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Chef’s Table at The Restaurant at Blythswood: five course dinner with paired Champagne.

The Restaurant at The Principal Blythswood Square Hotel is launching an exclusive Chef’s Table next week.

The nights are drawing in and the mornings are that little bit more nippy. It’s not quite the end of the world but it’s certainly a good excuse to treat yourself.

And the good people at The Principal Blythswood Square Hotel are level seven ninjas when it comes to treating their guests.

Their latest treat-tastic idea is to host a series of luxury epicurean experiences.

The Chef’s Table is led by Zoltan Szabo, Executive Head Chef at Blythswood Square. Each dinner will be a partnership with a selection of the most in demand luxury brands on the market.

Chef Szabo will guide diners through the various cooking methods, the provenance of the ingredients and how they come together to create the perfect dish.

Chef’s Table: Moët & Chandon Champagne

The five-star hotel is launching it Chef’s Table program with a Moët & Chandon Champagne Pairing Dinner on Thursday 20 September 2018.

The chefs have selected ingredients and dishes which will highlight the characteristics of Moët and Chandon’s legendary range of Champagnes.

The five-course meal includes baked Isle of Mull scallops; Lochgilphead crab and chervil ravioli and a fillet of brill with fennel compote, roasted fennel and razor clams.

The meal finishes with a dessert of strawberry cheesecake with Moët & Chandon jelly, fresh strawberries and shortbread crumb.

Murray Thomson, General Manager of Blythswood Square Hotel, said: ‘A seat at Chef’s Table is a must for any self-confessed foodie. It is the perfect opportunity to expand your culinary knowledge in the company of like-minded individuals and the luxurious surroundings of the hotel.

‘Our team of leading chefs have used their wealth of experience to create a unique offering at The Restaurant at Blythswood Square.’

Chef’s Table: truffle dinner

Baked Isle of Mull scallops will feature on the first Chef’s Table at The Blythswood.

Each Chef’s Table takes place on the fourth Thursday of every month starting from Thursday 20 September 2018.

The next one is a truffle dinner on Thursday 25th October.

Prices start at £55 per head and from £80 for premium experiences.  The Moët & Chandon Champagne Pairing Dinner is a premium experience at £80. Tickets are available here.

Season passes are available for a choice of six dinners throughout the annual calendar.

And if you have already made other plans for the night of the Moët & Chandon Chef’s Table then fret not.

This Big Deal offers a two course meal for two with fizz or a four course tasting menu for two with fizz. The options are priced at £29 and £89 respectively.

The deal is valid until mid-November.

Brill with fennel compote, roasted fennel and razor clams.

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Stranraer Oyster Festival includes an oyster shucking festival. Pic: Facebook

Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight 2018 ends this weekend but it’s going out with a bang thanks to not one but two seafood festivals.

Starting in Glasgow, The Clyde Fishermen’s Trust is organising a Festival of the Sea in the Briggait on Saturday 15th September.

Running from 11.30am-6pm, the event promises fresh seafood, live music, whisky stalls and Seafood Scotland tastings.

Food stalls will ensure that no-one goes hungry and visitors can look forward to several craft stalls – many with a maritime theme.

Fishermen will give live demos illustrating how they make their living and provide us with delicious seafood.

If there is one thing that fishermen are famous for, it is their ability to spin yarns as well as they can nets. As a result, the Festival of the Sea will include story telling sessions.

Of course, there will be a licensed bar.

Scottish Food Fortnight: Stranraer Oyster Festival

Heading further down the West Coast, the second Stranraer Oyster Festival takes place this weekend.

Starting on Friday 14th September and running until Sunday 16th, the event boasts an action-packed program.

You can view the full schedule here.

If we were to pick out highlights, we would choose the Nick Nairn master classes taking place on the Saturday and Sunday.

From ceviche of bream to seared hake with chorizo, peas and lettuce, the famous chef will demonstrate how to knock up some of his favourite seafood dishes.

A little bit of competition always spices things up so we predict that the Oyster Shucking Competition on the Saturday afternoon will draw an enthusiastic crowd.

The winner will go on to represent Scotland at the World Oyster Opening Championships in Galway.

