Bistro Deluxe

Bistro Deluxe by Paul Tamburrini

29th May 2018 6pm

www.paultamburrini.co.uk

Third time lucky. We originally booked to visit Bistro Deluxe by Paul Tamburrini at the MacDonald Hotel at Holyrood several months ago and then changed the booking due to a change in my friend’s plans. We rescheduled, but then we had to cancel due to snowmageddon. Luckily the sun was shining and we made it this time.

We opted to go a la carte rather than the fixed price menu as there were a few things that caught our eye. There were a few changes to the menu because of seasonal produce. My friend chose a couple of these dishes. I opted for the mushroom veloute followed by Ox cheeks. Jen picked the beetroot, blue cheese and fig starter followed by turbot for her main. The server came back and said that the chef wasn’t happy with the figs (which were already a change from the menu) so would revert back to the apple if that was ok, which it was.

Ox Cheek - Bistro Deluxe

Ox Cheek – Bistro Deluxe

My mushroom veloute was very nice. Thespis-cooked egg nestled in the soup was interesting touch and when cut into, oozed into the mushroom. I enjoyed the little croutons and I also used a bit of the beef served at the table to mop up the last bits of veloute. Across from me, the beetroot was pleasant. The blue cheese and apple added some lovely contrast and served to be a very light starter.

Turbot - Bistro Deluxe

Turbot – Bistro Deluxe

The smell on my main of ox cheeks was beautiful. Maybe a bit of a heavy dish to have on a warm day but I didn’t care, as it melted in mouth. The mash was smooth and the mix of mushrooms, bacon and onions were a delight, if a touch salty. The sauce was rich and had strong depth in its flavour. I was pleased that I was automatically given extra sauce in a jug for pouring. My friend was enjoying her turbot with cockles and a coconut and chorizo broth. It was presented with a pretty flower on top. The flavours were pretty decent but it was a small and light dish for a main.

My friend was still hungry after her first two courses, whereas with my more wintery options I was closer to full. She chose to go for dessert and it would have been rude of me not to join her! I chose key lime pie, which was more of a deconstructed pie but was excellent It included a creamy lime parfait, with coconut sorbet and lime meringue. The whole thing was really quite lovely and refreshingly zingy. My dining partner chose the crema catalan foam. This was nice enough but a bit disappointing as she would have preferred an actually crema catalan rather than a foam flavoured that way. It had some great charred pineapple but the chocolate was probably not required. The sorbet was lovely though. We did also have a bit of a wait for these to be served.

Overall they offered nice food but perhaps a bit expensive. The service was lovely but the place lacked a bit of something.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe.

£82 for two three course meals and one glass of wine

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

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

Forage and Chatter

Forage and Chatter

22nd February 2018 6pm

www.forageandchatter.com

Forage and Chatter is a little hidden away on Alva Street but its pretty lighting points the way. In the location where Edinburgh Larder was, Forage and Chatter aim to provide excellent, locally sourced Scottish cuisine. We were warmly welcomed and led to the seated area at the raised back portion of the restaurant. Even with other diners seated in this area, the tables were spaced out well. The menu itself had lots of choice without being over facing and I settled on the onion tart to start, followed by aged beef sirloin. My dining companion chose langoustine bisque followed by monkfish. I was then presented with a selection of brightly coloured handled steak knives to pick from, which was an unusual but nice touch. Whilst we were waiting for our food, we were brought some fried dough balls with a mint pesto and a whipped yogurt butter with mushroom powder. These dough balls were delightfully warm. I preferred the butter option and my friend liked the pesto but both were excellent.

Dough Balls - Forage and Chatter

Dough Balls – Forage and Chatter

The starters followed shortly after and both were beautifully presented, although some of that was lost for the langoustine dish when the bisque was poured. My onion tart was not in the form of a traditional tart but in this case, that was not a bad thing. The varying textures of onion worked well on top of a pastry strip. The black garlic puree was outstanding and the small dollops of goats curd with herb oil nestled in small onion leaves was a graceful and clever touch. Across the table, the bisque was working its magic. The langoustines were complemented with mussels, leek and fennel. This dish managed to be hearty and delicate at the same time. We were very excited to see whether the high standard continued on to our mains.

