REVIEW :: Café Andaluz

77B George Street,  New Town, Edinburgh, EH2 3EE
0131 220 9980

Due to my silly diet I feel like I’ve been neglecting my wee blog! It really is very boring only eating meat, fish, eggs and beans. You guys really don’t want to hear about that. It is dullsville. Although I have lost 3kg- that’s like, three bags of sugar! Mmm. Sugar.

But every dieter needs a day off now and again.

James and I had been invited along by the fabulous Jenny from Yelp! to the Elite January detox event in Real Foods. We thought we’d better grab some dinner beforehand, or our tummies would be rumbling and drowning out the personal trainer. For a quick after work supper, it’s difficult to go wrong with tapas. You can pretty much tailor them to any diet, too.

So we nipped into Café Andaluz for a cheeky nibble.

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The Worst Service…Ever!

Garfunkel’s, Gatwick North Terminal

After a day in the London office my colleague and I decided that we’d get a quick glass of wine on the way home, at Gatwick Airport. I was sure there used to be a Wetherspoon’s style pub there, but we ended up in an eatery at the end called Garfunkels.

We’d considered getting a quick bite to eat there too- but now I’m glad that we didn’t.

First we went to sit at a table, and a waiter asked if we wanted food. We said “just drinks” so he told us we had to move sit by the bar.

No problem.

So we went to sit down by the bar, and the girl behind it barked “you can’t sit here, this area’s closed.” We explained that we’d been told to sit there, by her colleague, but she was insistent that we go back to where we’d just come from.

At this point I thought about leaving and going to Café Rouge.

But we sat down, and perused the drink menu anyway. I settled on a large glass of Chenin Blanc whilst D asked for a small glass of Merlot.

The restaurant was pretty deserted: it was 4:30pm on a Tuesday afternoon in January, after all.

But by the time he’d brought our drinks over, I swear I could have run down to Duty Free,  bought a bottle, opened it and poured it myself!

We asked to pay right away, as now we only had around 20 minutes ’til our gate closed. He brought the bill and we thought it was a bit steep- even for London prices.

We soon realised this was due to us being charged us for a whole bottle of Merlot instead of a small glass.

After five minutes of trying to catch our waiter’s eye, he eventually came over. We pointed out the mistake, and he didn’t seem pleased about having to correct it.

Finally, he came back with the revised bill. We paid and were able to enjoy our wine.

I certainly don’t expect five star service in the airport departure lounge, but I do expect an element of speed.

Still though, experiences like this teach us to be grateful for the great services we often receive and take for granted. Plus the sheer level of incompetence was funny; I dread to think what the food would have been like!

Have you ever received terrible service that just made your jaw drop? Feel free to share in the comments!

 

REVIEW :: La Favorita, Edinburgh’s Best Pizza

325-331 Leith Walk,  Leith, Edinburgh,  EH6 8SA
0131 554 2430

La Favorita has been one of my favourite restaurants for years. Ever since I first put my mouth around a slice of their cinque formaggi pizza (yep, who needs quattro when you can have cinque?) back in 2008. A delightfully gooey mix of mozzarella, gorgonzola, pecorino, tallegio, and emmental. Ever since then, I’ve always thought it a great waste when I walk into a house in Leith and see a Papa John’s, Dominos, or Pizza Hut box. Why would you order from them when you’re lucky enough to live within range for La Favorita home delivery?

I’ve been known to order some rather strange toppings from their takeaway: pancetta, goats cheese and fig is one favourite. Pear, gorgonzola, and parma ham another. Although I’ve had a few pizzas from them since starting Jemma Eat World, I’ve not reviewed La Favorita as I wanted to wait for the opportunity to do the full restaurant experience: and that opportunity presented itself in the form of the Vittoria Group’s January sale, a craving for pizza, and a diet cheat day.

Lunch was booked, and in we strolled.

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What’s That Flavour? Tasty Competition from Walkers

Those that know me will know that I’m a big fan of crisps. I’ve been known to munch my way through an entire multipack in the space of an afternoon; I know, I know. I’m not proud of it (actually, I am. Jemma vs Food! Jemma vs Food!) It’s possibly crisps fault that I’m on this boring old slow carb diet in the first place.

So imagine my joy when Walkers got in touch to ask me to sample some of their new flavours. It’s situations like this where I ask myself: what would Gary Tank Commander do? So of course I said “aye!” because every radge likes crisps.

They sent me three bags of mystery crisp flavours: one meat, one dairy, and one spicy, all in white bags with question marks on.  At first I thought this was a game to test if my food blogger pallette really is all it’s cracked up to be, but it turns out that it’s actually Walker’s new competition, #whatsthatflavour

As of last week, Walkers have unleashed their three flavours of mystery crisps onto the shelves of Britain’s supermarkets (and mini markets). Obviously eating mysterious crisps is fun in itself, but the most exciting part is that if you guess the flavours correctly you could win £50,000: and in this economic climate, who wouldn’t want £50,000? Just think guys, you could buy a 2 bedroom top floor flat in Wester Hailes and still have change left over for a garage in Corstorphine.

