The Mulroy restaurant review - a meal of biblical proportions?

It takes a lot to bring The Edinburgh Blog out of hibernation, but judging by the reviews of The Mulroy on Tripadvisor it seemed conceivable that Jesus Christ himself had taken residence in the kitchen.

Chocolate Fondant at The Mulroy Edinburgh

Ambience and service is beyond fault here. The service is probably the best we’ve had in Edinburgh - a comparison that withstands the Michelin men. The wine recommendations for each of our courses were fabulous - even more impressive was the fact all wines are available by the glass, so each course was matched perfectly to the wine.

The Mulroy is located in the basement, where you find the bar area (where food is also available) and two more dining rooms. All have great space between the tables and white tablecloths. It’s like private dining at some wealthy Scottish families ancestral home.

Food arrived at a nice pace - particular favorites were the seared scallops with pork belly - including a fantastic piece of crackling that tasted wonderful, without ever threatening my three new fillings. And the deeply rich lamb selection was superb - there can be no more appropriate dish for the surroundings.

It was a superb piece of cod for one of our mains, but unfortunately overcooked. The same problem affected the dark chocolate fondant dessert - solid on the inside - the disappointment dulled by a delectable bramble sorbet on the side.

So there were mistakes - enough evidence, we might suggest, that The Second Coming hasn’t chosen William St in Edinburgh. However, it’s one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve had in this city. At £39.50 for three courses I would suggest The Mulroy has set its price point perfectly. The tasting menu does not cost much more.

Tart Tatin at The Mulroy, Edinburgh

I’d definitely return, because I have a feeling The Mulroy is constantly evolving its dishes and its cooking techniques. Who knows later in the year this place might really be a contender for best in Edinburgh. It is certainly one of Edinburgh’s most interesting restaurants. Recommended.

The Mulroy is located at 11a-13a William Street, Edinburgh, EH3 7NG. Reservations are often necessary - 0131 225 6061.

The Honours

I never wrote up my trip to Martin Wishart’s Michelin starred restaurant in Leith - but my praise would have been unanimous and memories of a long night working through the restaurant’s tasting menu remains my favourite dining experience in Edinburgh. Martin Wishart isn’t actually the chef at The Honours - but this city centre project is his brasserie and he has trusted Paul Tamburrini as his head chef. There’s a familiar face running the front of house in Steven Spear - one of the main reasons our night at Restaurant Martin Wishart was so special, all of those years ago. The Honours opened last Summer and if anyone can make a success of this location (predecessor Tony’s Table closed before we had chance to visit) it is surely Wishart.

Chateaubriand at The Honours, Edinburgh Bar area at The Honours, Edinburgh

The service at The Honours is polished and highly professional - exactly what I would have expected, but pleasing nonetheless. What more authentic way to start than with a dish of Martin Wishart produced smoked salmon (£9.50) - served simply with finely diced red onions, capers and lemon. Great quality. My pork and duck rillettes (£7.95) were beautifully shredded and just the right softness.

With limited fish on the menu due to weather hit supply lines, we shared the Chateaubriand for our main (£65 for two). This was the smokiest and most succulent steak I have eaten in a long time - it put the flavourless Porterhouse I ate in one of America’s famous steakhouses to shame. The ample bowl of chips were chunky and crispy, but there was probably too many of the over salted onion rings, especially considering the heavy batter. The green salad was delightful, although a lone figure in the battle against the huge dose of indulgent unhealthiness this dish represents. All of the steaks making their way to diners plates looked superb and if there is a better tasting steak in Edinburgh my digestive system has not been challenged by it.

Interior of the bar and entrance at The Honours, Edinburgh Black forest ice cream sundae at The Honours, Edinburgh

Ice cream sundaes are a novel addition to The Honours menu - we elected to share the black forest gateau version for dessert (£7.75). The homemade ice cream was delicious, but there was little of it. The chocolate sauce was poured over the sundae, but it was lukewarm and its addition helped turn the sundae into a milkshake. Give me a Coupe Denmark anyday over this.

We ended the evening with a drink in the adjacent bar: where cyan cushions look stunning against dark walls. This is a terrific city centre bar, which would be a good bar even without the restaurant - the Kir Royale (£11.50) was good and I enjoyed my bottle of Cusqueña (£4.50). In summary, The Honours is a class act, which is deservedly very popular. A few tweaks e.g. improving the onion rings and ice-cream sundaes, would make it even better - but it is already very good.

