Welcome to our Taste of Scotland Blog where you will find news and views on Scottish restaurants, food from Scotland, traditional and contemporary Scottish cuisine. Occasionally we will drop in some useless but entertaining snippets of foodie information as well as the odd restaurant offer or food promotion which we feel is worth passing on to our friends and web visitors.
Let us have your comments and recommendations. Follow us on Facebook and pass on the web link to your friends and associates.
If you run or know of a restaurant you think we should feature please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
This time the restaurant is located in leafy Stockbridge to the north of the city. Called Bistro Moderne by Mark Greenaway the restaurant will cater for 80 covers and combines classic French bistro style with imaginative combinations and locally produce to create a refreshingly new menu. The restaurant features several innovations including a dessert bar and a whisky matched grazing menu.
Mark Greenaway, is quoted as saying: “I’ve been looking for suitable opportunities for a second restaurant in Edinburgh for a while now. The Bistro will offer simpler versions of my restaurant dishes as well as introducing some new styles of food from my repertoire, all served in a friendly and relaxed setting. And because Bistro will be open on a Sunday we’ll be serving amazing roasts of Aberdeen Angus beef and chicken.”
Bistro Moderne – 15 North West Circus Place, Edinburgh, EH3 65X, 0131 225 6631
Open 7 days a week, serving lunch and dinner, with breakfasts served Friday to Sunday.
Although our focus at Taste-of-Scotland.com tends to be on Scotland’s restaurants and Scottish Food we couldn’t help sharing an intriguing encounter with a cocktail bar in the heart of Edinburgh called Junipers. With views out over Princes Street this stylish cocktail venue for younger revellers has some unique offerings including Full Scottish Breakfast – a cocktail comprising Glenmorangie and Ardbeg single malts shaken up with lemon juice, orange marmalade, orange bitters, smokey bacon foam and blow torch toast.
Our enthusiasm was not restricted to the cocktails but also the ‘street food menu’ which features Rannoch Venison & Juniper Scotch Egg, Juniper Smoked Salmon Croquettes with beetroot jam and Scottish Lobster Macaroni and Cheese. We have yet to sample the dishes but just the idea of these innovative morsels made us include in this months newsletter. We will keep you posted and do share your comments if you happen to visit Junipers over the festive period.
The 6500 sportsmen and women and officials gather in the 2014 Athletes’ Village will be able to choose from a range of healthy Scottish produce. All caterers appointed by Glasgow 2014 will have to sign up to the Commonwealth Games Food Charter, which highlights the importance of where food is from and how it has been produced.
The Food Charter has been developed by a range of partners, including Scotland Food and Drink, the Glasgow Restaurant Association and Glasgow City Council. It outlines a commitment to ethical, safe and healthy-living standards for all foods served at the Games.
As well as showcasing the Scottish larder, the charter includes a sustainable procurement policy, which highlights the importance of sourcing sustainable and ethical goods, services and sponsorship. Organisers hope it will act as a blueprint for major sporting and cultural events held in Scotland.
Scotland’s Food Minister, Richard Lochhead, said the Games were an opportunity to showcase the country’s best food. He is quoted as saying: “This Food Charter will allow athletes and spectators alike to enjoy the very best of Scotland’s superb food and drink during Glasgow 2014, when the eyes of the world are on our nation. I look forward to seeing the principles and standards set out in the Commonwealth Games Food Charter used as a basis for a wider Food and Drink Charter for Events in Scotland. This will present a great opportunity for Scottish food and drink businesses to supply good quality, healthy, authentic food and drink at local, national and international events across the country starting in our second Year of Food and Drink in 2015.”
Further details: http://bit.ly/18CODG2
Andrew Fairlie and Martin Wishart retained their prestigious positions in this years Sunday Times Food List published on 3rd November. Listed as #2 and #5 respectively, they continue to fly the flag for Scottish cuisine in Hardens UK Restaurant Guide. Tom Kitchen at #11 was so close in getting included in the top ten and mention must go to the other seven Scottish restaurants featured in this weeks Sunday Times 100 Top UK Restaurants – The Peat Inn, Castle Terrace, The Honours, Ondine, Ubiquitous Chip, Mother India (Edinburgh) and The Witchery.
The finest talent in the Highlands and Islands’ food and drink industry gathered in Inverness on Friday 25th October to celebrate this year’s Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards. A nail-biting finale saw over forty businesses nervously awaiting the announcement of the winners. Twelve awards are given to the victorious businesses ranging from breweries, bakeries, restaurants and retailers to producers of premium Scottish seafood, salt and cheese.
Gilpin Bradley of Wester Ross Salmon received the top honour of the evening – the Ambassador of the Year Award for his contribution to the Scottish fisheries industry. Gigha Seafood walked away with the Excellence Award for demonstrating outstanding achievement.
