56 North

23rd October 2015 12.15pm

www.fiftysixnorth.co.uk

Bloody Mary - 56 North

Bloody Mary – 56 North

I nipped into 56 North for a quick bite to eat with a work colleague. 56 North is a regular stop off for work/lunch meetings. Obviously, being at work meant no booze but here is a picture of a Bloody Mary I had here in August. 56 North is a gin specialist and you’ll be able to find a gin to suit you with their choice running into the hundreds I believe. Their food offering has changed over the years. I do miss the flatbreads they used to do as you could kid yourself that you were eating something vaguely healthy and they were also good value for money. Now their main offering is burgers, with some other mains, starters and sharing platters available as well as breakfasts. We had a choice of most tables on arrival so we sat in one of the cosy booths. A quick lunch meant no starters. We both went for original burgers (which is actually a cheese burger) but I went for it with steak mince burger and my colleague went for a butterflied chicken breast burger. She asked for it with no added bits. The friendly staff were happy to accommodate her request.

Original burger - 56 North

Original burger – 56 North

We didn’t have to wait very long for food, which is essential over the lunch period. It looked fairly appetising. The brioche bun held together cheese, steak mince burger, spicy tomato chutney and gherkins. The gherkins were massive, essentially about a four inch pickle sliced in half lengthways. Whilst sweet in tone, after a few mouthfuls that was all I could taste so had to take the rest out of the burger. After that, the burger was quite tasty, even if a bit messy to eat, with the chutney meaning everything was sliding around (but hey, that’s part of the fun). The chips were flavoursome. The ketchup on the table was a bit too vinegary (and I don’t mind a vinegar heavy ketchup usually) which was a bit of a shame. The chicken burger on the other side of the table was enjoyed. She thought it hit the spot, although a bit of rogue lettuce sneaked in still.

This bar was surprisingly quiet for a Friday lunchtime but can often be packed to the rafters. The food was decent enough, but not mind blowing. I was quite thirsty all afternoon so I wonder how much flavour had been contributed through salt but nevertheless, the meal did the job.

Food – 7/10
Service – 8.5/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 7.5/10

Overall – 30/40

Cost £25 for two burgers and two soft drinks.

56 North Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Spit/Fire

NOW CLOSED

8th October 2015 – 6pm

http://spitfirebars.com/

My friend had bought us a voucher deal for Spit/Fire, which is brought to you by the same peeps as the Hanging Bat. She experienced quite a bit of difficulty getting the table booked and it took about four attempts, both online and on the phone. Not a good start. However, I’m not one to let these sorts of things get in the way of me and my food.

Spit/Fire

Spit/Fire

Situated on Dublin Street, we went down a few steps and entered a smallish venue. However, we only got to see the upstairs section as that was where we were dining but there is another dining experience on the lower floor of the restaurant. It seemed like a nice place, Although the white tiling did make it look a little cold, but was balanced up by some lovely red cushions. The voucher we had was for a bun with hand cut chips each. There was a choice of 4 meat options and one veggie. Drinks orders were taken. I asked for Diet Coke but they were sold out. So I quickly opted for the full fat version without thinking and bounced off the walls on the sugar. The drink was served in a can so surely they could have got a few in from a local shop, particularly for such a regularly chosen drink. My friend went for beer which was much more straightforward, again served in a can. We continued to gaze over the menu. The choices were all tasty looking. Also, off the voucher deal some of the ribs sounded amazing. In the end I went for the shredded duck bun and my dining companion went for pulled beef brisket.

Shredded duck bun

Shredded duck bun

We did not have to wait too long for our food. They were plated in enamel baking dishes. As the dish was cold, the chips went cold quickly. However, they were proper chips and tasted good. The bun was toasted slightly but was still soft and filled with tons of meat. So much so it was tumbling out of the roll. The meat was moist but perhaps didn’t offer as much flavour as I was expecting.. The slaw in the roll was crunchy and the plum sauce was quite sweet but not cloyingly so. A similar experience was had with the brisket. The gherkins cut finely so they weren’t too intrusive but complaints about cooling chips spoilt it a bit.

Whilst the ingredients at Spit/Fire were of good quality, I am not sure whether I’d pay full price for what was decent but not spectacular food. If I was in the area I’d pop in but I wasn’t wowed enough to make me purposefully visit.

