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L’escapade is among a rush of new restaurants in Edinburgh. Pic: Facebook.
Why are so many new restaurants launching in Edinburgh at the moment? Easy question. Over the next couple of weeks, Edinburgh Fringe, Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh Art Festival andf the Tattoo will all launch.
During August, the capital’s population will double and everyone will need to be fed and watered. Many existing restaurants, especially in the city centre, stop taking bookings in order to cram in as many walk-ups as possible. Extended opening hours have been applied for and, where possible, extra tables will have been set in cupboards previously reserved for storing brooms.
The last few months have seen new restaurants such as Hawksmoor, Little Chartroom, Borough, Fhior, Newhaven Fishmarket and Mono launch. And there are plenty more new restaurants to come.
We have already mentioned83 Hanover Street. Combining Scottish produce, Chilean cooking and natural wines, this city centre basement bar and bistro is the brainchild of Juan José Castillo Castro, the former restaurant manager at Gleneagles.
After a soft launch next week, the new venture will officially open on Saturday 28th July.
New restaurants in Edinburgh: l’escapade
Not too far away, on Dundas Street, L’escapade has replaced the long-running Glass and Thompson cafe and deli.
It is billed as a ‘modern, independent bistro bar in the heart of the New Town’.
New Towners – and everybody else – are invited to swing by for anything from a breakfast of eggs Benedict to an after dinner cocktail.
The daytime/brunch menu ranges from granola to steak frites. They also offer a ‘posh bacon sandwich’ made with streaky bacon, tomatoes, spring onion and Greek yoghurt in toasted pitta bread.
This blog usually makes no comment on prices but we suspect that at £8.50 the ‘posh bacon sandwich’ will raise eyebrows. Even in the well heeled New Town.
In the evening, the menu becomes more of a sharing platter and tapas sort of affair.
Typical tapas items are the polenta and kale; confit duck in a bean stew; seabass and bacon carbonara or the sliced venison fillet.
Prices for the tapas dishes range from £6 to £9 or you can order four for £25.
Check back tomorrow for new restaurants in Glasgow.
Pickering’s Gin have launched a new Pink Grapefruit and Lemongrass Gin Liqueur.
One of the many benefits of the sunny weather is that it increases the already strong appeal of a chilled sharpener. Right on cue, Pickering’s Gin have just launched a new Pink Grapefruit and Lemongrass Gin Liqueur which is tailor-made for sunny days.
Since launching in 2013, Pickering’s Gin have always recommended pink grapefruit as the ideal garnish for their G ‘n’ Ts.
Their Pink Grapefruit and Lemongrass Gin Liqueur incorporates the fruit directly into the liqueur.
Based in Edinburgh’s Summerhall arts venue, the Pickering’s team tweaked their original Bombay gin recipe to showcase real pink grapefruit along with notes of lemongrass, cardamom and juniper.
Partially guided by feedback from fans, the new liqueur is bottled at 20% ABV.
Stevie Watson, UK brand ambassador for Pickering’s Gin commented:
‘Drinking responsibly is about watching not only how many alcoholic drinks we consume, but how strong our drinks are and what they’re made with.
‘Our Pink Grapefruit and Lemongrass Gin Liqueur is made with real fruit pulp and juices and uses our double-gold award winning gin as its base. Sitting at 20%, our fruity new expression perfectly fits into the forming trend for lower alcohol, spritz-style drinks.’
According to the tasting notes, drinkers can look forward to ‘sun-kissed, plump pink grapefruit from the first sip. Lusciously tart and tangy, the palate is engulfed with mouth-watering, natural sweetness’.
In the mouth, there is ‘gentle warmth from the original gin’s spiced botanicals and a hint of fragrant lemongrass’. It has a ‘sumptuously decadent and velvety finish’.
There has been a lot of interest lately in the way in which Scottish gin is labelled and defined. Pinning down provenance is becoming more important.
This has not gone unnoticed at Pickering’s Gin.
All set to sizzle.
To enable the company to expand production and create a new liqueur, Pickering’s teamed up with another Scottish firm to fulfil demand for the latest offering.
