Halloumi Fries - 83 Hanover Street

83 Hanover Street

5th December 2018 8pm

www.83hanoverstreet.com

After some festive dancing on George Street at the Silent Light, a couple of us decided to reward burning those calories by stuffing our faces. We decided to chance it at 83 Hanover Street and we’re lucky that they still had a couple of tables free. 83 Hanover Street aims to blend Scottish and Chilean cuisines. As seems to be the theme with my recent reviews, 83 Hanover Street offer small bites and plates to be shared. We chose braised pork collar croquettes and calamari from the bites section and hangar steak and halloumi fries from the plates section.

Pork Croquettes - 83 Hanover Street

Pork Croquettes – 83 Hanover Street

The croquettes came out first. Three crispy balls were sitting in an apple and chilli jam. The croquettes were stuffed full of pork which tasted wonderful alongside the jam. A great combination.

Halloumi Fries - 83 Hanover Street

Halloumi Fries – 83 Hanover Street

Next came the halloumi fries which were the biggest triumph of this meal. Tons of fried halloumi, covered in drizzles of red pepper ketchup and lime and coriander aioli. Some sliced chillis were also scattered across the top. The cheese was delicious and cooked to perfection. I could have eaten more than one plate of this.

Calamari - 83 Hanover Street

Calamari – 83 Hanover Street

Then the calamari appeared. This came with a merken (smoked chilli pepper) aioli, sliced chillies and a wedge of lime. Whilst cooked ok, it was a little uninspiring and possibly a touch under seasoned. The aioli was nice but couldn’t entice us to finish this plate.

Hangar Steak - 83 Hanover Street

Hangar Steak – 83 Hanover Street

Lastly, the hangar steak. The steak was spice rubbed and was served with a fried egg, onions and sautéed potatoes. The egg oozed nicely and pulled the dish together nicely. The steak was of good quality and cooked well.

We enjoyed our visit to 83 Hanover Street. It won’t set the world alight but it will be a decent meal.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 9/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 32.5/40

Would I eat here again? Possibly.

£35 for two bites, two plates and a small glass of wine

Merienda

Merienda

28th November 2018 6pm

https://eat-merienda.com

We had been wowed by the photos we had seen of Merienda’s food, so hurried ourselves down to Stockbridge to give it a try. It’s a small restaurant that offers Mediterranean style small plates with local produce. We were run through the menu by the friendly staff. The recommendation is around four plates per person. We decided we would get four savoury dishes and one dessert each. I opted for the charcuterie plate, mull cheddar panna cotta, parfait egg and the sea bass. My friend picked the tuna crostini, gnocchi, the parfait egg (again) and the mackerel escabeche. As usual with small plates, they came out when they were ready. My friend ordered some wine, which she said was excellent.

Charcuterie - Merienda

Charcuterie – Merienda

Tuna Crostini - Merienda

Tuna Crostini – Merienda

We first had the charcuterie and the tuna crostini. The meats come from reputable East Coast Cured and there were five different cuts to sample. These were excellent and full of flavour. They also were accompanied by some pickles and olives, which was a nice surprise. The crostini were also tasty. The tuna was balanced on a tapenade and topped with a touch of shallot.

Mull Cheddar Panna Cotta - Merienda

Mull Cheddar Panna Cotta – Merienda

Gnocchi - Merienda

Gnocchi – Merienda

Next up was the mull cheddar panna cotta and the gnocchi. In a snake-like squiggle on the plate, the panna cotta reminded me of posh Dairylea. I’m not sure whether that was a good or bad thing! It was sat in a leek oil and leek shards. A couple of thin grissini were placed on top of the dish too. The gnocchi was probably considered the best dish of the evening. This came with Lanark blue, pesto and pumpkin seeds. It was creamy and comforting.

Parfait Egg - Merienda

Parfait Egg – Merienda

Then came the egg. This was where we really became disappointed. Whilst we ordered two of this dish, it came out in one dish, with two spoons. That in itself would not have been a problem but it looked enough to really only be one portion. We even wondered whether another one would come out. You can see by the photo how small the dish was (they are teaspoons) and we paid £14 for the privilege. The egg was cooked at 64 degrees and had both a savoury crumb (which was a bit soggy) and four small strips of merguez sausage on top. The egg white was not nice to eat when cooked at this temperature, as it was jelly-like, but accept that this could be down to preference. The yolk and the sausage saved it from being a complete disaster but it did leave us feeling a bit miffed.