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

Overall – 29/40
Deal £12 drinks £5. Full price closer to £30.

Spit/Fire - Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mother’s

NOW CLOSED

8th September 2015 6pm

www.mothersedinburgh.co.uk/

I was invited to try out Mothers by the new guy who has just taken over the kitchen and is trying to expand food side of the business. All credit to him that we were offered the option to go secretly to review. However as it is not my purpose to try to catch out restaurants, I was happy for them to know when I’d be there. As a bonus I was offered a gin flight, which was a nice touch.

Mother's

Mother’s

Mothers is situated on Howe St and has a cute frontage, including a fake lawn to welcome you. We entered in and found a relaxing setting inside. We went to bar and whilst waited to be shown to our table, spotted a small dog wearing a bow tie sat at the bar with his owner. Whilst gin bars can come across as pretentious, Mothers doesn’t fit into that category (apart, perhaps, from the dog at the bar). We were shown to our table by the front window which was a nice spot. However, there are booths throughout the venue. We settled down and had a look at the menu, which the waitress did apologise for being on such massive boards. The menu had a select variety of options. Starters ranges from bruschetta to kedgeree cake and mains from a toastie to a pan roasted breast of chicken. I’m not sure if Mothers is confident with its direction yet as the menu seemed a little confused but we certainly were struggling to nail down which of the tasty sounding options to try.

The gin flight then arrived. We were given four gins to try between us and two tonics. This was where the front of house staff really excelled. It was clear there was a passion and knowledge of gin. However, this was all carried out with a bit of cheeky banter (without being over the top ) and really engaged us. If you are wanting to try something new, you can feel confident they will pick something right for your palate, as we were correctly directed to the drinks that suited our differing taste buds (I like sweet and fruity where my friend prefers a more bitter drink). The garnishes and tonics were a perfect match.

Ham hock terrine and chicken bites - Mother's

Ham hock terrine and chicken bites – Mother’s

We then got down to the business of ordering the food. I went for Brazilian chicken bites to start followed by a Thai inspired salmon dish. My friend went for a ham hock terrine followed by fish and chips. Once the starters were brought to the table, we were ready to tuck in and the presentation encouraged us to do just so. My Brazilian style chicken bites were not quite what I expected but that was a good thing. The chicken was pulled and held together in lightly coated ball shapes. The spicing was just right, with enough flavour to make your mouth dance but not require a fire extinguisher. The accompanying coriander and lime dip worked well to balance and was a generous portion for plentiful dipping. My only issue was that it was quite thin so I dripped it down myself (I am such a messy eater). On the other side of the table, the terrine was going down a treat. The toast was good and I have to say I was a little envious. The terrine was full of flavour and my friend, who is often dubious of chutney, really enjoyed the pear chutney and felt it was a perfect accompaniment.

Fish and chips and salmon - Mother's

Fish and chips and salmon – Mother’s

Onto the mains and the salmon looked appetising. Cutting into it was effortless as the fish flaked beautifully. The salmon was on top of a sweet potato and coriander potato cake and some aubergine slices. There were a couple of crisp courgette slices on top. All this was surrounded by a coconut sauce, with Thai spices. The sauce was the right amount and didn’t drown the fish. Maybe the skin could have been a little crisper but that might be personal taste. The fish and chips were a generous portion. The chips weren’t the most appetising to look at by my friend said they were cooked well and had great flavour. She would have liked them a bit more crispy but I like my chips softer. You cannot please everybody! Notoriously, my dining companion doesn’t like peas but enjoyed these. She thought perhaps there was lemon and butter on them to perk them up.

Cheesecake - Mother's

Cheesecake – Mother’s

We couldn’t manage a full dessert each. So, upon recommendation, we went for the peanut and caramel cheesecake to share. What a good recommendation that was. The cheesecake was not too heavy and the caramel sauce was not sickly sweet as it was broken up with flakes of chocolate and bits of peanut. We managed to devour this easily and quickly.

Staff showed passion and enthusiasm and really made us feel welcome . We could also see it wasn’t just to impress us. Diners across the venue were all being treated with the same enthusiasm.

The food was solid and the service first class. Whilst I think the menu needs a little tweaking to move to the next level, we are already planning to go back to try one of the sharing platters and some more gin.

