Assorted Sashimi Salad - Kanpai

Kanpai

19th September 2017 12.30pm

www.kanpaisushiedinburgh.co.uk

A friend (who also happens to be a colleague) and I went for an impromptu lunch at Kanpai and it turned out to be a serene location for a lunchtime treat. Decorated in muted hues and delicate features, Kanpai has a hint of both modern and traditional. There were plenty of different options on the menu without being over-faced with choice. In the end, I chose the tuna maki and the assorted sashimi salad. My dining companion opted for the crowned tuna tartare and the king prawn tempura.

The dishes come out when they are ready and the first two dishes to arrive where the crowned tuna tartare and the tuna maki. There was a delightful little pot on the table to pour your soy sauce from. It’s little touches like these that indicated there was a high level of attention to detail. After the soy was poured, I got stuck into my tuna maki. I had to do all I could to refrain myself from devouring the whole lot in quick succession. This maki was seriously good. You could tell that the fish was of good quality and the sushi rice was simply perfect. I tried to let each flavour melt on my tongue before swallowing the food. I was a very happy bunny. On the other side of the table, my friend was making equally delighted noises over her crowned tuna tartare. This was a beautifully presented dish. The tuna was topped with breadcrumbs, to provide some extra texture, and the whole thing sat on top of a bed of rice. Thumbs up all round.

As we were tucking into those dishes, the tempura and the assorted sashimi salad arrived. The salad was vibrant with pieces of avocado scattered across the top, along with a single prawn. The main ingredients of the salad were salmon, tuna and squid. Daikon, cucumber and spring onions could be found at the bottom. It also came with its own dressing which you could pour over to meet your own preferences. This was fresh and dazzling. It seemed to last for ages too, which felt like a bonus. I can’t recommend this enough. The tempura was also good, being light and flavoursome. It was served in a lovely basket. However, my friend commented that she would have liked some chilli in her tempura. That being said, it was clear that fish was where the speciality lies in Kanpai.

We both really enjoyed our time at Kanpai and can’t wait to go back again. The only downside, as is always the way with sushi, it’s not a particularly cheap option. However, Kanpai offers the quality which makes the price tag seem deserved.

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

Overall – 35/40

Would I eat here again? Regularly!

Cost £34 for four plates of food plus two diet cokes

Brewhemia

Brewhemia

13th September 2017 5.30pm

https://brewhemia.co.uk/

Brewhemia opened in August and is easily identifiable on Market Street by their floral front entrance. The place seems quite large, with a variety of spaces for drinks and food. We were seated in a booth that had a handy buzzer for bubbles. No doubt this feature is going to be very popular! They also offer tank beer, with six of their own copper beer tanks. As we both scoured the menu, we found our eyes were drawn to virtually all the options, one after another. In the end, I settled on the 6oz Scottish beef burger, with an additional side of onion rings (the burger already came with chips). My friend changed her mind at the last minute and ended up choosing the Scottish sirloin steak sandwich with a side of truffle and parmesan house chips. I also ordered a long bramble cocktail and my friend chose a large glass of red wine.

Brewhemia

Brewhemia

When the food arrived, they looked appetising. My onion rings were perched on top of my burger, so I got stuck into them straight away. I was really impressed with these. They were crispy and had managed to avoid the usual blandness you get with below-par onion rings. The burger was huge and I did struggle on an eating strategy but ended up cutting it in half and using my hands. The meat patty was excellent and had great flavour. The bun held up against the burger juices. The accompanying chips were fine but hovering around the average mark. There was an additional slice of pickle and a beetroot slaw, which were acceptable but didn’t add masses to the dish. Across the table, my friend’s steak sandwich was a little on the rare side but as long as you are fine with this, you will enjoy this dish. She wolfed it down, finding the mushroom jam and the IPA onion compote particularly nice additions, along with the very lovely side of truffle and parmesan house chips. She didn’t think the crisps on the side were up to much though.

We were so tempted by the desserts on the fist sift of the menu, we couldn’t deny ourselves the experience. I chose the rhubarb Edinburgh Gin crumble and my dining companion chose the Brewhemia sundae. My crumble turned out to be quite large. However, it was delicious. I liked the crumble as it was, only lightly toasted and plenty of goo. My friend commented that if it had been her dish she would have preferred it to be darker. It was accompanied by a sorbet and a cold crème anglaise. Whilst both were excellent, I think that no sorbet and either a warm custard or a cream would have worked better here. I didn’t manage to get through all of the crumble but I did make a valiant attempt. On the other side of the table the sundae consisted of vanilla ice cream, macaroon and IPA cherries. My friend inhaled most of this but began to struggle near the end as the cherries became more potent. That didn’t stop her picking a couple more out before the plates were taken away.

