Girl Versus Food

Reviews, recipes and thoughts from a Scottish food blogger

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11 Fun and Romantic Dates in Edinburgh

With its spectacular skyline and historic buildings, Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities in the world; making it the perfect location for a date! Who needs Paris when we have Auld Reekie? But what are the most fun and romantic dates you can undertake in the city?

  1. Catch an Edinburgh sunset. Get up high to a vantage point to see the best views of sunset over the city. My favourite spots are the top of Arthurs Seat or Calton Hill. Dress for the weather and perhaps take a picnic and a bottle of bubbles. You can check the sunset times for each month here https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/uk/edinburgh. If you don’t fancy an uphill trek, you can still see a good sunset from some bars and restaurants.
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    View from Arthurs Seat

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    View from Chaophraya Restaurant

  2. Toast your date with a romantic cocktail in one of Edinburgh’s many bars. Heads and Tales bar have created this special love themed cocktail using Edinburgh Gin’s limited edition Valentines Gin, Orange Columbo, Pamplemousse Rose and Campari.

    Heads & Tales Valentines Cocktail

    Heads & Tales Valentines Cocktail

  3. Take in some culture together. Both the National Museum of Scotland and the National Gallery have free entry and are brilliant for a wander around. See if you can find any faces that look like your date amongst the portraits hanging on the gallery walls!IMG_4155
  4. What could be more romantic than star-gazing? Experts at the Royal Observatory Edinburgh will talk you through the wonders of the night sky and (weather permitting) you will get the chance to look through the powerful telescopes. http://www.roe.ac.uk/vc/public-events/astronomy-evenings.
  5. From lemurs to lions, Edinburgh Zoo has an amazing collection of wildlife. Don’t forget to check out the Penguin Parade. Bonus points of you spot any of the animals involved in their own ‘romantic liaisons’!image1
  6. There are hundreds of options for a romantic meal in Edinburgh. If you are feeling extravagant, push the boat out and visit one of the city’s four Michelin star restaurants; Restaurant Martin Wishart, The Kitchin, 21212 or Number One at The Balmoral.

    Scallops with escargot butter at The Kitchin

    Scallops with escargot butter at The Kitchin

  7. Share a sweet treat with your sweetheart. If ice cream is your thing then check out Mary’s Milk Bar. Mary’s soft gelato is freshly made each day and comes in wonderful flavours like Goats Cheese & Honey and Whisky & Pecan.
  8. Edinburgh has a spooky and at times gruesome history! A ghost walk will get the heart racing and give you the opportunity to cosy-up to your other half. There are a number of guided ghost walks that allow you to experience Edinburgh’s closes, graveyards and underground vaults.
  9. If you or your other half are cat lovers then Maison de Moggy is the must visit cat café in Edinburgh. Have some tea, cake and share your date with the prettiest kitties in town.
  10. Camera Obscura is a fun date with six floors of illusions and interactive exhibits. The rooftop chamber contains the camera obscura itself where you will see live images of Edinburgh projected onto the viewing table.
  11. Share some laughs together at The Stand comedy club. The Stand has seen some famous faces perform over the years including Kevin Bridges and Frankie Boyle but regardless of who is on the bill, you’re in for a great night.

Which other favourite spots would you include on the list? I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

How to Host a Burns Supper

Robert Burns birthday on the 25th of January brings a night of celebrations across the country (and further afield) in memory of the great poet. It’s a brilliant night of food, drink, verse and good company but it can be a bit daunting if you’ve never planned your own before. So here’s the Girl Versus Food guide to hosting a Burn’s Night at home.

The Food

It goes without saying that your guests will be expecting haggis, neeps and tatties! Getting good quality haggis is important; I’d suggest ordering one from your local butcher. For something a bit different, Servus Venison Haggis is very good.

Will you be serving your haggis traditional style with champit tatties and bashed ‘neeps? Or will you look to incorporate the national dish into your menu in another way? I’ve previously created these Haggis Scotch Eggs and will be posting a recipe for Haggis Beef Wellington later in the week.