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

Overall – 34.5/40

Cost – complimentary but I guess it would have been around the £55 mark depending on the gin prices

Please note that whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Jimmy for arranging.

Mother's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Treacle

30th August 2015 10am

www.treacleedinburgh.co.uk

Scottish Breakfast - Treacle

Scottish Breakfast – Treacle

We decided to go to Treacle for breakfast to get us set up for another day of festival-ing. We had been here before and thought the breakfasts were decent and have also had some good cocktails here (not at the same time as the breakfasts though!). The funky décor means that this place is often popular with the trendy set of an evening. Upon arrival, we were disappointed to find that the revamped menu did not include a full Scottish veggie breakfast, which they used to offer. This, therefore, slightly disappointed my veggie friend. However, we decided to persevere. There was an alternative of sweet potato and quinoa hash browns, poached eggs and avocado, which my friend opted for. No toast or drink came with this though. I went for a full Scottish breakfast. Whilst I ordered a diet Coke on arrival, I was not offered a tea or coffee with my full Scottish breakfast. Whilst I didn’t want one, the coke price was added into the bill and the coffee my friend had ordered wasn’t discounted either which could have been done as part of my meal. We thought this was a bit cheeky but not enough for us to complain.

Vegetarian option (with added toast and tomato) - Treacle

Vegetarian option (with added toast and tomato) – Treacle

We waited a little while to order food but other than that, the service was relatively quick. Once the breakfasts arrived, they looked good. I handed over the toast and one of the two halves of tomato to my friend so his breakfast seemed more substantial. My plate consisted of a slice of toast with butter (now on my friend’s plate), two tomato halves, bacon, a sausage, hash brown, potato scone, mushroom, beans, egg, haggis and black pudding. Most of my breakfast was nice. The mushroom in particular was excellent and had a surprisingly large amount of flavour. However, the sausage was a bit non-descript. The potato scone was a little soggy but still tasted good. The haggis had excellent spicing, which almost made up for the sausage. On the other side of the table, my friend enjoyed his boosted up breakfast but still could help feeling a bit robbed over his meal, claiming “it needed to have breakfast with it”. He also said he wished he’d ordered the full Scottish breakfast and asked them to leave off all the meat.

This did the job but didn’t impress me as much as previous visits.

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

Overall – 28/40

Cost £23 for two breakfasts, a coffee and a diet coke

Treacle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Beer Kitchen

26th Aug 2015 6pm

http://thebeerkitchen.co.uk/

Scotch egg - Beer Kitchen

Scotch egg – Beer Kitchen

After a failed attempted to visit Innis & Gunn’s The Beer Kitchen when newly opened (where we did not pre-book), we made sure we’d have a table waiting for us this time. We had booked plenty in advance and upon arrival seemed justified. Whilst it could be attributed to festival time, being packed to the rafters with what appeared to be mainly business folk indicates this place will be busy long after August disappears over the horizon. This did make the venue a bit loud and wouldn’t be recommended if you are wanting a quiet bite to eat.

Pate - Beer Kitchen

Pate – Beer Kitchen

We were shown to table in the corner and given menus. There was a modest offering but plenty to choose from, particularly for the meat eater.

Controversially, we did not have any beer (I can sense you all scowling). I went for chicken liver pate followed by flat iron steak. My dining partner went for the scotch egg followed by the pork belly.

Steak - Beer Kitchen

Steak – Beer Kitchen

When the starters arrived, they came on big boards (which I am not sure is entirely necessary) but looked impressive. My pate came in a mini mug. 5 small oatcakes adorned the board and a little dish of chutney sat on the side. The pate was smooth and light. The chutney light and fruity but the long strands of onion in it were a bit too big for the oatcakes. One the other side of the table, the scotch egg was big but not too filling as the sausage meat wasn’t too much. The crumb on the outside was nice and crunchy. The accompanying bacon and brown sauce worked well to bring the dish together.

Pork belly - Beer Kitchen

Pork belly – Beer Kitchen

Onto the mains. My flat iron steak came in two generous pieces, cooked as requested (rare). The chargrilled flavour was distinctive but not overpowering the meat, which was also juicy. At the time of ordering I has a choice of sauce: béarnaise or peppercorn. I had chosen béarnaise. This came in a little side jug but looked a little like it had split but I soldiered on and it tasted fine. The dish seemed to be missing the advertised rosemary flavour, Either it has also been charred to the point of no recognition or it was in too short supply. This wasn’t the end of the world though. The watercress as described but seemed a little lacklustre next to the steak. The pork belly on the other side of the table was deemed satisfactory but lacked flavour, most likely needing more seasoning. The rosti on the other hand was delicious.

