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If you’re at a loss for what to do this weekend, I would seriously suggest a wander around Edinburgh’s West End. It’s filled with stunning little boutiques, chic salons and the cutest cafes and restaurants.

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Exploring can be hungry business, so knowing where to eat is crucial, and we were well taken care of with a reservation at Kyloe – Edinburgh’s first dedicated steak restaurant. Located upstairs, right at the heart of Rutland Street, with views up Princes Street and a peak at the castle, it’s a favourite of tourists and locals alike.

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The menu boasts every cut and variety of steak you can imagine, including a brand new lunch menu. Available Monday-Saturday from noon until 3.30pm, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a quicker option than the restaurant might ordinarily serve.

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We both opted for the Steak Frites (£15) – well, you couldn’t come to Kyloe and not indulge in a little beef! Served with a fresh salad, the frites were chunkier than anticipated (I’m a fan of something closer to the French style) but they were wonderfully hot and crisp. The steak was juicy and flavourful, and the salad and peppercorn sauce were great additions.

You can find out more about Edinburgh’s West End here, and see Kyloe’s menu here

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Going out for dinner, although delightful, can sometimes feel a little same-y. You sit somewhere nice, get a glass of something, and have a good chat with whoever you’re out with. It’s nice, but it’s predicatable. So, when I was invited to Steak on Stones a couple of weeks ago, I jumped at the chance. Housed in the same building as Edinburgh favourite Steak (review here), Steak on Stones is a slightly more casual offering, and, as you might have guessed from the name, steaks come served on volcanic rocks, allowing diners to cook their meals themselves, and control how ‘done’ you have your steak.

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We popped in on a Friday night, starving after a busy day at work, so started with a Mezze Platter (£15). It sounded incredible on the menu, and what we were presented with was even better.

A huge board heaving under it’s contents, we kind of wondered how we would manage a main meal after all these goodies!

We dipped the crisp garlic bread into the pots of garlicky hummous and rich Baba Ganoush. I was obsessed with the mix of olives and grilled hallumi – it was pleasantly salty and very moreish. The inclusion of pickled vegetables rather than the regular raw crudite was a welcome change too!

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After savouring the Mezze platter, it was time to move on to the main event – which of course, was steak! Steak on Stones have a surprisingly exotic menu. In addition to the cuts of steak you might expect – rump, sirloin filet etc, they also offer Kangaroo! There is even the option to choose ‘Meat Roulette’ where you and a dining partner can share a selection of Kangaroo, Mystery Meat as well as Rump. The restaurant prefer not to let you know what you’ve been chowing down on until you’re done,

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Since we are both cowards (and we know how good Steak on Stones’ steak is) we both opted to grill our own Fillet Steaks (£30). Lean and flavourful, we both found that layering a little salt on the grill, (and letting it cool down a touch) resulted in the most fabulously tender and flavourful steak!

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We couldn’t resist a couple of portions of fries too! Hot and crisp, we alternated between mouthfuls of Beef Dripping Chips (£3.50) and Sweet Potato Fries (£3.50). Although the chips were great, the star of the show were the Sweet Potatos, which were absolute perfection!

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Even though we were both stuffed, neither of us could resist giving a couple of desserts a go! The Treacle Tart served with Ginger Ice Cream (£6) was delicious. The ice cream mixed creamy richness with firey ginger, whilst the tarts were deliciously sweet.

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I opted for the Creme Brulee served with Shortbread Biscuits (£6) and it was a delight! Rich vanilla custard wobbled under the glassy top, and the buttery shortbread was delish! I’m not going to lie, we couldn’t finish our desserts (although not for the want of trying!) and we positively rolled out of the restaurant!

Many thanks to Steak on Stones for having us! You can see their whole menu here

Did you know we’re currently in the middle of English Wine Week? Me niether! But, it’s a rather important one, as English winemaking has come leaps and bounds in the past couple of decades. Previously a bit of a joke in the wine-world, English vineyards are now challenging their French counterparts, and Surrey’s Greyfriars are my first dabbling into the idea of English wines. They’ve also come up with some rather fun pairing options for their wines:

1) Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea doesn’t get much more luxurious than when served with a glass of chilled English sparkling wine. Full afternoon tea includes a selection of freshly cut sandwiches, delicious homemade cakes and warm scones served with clotted-cream and fruity preserves.

Alongside the tea, and for a little more indulgence, enjoy a fine glass of Greyfriars Rosé Reserve.

This award-winning sparkling rosé has a delicate pale colour reminiscent of a rosé from Provence. Hints of vanilla and Summer fruits on the nose with the fresh fruity flavour of berries pair beautiful with sweet treats and scones topped with lashings of cream and jam. £21 per bottle.

2) English Cheese 

Floyd is a new soft hearted and distinctively fragrant cheese from the Surrey Hills. Made by Francis and Pam Gimblett not far from Greyfriars Vineyard in Haslemere, Floyd is a soft, washed-rind, cheese produced using milk from a small Jersey herd close to the dairy.

