Chop House Steak

I have been wanting to dine at Chop House ever since I heard about them and first read their menu; I was instantly hooked. This only intensified when I attended their Wild Turkey Masterclass in July last year, were adventurous cocktails were paired with delicious nibbles such as rare, tender strips of steak soaked in a basil and mint marinade that melted in your mouth.

When i read that the team were opening another venue in Brunstfield i was over the moon and signed up to know when the earliest i could book was. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, booking opened and the rest is history.

While looking at the menu we sipped a delicious medium bodied red called The Guv’nor, a mix of grenache and tempranillo grapes from Castilla y Leon from Spain, this gorgeous wine will blow your taste buds right off your tongue. If you are a red fan then order even a glass of this to try, I beg of you, you will not look back.

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Normally a fillet or a rump gal, for the thickness of the cut, I decided to try something different and ordered the 350 gram rib-eye steak; beautifully marbled with rich fat, most places will (or should) recommend medium rare so that the fat melts into the meat, leaving only delicately succulent steak that breaks easily under your knife.

Chop House served exactly that; each piece melted in your mouth, deliciously tender and juicy and I could have happily enjoyed it by itself however their selection of sauces were too tempting. The peppercorn sauce had the perfect amount of spice and consistency while the blue cheese, my favourite, was thick, creamy and wonderfully tangy making an indulgent accompaniment to the meat.

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And of course the sides; I had been recommended their mac cheese and green beans and chilli butter but it was their gem lettuce and whipped blue cheese which caught my eye so naturally we had to order all three.

The mac cheese was almost milky in it’s creaminess and with plenty sauce, I strongly disagree with dry mac and cheese, and the top was golden brown, crispy and stringy – everything you want in a great mac and cheese.

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The green beans with chilli butter had a glorious crunch and fiery spice which contrasted perfectly to the gooey mac cheese.

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Not being a big blue cheese fan I have recently started warming to blue cheese sauces as they are normally milder than a hunk of the cheese so I was curious to try their gem lettuce with whipped blue cheese.

I was slightly disappointed with this dish as when I think whipped i think of a light, creamy dip or dressing with the sweet crisp gem lettuces. Instead the lettuce was tossed with chunks of blue cheese which my other half wolfed down and is tasty if you are a hardcore blue cheese fan but alas i am not quite there yet.

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The staff were super friendly, chatty and looked after us brilliantly, giving advice on cuts, flavours and pairings; with their expert help you are sure to never have a bad meal at Chop House.

Fortunatly for my taste buds and greedy nature but unfortunatly for my bank account i now live ten minutes from a Chop House. I will definitely be visiting every couple of months to work my way through their mouth watering menu which also offers delicious steak alternatives such as blackend tuna, burrata salad, lobster and cauliflower steaks.

Thanks to the team who made our night such a treat with wonderful food, great service and the desire to come back as soon as possible.

 

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Wee Buddha

Wee Buddha has been on my list since i accidentally stumbled across it walking back from The Stockbridge Market a couple of years ago; tucked away on Jamaica street the warm and inviting restaurant serves tasty Thai/Scottish fusion food, crisp beers and sharp tangy cocktails. We were given a cosy corner by the window where we ooed and aahed at everything; with an extensive drinks list, plenty of ‘wee hings’ to share and a solid selection of hearty mains there is plenty to chose from.

Starting with cocktails, as per usual, we got a rhubarb wire which was a deliciously sour creation of lemongrass infused vodka, rhubarb liqueur, sweet vermouth, cranberry juice, fresh lime juice and grapefruit juice; my taste buds sang with alcoholic joy.

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The second heavenly delight was a ladyboy martiniwith vanilla infused vodka, kwai feh lychee liqueur, fresh passion fruit, lychee juice, fresh lime and house vanilla syrup. This cocktail comes with a shot of sambuca, and grenadine, in a half a passion fruit, on fire. The guys at Wee Buddha certainly know how to nail flamboyancy at its finest.

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Deciding to share a couple of the starters and then share a main between us meant i could try their haggis wontons, chicken gyoza AND their salt and pepper squid. Just in case you hadn’t picked up it, i am a lil olde greedy guts.

The squid was the perfect balance of salty and spicy; fiery golden circles coated in chilli, garlic and coriander that went far too quickly even though the portion was hefty.