Naturally, the organisers are predicting that ‘It’ll be a shell of a fight!’

Boom and indeed boom!

Seafood street food

One of the most popular parts of the festival is sure to be the seafood street food market in the Seafood Celebration Marquee.

Musicians will entertain the crowds as they graze from the seafood stalls.

If all this talk of mouth-watering seafood is sharpening your appetite then 5pm Dining has plenty of fantastic seafood restaurants on the books.

You can browse their menus and book in from here.

The post Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight 2018 celebrates seafood appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Eastside has replaced Opal Lounge. Pic: Facebook

Never mind Westside Story. It’s all about Eastside on Edinburgh’s George Street.

It lasted almost twenty years but the Opal Lounge club on George Street has finally called it a night.

In its place is Eastside, a late night bar with pool tables and street food.

This blogger’s clubbing years are long gone. We can no longer bust a move without straining a muscle.

Edinburgh’s hottest DJs are a complete mystery. In fact, we would struggle to name three current DJs.

If we ever did show up at a nightclub. the first thing the bouncers would ask is ‘Are you here to take your daughter home?’

Eastside: dancing, drinking and eating under one roof

That said, we do know that Opal Lounge long had a rep for being pretty posh.

Not really exclusive but it seemed to be the preferred hangout for the sort of New Town student that always wore loafers; had an upturned shirt collar and didn’t blink at buying a bottle of Champagne. At one point, it had a Dom Perignon VIP lounge.

Famously, Prince William and the Crown Prince of Morocco are said to have partayed there.

While Eastside will still host DJs every night, the emphasis has definitely switched from club to late night bar.

A spokesperson for the bar told The Evening News that, ‘People have fallen out of love with the traditional bar scene and the rise in popularity for hybrid, social spaces that allow dancing, drinking, eating and conversation to happen under the one roof is what our target demographic are looking for’.

Open until 3am seven nights

The owners are billing it as ‘George Street but not as you know it’. It still stays open until 3am seven nights a week but it also aims to entice in local workers who fancy a sharpener at 5pm.

The VIP room has gone and new attractions include a drinks vending machine , craft beers, cocktails and a selection of global street food.

Chef and sometimes Spice Man Tony Singh appears to have had a hand in the menus. As well as a daal curry, there is a chicken curry, Korean bulgogi dishes, bao buns and steamed dumplings.

We look forward to dropping in to Eastside although we suspect that we’re more likely to be there after work than after midnight.

The post Eastside opens for dancing, drinking and eating all under one roof appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Rustom opened recently on Grosvenor Street in Edinburgh. Pic: Facebook

Check these new restaurants in Edinburgh.

Rustom dished up its first dopiaza recently on Grosvenor Street.

Billed as a Pakistani and Indian restaurant, Rustom promises that it will take guests on ‘a journey of taste and smell across the streets of Lahore and Mumbai’.

On the plate, this means a mix of street food and much-loved, familiar old warhorses such as lamb bhuna and chicken tikka masala.

If you would rather be a little more adventurous then Rustom’s menu rewards deeper exploration.

We’ve got an eye on the Kabuli pilau – an Afghani rice dish with lamb shanks.

Some of the veggie options read enticingly. Marinated aubergines in a crispy, spicy batter accompanied by a tamarind chutney are the sort of thing that presses our buttons.

New restaurants in Edinburgh: Sonder

Should we include Sonder among this round-up of new restaurants in Edinburgh?

It opened at the beginning of August so we’re pushing the ‘new’ thing a bit.

However, it looks as though they are doing something interesting in the kitchen and, to paraphrase Duncan Bannatyne, for that reason, we’re in.

Sonder has set up shop on the Clerk Street address that housed the short-lived Diablo Loco bar.

While the former business was all tequila, mezcal and Tex Mex grub, Sonder is ‘a modern, open plan dining / kitchen experience, using seasonal Scottish ingredients’.

It is a small plate, order-several-things kind of place.

The menu is split into sections such as garden, sea and land. The descriptions of each dish are short. They list the ingredients used but say little about how they are cooked.

