Fish and Chips - The Lantern Room

The Lantern Room

11th April 2017 6.15pm

www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/hotel-information/restaurant/edicy-courtyard-edinburgh/

Newly opened within the Marriott in a prime location by the Playhouse, the Lantern Room is in easy reach of the centre of the city. We entered the restaurant to find it was more like a bar. After waiting a short while to be seen to by staff, we were taken around a hidden corner to a table, which felt a little bit like it was in a walk way. We were seated, handed menus and then immediately asked if we knew what we wanted to drink, which was a bit odd as we’d only been handed the drinks list a second earlier. Anyway, after being given a bit more time to look at menus, I decided to stick with water and picked the artisan bread for my starter followed by sausage and mash for my main. My friend chose a glass of wine and opted for the BBQ pulled pork spring rolls and then fish and chips for her main.

Our starters arrived and were very different portions. My bread was of a very generous size, with lots of slices. My friend had a large box type structure but with two spring rolls inside, taking up about half of the space. Whilst I had lots of bread, it wasn’t that great, being quite dry and close in texture. The butter was too hard to spread, so whilst it was lovely, I had to give up as I couldn’t do anything but lump it on the bread. The accompanying olive oil and balsamic vinegar would have been nice if the dish it was in wasn’t so deep, resulting in all the oil at the top and even with dipping, not getting much of the vinegar. The olives were nice though. On the other side of the table the spring rolls were more of a success, with the flavour carrying well within the crunchy exterior. The only thing that took the shine off was having to eat with her hands as a knife and fork were just not practical with the box.

The mains were also a bit of a mismatch in sizes, with my sausage and mash served in a simple clean bowl and the fish and chips coming in a bucket on a board. My sausages were nice but nothing special. They were supposed to be the sausage of the day but I have no idea what that was supposed to be as I was never told. The mash was good and had no lumps but could have been a bit creamier. The onion gravy, however, was incredible. It was thick, glossy and full of a rich flavour. My dining companion was really enjoying her fish and chips. She said you could really taste the beer in the batter, which doesn’t often happen with beer battered food. Again, she struggled to eat properly out of the bucket, which took a bit of a shine off the proceedings for her.

We seemed to experience different meal quality, which is quite rare and made it difficult to score. However, neither of us were enamoured enough to want to revisit.

Food – 7/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere- 4/10
Value – 7/10

Overall 26/40

Would I eat here again? Unlikely

Cost £37 for two starters and mains and one glass of wine

Karen's Unicorn

Karen’s Unicorn

8th April 2017 8pm

www.karensunicorn.com

Somehow I seem not to have visited many Chinese restaurants in Edinburgh, which is odd as I like Chinese food. In an attempt to rectify this, I took a friend’s recommendation to try Karen’s Unicorn. Situated a couple of minutes walk from St Andrew Square, Karen’s Unicorn is easy to reach. The restaurant itself was simple in its black theme but was spoilt a touch with the weird blue lights, which were not far off ultra violet as well as some pink lights higher up the wall. It gave an odd mood lighting to the place and felt a bit harsh. The friendly staff were on hand to sort out drinks whilst we eyed the menu, a lot of which was what I would consider standard Chinese offerings, all of which sounded scrumptious. In the end I went for sesame prawn toasts followed by chicken satay with some boiled rice. My friend chose the soft shell crab to start, followed by the ‘original’ roast duck with a side of noodles. The starters seemed a bit expensive to my eye in relation to the mains (prices are not on the website but many of the starters are £8-£9), so I was intrigued to see what we got for our money.

The food came out really quickly, weirdly with hot towels at the same time. My sesame prawn toasts looked a bit underwhelming. The bread was small and with four less than generous triangles, I was a bit disappointed. On eating, they tasted lovely, but not enough to warrant the price tag. The chilli sauce was nice but the accompanying salad was limp and a bit brown at the edges. However, on the other side of the table the soft shell crab was going down a treat. A bit hotter than she was expecting but could not take the shine off her very pleasing starter.