The Honours is located at 58a North Castle Street,Edinburgh, EH2 3LU
Telephone: 0131 220 2513

Jamie’s Italian (Glasgow)

Last year we found ourselves in Glasgow on a wet and windy evening. Hungry as we were, there was no chance we were going to join the dozens of folk queuing outside the recently opened Jamie’s Italian restaurant on Glasgow’s George Square. Apparently the prize on offer for surviving the battering outside was entrance to the downstairs bar area to wait for a table in the restaurant proper! I don’t think any restaurant on earth would be worth such effort, but many evidently did. But last week we managed to find a seat in Jamie’s Italian at 3pm, without a reservation - though it was still busy; such is the lure of a chain restaurant (over 20 UK outlets and counting) with celebrity chef’s Jamie Oliver’s name above the door.

Mushroom ravioli at Jamie's Italian, Glasgow Downstairs seating at Jamie's Italian, Glasgow

The restaurant has covers galore, so for this place to be full means a serious amount of diners. To help me digest the single page menu I ordered a bottle of the Messian Italian beer, which was delivered to the table minus a glass. After glancing around everyone else seemed to be drinking out of the bottle, so I played along - I can imagine this ’swig your beer’ being a genuine Jamie Oliver touch. Talking of which, I don’t know if people come here expecting to see the man himself, but the overwhelming odds are you will be bitterly disappointed, with the website’s FAQ stressing how busy he is. The service was prompt and polished enough and, in our case, authentic with an Italian waiter.

With no interest in ordering bread (£3.75) for starters we jumped straight into the mains. While ordering the meatball carbonara (£11.25) I was informed that the meatballs were very small by our waiter - presumably some Glaswegians must have taken offence when presented with a bowl of pasta and barely visible meatballs. Our waiter assured me that there was 100 grams of meat though. The dish was a little underwhelming - the sauce was ok, but not memorable and the pasta was cooked well. But the profit on this dish must be absurd. And there must be a pretty good mark up on the wild mushroom panzerotti (£10.35) too. Again it was ok, though take away the Jamie Oliver name and there is no reason to choose this place over anywhere else. We ordered our favourite Italian dessert - tiramisu (£4.95). This was a generous portion, but with orange flavoured mascapone. I thought it tasted great, but the expert on the matter sat opposite thought it was a little too heavy.

There’s nothing wrong with Jamie’s Italian per se. I actually quite like the restaurant’s interior, but as my dining partner said after finishing her meal: “I’ve been to better Italians”. Infact I’ve been to lots of better Italians - better value, better food and better authenticity. And on leaving Jamie’s Italian I felt a little sadness at the trade some of Glasgow’s fantastic Italian restaurants will have missed out on - all because of Jamie Oliver’s supermarket sized chain restaurant. Though, in fairness, where else can you buy a tea towel (£10) to remember your meal?

Jamie’s Italian is located at Jamie’s Italian, 1 George Square, Glasgow, G1 1HL
Telephone: 0141 404 2690

Bargain boxes at Red Box Noodle Bar

Everyone enjoys a bargain bite to eat, including the Edinburgh blog. The Red Box Noodle Bar is located in Edinburgh’s South-side - very close to the Edinburgh University, so it’s a favourite haunt of the city’s cash strapped students. To order you go through the back and tell the person behind the counter what you would like - including your choice of noodle, meat, vegetables and sauce. I opted for the deliciously thick udon noodles, with roast duck in the hot and spicy szechuan sauce. All of the ingredients are piled into a small bowl, which the overworked wok chefs heat up and serves to your table in a Red Box branded box.

Noodles and beer at Red Box Noodle Bar, Edinburgh Dim Sum at Red Box Noodle Bar, Edinburgh

Snack boxes are also available, or you can choose a meal deal which includes a snack and beer (my favourite option). The Shui Mai (pork and mushroom steamed dumplings) were absolutely superb and their quality was hugely surprising given they’re only a £2 supplement. The noodle box costs £5.30, with an extra 50p for prawns, duck or mixed meat. The quality of ingredients is high and the amount of meat is plentiful. Downsides are few and far between - though expect to queue to place your order, especially if the person in front is ordering for a large group! There is quite a lot of basic seating inside Red Box Noodle Bar, but it fills up quickly.

Overall, The Red Box Noodle Bar is a superb addition to Edinburgh’s ‘cheap eats’ scene and I have no hesitation in recommending it to all.

