Cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ - Vesta

Vesta

12th December 2018 8pm

https://vestaedinburgh.co.uk

Vesta is where Home used to be situated on Queensferry Street and is still affiliated with Social Bite, offering the opportunity to pay it forward as well as offering training and employment programmes for the Social Bite Academy. I was visiting with Emma from Vegan Edinburgh (veganedinburgh.com) and Ann from A Quirky Lifestyle (www.quirkylifestyle.com) and Celebrating Our World (www.instagram.com/celebratingourworld). We were offered a booth to sit in and we ordered some cocktails whilst deciding on the food. This place caters well for vegans and vegetarians as well as meat eaters. I went for the baked camembert followed by the pork belly and black pudding roulade. My friends went for the hot smoked salmon and cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ for their starters and then the miso glazed seitan and cashew stir fry and the mushroom stuffed seitan for their mains.

Breaded Camembert - Vesta

Breaded Camembert – Vesta

Hot smoked salmon - Vesta

Hot smoked salmon – Vesta

Cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ - Vesta

Cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ – Vesta

The starters arrived with simple plating. My breaded camembert came in four big pieces along with some salad and spiced red onion chutney. The camembert was oozy and the crumb was crispy. The chutney went nicely with it. The hot smoked salmon was a little hidden on my friend’s plate due to a covering of toasted ciabatta. This dish came with braised leeks and a small swirl of garlic veloute. This was a sturdy dish, albeit a little pedestrian. The cauliflower ‘buffalo wings’ were going down a treat. The heat was brought through a Bloody Mary salsa which was tempered by a vegan sour cream. Again, there was a little salad on the dish as a garnish.

Pork belly and black pudding roulade - Vesta

Pork belly and black pudding roulade – Vesta

Mushroom stuffed seitan - Vesta

Mushroom stuffed seitan – Vesta

Miso glazed seitan and cashew stir fry - Vesta

Miso glazed seitan and cashew stir fry – Vesta

The mains came out with similar understated plating. My roulade was a generous portion and was really cooked well. The mash was nice and the red cabbage tasty. The apple sauce pulled it all together really well, but as the only vaguely wet thing on the dish, it really felt that there was a gravy or sauce missing. It wasn’t overly dry but needed just a little bit more. The same could be said for the mushroom stuffed seitan. This was also a great dish but could have done with some kind of additional sauce with it. The cranberry sauce was not enough for what was on the plate. However, the seitan was good and the vegetables worked well. The stir fry also had seitan in it. It was found to be a filling dish. From my point of view, I’d have liked to see a bit more colour in it, but that is a personal preference.

All the food we ate was good. It’s not overly exciting food but to have a good choice for non-meat eaters is great.

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

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

£66 for three starters, mains and cocktails (we also put some money on top of this to pay it forward).

Sticky Toffee Pudding - LeftField

LeftField

11th December 2018 5.30pm

www.leftfieldedinburgh.co.uk

We had an early booking at LeftField. Overlooking Bruntsfield Links, LeftField is tucked away but worth hunting out. Whilst understandably quiet at the time of arrival, this place was bustling fairly quickly. We were left a little confused when provided with menus as we soon realised that we didn’t actually have the same menu. Once cleared up (one of us had been given the Christmas party menu), we both ordered identical meals of crispy fried squid and sirloin steak with garlic butter.

Crispy fried squid - LeftField

Crispy fried squid – LeftField

The crispy fried squid was plentiful and tasty. Lime on the side meant I could get my lime hit. This worked beautifully with the sriracha mayo and balanced the heat out. The squid wasn’t rubbery or tough. A very pleasing course.

Sirloin Steak - LeftField

Sirloin Steak – LeftField

Next up was the steak. Both were cooked to our preferences and served with a small pot our chosen sauce – garlic butter. The steak was juicy, made even more delicious by the butter. The steak came with chips and a side salad. The chips were fab but I would have liked the option of a sauce for these (does that make me uncouth?!). The salad was fairly standard but the addition of spring onions did lift it a bit.

Sticky Toffee Pudding - LeftField

Sticky Toffee Pudding – LeftField

We had room for dessert and, you guessed it, we ordered the same dish. Sticky toffee pudding was calling both of us. On its arrival, we were delighted to see it was topped with popcorn. A little unorthodox maybe but tasted good nevertheless. It was a shame that my friend has a bunch of unpopped corn in hers as I didn’t get any. That aside, the pudding was full of warming flavour, with a beautifully yummy sauce. This contrasted well with the cold ice cream. This was definitely a crowd pleasing dessert.