Chocolate and peanut butter cupcake - Beer Kitchen

Chocolate and peanut butter cupcake – Beer Kitchen

I was the only one who had dessert and I’m not ashamed to say it. I went for the chocolate and peanut cupcake with a salted caramel sauce and mini marshmallows. I think this was more like a muffin and had been cooked in the cup it was serves in. It was not too cloying and salted caramel was not thick and overpowering. I have to say this dish was yummy and comforting. It put a smile on my face.

I would come here again but only when I wasn’t looking for a quiet evening out.

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

Overall – 31/40

Cost £45 for 2 starters and mains, 1 dessert and 1 cocktail

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Dirty Dug – Mini Review

21st August 5pm

www.twitter.com/dirtydug_edi

Dirty Dug

Dirty Dug

Dirty Dug is a pop up situated on Frederick Street for the duration on August only. I recommend you get your skates on if you are partial to a hot dog. Or to cocktails. Or both. I had been invited to check out this place by the PR team and I was curious to see the set up. Whilst hot dogs and cocktails wouldn’t be the first pairing that springs to mind, this place seems to work. Entering the venue, you end up in a basement and somehow transported into an almost club like environment. The room is dark but a bright neon bar lights one end of the room. There are lots of candles scattered across the tables and even some sparkle encrusted skulls on the walls. Dance beats pump overhead. This place isn’t best if you want a quiet meal but is perfect for the purpose it was set up – the festival period. I visited relatively early in the day but I could see that this place would be busier in a few hours and really reach it’s intended audience.

Scottish Russian - Dirty Dug

Scottish Russian – Dirty Dug

I was greeted by a friendly staff member called Chris who was kind enough to go through the menu with me and make some suggestions based on a mixture of popular choices and his personal recommendations. The menu covers the expected hot dogs and cocktails but also has some sides and deals. Chris also mentioned that they did take away of a hot dog and drink for £6 – bargain! Firstly Chris suggested I try the Scottish Russian cocktail. I was a little dubious at first as the ingredients are vodka, tia maria, buckfast, milk and cream. However, I decided to trust his judgement and give it a go. As for the hot dog, Chris said there were quite a few popular hot dogs, include a mac ‘n’ cheese one but in the end I plumped for the BBQ pork dug.

BBQ Pork Dug - Dirty Dug

BBQ Pork Dug – Dirty Dug

Firstly the cocktail arrived. I tentatively gave it a sip and was pleasantly surprised. It actually tasted quite good and not what I was expecting at all. The cream didn’t make it too sickly and the buckfast didn’t make me go loopy. It was an easy cocktail to drink. It’s a good sign when you can get recommendations like this from the staff. The dug followed shortly after. This is one of the bonuses of this type of food; you are not waiting long. The pork on top was a generous portion and was incredibly moist. The barbeque sauce was tangy but didn’t drench the bread. The hot dog itself was much larger than I was expecting it to be and also managed to have great flavour. It wasn’t bland and you could taste the spicing in it. The bread was strong enough to handle the wait of the hot dog and pork combined but you do get cutlery should you need it.

The staff were friendly here and the food is good fast food. This place is great if you want a drink and something to line your stomach.

Cost – the meal was complementary but would be around £13.50

Please note that whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Brad for arranging.

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Rick’s

NOW REBRANDED AS RABBLE

3rd August 2015 – 7pm

www.ricksedinburgh.co.uk

Cocktail - Rick's

Cocktail – Rick’s

I was invited to Rick’s for a Zomato meet up. This was the first time I got to attend one of these events and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet other bloggers who were just as excited about food as I am. Rick’s recently launched a new menu and we were invited to see it showcased. We were greeted by the manager Andy who told us a little bit about Rick’s and what they offer (as it is not just a restaurant and bar but a boutique hotel). We were given a lovely cocktail to start off the evening . This was quite a delight as it included egg white to make it fluffy and light.

