Honey Poached Peach and Apricot - Le Roi Fou

Le Roi Fou

4th August 2017 6pm

http://leroifou.com/

Le Roi Fou can be found just off Broughton Street. Unassuming from the front, this French restaurant is understatedly elegant on the inside. We were seated at the back of the restaurant, which gave it a cosy feel. We were given a lovely little amuse bouche, whilst looking at the menus, which was essentially made from chickpea flour and tasted amazing. This was served with a dip which was delicious. We also got some very warm bread to dip in oil too. We were faced with three different menus; a pre-theatre, an a la carte and a tasting menu. We changed our mind several times but in the end chose the a la carte menu to order from. I went for the steak tartare as a starter (also available as a main) and then liver with bacon for my main. My dining companion chose the spicy Caribbean fish soup to start followed by the braised globe artichoke for her main.

The starters were a healthy size, which I was a little surprised at (in a good way) as I was expecting a small portion considering the style of the restaurant. I do like having my tartare with the egg yolk presented on top, which wasn’t the case here, but it really made no difference as the dish was fully of zing and bite. I loved every mouthful of it. It was served with salad leaves and crispbreads and I’m pleased to report that the crispbreads were just thick enough to take the weight of the tartare. Thumbs up! On the other side of the table, the spicy soup was not very spicy, which led to a small level of disappointment. However, it was still considered a lovely soup. This also came with crispbreads to dunk in, should you so wish.

The mains were also a great size. My liver was plentiful and very soft. However, there was a piece that was thicker at one end and that bit tasted a little underdone (but not enough to put me off eating that too!). The bacon was incredibly crispy but not burnt. The chimichurri was subtle and worked with the dish and the red wine sauce pulled it all together. I had ordered a side of girolles with sugar snap peas as I felt I was overdoing it on the meat with my dish choices. These went really well with the liver and the other small amount of greens on the dish. I polished off the lot. Across from me, my friend was delighting in the artichoke. This came with a poached duck egg, greens and girolle mushrooms. She had ordered a side of fries but found that they weren’t really needed, so ate as many as she could fit in but found she didn’t make much of a dint in the bowl.

We decided to give dessert a go. My stuffed friend chose the light option of a lemon sorbet with came with a shot of gin. I would have gone for that but decided to try the honey poached peach and apricot. My dessert ended up also being quite large so I struggled to finish it. However, the fruit was lovely. It was supplemented with gooseberries as some other red berry I couldn’t identify. On top was a pistachio crumble and then a scoop of crème fraiche ice cream. I was mildly surprised that the fruit was warm as the ice cream scoop was not melting. What magic was this? It was simply sitting in the crumble rather than the warm fruit. My friend found the sorbet tart but refreshing. The shot of gin was generous and seemed larger than a standard shot but could be the optical illusion of the chosen glass.

Overall we thought Le Roi Fou was a nice addition to the Edinburgh restaurant scene. The staff were incredibly helpful and friendly without being intrusive. I think we’ll be back to try the tasting menu.

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

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Definitely

Cost £76 for two three course meals and a glass of wine

Italian Salami Pizza - Pizza Posto

Pizza Posto

3rd August 2017 1pm

https://pizzaposto.co.uk/

In the site of the former beloved pizza joint Tutto Matto, Pizza Posto is in a perfect location just across from the Festival Theatre. With a stripped down menu, Pizza Posto offers just 8 pizzas, but wow were they tasty. I ordered myself the number 5 – tomato sugo, mozzarella, spicy Italian salami and olive oil. My friend chose the number 4 – nduja sauce, Tuscan sausage, Italian broccoli, mozzarella and olive oil.

Italian Salami Pizza - Pizza Posto

Italian Salami Pizza – Pizza Posto

The pizzas came out really quickly and were a good size. The tomato sugo topping was delicious and the large discs of salami were perfect. I would have liked a little less crust on my pizza, with the topping actually reaching the crust rather than a bit of empty base but that was really my only negative. On the other side of the table, my friend was also enjoying her pizza. The Italian broccoli wasn’t quite what she expected and felt like it was a cross between broccoli and spinach but thought it was tasty nevertheless. We both managed to polish off the pizzas, which indicated they were just the right size for a hearty lunch.

Tuscan Sausage Pizza - Pizza Posto

Tuscan Sausage Pizza – Pizza Posto

There are a few desserts should you fancy but we were full.

We enjoyed our trip but I did have one really bizarre negative. We were sat in the lower part of the restaurant and my seat was next to a cut out design feature in the divider part of the wall, which the speaker seemed to face, albeit at a bit of a distance. However, the way the sound travelled actually gave me a ringing ear, like I’d been to a gig, which lasted well over an hour after our visit. Weird. Anyway, don’t let that put you off, just choose your table wisely!