The answer was yes – there was still an exceptionally high standard. I only have one negative, and it’s not my own personal negative but one I think other diners may have. I was told the beef would arrive medium rare. I like rare anyway, so this was not a problem. However, on arrival I would definitely say it was rare, which was great for me but may make others a bit twitchy. That aside, this dish was phenomenal. The meat was full of wonderful flavour. Alongside it was ox tongue, wild leeks, mushrooms, ramsons and persillade. Each element added an interesting dimension to the dish and made the entirety sing in my mouth. Across the table, the monkfish almost glowed with whiteness on top of a bed of puy lentils. Bacon, capers and parsley were mixed through the lentils. The fish was cooked to perfection and the whole dish worked in harmony. The attention to detail in putting these dishes together is clearly evident.

As the courses were reasonably sized, we actually had space for dessert. Again, the list made it incredibly difficult to choose as I wanted them all. I settled on the Vahlrona dark chocolate mousse and I wasn’t disappointed. The mousse was supplemented with malt ice cream, marshmallow and sable crumbs. The textures and tastes in this dessert were amazing. I oohed and aahhed all the way through eating it. I certainly found my happy place whilst eating it. Across the table, my friend had chosen my back up choice – apple, oat crumble with salted caramel ice cream and custard. She allowed me to try some of the ice cream and it definitely was exceptional. My friend doesn’t do desserts often and actually commented that she could have eaten that dessert all over again. High praise indeed.

We were mightily impressed with our dinner at Forage and Chatter. It is definitely worth visiting, and more than once.

Food – 9.5/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere – 9.5/10
Value – 9/10

Overall – 38/40

Would I eat here again? Yes, and possibly dream of it in the meantime

Cost £79 for two three course meals, a large glass of red wine and a raspberry gin with lemonade

Meat Sharing Platter - Herringbone

Herringbone

13th February 2018 7pm

www.theherringbone.co.uk

It was the birthday of a dear friend and occasional ‘Feasts dining companion, and she had chosen Herringbone for a low key birthday get together. Herringbone has two places, one in Goldenacre and one in North Berwick. We were at the Goldenacre branch, which has a nice corner location and large windows. The slightly mismatched chairs at our table meant we had to do a few seat swaps so the taller of us weren’t towering over the smaller in the group. All settled, we started drooling over the menu. There was plenty of choice and everyone was struggling to pin point exactly which dish to opt for. Half price cocktails are also available from a smaller list, Monday to Thursday, although the prices on the flyer were more expensive than those on the main menu. Presumably that is the full price charged rather than the cost at half price. In the end I was the only one having a cocktail and I picked from the main menu. We had already got a sharing platter voucher from Itison (with two glasses of wine), which we were going to use as a table starter, so we only needed to focus on mains. I went for the black pudding and chorizo salad. The rest of the table chose two salmon burgers, the rib-eye steak, the gourmet lamb burger special and the chickpea burger.

Meat Sharing Platter - Herringbone

Meat Sharing Platter – Herringbone

We had a little wait for the sharing platter but it eventually came out. We had selected the meat option (there was also a fish or veggie platter to choose from). This came with deli meats, bread, pate, chicken skewers, pork belly bites, rocket with peppers and olives. We were all very impressed with this platter. Once we got over the typical politeness of how we were going to share this between the six of us, we got munching and all got to try a bit of everything. The pate was the winner of the platter but shortly followed by the chicken skewers which were incredibly succulent.

Black pudding and chorizo salad - Herringbone

Black pudding and chorizo salad – Herringbone

We had a bit of a wait for our mains and they weren’t brought out completely together. However, once we got going, there were lots of satisfied noises emanating from the table. My black pudding and chorizo salad was a hearty portion, with plenty of meat but still enough salad to feel like you were making a small contribution to healthy eating. The salad consisted of salad leaves, onions and tomatoes, all of which were fresh and vibrant. The black pudding was in rather hefty chunks but resulted in a very generous portion and worked harmoniously with the chorizo. On top, were crispy onions, which added some further texture, along with two poached eggs, which oozed beautifully golden yolk across the dish. I couldn’t finish it (who ever normally says that about a salad?) which is testament to the weight of the dish. Around the table, the variety of burgers were getting the thumbs up. The salmon burger was particularly popular and the flavour in the chickpea burger was great – although the flatbread it came with was too crispy to wrap around anything. The steak was also of a good standard but what won everyone over were the chips. Wide but also thin, the chips had a good crispness to them.

