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.

I’ve been wanting to try Café Andaluz for a while, becauseI’ve been hearing mixed reviews. Some say it’s fabulous, others say it’s terrible. What sold it to me was that they have a pre-theater menu available from 5-6:30pm during weekdays: three tapas and a dessert for £12.95.  This seemed rather bargainous, so we went about choosing our food.

Neither of us wanted to address the big, slow carb elephant in the room. James eventually broached the subject by asking if I like croquetas, to which I responded “but they have potato in them and they’re fried.” There was a momentary silence, as neither one of us wanted to suggest giving up the diet for one meal. But then eventually I said it, and we proceeded to order some cheese, fried squid, and croquetas!

We chose three tapas each, and shared them all.

Chicken Croquetas with a sweet chilli dip

These were very nice: crisp on the outside, light and fluffy on the inside, with the perfect amount of chicken. We got one each, so they didn’t last very long on the table.

Chiporones (deep fried baby squid)

I was a bit befuddled when this plate was put down in front of us, as I wasn’t entirely sure what I was about to eat. One bite told me all that I needed to know: it’s deep fried baby squid! These were very well cooked, and didn’t have the elastic band texture that you often get with calamari. Despite their ugly appearance, this was one of my favourite parts of the meal.

Pollo Marinado

I found this really boring: paprika marinated chicken breast. I’m not a fan of chicken breast, however, and since I’ve been eating chicken for pretty much every meal my tastebuds could have been skewed. I still wouldn’t recommend ordering this as there are far more tasty treats on the menu.

Carillado de Cerdo

When I saw pork cheeks on the menu, I knew I had to have them. There’s no photo for this one because it didn’t turn out very well, and I thought it wouldn’t do the sheer yumminess of this dish justice. The sauce was rich and spicy and the meat was tender. I did have to dip it back in the sauce a few times to get the full whack of flavour, but this was a very capable tapa.

Butifarra Negra

Black pudding topped off with an apple chutney. There’s not much to say about this except that it was amazing. The rich pudding went surprisingly well with the sweet, tangy chutney and I couldn’t help but thinking this would be lovely spread on a piece of bread. It went particulary well with a forkful of the next tapa…

Queso de Cabra al Horno

Toasted goats cheese topped with Seville orange &  chilli marmalade. This was tangy, sweet, sour, creamy: a real taste sensation. Again it would have been perfect on some bread, but we made light work of it either way.

We felt pretty satisfied after munching our way through all of those, and we should have stopped there. Really we should. But since dessert was included in the price, we relented. It didn’t take long for us to decide what to order.

Toffee Cheesecake

I don’t think the picture does it justice! This was a massive slab of toffee cheesecake, the biggest slice of cheesecake I’d ever seen! It was very dense and creamy, with a strong fudgey kind of flavour. I only had one mouthful and James somehow managed to polish off the rest. An intense spike in blood sugar soon ensued.

My nemesis... we meet again!

I absolutely love crème brûlée, so when I saw crema Catalana on the menu it was a no brainer. I scoffed the lot, of course! The caramel topping had the right amount of crunch, and the satisfying *crack* when I tapped my spoon on it. The custard beneath was vanilla-ey and creamy and just amazing. This, again, was a huge portion. You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson after Kyloe, where the crème brûlée pushed me over the edge from pleasantly full to “omg I’m going to be sick”.

We sort of waddled along the road, and after half an hour or so I started getting hot flushes and the intense feeling that I was going to be sick. Perhaps I need to accept that eating custard with burnt sugar on top isn’t good for me. Or maybe stuffing my face until I actually am about to burst isn’t good for me. I can’t decide.

Anyway, I enjoyed the Yelp! event whilst I was there: Real Foods is a great wee shop, and the manager Ben has promised me a tour one day. I’m sad that I missed the chat from the personal trainer, especially since I’ve recently discovered Tough Mudder and am contemplating entering…

Cafe Andaluz on Urbanspoon