LeftField has a few wrinkles (including an odd Christmas playlist that they ended up changing) but is generally offering tasty food in a relaxed setting.

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

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? Yes.

£77 for two three course meals, a glass of wine and a gin and tonic

Smoked Salmon - Number One

Number One at The Balmoral

8th December 2018 7pm

www.roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/the-balmoral-hotel/restaurants-and-bars/number-one/

A group of us always go somewhere fancy for a Christmas get together. This year we booked Number One back in February on the basis that we’d have saved our pennies by Christmas (ha!). A little steeper than tasting menus at some other Michelin starred restaurants, we hoped for something special.

Number One at the Balmoral

Number One at the Balmoral

We were warmly greeted by staff who promptly took our coats and offered us the choice of a drink first or going straight to our table for dinner. We chose the latter. The dining room had a nice Christmassy feel and the lighting was low. We were led to a table in the middle of the room. To my surprise, the place wasn’t full and remained under capacity all evening. This really shouldn’t be the case for a Saturday in December at a starred restaurant. We had already decided to go for the winter tasting menu but my friends talked each other into matching it with wines.

Canapés - Number One

Canapés – Number One

We started off with some amuse bouche, presented on a lovely stand. This included three bites of food; one lobster, one beef and one cheese. Opinion was split on which one was best as we all had a different favourite. Mine was the lobster. They were all delicious though. Afterwards, the sommelier came to talk about the first wine, and introduced each wine with the relevant course as it came out. He spoke confidently and humorously throughout.

Crab - Number One

Crab – Number One

We then started on the first course of the menu, West Coast crab with mango and avocado. This was a light and delicate dish and almost palate cleansed in preparation for the next course.

Smoked Salmon - Number One

Smoked Salmon – Number One

Smoked Salmon - Number One

Smoked Salmon – Number One

Next followed the Balmoral’s signature dish, smoked salmon with lemon purée and quails egg. Our plates arrived under smoked closhes, which were lifted at the same time to allow the smoky aroma to waft across the dining room. The salmon was of high class and a generous portion. The small dots of lemon purée were a lovely addition along with slices of radish and apple. The quails egg oozed appropriately. A delightful course and the favourite for one of the group.

Fois Gras - Number One

Fois Gras – Number One

Fois gras followed. I always feel slightly uneasy with this as a dish and would never order it from an a la carte menu. My fellow diners felt the same. However, we weren’t going to waste a course put in front of us. There is no denying that it was delicious. The accompanying quince and pistachio were beautiful. This course also came with gingerbread. We found this a little too crumbly and sweet for this course (although we obviously ate it all anyway). They didn’t clear up the crumbs it left, as it was served in a napkin on the tablecloth, which I found surprising for a Michelin starred restaurant.

Halibut - Number One

Halibut – Number One

The fish course was halibut. The fish was possibly slightly over cooked but only a smidgen or so. It sat on a bed of cucumber. I am not a fan of this vegetable but it did seem that is made the cucumber a bit mulchy, which made it even less appealing. The seaweed was nice but the oyster felt a bit overkill, almost as if it was there to be opulent rather than for the benefit of the dish. There was a surprise addition of what we think was puffed rice on top of the fish. It certainly added another texture to the plate.

Beef fillet - Number One

Beef fillet – Number One

Then for the meat course, which was Tweed Valley beef fillet. This meat was of excellent quality and melted in the mouth. The accompanying beef short rib was packed full of flavour. The salsify was great and the little risotto underneath was tasty. One of my friends felt the dish could have taken a little more of the horseradish, but that was the only criticism. This was definitely my favourite course.

Brown Butter Financier - Number One

Brown Butter Financier – Number One

We then entered the dessert zone. First came the brown butter financier. Balanced on top was a muscovado chantilly cream and small cubes of apple were scattered around the plate. This was a pleasing dessert. The apple balanced out the sweetness well with its sharpness. It felt naughty without being over-rich.

Vanilla Soufflé and Ice Cream Sandwich - Number One

Vanilla Soufflé and Ice Cream Sandwich – Number One

Second dessert was the impressive vanilla soufflé and ice cream sandwich. As hoped, the soufflé had risen nicely. Sadly, I think it was a touch under done as it still tasted a bit eggy. The ice cream sandwich was a delight though. The ice cream itself was beautifully smooth and the biscuits tasted like Oreos, so what’s not to love?

