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Posts Tagged ‘Bruntsfield’

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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The Three Birds is a small restaurant in Bruntsfield that opened relatively recently – it took over the site from the Mouton Noir, which I had found to be a bit patchy. I had fancied trying the Three Birds for a while and was further encouraged by the positive review in the Scotsman.  So, we finally made it last night and were immediately encouraged by the fact that the place was packed when we arrived at 8 o’clock.

The menu is relatively short (good) with a few specials and we mostly chose the specials for starters – haggis balls for me, cauliflower and smoked trout with salad for my daughters. My wife chose cauliflower and horseradish soup from the regular menu.

Our starters were very disappointing. The cauliflower soup was the worst – far too thick and claggy – more of a tepid porridge than a soup. It really was pretty grim – and overpriced at £5. The smoked trout was minuscule – two tiny slices and when my daughter asked for some bread to accompany this, she was told that this was charged extra. Well, the Ryanair approach is OK if you charge Ryanair prices but the trout starter was £6 so I thought it was pretty mean not to offer some bread with it. My haggis balls with poached egg were the best of the starters but haggis really needs something sharp to cut through the richness – whisky when its served on its own but haggis balls need something like chutney or relish.

Haggis balls with poached egg

Haggis balls with poached egg

Our main courses were a considerable improvement. These all came from the standard menu which maybe made the difference. My daughter had partridge, which she pronounced excellent and my wife had roast cod, which she enjoyed. I had venison loin which was nicely cooked – perfectly pink – although the meat was just a wee bit lacking in taste. The beetroot accompaniment went well with it.

Venison loin with beetroot and potatoes

Venison loin with beetroot and potatoes

No puds but the coffees were fine. A short and reasonably priced wine list – we had a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a couple of glasses of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Both were good examples and not overpriced. Overall, we were about £30/head including wine.

The atmosphere in the Three Birds was great and the service was excellent. I’d really like it to succeed as a neighbourhood bistro but they still have a fair bit of work to do. Friends who have eaten there report the same – some have had a great meal, others have been disappointed.

No self-respecting chef should ever have let that awful soup leave the kitchen and they should remember that one of the key characteristics of a good bistro is good bread – as a normal accompaniment to everything. I’m sure we’ll give it one more try – but we’ll give it a few months in the hope of improvement.

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Le Mouton Noir is a French bistro in the heart of Bruntsfield. We ate there shortly after it opened and were very disappointed in the food then we went back a couple of years ago – the food was definitely better but not so good that we were anxious to go back.

We decided last Saturday to give it another try – and it was much improved. It was busy and bustling and 8 o’clock when we arrived – a slight glitch when they said we had cancelled our booking was quickly sorted.  A short menu on a blackboard with wines by the pichet as in France.

We decided that the best approach was to try and be as traditional as possible so our starters were foie gras and oefs en cocotte – baked eggs with ham, mushrooms and cheese.

Foie Gras

Oefs en cocotte

No complaints about either of these – both nicely cooked and tasty. Served with crusty French bread that, unlike many places in France, was quite fresh.  Our main courses were French classics – cassoulet (duck, ham and beans) and tartiflette (potatoes, onions, ham, cream and cheese). Both were hearty winter warmers – simply cooking that worked well.

Cassoulet - confit of duck, ham, sausages and beans

Tartiflette - potatoes, onions, bacon, cheese and cream

We each had two courses plus a 1/2 litre of house red and 1/2 litre of house white – the wine was OK but a bit overpriced. About £30 each.

 Altogether, a much better experience than our previous visits – we will be back.

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