Matt Gammell, co-founder and head distiller said: ‘We’re very proud to distil, bottle, label and wax every bottle of Pickering’s Gin from our 400 square foot distillery in the heart of Edinburgh. We engineer ourselves clever production solutions around the space we have as time goes on, but with markets like the U.S and China growing for us, we must keep our focus firmly on our distilling schedule.
‘It’s one thing to distil, dilute and bottle. It’s quite another when you’re talking about bringing in equipment to blend distillate with fresh fruit. We simply don’t have the space. That’s why we teamed up with Morrison & Mackay in Perthshire, formerly known as the Scottish Liqueur Centre.’
At a time when discussions are opening up as to whether production facilities’ locations should be stated on the bottle, Pickering’s have detailed on their packaging that the liqueur is ‘distilled in Edinburgh, blended in Perthshire’.
The 20%, 50cl bottle retails at £19.95.
Pickering’s Gin launches bar in Beijing
These are busy times for the company. Pickering’s Gin will open the first ever dedicated gin bar in Beijing this Saturday.
Located in the popular Chaoyang district of Beijing, the Pickering’s Gin and Seafood Bar will showcase Pickering’s gins alongside fresh Scottish seafood.
The bar is part of a long-term export strategy for the Edinburgh distillery. They have plans to open Pickering’s Gin and Seafood Bars in many of the major cities in China.
Marcus Pickering, co-founder and head of export, sees the bar as a stepping stone for both Pickering’s Gin and Scottish produce to take hold in China.
He said: ‘Our water is world famous. Whether it is the fish that swim in it; the alcohol we distil with it, or the ice we make from it. Our bar is a celebration of the best to come from Scotland’s exceptional waters. From gin to salmon, whisky to beer – we’ll be flying the flag for quality Scottish produce in China.’
We’re not entirely sure what’s going on. But for the last month (or even longer?) the weather has been over 20 degrees in Scotland every day. The sun has been shining brightly. People have wondering what the heck work appropriate summer wear is. And it’s not set to end. According to the weather reports, Scotland is to continue to enjoy this baking heat every day for the next two weeks.
We don’t know what’s going on but we’re not going to ask any questions. We’re just going to sit back and enjoy this freak Scotland summer and soak up every inch of the sun.
One of the things we enjoy most during summer is the chance to dine al fresco. Tucking into food with the sun on your back and a chilled drink by your side is one of life’s pleasures. There are plenty of restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh with excellent outdoor dining areas and many of them are taking part in our 5pm Big Summer Dine Out. Our Big Summer Dine Out ends on 29th (and the weather might turn – who knows) so make sure to take advantage of dining outside on these excellent offers as soon as you can. Here are 10 restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh with fantastic outdoor seating options.
Cafe Source Too
Cafe Source Too in Hyndland’s Hughenden Road has one of Glasgow’s best kept beer garden secrets. Their outdoor dining area is a huge space with tables overlooking the playing fields beside. Cafe Source Too serves a Scottish menu with a strong focus on locally sourced ingredients.
£14.50 for 2 courses on pre-theatre menu + drink at Cafe Source Too with 5pm’s Big Summer Dine Out.
Art Lover’s Cafe
Located within Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover, Art Lover’s Cafe has a gorgeous outdoor dining area outside the house in the grounds of Bellahouston Park. The perfect sophisticated setting to indulge in afternoon tea with prosecco.
£14.50 for afternoon tea + glass of Prosecco at Art Lover’s Cafe with 5pm’s Big Summer Dine Out.
For pre hydro dining you can’t get much closer than La Rotunda which is right beside the arena. La Rotunda has an outdoor dining area with views of the Clyde, Finnieston Crane and the Squinty Bridge and serves classic Italian dishes.
£19.50 for 3 courses on set evening menu + glass of Prosecco at La Rotunda with 5pm’s Big Summer Dine Out.
Dimora on Ayr Road in Newton Mearns has a very spacious beer garden with plenty of room for soaking up the sunshine. The restaurant serves classic Italian dishes.
£19.50 for 2 courses on the a la carte menu + glass of wine at Dimora for 5pm’s Big Summer Dine Out.
