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.

Zest

Zest

9th October 2018 6.30pm

www.zest-restaurant.co.uk

I have no idea why I have not visited Zest before now. Not far from where I live, in a central location, it’s a perfect meet up place for curry. We’d been invited along to put it through its paces. We were seated in the window (great for people watching) and picked a few things from the menu. However, we were then offered to try a few additional things. Whilst we knew we wouldn’t be able to finish them, we couldn’t say no to such a generous offer either.

We started off with some poppadoms and chutney. I was pleased to see how large the chutney portions are. Mango chutney is always sought after and it was nice not to run out. All three offerings were great. We then each got a plate of assorted kebabs, onion bhaji and prawn Puri. Each item was delicious, going back and forth on which was our favourite. I think I settled on the prawn puri and my friend decided on the chicken. The bhaji could have taken a bit more spice but was still tasty. The lamb was great too.

Zest

Zest

Zest

Zest

We were brought four curries to sample – lamb rogan josh, chicken P297 (named after an Edinburgh taxi driver), spinach and paneer, and a green herb king prawn curry. Again, we went back on forth on which one was our favourite. Each curry had its own personality. The chicken had depth, the lamb some spice, the spinach and paneer had bags of flavour, and the prawn some mellowness. Somewhat surprisingly for me, I think my favourite was the spinach and paneer. We had a garlic and paratha naans which were also excellent. The garlic naan had shed loads of garlic on, just as I like it. The paratha naan was billowy.

Zest

Zest

There was no way we could fit in dessert but thoroughly enjoyed all the food we tasted. We will definitely come back for another visit.

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

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yup.

Complimentary but likely to cost around £40 for a meal for two without alcohol.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views expressed are my own. Thanks to Hotel PR for organising.

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

Rustom

Rustom

13th September 2018 5.30pm

http://rustomrestaurant.co.uk/

This place came as a recommendation from a work colleague who was new to Edinburgh. Rustom has recently opened on Haymarket and has really made an effort to look sparkling for its customers. I decided to try their pan fried garlic paneer followed by chicken bhuna. My friend opted for the fish pakora and then palak gosht. We both got some garlic naans to go with our curries and a couple of poppadoms whilst we waited (obviously).

img_3802img_3801The starters arrived with the usual salad accompaniments which most people leave. My paneer was cubed and tasted delicious with it. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. There was a dip on the side which also added a bit of flavour. My friend’s fish pakora was generous in size, with three large pieces. She thought it was excellent value.

img_3805img_3804The mains arrived in quite hot dishes and I had to use my napkin to protect myself when lifting off the lid. My chicken bhuna was full of chicken pieces which was a pleasant surprise. You usually have to hunt for the protein in curries but not here. The sauce was good, providing a decent curry flavour. The naan was excellent and lots of garlic goodness. Across from me, my dining companion was really enjoying her palak gosht. Consisting of lamb and spinach which was slow cooked in spices, this dish was really tasty and felt a little bit different.

img_3803The service was very good throughout – attentive without pestering. If you are in the area, it’s worth a visit.

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

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

£50 for a couple of poppadoms and chutney tray, two starters, mains and naans.

Antipasti Sharing Platter - The Wine House 1821

The Wine House 1821

20th August 2018 6pm

www.winehouse1821.co.uk

After attending the opening launch for the Wine House 1821, we went back to spend a little time trying the food and drinks properly as well as having a little nosy around the place. Situated on Picardy Place, this venue has a beautiful frontage, even on the grey day we visited. Inside, it manages to avoid a pretentious feel by using wood to soften the surroundings in the main bar area. We took a seat and looked and the food and drinks menus. I can’t drink wine sadly, but my friend definitely could and decided on red but asked for advice based on the type of red she fancied. She was allowed to taste a couple and then opt for the one she preferred. Whilst this is a wine bar, it caters more than amply for those who can’t or won’t have wine. I chose a cocktail but there was a really good choice of other drinks too. We decided to pick some bread and the antipasti combo platter and we were informed that the platter already came with bread. Bonus!

The Wine House 1821

The Wine House 1821

Whilst we were waiting for the food, we got chatting with the staff about what they offer. Apparently. All the meets and cheeses are cut on site and pretty much everything in the place came from Italy (as the family are Italian). We also spotted some customers coming in to get some wine to take away. This is handy if you find a wine you like and want to have at home.

Antipasti Sharing Platter - The Wine House 1821

Antipasti Sharing Platter – The Wine House 1821

The platter arrived and looked amazing. We had a variety of meats and cheese as well as vegetables, grapes, walnuts and salad. Then there was bread and bread sticks and dipping oil. Heaven. The balance was right and we there was so much that we actually didn’t manage to finish it all. My friend described it at ‘epic’. It was really good value for money and we were able to graze at our own leisure as the place has a relaxed vibe about it.

Bread - The WIne House 1821

Bread – The WIne House 1821

We also got a little tour of the place, which has a beautiful function suite upstairs as well as four hotel rooms. There is also a cool cocktail bar in the basement.

