REVIEW :: The Voodoo Rooms

19a West Register Street  Edinburgh EH2 2AA
0131 556 7060

At some point in January, my friends decided that 2012 would be the year of  “trying new things”. Which I find very strange, as I spent most of 2011 doing just that. However, they seem to believe that I’m a bit of a killjoy as I didn’t want to go along to a football match (I hate football and besides, I went to two matches in 2007: one at Easter Road and one at Tynecastle. I’ve done my bit for Scottish fitba’).

One ‘new thing’ I agreed to was horse riding:  suffice to say, after being asked to kick the poor horse hard in the ribs and whack it on the arse with a crop, I decided to maintain my killjoy status by asking to get down. I was told to go and sit in the gallery, but Jemma Porter don’t sit in no gallery so I wandered off.

After the horse riding disaster, I was due to meet my friend Euan for lunch/dinner. We met up at the Voodoo Rooms on West Register Street, ordered our first bottle of wine, and chose some burgers.

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Skye During the Low Season: What to Do

Going on holiday anywhere during the low season can be problematic. Often restaurants and tourist attractions will be closed, leaving you uncertain of what to do. Skye is very much a “closed for winter” island: with a few hotels and eateries remaining open, but a huge proportion opting to close their doors until the droves of tourists return.

We realised this just before we left. James phoned The Three Chimneys restaurant to book us in for a romantic lunch. They responded that they don’t do lunch at this time of year: lucky for us, as our hotel had fed us a three course breakfast and we wouldn’t have been able to handle a tasty lunch anyway!

Despite this, I reckon that February is a great time to visit Skye. At this time of year the island is beautiful, it’s nice and quiet, and everyone’s happy to see you.

So what is there to do in Skye during the low season? Read on…

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REVIEW :: Hongfu Noodle Bar

3–7 Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3BG
0131 556 7597

Jump in my Delorean, friends. I want to take you back in time to a more innocent era. An era where I’d heard plenty of good things about Hongfu Noodle Bar, and believed them. Specifically I want to take you back to a day in that era: Valentine’s Day, 2012. As I wandered hungrily home from an opera about hunger (Hansel & Gretel), I mentioned to my charming boyfriend that we should pop into Hongfu for our dinner. James is usually quite open to that sort of thing, but that evening he was very dismissive. He asked if I was sure, I said yes and stopped walking: but he kept marching ahead. At the time I was hurt and offended that he didn’t stop, and we even had a bit of an argument.

But looking back, I know exactly why.

My friends, it’s time to go back: to the future!

(Please indulge me whilst I flex my creative muscles.)

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REVIEW :: Duisdale House Hotel Restaurant

near Duisdalemore,  Isle of Skye, Highlands, IV43 8QW
01471 833202

One name that cropped up in my search for Skye restaurant recommendations was the Duisdale House Hotel and by happy coincidence this was exactly where we were staying, thanks to a great deal I picked up last year from 5pm.co.uk. The hotel itself was lovely (but you already knew that) so I was excited about the food.

As a double AA rosetted restaurant, we knew that it was going to be a bit pricy but it was a special occassion after all (our anniversary) and after a 5 hour drive the thought of heading out and exploring in the dark would have made me break down in tears.

Upon arrival, the wonderful David asked us when we wanted to dine, so we made reservations for half past 7. We took some time to freshen up in our hotel room, and then returned to the downstairs lounge to slurp champagne and peruse the dinner menu whilst relaxing on a plush sofa.

There was a gaggle of Glaswegians also staying in a hotel: they provided some amusement to us as they were obviously sozzled already and were extolling the virtues of the mushroom linguine from the bar menu.

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REVIEW :: Mussel Inn in on an Edinburgh Lunch Quest

61-65 Rose Street,  Edinburgh, EH2 2NH
0131 225 5979

It’s not often that I visit somewhere twice for a review, but  I absolutely adore mussels so when Lunch Quest Edinburgh invited me to accompany them on their review to the Mussel Inn, I couldn’t possibly say no; even although this post was sitting in my draft folder gathering dust.