Sea Bass - Merienda

Sea Bass – Merienda

Mackerel Escabeche - Merienda

Mackerel Escabeche – Merienda

Then we moved onto the fish dishes, with the sea bass and mackerel. The sea bass sat in a bisque foam on top of some braised veg. This was a pleasant dish. The mackerel escabeche could have done with a little more mackerel. This sat with peppers in it’s dressing. Generally a decent dish.

Apple Compote - Merienda

Apple Compote – Merienda

Plum Fool - Merienda

Plum Fool – Merienda

We were still hungry, so continued to plough on with desserts. I chose the apple compote and my dining companion went for the plum fool. My apple compote had a hazelnut and oat crumble scattered on top and a raspberry garnish. It sat in an anglaise sauce which was lovely. The apple had good flavour and was a nice end to the meal. Across from me, the plum fool was sitting on top of some kind of purée or compote. It was infused with port and cinnamon and had a crumb on the top. My friend thought it might have been nice to have the fruit mixed it a little more with the fool, but enjoyed the dish enough nevertheless.

My friend commented to me that she was still hungry, but at this point we had already spent £75 so decided to call it quits. Merienda showed much promise, and I know is being well reviewed elsewhere. Some of these dishes were good. However, I’m not sure this presents good value for money when you are still hungry at the end, and still annoyed about the egg.

Food – 7/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 6/10

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? Unsure. Maybe for a quick bite to eat but I would stay away from the egg.

Cost £75 for 8 plates plus two glasses of wine

Sprouting broccoli, beef rump and horseradish - Borough

Borough

21st November 2018 6.30pm

https://boroughrestaurant.com

A birthday meal arranged by friends, I was keen to see what Borough had to offer, having visited its previous incarnation, Norn. Situated in The Shore, Borough describes itself as ‘a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant’. Midweek was quiet but not empty, with several diners in. The food is offered in a series of plates. Diners are recommended around 3 per person to make up the equivalent of a starter and main. Between us we chose most of the menu! We picked venison tartare, watercress soup, beef rump, smoked mackerel, pheasant, cheddar dumplings, and sprouts.

Sprouts, lardo and bearnaise sauce - Borough

Sprouts, lardo and bearnaise sauce – Borough

Smoked apple, mackerel and soda bread - Borough

Smoked apple, mackerel and soda bread – Borough

I started on the sprouts, and almost everyone on the table ordered this too. Sitting on a bed of béarnaise sauce and covered in fine strips of lardo, this was an incredible dish (and the one we are still talking about several weeks later). If you are not a fan of sprouts, this might be the dish to change your mind. The watercress soups was a vivid green colour and my friend enjoyed it immensely. It came with potato and a confit egg, which made it feel more than your average soup. The smoked mackerel was interspersed with apple and soda bread and somehow managed to look like quite a delicate dish. The venison tartare came with pumpkin and pepper dulse. This dish was full of flavour.

Watercress Soup - Borough

Watercress Soup – Borough

Venison tartare, pumpkin and pepper dulse - Borough

Venison tartare, pumpkin and pepper dulse – Borough

Sprouting broccoli, beef rump and horseradish - Borough

Sprouting broccoli, beef rump and horseradish – Borough

Pheasant, Savoy Cabbage and Chestnut - Borough

Pheasant, Savoy Cabbage and Chestnut – Borough

Cheese dumplings, onion and mushroom broth - Borough

Cheese dumplings, onion and mushroom broth – Borough

My pheasant was a really generous sized portion. It came with perfectly cooked Savoy cabbage and a lovely risotto underneath. The meat was succulent which I was relieved to discover (as so often this can be dry). The beef rump had my friends drooling. This was accompanied by sprouting broccoli and horseradish. It was juicy meat and had nice texture. One friend felt it could have done with a bit more horseradish but that in itself did not not take away from the dish. The cheddar dumplings were also another triumph. The dumplings sat in an onion and mushroom broth. Both the onions and the mushrooms were delicious and the broth had a beautifully intense flavour.

