Dinner at No. 11 Brunswick Street Brasserie*

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I feel like Edinburgh has a whole lot of little gems, which I’m just finding, and one of those has to be No 11 Brunswick Street’s Brasserie. When I mentioned I was heading there after work, my colleagues had nothing but good things to say about it!

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No 11 Brunswick St is a stunning, luxury hideout situated in one of Edinburgh’s iconic Georgian townhouses. It’s a touch down from the Edinburgh Playhouse, so if you’re after a spot for supper pre-theatre, you’ve got to check out the Brasserie.

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The restaurant itself is in the front of the property, it has views out onto the street, and it’s a gorgeously intimate affair. Painted in deep charcoal grey, it’s the perfect canvas for the chandeliers and mirrors which glitter as the night gets darker, and it has to be one of the cosiest dining rooms in the city!

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I went on a Friday evening, straight from work, and the welcome couldn’t have been warmer. We were shown to a table in the corner, right next to the window, and settled on two glasses of the House Red and got down to choosing what we wanted for supper. The wine was an absolute delight – rich and fruity – it was the perfect accompaniment for what was to come!

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The menu is well sized with enough variations for everyone – the first appetiser we opted for were the Chilli and Coriander Fishcake Bites with tartare sauce (£7.00). A trio of crisp spheres arrived, coupled with a homemade tartare sauce. The bites were hot and crisp on the outside, and wonderfully fluffy within. Hunks of cod and salmon studded the bites, and the tartare sauce was wonderful – filled with capers and dill, it was a delicious update on a classic.

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I opted for the Grilled Queen Scallops with Bernaise sauce (£7.00) which were just heavenly. The scallops, served on the shell, were soft and sweet, whilst the Bernaise sauce had just the right amount of vinegary bite.

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When it came to mains, we both opted for the Fillet Steak (£28.00) with Red Wine Jus (£2.75). As you can probably tell, it was a wise choice. The Brasserie at 11 Brunswick Street really aim to serve as much local produce as possible, and the beef was just delightful. Rich in flavour, yet incredibly juicy and tender, we both agreed that it’s one of the best we’ve had in a long time. The Red Wine Jus was the perfect accompaniment – I don’t usually add sauces to steak, but this was a delight.

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To go alongside the steaks, we shared three of the side dishes – it was a touch call, but we went for the Red Cabbage and Chilli Coleslaw (£3.00), Garlic Buttered Greens (£3.00) and Mascarpone and Parmesan Mash (£3.00). Honestly, the whole thing was perfection. The Coleslaw was light, and crunchy – just as it should be. The Garlic Buttered Greens were delicious – the garlic was light enough to let the freshness of the vegetables shine through, and the Mash was heavenly. We should have guessed, thanks to how light the Fish Cake appetiser was, but the potatoes were wonderfully creamy and flavourful. Exactly what you want to have alongside such a heavenly cut of meat!

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Then, after giving ourselves a good while to ponder the dessert menu (and to digest the rather delicious meal) we both opted for the Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla ice cream (£5.50). I had wavered over the idea of Creme Brûlée, which, of course, sounded divine. But by this point it was pitch black outside, and the dining room was positively sparkling, and a cosy pudding sounded pretty much heavenly. What was served has to best the very best Sticky Toffee Pudding I’ve ever even thought about. With a swirl of homemade vanilla ice cream and doused in rich caramel sauce, the pudding came already crowned in pear soak in mulled red wine. The sponge was airy in texture, and incredibly moist. The sauce was incredibly moreish, and the ice cream just superb. It was the perfect way to end one of the best meals I’ve had in a very long time. So then, after a pot of green tea, we positively bounced out of the dining room, full of wonderfully fresh, Scottish produce, promising to return soon.

Blackbird Bar & Restaurant*

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Living in Edinburgh, you get pretty used to grey evenings, but last Friday was grimmer than most, with lashings of rain and near gale winds. So, having a booking at Blackbird Bar & Restaurant was pretty much the best way to spend an evening. Located on Leven Street, right on the way into Bruntsfield, Blackbird has been one of those places I’ve been dying to try, so when I was asked along to try out supper, I just jumped at the chance!

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The interiors of Blackbird are the definition of cosiness. Split into two halves, one containing the bar, the other, tables for diners – it’s a snug little nook to tuck yourself into for the evening. The walls are original stone, whilst candles and chandeliers shimmer in corners. Despite heading in pretty early, there was already a pleasant buzz as families and couples pondered the menu.