Brewhemia is a decent offering, with a nice drinks list and a sturdy option of pub grub. Definitely worth a visit.

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

Overall 32/40

Would I eat here again? Yes. It’s a good location and a large space.

£52 for two mains, two sides, two desserts, a cocktail and a large glass of wine

Falafel - Cafe Truva

Cafe Truva

13th September 2017 12.30pm

www.cafetruva.com/artcollege.php

We popped in here, the Art School branch, to try lunch as we worked close by. Café Truva seems a bit tardis-like, with never ending dining space. We settled in a spot by the window and perused the menu. Café Truva offers breakfasts, sandwiches, toasties, salads and other hot food. I opted for a ham panini, my friends chose falafel with aubergine and hummus, and a wrap.

Ham Panini - Cafe Truva

Ham Panini – Cafe Truva

Service was prompt and we all received our food. My panini was warm but not grilled to an inch of its life, so it still had a bit of give and wasn’t like cardboard – thank goodness. The filling was ample and the taste was good. The falafel came with a generous dollop of hummus and two large slices of pitta bread. The flavour was good and the falafel wasn’t too dry. The wrap was very similar to my panini and it’s contents were oozing out of the top of the wrap. All our plates had the addition of a small side salad which consisted of tomato, slaw, cucumber, a salsa and some raita. I particularly enjoyed the salsa.

All the food was tasty – nothing was at the level of ‘wow’ but it is a solid lunch option. We were also not hurried out, which made it for a relaxing eat.

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

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Yes as it’s handy for a quick bite to eat

£22 for three mains, two soft drinks and a tea

View from Old Chain Pier

Old Chain Pier

12th September 2017 7.30pm

http://oldchainpier.com/

A friend had just moved along the road from Old Chain Pier and conveniently there was a voucher deal for two grazing platters and four glasses of wine at said establishment, so we snapped that up and visited. In a beautiful location overlooking the Forth, we were delighted to be given a table by the window. We ordered our platters knowing that we may order some supplementary food later.

Grazing platter - Old Chain Pier

Grazing platter – Old Chain Pier

The platters came in crate type boxes but weren’t completely identical, with only one having balsamic vinegar and olive oil dip and only one had bell tomatoes, but nevertheless, these were tasty. Each also had a salad, cornichons, sundried tomatoes, mixed antipasti, olives, hummous, blue cheese, brie, cheddar, bread, oatcakes and butter. The bread was plentiful and soft. The hummus was delicious. All the antipasti was beautiful and full of flavour. The voucher was really good value for money.

However, we were all quite hungry before we arrived, so still had space for a little more. So we ordered the half kilo bowl of mussels, chilli and a portion of chips between the four of us. I have to say that the mussels were exceptional. They were nestled in a garlic, white wine and cream sauce and served with crusty bread. The chips were also decent. The chilli had great flavour but was not a thick enough consistency, which was a shame. The nachos looked a little lacklustre but actually were tasty.

Sticky Toffee Pudding (half eaten) - Old Chain Pier

Sticky Toffee Pudding (half eaten) – Old Chain Pier

Two of the table decided to share a dessert. They went for sticky toffee pudding and chose ice cream over cream as its accompaniment. Whilst this was nice and light, neither of them would say it was strictly a sticky toffee pudding as it had a strong cinnamon flavour. Apologies for the photo of it half eaten!

Old Chain Pier

Old Chain Pier

We had a really lovely time at the Old Chain Pier. The staff were friendly and the settling was delightful. A few little wobbles with the food but nothing detrimental and actually some wonderful stuff to enjoy. Certainly worth checking out.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8.5/10

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? Yes

Cost £26 for the voucher plus a further £31 for two mains, a side of chips, a dessert, a glass of wine and a coffee

Flat Iron Steak - No. 8 Lister Square

No. 8 Lister Square

8th September 2017 7.45pm

http://no8listersquare.co.uk

A bustling Friday night brought us to No. 8 Lister Square. This was a catch up with my pals Emma from Vegan Edinburgh and Ann from A Quirky Lifestyle. We were seated in the upstairs dining area. Emma asked for what could be made vegan from the menu (and we did explain there would be a vegan diner when booking). The waitress was very helpful and double checked with the chef and ensured she came back with a few options. In the end she chose the superfood salad and chips. I, being the omnivore that I am, ordered the flat iron steak and Ann chose the salmon with a side of sweet potato fries. You can also choose steak options to cook on a stone yourself but I am not a fan of that so gave it a miss.