Red Box Noodle Bar is located at 51 - 53 West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DB
Telephone: 0131 662 0828

Lothian Road’s Red Squirrel Bar

The top of Lothian Road has long been ‘renowned’ as an off limits destination for many, especially on weekend nights. However times are changing. The hardly trouble free Revolution nightclub was replaced with the HMV Picture House, which is a fine gig venue and The Subway nightclub has closed its doors (albeit replaced with the Karma nightclub). The Edinburgh bar group Fuller Thomson have stepped in to refurbish and revamp 21 Lothian Road into Red Squirrel. Fuller Thomson are the group behind Edinburgh’s much rated Holyrood 9A bar and the Ocean Kitchen bar and grill up at Leith’s Ocean Terminal. The interior has changed considerably from that of its short-lived predecessor The Vat and Fiddle pub. With an investment like this it’s clear the group are here to stay. Red Squirrel is now a fine space with a mix of booths, tables and benches. It’s also a bar which aims to put Lothian Road on the gastro-pub and drinker friendly trail, rather than a first-choice venue for binge drinkers and trouble-makers. It’s a bold move, but with many large office blocks in the vicinity Red Squirrel could be just what the area needs.

Interior of Lothian Road's Red Squirrel Bar Red Hot burger at Red Squirrel Bar, Lothian Road, Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Blog is well known for its menu recital and the draught beer line up at the Red Squirrel Bar is so exceptional that it’s worthy of repeating verbatim: Peroni, West St. Mungo, Staropramen, Bacchus Framboise, Guinness, Brooklyn, Belhaven Best, Bitburger, Tennents, Blue Moon, Aspall (cyder), Black Isle Organic Blonde, Schiehallion, West Munich Red, Joker IPA, Brewdog Punk IPA, 5am Saint, Brewdog Trashy Blonde and a regularly changing guest cask ale. If I’d realised Holyrood 9A had such a phenomenal range of drinks from the keg available I would have visited years ago and it’s great to see such an awesome line-up replicated in Edinburgh’s West End. If you can’t make up your mind you can sample a 1/3rd pint of any for just £1. We happily made our way through the Schiehallion, Punk IPA and West St. Munro lager (which was the first time I’d tried this). Beer drinkers aren’t the only folk catered for as there are 11 wines by the glass, alongside 2 champagnes and 1 prosecco. As an opening offer all of Red Squirrel’s cocktails are available for just £3.95. For the choice of drinks alone Red Squirrel has no equal in the area.

Chocolate Brownie and Ice Cream at Lothian Road's Red Squirrel Guacomole Burger at Red Lips Bar in Edinburgh

Holyrood 9A is famous for its burgers. However I didn’t think they would be this good - our party was unanimous in their praise and murmurings of them surpassing The Cambridge Bar’s hallowed product were heard. Red Squirrel offer two courses for £10 or three for £13 on selected courses, which includes staples such as the burgers and, fish and chips. All of Red Squirrel’s burgers are served with a small bowl of French fries, which are delicious; although I couldn’t decide if I’d have preferred chunkier chips.

The burgers themselves are faultless - 6oz of quality beef cooked to juicy perfection. The toasted bun they are served in is terrific too, as is the accompanying bowl of red cabbage coleslaw. My guacamole burger (£7.95) was delicious and included a slice of high quality back bacon and Orkney cheddar. There was more praise for the Red Hot Burger (£8.25) and the original (£6.95), served with fried onions and mustard mayo. It’s hard to criticise Red Squirrel, but they should keep a wary eye on the table service which crawled along in places, despite the bar being far from full. Desserts were decent and available at a bargain price if you get the two courses for £10 deal. The best of the bunch was the homemade apple and rhubarb crumble - a huge portion, served with a hearty helping of custard.

I’m still not sure if it’s Red Squirrel’s burgers or beer selection I prefer. Both are absolutely fantastic. Red Squirrel is a tremendous addition to Lothian Road. It will surely attract a loyal following which will ensure Red Squirrel survives in this location for a long time to come; something which isn’t true of any of its predecessors. At last a venue has opened which is worth a special trip to Lothian Road for. Hurrah!

Red Squirrel bar is located at 21 Lothian Road, Edinburgh, EH1 2DJ
Telephone: 0131 229 9933

Brewdog Bar

Brewdog has been making the headlines since 2007 and has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become Scotland’s largest independent brewery. Brewdog’s clever and often controversial marketing is backed by a great product; I’ve been an avid fan of their Trashy Blonde pale ale and 77 lager for quite some time. After news broke of the first Brewdog Bar opening in the breweries hometown of Aberdeen I was optimistic that Edinburgh would one day get its own Brewdog Bar. Though I expected Glasgow would be next in line. Not so, as Brewdog’s opening on Edinburgh’s Cowgate in March proved. Glasgow is next though and Brewdog’s first bar in London is scheduled for later in 2011.

