The House Burger - Porto & Fi

Porto & Fi

19th December 2018 1pm

www.portofi.com

An impromptu Christmas get together over lunch brought Edinburgh Feasts to Porto & Fi. Situated in Newhaven, Porto & Fi is a family run café-bistro and was bustling when we arrived. I was looking to fill up as I had nothing really in for dinner, so chose their house burger. My friend had plans to go out for dinner so chose one of the soups of the day – yellow split pea.

The House Burger - Porto & Fi

The House Burger – Porto & Fi

My burger came with curly fries (bonus!), a red cabbage slaw and a side salad. You could choose between two sauces for the burger, dijonaise or BBQ. I went with the former, although I would have liked to have been offered a condiment for my fries. You can also add cheese for a little extra but I decided not to. The burger itself was fairly big and made of 100% beef. It was tasty and filling. The salad was fairly standard but the slaw gave it a boost. The curly fries were plentiful and excellent. Across from me, the soup was also going down well. This came with some big pieces of sliced baguette and some butter. The soup was a really hearty bowlful, great on a cold winter’s day.

Yellow Split Pea Soup - Porto & Fi

Yellow Split Pea Soup – Porto & Fi

We had a good lunch at Porto & Fi. They offer a good range of food for those who want a light bite and those who want something more substantial. It’s certainly worth a visit.

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

Overall – 32/10

Would I eat here again? Yup.

£21 for a soup, a burger and two diet cokes

Aurora Borealis - Barologist

The Barologist

14th October 2018 1.30pm

thebarologist.co.uk

There is no doubt that the Barologist offers a fun and quirky setting. With stars on the ceiling, snow falling in a gilt frame, fairy lights intertwined with flowers, fancy seats and various steampunk paraphernalia there will be something to catch your eye. Would the dining experience live up to the visuals?

Barologist

Barologist

Barologist

Barologist

The menu offered an extensive choice. I opted for the deli board where you can choose four items for £10.99 (and add further items for a small additional cost). My friends went for the jambalaya and the steak as well as a starter of a flurry of chicken to share. We also got a few cocktails in because, why not? We were served by someone who usually works on the bar, so did struggle with both the menu and remembering our orders but we could forgive him as he was trying his best.

Cocktails - Barologist

Cocktails – Barologist

Aurora Borealis - Barologist

Aurora Borealis – Barologist

The cocktails were all great, but I was particularly impressed by the Aurora Borealis. I think the fruit droplets were a lovely addition to the drink. I am also a bit of a sucker for novelty.

Flurry of chicken - Barologist

Flurry of chicken – Barologist

Deli Board - Barologist

Deli Board – Barologist

My two friends had ordered the flurry of chicken and really enjoyed this. I had chosen the mini Cornish pasties, chicken liver pate, chicken goujons and beetroot mac n cheese for my deli board. This platter also came with bread and butter. The pasties were missing the tomato jam but were otherwise well flavoured. The pate was delicious and paired well with the bread. The goujons were nothing special but ok. The beetroot mac n cheese was really tasty. Across the table, the jambalaya was not hitting the right buttons. Missing the flavour required and accompanied by a big hulk of cornbread, this really left my friend underwhelmed. The steak arrived on a sizzle plate along with onion rings and tomatoes (she’d ordered chips and mac and cheese on the side). This was a decent steak with good flavour. All the accompaniments were of a pleasant standard.

Jambalaya - Barologist

Jambalaya – Barologist

Steak- Barologist

Steak- Barologist

Two of us decided to try desserts. I picked the mudslide and my friend chose the trio of treats. I found the mudslide quite dry, even with the whipped cream. It was also served on the metal disc from the tart case, which really should have been removed. The trio of mini desserts was a bit better. This included a brownie, pavlova and sticky toffee pudding. There was still a dryness though as the promised cream was not served.

Mudslide - Barologist

Mudslide – Barologist

Trio of treats - Barologist

Trio of treats – Barologist

Espresso and cake - Barologist

Espresso and cake – Barologist

We finished with drinks and one of the group had a whisky flight. Sadly one of the flight had something floating in it and tasted off, so had to be sent back and replaced.

Sunset on the Shore - Barologist

Sunset on the Shore – Barologist

Whisky flight - Barologist

Whisky flight – Barologist

I had so wanted to fall in love with the Barologist. Unfortunately it was a little off the mark, but does show some glimmers of potential. Hopefully it will find its feet once it’s been running a bit longer.

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

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Yes but more likely to visit for drinks and nibbles

£122 for one starter, two mains, one deli board, three desserts, four cocktails, one mocktail and a whisky flight.

The Fishmarket

The Fishmarket

28th September 2018 12.30pm

www.thefishmarketnewhaven.co.uk

My parents were in Edinburgh visiting, so we decided to take a stroll in Newhaven on what turned out to be a sunny but breezy day, and try out The Fishmarket. Situated on Newhaven Harbour, The Fishmarket has only been open a few months. Offering both take away and restaurant dining, I would recommend booking in advance, as this place got busy.

Squid and chips - The Fishmarket

Squid and chips – The Fishmarket

We were seated by the window, with a lovely view of the harbour and the Forth, and had a look at the menu. I would imagine most people come here for fish and chips, but there are some other options. I chose the squid and a small portion of chips. My parents both opted for fish and chips, one choosing the medium size and the other the large (you can go as big as ‘whale’ sized). My mum couldn’t resist ordering some mushy peas on the side and I ordered a garlic mayonnaise.

Haddock, chips and mushy peas - The Fishmarket

Haddock, chips and mushy peas – The Fishmarket

My squid arrived and there was plenty of it, although possibly not enough to justify the price. It was accompanied by a Vietnamese dipping sauce. The squid was not rubbery and the coating was light. The dipping sauce had a sharp edge to it that I loved. This worked really well together. The chips were of a decent standard. I couldn’t really tell the difference in size between my parents’ portions of fish and chips, which was a little odd. They really enjoyed the fish though and agreed that the chips were nice. The mushy peas got a thumbs up.

We were too full for dessert but there were some good things on offer such as lemon posset and chocolate pots.

The Fishmarket was a nice lunch outing, in a lovely setting.

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

Overall 30.5/40

Would I eat here again? Probably.

£36 for 1 large haddock and chips, 1 medium haddock and chips, squid, small chips, mushy peas and a garlic mayo.

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.