Zomato - Rick's

Zomato – Rick’s

We were taken through to the dining area and talked through the different spaces Rick’s offers. Many of the dining spaces can be closed off the parties which is handy thing to know. The group executive chef Jon Wood, who looks after food for the whole Montpelier’s chain, came had a chat with us and it was clear that he had a passion for food. The knowledge he had about different types of food and the way that he engages and trains his staff really got me intrigued about the type of food I was going to be eating that evening. Jon explained that as a hotel as well as a restaurant, they have to strike the balance between the two markets and therefore is aiming to have a brasserie feel to the menu. We all perused the menu and I think they seem to have hit the mark on where they were aiming but there were also some deals such as their dine out for £10 if your budget couldn’t quite stretch to the main menu. I chose the pig cheeks for my starter. I was originally going to opt for the hake for my main but as they had not got the mussels that it came with I decided to give it a miss, which was a shame but shows that they are not using frozen ingredients and are dependent on availability. Jon has expressed an excitement and knowledge about lamb and this is what I ended up picking for my main. Around the table there are plenty of choices from duck to salmon for starters and chicken to cod for mains.

Pigs cheek - Rick's

Pigs cheek – Rick’s

My pigs cheeks were absolutely amazing. I couldn’t believe how soft and tender the meat was. The pancetta and onions complemented it well and the potatoes gave it a bit of weight to the dish. The crispy sage was a nice surprise and brought the dish together. I’ll be honest, I scoffed the lot quite quickly. This could have even been a main with a bit of expansion, it stood that well on its own. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their starters around the table.

Lamb - Rick's

Lamb – Rick’s

Onto the mains, the Inverurie lamb which had been built up by the chef was not a disappointment in the slightest. I had been concerned about the goats cheese gnocchi being paired with the lamb but the chef had explained the thinking behind this so I thought I would give it a go and to my surprise it worked perfectly. I couldn’t believe the combination would be a success but the gnocchi blended with the goats cheese so it didn’t become an overpowering element. The pea puree added a nice dimension and I adored the rosemary jus. I did find the greenery on top of this and the starter a little bit pointless, at least in the way it was presented as it was placed on top of the meats on both dishes, hiding the star of each plate. I have to say I think I inhaled this course too.

Salted caramel and chocolate tart - Rick's

Salted caramel and chocolate tart – Rick’s

We were offered desserts and practically the entire table went for salted caramel and chocolate tart with ice cream. Upon arrival, the slice was very slim but it needed to be because it was quite a rich dessert, so much so that it stuck to the spoon often. Saying that it was very tasty but did need the ice cream to balance it out, although chasing ice cream round a flat slate was not ideal and I had to push a bit of ice cream onto the spoon with my finger at one point. @wewantplates again would be having a field day.

After all the food, another cocktail was offered, showcasing their bottled cocktails which are ‘aged’ for several months to develop flavour. Unfortunately I couldn’t drink this one because of the Aperol but I think the others found it really interesting.

Bottled cocktail - Rick's

Bottled cocktail – Rick’s

The staff were incredibly friendly and knowledgeable at all levels. The food was of a good standard and I would happily recommend Rick’s as somewhere to try.

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

Overall – 34/40

Cost – whilst complimentary, I estimate it cost around £40 for a three course meal plus two cocktails per person

Please note that whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Zomato for arranging.

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52 Canoes Tiki Den

28th July 2015 6pm

www.facebook.com/52Canoes

52 Canoes Tiki Den

52 Canoes Tiki Den

I’ll be honest, 52 Canoes wasn’t our original destination for the evening. We had intended to try the Beer Kitchen but as it was quite busy we decided to abandon. We tried to think of a fun place we could go instead. 52 Canoes came to mind. This tiki den is in a basement on Melville Place and looks fun from the outside, with lights and flowers, and lives up to that on the inside too. When we got inside we found ourselves a table and were greeted by a very friendly member of staff who offered to get us drinks and food menu. Having been here before we knew the cocktails were good. We also knew that the food was at a pretty decent level. I opted for a cocktail called a Fling in the West End. My friend went for a Rum Root Beer. Food wise I went for Denver fries and my friend went for the espy burger. The banter continued with the waiter and he kept this entertained all evening and certainly made the experience fun. The cocktails arrived and were delicious. My friends rum drink was a little bitter but she still enjoyed it. Mine was fruity and very refreshing.