Bar inside Brewdog, Edinburgh Brewdog Bar in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s Cowgate area makes an interesting choice for Brewdog - their marketing states “No Tennents. No Carling. No Smirnoff. No Televisions.”, yet these are exactly the staples most of the Three Sisters crowd head to the Cowgate in search of. The location does guarantee Brewdog Bar will always be busy though; infact I’ve heard reports of queues forming outside at weekends. Apparently Brewdog’s location (in the former premises of Chasers Bar) was “crowd-surfed”. That is fans of the brewery suggested it via the Brewdog website and presumably cashed in the £1000 bounty on offer. Despite raising a few eyebrows, Brewdog was behind my return to the Cowgate after a multi-year absence and I imagine it will encourage many more folk to return here.

If you’re not drinking beer then Brewdog probably isn’t the bar for you. Indeed, one of our party asked for a bottle of mineral water, only to eventually be told there wasn’t any. It’s a good job the beer choice at Brewdog is so fantastic then. All the favourite Brewdog beers are available on draught and they taste great. They’re joined by a regularly changing line up of guest draught beers e.g. Stone pale ale and Southern Tier phin and matt’s. If you’re still reluctant to head down the Cowgate then a glance at the line-up of bottled beer should convince you. There are dozens and dozens of bottles, many which I haven’t even heard of. Quite simply, Brewdog is a beer lover’s dream.

Brewdog Bar Edinburgh - Logo Pizza at Brewdog Bar in Edinburgh

We visited Brewdog Bar on a Friday after work, when it was busy, but not uncomfortably so. The vibe was relaxed and the bar staff were friendly - they’re more than happy to pour some samples to help you decide which pint to enjoy. The conversion of the interior is entirely aligned to the product and brand. Let’s hope the stag and hen parties or the folk on a mission to cause carnage don’t make Brewdog Bar a no go area over the weekend nights though. Brewdog clearly aren’t after winning gastro pub of the year, so the chalkboard with their food options is somewhat less prominently displayed than the beer selections. However their meat and cheese boards (£6 or £12) looked plentiful and the pizzas (£8) more than adequate to sustain a journey through Brewdog’s craft beer selection.

I’m a self confessed fan of Brewdog: their brand is fantastic, the beers are excellent and while their bold marketing might not be for everyone (for example the bottle of “The End Of The History” which stands behind the bar wrapped in a dead stoat) Brewdog is surely Britain’s most exciting beer brand. The opening of Brewdog Bar has given Edinburgh’s beer scene a huge boost and it’s the the place to go if you want originality and imagination putting back in your beer drinking.

Brewdog is located at 143 Cowgate, Edinburgh, EH1 1JS

Mezbaan for South Indian tapas

Mezbaan is a South Indian restaurant which has been open for business in Edinburgh’s Tollcross area for over 5 years. We’ve always had the restaurant on our “todo” list, but for one reason or another a visit has not materialised. Eating at Mezbaan today wasn’t part of our plan either. We had intended to visit El Quijote (the Spanish tapas restaurant opposite Mezbaan) - but on closer inspection we found it desolate inside and their large menu looked too confusing for our hungover minds to decipher. We will be back though as the praise for El Quijote is seemingly unanimous. Mezbaan won our wallets this time round, with a clear lunch menu of Indian tapas - each dish costing either £1.99 or £2.99.

Poppadoms at Mezbaan Indian restaurant, Edinburgh Interior of Mezbaan restaurant, Edinburgh

Mezbaan only offer their tapas menu at lunch-time (12pm - 3pm every day) and rely on their reasonably priced a la carte menu in the evenings. Inside Mezbaan is simply decorated, although some of the walls are due a coat of paint. We started with some perfectly crisp poppadoms (£1.20 each) which were served with an excellent selection of accompaniments. The wait for our dishes to arrive was made even more enjoyable, by the excellent Kingfisher lager (£4 a pint).

Masala Dosa (tapas) at Mezbaan restaurant, Edinburgh Chana Masala at Mezbaan, Edinburgh

Mezbaan’s tapas menu has over 25 dishes to choose from. The staple order in any South Indian tapas selection is a dosa - basically a pancake made of rice batter, with a choce of filling. Mezbaan serve this in a silver airline tray with a couple of creamy sauces - our vegetable and chicken filled dosas were delicious (£2.99 each). With Mezbaan serving South Indian dishes there are some unusual offerings on the menu and coconut features in several of the dishes - it’s definitely a restaurant where you can try something new, so don’t expect to find a dish of chicken tikka massala on the tapas menu.