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The chicken gyoza were soft and moist; perfect parcels for dipping in the salty soy sauce dip.

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The haggis wontons were pretty and delicate; the crispy shell was delicious by itself but the combination of the rich denseness of the haggis with the tangy sweet chilli sauce was divine.

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For the main event was a saucy Thai green prawn curry with jasmine rice; served on a board in our own wee pot the curry was fragrant, warming and full of flavour. The prawns were plump and juicy and the veg crisp and plentiful. If it was socially acceptable to lick plates clean then i would have done so.

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To wash down this scrumptious curry we chose a Chang beer and  beer Lao, both were crisp, cold and refreshing; a good accompaniment to a hearty curry.

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The staff at Wee Buddha were so attentive and service was quick meaning we were never left long without fresh drinks or our food; the music was classic after classic and the small restaurant was cosy and lively with the chatter from neighbouring tables. The Wee Buddha satisfied my inner buddha, buddha belly more like, and between the delicious food and lovely staff i will back again ready to try more of their tantalising menu.

 

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At Pizza

Tucked away on Charlotte Lane, hungry patrons step into the bright lights and line up eagerly to sample the carefully made, rustic sourdough pizzas from the At Pizza team. Recently my Instagram became flooded with excited posts from fellow foodies raving about the unusual pizza parlour so naturally i felt a need to try it out.

Deciding to try some of the creations the team have put together we chose the Heart Breaker and the White Dog and washed both down with a couple of cold brewski’s; locally re-made by Edinburgh Paolozzis.

The Heart Breaker was a hot n spicy mix of roquito pepper, Scottish mozzarella, pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage, fresh jalapeño, grilled red onion, rosemary and sriracha sauce. Even after skirting round the jalapeños this pizza gave that delicious fiery kick that made your eyes water and nose run, in the best way possible.

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The White Dog was a deliciously indulgent collaboration of garlic and ricotta, Scottish mozzarella, grilled red onion, pesto Basilico drizzle, garlic oil and gran Moravia cheese; the nuttiness of the pesto cut through the creamy ricotta and thick stringy mozzarella and the red onions gave a welcome crunch to this cheesy feast.

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The staff carefully and delicately assembled each pizza and were friendly and chatty as i moved through the process from creation to baked perfection. The Paolozzi’s, crisp and cold, helped combat the fire from the Heart Breaker and the casual picnic table style of the restaurant gave a no muss, no fuss feel which is perfect for a casual Friday night of tasty pizza and refreshing beer.

All in all i am glad i have gone to see what all the hype was about and will definitely be back to try some of their other inventions and to create my own; though that could get a little out of hand as the lovely people at At Pizza don’t charge for extra toppings unless you go fancy with king prawns. Which in all honestly will most definitely happen.

 

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Pizza Posto

Pizza Posto was soon top of my list of places to try after seeing an excited flurry of fellow foodies raving about the authentic Neapolitan pizza parlour; photos of delicious colourful pizzas teased me and I knew I had to get a slice, or ten, of the action. Pizza Posto sits opposite the festival theatre on Nicholson street and appears smaller from the outside, once inside the restaurant spans vastly through the back with an open kitchen enabling you to ogle the talented pizza chefs at work.

Their menu is so affordable and not too extensive that you are sat for an eternity trying to chose one of their delicious creations. We opted for one of their number 4’s; nduja base, Tuscan sausage, tender stem broccoli, mozzarella and olive oil.

The nduja base was rich and the sausage spicy, giving a slow burning kick of chilli with every mouthful, the broccoli melted beautifully into the gooey mozzarella which oozed flavour and the crusts made perfect for mopping up the nutty olive oil.

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Our second choice was one of Pizza Posto’s specials; parma ham, fresh rocket, parmesan, mozzarella, olive oil and a big juicy ball of burrata. The burrata, although cold, fell apart as we carefully spread it over the pizza, the parma ham’s saltiness cut through the creaminess of the cheese and the rocket gave a welcome peppery kick; a king of pizzas.

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A bottle of their merlot, pinot nero from Veneto, Italy complimented both pizzas happily and by the end of this unapologetically indulgent feast we were comfortably stuffed and happy. Now I am one of these foodies working myself up in a frenzy over how good, no great, Pizza Posto pizzas are.