Apple, oats and clotted cream ice cream - Borough

Apple, oats and clotted cream ice cream – Borough

Parsnip, hay ice cream and chocolate - Borough

Parsnip, hay ice cream and chocolate – Borough

Sea buckthorn, mandarin and yoghurt - Borough

Sea buckthorn, mandarin and yoghurt – Borough

Whilst getting full we all went for desserts. Two of us chose the apple, oats and clotted cream whilst one went for the parsnip, hay and chocolate and the other picked the sea buckthorn and mandarin. The apple dish was tasty and surprised me as the apple was warm. The clotted cream was actually a clotted cream ice cream, which was lovely but did disappoint by friend a little as she had been looking forward to cream. The parsnip, hay and chocolate dish was going down a treat. The hay was in the form of a hay ice cream. Parsnip crisps lay on top, as did a zig zag of chocolate sauce. My friend felt that the parsnip element was not necessary but did provide a different texture. The sea buckthorn went down well with the traditionally non-dessert eater. However, it did look a little underwhelming on arrival compared to the other dishes.

We really enjoyed our visit to Borough and some of these dishes will ensure that we come back time and again.

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

Overall – 35/40

Would I eat here again? Oh yes!

Cost – £150 for 16 plates and a bottle of wine

Gyoza - Lucky Yu Canteen

Lucky Yu Canteen

20th November 2018 6pm

https://www.facebook.com/luckyyucanteen/

Lucky Yu Canteen is a tiny restaurant on Leith Walk aiming to meet your dumpling needs. My friend booked via Facebook but it seems they didn’t have our booking. They were as accommodating as they could be and squished us round a corner table, which actually was enough space for us, with a bit of space management on the table.

Lucky Yu Canteen

Lucky Yu Canteen

We were provided with a menu and pencil, where we could indicate how many of each item we would like. We were recommended to get several dishes (albeit a couple were not available that evening), so that was exactly what we did. Whilst gyoza are their main offering, there are other bits and pieces available too. We chose edamame beans, Thai prawn crackers, karaage chicken, fried chicken katsu sando, roast chicken gyoza, dirty burger gyoza, tiger prawn gyoza, the day’s special gyoza (cheese) and a lobster and chorizo bao bun. This place is BYOB so we just stuck with soft drinks.

Edamame beans - Lucky Yu Canteen

Edamame beans – Lucky Yu Canteen

Karaage Chicken - Lucky Yu Canteen

Karaage Chicken – Lucky Yu Canteen

Fried chicken katsu sando - Lucky Yu Canteen

Fried chicken katsu sando – Lucky Yu Canteen

The small plates came out first, as and when they were ready. The edamame beans were great, with a smattering of smoked sea salt. The prawn crackers were also excellent. The karaage chicken were popcorn bites deep fried and came with a saamjang mayo which was delicious. However the most popular of the small plates was the katsu sando. Essentially a sandwich, with fried chicken and a lovely katsu sauce. This was succulent and filling.

Gyoza - Lucky Yu Canteen

Gyoza – Lucky Yu Canteen

The gyoza and bao followed. The gyoza were steamed and had seen a pan before reaching us – just how I like them. Two of the gyoza came with dips and two did not. Let’s talk about the dirty burger gyoza first. Yes, it’s not traditional but you really should try them. With a mustard dip, these were both fun and tasty. The chicken gyoza probably averaged out as the favourite but they were all pretty decent. The filling was generous in all of the gyoza. Top stuff. The bao was also packed full of filling but it was felt that it needed more of the chorizo in it, as the flavour wasn’t strong enough.

Deep Fried Mini Bao - Lucky Yu Canteen

Deep Fried Mini Bao – Lucky Yu Canteen

After a bit of a wait, we ordered some dessert bao, which came in the form of a deep fried mini bao with a choice of an ice cream. We picked the pear ice cream. These. We’re delicious and the perfect way to round off the meal.

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

Overall – 30.5/40

Would I eat here again? Yes.

