Deep fried shredded beef in chilli - Golden Dragon

The Golden Dragon Restaurant

20th January 2018 7.45pm

www.thegoldendragonrestaurant.co.uk

A friend and I had taken a trip up to Edinburgh Zoo to see the Giant Lanterns of China and it subconsciously got us in the mood for Chinese food. We headed back into town and had originally intended to visit Rendezvous but it was closed for a break, so we wandered along to The Golden Dragon Restaurant. It’s one of those places in a central location but so easily overlooked. Inside, the Golden Dragon is an old style Chinese restaurant – so nothing flash but focussing on great food and warm hospitality.

The Golden Dragon Restaurant

We settled down to look at the menu and I was delighted to spy char siu dumplings, so opted for that immediately. I added some deep fried shredded beef and my friend chose salt and pepper prawns to start and chicken satay for main. We decided to share mains so also got some egg fried rice between us. After ordering my friend spotted a sign on the wall saying their customers rated the shredded beef the best in Edinburgh. A bold claim that we could test them on. But first, the starters.

My char siu dumplings came as a pair and were white and fluffy on the outside and full of tasty pork on the inside. Not too spicy, these buns are quite filling but so satisfying. Across from me, the prawns sat on top of a bed of salad. They were coated in batter and chillis were scattered across the dish. My friend heartily enjoyed this starter, finding the prawns of good quality and size and the flavour was hitting the spot.

The mains came along not long after and smelt divine. They say you eat with your eyes, but your nose also plays a part and it was telling me to hurry up and get stuck into the delicious smelling food. The deep fried shredded beef was quite subtle in its appearance, unlike other places where it’s been day-glo orange. The beef was crispy rather than chewy and the coating didn’t hide the beef. The sauce itself was full of depth and complexity that surprised me. Spring onions gave a nice contrast too. I have to say, it is definitely the best deep fried shredded beef that I have had in Edinburgh, and possibly ever. The satay was also ticking all the flavour boxes. The chicken was moist and the vegetables not over cooked. The satay sauce itself was not too thick and had a gorgeous nutty tasty. The egg fried rice worked well between the two of us and mopped up those sauces well.

This was a wonderful find and somewhere central that gave a satisfying meal. We really enjoyed the food.

Food – 9.10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yes.

Cost £50 for two starters, two mains, one rice and four coke zeros.

Cafe Andaluz

Cafe Andaluz (George IV Bridge)

19th January 2018 5.30pm

www.cafeandaluz.com/restaurants/edinburgh-old-town

We reviewed the George Street branch of Café Andaluz back in 2016 but thought we’d give the new branch in Old Town a whirl. Situated on George IV Bridge, the restaurant has views over to the Castle – but it was night and we weren’t near a window, so we appreciated the beautifully tiled décor instead. There is also a giant bull statue at the front of the restaurant that is pretty impressive. Café Andaluz has a number of offers and we availed ourselves of the three tapas and a dessert from £16.95 per person (some supplements for a few dishes can make it slightly more expensive). I picked patatas bravas, ensalada Andaluza and the calamares. My friend chose the chorizo al vino, carne de res picante and vieiras con serrano. Without appreciating how quickly this would all come out, we also ordered some bread with oil and some olives. We also got a couple of frozen margaritas to get the weekend started.

We made a start on the bread and olives but within about 10 minutes, all our plates came out together. The smells emanating from the dishes were saliva-inducing. There was no weak plate amongst them but the highlights were the carne de res picante and vieiras con serrano. The carne de res picante was a bed of rocket with manchego and chorizo oil that had strips of steak on top. The vieiras con Serrano were beautiful scallops with Serrano ham which sat on a bed of creamed leeks. All of the dishes are easily shared but they taste so good you may not want to. Keep that in mind and make strategic choices when ordering!

Cafe Andaluz

Cafe Andaluz

We’d polished off our cocktails, which were excellent. We decided to order a couple more drinks and find a way to squeeze in desserts. I chose the churros and my friend chose trifle. I have to say that the churros were excellent with a beautiful crispy exterior, sugared to perfection, and the chocolate dipping sauce was delicious. The trifle was also enjoyed.

This branch is just as good as the one on George Street and is a good alternative if you are in Old Town.

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

Overall – 33.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes

Cost £72 for two of the three tapas and a dessert deals plus bread, olives and four cocktails.

White Horse Oyster and Seafood Bar

14th November 2017 6.30pm

www.whitehorseoysterbar.co.uk

A group of us had been eagerly awaiting the opening of the White Horse Oyster and Seafood Bar and we took the opportunity of a friend’s birthday to visit. It’s a long and thin restaurant, decorated in dark wood but has a sophisticated yet relaxed feel. We were greeted by our server, who frankly was delightful and knowledgeable throughout. We ordered some drinks and perused the menu. There were a host of small plates, platters and mains. We decided to order a host of small plates between us as well as a platter.

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The small plates arrived and took over the table. We had two crab scotch eggs, crab fries, monkfish satay and crispy chilli squid. We had half a scotch egg each. We all thought they were incredibly tasty, although lacking a little bit of a runny yolk but the egg certainly wasn’t over done. The crab fries were a big hit. The fries were seasoned well and the slightly sweet crab meat voluminously perched on top. The pickled samphire added a lovely complimentary element. My favourite, the monkfish satay, came on metal skewers and was generous in portion. The satay had a bit of a kick, which was a pleasant surprise and the fish was cooked to perfection. The crispy chilli squid rounded off the small plates, with an accompanying ponzu dressing and wasabi mayo, the latter of which I couldn’t get enough of. Delicious!