You can read all about how I got on with the Lunch Quest over on their blog; but here I’m going to talk about my very first visit to Mussel Inn!

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REVIEW :: Izzi

Tasty Katsu chicken (and yucky noodle soup)

119 Lothian Road  West End, Edinburgh EH3 9AN
0131 466 9888

Much has been written about the opening of Wagamama in Edinburgh, but it’s easy to forget that there are some great Japanese and Oriental  fusion restaurants within walking distance. I think it’s a shame to neglect these independently run businesses in favour of a massive chain, so I’ve managed to avoid Wagamama thus far and will continue to do so until circumstances force me through those doors.

One place that I’ve been meaning to try for years is Izzi: up on that lovely stretch of road that includes quite a few strip clubs and also the much beloved Illegal Jacks.

This is another post wine tasting review: as it was one of the few non-Italian eateries that that stays open after 9pm on a Monday.

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From the Lowlands, to the Highlands, to the Hebrides: Journey to Skye

After living in Scotland for all of my life (almost 26 years now) I’ve only recently begun to realise how beautiful my country is. When  I saw a great deal on 5pm for a two night stay at a boutique hotel in Skye, I jumped at the  chance to see more of Scotland. Until 2008 the furthest North I had been was St Andrews, and I’d never visited the West Coast. On deciding how to get there, we settled on a road trip.

There are a few routes from Edinburgh to Skye: the quickest is via Perth, but we decided to take the scenic route past Stirling, through the Trossachs, and on to Fort William. The drive itself almost felt like a holiday as we watched the Scottish landscape transform before our very eyes.

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Skye Hotel Review :: Duisdale House Hotel

Duisdale House Hotel

Driving to Skye, there was one worry on my mind: and that was the hotel. I’d booked it via a voucher from 5pm.co.uk and although it was my first experience with this particular site, I was still a little nervous. I’d   visited a nice restaurant before with an Itison voucher and was rather poorly treated.

All of my stress melted away however once I stepped into the lobby of the beautiful Duisdale House Hotel. When we checked in the receptionist, David (the nicest man on the planet) gave us a quick tour of the hotel. He also upgraded us to a four poster room- which made me happy because I’ve always wanted to sleep in a four poster bed.

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At the Launch of STEAK Edinburgh

Excitement has slowly been building over the past few months for the grand opening of Edinburgh’s latest gourmet steak restaurant, the aptly named Steak. I was lucky enough to be given an invitation to the press launch. I hummed and hawwed about which steak loving friend to bring. I settled on James, however, and I’m glad that I did because… well, to be honest, there wasn’t really any steak.

Well, unless you were lucky enough to get a seat at the sharing table: but the queue was mahoosive!

I felt like a bit of a killjoy when I sloped off at half 9 to buy a bottle of vinho verde and order a curry, but when I logged into Twitter this morning I found out that I wasn’t the only one that left peckish:

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/LeilAppetit/status/170284217568206849″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/insideoutchef/status/170288422504775680″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/BakersBunny/status/170270646906007552″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/Millers64Edin/status/170255024121851905″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/pamiwami/status/170274585118375936″]

[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/nadinepierce/status/170469252141285376″]

Now I don’t want to sound like an Ungrateful Ursula,  I  really appreciated the opportunity to be there on opening night. The thing is, the party was held right over dinner time: 7pm-10pm and only four types of canape seemed to be in rotation: none of which featured on the menu. Although the black pudding and haggis balls were rather orgasmic.

I understand that it wouldn’t be economically viable to give every blogger and journalist and their plus ones a full sit down meal,  but if the canapé’s were made of dishes actually served in the restaurant then I could tell you a little more about what to expect from Steak. I might even have booked a table to try a man-sized version.

A bite sized portion of chateaubriand, a small pot of cottage pie, some beef wellington, heck maybe even some lobster mash (it was a fish-tank smash, I heard) would have made all the difference.