Other winners of the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards 2013 included Caithness-based business Berry Good’s Vodka and Gin Infusions for Best Drink Award; Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival for Best Marketing Initiative Award; Island Bakery Organics from the Isle of Mull for the Environment Award; Alness-based Aquascot for Entrepreneur Business 2013 and the Healthier Food & Drink Award; 40 North won Independent Food & Drink Retailer Award and Hebridean Sea Salt won the New Business Award, both based on the Isle of Lewis; Gigha Seafood’s Smoked Gigha Halibut for New Product Award; Restaurant of the Year was Ninth Wave Restaurant on the Isle of Mull and Eilean Dubh in Fortrose picked up the Best Eatery Award.
The judges comments on the winning restaurant Ninth Wave were self-explanatory: “It’s not the easiest place in the world to get to but the bumpy drive up the dirt track is well worth the effort when you discover the gem that is Ninth Wave waiting for you. Inside, this small restaurant is contemporary but cosy with a kilted John Lamont doing the meeting, greeting and waiting. Amazing menus change daily depending on what fisherman John’s caught that day! Combined with the freshest, seasonal produce grown outside on the couple’s croft, the food is beautifully presented – an absolute treat for the taste buds.”
Nearly 300 representatives from the Highlands and Islands’ food and drink industry packed out the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness. The dinner featured a mouth-watering menu including food from top regional producers and suppliers: Gordon & MacPhail, Gigha Seafood, Highland Fine Cheeses, Isle of Mull Cheese, Reids of Caithness, Maclean’s Highland Bakery, Strathconon Highland Organix and Swansons Fruit Company. And with music provided by the Cairn String Quartet who performed a variety of genres of music on classical instruments, the event combined all the necessary ingredients for an inspiring and memorable evening’s entertainment.
For more information about the Awards and winners visit www.hifoodanddrinkawards.co.uk.
The fair city of Perth looks like being awash with chocolate and 30.000 expected visitors for 3 days in November. Billed as the largest chocolate festival in Scotland this event is being staged in conjunction Perth City Council. Located right in the heart of Perth, this will be a market style chocolate shopping experience with fine chocolatiers and chocolate businesses displaying chocolate related products for sale with lots of tastings and special offers.
Running from Friday 22nd through to Sunday 24th this chocolate lovers spectacular will add sparkle to the city’s celebrations as Perth prepares for Christmas.
If you are looking for somewhere different to eat in Edinburgh then try and book a table at The Gardener’s Cottage. With a fixed menu in the evening and a lunch time menu based on local seasonal produce, this simple yet very rewarding dining experience is an example of how enthusiastic chefs can turn the most unlikely premises into wonderful dining locations. Co-owned by chefs Dale Mailley and Edward Murray and opened in early 2013, The Gardener’s Cottage quickly established itself as one of Edinburgh’s little culinary gems providing a unique Scottish restaurant experience showcasing some of the best of Scottish produce.
The restaurant is housed in a small historic building in Royal Terrace Gardens on London Road. Designed by William Playfair in the 1830′s, this was the residence for the head gardener who tended The Royal Terrace Gardens. Left empty for several years, it was spotted by Edward Murray, an architect based in Edinburgh. Edward together with his colleague Dale Mailley developed the cottage as a place which brings together diners and chefs, making the most of the small interior space and creating an atmosphere which is one of the main ingredients in any meal at The Gardener’s Cottage.Edward and Dale have 15 years of professional restaurant experience including work at The Outsider, Blue, The Atrium, Cafe St Honoré and The Kitchin.
Dale and Edward realised they shared a passion for seasonal food when, as chefs at Edinburgh’s The Atrium, they regularly visited the local farmers’ markets to buy produce for the kitchen.Originally trained as an architect Edward Murray has lived in Edinburgh since his student days. Abandoning architecture for his true calling, Edward has spent the last decade honing his culinary skills. Most recently as head chef for the award-winning bakery and cafe, Falko Konditormeister (Observer Food Producer of the Year 2007) in Bruntsfield. Edward also worked at Blue and The Atrium under 2011 Scottish Chef of The Year Neil Forbes, and at Cafe St Honoré.Born and raised in Scotland, Dale Mailley has been a chef since the age of 15, and was most recently the executive head chef at the popular Outsider and The Apartment restaurants in Edinburgh. Prior to that Dale was sous chef at The Atrium and worked at Michelin-starred The Kitchin in Leith. His professional stages in London include the two Michelin star The Ledbury and a number of Mark Hix’s restaurants.
If the thought of wild garlic and hazelnut tagliatelle; mutton with parsnip puree and cabbage; smoked duck with salt crust turnips, sea radish and charred vegetables; chocolate tart with hazelnuts or rhubarb shortbread Alexander gets you licking your lips then call 0131 558 1221 for your table reservation.
