The Olive Branch

Walking into The Olive Branch we received the warmest of welcomes; the staff were charming, chatty and engaging, like going to a friends for dinner. The floor to ceiling windows, stripped wooden floorboards and bare brick walls give the bistro a bright, stylish look while still managing to create a cosy and relaxed atmosphere.

I started with a refreshing aperitif, as you do having a casual dinner on a Saturday night, opting for a Botanist gin, made on the Isle of Islay. And let’s call the selection of crusty breads paired with rich, moreish pesto, tangy balsamic vinegar and a robust olive oil our ‘amuse bouche’; it was flawless.

The first dish on the menu caught me hook, line and sinker; thick pink pieces of lamb perfectly cooked, nestled beside a nutty parsnip puree and braised cabbage with salty bacon lardons. All resting in a rich red wine jus and generously sprinkled with crunchy parsnip crisps.

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My better other half beelined for the Chargrilled 28-day aged Scotch 8oz rib-eye steak; medium rare, marbled with fat and melt in your mouth. Served with enough greens, golden chunky chips and a spicy peppercorn sauce.

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Each dish was a perfectly balanced combination of flavourful, wholesome food executed with a modern flare. Making a choice is difficult but you won’t regret any of them and we left feeling happy and content.

 

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Paradise Palms

Paradise Palms is a tropical, neon oasis tucked away from the city center where you can happily sit for hours trying their extensive cocktail menu happy as a clam.

And the only way to work your way through their liquor menu sensibly, is to order a tasty selection of vegetarian and vegan dishes to nibble while you sip.

I began with Tommy’s Margarita; a faultless, zesty blend of El Jimedor Reposado Tequila, Agave, Lime and Orange Bitters that required sheer will power not to down in one.

Their sweet potato fries are divinely addictive and their mac and cheese is one glorious gooey mouthful after the next. Although the batter was slightly too thick and stodgy for my taste, their choice of friable veggies – crunchy broccoli, baby corn and sweet potato, as well as the standard courgette and aubergine- made good soldiers for dipping into their sweet smokey barbecue sauce.

Portions are generous so instead of dessert I opted for their Koko Loco Espresso Martini which coats your mouth in a sweet, silky concoction of Koko Kanu Coconut Rum, Araku Coffee Rum Liqueur and an Artisan Roast Espresso Shot.

So i say treat yourself; order one of their delicious cocktails or 5, indulge in baskets upon baskets of their fried treats and enjoy this neon paradise.

 

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Loudons: Brunch Haven

Loudons Cafe is the hub of the Edinburgh weekend brunch scene; with guaranteed queues out the door of hopeful, hungry humans patiently waiting to indulge in what has become their trademark dish: the eggs benny.

Ranging from the classic combinations to mouth watering stacks of haggis, caramelized onion and cheddar cheese topped with chilli jam, the menu is rife with temptation. And if eggs ain’t your thing then there is a number of dishes, classic or with a twist, to satisfy your hunger, hangover or health kick.

New @loudonscafe menu tastes as good as it reads but one benny caught my attention: the Leonardo; perfectly poached eggs on wee toasted buns soaked in rich, greasy nut free pesto and laden with garlic roasted red peppers and salty parma ham.

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The Leonardo 

I strongly recommend you to join the queues, become one of the many patient hungry humans because the wait is definitely worth it.

 

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