Aurora Borealis - Barologist

The Barologist

14th October 2018 1.30pm

thebarologist.co.uk

There is no doubt that the Barologist offers a fun and quirky setting. With stars on the ceiling, snow falling in a gilt frame, fairy lights intertwined with flowers, fancy seats and various steampunk paraphernalia there will be something to catch your eye. Would the dining experience live up to the visuals?

Barologist

Barologist

Barologist

Barologist

The menu offered an extensive choice. I opted for the deli board where you can choose four items for £10.99 (and add further items for a small additional cost). My friends went for the jambalaya and the steak as well as a starter of a flurry of chicken to share. We also got a few cocktails in because, why not? We were served by someone who usually works on the bar, so did struggle with both the menu and remembering our orders but we could forgive him as he was trying his best.

Cocktails - Barologist

Cocktails – Barologist

Aurora Borealis - Barologist

Aurora Borealis – Barologist

The cocktails were all great, but I was particularly impressed by the Aurora Borealis. I think the fruit droplets were a lovely addition to the drink. I am also a bit of a sucker for novelty.

Flurry of chicken - Barologist

Flurry of chicken – Barologist

Deli Board - Barologist

Deli Board – Barologist

My two friends had ordered the flurry of chicken and really enjoyed this. I had chosen the mini Cornish pasties, chicken liver pate, chicken goujons and beetroot mac n cheese for my deli board. This platter also came with bread and butter. The pasties were missing the tomato jam but were otherwise well flavoured. The pate was delicious and paired well with the bread. The goujons were nothing special but ok. The beetroot mac n cheese was really tasty. Across the table, the jambalaya was not hitting the right buttons. Missing the flavour required and accompanied by a big hulk of cornbread, this really left my friend underwhelmed. The steak arrived on a sizzle plate along with onion rings and tomatoes (she’d ordered chips and mac and cheese on the side). This was a decent steak with good flavour. All the accompaniments were of a pleasant standard.

Jambalaya - Barologist

Jambalaya – Barologist

Steak- Barologist

Steak- Barologist

Two of us decided to try desserts. I picked the mudslide and my friend chose the trio of treats. I found the mudslide quite dry, even with the whipped cream. It was also served on the metal disc from the tart case, which really should have been removed. The trio of mini desserts was a bit better. This included a brownie, pavlova and sticky toffee pudding. There was still a dryness though as the promised cream was not served.

Mudslide - Barologist

Mudslide – Barologist

Trio of treats - Barologist

Trio of treats – Barologist

Espresso and cake - Barologist

Espresso and cake – Barologist

We finished with drinks and one of the group had a whisky flight. Sadly one of the flight had something floating in it and tasted off, so had to be sent back and replaced.

Sunset on the Shore - Barologist

Sunset on the Shore – Barologist

Whisky flight - Barologist

Whisky flight – Barologist

I had so wanted to fall in love with the Barologist. Unfortunately it was a little off the mark, but does show some glimmers of potential. Hopefully it will find its feet once it’s been running a bit longer.

Food – 6/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere- 10/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Yes but more likely to visit for drinks and nibbles

£122 for one starter, two mains, one deli board, three desserts, four cocktails, one mocktail and a whisky flight.

Twenty Princes Street

Twenty Princes Street

12th October 2018 7.30pm

www.twentyprincesstreet.co.uk

Twenty Princes Street has a prime location looking out over Princes Street and views across to the castle. We visited Twenty Princes Street to try out their Friday offer ‘A Cut Above’, which is available until the end of November. October offers a fillet steak and November a sirloin steak. Each steak comes with a salad and triple cooked chips. A bottle of wine to share is part of the deal. We were given a rioja.

Steak - Twenty Princes Street

Steak – Twenty Princes Street

Steak - Twenty Princes Street

Steak – Twenty Princes Street

Our steaks came with the salad on the plate and the chips in a pan on the side. The steaks were a really decent size and cooked as we had asked them to be. My steak was juicy and soft to cut. The side salad was fresh and dressed well. The chips had good flavour, although I couldn’t resist adding some salt. My friend struggled cutting her steak a little bit and could have done with being rested a little longer. She also had a bit of plastic stuck to the side of her steak, which she noticed half way through. That being said, she was actually happy with her steak overall.