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

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Yup!

Cost £20 for two pizzas, a peroni and a Diet Coke

Pork Belly and Half Baby Back Robs - No 1 The Grange

No. 1 The Grange

19th July 2017 6pm

www.no1thegrange.co.uk

No. 1 The Grange has been making some ripples since opening on the Newington/Grange border. The venue had a lovely horseshoe bar and we managed to snaffle a cosy looking booth for the two of us. Looking at the menu there were some amazing options, with both us is changing our minds frequently as we found yet another dish to tempt us the further down the menu we went. In the end I settled on crispy lamb belly followed by pan seared duck. My friend opted for the smoked fish chowder followed by the pork belly with a half rack of baby back ribs.

Both starters were nicely presented. I have to say mine wasn’t quite what I expected. The lamb was actually deep fried (or appeared to be) to make it crispy. The lamb strips were stacked in a star shape with a pea and mint side salad and a smoked garlic emulsion. I really enjoyed the flavour of the meat and the cooking gave it an interesting texture. On the other side of the table, the smoked fish chowder looked incredible. Served with homemade aioli, toasted bread and butter, this was quite a substantial starter (also available in a main course size). The content of the chowder was very generous and the taste it provided was excellent. My friend said she wants to come back to eat this again as a main course.

Onto the mains, my duck was presented beautifully, with vivid orange nasturtiums placed on top. The duck was cooked perfectly and was served with the most exquisite duck livers. The addition of bacon, chanterelle mushrooms and duck fat potatoes made it a hearty dish. Topping it all off was nasturtium oil and pickled cherry juice which was viscous-y and lusciously coated the meat. It is fair to say I polished off the lot. My dining companion was tucking into her pork belly and smoked half rack of baby back ribs. This, again, was a very generous portion. The meat was just sliding off the bones. The belly was braised in cider and the ribs were star-anise glazed. On top on this, there were greens, a stuffed salt-baked potato skin with bacon and wild garlic butter, all topped with a big piece of crackling, which gave an almighty crunch when eaten. The only part of the dish that my friend felt was a little off-kilter was the potato, which she felt didn’t really work and wasn’t sure if the dish really needed it. If it was a matter of needing carbohydrates, then maybe small potatoes would be better.

We were way too stuffed for dessert but noted that there were exciting options we wanted to go back and try. The staff were great so made us feel very welcome and happy to plan a return trip.

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

Overall – 35/40

Would I eat here again? Yes.

Cost £50 for two starters, two mains and two spirits with mixers

Brownie - Otro

Otro

17th July 2017 6pm

https://otrorestaurant.co.uk/

After visiting New Chapter earlier in the year, when sister restaurant Otro opened, a visit was definitely on the cards. Decided to visit here with a friend for a little celebratory dinner. Situated a short stroll from Haymarket, Otro is a pleasant venue with several spaces for eating and drinking. On arrival the sun was streaming in, giving the dining room a light and airy feel. We were allowed to order from the pre-theatre menu which finished at 6pm. There was a nice choice on this menu as well as the a la carte. We picked ourselves some drinks and I chose the chicken terrine followed by the linguine (although I was already eyeing up the dessert options too). My dining companion opted for the crispy squid followed by the rainbow trout.

Each of the dishes we were presented with looked beautiful. My starter consisted of a confit chicken and sun blushed tomato terrine, topped with a parsley and caper salsa. There were also two thinly toasted bits of bread and a side salad. The terrine stayed moist due to the confit method of cooking the chicken. The salsa was perky and gave the dish a great summer feel. I am not sure the toasts were of any use as they broke under any weight, but tasted nice enough. Across the table, my friend was tucking into crispy squid, with a tomato and watermelon salad and a yuzu mayonnaise. I wasn’t sure if the salad would work but my friend reassured me that it was a success. The whole dish tasted great. There was one small complaint that the squid wasn’t evenly crispy, only finding the crunch right on the edge. However, this didn’t detract too much from the dish.

I could smell my main before I saw it. The pesto on my linguine smelt wonderful and tasted just as good. This pasta dish also had two types of courgette mixed through it and some lovely pine nuts to give it some texture. A successful dish. Over on the other side of the table, the rainbow trout looked beautiful. The fish was served with crushed baby potatoes, peas, broad beans and cherry tomatoes. My dining partner said she preferred the potatoes served this was as mash would have been too smooth. There was a foam that brought the plate of food together too, which worked a treat. We were both very impressed with this course.