Our Guest Blogger this week is Brian Hannan from The Cookery School – Brian has posted some fascinating and controversial comments as to what constitutes exercise and whether cooking can be considered exercise. Read on ….
Academics in Ohio, who have clearly never been in a professional kitchen, have been tussling with the concept of whether cooking constitutes exercise. They have been coming at this from a curious angle. Basically, they have been testing the notion that people who cook (and by that they don’t mean sticking something in a microwave) believe, subconsciously, that it is exercise and therefore subtract the amount of time they spent in this activity from the amount of time they would normally spend at the gym. It’s a somewhat negative approach, I’d have to say, for what is a very positive endeavour. Still, that’s what scientists are put on this earth to do, to hunt down infinitesimal bosons, explain that the universe must be really big because it still baffles them, and find reasons that never occurred to us to explain human behavior. I think they are missing the point.
Anybody who does cook knows that it certainly is exercise. First of all there is the chopping, probably the only good workout the wrist ever gets and tell me if your arm ain’t mighty sore when you’ve made mincemeat of a couple of kilos of onions or carrots. Before we come to the lifting of the pots you’ve got the bending down to get the pots. Kitchen designers do not hold pots in high regard; they are never stored in an easily-accessible place – that luxury always seems to be given to little-used spice racks. And to get their revenge on kitchen designers pots seem to think it’s fun to hide themselves away in the furthest recesses of the cupboards. Bending down brings into play your back and your knees. Three or more pots, that soon takes its toll. And we’ve not talked about the moving around.
Proper cooking is not for the comatose, it can’t be done from the comfort of your settee like so many modern activities. There is quite a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. I’m not sure whether to-ing and fro-ing counts in a legitimate exercise routine, I’ve certainly never been offered it as an option in the gym. But in a kitchen you are never still. If you’re making a three-course meal you are on the go all the time, backward and forward from stove to countertop to bin (for waste, not for what you’ve cooked). Depending on the size of your kitchen, you could do a power of walking. Maybe we could suggest to the geniuses in Ohio that they measure that. And that’s before we talk about the heat.
You can’t cook without heat and you can rarely cook without getting hot. There will be even those among us who embrace heat, believing a few rivulets of sweat on a daily basis might equate to losing a few pounds over a longer period of time. The more you are into your cooking, the more time you spend on a daily basis, the more you will repeat these tasks. It’s ‘Cookercise’ for want of a better word.
So, really, it’s not a question of quibbling with the findings of our esteemed friends in Ohio. It’s a question of telling them that their concept was misguided from the off. And, of course, once all the hard work of cooking is done, then the real work is just beginning. For then we exercise that remarkably under-used muscle – the palate.
Preparations for one of Scotland’s major food and drink awards are well underway as food and drink producers get ready for the most important four days of the foodie calendar – The Royal Highland Show. Over 100 exhibitors will be joined by a host of top Scottish chefs and restaurateurs in an annual celebration of Scotland’s finest food and drink. .
This annual event, partnered by The Royal Bank of Scotland, welcomes an average of 170,000 visitors every year with the Food Hall being one of the top attractions.
The exhibition offers significant exposure to products and producers. Last year, The Island Smokery on Orkney caught the eye of the Tesco buyer and the company is now ramping up its production after securing a deal to supply 45 Tesco stores across Scotland.
Innovation is key to the 2013 show/ This year The Highlands and Islands food and drink producers will be showcased under the title ‘Land of Opportunity’. Street food will also be in focus as four top chefs take to the Countryside Area to showcase the culinary delights from northern Scotland.
Taking on the theatre are famous chefs from the area including Bruno Birkbeck, Head Chef of the 3 AA Rosette Restaurant at the Torridon Hotel, Muji Rahman from the Michelin recognised Cafe India in Dingwall, David Coubrough, Head Chef at Cafe 1 in Inverness and Steven Devlin of the highly acclaimed Rocpool Restaurant in Inverness.Each chef has been tasked with creating a menu for the day using only Highlands and Islands sourced produce.
In the Food Hall, top attraction 120-seat Cookery Theatre, will return with a rolling programme of more than 30 all-action demonstrations over the four-day event. This year, the Cookery Theatre will be renamed the Natural Larder to pay homage to the ‘Year of Natural Scotland‘ celebrations.
In addition to top chefs from the Highlands and Islands the theatre programme will also feature; Carina Contini and Suzanne O’Connor from The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant; Neil Forbes from Café St Honoré; Henderson’s of Edinburgh celebrating 50 years in the business; Paul Wedgwood from his eponymous restaurant and Craig Wilson, Eat On The Green’s one and only ‘Kilted Chef’.