Some people will find this intriguing. Others will simply find it irritating.

A typical example might be ‘tomatoes, almond, raspberry, tomato water’ or ‘lamb neck, carrot, apricot, yoghurt’.

Lamb neck, carrot, apricot and yoghurt at Sonder. Pic: Facebook

Sharing dishes

There is also a £35 sharing dish. On the current menu, this is BBQ red-legged partridge with seaweed potatoes, pickled redcurrant, cabbage and girolles.

Other prices range from £3 for sunchoke, celery and yoghurt from the snack section of the menu to £13 for scallop, roe, fennel and cucumber.

According to their website, Sonder is a noun:  the realisation that each passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.

One to ponder on as you’re tucking into a plate of beef shortrib with walnut and burnt onion.

I’m not going to make too much of this as, due to the restaurant closing on Mondays and Tuesdays, I have been unable to check my facts.

However, I think the restaurant may be connected with the people who travelled around twenty countries and did a pop-up in each one.

I’ll check on this tomorrow and alter accordingly.

Anyway, we wish both Rustom and Sonder the best of luck.

Keep checking back to the 5pm Dining blog for more new restaurants in Edinburgh.

The post New restaurants in Edinburgh: Rustom and Sonder appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Pickled octopus, pistachio purée and basil oil at Merienda. Pic: Facebook

Opened in August, Merienda restaurant has been making quite a splash in the capital.

Glowing reviews are shooting up like fireworks and the careful presentation of the dishes means that many of the reviews are illustrated with eye-catching pics.

Merienda’s chef owner is Campbell Mickel. Chef Mickel spent eighteen months in the Philippines and the Stockbridge restaurant is named after the Filipino word for snack.

In other parts of Europe, merienda is taken to mean a light meal. In Edinburgh, Merienda draws on all of these interpretations.

At the North West Circus Place restaurant, the menus are based around small plates of seasonal ingredients.

‘Mediterranean-inspired small plates of the finest artisan Scottish produce’ is how the menus are billed.

New potato and pea pressé infused with mint, pea purée and shoots. Pic: Facebook

A veteran of several notable Edinburgh restaurants, Campbell has spent the last fourteen years running a highly successful private catering company.

Exec Chef provides boardroom dining for some of Scotland’s best known companies as well as private catering for high net worth individuals.

A little over a year ago a health scare prompted Campbell to expand his ambitions and start planning Merienda.

Merienda: ‘high end but casual’

The idea was to offer an experience that was ‘high end but casual’.

There is an argument that what many people want from a contemporary restaurant is interesting food which is sourced well, cooked thoughtfully and served in a pleasant setting by friendly, knowledgeable staff. Keeping it simple isn’t vital but avoiding fuss is.

This school of thought reckons that the days are numbered for places which provide uptight fine dining with starched tablecloths and 80 page wine lists.

Instead, there is a generation of diners that want to eat well without the fol-de-rol. If the food happens to look good on your Insta feed then so much the better.

Possible examples in Edinburgh would be Six by Nico or Fhior. It will also be interesting to see what Mark Greenaway’s new venture sets out to do.

A couple of weeks back, the chef announced that he was to close his eponymous restaurant in Edinburgh city centre and launch a venture which would ‘boldly challenge the concept of fine dining’.

Beautiful presentation

Mosaic of citrus-roasted wild trout, caviar crème, chive. Pic: Facebook

Merienda is travelling in a similar direction.

Working in the kitchen alongside Campbell is Robbie Probert. Previously at the Michelin-starred 21212, Robbie has spent many a year manning the pans in top French restaurants.

The menus change on a monthly basis and each dish is beautifully presented.

As we have pointed out many a time, the 5pm Dining blog doesn’t do reviews. What we will happily say is that the dishes at Merienda are designed to taste as good as they look. From temperature to texture and from visual appeal to the layers of flavour, every aspect of each dish has been carefully considered.

We wish Merienda every success.

Chicken saltimbocca, prosciutto and sage, chicken and wine juice.

The post Have you tried new Edinburgh restaurant Merienda? appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Edinburgh Cocktail Week promises Signature Cocktails from 80 of the capital’s coolest bars.

