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

Italian Salami Pizza - Pizza Posto

Pizza Posto

3rd August 2017 1pm

https://pizzaposto.co.uk/

In the site of the former beloved pizza joint Tutto Matto, Pizza Posto is in a perfect location just across from the Festival Theatre. With a stripped down menu, Pizza Posto offers just 8 pizzas, but wow were they tasty. I ordered myself the number 5 – tomato sugo, mozzarella, spicy Italian salami and olive oil. My friend chose the number 4 – nduja sauce, Tuscan sausage, Italian broccoli, mozzarella and olive oil.

Italian Salami Pizza - Pizza Posto

Italian Salami Pizza – Pizza Posto

The pizzas came out really quickly and were a good size. The tomato sugo topping was delicious and the large discs of salami were perfect. I would have liked a little less crust on my pizza, with the topping actually reaching the crust rather than a bit of empty base but that was really my only negative. On the other side of the table, my friend was also enjoying her pizza. The Italian broccoli wasn’t quite what she expected and felt like it was a cross between broccoli and spinach but thought it was tasty nevertheless. We both managed to polish off the pizzas, which indicated they were just the right size for a hearty lunch.

Tuscan Sausage Pizza - Pizza Posto

Tuscan Sausage Pizza – Pizza Posto

There are a few desserts should you fancy but we were full.

We enjoyed our trip but I did have one really bizarre negative. We were sat in the lower part of the restaurant and my seat was next to a cut out design feature in the divider part of the wall, which the speaker seemed to face, albeit at a bit of a distance. However, the way the sound travelled actually gave me a ringing ear, like I’d been to a gig, which lasted well over an hour after our visit. Weird. Anyway, don’t let that put you off, just choose your table wisely!

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

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Yup!

Cost £20 for two pizzas, a peroni and a Diet Coke

Salmon Set - Tang's

Tang’s

30th May 2017 12.45pm

www.hakatayauk.com/tang-s-japanese-dining/

Tang’s can be found on Candlemaker Row, in the shadow of Greyfriars Bobby. A friend suggested meeting here for an impromptu lunch. I arrived first but stood waiting for a member of staff for getting on for 5 minutes. As it transpired, there seemed to be only one member of waiting staff and she had been serving some other customers on the upper floor (and was rushed off her feet the entire time we were there). My friend arrived just in time and we were seated on the ground floor. We had a look at the menus and both decided to order from the lunchtime menu. I went for the salmon set – a salmon sushi platter. My dining companion chose the chicken katsu curry.

Salmon Set - Tang's

Salmon Set – Tang’s

Whilst our server had been very busy, we didn’t have to wait too long for our food to arrive. My sushi was on a nice wooden serving stand. It looked very pretty, comprising of sashimi, nigiri and maki, with a small pile of ginger, wasabi, and a token bit of salad with a couple of slices of radish. I went for maki first and was surprised to find it was warm. The rice obviously hadn’t been cooled enough before rolling. This didn’t make it unpleasant though and worked quite well dipped into the soy. The nigiri was the same, with slightly warm rice, although as it was more exposed it was a bit cooler. The sashimi however was ice cold in one place on each slice, almost as if it had been frozen and hadn’t fully defrosted, which was a shame as it really did take any flavour out of the salmon. On the other side of the table, the katsu curry was a large portion. Which made it decent value for money. However, my friend felt the dish was OK but nothing more, and had experienced better elsewhere.

Chicken Katsu Curry - Tang's

Chicken Katsu Curry – Tang’s

We also found whilst we were eating that across from us, some tradesmen were working on fixing something, causing an awful noise as we finished our food. Whilst I know broken items need fixing, perhaps avoiding the lunch rush would have been better. All in all, a bit of a disappointing visit.

Food – 6/10
Service – 6/10
Atmosphere – 5/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 24/40

Would I eat here again? Unlikely

Cost £22 for a salmon set, chicken katsu curry and two diet cokes

Caley Sample Room

Caley Sample Room

21st May 2017 12.30pm

http://thecaleysampleroom.co.uk/

My friend insisted that we find somewhere new to go for a Sunday roast. The Caley Sample Room is situated in Dalry so whilst not in the city centre, it is really easy to get to and prides itself on being a family friendly venue. The roasts are served from 12noon on a Sunday until it runs out. It’s probably wise to get in early as although it was quiet on our arrival, the place was pretty busy by the time we left. There were two roasts on offer – lamb and beef. I went for the lamb whilst my other friends went for the beef.