Wendy Barrie commented on the star-studded line up. She said: Passionate as we all are about our national food cuculture it is great to have such a positive message to broadcast – loow food miles, unquestionable provenance and greeat tastes! We are all looking forward to cooking the produce, meeting the visitors and contributing to making the Royal Highland Show the ‘greatest show on earth’.
The Royal Highland Show is an invaluable souource for highlighting the whole chain from farm production to retail counter. That, coupled with some hand-picked exhibitors from other areas, makes the Food Hall and the Cookery Theatre a priority on any show visitor’s itinerary.
East Lothian Food and Drink will also return to the show for the fourth year to highlight the breadth of local production from the region. Six exhibitors including Thistly Cross Cider, Glenkinchie Distillery, Scots Cheer, Yester Dairies, Scottish Honey and the Luca’s Ice Cream, will allure foodies to sample the best from the East.
The Royal Highland Show takes place between 20th and 23th June at Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh.
Visit www.royalhighlandshow.org for more information.
A Taste of Hopetoun is happening on Friday 26th and Saturday 27th April. One of Edinburgh’s top chefs, Neil Forbes from Cafe St Honoré, is teaming up with Hopetoun Farm Shop for a special weekend food event.
Hopetoun Farm Shop is just three miles south of the Forth Bridges and South Queensferry.
As a platform for Scottish foods, Hopetoun Farm Shop offers some of the country’s best producers and suppliers as well as their very own butchery counter stocking meats reared direct from the surrounding Hopetoun Estate.
The Taste of Hopetoun event is a chance to indulge in Scotland’s top foods and a weekend of culinary delights. Neil will host a master class on the Friday evening from 6pm. His challenge is to cook up as many delicious dishes using Scottish produce within the two-hour time slot. He will also be available to chat and offer advice on anything you may wish to throw at him!
Saturday will offer visitors a tasting day between 11am and 3pm, with complimentary samples of cheeses, meats, local preserves, bakery produce, chocolate and more, offering the chance to test a range of products and speak to suppliers on new recipe ideas without the need to purchase. Hungry customers will also have the opportunity to taste the Hopetoun’s award winning burgers and sausages as the first ever Farm Shop BBQ sets up to sell hot produce outside the store.
Hopetoun Farm Shop Manager, Elaine Shirley, commented: “The ethos of the weekend is to promote the best Scotland has to offer – we hope customers feel encouraged to come and visit the shop without feeling pressured to buy on the day. We want to showcase the vast range of produce available right on your doorstep throughout the year.”
Derek Mackintosh, Hopetoun Farm Shop’s expert butcher, will offer advice on meat cuts, quantities and recipes over the weekend, as well as providing information on the Estate reared meats available throughout the year direct from the butchery counter.
As a showcase for Scotland’s larder, the Hopetoun Farm Shop was recently honored by the Countryside Alliance Awards with Scottish Local Food Champion 2013 at Holyrood.
Further details: http://www.hopetoun.co.uk/whats-on-calendar.html
Following on from the successful first series, Britain’s Best Bakery will be returning to ITV Daytime later this year and the producers (Shine TV) are currently looking for great bakeries all across the UK to take part in this second series. Expert Judges Mich Turner MBE (TV chef, author and owner of Little Venice Cake Company) and Peter Sidwell (TV chef, cookery writer and restaurateur) will return to sample the delicacies of the nation’s favourite independent, family run and community bakeries, tasting and critiquing their way through breads, cakes, pastries and pies.
The first series of Britain’s Best Bakery aired on ITV in November 2012. it proved a huge success and was one of the highest rated factual series in 2012. Across the course of the first series, 14.4 million viewers tuned in to watch the show! Great exposure of all the bakeries involved.
Shine TV are now looking for people to either nominate a bakery that they love or for the bakeries themselves to enter the competition. Shine TV have asled Taste-of-Scotland.com to help spread the word throughout Scotland and encourage people to nominate their favourite bakeries and for the bakeries themselves to apply.
If you are a bakery interested in taking part or would like to nominate a bakery, please email email@example.com or call 020 7483 6690
Here’s hoping we get a good response from Scotland’s Bakeries. Last year Dunbar Community Bakery had an excellent run and reached the finals.
Graham / Editor (Taste-of-Scotland Blog)
About Shine TV: www.shine.tv/
Shine TV is one of the UK’s most successful producers of popular factual television. Shows include MasterChef, Celebrity MasterChef and MasterChef the Professionals all for the BBC, Britain’s Best Bakery and Saturday Farm for ITV, Eddie Stobart: Trucks and Trailers for Channel Five and Ashley Banjo’s Secret Street Crew for Sky One. Founded in 2001, it is part of the Shine Group.