The food came out surprisingly quickly. My steak was served on a wooden board with a side salad and a small bucket of skinny fries. The steak was cooked to perfection – rare as I’d asked. It was a healthy sized bit of meat and was seasoned incredibly well. The salad was good and had a nice dressing on it but I would have liked more of the greenery as the dish seemed a little unbalanced. The fries were ok but were a little on the cool side. Across from me, the superfood salad looked pretty. Emma thought it was nice enough but nothing stellar. She found the cauliflower a little too large. The salmon was good. The accompanying broccoli and mango salsa were also of a good standard and the plate was emptied! The side of sweet potato fries was generous and had lovely flavour.

Salted Caramel and Pecan Ice Cream Sundae - No. 8 Lister Square

One of us went on to have dessert. I decided against as none of the three options were taking my fancy. However, Ann had the salted caramel and pecan ice cream sundae. This seemed to take a little while to arrive but when it did, it looked impressive. It disappeared quite quickly too!

Overall No. 8 is not too bad. Steaks are obviously their strength.

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

Overall – 30.5/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe

Cost £62 for three mains, two sides, one dessert and two cocktails

Ice cream - Jilani's

Jilani’s

7th September 2017 6.30pm

https://www.facebook.com/JilanisDesserts-918995298200083/

We decided we fancied a sweet treat and ventured into Jilani’s. Situated opposite Old College, Jilani’s opens in the evenings to meet all your dessert needs. Focussing primarily on ice cream; cones, sundaes and milkshakes are a staple. Waffles, crepes and cakes are also available. However, my eye was drawn to the section labelled cookie dough. With a variety of flavours, I was surprisingly attracted to the simple milk chocolate chip option. My friend wanted a sundae. She’s strange and doesn’t like cream, so asked for it without. The gentleman serving us was concerned she’d be disappointed it wouldn’t look as good, so added a couple of extra toppings to make it look more impressive.

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough - Jilani's

Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough – Jilani’s

When mine was ready, it smelt incredible. The cookie dough was warmed, more like a molten biscuit. It tasted absolutely divine. The scoop of vanilla ice cream contrasted well. Chocolate sauce and a scattering of chocolate drops finished off the dish. My friend also loved her sundae. Lots of biscuity treats adorned the top and scoops of ice cream and lashings of sauce worked a treat.

Sundae - Jilani's

Sundae – Jilani’s

It’s a shame this place only opens in the evening as I imagine it would do well in the afternoons, particularly at the weekends but as a small business, this is not currently possible. Worth skipping dessert elsewhere for a visit in the evening.

Food – 9/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere- 7/10
Value – 8.5/10

Overall – 34.5/40

Would I eat here again? Without a doubt

Cost just shy of £11 for the two desserts

Vit Curry - Saboteur

Saboteur

7th September 2017 5.30pm

www.facebook.com/saboteuredinburgh/

I reported a short while ago on the News page that Saboteur was opening. Sister restaurant to the ever popular Ting Thai Caravan and only a few doors up the road, Saboteur is set to follow in their footsteps – only in a Vietnamese fashion. Styled in a similar way to Ting Thai, they have learnt some lessons about communal dining and there are plenty more individual tables in this place, which should satisfy those who aren’t so comfortable sharing their immediate dining space with strangers.

The menu is set out like its sister restaurant and offers a lot of similar styled fayre. I opted for the Ca’Phi Le, which was a sea bass dish, with a side of roti. My friend ordered the Vit curry. There was an option of a banh mi or rice. Sadly they were out of banh mi so she opted for the khao mok rice. We also got some Vietnamese prawn crackers to share.

Prawn Crackers and Roti - Saboteur

Prawn Crackers and Roti – Saboteur

The prawn crackers came out quickly, accompanied by the roti, so we could get snacking, which was good as we were chomping at the bit to get munching. The crackers were great and plentiful. They were served with a chilli jam. This was a nice change from sweet chilli sauce and was a bit thicker and richer in flavour. The roti was beautiful and came with a chunky peanut sauce.

Ca'Phi Le - Saboteur

Ca’Phi Le – Saboteur

The mains followed speedily. Mine looked virtually saintly with the sea bass sat atop a salad. However, there was a devilishly beautiful dressing of chilli, tamarind, palm sugar and fish sauce. Lettuce, peppers, tomatoes and pineapple kept the dish varied. Tasty stuff. On the other side of the table, the curry was generous. This roasted duck curry consisted of duck, coconut milk, chilli, basil, lychee, tomatoes and peppers. My friend thought this was really lovely. The side of yellow rice, cooked through with coconut, herbs and spices finished it off nicely.

Vit Curry - Saboteur

Vit Curry – Saboteur

Speedy and friendly service, a great alternative to Ting Thai.

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

Overall – 35/40

Would I eat here again? Plenty of times

Cost £26 for two mains, two sides a glass of wine and a Diet Coke