The portion sizes of Mezbaan’s tapas dishes are generous. Indeed it was a struggle to finish our portions of chana massala (chick peas in a very pleasant sauce), lamb goan curry and bagarey baingain. The latter is chopped aubergine in a semi-spicey sauce and is apparently very popular in Hyderabad. Three different dishes for £7. Outstanding value. Rice and chapathis are available too, at £1.99 each.

Mezbaan offer an inventive and great value tapas menu for lunch. Many of you will know that Mother India’s Cafe is our de facto choice for Indian tapas. But Mezbaan’s lunch tapas menu makes a great alternative choice. And in a crowded sector of the market, South Indian cuisine offers something to differentiate Mezbaan from the crowd.

Mezbaan is located at 14-14A Brougham Street, Tollcross, Edinburgh EH3 9JH
Telephone: 0131 229 5578

The List Eating and Drinking Guide 2011-2012 is out now

It’s that time of the year again when The List bundles its Eating and Drinking Guide alongside the regular edition of The List Magazine. It’s the de facto standard for measuring restaurants in Edinburgh and Glasgow and is an essential purchase for Edinburgh foodies.

The List Eating and Drinking Guide 2010-2011

Predictably The List Readers’ award has gone to Urban Angel for the second year running. The newcomer of the year for fine dining has gone to Castle Terrace, which occupies the former premises of Abstract. Bia Bistrot located in Edinburgh’s Southside wins the local newcomer of the year - the Edinburgh Blog will be sure to check out this eaterie in due course.

The Hitlist picks out the best restaurants in a set range of categories e.g. bistros, Italian and Scottish. It’s good to see blog favourites such as The Roseleaf, Sushiya, Cafe Fish and Dusit making their respective Hitlists. Although I was very surprised to find the excellent Tapa in Leith did not make the Spanish hitlist (the review justifies this by stating the recently opened Hanover St branch isn’t up to the standards of the original Leith restaurant) and likewise La Favorita does not make the Italian hitlist (because the non pizza dishes are apparently not up to the standards of the pizzas; though I recently had an excellent saltimbocca dish there).

The write-ups by The List certainly provoke debate, but its main strength is the inspiration it provides. For £3.50 the magazine and bundled Eating and Drinking guide is great value - get yours from all reputable magazine retailers.

The Witchery by the Castle

It seems everyone in Edinburgh and everyone who visits Edinburgh has heard of The Witchery by the Castle restaurant. It’s wildly popular and has a very good reputation, as part of the James Thomson restaurant collection in Edinburgh. My experience thus far of these restaurants has been to praise the venue (who couldn’t like Rhubarb or The Tower), but to criticise the standard of food. My perception of The Witchery though was the jewel in the crown - a venue whose splendour should be unrivalled and the cooking on a par with the surroundings. It’s certainly a struggle to get a table at a reasonable time at The Witchery, so please book in advance if you have a specific date and time in mind for your visit.

Three Little Pigs at The Witchery, Edinburgh Witchery pudding selection at The Witchery restaurant

There are two dining rooms at The Witchery, each serviced by their own kitchen. The main dining room is a gothic affair, while the dining room we reserved a table in was the Secret Garden; accessed down a flight of steps. Intimate and dramatic are fair and accurate descriptions, but some may find the closely packed tables a little too intimate. The Witchery do care about service, but they also care about getting the maximum number of paying customers through the doors in a given night, so selling you £30 main courses but expecting the table to be vacated after a couple of hours is common practice. The blog once found itself in Little Washington, USA which is home to the similiarly highly rated Inn at Little Washington. We rejected the opportunity to dine there, given the short time span a table was available for and the unsocial times available - who seriously begins a three course meal at 11.30pm!? I imagine the Witchery is Scotland’s equivalent restaurant.

For some reason we always seem to be given the restaurant’s worst table when we go anywhere expensive. After descending the steps to the Secret Garden we were seated opposite the kitchen doors, which flung open every 10 seconds to offer much noise and bright lights behind - hardly the romantic setting the brochure promised! We did manage to move to the adjacent table, which was an improvement although still too close to the kitchen doors. Later the Russian couple who occupied our former table also sounded less then pleased.