Greyfriars NV Sparkling Fumé pairs perfectly and brings out Floyd’s flavours. This light crisp wine has distinctive Sauvignon Blanc aromas of gooseberry and citrus. £15 per bottle.

3) Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips is an iconic British dish and sparkling wine is the perfect pairing with deep fried food. Greyfriars Classic Cuvée works well with the richness of the dish and the bubbles break down the starch giving a lighter crispier taste to the fish and chips. The Classic Cuvée for the classic British meal. £21 per bottle.

4) Chicken Tikka Masala

Greyfriars Pinot Gris really hits the spot with spicy food, especially Indian, like the British favourite Chicken Tikka Masala.

This aromatic English still white wine with refreshing acidity pairs perfectly with spicy dishes. The acid in the wine tones down the heat and leaves room for the fruitiness to express itself. £13.50 per bottle.

 5) Rhubarb and Custard

Rhubarb and Custard is a quintessentially British dessert and works perfectly with Greyfriars signature Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. This light fresh crisp wine has subtle hints of vanilla that match perfectly with the creamy custard.

As well as serving a chilled glass of the sparking wine on the side why not poach the rhubarb in the wine too to create a decadent adult twist on this much loved dessert? £21 per bottle.

During English Wine Week, pick up a bottle or two of Surrey’s finest wines and prepare to wow your palate.

ABOUT GREYFRIARS VINEYARD

Greyfriars is a range of sparkling and still boutique English wines of world class quality, made by Mike and Hilary Wagstaff and their family on the North Downs in Surrey.

The vineyards span 50 acres over three sites with 75,000 vines. The facilities include a state-of-the-art winery, chalk underground cellar, shop and tasting facilities.

The wines have won much acclaim and several major awards and medals at international wine competitions.

The Greyfriars collection comprises a vintage sparkling Rosé, Blanc de Blancs (oaked and unoaked), Classic Cuvée; non vintage Cuvée, Rosé and Fumé. The still wines include a vintage Gris and Fumé.

Grayfriars Wine can be found here.

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When it comes to must-haves, coffee is pretty high up there. I’m not going to lie, I have at least a cup of the stuff each morning, and quite a few cups to keep me going through the day. I can be a little picky about which coffees I drink though, and getting a cafetiere together can be a bit of a faff.

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So, when Lyons sent through a box of their new Coffee Bags, I was more than a little intrigued. Packaged individually, and looking rather like an overgrown tea bag, using the Coffee Bags couldn’t be easier.

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After boiling the kettle, I just pop one of the Coffee Bags into a cup, pour the boiling water over them, give them a quick stir, then pop the bag into the bin. It’s as easy as making a cup of tea, and it provides a much-needed, great tasting jolt of caffiene whenever I need it!

Lyons Coffee Bags come in 3 different roasts, and are priced at £2.60 per box, and I’ve bought mine at Waitrose.

 

 

The Voyage of Buck opened recently in Edinburgh’s West End, and it’s been making some serious waves. The barman has won a clutch of awards, and it might just be Edinburgh’s most inventive establishment to date. Based on the travels of the fictional William ‘Buck’ Clarence, the restaurant melds together a fun sense of whimsy, with some serious attention paid to drinks.

We popped in on a Friday night to start the weekend off on a high, and we were not disappointed. It was around 6pm by the time we got in, and the place was packed. It had such a lovely, buzzy atmosphere with a real mix of patrons. Whilst crowds jostled merrily at the bar, the tables were clustered with families, couples and friends all toasting the weekend.

Before we even got to grips with the food side of the night, we had to make the difficult choice of which cocktails to order. The drinks menu at The Voyage of Buck is more like a book – following Buck’s travels throughout Paris, Taipei, Havana and Cairo. We opted to visit Paris in the form of a Cumber and Mint 75 (£8) and Havana with An Old Cuban Pineapple (£8).

The presentation of the drinks was spot on. The Old Cuban Pineapple are with a slice of the dried fruit clipped in to glass, and it was an icy, fruity delight. The mix of mint, guava and pineapple felt so summery, and if you’re looking for a spot to enjoy a summer evening – you should definitely order one of these beauties!

Our second cocktail choice was a rather Parisian take on a good old g’n’t. The mix of Hendrick’s Gin and cucumber is a classic, and served icy cold with a splash of prosecco was an absolute delight.

The food menu at The Voyage of Buck changes monthly to really make the most of seasonal product. They separate the dishes into small and large plates. Since we were just in for a nibble, we stuck to the small options. Out first choice was scallops served with salad which was a light and zesty dish.

I opted for a plate of King Prawns which came on a bed of sweet butternut squash, and is was delicious. The shrimp were large, juicy and super flavourful, whilst the butternut squash was incredibly moreish. So, after enjoying a buzzy couple of hours at The Voyage of Buck, it was time to head back into the real world of Edinburgh, although with a drinks list like that – I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re back!

We had a fabulous time – thanks so much to The Voyage of Buck for having us

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