Last year for my Burns Supper, I went classic with a haggis main course and designed the rest of the menu using as much fantastic Scottish produce as possible. The full menu was as follows;

Amuse Bouche:

Lobster Tail with truffle

Starter:

A Plate of Game – game terrine, venison tartar served with a quails egg, game pate

Le Trou Normand (palate cleanser):

Edinburgh Raspberry Gin Sorbet

Main:

Haggis wi’ bashit neeps an’ champit tatties

Pudding:

Heather Honey and Whisky MousseBurns Supper

 

The Drinks

It’s traditional to serve the haggis with whisky. With it being our national drink there’s plenty of options to choose from and each has its own unique characteristics. Food and drink writer Fiona Beckett has an article here https://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/news/pairings/which-whisky-pairs-best-with-haggis/ about which whiskies pair best with haggis, but a Talisker 10 year old would be a safe bet.

Not a big whisky fan? How about a lovely Scottish gin instead? Just like whisky, each gin is very different depending on the botanicals used. A few of my favourites are Rock Rose, The Botanist and Strathearn. Rock Rose have distilled this beautiful limited edition Lassies Toast Gin for Burns this year.Lassies Toast Gin

The Toasts and Poems

It’s great to get all your guests involved in the fun. You might want to ask them to pick out a favourite piece by Burns in advance that they would be happy to give a rendition of on the night (since nobody likes to be put on the spot). You could have guests reading their verses between courses or after the meal.

The Selkirk Grace is said at the beginning of the meal. This is a short and easy verse so would be ideal for someone who is nervous about reading a poem aloud.

When the haggis is brought to the table (ideally accompanied by bagpipe music) Address to The Haggis is read and the cooked haggis is cut open.

After the meal, there are three pieces performed which have been written especially for the evening by the hosts or another appointed person.

  1. The Immortal Memory is a tribute to Robert Burns where the speaker picks out interesting aspects of The Bards life or works. This is the most serious of the speeches.
  2. The Toast To The Lassies is a light-hearted performance and an opportunity to tease the female guests in a good natured way. It should always end with a genuine thanks to the fairer sex and a heartfelt toast.
  3. It’s only fair that the girls get a chance to respond and so follows The Reply to The Toast To The Lassies.

The Visit Scotland page has some great short videos with advice on writing your toasts here https://www.visitscotland.com/about/famous-scots/robert-burns/burns-night/

At the end of the night, it’s time to get your guests together, join hands and sing along to Auld Lang Syne.

Remember, it’s your night so if there are any sections you want to skip or extras you want to add in then go ahead and tailor the evening to you and your guests.

Everything Else

If you can talk your guests into wearing tartan then all the better… kilts, tartan trews and dresses will really set Burns mood.

A tartan themed table and place cards will look beautiful too! As an added touch, you might want to think about a wee favour on your guests’ place settings. Scottish tablet or an alcohol miniature perhaps?

tartan table

Too Much Hassle?

If this all seems like a bother or hosting isn’t your thing, get yourself along to an organised Burns Supper in your area. And nobody will ask you to do the dishes at the end of the night! Here’s a couple of options in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Edinburgh

Glasgow

10 reasons to visit the BBC Good Food Show Scotland this weekend  

The BBC Good Food Show Scotland is a fantastic day out that showcasing the very best in food and drink. Here are the top 10 reasons to visit the show this weekend 6th – 8th November.