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Coming in out the rain, we fancied something light to start off with, while we decided on cocktails, so we opted on a sharing plate of Crispy Plantain Chips (£6.95) which came with guacamole and spiced yoghurt.

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Sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, the chips were deliciously light and crisp, and the guacamole was just a delight! I can be rather fussy about the ‘green stuff’ but Blackbird’s was a delight – creamy and flavourful with chunks of red onion and chilli.

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As we crunched through the sharing platter, our thoughts turned to cocktails – it was Friday night after all! Perhaps unsurprisingly since half the place is a bar, the drinks menu is incredible – pages of choices encompassing old favourites and new creations. We plumped for two off the ‘Long’ page – a Rhubarb and Elderflower Collins (£7) and a Spiced Pear Buck (£7). Both were perfect – icy cold, refreshing and almost juicy in flavour, I could have easy sipped on them all night!

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The first of the mains we ordered was The Blackbird Steak Pie (£12.95). Served with a generous portion of twice cooked chips, this was the perfect choice for such a grim evening.

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The steak pie came in it’s own little cauldron, and was a hearty mix of crisp and flaky puff pastry with a meaty and rich gravy below. Well flavoured, with huge chunks of steak – it was a hot pot of comfort!

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I opted for the Sumac Crusted Chicken Breast (£11.95) which came on a bed of fried new potatoes and grilled lettuce. The chicken was moist, juicy, and absolutely huge – the sumac gave it a zesty freshness which sat well with the lime butter and vegetables. The grilled lettuce was an absolute revelation – salted and drizzled in lime butter, I’ve already copied this at home! The dish was well balanced and incredibly satisfying – just the way to end a busy work week!

The Lobster Shack – North Berwick

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Over the past few weekends, for one reason or another, I’ve found myself ending up in North Berwick. Before this summer, I’d never even ventured to the town, but now, since it’s only a half hour drive from Edinburgh, I’ve become quite the regular!

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Discussing places to go in the town, everyone had something great to say about The Lobster Shack, so it was about time to go explore the harbour and indulge in a little fresh seafood!

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The Lobster Shack is located right in the centre of North Berwick’s harbour, and you can’t miss it. If the blue and red shed wasn’t eye-catching enough, there will be a long, though quick-moving, line of people all debating over the small, well balanced menu.

DSC_0429Considering that The Lobster Shack consists of a single ‘shack’ with one chef and a few wait staff who buzz around taking orders, tidying and doing whatever else, the menu has everything you could enjoy on a sunny day in Scotland, and from beginning to queue to being served up with steaming boxes of seafood, could have only been 15 minutes. Considering it was a sunny afternoon, it was a pleasure to stand outside and watch the boats come and go and relax a little.

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We opted to sample three of the menu’s best-loved dishes – a half lobster, breaded haddock and a carton of seafood chowder. Honestly, I forgot to photograph the chowder, but it was the best cup of the stuff I’ve had outside of the American East Coast. It was indulgently creamy, with hunks of potato, haddock and lobster. Served with slices of crusty bread, it was the perfect start to an indulgent lunch in the sunshine. Then we moved onto the mains – both hulking boxes of seafood, chips, salad and coleslaw. The breaded Haddock and Chips is the fish supper of your dreams. The fish was juicy, the breading crisp, and the double-cooked chips were crunchy on the outside, yet still pleasingly light and fluffy in the middle.

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I went for the half North Berwick Lobster, and honestly, I think it’s one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. Cooked simply with a little garlic butter (the remnants of which are poured over the chips) the half lobster was a gleaming mass of fresh meat, just waiting to be wrestled out it’s shell. Wonderfully sweet, the freshness of it was evident, and sitting in the sunshine enjoying it was absolutely heavenly!

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Foundry 39 Edinburgh*

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I’m always on the hunt for new places to go out in Edinburgh. As far as capital cities go, it’s a pretty small one, and it’s easy to lapse into a routine of old favourites when planning to meet friends, so whenever a new place pops up, I want to be the first one in the queue!

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Foundry 39 has opened up in the city’s West End, a space filled with the most gorgeous of Georgian architecture, although strangely lacking in the culinary department. Happily though, the restaurant has an extensive drinks selection, as well as casual favourites including nachos and sharing platters, and a menu dominated by sourdough pizzas and gourmet burgers. Basically it’s the casual hang-out spot you’ve been dreaming about.