Sip sip hooray! Edinburgh Cocktail Week is shaking things up in October.

We’ve already blogged about BOWfest and The Great British Food Festival which take place this weekend.

For those who like to plan their pleasures a little further in advance, make a note in your diaries for Edinburgh Cocktail Week which takes place 15th-21st October.

Over 80 bars across the capital are taking part in this year’s Edinburgh Cocktail Week.

Each bar has designed a unique Signature Cocktail which can be enjoyed for just £4 with an ECW wristband. Wristbands cost £6 for a weekday band (valid Monday to Friday) and £8 for a weekend band (valid Saturday and Sunday).

The number of bars taking part has increased from 50 to 80 this year. The expanded format also sees the introduction of a new Cocktail Village at Festival Square, which is free to enter with a wristband.

Enclosed within a marquee, the Cocktail Village will act as the social hub of the week-long cocktail celebrations.

Attendees can meet up with friends here and catch up over £4 cocktails from fifteen pop-up bars run by brands such as Edinburgh Gin, Grey Goose Vodka, St-Germain, Johnnie Walker, Rumbullion Rum, Belvedere Vodka and Poco Prosecco.

As well as lots of cocktails to try, there will also be live music, DJs and drop-in style master classes and tastings to keep revellers entertained.

Edinburgh Cocktail Week: pouring all over the city


Organiser Gary Anderson commented, ‘We wanted to give the event more of a festival feel this year. We have introduced a much larger programme of things happening all around the city for wristband-holders to hop between. We have also extended the event to seven days and increased the number of bars taking part to spread footfall.

‘As a city of event-goers we all love a pop-up space to hangout in, so the Cocktail Village is an exciting new development for the event and the city. It has been designed with an outdoor festival theme to make you feel like you are in an autumnal garden while being in the comfort of an enclosed marquee.’

Last year, there were some reports that the festival’s success outstripped the ability of some venues to keep up with demand. Organisers have taken steps to minimise the risk of this happening again.

‘With this year’s expansion also came a lot of work with brands and distribution to ensure supply meets demand; a challenge some bars faced last year,’ acknowledges Gary. ‘New partnerships with brands and local distributors will ensure sufficient stock levels are in place with backup stock from local warehouses just a phone call away.’

Apart from a handful of notable exceptions, pretty much every hip and happening bar in Edinburgh is taking part.

The full list, which can be viewed here, contains many 5pm Dining members so you can book in for a bite to eat in between beverages.

At a quick glance, Badger & Co, Bar Soba, Brewhemia, The Grand Cafe at The Scotsman and Rabble leap out.

Wristbands can be purchased here.

The post Make a date for Edinburgh cocktail Week appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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The Isle of Skye Distillery has opened its gin school.

Calling all Scottish gin fans!

This weekend, we were going to suggest that you might care to visit the Gin Fayre taking place in Ayr on Friday and Saturday.

However, last time we looked, all three sessions had sold out. Checking back for returns may mean you get lucky.

Happily, should you not manage to secure tickets, there are plenty of other Scottish gin-related activities to enjoy around these parts.

Scottish gin school on Skye

A little over a week ago, Isle of Skye Distillers announced the launch of its brand-new gin school.

The Portree-based distillery, producers of Misty Isle Gin and Tommy’s Gin, opened its doors to visitors on Monday 27 August.

The gin school features six mini stills. These accommodate groups of up to twelve gin enthusiasts keen to learn the art of craft gin distillation first-hand.

Led by brothers Alistair and Thomas Wilson, each class lasts three hours.

Gin school students will assemble and run their personal still, before progressing to learn the science behind gin distillation and the subtle flavour variations created by different combinations of botanicals.

Students will work with Thomas and Alistair to create a bespoke gin recipe according to their personal tastes. Finally, guests will bottle their gin and print a customised label.

Sessions at Isle of Skye Distillers’ Gin School are priced at £85 per still. Each still can be operated by up to two people. The Gin School experience includes all tuition, along with a 50cl bottle of personalised gin per person.