 

  1. It’s easy to get there. The SECC has its own dedicated railway station and there are 6 trains an hour from Central Station. There’s also ample parking in the multi-story car park. Check out the travel page for more info https://www.bbcgoodfoodshowscotland.com/visit/opening-times-and-travel
  1. From cheese to craft gin, there’s samples galore so it’s the perfect opportunity to try something new. Lots of the stands have special show prices and offers so you can pick up a bargain.
  1. Get inspired watching demonstrations from celebrity chefs like Tom Kitchin and James Martin in the Supertheatre. Great British Bake Off fans, you can see Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood IN THE FLESH! But no touching. You have been warned.
  1. And while we’re on the subject, did you know there’s a whole area of the show dedicated to all things baking? See demonstrations and source all sorts of specialist ingredients and equipment in the Cake & Bake Village.

Bakes--26-Cakes-Village

  1. Make a start on your Christmas shopping. How about a book signed by Michel Roux Jr? The WHSmith stand has a programme of book signings over the weekend.
  1. Shopping weighing you down? There’s a Shop & Drop area supported by Guide Dogs where you can leave your shopping and enjoy the show hands-free.
  1. Fancy yourself as a bit of a mixologist? Why not take part in a 30 minute cocktail masterclass? #letscocktail

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  1. The Show Guide has a floor plan which is great for making sure you don’t miss any gems! It also has lots of gorgeous recipes to take home and try out.
  1. Always wondered how to get that soufflé to rise? Now’s your chance to ask the experts on the Interview Stage. Amongst those taking questions is Andrew Fairlie; the only chef in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars at his restaurant at Gleneagles.
  1. Some of Glasgow’s best restaurants are coming to the show this year in pop-up format; The Gannet, Porter & Rye and Red Onion will all be making an appearance. This is a brilliant opportunity to try their signature dishes in taster size.

 

Tickets can be bought at the door or online here https://www.bbcgoodfoodshowscotland.com/visit/ticket-info Hope to see you there!

Monachyle Mhor and Mhor84, Balquhidder

Balquhidder is 35 minutes drive north of Callander but feels about a million miles from anywhere. Peace, tranquillity and beautiful surroundings. The Lewis family have two venues in the area – Monachyle Mhor and Mhor84. Monachyle Mhor is a 14 bedroom boutique hotel set in a 2,000 acre estate on the shores of Loch Voil. Our budget didn’t quite stretch to the Monachle room rate so we opted for two nights in sister venue, Mhor84. The motel opened two years ago and has seven simple rooms and a restaurant and bar.

We were greeted warmly by staff on arrival and had a lovely surprise awaiting us; a glass of fizz that a friend had arranged to welcome us with. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the £80 room but I was suitably impressed with the Scandinavian-chic minimalist room.

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On our first night we had dinner in Mhor84. The dining room, like the rest of the motel was quirky and relaxed.

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To start with I went for the haggis croquette with turnip, potato and whisky sauce while my husband opted for half a dozen Loch Creran Oysters. Both got a big thumbs up. The oysters were fresh and the haggis had just the right amount of peppery kick.

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For our mains we both opted for venison; I went for the venison curry while Mr GvF chose the venison haunch. I think the venison haunch just won the battle of the mains. It was perfectly cooked and the anchovy mustard was delicious. The venison curry with cashew nuts and saffron rice was really flavoursome but the meat could have been a little more tender to make it even better.

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On to the desserts. With my sweet tooth I opted for the chocolate brownie with ice cream. It was so rich and fudgey and definitely one of the best desserts I’ve had this year! The cheese board was fine but I noticed there wasn’t as much emphasis on provenance as there had been with the rest of the meal.

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The presentation throughout was good, portion size was generous and staff were friendly. Overall, an excellent meal which came in at around £80 including drinks. The bar was a lovely place to relax afterwards for a nightcap though being a gin-enthusiast I’d love to see a wider selection of Scottish gins next time I visit.

Breakfast at Mhor84 was fantastic and featured fresh sour dough bread from the family bakery in Callander. I went for scrambled eggs on sour dough toast while my husband opted for the full cooked breakfast. A great start to the day and just look at that view from the breakfast table!