TL;DR: I can’t tell you whether I like STEAK Edinburgh or not, because I have no idea what the food tastes like.

 

I can tell you though that the restaurant is gorgeously decorated, the menu looked very interesting,  they’re open until 2am (truffled macaroni & onion bread: exactly what one wants after a night partying in CC’s) and the head chef Jason Wright seems so enthusiastic and lovely that I can only hope these qualities are transferred to his food.

There, I said something nice. Now I don’t feel like a complete bitch!

Edinburgh Food Blog Valentine’s Day Round-Up

I’ve noticed a lovely trend recently where bloggers publish a list of their favourite posts from the previous week. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and when better to start sharing the love than Valentine’s Day?

I studied public relations at university, so please enjoy this Valentine’s Day post as I tenuously try to link my favourite Edinburgh food blog posts of the past week to the most romantic of holidays!

1) Total Food Geeks – All I Want for Valentine’s

This lovey-dovey post by Edinburgh Foody laments the lack of hand delivered romantic goodies for surprising loved ones on Valentine’s Day – or any day for that matter – in Edinburgh. I’m a big romantic at heart so would definitely love a service like this: last year I sent cards to my platonic friends (and even made a rather stunning mug for one thanks to Moonpig).

2) The Broughton Spurtle – Red Velvet Cake Recipe

This recipe for the Red Velvet layer cake (arguably the most Valentine-y of all cakes) is written by local domestic goddess Fiona Harvey of Made By Fi fame. The rich red colour of the sponge provides a beautiful contrast to layers of white butter cream. One to try if you want to impress your other half tonight.

3) Edinburgh Cake Ladies – Tealicious Edinburgh Pops Up Sunday 4th March

Pop up restaurants and supper clubs are all the rage in Edinburgh at the moment, so it’s with great joy that the Edinburgh Cake Ladies announced the launch of a pop up afternoon tea, Tealicious, run by two local cake ladies Katey (of Edinburgh Eats) and Michelle. Tickets for the first event have gone on sale, with the promise of floral treats aplenty (rose petal jam; YUM!).

4) Edinburgh Eats – Baking Sunday: Chocolate and Raspberry Mini Cakes

If you can’t make it to Tealicious, you can always try Katey’s recipes at home. This recipe for chocolate and raspberry mini cakes is just begging to be tested in my own kitchen. I’m not a massive fan of cupcakes, so having a wee mini layer cake all to myself would be far more preferable. There’s just something so evocatively romantic about pairing soft, red, fruits with rich, dark chocolate…

5) Regular Wino – Valentine’s Day Wines

I may be slightly biased because he’s my boyfriend, but I genuinely did chuckle at James’s round up of crazily names bottles of wine that would make, er, “creative” Valentine’s Day presents. Bubbly Bitch rosé and Fat Bastard Shiraz, anyone?

6) MyMonkfish – Beer and Food Matching

For those who aren’t into wine, you can still have a romantic Valentine’s Day meal with a perfectly matched beer. This guide from The Monkfish recommends some very tasty Innis & Gunn beers to match with cheese. It’s a very informative article, but I’m excited about things to come: Monkfish promises further beer matching ‘tails’ so this post is one to watch!

….and not a food blog, but still worth some love!

 

7) Budget Traveller – 6 Movies That Made Me Fall in Love With Europe

I noticed this quirky post this morning on Twitter and couldn’t post a round-up without mentioning it. Indian born travel afficionado Kash runs through the films that encouraged him to pack his backpack and really see Europe on a budget. I have to admit there’s quite a few films on his list that I haven’t seen- although I’m surprised that Trainspotting isn’t on there. Surely Ewan MacGregor’s toilet diving scene would encourage anyone to come and move to the ‘burgh?

That’s it for my first blog round up! If you like heart shaped cakes (for some reason I really associate cakes with Valentines Day: perhaps because I bloody love them?!) then check out my Valentine’s board on Pinterest.

And if I’ve missed out any ace posts, please feel free to leave a link in the comments!