We really enjoyed our visit to Wine House 1821 and certainly offered more than we expected. Definitely worth a visit.

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

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yes!

Cost – complimentary but would be around £40 for two large glasses of wine, a cocktail and the platter.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Kim from The Limelight for organising and providing a couple of the room photos.

Beef Tataki Ramen - Maki and Ramen

Maki and Ramen – Leith St

4th August 2018 8.30pm

www.makimaki-restaurant.co.uk

In the middle of festival madness, we decided to pop into newly opened Maki and Ramen on Leith Street on the way home from a show. Part of the growing Edinburgh Maki and Ramen empire, it became clear on the inside that the branding meant that this was actually Ramen and Ramen, with only a smattering of maki on the menu. We were happy with that though and I opted for the beef tataki ramen and my friend chose the tonkotsu ramen. We ordered some vegetable gyoza on the side.

Beef Tataki Ramen - Maki and Ramen

Beef Tataki Ramen – Maki and Ramen

We waited a fair while for the food and the bowls or ramen did not arrive at the same time, with me waiting at least another 5 minutes before mine appeared. We didn’t see the vegetable gyoza at all but we decided not to follow up based on the size of the ramen bowls (which we’re ginormous). Once my ramen arrived, the smell pulled me in. The broth was spicy, a little floral, and had delicious spring onion and seaweed running through it. Whilst the beef was good, there were only three slices, which seemed a little stingy based on the price of the bowl. The noodles were good but the egg on top was overdone, which made it less enjoyable. Across from me, initial delight at the tonkotsu ramen turned to dismay. The pork was great and the broth tasty but within the broth there was something charcoal-like. The flavour was fine but it turned the broth gritty to the point that it spoilt the rest of the dish. Again, there were only three slices of pork, which didn’t make it good value.

Tonkotsu Ramen - Maki and Ramen

Tonkotsu Ramen – Maki and Ramen

We asked for the bill and they tried to charge us for the gyoza but happily removed it from the bill when we pointed it out. Overall, we were a little disappointed with our meal.

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

Overall – 25/40

Would I eat here again? Probably not

£26 for two bowls of ramen and a Diet Coke

Hawksmoor

Hawksmoor

9th July 2018 8.30pm

https://thehawksmoor.com/locations/edinburgh/

Hawksmoor opened in the newly renovated Edinburgh Grand complex to much excitement across the city. We went along to Hawksmoor’s soft launch to see what they had to offer. Set in a grand former bank, the venue is certainly impressive. We had put in for the random draw for tables in the soft launch and ended up with a table at 8.30, which meant it was a little quieter but also that most specials had sold out and they also had no bone marrow related items left.

Langoustine scampi - Hawksmoor

Langoustine scampi – Hawksmoor

The menu looked good but I couldn’t decide on which starter to pick, so I asked the server which to pick between the langoustine scampi and the potted beef and bacon (which is unlike me to do). She said both were great but believed the langoustine scampi edged it. I took her advice and she kindly said she’d also order the other one for us to try, on the house. At the time I was impressed at this generosity but it appears they offered something free to other diners, a hook for a return visit no doubt. I also ordered a rib-eye steak with a side of dripping fries. My dining companion went for the old spot belly ribs followed by the rib-eye and triple cooked chips. We got a side of spinach with lemon and garlic to share too.

The starters looked a little uneven in size with the langoustines being relatively small and the potted beef and bacon, coming with two Yorkshire puddings, which were massive in size. Let’s start with the langoustine scampi. There were about six pieces served with a tartare sauce. These were light and tasty. The langoustines were cooked well and the tartare sauce was of good consistency. The potted beef and bacon came not only with the Yorkshire puddings but a big boat of gravy to pour over the top. This was all tasty but way too large for a starter for one. It would work better as a sharing starter. That being said, I would never want to share my Yorkshire puddings! The pork across the table was gorgeous and the accompanying salad was refreshing.

Rib-eye steak - Hawksmoor

Rib-eye steak – Hawksmoor

We both had the same cut of steak and I have to say they looked a bit lack lustre, appearing rather dry than succulent. I even got a comment on Instagram saying how poor it looked. However, whilst it wasn’t a stunner, the flavour was spot on. The steak was perhaps a touch more well done than the rare I had asked for but only a smidgen. It was still juicy and full of flavour. I picked a béarnaise sauce which was tasty and the fries finished it off nicely. The triple cooked chips on the other side of the table were also pretty decent. The spinach wasn’t too bad either. However, we couldn’t finish the steaks as we were scuppered by that additional starter.

There was no way we could fit in dessert but we were given a couple of the salted caramel rolos free to take home and try. I had mine the next day and they were pretty delicious. The oozy caramel was on the generous side, which in larger numbers would make for a fun dessert.

The service in Hawksmoor was excellent. The brand will hold the place up, as well as having an beautiful venue, but I’m not sure it offers the best steak in Edinburgh.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 7.5/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe if there was a deal on.

Cost £47 full price cost closer to £100.