Ciao Roma

Ciao Roma

31st May 2018 6pm

www.ciaoroma.co.uk

Handily located across from Festival Theatre, Ciao Roma was bustling on arrival but relatively quiet once theatre groups left. Ciao Roma is a typical Italian affair, with the most intriguing mural along the walls. Then menu isn’t too overfacing and should have something to suit everyone. I chose burrata to start followed by rigatoni norcina. Only one other friend picked a starter and opted for the crostini nduja. She chose risotto capesante for her main and our other friend picked the crudiaola pizza for her main (as she was holding out for dessert).

The starters looked pleasant enough. My burrata was creamy and the balsamic dressing went well with it. I could pretend to be healthy with the addition of rocket and peppers. My friend’s crostini had been billed on the menu as thin sliced, however, these were massive chunks of toasted bread so were far too filling as a starter. That said, the nduja was nice.

My rigatoni was nice and the pasta cooked. I liked the flavours and the portion size was just about right. The risotto my friend had chosen was really well received. There was plenty of seafood in it so felt very generous. The pizza tasted good but was very difficult to cut with her knife as the base was a bit soggy. No-one wants to fight with their pizza.

We all decided to give dessert a try and we were glad we did. Clearly the highlight of the meal, there are various assortments of sundaes and ice cream concoctions. I chose the coppa fabbri, which consisted of cherry and balsamic ice cream, cherries, bits of chocolate fudge gateaux and chocolate sauce. This was totally lush dessert and a pleasant surprise, albeit rather large. I valiantly ate my way through it.
My friends also picked sundaes and equally enjoyed them.

Ciao Roma is nice enough but nothing special. It is worth holding back for dessert though.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe

Cost £78 for two starters, three mains, three desserts and two glasses of wine

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

Diablo Loco

Diablo Loco

17th May 2018 5.45pm

www.diabloloco.co.uk

An arranged meet up for two of us became an impromptu dinner for four as a couple of other friends came along for the ride. Situated in Newington, Diablo Loco offers a range of Mexican food in a relaxed , cheerful setting. Two of the group had already been here previously but two of us were newbies. I opted to go for the chargrilled marinated hangar steak. My friends picked the Diablo burrito, the Diablo wings(X2), crinkle fries and the fajitas. Frozen margaritas and wine were also ordered.

When the food arrived, I was excited to tuck in. The steak was of really good quality. This was lightly covered in a beautiful habanero aioli and sat on a bed of ranchero sauce. Additionally potato cubes (patatas) and spring onions scattered the plate., almost like fancy chips This was a relatively simple but delicious plate of food. The fajitas across from me were an impressive sight, arriving with its own mini table. This was really a generous portion and highly satisfying. It could even be shared as a snack or light meal. You do have to put it together yourself, but that’s not a real hardship.

Hangar Steak - Diablo Loco

Hangar Steak – Diablo Loco

The burrito was chunky and the chicken wings small but full of zingy notes. I did like the 70’s throwback crinkle cut chips which had a light dusting of chilli salt. These flavours paired with the frozen margaritas made for an excellent meal.

Whilst I was too full for dessert, a couple of the group opted to have the churros with Dulce de leche. These were pretty decent churros, although one of the two would have preferred a chocolate dipping sauce.

We had a fun time at Diablo Loco and it worth a visit.

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

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Certainly.

£105 for two light bites, three mains, one side, two desserts, one bottle of wine, 6 cocktails

BBQ Pulled ‘Pork’ jackfruit sloppy joe - Greenhouse

The Greenhouse

16th May 2018 6pm

https://www.facebook.com/Thegreenhouseleith/

I had been chatting with Emma from Vegan Edinburgh a while ago about the opening of The Greenhouse. A couple of weeks later, she was invited along to try them out and offered me the chance to be her plus one. Yay! The Greenhouse markets itself as a vegetarian and vegan place but to our surprise, there were a few meat options on the menu. However, most things can be made vegan if they are not already. I decided to go vegan and try out the bbq ‘pulled pork’ jackfruit sloppy joe bun and upgraded to sweet potato fries, and Emma picked the fried ‘chicken’ seitan burger with added avocado. I think the reference to meat in the names of the vegetarian and vegan dishes isn’t required but concede that it may be a way of enticing meat eaters to give vegetarian or vegan food a go.

BBQ Pulled ‘Pork’ jackfruit sloppy joe - Greenhouse

BBQ Pulled ‘Pork’ jackfruit sloppy joe – Greenhouse

We didn’t have to wait long for our food and were even offered vegan mayo (just as good as the non-vegan variety). Greenhouse certainly know how to present their food and my jackfruit had me drooling at the sight of it. It tasted just as good as it looked. The jackfruit was juicy and held the sumptuous barbecue flavour beautifully. The sweet potato fries were out of this world. This all came with an accompanying salad and pink slaw, which were fine but nothing memorable.

‘Chicken’ seitan burger - Greenhouse

‘Chicken’ seitan burger – Greenhouse

Across from me, my dining companion was tucking into her tower of a burger. The avocado was one of the optional add-ons and she felt that this may have been a step too far and ran the risk of making the burger too much to eat but she bravely soldiered on! Overall she enjoyed her food but found the seitan a little spongey. That didn’t detract too much from her overall enjoyment of the burger, although I think there was a little bit of plate envy on her part.

‘Chicken’ seitan burger - Greenhouse

‘Chicken’ seitan burger – Greenhouse

Desserts vary on the day but both options were vegan, so we decided to get one of each. I picked the chocolate and hazelnut mousse and Emma chose the coconut and lime pie. Mine was a little more inspiring looking than hers on arrival but both tasted delicious. My mousse was surprisingly light and had a lovely chocolate taste, with the hazelnut flavour being more subtle. There was a sliced strawberry on top which worked beautifully with it and I would have actually liked more of them.The coconut and lime pie was a perfect portion with a dollop of coconut cream on top. The lime turned it into a refreshing dessert rather than something that was too heavy.

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse - Greenhouse

Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse – Greenhouse

For those of you who want to try a meat free or plant based meal, you really should give Greenhouse a try. Actually, even if you are not, you may just be surprised at how tasty it can be.

Coconut and lime pie - Greenhouse

Coconut and lime pie – Greenhouse

You can read Vegan Edinburgh’s post here: http://veganedinburgh.com/the-greenhouse/

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

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yes and would quite happily eat vegan

Cost – complimentary but around £32 for two mains, two desserts and a vegan glass of wine

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views are my own

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