Scottish gin school in Fife

If Skye is too far away, Darnley’s Gin in Fife has added a Distil Your Own experience to its tour offering.

Visitors to Darnley’s Gin School can create their own recipe from a selection of botanicals and distil a 70cl bottle of gin to take home.

Their Scottish gin school houses six mini copper stills which visitors can use to distil their own bespoke bottle of gin.

Guests can enjoy a welcome drink and introduction to gin making before exploring the large range of botanicals available to include in their recipe. Some of them are grown in Darnley’s own cottage garden.

The hands-on experience continues as they begin distilling their one-of-a-kind gin in their own mini still.

While this is happening, guests will enjoy a tour of Darnley’s main distillery while sipping on a refreshing Darnley’s G&T and being led through a tasting of the Darnley’s Gin range.

At the end of the experience, visitors will fill and label their bottle of gin to take home and enjoy.

The experience is available on Fridays at 3pm and on Saturdays at 11am. It lasts approximately 2.5 hours and tickets are £100.

Scottish gin school in Glasgow

Get your still on at Crossbill in BAaD.

And if Fife seems a step too far, then Crossbill Gin recently located from the Highlands to a purpose built facility at Barras Art and Design in Glasgow’s Calton area.

And guess what? They have a gin school!

Under the watchful eye of Crossbill Gin’s award winning distiller and founder, guest will test and select your botanicals, create a botanical basket, then distil their very own gin in a miniature copper pot still.

Finally your bottle will be labelled with your bespoke design.

Vouchers start at £90 for two people.

Voucher price includes:

3 hour Gin master class including complimentary tutored tasting

Instruction and talk from Crossbill founder Jonathan Engels

The post Back to school with classes at these Scottish gin distilleries appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Fillet, sirloin and bavette steak from Hardiesmill at Kyloe.

Edinburgh’s Kyloe Restaurant aims to provide the ‘best Scottish steak experience’ and the beef they use from Hardiesmill in the Borders plays a major role in that ambition.

Named after an old Scots word for cattle, Kyloe has been one of Edinburgh’s top steakhouses since it opened seven years ago.

Over the last couple of years, competition in the form of major UK players such as Hawksmoor and Gaucho have arrived in the capital.

The response of John Rutter, Executive Chef at Kyloe, has been to refocus their menus to showcase the best Scottish produce they can source.

This policy goes across the board from their smoked fish to the cured meats they buy from East coast charcuterie.

‘We work with small producers,’ says the chef, ‘because they have a story to tell about their food and they have a real passion for what they do.’

Fine tuning beef production

From charcuterie to their smoked salmon, Kyloe sources from Scotland.

Taking pride of place on the revamped menus is the beef supplied by Hardiesmill Place Farm, located by Gordon in the Scottish Borders.

Earlier this week, the 5pm Dining blog was invited to Kyloe to meet Alison and Robin Tuke, the couple who farm Hardiesmill, and to taste their beef.

The Tukes started farming there in 2001 and, like many a sports team, have adopted a regime of continuous marginal gains to improve the beef they produce.

The fundamentals of breeding, feeding and handling are the building blocks which determine the quality of the beef at the end of the product.

What the Tukes have done is to break down every stage of the process and look at it in minute detail, examining it for strengths and weaknesses.

The attention to detail is meticulous. If you want to discuss the importance of using both diploid and tetraploid grasses (no, I don’t know the difference) in the cattle’s diet then speak to the Tukes.

While the couple are continually fine tuning the entire beef production process, they figured that the weakest link in the chain was formed of some of the final steps: the journey to the abattoir; lairage – the time spent at the abattoir before slaughter – and the processing of the meat afterwards.

Hardiesmill operate a farm to fork philosophy

They decided that the best way to deal with these problems was to build their own micro-abattoir on the their farm.

The UK has a problem with abattoirs. In 1970, there were 1,890 red meat abattoirs in the UK, but that number has now dropped to 249.

The number of abattoirs in the UK falls as the industry moves increasingly towards animal slaughter on a mass scale. Small abattoirs are closing and only large ones remain.

This is not good news. A recent report by the Sustainable Food Trust, A Good Life and A Good Death, indicated that the closure of small abattoirs has led to increased stress on animals, decreased traceability and decreased farming sustainability.