If you want to enter the competition, buy a packet of mystery crisps and then visit Walker’s website or Facebook page and say what you think the flavour is; you have until the 9th of March.  They’ll be uploading clues on Facebook throughout February, so keep an eye on those to increase your chances of bagging that cash. There will ultimately be three winners, with a prize draw for everyone who gets it right.

But why this campaign, and why now? Let’s see what Miranda Sambles, Marketing Director at Walkers has to say:

“The nation has never been more interested in food and flavour and at Walkers, we love flavours too. We’ve spent months perfecting these mystery flavours, which we hope will really spark a nationwide flavour conversation.”

But less chatting, more chomping! Read on for a live blog of my first impressions of these tasty fried potato delights. Did I mention that I love crisps?

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REVIEW :: Golden Bridge

16 Henderson Street  Edinburgh EH6 6BS
0131 467 5441

Quiet, unassuming restaurants are my absolute favourite. The ones that contentedly sit on the side-lines and watch the big boys shout LOOK AT ME! The ones who quietly sit on side streets in run down parts of town. The ones who don’t need to tell you how good they are, because you’re going to hear about it. And you’re going to go.

The Golden Bridge is one such place. It sits on Henderson Street, across from a greasy spoon café and next to a pub which The List ingeniously describe as putting one in mind of Begbie’s local.

James and I had heard some great things about this wee place on the grapevine, we hadn’t eaten at a Chinese restaurant in a while, so where better to spend the evening of our diet day off?

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Four Hour Body Breakfasts

Who’d have thunk fireworks and too much cava could be the catalyst for change?

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but yep. New year, New me. Time for dieting and taking up exercise (apparently  running for the bus because I’ve woken up late doesn’t count).

There are plenty of fad diets out there, but I decided to try the one devised by The Four Hour Work Week author Tim Ferriss.   If you want to find out more about the slow carb diet I suggest buying The Four Hour Body (or checking out this page here).

To quickly summarise the slow carb diet is limited to three kinds of food:

– Proteins (meat, fish, eggs)
– Pulses (beans beans beans! and lentils)
– Veggies (preferably green ones)

One important part of the diet is eating 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up.

I have issues with breakfast: I have trouble just choking down a bowl of cereal or a banana as I have no appetite until mid morning at the earliest. I also have issues with getting out of my bed. My lovely, soft, goose feather duveted bed with the two mattresses. Mmm.

So how did I get on with my first week of eating breakfast on the Four Hour Body? Did I manage to get 30g of protein within 30 mins of waking up? Did I burn down my kitchen? Read on…

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REVIEW :: Amore Dogs

104 Hanover Street,  Edinburgh, EH2 1DR
0131 220 5155

After a rather tasty visit to The Dogs during a Christmas shopping mission,  it was obvious that I’d have to give the other two restaurants in the Dogs trilogy a chance. So when Edinburgh singer songwriter (and guest blogger) Colin Asquith invited me out for lunch last Friday, and suggested Amore Dogs, how could I say no?

From their name Amore Dogs risk coming across as yet another Italian restaurant:  something Hanover Street certainly doesn’t need.  But Amore Dogs set themselves apart from their competition by serving what  ‘Italian American’ style food.  The genre of food you find in such dens of iniquity as Frankie & Bennies, TGI Fridays, and The Filling Station.  I’m really not the biggest fan of any of these restaurants, I find that they take delicious sounding food and suck all of the potential out of it.

So I was curious to find out if The Dogs could get it right.

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100 Resolutions (Well, Seven)

Photo goinked from BBC as I was too drunken to take my own

Saturday night, New Year’s Eve: Standing atop Calton Hill drinking champagne out of a plastic cup, Edinburgh glittering below me like sequins strewn on a sheet of black velvet. As I waited for the explosion of fireworks,  I couldn’t help overhearing some of my friends say 2011 had been a terrible year and they were glad to see the back of it.

I felt lucky, then. 2011 was an amazing year for me.

Soon we were back in the warmth of the flat (with another rack of ABT’s in the oven). Conversation immediately turned to resolutions. As everyone reeled off the things they wanted to do in 2012, I was stumped. I feel like I achieved so much last year, that the thought of starting again terrified me.

But instead of thinking up arbitrary ways to change, perhaps I could just continue doing what I loved doing last year.

So what did I do in 2011 that was so special?

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REVIEW :: Rhubarb

Prestonfield , Priestfield Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5UT
0131 225 1333

Since I’m a  wee bit skinto after the expenditure of Christmas and New Year, I’ve not been able to go out for dinner as much as I’d like. So that my blog doesn’t go stale, I’ve asked for the help of some good friends to write me some guest posts about their dining adventures. The first is courtesy of my good friend, Edinburgh singer songwriter Colin Asquith who spent a lovely winter’s afternoon in Rhubarb at Prestonfield. Take it away, Colin!
– Jemma

Sharing stories of favourite pubs and restaurants in Edinburgh with a friend, our conversation brought about my admission I’d never really been one for splurging on meals in fancy restaurants, although as I’ve started to develop a taste for good wine and whisky, maybe it would be a welcome change to upgrade my restaurant experiences too. My friend suggested that we could visit Rhubarb at Prestonfield House and do lunch and drinks for less than I would spend on a weekend night on the tiles, and I was sold.

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