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Guess what else they have at Mhor84? Cakes! Delicious, homemade cakes! The weather was quite wet during our break so after a visit to Loch Katrine we retreated to the lounge area for a game of Monopoly and a huge chocolate hazelnut meringue. Bliss (apart from the fact I was thrashed twice at Monopoly)!

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Our second night in Balquhidder featured dinner at Monachle Mhor which has a set price of £55 per person for three courses. Next time I visit, I’d love to see an option with matched wines for each course. We enjoyed a glass of champagne as an aperitif with some delicious amuse bouche while browsing the menu in the bar.

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We were then taken through to our table, where I tried my first ever oyster, courtesy of the chef, which was in a shallot and 10 year old Glengoyne whisky dressing. And what views to enjoy my first oyster; breath-taking even on a dreich Scottish evening!

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For starters, Mr GvF chose the monkfish tail with Parma ham and cauliflower while I went for west coast crab with black pudding. Both dishes were well-presented and did not disappoint in the flavour-stakes.

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Our mains were outstanding – lamb for me and duck for my husband. Both dishes were cooked to perfection and the accompaniments were perfectly matched.

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Our deserts were a pineapple tarte tatin topped with homemade ice-cream and another chocolatey one for me! The chocolate ganache with coffee ice-cream was really good but I think the chocolate brownie at Mhor84 was still the winner for me.

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Whilst both restaurants used high quality, locally-sourced ingredients, we noticed a step change in the level of complexity and presentation at Monachle Mhor. Monachyle is definitely in the fine dining category but this doesn’t take anything away from Mhor84’s relaxed gastro-pub feel. Both venues are truly an escape from everything and I’m looking forward to a return visit to Balquhidder; next time we may even have saved enough for a night away in a gorgeous room at Monachlye Mhor!

 

Girl Versus Food

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Review of Porter & Rye, Glasgow

A nice big, juicy, steak. Is there anything better? That’s exactly what you can count on at one of Argyle Street’s newest restaurants, Porter & Rye. With all the redevelopment in Finnieston, this area of Glasgow is now more popular than a Primark sale. There’s a great selection of bars and restaurants to suit every taste.  We started our evening off with a G&T in The Finnieston which is a nautical themed bar right next door to Porter & Rye.

Porter & Rye specialise in fine aged meats which are sourced from Gaindykehead Farm in Airdrie before being dry-aged on the premises for up to 28 days. Booking ahead is a must; I visited with Mr GvF and another couple on a Saturday night and the place was choca. The restaurant is set over two levels and on our way upstairs to our table we got to eyeball the beef as it hung (vegetarians please scroll past the next picture quickly).

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There was an inspired selection of starters to choose from with a Heston-esque flair. After some deliberation, I went for the braised lamb shoulder, served with a lamb cutlet, pea puree, charred leaks and mint foam. One of my dining buddies went for the ham hock which came in the cutest little ring-pull tin and was served with a candied apple and apple caviar.

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I was a bit nervous before visiting the restaurant as the online menu didn’t specify the price of the steaks. Would I need to remortgage the house to cover the price of the meal? I was delighted to see that there was a wide range of cuts of beef available, starting from around £16. However, we opted for the other end of the spectrum which was a huge Porterhouse sharing-steak for two people. The steak was cooked to perfection and was literally melt in the mouth. We chose bone marrow mac ‘n’ cheese and truffle salt fries as accompaniments. These were included in the price of the steak along with our choice of sauces. The sauces we chose (a smoked oyster emulsion and a pink peppercorn sauce) didn’t overwhelm us with flavour but with steaks as good as this, you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the sauce! The sides were delicious and even after polishing of that beast of a steak, we couldn’t stop nibbling at the mac cheese and fries.

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Amazingly we decided there was still a tiny bit of room left for dessert! The duo of crème brulee with a chocolate chip cookie was a popular choice at my table and I loved that it arrived flaming! “Please continue to stay on fire while I take a picture, thank you very much!” I’m a sucker for anything peanut butter and so naturally went for the peanut butter ice cream served with banana, toffee sauce and almond crumb.