Butchershop Bar & Grill
The Butchershop Bar & Grill’s might have the outdoor dining area with the best view – it is directly opposite Kelvingrove Park and Art Gallery and Museum and Glasgow University. Butchershop is best known for its quality Scottish steaks but it utlises the best Scottish produce in all its dishes, like burgers and risotto.
£19.50 for 2 courses on the Summer Dine Around menu + glass of wine at Butchershop Bar & Grill for 5pm’s Big Summer Dine Out.
Indigo Yard in Edinburgh’s West End has a spacious outdoor terrace which acts as a sun trap on hot days. Spit roast chicken is Indigo Yard’s speciality but it also serves a range of dishes like burgers, roast salmon and cous cous.
£14.50 for 2 courses on lunch menu + welcome drink at Indigo Yard on 5pm’s Big Summer Dine Out.
Rabble, in Edinburgh’s New Town, is the perfect summer dining spot – its glass roof and green plants which fill almost every space of the restaurant give it an outdoors but indoor feel. There are outdoor tables too where guests can dine on meat cooked on the Josper grill and vegetarian dishes like dahl.
£14.50 for 2 courses on lunch menu + drink at Rabble on 5pm Dining.
Ghillie Dhu is a three flour building in Edinburgh’s West End which has a bar, auditorium and outdoor dining area. Minutes from Princes Street, it’s very handy for all of Edinburgh’s attractions. Ghillie Dhu serves up Scottish dishes and their Big Summer Dine Out offer is for a sirloin steak with sides and wine to share.
£29 2 person offer – Sirloin steak + sides + glass of wine each at Ghillie Dhu on 5pm Dining.
Piccolino in Edinburgh’s Tollcross is an Italian Bistro which serves up a menu of carefully selected dishes with daily specials. Their outdoor dining area has plenty of tables to soak up the Edinburgh sunshine.
£39 2 person offer- sirloin steak + small glass of wine at Piccolino for 5pm’s Big Summer Dine Out.
Not far outside Edinburgh City Centre is 1886 Restaurant within the Braid Hills Hotel. 1886 Restaurant has an outdoor dining area with panoramic views of Braidburn Valley Park, Edinburgh City and the Firth of Forth beyond. The menu is made up of bistro style dishes with a strong focus on local ingredients.
£19.50 for 2 courses on the early bird menu + glass of wine or beer at 1886 Restaurant for 5pm’s Big Summer Dine Out.
The free festival runs from Wednesday 25th to Sunday 29th July. Last year, more than 25,000 people attended.
As well as oodles of street food, visitors can look forward to topical food and drink debates.
A rather more frivolous time can be had at the festival’s Prosecco pong competition.
Obviously, Edinburgh is far too la-di-dah to play beer pong. So, festival organisers have teamed up with Edinburgh-based Poco Prosecco to kick-start this year’s event with a fresh take on the traditional ping pong ball drinking game.
Fans of the popular fizz are being challenged to go head to head in Assembly George Square Gardens from 6.30pm on Wednesday 25th July.
For people looking for a softer option, the VW cocktail and mocktail bar, Beetle Juice, will be also be running a fruit juice pong contest.
Edinburgh Food Festival: wide choice of Scottish produce
There will be some twenty-odd food and drink producers on hand to ensure that nobody feels an unwelcome hunger pang or gets drouthy.
From Jarvis Pickle pies to Alanda’s Gelato via Ting Thai Caravan, there will be lots of edible options to choose from.
If Prosecco doesn’t float your boat, then Fyne Ales will be able to sort you out with a beer or two.
Visitors to Edinburgh Food Festival will also have the opportunity to attend talks and demos in the gardens’ beautiful Piccolo Tent.
Taking to the stage to talk all things food and drink is a range of key industry figures including author and whisky consultant, Blair Bowman.
On Saturday 28th July, at 4pm, Blair will be chairing The Great Gin Debate. Along with a panel of industry influencers, brand owners and distillers, Blair will be discussing issues around the production, regulation and transparency of the burgeoning Scottish gin industry.