Espy burger and Denver fries- 52 Canoes Tiki Den

Espy burger and Denver fries- 52 Canoes Tiki Den

When the food arrived we are quite hungry. My Denver fries consisted of a bowl of fries with strips of steak on top and the whole lot was smothered with a peppercorn sauce. This food wasn’t going to set the world on fire but was solid and tasty. Steak wasn’t too tough and the fries hadn’t become too soggy so avoided mushiness. There weren’t too many whole peppercorns in the sauce which was good but not to the detriment of the flavour. The burger on the other side of the table with substantial and very meaty. She commented that the cheese was just the right amount and the fries were great.

Waffles - 52 Canoes Tiki Den

Waffles – 52 Canoes Tiki Den

We realised we had just enough room to eat dessert. We both decided that the waffles were irresistible. I went for the waffles with the chocolate and caramel sauce and my friend went for the one with caramelised bananas. Both sets of waffles also came with ice cream. Upon arrival they seemed rather large and we were worried that we had made a mistake and would never get near to finishing them. However once we started them, we found they were incredibly light, not overly sweet and very delicious and I managed to polish mine off without any challenge.

The food is fairly decent here and the drinks are excellent but I have to say I think it’s the staff that really make this place fun and certainly earned a bigger tip than usual. I look forward to going here again.

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

Overall 33.5/40

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OX184

22nd July 2015 – 5.45pm

www.ox184.co.uk

OX184

OX184

Part of the Fuller Thompson chain this pub is slightly different to the other ones in the group. Focusing more on slow cooked meats, this pub was on my list of places I wanted to try. In a warehouse-type setting the place feels airy but not cold. We took a table by a window and were greeted by a waitress who gave us menus. We poured over the menus and there was lots to choose from, from light bites to more substantial (and more expensive) steaks. The menu had changed that week, so it didn’t quite match the website but this wasn’t an issue. I opted for jalapeño smoking piglets followed by a half baby back of ribs. My dining companion went for the shrimp and lobster sliders to start, followed by the pulled pork bun. We also ordered a side of fries with cheese sauce to share. We also ordered a couple of cocktails. I went for a margarita. Upon arrival I would say it wasn’t typically traditional margarita and sadly there was no salt around the rim but the cocktail still tasted nice. My friend’s cocktail tasted of parma violets.

Jalapeno smoking piglets and shrimp and lobster sliders - OX184

Jalapeno smoking piglets and shrimp and lobster sliders – OX184

When the starters arrived they looked really intriguing. My jalapeños smoking piglets was served in a little cast-iron dish and looked very tempting. They were sausages of a cocktail size wrapped in bacon and drizzled in the sweet, smoky warm sauce with mustard seeds running through it. These were so incredibly moreish I could have had double the amount. I would definitely come back for these alone. On the other side of the table were two very cute, small sliders. Inside the sliders was a shrimp and lobster cocktail slathered in Marie Rose sauce. My friend found the sauce had quite a kick. This wasn’t a problem for her as she likes hot food but might be a bit too much for some people. The starters certainly made us excited for the mains. Whilst we waited for the mains a large group arrived, which this space leans to. A member of staff came over to apologise in advance for noise. Whilst this really wasn’t necessary (there weren’t even that loud) it was a nice touch.

Half baby back ribs and fries - OX184

Half baby back ribs and fries – OX184

When the mains came we were not disappointed. I had been toying with the idea of a full rack of ribs but my half rack was just the right size to leave space for dessert. I was a little disappointed that the sauce it was cooked in was not poured over the ribs upon serving. However, that being said it made them easier to eat your fingers. The flavour was excellent and the dry rub used on the ribs gave a nice depth of flavour. There are also plenty of meat on the ribs. On the other side of the table the pulled pork bun was a substantial size. There had been concerned that it may be too dry but upon eating this certainly wasn’t the case. There was a generous portion of meat and also some pickled cabbage to accompany it. It was served in a beautiful brioche roll. The fries we ordered the side were delicious and had some kind of seasoning on them which added an element that make them different. The cheese sauce that came with these fries was also very tasty although perhaps didn’t need to be in such large quantity as we didn’t finish it.