The Secret Garden is a beautiful dining room. The haggis for starter (£9.50) was superb; infact the best dish of our entire meal. The potted duck (duck confit and foie gras) is enormous (£14.50). It was too quickly out of the chiller and onto the plate in my opinion, so it proved overly firm. The quantity was borderline ridiculous though; with the three thick slices of toasted brioche it was served with, this could have passed for a main course.

Ever since I moved to Edinburgh my eyes have been focused on trying The Witchery’s Three Little Pigs main course (£24.50), which is slow-braised belly, roast loin and grilled shoulder bacon. All on the same plate! The meat was plentiful and the cooking good. I’d ordered the mash potato side dish (£4), which was delightfully fluffy and wonderfully creamy. The addition of this made finishing my main course a medieval struggle, inline with the surroundings. Over the table The Witchery’s Cairngorm venison (£27) was tender, cooked beautifully and a delight alongside the chocolate oil and red cabbage.

After the meat heavy starters and mains, we couldn’t manage a dessert each so chose The Witchery’s pudding selection (£10.50). Again there were aspects which were great and aspects which failed to live up the surroundings. There were excellent flavours in the chocolate tarte and passion fruit trifle, but the bread and putter pudding had been overcooked and needed a good scrape to prise it out of the dish.

The service was good, but not nowhere near the exemplary service received in one of Edinburgh’s Michelin starred restaurants. Our wine was sometimes poured for us and sometimes it wasn’t. Our water was never topped up automatically and we had to prompt. The Witchery did have a sommelier, but he was evidently too busy to visit our table. Small things like this make all the difference. And this is my main problem with the Witchery.

It’s location by Edinburgh Castle is beyond compare and the atmosphere is enchanting, while the food is worthy, yet not wonderful. So The Witchery by the Castle is a pleasing experience to participate in, but if you’re seeking truly great food and service at similar prices The Witchery cannot compete with restaurants such as Martin Wishart’s or The Kitchin. Maybe take a look at The Witchery’s lunch, pre-theatre or 3 courses for £30 evening menu though if you’re looking to experience the venue’s charm, whilst not drastically damaging your bank balance.

The Witchery by the Castle is located at Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NF
Telephone: 0131 225 5613

Russian Passion

The staff at Russian Passion in Canonmills are, to say the least, keen to encourage custom. Our decision to visit this Russian cafe was influenced by thumbs up signs and other gestures beckoning us to come inside, from the two Russian ladies who were holding the fort. We had only stopped to read the menu stuck on the window! Inside the sales pitch continued; we were given business cards, told we could order freshly baked pasties for private parties and were asked to smell some, admittedly delicious smelling, chocolate potatoes. It won’t be long before I’m back to try some of them! The enthusiasm the ladies had for their Russian cafe in Edinburgh was infectious.

Vegetable Borsch and bacon, potato and onion piroshky at Russian Passion, Edinburgh Truffle torte at Russian Passion, Edinburgh

Russian Passion’s lunch menu is large, but only certain dishes from it are prepared each day. Any dish can be ordered in advance though. The cafe only opens in the evening by exception. Each day a selection of vegetable or meat piroshkys are prepared, which are excellent accompaniments to Russian Passion’s soups. The piroshkys are deliciously soft and fresh baked bread, filled with ingredients such as ‘bacon, potato and onion’ or ‘pumpkin and cheese’.

In another statement of self promotion we were told Russian Passion is the only outfit in Scotland who bake fresh piroshkys. It’s clearly not a case of Russian Passion just churning them out either. They bake them well. So well, that I’m now a complete convert to the Russian world of piroshky. Ours were absolute delicious (£2.20 - £2.80 each, 20 pence less if you don’t eat in). A large bowl of borsch (£3) is just what’s needed to add hairs to your chest - beatroot and cabbage soup, with a mixture of herbs. Borsh could be just what’s needed to get Edinburgh folk through the cold Winter season. The rassolnik soup (pearl barley and sour gherkins) was good too.

Russian Passion have become somewhat synonymous with excellent desserts. Our expectations were high, as each serving costs £3. Thankfully the cafe proved equally adept with fanciful tortes, as they did with hearty soups. I thought the chocolate truffle torte would have been my favourite, but the honey torte (aka Medovik) just triumphed.

The ladies at Russian Passion have created a charming cafe serving fautlessly authentic Russian fayre. It’s a very different culinary experience from the norm, but the cakes speak a common language. Start with the excellent piroshky and experiment from there. Recommended.

Russian Passion is located at 5 Canonmills, Edinburgh, EH3 5HA
Telephone: 0131 5569042

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