When the roasts arrived, they were not piled high as you sometimes see, but did have plenty of meat on them. Both roasts came with seasonal vegetables (in this case runner beans, broccoli, courgette and cabbage), roast potatoes, a Yorkshire pudding and a lovely gravy. The lamb dish came with a pot of mint sauce and the beef dish came with a pot of horseradish sauce. The lamb was very succulent, even though there was no pink colour to it. The gravy had a beautiful depth of flavour. It was poured into the Yorkshire pudding though, to the horror of my friend who prefers a crispy batter (it was fine by me though, I like a bit of sogginess). My potatoes had clearly caught a bit on the pan, which wasn’t great but didn’t impact too much on the taste. The veg was ok but nothing spectacular. I personally like carrots as well as green veg with my roast dinner but I have to say I didn’t miss them too much. The other two were enjoying their beef, both saying that their meals were really good.

Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart - Caley Sample Room

Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart – Caley Sample Room

We decided we’d try to fit in a dessert, although if you felt this was too much, a boozy coffee or hot chocolate is a good alternative on offer. I chose the dark chocolate and salted caramel tart and my friends chose the espresso crème brulee and the knickerbocker glory. My tart was actually a slice but was about the right size considering the richness of the chocolate. The tart was accompanied by a fruit compote and a scoop of ice cream. These two additions helped balance out the intensity of the tart. The base was delicious too. All in all a solid dessert. The knickerbocker glory was massive. Full of ice cream and fruit compote and topped with flakes (she had asked for it without any cream). She was surprised to find that part way down there were also marshmallows, which she wasn’t expecting. She particularly enjoyed the ice cream in this and almost managed to finish the lot. The last dish – the brulee – did have a bit of a crack on entry but I noticed that the custard was a bit runny, possibly connected to the coffee content. My friend didn’t seem bothered by this and said it still tasted good. This dessert had three small amaretti biscuits served with it too.

Generally, we enjoyed our visit to Caley Sample Room. The menu had lots of interesting options on it so it might be worth a return visit.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 7/10
Atmosphere – 8/10 (one of my friends particularly like the Beatles playlist)
Value – 8/10

Overall – 30.5/40

Would I eat here again? Probably

Cost £75 for three roasts, three desserts, a bottle of white wine and a diet coke

The Outsider

The Outsider

9th May 2017 1pm

www.theoutsiderrestaurant.com

An impromptu lunch with a colleague brought us to The Outsider. I had not ventured here since I started my blog so I was intrigued to see if it was as nice as I remembered. We were greeted with a smile and asked if we’d like to sit in the sun (i.e. near a window). We jumped at the chance and whilst not right next to a window we did have a beautiful view of the castle, which is particularly impressive if you want to show off to visitors. As we were a little later in the lunchtime slot, two of the three specials were already sold out but the rest of the normal lunch menu was available plus the soup special, all at really reasonable prices. I could have eaten pretty much everything and after changing my mind a few times, I opted for the pan fried crispy gnocchi whereas my colleague went for the honey and ale marinated steak ciabatta.

Gnocchi - The Outsider

Gnocchi – The Outsider

When the food arrived, they were both good portion sizes, although the ciabatta – with a humongous portion of skinny fries – was certainly punching above its weight. My gnocchi was in long strips, which was a little unusual but didn’t detract from its lovey flavour. The gnocchi was nestled in a bed of rocket alongside fine slices of juicy pear, a scattering of walnuts, and some cherry tomatoes. These all worked in harmony and the basil pesto and Parmesan shavings brought it all together nicely. I polished off the lot. My colleague attempted to eat the ciabatta with her hands but as the steak was not cut finely enough, she found herself having to take pieces out and eat them a bit at a time. That was her only complaint though as the meat itself was succulent and full of flavour. The side of fries were perfectly seasoned. She couldn’t finish them off so I was happily able to assist. They were delicious and the wild garlic aioli was spot on (even if our office was going to be pungent on our return).

Steak Ciabatta - The Outsider

Steak Ciabatta – The Outsider

We enjoyed our time at The Outsider. The service was generally good, although we did have to chase an ordered drink. The vibe was relaxing. Definitely worth a visit.

Food – 8.5/10
Service – 7.5/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 10/10

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Yup!