Pulled pork burger, chocolate brownie and strawberry meringue sundae - OX184

Pulled pork burger, chocolate brownie and strawberry meringue sundae – OX184

There was just enough room for dessert so I went for the chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and toffee fudge ice cream. My friend went for the strawberry meringue sundae. Upon arrival it was certainly the sundae that was striking. The toasted marshmallow on top was surprisingly large but delicious. My friend enjoyed every morsel of this dessert. My brownie was nothing extraordinary but was a good, robust dessert that did the job. I’m not sure I picked up the full toffee fudge flavour of the ice cream but this may have been because it was too delicate against the brownie. Nevertheless, the ice cream was creamy and was clearly of good quality.

Overall OX184 is a sturdy offering and is a pub trying to offer something a little different from the standard burger. We thoroughly enjoyed our time there and the staff were really friendly.  With extended opening hours, we expect to visit here during the fringe to sample the brunch, as some of the options look amazing.

Food 8.5/10

Service 9/10

Atmosphere 8/10

Value 8.5/10

Overall 34/40

Cost £52 for two 3 course meals plus 2 cocktails

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Badabing

14th July 2015 6pm

https://www.facebook.com/badabingedinburgh

Badabing

Badabing

Another voucher deal we picked up, this time from Groupon. The deal was £14.95 for the sharing platter of the day with a cocktail pitcher (or beer for those who prefer that). Badabing is an American gangster themed bar, which wouldn’t normally be my sort of thing but we thought we would give it a try. Situated in the complex just be the beginning of the canal in Fountainbridge, the place is well positioned for a bit of outside drinks and dining. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite warm enough for us, so we opted to sit inside. We were welcomed by friendly staff and although we accidentally arrived half an hour before our actual booking, this wasn’t a problem at all. Badabing is situated on two floors, with the ground floor housing a stage for entertainment and the upstairs being more of a dining area. There were lots of different styled seating areas to suit your mood, from both enclosed and open booths, to larger tables for groups. We took an enclosed booth, which was a bit dark for summer in hindsight. The décor was plush and a little over the top, in an old school gangster kind of way, which I guess was what they were aiming for.

Ribs - Badabing

Ribs – Badabing

Upon handing over the voucher, we were offered a choice of four different pitchers. All were quite classic and we opted for a long island iced tea. We were also offered water, which we took. Our sharing platter that day was ribs and fries. Whilst we waited for the platter to arrive, we perused the normal menu. There are plenty of classics available and enough to suit every taste and nothing that would really empty the wallet. In fact, there were a lot of bar snack type options which would be good to have with drinks. The cocktail menu was also very reasonable, with the cheaper ones just under £5. More about those later. The ribs and fries arrived and seemed a decent portion for the two of us, although not over-facing. We were also supplied with fingerbowls which was a nice touch. The ribs were not overly meaty but that is often the case with ribs. We found those nearer the centre were best. They were also luke warm, which was a little disappointing as I would have liked them a touch hotter. The sticky sauce was a little vinegary but I did like the addition of mustard seeds, which gave it a nice kick. The fries were excellent though and we munched through those very quickly.

Nutella cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding - Badabing

Nutella cheesecake and sticky toffee pudding – Badabing

We decided that we had enough space for a dessert, even though this was additional to the voucher. I went for sticky toffee pudding and my friend went for Nutella cheesecake. Both choices met with approval from the waitress. Upon arrival of the desserts, I thought these were of a generous size. My sticky toffee pudding was smothered in sauce, which was useful as there was no cream or ice cream to accompany it. Sadly it was a little dry round the edges and the sauce couldn’t save it but the flavour was still nice. The Nutella cheesecake was surprisingly light but the chocolate on top was a bit thick and therefore hard to eat easily.

Cocktails - Badabing

Cocktails – Badabing

We couldn’t leave without trying a couple more cocktails. I went for a drumstick and my dining companion went for a berry delicious cocktail. These both came with sweeties and were fun to drink. They were also of a respectable size. I think this is where Badabing excels. In fact, we overheard a member of staff saying this to some other diners by highlighting that it is a bar that does food rather than a restaurant that does drinks. If you keep that in mind, Badabing is a great place to have some fun drinks and perhaps get a snack to line your stomach but it is never going to be gourmet dining.

Food – 6/10

Service 8/10

Atmosphere – 7/10

Value – 9/10

Overall 30/40

Cost – £14.95 for the voucher for the platter and the pitcher of cocktails (something similar can be bought without the voucher). A further £20 for two more cocktails and two desserts.

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