The house platter then arrived. This was an impressive display. Admittedly, this had more oysters on than we were expecting (12 to be precise), so if you are not a big fan, one of the other platters may be more suitable. The oysters came with an assortments of dressings, including something which was incredibly hot, so you could have them how you wanted. We all tucked in, although it took one of the party a bit of encouragement before she had one. They were incredibly fresh and slide down very easily. On the upper tier of the platter, there was a host of delights. The tuna tartare was exceptional and using some of the wasabi mayo on top was a beautiful thing. The scotch bonnet salmon was also a hit with the table. More crab was available through both a dressed crab and crab claws, and on top of that were the amazing pickled mussels and clams, which were somehow sweet in their pickling and were a joy to eat. Additional to this was some chunky bread which also got the thumbs up. One of the group also ordered a side of hassleback potatoes which I didn’t try but were deemed to be excellent.

As seafood is relatively light, we had a little bit of space for dessert. I chose the chocolate delice, two friends shared the apple tart and one chose a scoop of the salted caramel ice cream with an espresso martini on the side. The chocolate in the delice was deep and delicious. Ice cream and berries on the side helped cut through the richness. My friends were raving about the apple tart and the ice cream was also massively enjoyed. The only complaint was that the espresso martini was too cold.

We loved our visit here. Our server made us feel incredibly welcome and wished our friend a happy birthday not only at the mention of the birthday but also as we left. We felt valued as customers, which in combination with the food means that we are very likely to return.

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

Overall – 38/40

Would I eat here again? Yes, definitely.

Cost £200 for 5 small plates, the house platter, three desserts, two cocktails, two bottles of wine and a sherry.

Bruscetta - La Favorita

La Favorita

24th May 2017 7.30pm

www.vittoriagroup.co.uk/lafavorita/

This was a long overdue catch up with fellow bloggers Emma from Vegan Edinburgh and Ann from A Quirky Lifestyle. We usually let Emma pick the venue as her requirements are a higher priority. She was shocked to hear that whilst I’d had take away from La Favorita, I’d not actually dined in. Ann hadn’t either, so this had to be rectified. I booked a table, and we were given the opportunity to give any dietary requirements and to let them know if the booking was for a special event. So we forewarned them that we had a vegan in our midsts.

It was a little hectic on arrival, with little space by the reception desk, which is situated after the bar area. Our table wasn’t ready so we sat in the waiting area for about 5 minutes or so before being seated. Once seated at our table, Emma double checked the vegan options (click here for the Vegan Edinburgh review) with the waitress. After scanning the generously sized menu, I went for the calamari fritti followed by a 10 inch Hawaii pizza (14 inch are also available). Emma chose bruschetta followed by the vegetariana but with vegan cheese substituting the standard cheese. Ann went for crocchette di merluzzo (fish cakes) and asked for a pizza recommendation from the waitress. She gave three options and Ann chose the Campione di Scozia. A G&T, Diet Coke and a cocktail were also ordered (the latter again on recommendation of the waitress).

When the first course came, they were in a variety of sizes. The bruschetta was huge and the fishcakes were small and my calamari fritti were somewhere in the middle. The fritti actually consisted of both baby squid and anchovies. The squid was nice, particularly when dipped in the garlic mayonnaise. However, I was a little disappointed with the anchovies as they were unbelievably salty. They also broke as you tried to pick one up, so it almost ended up as a salty, fishy crumb, which was a shame. The bruschetta was large so if you don’t eat it quickly the bread can become a little soggy. However, it went down well. I think just be mindful of portion sizes and balance it well with your choice of mains. The crocchette di merluzzo were also being enjoyed and the plate was cleared.

The pizzas followed shortly after and the 10 inch pizzas were definitely big enough after a starter. There was plenty of topping on my pizza and the flavours were really good. I love a good thin base and this was pretty decent. I couldn’t manage to finish it all though but had made a valiant effort. The Campione di Scozia pizza was generally well received but she found the cheese a little too much. She didn’t make as much headway with her pizza but was offered a take out box in order to transport it home, which she took them up on. The vegetariana was wolfed down. It appeared that the way La Favorita dispersed the vegan cheese as a topping has changed by using smaller cubes, making the pizza much more enjoyable. A thumbs up for the vegan option.

We were all way too stuffed to have dessert, but La Favorita offers some decent pizzas.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

Cost £63 for three starters and mains plus a cocktail, a G&T and a Diet Coke

One Year On…

Well it’s a year to the day since I posted my first review. What a whirlwind year it’s been, stuffing my face!

So I’ve reviewed 85 restaurants and returned to several over the past 12 months. You can read my review of 2015 here to see some of my faves.

So what have I learnt? Blogging can be hard. Finding the motivation to capture all your thoughts as soon as you get home from a meal can be hard work, particularly when all you want is a post-feasting nap. Then getting that into something vaguely readable when you have a full time day job is also tricky. That being said I have eaten in more and varied places because of the blog and been more adventurous in trying new restaurants. Edinburgh has so much to offer and blogging is helping me unearth some gems (yes I’m talking about you, The Table). I’ve also made some great friends along the way, especially Emma (Edinbug) and Ann (Quirky Lifestyle) and now have a whole host of foodies I respect and follow – not literally follow, that would be weird. Thanks also to all the restaurants and PR companies that have invited me to try food as it means I can cover more ground and hopefully expand readership.

Will I be continuing? Yes. Firstly, I have at least 80 more restaurants on my wish list and there are always new places opening up. Secondly, I know that people are using the blog for recommendations, so I seem to be providing a useful service for some people out there, which is what I set out to do.

Feel free to send suggestions or just to chat about the Edinburgh food scene either directly on edinburghfeasts@btinternet.com or via Twitter @EdinburghFeasts. You can also get sneak previews of places I’ve been via my Instagram account @EdinburghFeasts.

Thanks to everyone who reads the blog. I appreciate it.

Emma

Edinburgh Feasts