As soon as I got home I raved to my flatmate who took her sisters the next again day and all three were very happy campers.

If you have not been then go – don’t put it off any longer because once you eat there you will be planning your next visit mid meal. Thank you Pizza Posto for helping me rediscover what good authentic pizza can taste like, until next time, Ciao.

 

 

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Cau

So stylish. So trendy. These were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my mind when stepping into Cau; their aim is to create exciting and flavour packed dishes resembling the colourful palette of Argentina. Unlike some pricey restaurants Cau is not intimidatingly posh, as soon as you step in the door you are greeted by friendly staff who take you through a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere to your table.

We began with cocktails, opting for a Cau Girl Martini and a The Grass is Greener; the Cau Girl Martini was the perfect sweet and tart  blend of Stoli Vodka, passion fruit purée, apple juice, vanilla sugar and sparkling rosé. The Grass is Greener was an adventurous concoction of Hendrick’s Gin, Midori, apple and citrus juice all shaken up with egg whites; making a crisp, fresh palette cleansing aperitif.

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I’ll tell you now the menu in Cau is delectable; so many tantalising options to chose from which made it difficult to keep to just two starters. To get a broad range of flavours we chose the shrimp chicharron and croquettes; where you can pick three different flavours of croquette – smoked haddock – porcini mushroom and black truffle – ham hock and manchego and to honour Burns nights a haggis number.

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We went for smoked haddock; the smokey fish and potato croquette worked harmoniously with the paprika mayo. The ham hock and manchego was a perfect balance between the creamy, nuttiness of the manchego and the saltiness of the ham hock. And finally but by no means least, a rich, dense meaty haggis morsel that screamed quality with every bite.

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The shrimp chicharron was a colourful plate of crispy fried shrimp, ají amarillo sauce, red jalapeño, spring onion and coriander cress. The batter encasing the prawns was light and crisp and wonderfully soaked up the mouth watering ají amarillo sauce; creamy and with hints of mango, this brilliantly balanced the fiery fresh chilli, making this my favourite.

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Now for the main event, Cau promises to capture the soul and flavour of authentic Argentinian cuisine and we had heard great things about their steak so we opted for 320 grams of pure unadulterated rib-eye and rump steak.  We chose skinny sweet potato fries and three different sauces; peppercorn, blue cheese hollandaise and classic chimichurri to accompany this feast and although worried this may not be enough, their selection of sides are heavenly, we need not have fretted because the steaks were of epic proportions.

The rib-eye was tender and perfectly cooked; requested to be cooked rare our attentive server recommended medium rare as their rib-eye steaks can have between 11-14% fat marbled through the meat and cooking them for that little bit longer melts the fat into delicious flavour.

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The rump was a beautiful hunk of meat that wobbled as i sawed through the thick, tender flesh and burst with meaty flavour with every mouthful.

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The sauces come in little pots, ideal for dipping, and it was the blue cheese hollandaise that stole my heart; rich, glossy sauce that was not overpowered with blue cheese made a superb creamy accompaniment to the steaks. The peppercorn sauce was thinner than i would have preferred but packed with buttery, peppery flavour. The chimichurri salsa was tasty, spicy and fragrant but there was too much oil sitting on top.

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We chose a bottle of Doña Paula cabernet sauvignon to sip alongside this magnificent banquet; cassis, cool mint and eucalyptus combined with ripe and juicy fruits made this a complimentary and enjoyable wine alongside the flavours of the meat.

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Happily defeated by the steaks we passed on dessert but with options such as dulche de leche pancakes, churros and Argentinian ice cream i will definitely be back with an appetite big enough to conquer all. Cau is a fantastic place to indulge and treat yourself to some scrumptious food and delicious wine in a beautiful setting however they also do a brunch menu, which caught my eye as we left, so there is a happy excuse to visit all times in the day. I promise you won’t be disappointed so book a table, throw on your glad rags, better if they have an elastic waist, and treat yourself to simple yet exquisite food.

 

 

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Topa La Bamba

Happy New Year! 2018 is going to be all about trying new things; recipes, restaurants, cuisines and exploring more of the world. I took a hiatus from writing over the festive period but began my foodie adventure at one of Edinburgh’s most fun and adored Mexican joints; Topa La Bamba is a colourful and quirky restaurant that serves fresh, mouth watering tapas style dishes with larger options such as the classic burrito or heavenly chipolte honey ribs. Their classic margarita is too easily drunk and with watermelon and apple flavours there is something for everyone.

