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Posts Tagged ‘bistro’

Sylvesters is a relatively new restaurant on the corner of West Nicholson Street and Potterrow, close to Field, which we visited recently. It was a familiar site for me as I used to work with colleagues in Informatics at nearby Edinburgh University and we often lunched at what was then Phenecia, which became the Pink Olive.

It’s been refurbished as a clean modern space and, from overheard conversations, It’s still patronised by university folk. We went on a Friday in January, which is not the busiest time in the restaurant business, but there were enough people there to create a good atmosphere.

The menu is a short, bistro-style menu which does not have pretentions to ‘fine dining’ and so is not stupidly expensive. I started with Camembert, onion and fig tart. Instead of a traditional tart that I expected, this was a deconstructed layered tart – but no less delicious. Others had Haggis Bonbons i.e. deep-fried haggis balls. These have become a wee bit of a cliche in Scotland but these were very good.

Grilled Camembert, onion and fig tart

Grilled Camembert, onion and fig tart

My main course was Jacob’s Ladder – something I’d never heard of before. It was slow-cooked short rib of beef (which apparently is called Jacob’s Ladder) with Dauphinoise potatoes and spinach. It was absolutely delicious and not at all stringy as sometimes happens with slow cooked beef.  I also tasted the pork and the hake – the fish in particular was excellent.

Jacob's Ladder - slow-cooked short rib of beef

Jacob’s Ladder – slow-cooked short rib of beef

We had a present of Prosecco as an aperitif and a pleasant but unremarkable New Zealand Pinot Noir to drink with our main course.

The service was excellent and very friendly and the price was reasonable – about £28 per head.  Sylvesters confirms the usual Edinburgh rule – you get the best value for good food if you get out of the city centre. Definitely worth revisiting.

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Bia Bistrot is a small neighbourhood bistro in Bruntsfield, a short walk from our flat. It’s a great place for us when we want an fuss-free meal – not fine dining but good bistro food and we don’t have to be bothered about taxis to get home. I’ve reviewed it before (here) but I thought I’d do an up to date review with some photos.

We went there on a Saturday night in October – it was buzzing. The menu is quite short with just a few starters and mains – the starters usually have something unusual – I tried sweetbreads here and today they had bone marrow on the menu. But it didn’t really appeal to me so I went for the Puy lentils with Arbroath smokies. My wife Anne chose the wild and farmed mushroom vol au vent and she made the best choice. Her’s was delicious whereas mine was just OK – there wasn’t any discernable dressing on the salad and the fish was served completely plain. It was perfectly nice but unexceptional.

Puy lentil salad with Arbroath smokies

Puy lentil salad with Arbroath smokies

For a main course, I chose Borders partridge breast with leg ravioli and vegetable broth. Partridge breast is so small it’s hard to get right – it’s very easy to overcook it and it goes very dry.  Here, they got it almost right – it certainly wasn’t dry but I reckon it could have done with a tiny bit less cooking. The ravioli was superb and the broth tasty so, overall, a pretty good dish. Anne had fish – coley with butternut squash, which was

Borders partridge breast with leg ravioli

Borders partridge breast with leg ravioli

Coley with butternut squash

Coley with butternut squash

We drank Picpoul de Pinet, a wine from the south of France that’s one of my favourites. No puds but we had alcoholic Scottish coffee – same as Irish but made with Scotch whisky. About £70 for 2 so not cheap but not stupidly expensive.

I really like the Bia Bistrot – friendly staff, good service and, dare I say it, typical French bistro food with a Scottish twist. If you’re around the south of Edinburgh, definitely worth a visit.

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