As we’d not had a starter, we decided to give desserts a whirl. I just had to have the flaming alaska and my dining companion chose the raspberry java tea cake. My flaming alaska was certainly a showstopper. It arrived in a bowl of dry ice, cascading over the table. Then the waiter set the whole thing on fire. It really was a spectacle. The eating of the dish was lovely. The marshmallow was luscious and the ice cream underneath was smooth and peppered with chocolate buttons. Underneath that was a slice of cake. It is quite sweet but worth it. Across from me, my friend was tucking into her tea cake. An exquisitely crafted chocolate dome covered the dessert and a beautiful sweep of raspberry sauce adorned the plate.

Flamed Alaska - Twenty Princes Street

Flamed Alaska – Twenty Princes Street

Flamed Alaska - Twenty Princes Street

Flamed Alaska – Twenty Princes Street

Raspberry Java Tea Cake - Twenty Princes Street

Raspberry Java Tea Cake – Twenty Princes Street

Twenty Princes Street can offer some great food in a lovely setting.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? If that flaming Alaska is on the menu – yes.

This meal was complimentary but was £89 for the ‘A Cut Above’ deal plus two desserts

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views are my own.

The Fishmarket

The Fishmarket

28th September 2018 12.30pm

www.thefishmarketnewhaven.co.uk

My parents were in Edinburgh visiting, so we decided to take a stroll in Newhaven on what turned out to be a sunny but breezy day, and try out The Fishmarket. Situated on Newhaven Harbour, The Fishmarket has only been open a few months. Offering both take away and restaurant dining, I would recommend booking in advance, as this place got busy.

Squid and chips - The Fishmarket

Squid and chips – The Fishmarket

We were seated by the window, with a lovely view of the harbour and the Forth, and had a look at the menu. I would imagine most people come here for fish and chips, but there are some other options. I chose the squid and a small portion of chips. My parents both opted for fish and chips, one choosing the medium size and the other the large (you can go as big as ‘whale’ sized). My mum couldn’t resist ordering some mushy peas on the side and I ordered a garlic mayonnaise.

Haddock, chips and mushy peas - The Fishmarket

Haddock, chips and mushy peas – The Fishmarket

My squid arrived and there was plenty of it, although possibly not enough to justify the price. It was accompanied by a Vietnamese dipping sauce. The squid was not rubbery and the coating was light. The dipping sauce had a sharp edge to it that I loved. This worked really well together. The chips were of a decent standard. I couldn’t really tell the difference in size between my parents’ portions of fish and chips, which was a little odd. They really enjoyed the fish though and agreed that the chips were nice. The mushy peas got a thumbs up.

We were too full for dessert but there were some good things on offer such as lemon posset and chocolate pots.

The Fishmarket was a nice lunch outing, in a lovely setting.

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

Overall 30.5/40

Would I eat here again? Probably.

£36 for 1 large haddock and chips, 1 medium haddock and chips, squid, small chips, mushy peas and a garlic mayo.

Sonder

Sonder

22nd September 2018 6pm

https://restaurant-sonder.com/

Sonder n. – The realisation that each passer-by is living a life as vivid and as complex as your own.

An early dinner before seeing a show at the Festival Theatre, Sonder has caught my eye a few weeks earlier, so we thought we’d give it a go. With a mixture of tables and booths, Sonder had quite a sumptuous feel. We were greeted and seated and had the menu explained to us. They usually recommend a few snacks and then a couple of the main plates per person. The main plates were split into garden, sea and land. In the end, after a little wait to place our order, we chose the chicken wings and scallop ceviche for our snacks, followed by ricotta agnolotti, mushroom with confit yolk, crab, and beef short rib.

Chicken wing - Sonder

Chicken wing – Sonder

Scallop Ceviche - Sonder

Scallop Ceviche – Sonder

The snacks came out and we were immediately excited by them. The chicken wing was in small pieces on skewers, with maple and corn. The sweetness that they gave was a delightful match for the chicken. The scallop ceviche was sublime. The ceviche sat on top of squid in crackers in scallop shells. The lightness of the scallop was beautiful and danced on the palate. I ate it way too quickly though. I just couldn’t help myself.

Crab - Sonder

Crab – Sonder

Mushroom - Sonder

Mushroom – Sonder

The crab and mushroom dishes arrived next. The crab was plated up so delicately, placed on daikon and floating in a poaching liquor (nage). The nage brought so much flavour to enhance the crab without drowning it. The mushroom plate also looked very simple. But appearances can be deceiving, as was the case here. The mushrooms we could see at the top of the dish looked quite plain, but concealed a whole host of other flavoursome mushrooms underneath, along with prunes (sounds odd but totally works), confit egg yolk and ‘yesterday’s bread’. This was a corker of a dish. The balance of flavours was incredibly clever.

