Smoked Chorizo Mac and Cheese - Harry’s Bar

Harry’s Bar

5th May 2018 2pm

https://harrysedinburgh.co.uk/

Yet another Itison voucher (well actually two) brought Edinburgh Feasts to Harry’s Bar. On arrival they didn’t seem to have our booking, but this was no bother and they accommodated us. You can find Harry’s in a spacious basement, offering fab drinks and tapas. We greedily had a voucher each but we had chosen slightly different options. Each voucher offered four tapas dishes but mine came with a cocktail and my friend’s voucher came with a glass of prosecco (at a slightly cheaper price). Without the voucher, you can get 3 tapas for £14. I ordered the chorizo mac and cheese – which my friend highly recommended, moules frites, courgette tempura and calamari rings. My friend picked the mac and cheese, tempura fish bites, chilli and garlic king prawns and potato cubes, chorizo and cider sauce. I ordered the rhubarb and elderflower gin cocktail but sadly they were out of the gin. However, they did offer to make an alternative with ordinary gin and rhubarb bitters which tasted lovely.

The feast spread out before us and I really didn’t know where to start. I put my sensible hat on and started with the calamari as that was likely to turn quickly. They looked a little anaemic but actually tasted fine. They were generously sliced rings and the dip was delicious. The courgette tempura was great and also had a similar accompanying dip. I could pretend I was being a little bit healthy whilst also managing to enjoy the light tempura too.

The moules frites were probably enough to be a lunch on its own. I ended up passing the fries to my friend and focussed on the mussels, which were of good quality and sat in a light, creamy sauce. Lastly, but by no means least, was the chorizo mac and cheese. My dining companion was not wrong on how good this tasted. You even get a couple of bits of garlic bread alongside to dunk in it. If I bought this voucher again, I would seriously consider just ordering four of these. The cheese was oozy and the pasta luscious. The chorizo added a lovely twist.

Smoked Chorizo Mac and Cheese - Harry’s Bar

Smoked Chorizo Mac and Cheese – Harry’s Bar

Across the table from me, mac and cheese aside which was already a given, the dishes were also going down a treat. The potato, chorizo and cider was a particular favourite. The prawns were big and juicy but the fish bites were probably the most uninspiring of the lot.

The staff were great in Harry’s Bar, with what I assume was the manager giving us some light hearted chat which made us feel very welcome.

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

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? I’ll be there and ordering the chorizo mac and cheese

Cost £18 for voucher with 4 tapas and a cocktail and £14 for voucher with 4 tapas and a prosecco.

Persian Spiced Goat Kebab - Ransacked Black Oven

Ransacked Black Oven

4th May 2018 12.30pm

https://ransackedblackoven.co.uk/

A lunch time jaunt with a colleague led us to Ransacked Black Oven. Inspired by their love of Persian street food, there is a large mix of delights that caters for vegans, vegetarians and carnivores alike. Most of the food is customisable and quite a fair bit can be ordered to take away. The place was busy but we nabbed a table and ordered the dukkah and honey sourdough to share, Persian goat kebab with spinach, lentil and apple salad with hummus of the day for me and my friend chose the halloumi kebab with broccoli salad.

The bread came out quickly and was lovely and warm. The honey was subtle but worked well with the dukkah. The kebabs followed and whilst sound like something you’d have at the end of a drunken night out, was actually a healthier interpretation. My Persian spiced goat was so soft that it was difficult to pick up on my fork but beautifully melted in the mouth. Delicious! The herby potatoes were lush as was the spinach, lentil and apple salad, which also had nuts in, which was a nice surprise. There was additional rocket and tomatoes as standard. I struggled to finish the flatbread, mainly because of the sourdough starter, but it was still nice to dip in the green pepper hummus. My friend let me have a taste of her halloumi and blimey, it was good. She enjoyed her kebab just as much as I had enjoyed mine. Her broccoli salad was full of flavour.

Persian Spiced Goat Kebab - Ransacked Black Oven

Persian Spiced Goat Kebab – Ransacked Black Oven

This venue seems to have a revolving door for restaurants. Hopefully Ransacked Black Oven will have some staying power, because it’s certainly worth a visit.

Halloumi Saganaki Kebab - Ransacked Black Oven

Halloumi Saganaki Kebab – Ransacked Black Oven

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

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yes, there are so many variations to try

£26 for a flatbread, two kebabs and a Diet Coke.

