline and the blue cheese was oozing out of the side. She seemed to enjoy the burger too.

Blue Cheese Beef Burger - Buffalo

Blue Cheese Beef Burger – Buffalo

We had really lovely and accommodating service and the food was of a good standard. A great lunch spot.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10

Overall- 32.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yup.

£19 for a steak frites, burger with blue cheese and fries and two soft drinks

Nachos - Papillon

Papillon

17th April 2018 6pm

www.papillonedinburgh.co.uk

Papillon has opened up in what was Quay 84, amongst others, down on the Shore in Leith. We had a voucher deal from Itison which gave us two starters and mains plus a cocktail each for £24.

Seared Jumbo Prawns - Papillon

Seared Jumbo Prawns – Papillon

The venue was a little dark inside in the main area but was light and airy in the conservatory at the back, which is where we were seated by our friendly server. Once getting a bit of clarification on exactly what was included in the deal, we ordered a couple of cocktails and I picked nachos followed by ribs and my friend picked the prawns in satay sauce and also chose the ribs.

Nachos - Papillon

Nachos – Papillon

I have to say I was mightily impressed by the look of my nachos. I’ll be honest and confess I was expecting a plate of Doritos with some cheese melted on it. I was miles from reality. They had properly fried tortilla strips and smothered the whole log with beautiful oozy cheese sauce. The guacamole, soured cream and salsa were all excellent, with the odd slice of jalapeño scattered through the dish. I have to admit, even the small version was a bit too big for a starter but it was totally worth it. Across from me, my dining companion was also enjoying her prawns. A much smaller dish in comparison, the satay has a really good flavour and the prawns were a pretty decent size so they weren’t swimming in sauce. The little bit of salad that came with it was dressed really well, so was actually worth eating.

Baby back ribs - Papillon

Baby back ribs – Papillon

As we both had ribs for the main, we could compare notes. Firstly, the portion of ribs was a decent size. The ribs had been coated in a homemade rub as well as a homemade bbq sauce. Whilst the ribs weren’t the most tender I’d ever eaten, they were pretty decent. The sauce was lovely and had a nice depth, with sweet and smoky elements, and even had a sprinkling of seasame seeds. Alongside the ribs were homemade chips and a salad. I didn’t have any room for the chips after all the nachos so only tried one but they were nice. Again the salad had the nice dressing on it.

We had a nice time at Papillon. The food and drinks were of a good standard. Hopefully they’ll stick around.

Food – 8/10
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – 7.5/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

Cost voucher was £24 for two starters, two mains and a cocktail each. Real cost likely to be around £56

Crolla’s

Crolla’s Gelateria

15th April 2018 3pm

www.crollasgelateria.com

A friend and I took a stroll along the Water of Leith one sunny Sunday and ended up Crolla’s for an ice cream. Situated at the Shore, we sat at the window with a view of the water whilst absorbing the 50’s diner feel inside. We had originally gone in for a small ice cream but easily got swayed both by the serving area and the menu and ordered a cold stone ice cream and a sundae as well as a couple of drinks. They also serve savoury food should you have company with you who does not like ice cream (and frankly, you might need to question your friend choices!).

Chocolate Minty Madness - Crolla’s

Chocolate Minty Madness – Crolla’s

So I mentioned I had a cold stone ice cream. This is where you choose your ice creams and inclusions and get it all mashed together on a cold marble stone to make a brand new ice cream. Top it with sauce and away you go. For those of you less creative, like me, there are some suggestions of creations. I chose the chocolate minty madness. On delivery to our table, I was a bit shocked by the lurid green sauce splashed across it but it actually tasted ok. The ice cream itself was lovely and the chocolate buttons mashed through were yummy. Across the table from me, I did have a bit of food envy with the sundae. The lovely shell shaped glass held lots of ice cream, sauce and cream to scoop your way through.

Hot chocolate fudge sundae - Crolla’s

Hot chocolate fudge sundae – Crolla’s

They do my beloved cookie dough creations here, so I will definitely have to pop back for another visit, even if it’s not sunny.

Cold Stone ice cream mixing - Crolla’s

Cold Stone ice cream mixing – Crolla’s

Food – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Yup

Cost £16 for two ice cream dishes and two diet cokes