Diablo Loco

Diablo Loco

 

NOW CLOSED

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

Chicken Balti - Vinyasa

Vinyasa

10th April 2018 6.30pm

www.vinyasaedinburgh.co.uk

Midweek curry on a grim drizzly day is a definite pick-me-up. Vinyasa can be found just off the Royal Mile and we were warmly welcomed on arrival. We immediately got to drooling over the menu, with plenty of familiar dishes on the menu. We had to wait a little while to place our order but when we did, we decided to get a load of poppadoms to start (standard) and then picked a variety of curries. I chose the chicken balti, as I always do when I spot it on a menu of a place I’ve not been before as it’s a good yardstick for me. I also ordered a garlic naan to scoop up the curry sauce.

Curries - Vinyasa

Curries – Vinyasa

The poppadoms and chutneys were great and as usual, we all had to restrain ourselves from devouring them within seconds. The chutney tray was pretty standard but as usual, the mango chutney was the one that was demolished.

Chicken Balti - Vinyasa

Chicken Balti – Vinyasa

Next, the curries. On delivery to the table, you may feel they appear on the small side, appearing in small but deep dishes, but actually I found this meant that I could completely finish my curry rather than having to admit defeat three quarters of the way through. Also, it meant there was a greater meat and vegetables to sauce ratio, which was mightily satisfying. I think everyone around the table enjoyed their curries. The rice and naans were also delicious.

Naan - Vinyasa

Naan – Vinyasa

We had to wait again to get and pay the bill but we felt it was worth it for the quality of the food. A nice place if you are around the Royal Mile vicinity.

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

Overall – 31.5/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

Cost £131 for 12 poppadoms and chutney, 6 curries, 4 naans, 3 rice, a bottle of wine, a beer, two diet cokes

Fazenda

Fazenda

2nd April 2018 7.30pm

https://fazenda.co.uk/

If you are a true carnivore, Fazenda will be right up your street. Easily found on George Street, Fazenda offers a set price for an all you can eat experience but somehow manages to avoid the garishness that is usually associated with these types of places. It is distinctively trying to pitch to the higher end of the market and I think to some success. You pay more for evening sittings but you also get a bigger range of meats to try.

Gourmet Sides Bar - Fazenda

Gourmet Sides Bar – Fazenda

There is a gourmet sides bar which you can go up to and select whatever you want. It’s self-service and has all sorts of food, from salads to cheeses, to sushi and stews. These all taste pretty good and staff keep an eye on it to make sure it’s in tip top condition at all times. We made the classic mistake of getting too excited with self-service and piled too much on, so take my advice – go slow and steady. With the meats, it’s a whole other world of fun. Each person has a small disc, a bit like a drinks mat, which is red on one side and green on the other. When you are ready for meat, turn it to green. The staff who are bringing out the meats from the kitchen do a loop of the restaurant to see who has a green card and offer whichever meat they have. You have a little set of tongs which you use to grab the meat as they carve. Need a breather? Just turn your card back to red. You can do this for as long as you like (but preferably stop before you get to exploding point!).

There was such a variety of meat, from different cuts of beef, chicken in bacon, pork belly, sausages etc. There should be something for everyone (or everything for everyone in our case). We particularly liked a salted beef and a garlic beef, the fillet was lush as was the pork belly. Let’s face it – it was all gorgeous. Additionally, a server came round the restaurant with a fresh basket of chips and padron peppers which were also sublime.

Fazenda

Fazenda

We were way too stuffed for dessert but they do, somewhat optimistically, offer some. Fazenda also cater for vegetarians and vegans, which is a credit, but I think there is a high chance they won’t want to see the meat being paraded around, particularly if they are in the latter category.

We loved our experience at Fazenda and are currently trying to find when we can next slot in a visit.

Food – 9/10
Service – 10/10
Atmosphere- 9/10
Value – 8/10 (although if you plan it right it could be 10/10).

Overall -36/40

Would I eat here again? Most definitely. It was a fab experience

Cost £86 for two set meals, two glasses of wine and a margarita.