Cost £15 for two mains from the lunch menu plus a sparkling water

Apple Strudel - The Huxley

The Huxley

29th April 2017 12.30pm

www.thehuxley.co.uk

We popped in here for lunch after seeing a push on social media (particularly their brunch it seems). Saturday meant it was busy but not in an overcrowded way. The Huxley offers a relatively standard menu which includs burgers, hot dogs, nachos, salads etc. All prices are fairly reasonable. I went for the naked dog – a hot dog without toppings, with the exception of onions. My friend chose the Philly Cheesesteak in the aim of eradicating the awful memories from Wildwood.

When the food arrived, it looked a little disappointing. My hotdog looked ok but the fries looked a little lacklustre. My friend’s cheesesteak looked a little lonely on the large plate (admittedly my friend forgot to order a side of fries). Even the accompanying slaw couldn’t do much to save either dish. Anyway, tucking in, my hot dog was actually pretty good. The sausage had really good flavour, smoky but not overpowering. The bun was ok and the onions were nice, although not with enough caramelised flavour for my liking. The slaw was crunchy and not too creamy. The fries were sufficient but were a touch limp. On the other side of the table, my dining companion was relieved to report that the cheesesteak was definitely better than the one from Wildwood. The filling was generous. However, she found the brioche bun a little too sweet.

As I had already spied an apple strudel on the dessert menu, I knew it was my destiny. My friend decided to have the trio of ice cream. When she ordered, it became apparent there was a choice but the waitress has to check. The choices were orange, ginger or wild berries. My friend thought they were odd choices but picked orange. Upon arrival, my strudel looked more like two spring rolls. The custard was a small pool in the bottom of the bowl. I could see that the strudel in this form could be stood up in the custard, allowing the pastry to still be crisp in places. The filling was tasty, with the apple not too sweet and the sultanas plump and luscious. I would have liked a little more custard as it was very good. Across from me, my friend was a little perplexed. Although the ice cream was creamy, it really had little perceptible orange flavour, which was a shame. The chocolate shard was pleasant enough. I did notice afterwards whilst writing this review and looking back at the photos that the menu does say a trio of ice creams and sorbet. However, there were not three scoops. I think the menu needs to be more clear that it is one scoop from a choice of three.

I think I enjoyed my meal more than my dining partner enjoyed hers. However, with other good eateries in the vicinity, this might not be my first choice to return to.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe but it would not my top pick

Cost £18 with an introductory 20%off for signing up to their mailing list. Full price around £24 for two mains and two desserts.

Hummus - Yeni

Yeni

26th April 2017 12.10pm

www.yenirestaurant.com

I wanted hummus. I am not sure if it was my subconscious picking up on the supermarket hummus shortage but I wanted some lovely fresh hummus. So I wandered along to Yeni on Hanover Street for some lunch. Yeni offers Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Meze dishes. They have a pretty nifty lunchtime offer of three meze for £9.95 so I decided to order some plates from that, although the a la carte menu is also available should you feel like pushing the boat out. Whilst some of the options come with a cost supplement, everything I chose did not. So I obviously went for the hummus but also picked the anchovies and the calamari.

Hummus - Yeni

Hummus – Yeni

Not too long after, the hummus, with a side of pitta, arrived along with the anchovies. Meze, like tapas, comes out when it’s ready so the calamari took a little bit longer to arrive as it required more prep and cooking time. I dolloped a beautiful spoonful of hummus onto my plate and scooped up some with the comfortingly warm pitta. This was very good stuff. The garlic was present but not overpowering and light oil swirl added some extra moisture to make it go just that little bit further. The anchovies were a delightful surprise. Whilst they were in a lemon and herb oil, there was almost something sharp about the dressing that brought out the beauty of the oily fish. They melted deliciously on the tongue too. I had to stop myself from gobbling them all up in one go. The calamari didn’t look how I expected it. More often than not it will arrive in rings and if not, in wide rectangles. These were long strips but still had a bit of thickness to them. They came breadcrumbed and I have to say the colour (a slightly Trump-orange hue) made me worry that the calamari may be chewy inside. I was wrong – they were perfectly fine. The accompanying chilli mayo dip seemed more of a paprika heavy flavour which I think was ok but perhaps not the best match for the calamari. Perhaps this was the dish I was least enthused about.

All in all, Yeni provided a good lunch and certainly hit my hummus craving. However, it’ll actually be the anchovies I will race back for.

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

Overall – 32/40

Would I eat here again? Mmmmm anchovies and hummus

Cost £9.95 for the lunchtime three meze deal