Wednesday, 23 June 2010

The Restaurant at The Rutland, Edinburgh

The Rutland Hotel is impossible to miss in Edinburgh as it is located in the West end of Princes Street.  It hosts a boutique hotel with 12 rooms, always busy bar on the street level, a lounge bar called The One Below and The Restaurant at The Rutland upstairs.
Ever since the Taste of Edinburgh we had planned to come here for dinner and finally managed to book a table for Friday night.
My starter was grilled Lincolnshire asparagus, with wild rocket, hollandaise sauce and parmesan crisp. It was really tasty and I started to get my hopes up that this could be a nice dinner. Mr lovable enjoyed his savoury Crowdie cheesecake starter and I had slight food envy.
Then it went from nice to not so nice.
We waited and waited. After what felt like forever our friendly waitress informed us that our order was just after a big table and we would be served soon after them...
Our mains arrived eventually, my 'saltimbocca of Sunnyside farm veal with sage, air dried Cumbrian ham, potato fondant' and a side order of 'Colcannon' looked like it had been sitting in the pass for a while and was a bit dry and overcooked, while Mr Lovable's lamb dish was cold... and both portions were ridiculously small. Such a shame.
We shared an 'Eton mess made with Scottish strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, whipped cream, meringue and vanilla ice cream' for dessert. This was good, but then again a dessert that's almost impossible to get wrong...
Slightly disappointed, but maybe we were expecting too much as it is not the cheapest place to eat. I wonder what went wrong on that night at The Rutland? There seemed to be loads of waiting staff wandering around and not much happening. And the restaurant was only half full, how would they cope with full covers? I'd hate to think.
fresh gerberas on every table

free range veal from Sunnyside farm

a bit mad, modern decor

1-3 Rutland Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2AE - 0131 229 3402

Edit: Re-visited in August 2010 with great service and superb food!
The Rutland Hotel on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh

I have to admit that I was nervous for this dinner. I have never eaten in a Michelin star restaurant before and was worried about lots of things: that I would feel intimidated, that I would do something wrong, that I would not like some of the dishes, my biggest worry of all being that we would end up leaving hungry and would have go to the chippie on the way home.
That was a bunch of worries wasted, as it quite often happens in life. From the minute of walking in we were treated so well that I felt like we were something special. I also had my concerns about not being able to take pictures of my dinner and when I said to the maitre d' that I have a question to ask he just nodded and said "Yes, you can take photos of the food." Yay!
So here it is, our dinner at Martin Wishart in pictures and few words:
We decided to go for the tasting menu, 6 courses for 65 pounds. It started off with some haggis bonbons and then hors d'oeuvres that were just beautiful.
Gratin of Kilbrannan langoustine and Devon snail, parsley and grain mustard was the first course. Food porn at it's best, if I  may say so.
Presse of foie gras with praline, apricot purée, black olive tapenade and madeira cream. This was served with a warm slice of brioche. So simple and so very good.
Ceviche of halibut, mango and passion fruit. This was the only dish that I found a bit disappointing, simply because I'm not a massive fan of 'raw' fish, I just don't like the texture. Lady in the next table was complaining that the mango was 'overpowering' the fish but for me it was the opposite: if it wasn't for the mango I would have struggled to finish this.
Red mullet, spelt grain 'A Banda' and new season garlic velouté. Brilliant, sophisticated flavours brought together. Was I in food heaven?
Loin of Borders Roe deer, gratin of asparagus, goat’s cheese gnocchi, sauce grand veneur. I have never tasted meat like this. It was so full of flavour and so tender that it literally melted in my mouth.
Cylinder of dark chocolate, Jivara milk chocolate mousse, lemon cream and earl grey ice cream. Perfect dessert to end a perfect meal.
This was one of the most relaxing evenings that I have ever had, it did not feel like over two hours at all. The service was flawless and personal, the decor calming and relaxing, the food beyond exquisite. I wish I had bigger and better words in my vocabulary to describe it all but this will have to do. Would I go back? Hell yes.
We were both in a strange high after all this: when we came home I said to Mr Lovable that "I feel like I've had few glasses of wine", though we didn't have any! Another strange thing as well is that I didn't feel overly stuffed or bloated or whatever I would normally feel after having dinner, just felt... nice and... well, high as a kite.

 amazing, knowledgeable staff

food like I've never eaten before

their attention to detail

54 The Shore, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6RA - 0 131 553 3557 
Martin Wishart on Urbanspoon

Friday, 11 June 2010

Treacle Bar&Kitchen, Edinburgh

I have wanted to try Treacle since it opened a bit over a year ago and now I finally managed to go there for lunch. We have been to their sister bar, Hamilton's in Stockbridge couple of times on a Sunday afternoon and always left satisfied.
They have funny tables and benches outside that are packed when it's nice outside. Treacle's menu is a funky mix of sharing platters, pies, burgers, noodles, salads and sandwiches. They also do breakfast until 12pm during the week and until 6pm Saturdays and Sundays.
The interior designer had some fun designing the decor of this place, it is irresistibly cute with comic book type of illustrations on the walls and candles on every table.
Roast vegetable enchiladas with melted cheddar, sour cream and refried beans. Hooray! See how much cheese there is on top of that? That's what I like to see/eat. Perfect, I liked it a lot. My pal Lynsey had a crispy falafel and sesame burger with spiced mayo and home cut parsnip fries and seemed to like her food as well.
I was hoping to have room for dessert as well, but no chance. All very tempting pudding options, like 'Belgian waffles with Nutella and vanilla ice cream', were scribbled on a blackboard next to our table. Ah well, one more reason to go back to Treacle that is then!
cosy, relaxing interior

seriously cute toilets: pink for girls, blue for boys

friendly waitress that seemed to enjoy her work 
39 Broughton Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3JU - 0131 557 0627
Treacle on Urbanspoon

Monday, 7 June 2010

Olive Press, Preston

 Olive Press was my choice for lunch when I quickly visited Preston. I had done my research the night before as I was limited with time and wanted to make sure that I would get something half decent to eat before driving back home.
There is a handful these restaurants in North West England, all part of Heathcotes Collection. Their menu is traditional Italian with a modern twist, lots of exciting options to try alongside all old favourites like handmade pastas and stone baked pizzas.
I wanted something light, so when I saw 'Healthy lifestyle dishes - all dishes under 400 calories' on the menu I was more than happy. 'Pizza with a salad centre', plum tomatoes, fresh basil, dried chilies&rocket salad centre was so tasty I didn't even realize that I was eating a pizza without cheese on top...something that one would not expect to happen!
I was pleasantly surprised with this place, though I'm not quite sure what I was expecting. Not for a moment did I feel uncomfortable eating alone and that to me always says something about the place. Their attentive staff all had smile on their faces and on my way out I got into chatting with two lovely men that I assume were the owners/bosses, when they kindly asked my opinion about wallpaper options for the bar upstairs.
extremely helpful&friendly staff

perfect for quick, nice lunch

open kitchen, always interesting

23 Winckley Square, Preston, PR1 3JJ - 01772 886363
Olive Press Preston on Urbanspoon