Ricotta Agnolotti - Sonder

Ricotta Agnolotti – Sonder

Beef short rib - Sonder

Beef short rib – Sonder

Then we had the agnolotti and the short beef rib. The agnolotti was a wonderful green colour and had strips of leeks balanced across them. The hazelnuts scattered amongst the pasta added some good texture and the ricotta in the agnolotti was delicious. The pasta itself might have been a shade too al dente for my liking but I’d prefer it that way rather than rubbery or mush. However, the star of the show was still to come. The beef short rib was exceptional. Served with a oozy, sticky sauce which glistened over walnuts and burnt onions. Small bits of bacon peeked out, with mustard seeds adding a little bite. The beef melted in the mouth. I never wanted this dish to end and was a little miffed that I had to share it with my friend. Next time we would definitely order one of these each.

Chocolate, praline, caramel - Sonder

Chocolate, praline, caramel – Sonder

Strawberry, sable, caramelised white chocolate - Sonder

Strawberry, sable, caramelised white chocolate – Sonder

After all that, we surprisingly felt we could fit in dessert, so ordered the chocolate and strawberry desserts. The chocolate dessert was really rich but utterly amazing. With praline and a caramel spin, this is heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth. The strawberry dessert came with sable and caramelised which chocolate. Across the top were meringue sticks which almost looked like those candy sticks I had as a child. The fruit balanced out the richness of the chocolate. This was a well put together dish.

Let’s be honest, Sonder is an amazing restaurant which once established, will no doubt go from strength to strength. The staff were lovely and the atmosphere wasn’t stuffy. Go visit and do it soon.

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

Overall – 37/40

Would I eat here again? As many times as is socially acceptable without being given a restraining order (I really loved this place).

Cost £70 for two snacks, four plates, two desserts and a glass of wine

The Shore Grill and Fish House

2nd September 2018 1.15pm

www.theshore-queensferry.co.uk/

Out at North Queensferry, this is stretching the limits of Edinburgh Feasts a little, but photos of the launch of this place had me intrigued – plus, I got to go over the new Queensferry Crossing. I don’t drive but I had a willing accomplice who would take us. However, you can get a train to North Queensferry and then have a 15 min or so stroll to the restaurant should you want a tipple with your meal. The Shore forms part of the Doubletree by Hilton hotel and comes from the people behind Twenty Princes Street and Juniper in the city. Upon arrival it was clear that this was a beautiful location. The view both from the car park and the restaurant was gorgeous. The Queensferry Crossing stretched out before us and you could see boats drifting up and down the Forth. The restaurant clearly takes advantage of this with floor to ceiling windows across a full side of the restaurant. A lovely start for a Sunday lunch.

img_3724img_3725The Sunday lunch menu has lots of choice, with several different roasts to pick from. There were even two veggie options as well as a sharing lamb platter or, if you didn’t want a roast (odd), options such as steak or fish and chips. There are some great sides such as mac and cheese and you can even get additional Yorkshire puddings (although as it transpires, you might not need to). We were perhaps a little over ambitious and ordered starters as well as a roast. I opted for the chicken liver pate followed by the roast beef and my dining companion chose the salmon to start followed by the roast chicken.

img_3730img_3729The starters looked great. My pate came on a wooden board with a rack of toasted brioche, butter, chutney and rocket. The toast to pate ratio was spot on. The brioche was a really lovely choice and I adored the plum and apple chutney. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to have salt flakes on my pate but that is personal preference and was easily rectified. A really delicious dish. My friend’s salmon was beautifully presented. This Scottish salmon was cured with lemon and yuzu and came with a wasabi emulsion, pickled veg, avocado cream and a fish skin cracker. She loved this plate of food and I have to say I was quite envious of it too. She said it was light and fresh, with the salmon still the star of the dish.

img_3732img_3733The roasts them followed and wow, that was a big plate of food! Pretty much all my food was obscured by the humongous Yorkshire pudding balanced on top. Peeking underneath I could see some thick slices of beef with carrots, parsnips, roast potatoes, cabbage and a glistening gravy, as well as a horseradish and grain mustard sauce on the side. I really don’t know where to start with this as it was all really tasty. The meat was succulent and generous. The red cabbage was spectacular and the Yorkshire pudding was stellar. My friend had pretty much the same but sage and onion stuffing instead of the horseradish sauce. She has also got to choose whether she wanted drumstick or thigh along with her breast meat, which was nice to be offered the choice. She loved it as much as me but we did had to admit defeat and couldn’t quite finish it all.

img_3731We couldn’t managed dessert as we had over egged it with having the starters. Next time we would have roast and then see if there was room for dessert afterwards. We did really enjoy our time at The Shore though, with the views and food working together to make a great experience. It’s worth travelling outside the city limits for.

