Friday, 26 March 2010

Cafe Marlayne, Edinburgh

There is a duo of restaurants in Edinburgh that can be found in every guidebook and food mag, receiving the most amazing reviews one after another. I'm talking about Cafe Marlayne on Thistle Street and their slightly larger restaurant in Old Fishmarket Close. They both have classic french menus that change quite often, sometimes daily, depending what is in season and at it's best at the time.
 Their tiny bistro on Thistle Street was packed on a Wednesday night, with all 9 candlelit tables full. We were handed handwritten menus that looked very tempting with duck breast, lamb rumps, rib-eye steak, sea bass, halibut and lemon sole.
I started off with buffalo mozzarella served with roasted red peppers, crispy chorizo, tomato and pesto...
followed by halibut fillet on a bed of crushed potatoes, rocket, crispy parma ham and garlic butter. Both dishes were pleasing to both eye and mouth, and I was so happy that I still had room for a pudding!
Then I had some serious trouble choosing from their dessert menu...
but eventually managed to make up my mind and key lime pie it was, delightful end for a truly divine meal.
I understand now what the fuss is about with Cafe Marlayne; it's so cosy, welcoming, intimate, and the food is simply gorgeous and good value for money. Make sure you book your table in advance, as they are always busy. Bon appetit!
 absolutely perfect service

handwritten menus

so-oh-romantic

76 Thistle St, Edinburgh, EH2 1EN - 0131 226 2230
Cafe Marlayne on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Gilded Lily, Carlisle

There seems to be limited options if you fancy something a bit nicer to eat in Carlisle town centre. I wanted to treat myself for lunch in David's Restaurant, but to my disappointment it was closed so I walked back in the rain to my second restaurant option, Gilded Lily.
I was given a table right beside the open fire and a menu that had everything crammed in: sausages&mash, fajitas, steaks, tapas, burgers, pasta bake, jacket potatoes, lamb cutlets... you name it, it's all there.
I fancied something light for lunch and ordered smoked salmon and asparagus from their lunch specials menu, making sure that it was indeed a main course. I also got overly excited about the orange&liquorice cheesecake, but was told that it had been replaced by another flavour.
When my plate was placed in front of me all I could think of was: 'where is the rest of it?!' Three spears of asparagus and one poached egg is not a main course! It was excellent, but more like a starter size.
Without the strawberry and balsamic cheesecake I would have left hungry, so I could say that the pudding saved my meal. Gilded Lily is, in my opinion, a tad overpriced with the waiting staff being strangely nervous and service a bit on the slow side. But everybody else seemed to enjoy their meals, the decor is just fantastic and atmosphere relaxing, so I would probably pop back in again.
must see ladies toilets

stylish, funky decor

real fireplace

6 Lowther Street, Carlisle, CA3 8DA - 01228 593600