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The bill was roughly £55 per person for three courses including wine. In summary, this was a brilliant meal and the hype is very much justified! Porter & Rye should definitely be added to your dining list for 2015.

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The Rise of Scottish Craft Gin

With a strong history in brewing and distilling, it no surprise that Scotland is producing some of the best gins in the world, but what has brought about the dramatic increase in the numbers of small craft gin distilleries in recent years?

Several of the most famous gins are produced in Scotland; Tanquery, Gordons and Hendricks to name a few. But in 2009, the landscape changed dramatically when London gin distillers Sipsmith challenged a 250 year old law that classed gin producers with stills smaller than 1,000 litres as bootleg operations.

The Sipsmith license being granted paved the way for craft producers all over the UK; like husband and wife team Martin and Claire Murray from Caithness. Martin had been interested in distilling since university but followed a career in the oil and gas industry. The prospect of an unwelcome move abroad was the catalyst he needed to bite the bullet and pursue his dream in distilling. Fast forward to August 2014 and the first batch of Rock Rose gin, in its distinctive ceramic bottle, sold out within days. “It’s a product we’re immensely proud of,” Martin said, “we’re delighted with the reaction to it.”

So what makes Scottish gin so special? Whilst there’s not one definitive style amongst Scottish gins, what they do have in common is quality. Each distiller is passionate about making an excellent product and pushing the boundaries of innovation. For example, Perthshire distillery Strathearn have produced an unusual oaked gin whilst Eden Mill of St Andrews launched the UK’s first ever hopped gin.

Gin is an accessible luxury where even the most premium brands are likely to set you back less than £10 for a G&T. Edinburgh bar, 56 North, has the biggest collection of gins in Scotland with an average of 170 available at any one time. James Sutherland, owner and Director of the bar, has noticed the public have become more discerning when it comes to gin. “People are interested in quality and want to know where their spirits are made. Provenance is more important than ever before.”

There are lots of opportunities to sample the delights of Scottish craft gin for yourself in 2015. What better way to celebrate World Gin Day than with like-minded people at the Scottish Juniper Festival? Held at Summerhall in Edinburgh between 12th and 14th June, the festival will offer demonstrations and gin cocktails a-plenty. Alternatively, Inverness will host North Hop, a craft beer and artisan gin festival on August 21st and 22nd.  Or how about a Scottish Gin and cheese tasting class at 56 North in Edinburgh? You can even see gin being produced first-hand by visiting a distillery like Eden Mill in St Andrews.


Valentine’s Menus 2015

Although, I’m not a massive fan of card and present buying for Valentine’s Day, I think any excuse to enjoy a delicious meal with someone you love should be jumped at! I’ve done the hard work for you and below is my pick of what Edinburgh and Glasgow have to offer this year.

If you’re a seafood fan I would recommend trying Gandolfi Fish in Merchant City. I’d definitely opt for the monkfish tail Bourguignon for my main (£21). Alternatively, Fish restaurant in Edinburgh has a Valentine’s menu which comes in at a very reasonable £30 including a glass of Prosecco. The roast scallop starter with apple is a classic combo not to be missed!

If you fancy something a bit different, why not try out pop-up dining experience from The Scratch Series? Chefs Ben Reade and David Crabtree-Logan, who have worked in some of the UK’s top kitchens welcome guests for supper Thursday to Saturday at Iglu in Edinburgh. For £45 you can try out their ever-changing seven course tasting menu.

Sharing’s caring and I love the idea of the Valentine’s Sharing Menu at The Butchershop, Glasgow. Priced at £49.95 per person, the starter is a sharing platter which includes house cured salmon. You can then look forward to a 500g Chateaubriand steak for the main followed by a selection of three desserts.

Right now is Perigord truffle season and Pompadour by Galvin are making the most of the seasonal delight with a truffle risotto starter. The Pompadour dining room is just gorgeous, perfect for a romantic meal. There are three course and five course options depending on when you want to dine.