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The interior of the restaurant is rather Pinterest-worthy too! Corners of it are dusted with copper accents and there are succulents mounted on the walls. After nestling into one of the restaurant’s many booths we got to grips with the drinks list. Our first choice was a Peach + Rhubarb Bellini (£8.25) to ease any work stresses, and it was a great choice; a mix of fruity and bubbles, it was the perfect refresher and got us ready for the fun to begin!

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Then we got stuck into the good stuff – a Nachos Sharer (£7.50) which came presented on an aluminium tray let us catch up on the week’s events. I’m a big nachos fan, and really, who isn’t? Foundry’s were a generous portion of fried tortilla chips (my favourite) with hearty dollops of salsa, sour cream and Monterey Jack cheese melted over a sprinkle of jalapeños. The mix of hot and spicy chilis and salsa with the cheese and sour cream was well balanced, and they took the edge off our post-work hunger pangs.

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We were both feeling absolutely ravenous, so we opted for burgers. Again, they came on an aluminium tray (a nice touch which keeps everything tidy) along with our choice of fries. Burgers and sides can be ordered separately, so you can really tailor your supper to your cravings, and if you’re feeling a bit healthy there are even salads and slaws to choose.

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I opted for the Buffalo Blue Cheese & Chicken Burger (£8.95) and a portion of Sweet Potato Fries (£3.50), and I’m pleased to say, the meal was just a dream. I never normally order chicken burgers, but the promise of crispy fried chicken with lashings of blue cheese sauce was just too good to resist. The chicken was cooked perfectly – juicy on the inside and crisp and well seasoned on the coating. There was a generous schmear of blue cheese dressing which gave it a delicious hit of savoury flavour. The fries too, were just heavenly. Crispy, yet fluffy on the inside, they were the perfect mix of slightly sweet and savoury, and they were deliciously moreish.

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We also opted for a more traditional order of a Cheese Burger (£7.95) with an order of House Fries (£2.50). The burger was filled with a giant patty of fresh, well seasoned beef with a generous swipe of mustard and cheese. The mix of flavours was just perfection, and it’s the definition of a good, traditional burger and fries choice, but to be honest I didn’t really get the chance to taste it – and that’s always a great sign, right!?

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To accompany our mains, we thought it would only be right to sample a different choice from the drinks list, Captain Barbosa (£7.50) caught our eye. Spiced rum, Courvoisier VSOP, as well as ginger, lime juice and ginger beer was a wonderfully fresh yet boozy concoction which tipped us merrily into feeling tipsy.

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I don’t tend to order dessert at restaurants – but the promise of Dark Chocolate Brownie (£5.50) was too good to resist. I’d been craving a rich, chocolatey treat for days, so my expectations were high. Happily, Foundry 39’s was a delight – a huge slap of gooey dark chocolate topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce. It was warm, rich, and incredibly satisfying!

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We couldn’t leave without trying the Berry & Raspberry Ripple Sundae (£6.50) either. It is the summer after all! It was a perfect mix of rich, creamy vanilla ice-cream with fresh berries and slightly tarte compote. It was a great sharing dish, and we savoured every mouthful!

Thank you so much Foundry 39 for having us!

 

Baba Budan Coffee Edinburgh

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If I’ve come across you any time in the past couple of months, chances are that I’ve extolled the virtues of Edinburgh’s New Waverley Arches. Located to the back of the train station and up a little, the development is absolutely chock-full of independent businesses which range from a city-best nail salon (Buff Concept Store, I’ve got a review coming soon) as well as a Bubble Tea parlour (here) and even a raw restaurant and wine store.

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Baba Budan though, is ruling the coffee-scene up there.Now located in two of the arches (these photos were taken when they were just in a  single arch) Baba Budan is every coffee lover’s dream come true! It’s a stunning little spot where you can hide away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh, and I have to say, their offerings are pretty much the definition of perfection!

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Every time I go in, I order one of their to-die-for flat whites. The coffee is so rich and creamy, it’s my perfect way to caffeinate! As if drool-worthy coffees weren’t enough, the pastry selection at Baba Budan is in-cred-ible. They have a daily selection of the freshest, lightest donuts you can imagine. They come in dreamy flavours – my latest was bourbon cream, and it was just to die for!

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If you’re more into pastries, Baba Budan has you covered – there are trays of the flakiest croissants and cinnamon swirls you can imagine. I’ve never actually gotten around to trying them yet (because, duh, donuts!) but it’s only a matter of time!

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Baba Budan is also the perfect little lunch spot, as they sell the most mouth-watering of bagels. Filled with everything from tuna to falafel and humous, it’s such a welcome change from my regular lunchtime salad!

Baba Budan is located on East Market Street

 

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