We decided we had just enough room for dessert. As it was a nice summer’s day (yeah, who thought we had those in Edinburgh?!) I chose the vanilla panna cotta and my friend went for the praline and hazelnut brownie. I have to admit, I had major food envy when I saw the desserts placed on the table. It’s not that mine didn’t look lovely, it was just that the brownie was a sight to behold. The brownie was a generous size and sat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some large chunks of honeycomb. My friend kindly allowed me to taste a little, and if this is on the menu next time I visit, I am having that, possibly before I eat anything else! Everything was perfect on that dish. My panna cotta was actually very lovely. Stacked in a glass, the top layer was a raspberry mousse, almost like a sorbet, with elderflower jelly layered just beneath that. The jelly had berries set within it. At the bottom was the creamy panna cotta, liberally permeated with seeds from vanilla pods. Top notch.

Otro’s staff were excellent, friendly and welcoming. We were not hurried from our table, even though as the evening progressed, the restaurant became very busy (nice to see on a Monday evening). They probably missed a trick by not coming to ask if we wanted more drinks but we were too busy chatting to notice. A really lovely dinner.

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

Overall – 36/40

Would I eat here again? Definitely (and my friend is already planning to head back with some of her other friends).

Cost £50 for two 3 course pre-theatre meals plus a cocktail, an aperol spritz and a glass of wine

Oak Smoked Duck Breast - The Voyage of Buck

The Voyage of Buck

12th July 2017 6.30pm

www.thevoyageofbuckedinburgh.co.uk

Nestled in the west end, The Voyage of Buck manages to feel old, traditional and modern all in one go. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and seated quickly. We got some cocktails from the menu, which was themed on cities around the world. These were excellent. The Per La Donna was our favourite as it was refreshing on such a warm day. Whilst sipping on our drinks, we ordered food. I went for duck followed by sea bass, one friend chose squid followed by chicken and last of the group chose bread from the bar food list followed by a main of pork loin.

My starter was incredible. The duck was smoked and full of flavour. It was accompanied by amazingly zingy pickled asparagus, cauliflower and sweet potato purée. I adored this dish as it seemed to dance on my tastebuds. Across the table, the squid looked pretty, served with heritage tomatoes and cashew purée. This was enjoyed and the plate emptied quickly. The bread however, was a little disappointing and expensive for what it was. Served with extra virgin olive oil and crema di ancardio, the bread itself tasted as if it had been slice a while ago and had dried out a bit.

My main of sea bass was served with mussels and mussel broth, rainbow chard and samphire. The fish was cooked well and had brown crab mayonnaise dotted on top. The mayo didn’t have a flavour strong enough to combat other flavours on the dish though. I was a little disappointed that some of my mussels were not open. It’s just about acceptable in a bowlful of mussels but these must have been placed on the dish so should have been checked. The broth made the chard a bit too soggy but the samphire was lovely. The chicken dish was going down well and was moist but she didn’t get to eat much of it as the friend eating the pork was not aware that nduja was a spicy sausage so found her dish too hot. She swapped with the friend eating chicken but credit to the server who had offered to get a different dish cooked (the waiting wasn’t worth it when a swap was fine for all parties involved). My friend did recommend that it was indicated that the dish was spicy on the menu – I hadn’t realised she didn’t know. However, was a shame she had to pass it on as it did come with an incredible buckwheat risotto. The friend now eating this dish really enjoyed it. The presentation of it would have been better if it hadn’t been covered with green leaf.

Two of us had desserts. I went for the warm toffee frangipane tart with honeycomb ice cream. This was exquisite. Every mouthful was like a warm hug. My friend chose the chocolate delice. This came with clotted cream, orange and whisky (which wasn’t too overpowering). This dish was good even though it was a bit rich.

We did enjoy our meal but there was a few things that prevented it from reaching its potential to be excellent. There were definitely hints of magic though.

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

Overall – 33.5/40


Would I eat here again? Yes, my starter and dessert were particularly special.

Cost £106 for three starters and mains, two desserts, three cocktails and two glasses of wine.

Smoked Chicken - Ishka

Ishka

6th July 2017 6pm

www.ishkaedinburgh.co.uk

After being wowed by Ishka’s Instagram account, we had originally intended to attend one of Ishka’s launch events. We could only attend the first or two dates available, which upon arrival was clear was not happening as the place was still a building site. With no explanation from the PR company, we left it a little while to let the place get going. We were off to see a show at the EICC and as this was handily across the road, we decided to take the opportunity to finally try it out.