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

Overall – 34.5/40

Would I eat here again? Already planning it

Cost – complimentary but the cost would have been around £40 for two starters and two roasts

Whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Kim from The Limelight for organising

Playfair Sharing Platter - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

29th July 2018 1pm

www.contini.com/scottish-cafe-and-restaurant

It had been a scorcher of a month but sadly the rain came. However, a trip to the Scottish Café and Restaurant, owned by the Contini family, brightened up our day. This café and restaurant is open only during the day and can be found nestled at the bottom of the National Gallery.

Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

The summer menu offers a very reasonable two courses for £20 or three courses for £25, as well as sharing platters, brunch, roast and afternoon tea options. We ordered the Sunday roast and cullen skink but as this was a complimentary trip they kindly also laid on a sharing platter after we had ordered. This platter included the sandwich of the day, which was chicken, a whipped cheese and walnut dip, a salmon dip and a tomato salsa, oatcakes, crackers, cheese and salad as well as two luscious bowls of soup. This was an excellent offering which we scoffed down. I particularly loved the soup and my dining companion liked the salmon. The oatcakes and crackers worked well for scooping.

Playfair Sharing Platter - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Playfair Sharing Platter – Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

My roast was beautifully presented and certainly was more of a summer roast. A colossal amount of chicken was on the plate, alongside a light and fluffy Yorkshire pudding, with various vegetables including mange tout, tomatoes (yeah, I know – technically a fruit), potatoes, and broccoli. This was all accompanied by a light gravy. This was a nice take on a traditional roast and I really enjoyed it. Across the table from me the cullen skink was a hearty sized bowl with plenty of fish, potato and leek in the creamy stew. There was also an additional large slice of bread for dunking. My friend really enjoyed this dish.

Sunday Roast - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Sunday Roast – Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Cullen Skink - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Cullen Skink – Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

We were really quite stuffed at this point but we’re determined to sample dessert, so chose to share a cheesecake between us. This came in a glass and was layered within it. The raspberry coulis was delicious and the cheesecake bit was light and creamy. It was a great way to round off the meal.

Cheesecake - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Cheesecake – Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

We were really impressed with the Scottish Café and Restaurant. They offered some really great food.

Food – 8.5/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 32.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yup

This meal was complimentary, apart from drinks of two diet cokes and a tea. The true cost close to £65 for platter, roast, one main and dessert deal and drinks.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views are my own. Thank you to Jon for organising the visit.

Grand Cafe

Grand Cafe

22nd July 2018 10.30am

http://grandcafeedinburgh.co.uk/

Grand Cafe

Grand Cafe

After sitting empty for a while, Grand Café opened up in the vacant dining space at the Scotsman Hotel. The interior looks opulent without being intimidating. We’d made a trip to try out the brunch and were greeted by friendly staff and shown to our table (where I had a nice view over to Calton Hill). As we were giving brunches a test, it would have been rude of me not to try the Scottish breakfast. My dining companion chose the sourdough toast, with avocado, poached eggs and salsa verde.

Scottish Breakfast - Grand Cafe

Scottish Breakfast – Grand Cafe

On arrival, the food looked nice. My breakfast looked nice, albeit a little dry as it had no beans. I wish I had asked for sauce but as it wasn’t offered, I probably wrongly assumed that they didn’t have any. The flavour was good, particularly of the haggis, which was actually some of the best haggis I have ever eaten. The bacon cooled quickly and was a bit chewy, which made me think it was either not cooked to order or had been sat on the pass for a while. Having both lorne and link sausage also seemed a bit overkill, but again, the lorne sausage was pretty decent. Across from me, the sourdough toast was being eaten but with a feeling it was lacking a bit of oomph. Sadly, on both dishes the eggs were over cooked. They were cooked different ways too, so it wasn’t just a bad batch of cooking. My fried egg had no runniness at all, and neither did the poached egg on the sourdough toast. Considering it is often the egg yolk that adds to the richness of dishes, this was very disappointing. We did mention this to our server at the end of the meal, just so the chef was made aware (we are not the type to send something back unless it’s inedible/cold).

Sourdough toast with avocado, poached egg and salsa verde - Grand Cafe

Sourdough toast with avocado, poached egg and salsa verde – Grand Cafe

Whilst generally, the food had good flavour, what we had was a bit hit or miss and has left us inclined to give it a miss next time as there are better establishments out there.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Unlikely but never say never.

£22 for the two breakfasts and a cup of coffee.