Steak Frites - Buffalo

Buffalo

19th April 2018 12.30pm

www.buffalogrill.co.uk

Also known as Buffalo Grill, I met a colleague here for lunch. A small frontage gives way to more space than you’d think, with a light and airy dining area. The lunch menu is quite varied and includes a build your own burger option. I was tempted by the steak frites option and my friend chose the beef burger but added blue cheese and a side of chips. She had contemplated the steak frites but wanted a sauce, which they offered to make for her, which was a nice touch but she stuck with the burger in the end.

Steak Frites - Buffalo

Steak Frites – Buffalo

We didn’t have to wait too long for food, which was great for a lunch break. My steak frites looked good. Strips of skirt cut steak with tomatoes, mushrooms and chips, it was a substantial lunch offering but somehow still wasn’t over facing. The meat was juicy, the chips were skin on fries and I have to say I really enjoyed the mushrooms. I was really pleased with the flavour and scoffed the lot. Across the table from me the burger bun was branded with a buffalo outline and the blue cheese was oozing out of the side. She seemed to enjoy the burger too.

Blue Cheese Beef Burger - Buffalo

Blue Cheese Beef Burger – Buffalo

We had really lovely and accommodating service and the food was of a good standard. A great lunch spot.

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

Overall- 32.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yup.

£19 for a steak frites, burger with blue cheese and fries and two soft drinks

Roti

Roti

10th January 2018 12.15pm

http://roti-edinburgh.co.uk/

Situated on South Bridge, Roti offers Indian food, with tapas being a specialty. A colleague had suggested lunch here as they had some good lunchtime deals. These consisted of a few different thali options along with some Indian fast-food fusion hybrids, which sounded unusual to say the least. I am a big fan of thalis so I ordered the non-vegetarian one and one of my dining companions chose the vegetarian version. The last of the three of us went for one of the slightly more unusual options and picked a tikka burrito.

Non-vegetarian thali - Roti

Non-vegetarian thali – Roti

We had a bit of a wait for our food, but unsurprisingly, the thalis looked great on arrival. Each had three different curries. On the non-vegetarian tray, one was lamb, one was chicken and the last was vegetarian. Additional to this were a couple of pieces of chicken with a dip, a naan and some rice. Each of the curries were different rather than being various meats with the same sauce and all had their own personalities but worked well as a meal. On the vegetarian version, the curries again were all different and came with naan and rice but had bhajis instead of the chicken. We were both suitably impressed and filled by our thalis. The tikka burrito did look a little bit sorry for itself in comparison. Certainly a size for those who like a lighter lunch but at a cheaper price, this makes sense. The burrito came wrapped in foil and had a sauce to dip into or pour. My friend enjoyed the flavours and gave it the thumbs up, even if she did have a bit of thali envy.

Vegetarian thali - Roti

Vegetarian thali – Roti

My two friends decided to order a mint tea and a latte. After what seemed like an inordinate amount of time (I’d say at least 15 minutes) the tea arrived and we were informed that it could be another 10 minutes for the coffee as the machine needed to warm up. We decided to wait but only because the tea had already been delivered. All very odd.

Tikka Burrito - Roti

Tikka Burrito – Roti

Roti offers value for money and the food was nice. However, don’t consider this a place to fit a lunch into an hour lunch break as there won’t be enough time.

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

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? If I wasn’t in a hurry

Cost £26 for two thali, a burrito, a tea and coffee.

Turkey Roulade - Le Monde

Le Monde

1st December 2017 12noon

http://lemondehotel.co.uk/dine/

The office Christmas party was arranged for Le Monde. We had a separate room upstairs that seated the 40ish of us. I never expect extravagant food at what is essentially a mass catering exercise but at £37 a pop, I did hope that it wouldn’t be a load of limp carrots and turkey dry enough to rival the Sahara. We were all given a glass of fizz on arrival, which got the party off to a nice start. It seems that the one person who didn’t have their order written on the co-ordinated list was the one who stole my starter, as I was left without. However, a quick dash to the kitchen and the waiter bought out the whipped goats cheese and beetroot salad. It was missing the micro herbs on top but considering it wasn’t their mistake, I wasn’t going to grumble. However, it did become clear that is was the smallest of the starters on offer, and they all varied quite a bit in size. The soup was massive and the terrine and salmon were more of the size I’d expect as a starter. My beetroot was a little dull but the whipped goats cheese was nice. Generally I was underwhelmed, as were the others on my table that had chosen this dish. The butternut squash soup, on the other hand, was going down a treat – even though it was a bit on the big side. The terrine and the salmon were both decent enough but nothing stand out.