Ishka is a smallish venue but has an array of tables and booths. We were given a booth which was nice. There was a giant pillar candle on the table which had left quite a bit of wax splattered across the surface but at least that was off to one side. We were given both the a la carte and market menus. The latter seemed reasonable at £14 for two courses and £18 for three courses. The price on the menu was a little more expensive than on the website but at bill time we were charged the lower fee (as quoted above). The drinks were a little more on the expensive side but the cocktails we had were all excellent.

We all ordered from the market menu. I went for the cauliflower veloute followed by the bavette steak. My friends chose the veloute or the smoked chicken for starters. For their mains they also chose the steak or the pork loin with glazed pork cheek.

I was a bit surprised at the size of the veloute upon arrival. This was a massive soup bowl, far bigger than a usual starter portion. The veloute also had some big chunks of coated black pudding and some curried potato chips. The two of us that had this dish thought the black pudding was going to be sprinkled across the top so found it a bit heavy in the way it was served. The veloute was sorely underseasoned and wasn’t remedied by the black pudding. All in all a bit disappointing. The other two were eating the smoked chicken, which was received more positively. Overall the dish was good and the chicken cooked well. However one of them commented that the accompanying saffron yoghurt was a little overpowering for the rest of the dish.

We hoped for more with the mains. Three of us had the bavette steak, presented on beautiful red plates. The steaks were all cooked to our requests, which was pleasing. The cut isn’t that easy to eat though, which was a bit of a shame. The steaks came with fries and salad, which had a generous seasoning of salt. We thought this dish was ok but not as good as it could be. The final one of the group had the pork. Sadly she thought this was poor, with some of the meat being incredibly dry and the whole dish needing to be exposed to some seasoning. She was very disappointed.

Only two of us decided to venture onto desserts. One went for the passion fruit tart and the other the apple meringue. The tart was shallow and wide, and served with a coconut ice cream. The apple dish consisted of apple compote, toffee and pistachio cake. These were both enjoyed. The flavours and textures of both dishes were of good quality.

Whilst the décor was slick, those sat on the outer facing side of the booth felt incredibly close to the nearby tables and people being shown to their table were often brushing perilously close to our food and drinks. It was also difficult for the waiter to serve those on the inner side of the booth, having to lean over the wall from the bar side to place and collect dishes/glasses.

Ishka sadly failed to meet expectations. We desperately wanted the place to do well and the service was very good. Sadly, overall the food didn’t quite make its mark. Worth a pop in for a cocktail if you are feeling flush.

Food – 6/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere- 8/10
Value – 7.5/10

Overall – 29.5/40

Would I eat here again? Unlikely but might pop in for a drink

Cost £107 for two 2 courses for the set menu plus two 3 courses from the set menu, 1 bottle of wine and two cocktails.

Tom Yum Kai - Passorn Brasserie

Passorn Brasserie

4th July 2017 6pm

http://passornthai.com/passorn-thai-brasserie/

Passorn Brasserie is the second restaurant for Passorn. The Brasserie is situated on Hanover Street, so is a little more central location that their first restaurant in Tollcross. We visited early on a fairly quiet Tuesday. We hadn’t booked but this wasn’t a problem at the time we went. The interiors were slick and polished and gave an impression of space with some cleverly placed mirrors.

Once seated, we were handed both the a la carte and the pre-theatre menus. The pre-theatre menu was good value, with two courses plus a glass of wine or a cocktail for £19.50, so we decided to go for that. Chilli symbols on menu indicated heat, which seemed to be accurate based on the taste of the food. I chose the Tom Yum Kai (chicken hot and sour soup) followed by the Panang Kai (creamy red chicken curry). My dining companion went for the Pla Chao Wang (crispy sea bass Thai salad) followed by Kaeng Keaw Wan (Thai green curry with king prawns). We also ordered a cocktail each – Pink Passion and Thai smile – both of which were excellent.

We were not waiting long before our starters arrived and smelt amazing. My soup was perhaps a little hot for me (I should have heeded the chilli symbol!) but it had lovely flavour, permeated with fresh Thai herbs. The chicken was particularly moist and the contents were plentiful. On the other side of the table, the salad was fresh and vibrant. It came with mango, cashew nuts and a tasty lime juice dressing.

The mains were served in cute little bowls and automatically come with steamed fragrant Thai rice (as is the same with all the mains). My red chicken curry was delicious. It was beautifully was creamy and thick, without being gloopy. Again, the chicken was excellent. The peppers were also great and added an extra element to the dish. My friend was equally enjoying her green curry. This definitely had more heat in than the red, which suited her palate.

Overall we had a nice experience at Passorn Brasserie and offers good value for their pre-theatre menu.

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

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? Yes

Cost £39 for two pre-theatre meals consisting of two courses and a cocktail each.