Asthe winter evenings draw in and the festive season looms upon us. eating out is a particularly inviting prospect. Instead of the traditional table for two. this is the time ofyear for office parties. family reunionsor a celebration with friends and flatmates. Eatingout en masse can turn intoa memorable occasion requiring minimal organisation. Some restaurantsare particularly suited to group bookings, often amenable to making special arrangements for large groups. However. remember that you can have a great night out without being obnoxious to those poor souls who are quietly panderingto your every need. At this time ofthe year. restaurants rapidly become booked up. so get on the phone quick.


I The Trading Post 63 (‘arlton Place. 429 3445. Mon—Sat l lam—1am; Sun 7pm—midnight. Stuffed with Wild West Americana. you can simulate camp fire by barbecueing your own dinner. Barbecue tables seat up to six although parties of upto forty can be accommodated. They can also arrange special parties for children. with all the trimmings. I Sannino Piueria 61 Bath Street. 332 8025. Mon—Sun noon—midnight. The semi-basement is decorated with Tiffany Lamps and dark stained wood. allowing plenty of space for larger parties. They reckon they can cater for up to twenty at one table. going up to forty maximum seated separately. You‘ll find Pizzas the size oftractor wheels here. well about 18in in diameter. for about £7. No group bookings taken after 6pm Fridays and Saturdays. I The Fire Station 33 Ingram Street. 552 2929. Mon—Fri noon—2.30pm. 5—1 1.30pm (open until 12.30am Fri); Sat noon—1am: Sun noon—11.30pm. Converted from a working fire station. the restaurant still has original marble as well as a fake fireman‘s pole. A choice from a large selection of pasta dishes. with plenty of vegetarian alternatives. should be followed by one oftheir enormous puddings. Capable of holding parties up to 140. though smaller groups are more usual. A great atmosphere for holding a

celebration. The restaurant is particularly busy from Sunday to Thursday. 5—7pm. when all pasta dishes are half price.


I Pachuko Canlina 3 Grove St. 228 I345. Mon—Sun noon—2pm. 6—l2pm. A great space for group bookings of up to thirty. with a Mexican menu at about £9 a head. Strictly BYOB (good for economisers) and special menus can be arranged for groups. The restaurant is like a cross between a 50‘s bar (with appropriate music). a ships‘ cabin (wood panelling and portholes) and a Mexican cantina. Having recently changed hands the new management say they have only changed the menu. which is still Mexican with plenty of vegetarian dishes.

I Pierre Victoire 8 Union Street. 557 8451. 10 Victoria Street. 225 1721. A strong contender for Edinburgh‘s top value-for-money restaurant. consistently producing imaginative. quality French cuisine at a very reasonable price. ‘We will lay on balloons and flags. even a pianist‘ says Mr Victoire. whose next group booking is for thirty surgeons on St Andrew‘s Day. (the mind boggles). Set menus can be specially arranged. although you can eat well for around £12 a head a la carte. Union Street has two rooms at the back particularly suitable for group bookings. though they are already fairly booked up around Christmas.

I The Shore On the Shore. Leith. 553 5080. Mon—Sun noon—2.30pm, 7—10pm. Genteel but relaxed atmosphere. with an inviting. candle-lit interior. Warm environment for a special occasion or Christmas treat. A special Christmas menu (£13.95 ahead). including apple and stilton soup or turkey breast with plums and port. augments the usual menu which specialises in seafood. The Shore are happy to cater for groups and will try to accomodate specific requests if made in advance. However act fast ifyou want to make a booking before Christmas.

Glasgow I Del Monica's 68 Virginia


Street. 552 4803. Mon-Sun 8am-late. Recently opened in place ofthe rigorous chic of Willi‘s Wine Bar. Del Monica‘s should appeal to the young. central business set. The grill offers a vast. eclectic menu with main courses ranging from £3.50—£8.50.

To be recommended are the DIY dishes. where hot stones are brought to your table so you can cook your own meat with a variety of sauces. Also spare ribs cooked in original hickory ovens for taste.

I The Rogano Brasserie 176 West Regent. 248 3801. Mon—Sat until 10.30pm. The Rogano has branched out its food empire with the recent opening ofthe Rogano Brasserie. Glasgow consumers of style will not be disappointed with the interior. Pale walls. subdued lighting and use of tartan throughout make it reminiscent ofthe haunts ofan early James Bond. The atmosphere is relaxed and the service discreet. The food is a junior version of its big brothers. retaining the classic style and quality.


I Florentin's 25a Thistle Street, 225 3103. Mon—Sat 8.30am—6.30pm. Beware all admirers of confectioner’s custard and choux pastry, especially if you live or work in the vicinity of Edinburgh's first authentic French Patisserie. Partners Frederic Pellet (who has worked and trained as a pastry chef in France) and Lorna McKey will be selling a wide range of patisserie, all baked on the premises from original ingredients. The shelves will be stocked with petits gateaux. profiteroles, croissants. pain chocolat, freshly ground coffee . . . wait for it, from Thurs 23 November.

I Debrett's 33—36 Castle Terrace, 229 1 181. Mon—Sun 11.30am—2pm. 6.30—10.30pm. Two new eating establishments under the same management will be opening next week. one serving an international menu with the table d’héte at £16.50 and a pre-theatre menu at £9.50 and the other. to be known as The Chop Shop, serving from a charcoal grill at £5 .50 for three courses. Judging by the telephone manner ofthe manager though. don‘t expect the most courteous of welcomes.

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The List 24 November 7 December 1989 87