Taste of Italy, 9 Baxter’s Place, New Town, Edinburgh, EH1 3AF 0131 557 9998
Throughout life we go on dates with people wholly unsuited to us. We last through relationships that are sometimes brilliant, and sometimes disappointing. Often we’re left with bad tastes in our mouths.
While your heart is being broken by these drama causing vagabonds you vent to a friend. Someone who’s always kind of there, in the background. You’ve never looked at them sexually: until one day, it clicks.
They’re amazing. You’re meant to be together forever.
Then you hook up and forget to call them, because someone more exciting has arrived on the scene. Someone who says they can offer you adventure, new experiences, romance. Of course, they’re just like the rest of them. At first it’s great but they make promises that they fail to deliver on and you’re left hurt and alone.
After another series of disasters, you’ll inevitably find yourself back in the arms of your friend, pledging this time that you’ll never forget how well they treat you and that you’ll never let them go. But we’ve all been there: of course you will.
I may have mentioned a couple of times already, but I’m now officially a Total Food Geek: which means that I sometimes get to go along to very special Geeky dinners. This month was at the recently refurbished Forth Floor Brasserie, in Harvey Nichols.
As this was my first time meeting many of the Geeks, I was really very nervous as I stepped out of the lift; especially when I had to tell the smartly dressed maitré d “Hello! I’m here to be a Geek!”. There was no reason to be nervous, however; he was all smiles as he led me to the lounge area and handed me a glass of very tasty champagne.
This was probably one of the longest dinners I’ve ever had: starting at 7:30pm and ending at 11:30pm. But the evening whipped by in a flurry of good food and great company. The oysters, the tasting menu, the wine… for me it was perfect. I really enjoyed the second course of sous vide pigeon; somewhere between warm and cold, and at the perfect temperature to really appreciate the delicate, juicy meat.
Of course, the passion fruit gel on the dessert platter captivated my imagination too; it looked and acted like egg yolk, moving around the plate happily until pierced with a fork when vibrantly yellow and tangy insides spilled out.
For me the only aspects that didn’t work were the halibut (I thought it was a little bland) and the aerated chocolate (just a poncy way of saying Aero, no?). What surprised me was how full I was afterwards, even although the portions were dainty and I had skipped lunch that afternoon.
I reckon the best thing about having a Royal Family is all the extra bank holidays we get. Last year it was the Royal Wedding (and a trip to Brussels for James and me) and this year it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Although last year I was a little cynical about the whole Royal thing, this year I’m actually thinking it could be fun to have wee soiree in the street.
Nobody does street parties like Edinburgh. And it would be the ideal way to get to know my neighbours: the faceless people who hold doors open for me in the corridor, or who post a letters through saying things like “terribly sorry, but one of our socks has fallen off our balcony onto yours. Can we have it back?”
I’m not sure if my neighbours would agree with me. Tensions have been running high since a controversial parking scheme was introduced. I wouldn’t want to risk my trestle tables getting a ticket from an over enthusiastic parking warden! 😉
If I did live on a street that was taking part in the Big Jubilee Lunch, here’s what I’d bring to the table.
Normally I don’t use this blog to rant about companies that annoy me (ah who am I kidding, give me a soapbox and I’m jumping on with both feet). However today I got some customer service from One Parliament Square that was so bad it actually made me laugh out loud. It also made me turn a bit red, because I don’t enjoy being talked down to or spoken to dismissively.
But then I thought “I can’t keep this comedic gold to myself!”
So since I have a wee soapbox, I thought I’d share my email correspondence with One Parliament Square Edinburgh on here: just in case any of you are looking for a group apartment in Edinburgh and want to make sure that you’re going to be looked after by someone who is a true people person.
As I mentioned before, I’m now part of the Edinburgh foodie elite that is known as Total Food Geeks. Each month the Geeks riff on a theme, and this month it was all about experimenting.
I was pretty stumped at first, as I’m a rather conservative young lady in the kitchen. Over the weekend I freaked out because I was in a house with no measuring scales and I had no clue whether or not my Fabulous Baker Brothers soda bread would actually turn out.
it was perfect: apart from a little too much salt. You should all go make this. Now. Seriously, the internet will be much better when you have some hot, fresh out of the oven, soda bread with melty butter. Mmmmm!
Anyway, the point is that experimentation isn’t exactly my forte.
I have all my best ideas in the shower, and there I was getting all frothy with my shampoo when I remembered that I really wanted to try my hand at making chocolate pasta. Hotel Chocolat sell this strange creation in penne form, and it’s absolutely gorgeous: but pricy. Lucky I have a pasta machine!
But that wouldn’t be experimental enough. You can buy it on the high street, for Pete’s sake.
So then my brain got to thinking…
How about taking the chocolateyness and going one step further? Dessert ravioli… filled with Creme Egg fondant.
You can read all about this madcap experiment of Frankenstein proportions over on Total Food Geeks.
North West Circus Place, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 6SX 0131 225 4431
Café Fish will always hold a dear place in my heart. When both the restaurant and I were based in Leith, my team went along for a special Friday lunch. I can’t remember the reasoning behind it, just that there were four of us and we got through a bottle of wine before my boss asked if we wanted another.
Our intern said “no” but my colleague and I said “yes”.
That afternoon wasn’t very productive, although such an awesome lunch should have been an indicator not to hand in my notice.
But I fell victim to the lure of the yankee dollar and moved myself on up to the West End of town. Café Fish obviously had the same idea and shifted premises over to Stockbridge, where it’s a lot more prominent than tucked off a side street along from The Shore.
Although I visited the Steak and Mussel Bar for my birthday party the Saturday before, I didn’t want to spend the actual day of my birthday alone and miserable. Luckily my buddy, Edinburgh singer songwriter Colin Asquith, kindly took me along to Café Fish to enjoy their lunchtime tapas menu.
110 West Bow, Grassmarket. Edinburgh, EH1 2HH 0131 225 5028
This review is rather late, dear readers, as I’m not sure that I’m ready to admit to myself yet that I’m closer to 30 than 20.
Birthdays are a funny thing: when you’re younger it’s exciting because you get to eat cake and open presents. Then you get older and suddenly the stress sets in: who should I invite, what should we do, what if nobody comes, OH GOD I’M GOING TO BE DEAD SOON! That kind of thing.
I decided this year that it would be great fun to have dinner, followed by a ghost tour. This restricted us to restaurants nearby the Royal Mile. Then I remembered The Mussel and Steak Bar, which I’d only heard great things about. After disappointments at Steak and The Mussel Inn I thought it was about time I get some decent bivalves and bovine down my gullet.
So a table was booked, a tarty dress was procured, and off we went!