We were offered a choice of a short break before our mains or to have the food straight away. We opted for the latter. Served on a hot plate, our mains were delivered to the table. My satay looked cute in its bowl but the duck really did look amazing. My satay wasn’t too strong on the peanut flavour but it had a nice subtle heat to it which you don’t often get with a satay, so that was pleasing. The chicken was incredibly tender, almost melting in my mouth. The peppers still had a little crunch to them and the onions were soft. The accompanying rice was cooked to perfection. My friend was having a field day with the duck. She kindly let me try some and it really was delicious. There was so much of the duck too. Sadly I think that was my friend’s downfall as she ate past the point at which she should have stopped. A valiant attempt to finish it all, which she almost achieved. The noodles were also great, with onions scattered throughout.

All in all, a bit of a mixed bag with some notable highlights.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Possibly

Cost £70 for two starters, two mains and two glasses of wine

Bubba Q

Bubba Q

5th April 2017 6pm

www.bubbaq.co.uk

Enticed by some photos on social media, we decided to give Bubba Q a try. Situated on the Royal Mile, down a small staircase, exposed wood is the theme of the day. The menu has a lot to admire, with burgers, sandwiches, hotdogs, mains and even salads for the health conscious. We both ended up going for sandwiches, mine a Hot Links SW and my friend’s a Triple P. Both came with slaw, pickle and skin on fries. My dining companion also chose BBQ pit beans as an additional side.

The food came out incredibly quickly. Served on big metal trays, they were generous portions. There were a few home made sauces on the table to try, alongside the more standard condiments, which were very nice. There was no way I was going to be able to tackle mine using my hands so had to use a knife and fork. My friend was more adventurous (and also had a more compliant filling) so got her mitts on hers. My sandwich consisted of spicy smoked sausage, barbecue sauce, crispy onion and jalapeños. There were perhaps a few too many chilliest for my taste but that is probably personal preference. The sausage was nice but didn’t taste very smoky. The difficulty with having to eat with a knife and fork, alongside the barbecue sauce, meant that the paper lining the tray kept coming apart and attaching to the food, so I was continually having to pick paper off my food. However, the slaw was great and creamy without being too rich. The fries were ok. My friend commented that they lose their heat too quickly when spread out on a non-warmed plate (or baking tray as was the case here). That being said, she loved her Triple P sandwich, which consisted of pork shoulder, crispy onions and barbecue sauce. She thought it had great flavour and scoffed the lot. The BBQ pit beans had a lovely smoky taste and the meat chunks were plentiful.

Bubba Q is good enough but nothing spectacular. It’s location will keep it safe but needs to pick up its game to be on a par with other smokeries in the city.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe

Cost £25 for two sandwiches, one side and two soft drinks

Six Vegetable Bibimbap - On Bap

On Bap

5th April 2017 12.45pm

Recently opened on Clerk St, On Bap is a modest little outlet serving Korean food, with a few tables inside but also offering take away. The take away menu is still available for dining in along with a specific sit in menu (for those dishes which are not easily transportable). Everything on the menu sounded nice and after all changing our minds several times, we settled on our dishes. We were all a bit cautious over the spice levels so picked relatively mild dishes; I went for the small stir fried beef bulgogi , another of us went for stir fried beef and chicken teriyaki bulgogi and the last of us chose the six vegetable bibimbap. We all opted for our dishes to come with rice.

Food came quickly and all looked tasty. Getting stuck in, my bulgogi was good. The meat was cut well for use with chop sticks and had onion, carrots, mushrooms and lettuce mixed through. All of those was sat on top of a beautifully sticky mound of rice. The larger version of the bulgogi was not dissimilar, although my friend had mixed it up with the chicken teriyaki which meant there were also peppers in her dish. The bibimbap had the option to come with chilli or soy sauce. Erring on the side of caution, she went for soy (which we later found out was made from scratch on site). I think we all agreed that we would be a bit more adventurous with the spice next time as the standard options are not spicy in the slightest.

Six Vegetable Bibimbap - On Bap

Six Vegetable Bibimbap – On Bap

The staff are lovely. On Bap is worth a visit.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes.