More debates and demos will be announced nearer the start of the festival.
Sharon Burgess, Managing Director of Assembly Festival and Edinburgh Food Festival, said: ‘We’re really excited to be announcing our fresh line-up for the fourth year of the Festival.
‘We have the biggest and best line-up of Scottish food and drink stallholders yet, including Edinburgh’s Ting Thai Caravan, which is new for 2018. It’s free for all, so bring your friends and family and kick off Edinburgh’s brilliant festival season in good taste.’
The new restaurant replaces Hadrian’s Brasserie and The Balmoral Bar which launched 21 years ago.
First up, it all looks great. The decor is smart but with little retro touches that hint at the hotel’s roots as a railway hotel.
The brasserie now has a separate entrance on Princes Street which leads into the bar area. You can choose to sit around the corner of the bar, by the open fire, or lounge in the main bar area and gaze along into the dining room.
The dining room of the brasserie.
As before, the dining room runs up the Bridges side of the building. The kitchen has been opened up so diners can watch the chefs in action.
While Alain Roux’s name is above the door, the Roux family are very much involved. Michel Roux senior was at the launch.
He said, ‘In my lifetime, I have opened twelve restaurants with Albert Roux and, between them, they have eleven Michelin stars. With Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux, we wanted to create something that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. We wanted something that was less gastro and more brasserie. At the same time, we want this brasserie to be among the best.’
Brasserie Prince: French technique and Scottish ingredients
Michel Roux says that the food is ‘to be enjoyed and shared’. According to Alain Roux, the new venture ‘will be defined by a seasonally changing menu rooted in French bistro dishes… We will be led by the fantastic array of Scottish ingredients…
‘I want to serve the dishes that I love to cook myself at home and seek out with family and friends when we go out to eat. It will be a menu informed by my French heritage but totally inspired by Scotland.’
On the plate, this means dishes such as the classic fish stew bouillabaisse, grilled lobster thermidor, coq au vin tagliatelle and steak tartare with Parmesan and French fries.
Guests can push the boat out and order up the fruits de mer or dine more modestly from the daily specials.
These range from tripe with carrots and new potatoes to the rabbit leg in a mustard sauce with a courgette gratin.
There are also bites and sharing platters. You could snack on a croque-monsieur or feast on a platter laden with Balmoral smoked salmon and halibut with capers, lemon and rye soda bread.
Alain Roux is the Signature Chef at Brasserie Prince. The chef currently retains three Michelin stars at The Waterside Inn, the only restaurant in the world outside France to have upheld this accolade for more than thirty years.
Brasserie Prince by Alain Roux completes a five year refurbishment plan for the iconic five-star Rocco Forte hotel. As well as the creation of the destination whisky bar, SCOTCH, the refurbishment has seen big changes at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant Number One and Palm Court, its afternoon tea lounge.
The main bar area has an entrance onto Princes Street.
Beside Glasgow’s infamous Barras market, with its stalls of fresh meat and designer knock offs, is its younger hipster sister, the Barras Art And Design Centre. The Barras Art and Design Centre (or BAAD as it’s shortened to) is a glass domed space which hosts a number of boutique shops and exhibitions along with seafood restaurant A’Challtainn on its mezzanine.
Since opening almost two years ago, A’Challtainn has developed a very highly regarded reputation for its menu of sustainable Scottish seafood which is used to create modern, innovative dishes. You can expect to dine on unique combinations like smoked salmon crab cannelloni, and sea trout with beetroot and tarragon gravlax and mustard seed pickle with rye bread. However, there’s plenty of more traditional seafood dishes too, like moules frites and fish and chips, still created using the best quality Scottish seafood.
Seafood dishes at A’Challtainn
The setting of A’Challtainn is just as impressive as its dishes – it’s kind of like dining in a massive greenhouse. And the windows on the mezzanine have views out on to the designer graffiti of the BAAD courtyard below. We visited for lunch recently and had an extremely enjoyable afternoon sipping white wine and tucking into A’Challtainn’s delicious food with the blazing Scottish sunshine bouncing off the glass roof. Here’s what we dined on.