To pick up on just one aspect of this, fewer abattoirs mean cattle have to travel longer distances from the farm. This is stressful for them. Good farmers want happy animals. This isn’t a trite marketing trope. Welfare is an important concern for farmers and consumers alike. There is also the consideration that stressed animals release adrenaline and lactic acid, neither of which make for great meat.

Hardiesmill have managed those problems by creating their own micro-abattoir on their farm. Their cattle can now be slaughtered and processed on farm – no haulage, no lairage. The Tukes operate a farm-to-fork philosophy and this new development strengthens that.

They can maintain the cattle’s welfare through every stage of the farming process. Uniquely, Hardiesmill cattle will now never have to leave the farm, growing slowly on a natural diet of grass, hay and silage.

Top five in the world

Happy cows make great steak at Hardiesmill. Pic: Facebook.

The project took four and a half years and involved in-depth consultation with no less than eleven regulatory bodies. It is the first of its kind in the UK. And it may well become a model for other farmers who value quality over quantity. Other people are already in contact with the Tukes asking for advice on how to go about building their own mini-abattoirs.

Is it worth it? We had fillet, sirloin and bavette cuts of beef from Hardiesmill. They were all outstanding with a real depth of flavour and long finish.

Of course, what I say doesn’t matter. Globally recognised steak experts place Hardiesmill beef in the top five in the world. Let’s repeat that – we have a Scottish product from a small farm in the Borders which is hailed as one of the best in the world. Check out Franck Ribière’s Steak (R)Evolution film for more accolades.

Having their own abattoir on their farm is only going to improve the meat. As Robin noted, ‘It has been said that we are in the top five. It is fun to try and get the number one spot.’

Book Kyloe via 5pm Dining

Kyloe has magnificent views of Edinburgh Castle.

Owners of Hardiesmill, Robin and Alison Tuke, said: ‘Kyloe has always supported us and that is why they are the only restaurant in Edinburgh we supply. Our micro-abattoir has been four and a half, very long years in the making and it seemed only right to celebrate the opening with Kyloe during Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight.  Over the years, we have built a brilliant partnership with Executive Chef, John Rutter and the Kyloe team.  We are proud that the Taste of Hardiesmill is savoured by diners here and that the chefs know how special the beef is.’

Executive Chef of Kyloe and The Rutland Hotel, John Rutter, said: ‘There is no better way to celebrate Scotland Food and Drink Fortnight than to recognise a true food pioneer who champions provenance and food quality. Hardiesmill are at the forefront of beef farming and have created a philosophy to benefit the animal’s entire life. This will undoubtedly mean a better product for chefs and ultimately for diners.’

You can book Kyloe via 5pm Dining.

The post Kyloe Restaurant and Hardiesmill Farm aim for the ‘best Scottish steak experience’ appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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Richard Servranckx toasts November’s Edinburgh Craft Beer Experience. Pic: Christ Watt.

Bonkers for beer? The Edinburgh Craft Beer Experience will be at the Assembly Roxy 15th – 17th November.

Taking over all three floors of the Assembly Roxy on Roxburgh Place, the event promises ‘the very best beers from Scotland, the UK and Europe’.

The Edinburgh Craft Beer Experience will run for five sessions over the three days with beers from over twenty breweries for visitors to taste. Some of the beers will be pouring for the first time in Scotland.

The Main Hall will feature thirteen craft breweries from Edinburgh’s doorstep and beyond.

Leith’s Pilot beers will be available and, just beyond the bypass, Dalkeith’s Cross Borders will be serving seasonal brews.

Looking past the Lothians, Ride Brewing will represent Glasgow.

Tempest and Six Degrees North are also bringing bars. Completing the line-up from Scotland will be Alchemy, Barney’s, Brewtoon, Fallen, Late Night Hype, Stewart Brewing and more.

Downstairs, in the venue’s atmospheric Snug Bar, the rest of Britain’s best breweries will be on show. From the North of England, Northern Monk and Magic Rock Brewery will be pouring.