Petit Fours - Number One

Petit Fours – Number One

We were lastly offered a petit four from a trolly full of them. There were four to choose from but one seemed a bit stingy compared to other places. Nevertheless, they were of a great quality and rounded off the meal well.

Sadly we had to wait ages to get the bill. I don’t mind restaurants not hurrying you out but as we were all sat there with no drinks, not being offered even a drink felt a bit foolish on their part. I might have considered a cocktail but by this time we decided that it was time to call an end to the evening.

Number One at the Balmoral definitely had elements of deliciousness but it didn’t offer anything wow. We felt a little underwhelmed by our experience but still enjoyed the meal overall.

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

Overall – 29/40

Would I eat here again? Unlikely as there are better offerings in the capital.

£423 for three tasting menus, two with matched wines.

Halloumi Fries - 83 Hanover Street

83 Hanover Street

5th December 2018 8pm

www.83hanoverstreet.com

After some festive dancing on George Street at the Silent Light, a couple of us decided to reward burning those calories by stuffing our faces. We decided to chance it at 83 Hanover Street and we’re lucky that they still had a couple of tables free. 83 Hanover Street aims to blend Scottish and Chilean cuisines. As seems to be the theme with my recent reviews, 83 Hanover Street offer small bites and plates to be shared. We chose braised pork collar croquettes and calamari from the bites section and hangar steak and halloumi fries from the plates section.

Pork Croquettes - 83 Hanover Street

Pork Croquettes – 83 Hanover Street

The croquettes came out first. Three crispy balls were sitting in an apple and chilli jam. The croquettes were stuffed full of pork which tasted wonderful alongside the jam. A great combination.

Halloumi Fries - 83 Hanover Street

Halloumi Fries – 83 Hanover Street

Next came the halloumi fries which were the biggest triumph of this meal. Tons of fried halloumi, covered in drizzles of red pepper ketchup and lime and coriander aioli. Some sliced chillis were also scattered across the top. The cheese was delicious and cooked to perfection. I could have eaten more than one plate of this.

Calamari - 83 Hanover Street

Calamari – 83 Hanover Street

Then the calamari appeared. This came with a merken (smoked chilli pepper) aioli, sliced chillies and a wedge of lime. Whilst cooked ok, it was a little uninspiring and possibly a touch under seasoned. The aioli was nice but couldn’t entice us to finish this plate.

Hangar Steak - 83 Hanover Street

Hangar Steak – 83 Hanover Street

Lastly, the hangar steak. The steak was spice rubbed and was served with a fried egg, onions and sautéed potatoes. The egg oozed nicely and pulled the dish together nicely. The steak was of good quality and cooked well.

We enjoyed our visit to 83 Hanover Street. It won’t set the world alight but it will be a decent meal.

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

Overall – 32.5/40

Would I eat here again? Possibly.

£35 for two bites, two plates and a small glass of wine

Merienda

Merienda

28th November 2018 6pm

https://eat-merienda.com

We had been wowed by the photos we had seen of Merienda’s food, so hurried ourselves down to Stockbridge to give it a try. It’s a small restaurant that offers Mediterranean style small plates with local produce. We were run through the menu by the friendly staff. The recommendation is around four plates per person. We decided we would get four savoury dishes and one dessert each. I opted for the charcuterie plate, mull cheddar panna cotta, parfait egg and the sea bass. My friend picked the tuna crostini, gnocchi, the parfait egg (again) and the mackerel escabeche. As usual with small plates, they came out when they were ready. My friend ordered some wine, which she said was excellent.

Charcuterie - Merienda

Charcuterie – Merienda

Tuna Crostini - Merienda

Tuna Crostini – Merienda

We first had the charcuterie and the tuna crostini. The meats come from reputable East Coast Cured and there were five different cuts to sample. These were excellent and full of flavour. They also were accompanied by some pickles and olives, which was a nice surprise. The crostini were also tasty. The tuna was balanced on a tapenade and topped with a touch of shallot.

Mull Cheddar Panna Cotta - Merienda

Mull Cheddar Panna Cotta – Merienda

Gnocchi - Merienda

Gnocchi – Merienda

Next up was the mull cheddar panna cotta and the gnocchi. In a snake-like squiggle on the plate, the panna cotta reminded me of posh Dairylea. I’m not sure whether that was a good or bad thing! It was sat in a leek oil and leek shards. A couple of thin grissini were placed on top of the dish too. The gnocchi was probably considered the best dish of the evening. This came with Lanark blue, pesto and pumpkin seeds. It was creamy and comforting.

