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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Meats and Beats

Leaving the cold at the door, we entered Summarhall excited and hungry for the long anticipated Meats and Beats festival; food stalls were downstairs in the courtyard, animated groups of hungry patrons queing, eating and drinking, the bars and the fabulous tunes were upstairs warming up for a long fun-filled night of dancing.

Of course it was a paolozzi to begin, a firm favourite of mine and the cold crisp beer was a great accompaniment to the first delicious dish. The Shanty Town has become a new addition to my favourites; unfortunately for me they are based in Newcastle but they would be worth the trip as their skills with steak just about made my wee mind implode.

After pining for everything on their menus i went for their steak po’boy and boy oh boy i was not disappointed. Just watching the guys at work is a fun experience; steaks sizzle until they are chosen, effortsly cut and drizzled with butter the meat looked perfectly pink and juicy.

Piled onto a lightly toasted baguette with creamy crunchy slaw, pickles and some of their delicious sauce the tender steak melted in your mouth, doing well to hush me up for 5 minutes.

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The second delicacy came from old faithful Ròst;  these guys kill it at The Pitt with their halloumi fries but it was their adventurous meat menu that intrigued me; venison, pheasant, ribs, there was something different and exciting for everyone.

I greedily opted for their fried pheasant burger with crunchy peanut butter; wrapped in a glossy bun, the rich crispy burger nestled happily against the sweet creamy peanut butter and salty bacon with a handful of golden crisps to give an extra crunch with every bite.
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Curious by the ‘meaty’ cocktails upstairs we tried a lethal absinthe concoction that woke me up from my foodie fullnes. We then gravitated towards Tasty Buns Bakery where their stand proudly presented dozens of sweet treats, of course i had to try as many as i could.

Their sweet scotch egg was my favourite; biscoff spread centre surround by gooey white chocolate ganache and coated in chocolate brownie and biscoff crumbs, this alone was enough for me to suss out where they are based to stock up (bread street if you’re wondering). Their Tunnocks caramel wafer brownie was the perfect mix of squidgy brownie and crunchy wafer and the peanut butter caramel cookie sandwhiches were develishly good.

After faces were sufficiently stuffed and tummy’s full we waddled out happy, satisfied and buzzing off the atmosphere of the night; the guys who organise Meats and Beats have hit the nail on the head combining all my favourites thing into one wonderful evening. I will definitely be keeping a look out for their next pop up, wherever that may be.

 

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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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