For a really special treat, it has to be Number One restaurant at The Balmoral Hotel. The Michelin-starred restaurant is offering a 6 course or 8 course Valentine’s Tasting Menu. The menu includes delights such as smoked salmon with caviar and quails egg along with an Orkney beef fillet main.

Whatever you get up to, here’s to a love and food-filled Valentine’s Day!

Girl Versus Food x

Review of The Metropolitan, Glasgow

The Metropolitan is to Glasgow venues what the mullet is to haircuts. The party, in the case of the Metropolitan, is on the ground floor where a DJ plays until late on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Upstairs is a classy piano bar with live music on the weekends and the Balcony Restaurant which provides the perfect opportunity for people watching with views over the 19th century courtyard under a twinkling sky of fairy lights.

Merchant City has such a selection of restaurants and bars that sometimes it’s easy to focus on the shiny new venues and forget about established places like The Metropolitan which has been around for a decade. I hadn’t checked out the menu for a while but when I did, I decided it was definitely time for a return visit!

I was delighted to see an excellent selection of fish and meat dishes including mouth-watering lamb, duck and red mullet options. I was really tempted to start with the scallops with sweet potato puree and pancetta but in the end opted for the pan-seared pigeon breast which was butterflied and served on a bed of puy lentils for my starter. The pigeon was tender and the lentils in red wine jus had an after-taste of aniseed.

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For my main I opted for venison loin served with parsnip puree, smoked beetroot, blackberries, parmentier potatoes and red wine jus. The venison was lovely and pink in the middle and the smoked beetroot and blackberries were the perfect accompaniment, complementing the gamey flavour to a tee.

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I can highly recommend finishing your evening with after-dinner drinks in the piano bar. There’s an extensive selection of cocktails to choose from with all the classics plus a number of inventive creations. The menu also invited you to ‘Challenge Your Bartender’ to come up with a mix tailored to your tastes. I managed to resist asking for a bacon and cheese themed drink and opted for the name-sake ‘Metropolitan’ cocktail; a delight to the taste buds containing Black Raspberry Vodka, Crème de Casis, blackberries, raspberries, cranberry juice and lime. Cheers!

Restaurant Wish List 2015

After a fantastic 2014 of food, I am feeling enthusiastic about a new year of dining out! Read on to find out what’s top of my wish list for 2015….

Pompadour by Galvin is billed as the Grand Old Lady of Edinburgh restaurants. If that’s what old age does to you – bring on the wrinkles, I say! The sample al a carte menu sounds delish – in particular the starter of ‘Roast Hand Dived Scallops, Pig’s Trotter & Veal Sweetbreads, Parsnip Purée, Apple Fondants’ has my mouth watering.

Meanwhile, Glasgow is going all Heston on us with Porter & Rye, a newly opened restaurant on Argyle Street, which specialises in molecular dining and quality beef from Gaindykehead Farm. I’m intrigued, but let’s be honest; the truffle salt fries alone are enough to get me through the door!

I’m not going to lie, I did give a little squeal of excitement when I opened the Christmas gift from my lovely sister-in-law to find vouchers for The Kitchin, Leith. Someone knows me too well! A visit to a Michelin star restaurant is always an experience and this is one place I can’t wait to try! The a la carte menu sounds amazing with a massive emphasis on Scottish seasonal produce but I think I have my heart set on the ‘Celebration of the Season Surprise Tasting Menu’. Watch this space for my review!

During this year’s MasterChef: The Professionals, I genuinely wished taste-o-vision had been invented. From the signature dishes to the innovation tests, my stomach rumbled the whole way through. That’s why Moonfish Café in Aberdeen is one of my must visits for 2015. Brian McLeish, one of the three finalists on the show, is Head Chef at the restaurant which turns out phenomenal seafood and also has an impressive gin selection.