Only a couple of the group went for dessert as most of us were stuffed. One friend chose ice cream and the other a cherry, liquorice and blackberry dessert. Both of these desserts were decent and provided a satisfactory end to the meal.

Overall, whilst the service was helpful it was often on the slow side. Herringbone was busy for a Tuesday but it was still a bit annoying to have a long wait. Additionally, it was lucky – as we’d had varying amounts – we were paying for our own meals rather than splitting the bill equally which meant we spotted that they charged us for the voucher including the wine and we had to ask to have this taken off. A very disappointing end to what was a fairly good meal.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Yes but not when I was in a hurry and I would always scrutinise the bill before paying.

Cost £152 for 6 mains, 2 desserts, 2 cocktails, 5 glasses of wine, 2 beers and a whisky. Additional £14.50 for the voucher for the sharing platter and 2 glasses of wine

Michael Neave

Michael Neave Kitchen and Whisky Bar

31st January 2018 6pm

http://www.michaelneave.co.uk/

Michael Neave Kitchen and Whisky Bar has been a firm Edinburgh Feasts favourite for some time. However, since our inception, we’ve just not had time to visit and this had to be rectified. Situated in one of the closes off the Royal Mile, this restaurant could easily be missed. The top, entry level is a bar and had some outdoor seating and the downstairs section is the main dining area. The table we were sat at was generous for two, but this was welcomed as too often a restaurant squashes in small tables that also have no real space between them, so this was a pleasant change. We got some drinks ordered (their cocktails are quick reasonably priced) and went over the menu. The starters and desserts are great value for the standard of food. The mains are where the expense lies, but still, the food is definitely worth it. I chose the scallops, black pudding and pea purée followed by garlic toast rump of lamb. My friend opted for celeriac soup to start and wild mushroom, spinach and truffle gnocchi for her main.

Whilst we were waiting for our starters, we were brought out a couple of tomato and parmesan bread rolls. They were warm, so the butter melted on them easily. The flavour was delicious and a nice little surprise at the start of our meal. The starters followed not long after and emitted a beautiful aroma. My scallops sat alongside black pudding, on a vivid green pea puree. The scallops were cooked to perfection, with the black pudding providing a suitable accompaniment. A very satisfying dish, all in all. On the other side of the table, the soup was full of depth and had roast granny smith apple pieces scattered across the top which added an interesting alternative to croutons.

My main of lamb was a very generous portion. It was quite pink, which was fine for me but might put off some (I didn’t get asked how I would like the meat cooked, so this must be the standard). The taste was beautiful though, with the roast garlic complementing the lamb beautifully. This sat on a massive lump of skirlie mashed potato and had savoy cabbage and pancetta on the side. The pancetta was a little hard for my preference but I am also someone who doesn’t insist on crispy bacon, so I am not sure you can take my advice on that one! The jus pulled all the elements of the dish together nicely. A successful dish, I think. Across the table from me, the gnocchi seemed like a slightly smaller plate of food. However, it was a lovely looking plate of food. The gnocchi itself was soft and the sauce not too overpowering but still something of substance. The plate was left clean by the end of it.

I had already spotted that there was a soufflé on the dessert menu. My dining companion decided she could only manage tea (which came with its own petite fours anyway) but I was definitely still committed to the soufflé. It arrived with a superb rise, so we were off to a good start. It was a sticky toffee soufflé with salted caramel sauce and lemon shortbread. The sauce came in a little jug so you could pour it into your soufflé if that’s your kind of thing. The soufflé itself had bags of flavour. Possibly a smidgen underdone but nothing to be concerned about. I chose to pour the salted caramel sauce in and it was utterly divine. I didn’t think the soufflé could be outdone but it was a close race with this sauce. On the side were three little rounds of lemon shortbread. These had wonderful flavour but I did struggle to eat them all with everything else on the plate. It was worth it though. I had a grin on my face with every mouthful. On ordering the bill I also received some petite fours, so ended up taking them home to snaffle at a later date.

Sticky Toffee Souffle - Michael Neave

Sticky Toffee Souffle – Michael Neave

I really enjoyed our dinner here and think it’s a bit of a hidden gem.

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

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Yup (mmmmm souffle)

£75 for two starters, two mains, a dessert, a tea, one glass of wine and one cocktail