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Archive for May, 2010

Amber is the restaurant in the Scotch Whisky Experience near Edinburgh Castle. The resto has been making a name for itself for good quality Scottish food so we tried it in May 2010. A short menu – always, I think, a good sign. The whisky connection is very obvious – lots of single malts and whisky cocktails. My pre-dinner drink was an 18-year old Macallan and my wife and daughters all had whisky based cocktails (which were pronounced moreish). For food, I had goats cheese and wild garlic pate to start followed by fillet steak. the steak was perfectly cooked but a bit lacking in flavour – maybe this is just a characteristic of the cut. Very reasonably priced (for a restaurant) Sangiovese wine. Friendly staff and good service – we’d be happy to go back.

Visited May 2010. About £45 each but could have been cheaper if we’d avoided the expensive whisky cocktails.

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Another visit to J. Baker, Bistro Moderne in the centre of York that I found by chance the last time I was in York in November 2009. Food equally good – Crab dumplings with sweetcorn and vanilla sauce  followed by Stone Bass with Asparagus (although tasted much the same as sea bass). Instead of pud, had a remarkable parmesan custard with bacon salad, which was outstanding. Good atmosphere and friendly staff. Highly recommended.

Visited, May 2010. £29 fixed price for 3 courses. Paid about £42 to include a beer, 2 glasses of wine and a coffee.

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Nargile has been established since 1983 and offers Turkish/Mediterranean food. I’m not sure if it is the same people as Nargile in Edinburgh but, if it is, the food is much better here. Started with shared Mezze, which was excellent. Seven different small plates of which the sausage and the Baba Ghanoush (aubergine and garlic dip) was outstanding. We all had kebabs – mine with chicken which was excellent. Rather more expensive than you might expect for this type of restaurant but very good.

Visited, May 2010. Worked out about £30 each including a bottle of OK wine.

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As far as possible, we try to shop locally in small shops rather than supermarkets. We regularly visit farmer’s markets in both the  N.E. of Scotland and in Edinburgh although the Edinburgh market is becoming dominated by people selling cooked food rather than produce.

The Devenick Dairy
Fantastic yoghurt and cruelty-free veal. Spanish veal sausages especially recommended.

Lupe Pintos
Great deli in Edinburgh. The best chorizos and guacamole.

Fletchers Venison
At the Edinburgh Farmers Market every Saturday. Great steaks (IMHO better than fillet steak), pies and, unusually, venison haggis.

Mortlach Game
Another super venison supplier who attends farmers’ markets in Aberdeenshire. Nothing really to chose between their meat and Fletchers.

Orkney Brewery
Their Dark Island beer is superb. Others are also pretty good.

Cairngorm Brewery
My favourite lighter beer is Trade Winds but all of their beers are excellent.

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We visited the Number 1 in Aberdeen with friends from Cumbria to discover they had lost our booking. They were very apologetic and helpful and set up a table in the bar area for us. I liked the menu where all the starters and mains were the same price (£5.95 for starters, £13.95 for mains) and the food was competent rather than outstanding. I had gravadlax with beetroot followed by sea bass. Pinot Grigio to drink as our friends liked that wine. The resto did the right thing in not charging us for drinks and service so we would not be reluctant to go back.

Visited: May 2010

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