The Shore Grill and Fish House

2nd September 2018 1.15pm

www.theshore-queensferry.co.uk/

Out at North Queensferry, this is stretching the limits of Edinburgh Feasts a little, but photos of the launch of this place had me intrigued – plus, I got to go over the new Queensferry Crossing. I don’t drive but I had a willing accomplice who would take us. However, you can get a train to North Queensferry and then have a 15 min or so stroll to the restaurant should you want a tipple with your meal. The Shore forms part of the Doubletree by Hilton hotel and comes from the people behind Twenty Princes Street and Juniper in the city. Upon arrival it was clear that this was a beautiful location. The view both from the car park and the restaurant was gorgeous. The Queensferry Crossing stretched out before us and you could see boats drifting up and down the Forth. The restaurant clearly takes advantage of this with floor to ceiling windows across a full side of the restaurant. A lovely start for a Sunday lunch.

img_3724img_3725The Sunday lunch menu has lots of choice, with several different roasts to pick from. There were even two veggie options as well as a sharing lamb platter or, if you didn’t want a roast (odd), options such as steak or fish and chips. There are some great sides such as mac and cheese and you can even get additional Yorkshire puddings (although as it transpires, you might not need to). We were perhaps a little over ambitious and ordered starters as well as a roast. I opted for the chicken liver pate followed by the roast beef and my dining companion chose the salmon to start followed by the roast chicken.

img_3730img_3729The starters looked great. My pate came on a wooden board with a rack of toasted brioche, butter, chutney and rocket. The toast to pate ratio was spot on. The brioche was a really lovely choice and I adored the plum and apple chutney. I probably wouldn’t have chosen to have salt flakes on my pate but that is personal preference and was easily rectified. A really delicious dish. My friend’s salmon was beautifully presented. This Scottish salmon was cured with lemon and yuzu and came with a wasabi emulsion, pickled veg, avocado cream and a fish skin cracker. She loved this plate of food and I have to say I was quite envious of it too. She said it was light and fresh, with the salmon still the star of the dish.

img_3732img_3733The roasts them followed and wow, that was a big plate of food! Pretty much all my food was obscured by the humongous Yorkshire pudding balanced on top. Peeking underneath I could see some thick slices of beef with carrots, parsnips, roast potatoes, cabbage and a glistening gravy, as well as a horseradish and grain mustard sauce on the side. I really don’t know where to start with this as it was all really tasty. The meat was succulent and generous. The red cabbage was spectacular and the Yorkshire pudding was stellar. My friend had pretty much the same but sage and onion stuffing instead of the horseradish sauce. She has also got to choose whether she wanted drumstick or thigh along with her breast meat, which was nice to be offered the choice. She loved it as much as me but we did had to admit defeat and couldn’t quite finish it all.

img_3731We couldn’t managed dessert as we had over egged it with having the starters. Next time we would have roast and then see if there was room for dessert afterwards. We did really enjoy our time at The Shore though, with the views and food working together to make a great experience. It’s worth travelling outside the city limits for.

Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8.5/10

Overall – 34.5/40

Would I eat here again? Already planning it

Cost – complimentary but the cost would have been around £40 for two starters and two roasts

Whilst this meal was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Kim from The Limelight for organising

Sardines - Loch Fyne

Loch Fyne

3rd August 2018 1.30pm

www.lochfyneseafoodandgrill.co.uk/locations/edinburgh

I’ll be honest, we had been intending to try the Fishmarket at Newhaven but it was full, so we toddled along to Loch Fyne. It’s a light and airy venue with some lovely views. They offer a really reasonably priced lunch menu, which we decided to give a shot. We were advised that mussels were off the menu as they were not at their best at the moment (then why are they on the menu, I wonder?). Anyway, I opted for the sardines to start followed by the steak – with a supplement – for my main. My friends chose both the sardines and potted mackerel for their starters and both chose salmon fishcakes for their mains.

Sardines - Loch Fyne

Sardines – Loch Fyne

Potted Mackerel - Loch Fyne

Potted Mackerel – Loch Fyne

The starters were pretty decent. The chargrilled sardines were plentiful and had a really nice chilli and coriander dressing on top. I enjoyed the addition of Greek yoghurt to add to the fish. I’d never had sardines before but this was a good introduction. The potted mackerel was a little dull in comparison. It came with who generous sized pieces of toast but it all seemed a little mismatched. That said, my friend still enjoyed the dish enough.

Flat Iron Steak - Loch Fyne

Flat Iron Steak – Loch Fyne

Fries - Loch Fyne

Fries – Loch Fyne

The mains arrived but my steak came without its bearnaise sauce. I waited a little and then ended up asking a waiter if I’d misunderstood the menu. I had not. They had just forgotten it. As it was a flat iron steak, they recommended that it be cooked medium rather than the rare I would usually go for. It came perfectly cooked and was nice to eat. The watercress looked a little sad next to it though. My chips were also a bit hard and crunchy so weren’t the best. My two friends had both chosen then salmon fish cakes. Two fish cakes sat on top of wilted spinach with a creamy Provençal sauce. Whilst the both said they were nice, one of them discovered a massive (and I do mean massive) bone in her fish cake. It should have easily been spotted by the chef based on the size.

Salmon Fishcakes - Loch Fyne

Salmon Fishcakes – Loch Fyne

Two of us opted for dessert. I was tempted by the crème brulee and my friend chose the treacle taste. The crème brûlée was of a good standard. It was creamy with a lovely balance of vanilla. The shortbread alongside was a little superfluous though. My friend though the treacle tart was alright but wasn’t sure that it was orange but grapefruit that was presented with it.