As we were far enough away from Christmas, I opted for the turkey roulade. It appeared that everyone else had the same idea. This was surprisingly good. The turkey wasn’t too dry and there was plenty of it. The fondant potato was excellent and the root vegetables had a lovely sweet flavour. The creamed Brussel sprouts weren’t quite what I expected, as they had been coated in a cream rather than them being broken down into cream, but it didn’t matter as they also tasted great. Happy faces all round. One colleague near me had the bream, which came with a beautifully coloured pea and her risotto. This was also enjoyed this although felt a little uninspired, which seemed to be the general theme so far.

Onto desserts. I had chosen the chocolate and hazelnut salted caramel torte. This came with a quenelle of clotted cream and some raspberry gel. It was a delightful dessert and the slice was just the right size. The clotted cream wasn’t for everyone but I wolfed it down. A few others had the vanilla cheesecake. This came with a spiced pear and plum compote to give it a bit of a Christmassy feel. Again, this was received well across the table.

Le Monde did surprisingly well for a Christmas dinner. Whilst it was a little mixed, in comparison with other similar festive meals, this was a decent enough offering. It didn’t do enough to encourage me to dash back in the new year though.

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

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe but it wouldn’t be my first choice.

£37 per person including welcome glass of fizz

Assorted Sashimi Salad - Kanpai

Kanpai

19th September 2017 12.30pm

www.kanpaisushiedinburgh.co.uk

A friend (who also happens to be a colleague) and I went for an impromptu lunch at Kanpai and it turned out to be a serene location for a lunchtime treat. Decorated in muted hues and delicate features, Kanpai has a hint of both modern and traditional. There were plenty of different options on the menu without being over-faced with choice. In the end, I chose the tuna maki and the assorted sashimi salad. My dining companion opted for the crowned tuna tartare and the king prawn tempura.

The dishes come out when they are ready and the first two dishes to arrive where the crowned tuna tartare and the tuna maki. There was a delightful little pot on the table to pour your soy sauce from. It’s little touches like these that indicated there was a high level of attention to detail. After the soy was poured, I got stuck into my tuna maki. I had to do all I could to refrain myself from devouring the whole lot in quick succession. This maki was seriously good. You could tell that the fish was of good quality and the sushi rice was simply perfect. I tried to let each flavour melt on my tongue before swallowing the food. I was a very happy bunny. On the other side of the table, my friend was making equally delighted noises over her crowned tuna tartare. This was a beautifully presented dish. The tuna was topped with breadcrumbs, to provide some extra texture, and the whole thing sat on top of a bed of rice. Thumbs up all round.

As we were tucking into those dishes, the tempura and the assorted sashimi salad arrived. The salad was vibrant with pieces of avocado scattered across the top, along with a single prawn. The main ingredients of the salad were salmon, tuna and squid. Daikon, cucumber and spring onions could be found at the bottom. It also came with its own dressing which you could pour over to meet your own preferences. This was fresh and dazzling. It seemed to last for ages too, which felt like a bonus. I can’t recommend this enough. The tempura was also good, being light and flavoursome. It was served in a lovely basket. However, my friend commented that she would have liked some chilli in her tempura. That being said, it was clear that fish was where the speciality lies in Kanpai.

We both really enjoyed our time at Kanpai and can’t wait to go back again. The only downside, as is always the way with sushi, it’s not a particularly cheap option. However, Kanpai offers the quality which makes the price tag seem deserved.

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

Overall – 35/40

Would I eat here again? Regularly!

Cost £34 for four plates of food plus two diet cokes

Falafel - Cafe Truva

Cafe Truva

13th September 2017 12.30pm

www.cafetruva.com/artcollege.php

We popped in here, the Art School branch, to try lunch as we worked close by. Café Truva seems a bit tardis-like, with never ending dining space. We settled in a spot by the window and perused the menu. Café Truva offers breakfasts, sandwiches, toasties, salads and other hot food. I opted for a ham panini, my friends chose falafel with aubergine and hummus, and a wrap.

Ham Panini - Cafe Truva

Ham Panini – Cafe Truva

Service was prompt and we all received our food. My panini was warm but not grilled to an inch of its life, so it still had a bit of give and wasn’t like cardboard – thank goodness. The filling was ample and the taste was good. The falafel came with a generous dollop of hummus and two large slices of pitta bread. The flavour was good and the falafel wasn’t too dry. The wrap was very similar to my panini and it’s contents were oozing out of the top of the wrap. All our plates had the addition of a small side salad which consisted of tomato, slaw, cucumber, a salsa and some raita. I particularly enjoyed the salsa.

All the food was tasty – nothing was at the level of ‘wow’ but it is a solid lunch option. We were also not hurried out, which made it for a relaxing eat.

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

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Yes as it’s handy for a quick bite to eat

£22 for three mains, two soft drinks and a tea