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Restaurant Mark Greenaway is next on my 2015 hit list. The Edinburgh restaurant has 3 AA rossettes and the dining room looks gorgeous. As a self-confessed pudding fan I am particularly excited to try Mark’s famous desserts! Fingers (and toes) crossed that Mark’s ‘Great British Menu “Knot” Chocolate Tart’ is still on the menu when I visit.

Now for a second entry on my wish list from the creative genius that is Tom Kitchin. At The Scran & Scallie the ethos is still ‘From Nature to Plate’ but this time it’s not fine dining but a relaxed gastro pub. The rustic surroundings and tasty sounding ‘scran’ made this a no-brainer for my list. Plus there’s a good selection of ales and single malts to keep the husband happy.

The final wish on my 2015 list might be a little far fetched but bear with me. So here’s the dream, I fly in (by sea plane, of course) to the heart of Rob Roy country and arrive at the postcard pretty Monachyle Mhor Hotel and Restaurant. There I’m greeted with a glass of champagne and cooked a delicious meal by Head Chef Maria Paszkowska. Then I spend the night in one of the 14 individually styled bedrooms – I’ll go for one with a free-standing bathtub, please and thank you. Ok, as I said, maybe this is a dream that’s slightly out of budget! But I would definitely love to do lunch at Monachyle Mhor this year for a very reasonable £30 for 3 courses. Perhaps I’ll even squeeze in an overnight at little sister venue the Mhor 84 Motel.

Well I think that’s a good start for dining in 2015, but I’d love to hear any restaurant recommendations you have for this year! Leave a comment below or drop me a line on contact@girlversusfood.com

 

Dining Highlights 2014

Foodies100 Index of UK Food Blogs
Morphy Richards

As 2015 beckons, I wanted to reflect back on a fabulous year of food! Until this year I had never been to a Michelin starred restaurant, now I’m chuffed to say I’ve been to three and had some other fantastic meals along the way!

Unsurprisingly, honeymoon in Italy and France involved A LOT of eating and drinking! Two particular highlights were the Sorrento Food Tour and Il Buco restaurant. The food tour let us experience all the hidden gems that locals frequent – a just-fired pizza dough panini with the freshest buffalo mozzarella and two year aged Parma ham. I loved trying the best gelato in town and visiting the lemon groves to sample some amazing limoncello. Il Buco is a Michelin starred restaurant where we dined al fresco and had the best meal of our honeymoon. Mr GVF went for the five course ‘Trust the Chef’ menu with matched wines while I chose from the a la carte selection. Highlights were the lobster, the lamb three ways and the cute Happy Honeymoon desserts! A must visit if you’re ever in Sorrento.

We were also lucky enough to receive some fabulous (and very generous) dining experiences as wedding gifts. First up was lunch in the most beautiful surroundings in Rhubarb restaurant at Prestonfield House in Edinburgh. From the creator of The Witchery, this opulent restaurant did not disappoint.

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Next was a three course lunch with matched wines at Castle Terrace. I was initially surprised about how simple the décor was in Castle Terrace but once the food arrived it made sense; quite rightly the proprietors did not want overbearing surroundings distracting from the stunning food. Portions were generous for a fine dining restaurant and the wine pairings were perfection. A delicious meal.

We visited West Lothian’s best steak restaurant The Champany where there was a real risk that the huge Porterhouse steak might have my husband beat. We had initially tossed a coin to decide who would drive as the restaurant is a bit out of the way. But after sommelier Michael made some fabulous wine recommendations, an executive decision was taken to ditch the car and get a taxi home!

We topped off ‘The August of Food’ with a much-anticipated dinner at Restaurant Martin Wishart in Leith. We both opted for the six course tasting menu which delighted our taste buds with treats like veal tartar and raw scallops. The presentation was modern and innovative and each dish and matched wine was explained by the wonderful staff. Definitely an experience to remember!

Coming soon…. Girl Versus Food Restaurant Wish List for 2015!

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