Parfait Egg - Merienda

Parfait Egg – Merienda

Then came the egg. This was where we really became disappointed. Whilst we ordered two of this dish, it came out in one dish, with two spoons. That in itself would not have been a problem but it looked enough to really only be one portion. We even wondered whether another one would come out. You can see by the photo how small the dish was (they are teaspoons) and we paid £14 for the privilege. The egg was cooked at 64 degrees and had both a savoury crumb (which was a bit soggy) and four small strips of merguez sausage on top. The egg white was not nice to eat when cooked at this temperature, as it was jelly-like, but accept that this could be down to preference. The yolk and the sausage saved it from being a complete disaster but it did leave us feeling a bit miffed.

Sea Bass - Merienda

Sea Bass – Merienda

Mackerel Escabeche - Merienda

Mackerel Escabeche – Merienda

Then we moved onto the fish dishes, with the sea bass and mackerel. The sea bass sat in a bisque foam on top of some braised veg. This was a pleasant dish. The mackerel escabeche could have done with a little more mackerel. This sat with peppers in it’s dressing. Generally a decent dish.

Apple Compote - Merienda

Apple Compote – Merienda

Plum Fool - Merienda

Plum Fool – Merienda

We were still hungry, so continued to plough on with desserts. I chose the apple compote and my dining companion went for the plum fool. My apple compote had a hazelnut and oat crumble scattered on top and a raspberry garnish. It sat in an anglaise sauce which was lovely. The apple had good flavour and was a nice end to the meal. Across from me, the plum fool was sitting on top of some kind of purée or compote. It was infused with port and cinnamon and had a crumb on the top. My friend thought it might have been nice to have the fruit mixed it a little more with the fool, but enjoyed the dish enough nevertheless.

My friend commented to me that she was still hungry, but at this point we had already spent £75 so decided to call it quits. Merienda showed much promise, and I know is being well reviewed elsewhere. Some of these dishes were good. However, I’m not sure this presents good value for money when you are still hungry at the end, and still annoyed about the egg.

Food – 7/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 6/10

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Unsure. Maybe for a quick bite to eat but I would stay away from the egg.

Cost £75 for 8 plates plus two glasses of wine

Sprouting broccoli, beef rump and horseradish - Borough

Borough

21st November 2018 6.30pm

https://boroughrestaurant.com

A birthday meal arranged by friends, I was keen to see what Borough had to offer, having visited its previous incarnation, Norn. Situated in The Shore, Borough describes itself as ‘a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant’. Midweek was quiet but not empty, with several diners in. The food is offered in a series of plates. Diners are recommended around 3 per person to make up the equivalent of a starter and main. Between us we chose most of the menu! We picked venison tartare, watercress soup, beef rump, smoked mackerel, pheasant, cheddar dumplings, and sprouts.

Sprouts, lardo and bearnaise sauce - Borough

Sprouts, lardo and bearnaise sauce – Borough

Smoked apple, mackerel and soda bread - Borough

Smoked apple, mackerel and soda bread – Borough

I started on the sprouts, and almost everyone on the table ordered this too. Sitting on a bed of béarnaise sauce and covered in fine strips of lardo, this was an incredible dish (and the one we are still talking about several weeks later). If you are not a fan of sprouts, this might be the dish to change your mind. The watercress soups was a vivid green colour and my friend enjoyed it immensely. It came with potato and a confit egg, which made it feel more than your average soup. The smoked mackerel was interspersed with apple and soda bread and somehow managed to look like quite a delicate dish. The venison tartare came with pumpkin and pepper dulse. This dish was full of flavour.

Watercress Soup - Borough

Watercress Soup – Borough

Venison tartare, pumpkin and pepper dulse - Borough

Venison tartare, pumpkin and pepper dulse – Borough

Sprouting broccoli, beef rump and horseradish - Borough

Sprouting broccoli, beef rump and horseradish – Borough

Pheasant, Savoy Cabbage and Chestnut - Borough

Pheasant, Savoy Cabbage and Chestnut – Borough

Cheese dumplings, onion and mushroom broth - Borough

Cheese dumplings, onion and mushroom broth – Borough

My pheasant was a really generous sized portion. It came with perfectly cooked Savoy cabbage and a lovely risotto underneath. The meat was succulent which I was relieved to discover (as so often this can be dry). The beef rump had my friends drooling. This was accompanied by sprouting broccoli and horseradish. It was juicy meat and had nice texture. One friend felt it could have done with a bit more horseradish but that in itself did not not take away from the dish. The cheddar dumplings were also another triumph. The dumplings sat in an onion and mushroom broth. Both the onions and the mushrooms were delicious and the broth had a beautifully intense flavour.