We ordered a collection of smaller dishes to get a little taste of everything; crispy fried fish of the day tacos, crab ceviche tostadas, homemade chorizo taquitos and jalapeno poppers. Oh.My.Days. The jalapeno poppers were thick n chunky; coated in a crunchy fried breadcrumb cacoon they burst with thick creamy molito cheese and made you go ooh. Topa know what they are doing by only serving two per dish, the saying ‘always leave them wanting more’ certainly works in their favour here.

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The crab ceviche tostadas boasted generous mounds of cold, refreshing crab and salad sat upon a crispy tortilla pancake topped with crema, which is a creamy, slightly sour Mexican condiment that is somewhere between sour cream and crème fraîche. Delicious, decadent and the combinations of textures made each mouthful exciting and a challenge to devour.

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The crispy fried fish tacos were tasty and gloriously messy to eat; light, golden goujons of meaty fish nestled in slaw, wrapped in a soft tortilla and topped with crema with generous wedges of lemon on the side to cut through the batter of the fish. My first time trying fish tacos and thanks to the chefs at Topa i will not be looking back. No way Jose.

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Topa’s homemade chorizo taquitos were the thing dreams are made of; rich, smokey, spicy sausage encased in a crisp shell topped with, yes you guessed it, crema. Perfect for picking up and nibbling on or, as i decided, dunking into the creamy molito cheese from the jalapeno poppers. Absolutely scrumptious.

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Comfortably full but 100% greedy and hankering for more tasty delights from the Topa team we ordered a classic Mexican dessert; piping hot churros with a rich and glossy dark chocolate sauce. Fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside these golden fingers of dough were the perfect sweet end to an exquisite feast of classic favourites to new experiences and flavours.

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We left happy and full; feelings not hard to conjure up in this warm and inviting space where the staff are friendly and happy to chat while you, maybe ever so slightly, dramatically agonise over what to chose. When there are too many delectable dishes i can sometimes get flustered and feel the need to try everything now and forget that i can come back another time to try more! If you are looking for great food, a relaxed setting and the perfect amount of mood lighting to make anyone look good then look no further than Topa La Bamba. Thank you guys, in Arnie’s words (and voice), i’ll be back.

 

 

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Trenchtown Caribbean Social Club

After reading rave reviews from the likes of Joanna Blythman and being bowled over with excited chatter from friends it was about time to sample the exotic and colourful food and tings Trenchtown Caribbean Social Club had to offer. Trenchtown is a stones throw away from my flat which makes it an ideal candidate for a new local favourite.

The menu is a vibrant selection of mouth watering dishes from jerk pork belly, original Trini chicken curry and curry fish but it was their Trenchtown goat curry that caught my eye. I have always wanted to try goat curry and an authentic Caribbean restaurant with rave reviews seemed like a pretty good place to start; an aromatic blend of top secret house spices, fiery scotch bonnet chilli, citrus juice and fresh ginger make the heart warming curry that was devilishly moreish and insanely hot.

I had always imagined goat to taste like lamb, perhaps because they are part of the same bleet bleet family, but the tender meaty chunks tasted like beef and were absolutely divine. The curry is served with a side of coconut rice an’ peas, sweet onion chutney, green seasoning and Caribbean dumplings; the sweet coconut in the rice worked well with the tangy spice of the curry and the dumplings, beautifully crunchy and golden on the outside and soft and doughy on the inside, were perfect torn into pieces, soaking up the rich, tasty sauce.

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To wash down this scrumptious feast we had pints of Red Stripe Draught; perfectly crisp and refreshing to combat the eye watering spice of the curry. All the flavours worked harmoniously together creating a rich and memorable dish that had me singing Trenchtown’s praises to anyone that would listen.

The guys at Trenchtown know flavour and there is a wonderful no fuss approach to their food; hearty portions of good quality ingredients, each mouthful bursting with spice and heat without taking away from the flavour of the dish. I highly recommend gathering a group, ordering a selection from their wonderful menu and i promise you will never look back.

 

 

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