Aizle – Edinburgh

This unassuming place on St Leonard’s Street is a hidden gem. Run by husband (Stuart, chef) and wife (Krystal, front of house/mixologist), Aizle has no menu to read. There’s no need to choose! Just let front of house know what you don’t like or are allergic to, order drinks (or go for the paired drinks), then 4 surprise courses come your way for a very reasonable £30.

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The Adamson, St Andrews

This review is more about one dish than a whole meal.

We recently went to try St Andrews” href=”http://theadamson.com/”>The Adamson, St Andrews for lunch. This was the thing I remembered.

Chicken Rilletes, with beetroot chutney.

Such a creative, seasonal and understated dish. Rilletes was not too dry or salty, as often can be the case – especially if using a lean meat like chicken. It was lightly spiced, and had some pumpkin (?) or sweet potato in it that added a suitable hint of sweetness, and a contemporary seasonal feel, being only a day or two away from Halloween. Capers offset the sweetness with a touch of zing as well.

The beetroot chutney complemented very nicely. Not overcooked – still a bit of texture, almost the hint of a crunch. Not overly sweet or acidic either. The main flavour was of the earthiness of the beetroot. It complimented the rillettes perfectly and the dish was completely balanced and delicate.

The rest of our meal was good – I then had fish and chips (with the best mushy peas – made with 50% butter?), Claire had steak sandwich. Rillettes won the day though!

A request to the Adamson: could you share the recipe!

Vietnam House, Edinburgh

GO TO THIS RESTAURANT. This is the second time I’ve been to Vietnam House, and the second time I’ve been blown away by the quality of the food and the service. And I’m not the only one. Their reviews online are insane!

At the time or writing:

Tripadvisor Reviews  4.5/5 – 124 Reviews
Urban Spoon Reviews 92% – 192 Votes
Yelp 4/5 -21 reviews
Google + Reviews  4.5/5 – 13 Reviews

On this trip, we shared a bowl of Raw Beef Pho to start, which was epic, despite messy. In Claire’s words, better than she gets from the local (and highly well known and  successful) Vietnamese restaurant in New York.

Our main courses were great. Claire had a noodle salad, really nicely dressed with peanut oil. I had braised pork – so tender!

The nicest thing about this place is it’s warm and friendly staff and humble atmosphere. It’s headed up by owner Jodi, who is a champion. She’s worked so hard to get where she is and should be very pleased.

Dinner for two cost us £29.90 for two courses including corkage (it’s BYOB). One of the best meals I’ve had in some time! Thank you Jodi.

Timberyard

At last I finally got to Timberyard, and by no means did it disappoint.

Timberyard, Edinburgh

The food was obviously the main point- but the decor and atmosphere of the place is also worth a word. You walk in and it instantly feels like a very friendly place. It’s so chilled out and incredibly unpretentious. Staff are dressed casually, the barman displaying his impressive tattoo sleeves. The kitchen is open so you can have a look in if you want. Head Chef Ben Radford is calmly wandering around, talking with the bar staff. He stops and chats with us.

The Radfords have decided to keep the feel of what was an old timber yard. Hence the name. Walls are simply whitewashed, the place is natural and earthy. A large wood burner fills the centre of the large dining area. Cutlery and crockery are mismatched, old fashioned. The place is a mixture of character and cool relaxed. When our drinks and food arrive, it’s clear that the focus is on taste, not surroundings.

We start with a Crab Apple fizz. A great mix of sweetness and acidity of crab apples, backed up by brandy with a fizz of sparkling wine that strokes your tongue.

The food comes in four ranges: bites, small, large, pudding. I opted to start with a bite of crab served in tomato (picture missing as it was gobbled too quickly). This is almost the best crab I’ve had. It’s been freshly cooked and loosely picked, so there’s still a great texture in it that you don’t get from pre-picked crab. Attention to detail. The tomato petals are a great accompaniment.

My starter is steak tartare. It’s called ‘raw beef, pickled winter chanterelles, egg yolk.’ This is one where it’s hard to go wrong. It ticked all boxes by all means. Good beef, interesting dressing. My only thought is perhaps I would have preferred the chanterelles lightly pan-fried.

Steak Tartare at Timberyard

Steak Tartare, Pickled Winter Chanterelles, Egg Yolk. I got a bit too excited pre-photo.

 

My main course is Sea Bream, served with Jerusalem artichoke and something I now can’t remember. I was blown away by the fish. Perfectly cooked, with a fantastic brown-crispy skin, that hadn’t shrivelled at all as it likes to do. The artichoke was pan fried, with still a very nice, delicate, resistant texture inside. Once again, gobbled before picture.

Montezuma chocolate tart, slated hazel nuts, creme fraiche ice cream.

Montezuma chocolate tart. Epic.

 Pudding was something else. Montezuma chocolate tart, slated hazel nuts, creme fraiche ice cream. The combination was fantastic. The ice cream was, simple, light and pleasantly acidic enough to cut through the rich chocolate. The salted hazelnuts added something extra to the dish. I wasn’t totally amazed by the tart, but it was good.

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