The Kernel and Camden Town Brewery will represent London and the South. Tiny Rebel will represent Wales, with Boundary flying the flag for Northern Ireland. London based Cidersmith’s Cider will also be available.

The breweries will make their own mark on the space, bringing classic pub games for entertainment including a pub quiz during each session.

Edinburgh Craft Beer Experience: meet the brewer

Next door to the Snug Bar in the Basement Theatre, drinkers will be able to enjoy a full programme of beer-themed workshops and master classes.

As well as meet the brewer sessions, the event promises home brew master classes. Seating in these events is on a first-come-first-served basis and guests are encouraged to arrive early.

Upstairs in the Upper Theatre, Belgium and its distinctive Lambic style breweries will be represented by the country’s oldest Lambic brewery, Timmermans.

And it is not all about the beer.

Musselburgh-based Hickory Bars will be serving cocktails from its Botanical Garden Bar along with a drinks list showcasing the very best of Scottish craft spirits.

If the beer provokes a munchies attack, there will be a range of traditional and not so traditional Scottish fare in the Main Hall.

New era of beer

The Craft Beer Experience has been developed by one of the team that created the Craft Beer Revolution in previous years. The man behind the event, Richard Servranckx says:

‘Brewing has enjoyed a huge resurgence in recent years and it really has felt like a revolution, the dawning of a new era of beer. But we’re living in that craft era now. The revolution has done its job and it’s time to move on to the next stage, where we just get to drink the beer and enjoy the experience!’

As well as some of the best beers from around the globe, the stone halls of the Assembly Roxy will be filled with the musical styling of local DJs, Two Guys, aka Ross Tolley and Craig West.

Tickets include a specially designed schooner glass;  a token towards your first beer; a full programme of events and brewers, as well as access to the demonstrations and master classes.

Tickets cost £8-£14 from craftbeerexperience.co.uk

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Calum Lawson, chef John Paul Lappin and Alan Tomkins are steering the launch of The Botany restaurant.

Could Maryhill be the next Finnieston? Top restaurateur Alan Tomkins believes the launch of his latest venture, The Botany, will spark a flood of openings in North Glasgow.

Formerly The Strathmore, the new Maryhill Road venture is scheduled to open officially on Wednesday 12 September.

The launch comes after a £200,000 redesign of the restaurant, glasshouse conservatory, outdoor terrace, menu and interiors.

Will it be enough to turn Maryhill into the new Finnieston? Well, if anyone can provide a well thought through answer, it is Alan Tomkins.

Active on Glasgow’s dining scene since 1982, Mr Tomkins is the man behind many of the city’s best-loved institutions. Urban Bar & Brasserie, Vroni’s Wine Bar, Ollie’s and The Western Club Restaurant are all his.

In the past, the restaurateur has played a large part in places such as Papingo Restaurant, Gamba Seafood Restaurant and the Southside’s Urban Grill.

The Botany: adding to an up and coming area

Mr Tomkins will launch The Botany alongside business partner Calum Lawson.

A former board director of the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, the restaurateur believes this move could encourage more bars and restaurants to think outside the box.

He said: ‘This is a very exciting time for Glasgow. Having worked in hospitality for as long as I can remember, I’ve seen the city change and develop its attitudes towards food and drink. Options used to be very limited. Now, Glasgow’s a haven for foodies.

‘The transformation of Finnieston came because of a few anchor venues offering spectacular food and drink. Calum and I both believe we can lead a similar sea-change in Maryhill and North Kelvinside.

‘Our aim is to not only to maintain a local institution, but to attract customers from the West End, Bearsden and Milngavie. The delicious food, seasonal cocktails and fantastic atmosphere will add a lot to what’s already an up and coming area.’

John Paul Lappin is the chef in charge at The Botany. His menu aims to ‘deliver comfort food at a high level using locally-sourced ingredients’.

Highlights include a venison loin smoked in-house and a Sri-Lankan-style monkfish curry. There will also be brunch specials served on Sundays; cocktails; an extensive wine list; quality gins and whisky.

The post The Botany bids to make Maryhill the next Finnieston appeared first on 5pm Food & Dining Blog.

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