Cost – £22 for a small bulgogi, a regular bulgogi, a regular bibimbap and two bottles of water

Feijoada (Brazilian feast stew) - Boteco Do Brasil

Boteco Do Brasil

4th April 2017 6pm

www.botecodobrasil.com/edinburgh

We were invited along by the lovely peeps at Boteco do Brasil to sample some of the food they had on offer with their new menu. Boteco do Brasil have a history in Glasgow but have been in Edinburgh for a shorter time. I have to admit, I’d really only considered this venue to be a bar and never really thought about what food offering it had, so this gave me a good opportunity to find out. Also, being a group blogger event, it meant that I could nosey at other people’s food without getting stared at! We seemed to all choose food in our pairs so we could share our meals to extend the amount of food we could taste. So I went for chourico apimentado for my starter and moqueca with prawns for my main. My friend opted for espetinho de camarao for starter followed by feijoada for her main. She had some of the red wine on the table and said it was really good quality.

Starters were brought to the table and cameras started snapping, as is the way of the blogging community! Once that was done, we tucked in. My chorizo was beautiful – the flavour was spot on. It was accompanied with cassava, which is a bit like potato. I had tried cassava chips in the past and wasn’t keen but this was really good. The little peppers dotted across the dish added an extra punch that I adored. On the other side of the table, the barbecued prawns were also going down well. I got to sample some of it too. The prawns were cooked well and had a subtle heat from the chilli and garlic marinade.  The prawns were presented on skewers and were interspersed with tomatoes, sat atop a salad. Everyone else round the table seemed to be enjoying their starters, which handily can also be ordered as tapas if you prefer.

The mains arrived in a spectacular fashion. Most dishes required two plates and the steak dish came on a sizzling platter. My dish was prawns in coconut milk with onions, coriander, tomatoes and peppers. On the side was rice and farofa  (flavoured cassava flour to thicken the sauce).  Again, the prawns were cooked well and the sauce was delicately flavoured. However, whilst I enjoyed mine I was supremely jealous of the feijoada stew my friend was tucking into. This was a traditional Brazilian feast stew with black beans, pork ribs, bacon, salt beef and chorizo. This was also served with rice, chilli salad and farofa. The depth of flavour this stew had was incredible. My friend knew she needed to stop eating to keep room for dessert but couldn’t help but keep going back for more. Again, dishes round the table were all warmly received. If Brazilian food seems a bit too much for you, there are also a choice of burgers.

I had saved room for dessert as I was recommended the brigadeiro – a condensed milk and chocolate ball dessert. My friend saw a photo of the pave de morango and decided to try that. I have to say that the desserts were the hit of what was a very good standard of meal. The brigadeiro, whilst rich, weren’t as sickly sweet as I was expecting and I adored them (in fact I am still drooling at the thought of them now). With a little bit of cream and slices of strawberry, this was a triumph of a dessert. Across the table, my non-dessert liking friend was really pleasantly enjoying her dessert too. The strawberry was mousse-like and coconut brought an element to the dish which balanced out the small touch of condensed milk on the top. Much to our entertainment, two diners next to us chose the same desserts as us to share and wolfed down the strawberry dessert in what seemed like five seconds, each taking a larger spoonful each time to try to get the bigger share of the dish.

We really enjoyed our visit to Boteco do Brasil as have already planned a return trip to sample more food and make a start on the cocktail menu. What I thought was really a bar surprised me with some delightful food.

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

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Yes and I have already made plans

Cost – this meal was complimentary but the cost of the food (but not the wine) would be around £45 for two three course meals.

Please note that whilst this was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Donna for organising.

Home

Home

29th March 2017 6.15pm

http://home-restaurant.co.uk/

A joint venture from Maison Bleue and Social Bite and known through the highly publicised visit by Leonardo Di Caprio at the end of last year, we popped in to Home to see what they had to offer. We’d previously visited Maison Bleue so knew we shouldn’t be disappointed. Home offers great value lunch and early evening menus as well as a reasonably priced banquet (3 course) menu and the standard a la carte option. We decided to go with the early evening menu, offering two courses for £14.95. I went for the surprise calamari followed by the chicken kemia with merguez sausage. My friend chose haggis balls followed by chicken tagine.