Cost £66 for 4 small plates, 4 gyoza, 1 bao, 2 dessert bao and 3 soft drinks

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.

Twenty Princes Street

Twenty Princes Street

12th October 2018 7.30pm

www.twentyprincesstreet.co.uk

Twenty Princes Street has a prime location looking out over Princes Street and views across to the castle. We visited Twenty Princes Street to try out their Friday offer ‘A Cut Above’, which is available until the end of November. October offers a fillet steak and November a sirloin steak. Each steak comes with a salad and triple cooked chips. A bottle of wine to share is part of the deal. We were given a rioja.

Steak - Twenty Princes Street

Steak – Twenty Princes Street

Steak - Twenty Princes Street

Steak – Twenty Princes Street

Our steaks came with the salad on the plate and the chips in a pan on the side. The steaks were a really decent size and cooked as we had asked them to be. My steak was juicy and soft to cut. The side salad was fresh and dressed well. The chips had good flavour, although I couldn’t resist adding some salt. My friend struggled cutting her steak a little bit and could have done with being rested a little longer. She also had a bit of plastic stuck to the side of her steak, which she noticed half way through. That being said, she was actually happy with her steak overall.

As we’d not had a starter, we decided to give desserts a whirl. I just had to have the flaming alaska and my dining companion chose the raspberry java tea cake. My flaming alaska was certainly a showstopper. It arrived in a bowl of dry ice, cascading over the table. Then the waiter set the whole thing on fire. It really was a spectacle. The eating of the dish was lovely. The marshmallow was luscious and the ice cream underneath was smooth and peppered with chocolate buttons. Underneath that was a slice of cake. It is quite sweet but worth it. Across from me, my friend was tucking into her tea cake. An exquisitely crafted chocolate dome covered the dessert and a beautiful sweep of raspberry sauce adorned the plate.

Flamed Alaska - Twenty Princes Street

Flamed Alaska – Twenty Princes Street

Flamed Alaska - Twenty Princes Street

Flamed Alaska – Twenty Princes Street

Raspberry Java Tea Cake - Twenty Princes Street

Raspberry Java Tea Cake – Twenty Princes Street

Twenty Princes Street can offer some great food in a lovely setting.

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

Overall – 30/40

Would I eat here again? If that flaming Alaska is on the menu – yes.

This meal was complimentary but was £89 for the ‘A Cut Above’ deal plus two desserts

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views are my own.

Zest

Zest

9th October 2018 6.30pm

www.zest-restaurant.co.uk

I have no idea why I have not visited Zest before now. Not far from where I live, in a central location, it’s a perfect meet up place for curry. We’d been invited along to put it through its paces. We were seated in the window (great for people watching) and picked a few things from the menu. However, we were then offered to try a few additional things. Whilst we knew we wouldn’t be able to finish them, we couldn’t say no to such a generous offer either.

We started off with some poppadoms and chutney. I was pleased to see how large the chutney portions are. Mango chutney is always sought after and it was nice not to run out. All three offerings were great. We then each got a plate of assorted kebabs, onion bhaji and prawn Puri. Each item was delicious, going back and forth on which was our favourite. I think I settled on the prawn puri and my friend decided on the chicken. The bhaji could have taken a bit more spice but was still tasty. The lamb was great too.

Zest

Zest

Zest

Zest

We were brought four curries to sample – lamb rogan josh, chicken P297 (named after an Edinburgh taxi driver), spinach and paneer, and a green herb king prawn curry. Again, we went back on forth on which one was our favourite. Each curry had its own personality. The chicken had depth, the lamb some spice, the spinach and paneer had bags of flavour, and the prawn some mellowness. Somewhat surprisingly for me, I think my favourite was the spinach and paneer. We had a garlic and paratha naans which were also excellent. The garlic naan had shed loads of garlic on, just as I like it. The paratha naan was billowy.

Zest

Zest

There was no way we could fit in dessert but thoroughly enjoyed all the food we tasted. We will definitely come back for another visit.

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

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yup.

Complimentary but likely to cost around £40 for a meal for two without alcohol.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views expressed are my own. Thanks to Hotel PR for organising.