Apple, oats and clotted cream ice cream - Borough

Apple, oats and clotted cream ice cream – Borough

Parsnip, hay ice cream and chocolate - Borough

Parsnip, hay ice cream and chocolate – Borough

Sea buckthorn, mandarin and yoghurt - Borough

Sea buckthorn, mandarin and yoghurt – Borough

Whilst getting full we all went for desserts. Two of us chose the apple, oats and clotted cream whilst one went for the parsnip, hay and chocolate and the other picked the sea buckthorn and mandarin. The apple dish was tasty and surprised me as the apple was warm. The clotted cream was actually a clotted cream ice cream, which was lovely but did disappoint by friend a little as she had been looking forward to cream. The parsnip, hay and chocolate dish was going down a treat. The hay was in the form of a hay ice cream. Parsnip crisps lay on top, as did a zig zag of chocolate sauce. My friend felt that the parsnip element was not necessary but did provide a different texture. The sea buckthorn went down well with the traditionally non-dessert eater. However, it did look a little underwhelming on arrival compared to the other dishes.

We really enjoyed our visit to Borough and some of these dishes will ensure that we come back time and again.

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

Overall – 35/40

Would I eat here again? Oh yes!

Cost – £150 for 16 plates and a bottle of wine

Gyoza - Lucky Yu Canteen

Lucky Yu Canteen

20th November 2018 6pm

https://www.facebook.com/luckyyucanteen/

Lucky Yu Canteen is a tiny restaurant on Leith Walk aiming to meet your dumpling needs. My friend booked via Facebook but it seems they didn’t have our booking. They were as accommodating as they could be and squished us round a corner table, which actually was enough space for us, with a bit of space management on the table.

Lucky Yu Canteen

Lucky Yu Canteen

We were provided with a menu and pencil, where we could indicate how many of each item we would like. We were recommended to get several dishes (albeit a couple were not available that evening), so that was exactly what we did. Whilst gyoza are their main offering, there are other bits and pieces available too. We chose edamame beans, Thai prawn crackers, karaage chicken, fried chicken katsu sando, roast chicken gyoza, dirty burger gyoza, tiger prawn gyoza, the day’s special gyoza (cheese) and a lobster and chorizo bao bun. This place is BYOB so we just stuck with soft drinks.

Edamame beans - Lucky Yu Canteen

Edamame beans – Lucky Yu Canteen

Karaage Chicken - Lucky Yu Canteen

Karaage Chicken – Lucky Yu Canteen

Fried chicken katsu sando - Lucky Yu Canteen

Fried chicken katsu sando – Lucky Yu Canteen

The small plates came out first, as and when they were ready. The edamame beans were great, with a smattering of smoked sea salt. The prawn crackers were also excellent. The karaage chicken were popcorn bites deep fried and came with a saamjang mayo which was delicious. However the most popular of the small plates was the katsu sando. Essentially a sandwich, with fried chicken and a lovely katsu sauce. This was succulent and filling.

Gyoza - Lucky Yu Canteen

Gyoza – Lucky Yu Canteen

The gyoza and bao followed. The gyoza were steamed and had seen a pan before reaching us – just how I like them. Two of the gyoza came with dips and two did not. Let’s talk about the dirty burger gyoza first. Yes, it’s not traditional but you really should try them. With a mustard dip, these were both fun and tasty. The chicken gyoza probably averaged out as the favourite but they were all pretty decent. The filling was generous in all of the gyoza. Top stuff. The bao was also packed full of filling but it was felt that it needed more of the chorizo in it, as the flavour wasn’t strong enough.

Deep Fried Mini Bao - Lucky Yu Canteen

Deep Fried Mini Bao – Lucky Yu Canteen

After a bit of a wait, we ordered some dessert bao, which came in the form of a deep fried mini bao with a choice of an ice cream. We picked the pear ice cream. These. We’re delicious and the perfect way to round off the meal.

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

Overall – 30.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes.

Cost £66 for 4 small plates, 4 gyoza, 1 bao, 2 dessert bao and 3 soft drinks

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