We were given bread and dipping oils whilst we waited for our starters. Our side plates were beautiful mis-matched china. Our table also had a pen and a little ‘pay it forward’ card, explaining the idea and suggesting prices for paying forward from a coffee (£2) up to dinner for two (£20). You can also donate more should you wish and you can also use gift aid too. Just complete this in time for when you ask for the bill and it’ll get added on.

The starters came quite quickly. My calamari surprise looked great and was served in a small skillet. I guess the surprise was that it was served on a bed of peppers and onions. The calamari was cooked perfectly and the batter was seasoned beautifully. The peppers and onions were delicious and the whole lot came together wonderfully. On the other side of the table, ooohs and aaaahs were being directed at the haggis balls They were coated in a beer batter and were served with clapshot tatties and a whisky sauce. They were gone within an instant (well that’s how it seemed) which was a testament to how good they were.

The mains were also speedily presented. My chicken was delivered on skewers, with the sausages, couscous, checkchouka ratatouille and salad on the side. Sadly, my chicken was over cooked and dry. If there had been a sauce it may have been less noticeable but as it was, it made it a little hard going. The sausages were gorgeous and the rest of the dish was great, so the chicken was a bit of a shame. On the other side of the table the tagine was brought in the traditional dish. Inside, the meal wasn’t attractive looking but was beautiful. My friend seriously could not fault it. The tagine came with peas, artichokes and preserved lemons with a side of couscous. For those who don’t like meat on the bone, this won’t be for you.

We enjoyed our time at Home (ignoring the dry chicken). The staff were friendly and the service was quick. We paid forward a dinner for two. We recommend the tagine!

Food – 8/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8.5/10

Overall – 33.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes but would pick a different main

Cost £53 for two early evening 2 course deals, one glass of wine plus a donation of £20.

Baked Mushrooms - Wildwood

Wildwood

28th March 2017 7pm

www.wildwoodrestaurants.co.uk/restaurants/edinburgh/

A relatively new addition to Lothian Road, Wildwood (not to be confused with Wildmanwood) offers a variety of burgers, salads, pizzas, risottos and other bits and pieces. The venue is nicely decorated and we were warmly greeted and seated upon arrival. After browsing both the standard menu and the specials, I went for the calamari and then a prawn and chorizo risotto from the specials menu. My friend chose the baked mushrooms followed by the Philly steak and cheese sandwich.

Our drinks arrived whilst we waited for our starters. My friend had chosen the raspberry lemonade. Whilst it looked nice and was definitely pink, it didn’t really have any raspberry taste. She was quite disappointed with this. However, when the starters arrived she perked up as her baked mushrooms looked great and she really enjoyed them. They were coated in melted Gorgonzola cheese and had spinach and walnuts scattered across them too. Some toasted focaccia was sat on the side. My calamari didn’t look overly inspiring but wasn’t too bad. The accompanying Cajun mayonnaise was plentiful and tasty. The calamari wasn’t rubbery and tasted pleasant but wasn’t anything special. Weirdly, when the waitress collected the plates, she also took away all the cutlery for the next course another waitress had already laid out for us. A third waitress came and gave us new cutlery. Odd.

The mains arrived and my risotto was a hearty portion. There were plenty of prawns and chorizo mixed through it, along with some tomatoes. The rice itself was cooked well. However, it tasted a bit bland, with the chorizo the only thing imparting any flavour. The prawns were also a bit over cooked, which was a shame as they were quite meaty and could have been great. On the other side of the table my friend was distinctly unimpressed. Firstly her fries were salted, which was not indicated on the menu and she found it too much. The sandwich itself was smothered in mayonnaise which overpowered everything. The cheese could not easily be identified and the steak was tough. All in all quite disappointing.

We had been realistic about what to expect and we’re still a bit let down (even the epic music being played couldn’t save it). There are better, and cheaper, places on Lothian Road.

Food – 5/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere- 8/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 27/40

Would I eat here again? Unlikely

Cost £40 for two starters, mains and soft drinks