Creme Brulee - Loch Fyne

Creme Brulee – Loch Fyne

Treacle Tart - Loch Fyne

Treacle Tart – Loch Fyne

Whilst the flavours were decent overall, somehow we left not overly impressed. The tables were sticky due to tired varnish and bits and pieces failed to deliver.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? At a push

Cost around £45 for two three course set lunches and one two course set lunch.

Brasserie Prince

Brasserie Prince

1st August 2018 12.30pm

www.roccofortehotels.com/hotels-and-resorts/the-balmoral-hotel/restaurants-and-bars/brasserie-prince/

Brasserie Prince opened to much fanfare recently. Situated in the Balmoral Hotel, the Roux family have opened a relaxed style restaurant. It was a little chaotic for us on arrival, which was odd considering that the restaurant was not very busy. There were two men in front of us who were speaking to one of the front of house staff. Another three or four staff were hovering. The men were taken to their table and then we were left there for a fair few minutes before finally being acknowledged and taken to our table, even though staff were shooting past us back and forth at quite a rate.

Steak Tartare - Brasserie Prince

Steak Tartare – Brasserie Prince

Fries - Brasserie Prince

Fries – Brasserie Prince

The menu is French on one side and English on the other. I’m not really sure what the point of that is other than coming across as a bit pretentious – or perhaps I’m getting grumpy as I get older. Anyway, if steak tartare is on the menu, I like to try it. This was at an eye watering £27 but as it was just after pay day I thought I’d see what exacl;y was so special about it to justify the price tag, which was quite a bit more than many other items on the menu. My friend opted for the rump steak.

Rump steak - Brasserie Prince

Rump steak – Brasserie Prince

My steak tartare came with fries. This was the only thing that was different – well apart from being hidden under a mound of greenery and parmesan. The flavour was good and the quality of the meat was clear. The fries were decent enough. However, whilst nice, it was no better than what I can get elsewhere in the city for half the price. Across the table from me, the steak was being appreciated. This came with onion rings and French fries. It looked quite uninspiring in the plate though. That said, the steak was cooked well and was gobbled up by my friend.

Dark Chocolate Mousse - Brasserie Prince

Dark Chocolate Mousse – Brasserie Prince

We clearly had room for dessert, so I chose the dark chocolate mousse and my dining companion opted for the seasonal fresh fruit tart. My mousse was simple but beautiful. It was accompanied by some Gavottes biscuits which were incredibly light. My friend was a little disappointed with her fruit tart. She had been hoping for some kind of crème patisserie in it with a selection of fruit on top but what transpired was a fruit purée with two fruits on top, albeit plentiful. This was still a nice dessert but perhaps needs a little more explanation on the menu.

Seasonal Fruit Tart - Brasserie Prince

Seasonal Fruit Tart – Brasserie Prince

Overall we felt underwhelmed by Brasserie Prince. It was expensive for what it was. No doubt it will do well on the name and location but I’d pick many other places to eat before this one.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 6/10

Overall – 28/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe but unlikely.

£77 for two mains and two desserts plus a glass of wine.

Playfair Sharing Platter - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

29th July 2018 1pm

www.contini.com/scottish-cafe-and-restaurant

It had been a scorcher of a month but sadly the rain came. However, a trip to the Scottish Café and Restaurant, owned by the Contini family, brightened up our day. This café and restaurant is open only during the day and can be found nestled at the bottom of the National Gallery.

Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

The summer menu offers a very reasonable two courses for £20 or three courses for £25, as well as sharing platters, brunch, roast and afternoon tea options. We ordered the Sunday roast and cullen skink but as this was a complimentary trip they kindly also laid on a sharing platter after we had ordered. This platter included the sandwich of the day, which was chicken, a whipped cheese and walnut dip, a salmon dip and a tomato salsa, oatcakes, crackers, cheese and salad as well as two luscious bowls of soup. This was an excellent offering which we scoffed down. I particularly loved the soup and my dining companion liked the salmon. The oatcakes and crackers worked well for scooping.

Playfair Sharing Platter - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Playfair Sharing Platter – Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

My roast was beautifully presented and certainly was more of a summer roast. A colossal amount of chicken was on the plate, alongside a light and fluffy Yorkshire pudding, with various vegetables including mange tout, tomatoes (yeah, I know – technically a fruit), potatoes, and broccoli. This was all accompanied by a light gravy. This was a nice take on a traditional roast and I really enjoyed it. Across the table from me the cullen skink was a hearty sized bowl with plenty of fish, potato and leek in the creamy stew. There was also an additional large slice of bread for dunking. My friend really enjoyed this dish.

Sunday Roast - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Sunday Roast – Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Cullen Skink - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Cullen Skink – Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

We were really quite stuffed at this point but we’re determined to sample dessert, so chose to share a cheesecake between us. This came in a glass and was layered within it. The raspberry coulis was delicious and the cheesecake bit was light and creamy. It was a great way to round off the meal.

Cheesecake - Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

Cheesecake – Scottish Cafe and Restaurant

We were really impressed with the Scottish Café and Restaurant. They offered some really great food.

Food – 8.5/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 32.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yup

This meal was complimentary, apart from drinks of two diet cokes and a tea. The true cost close to £65 for platter, roast, one main and dessert deal and drinks.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views are my own. Thank you to Jon for organising the visit.

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