Bottle it

Lager became fashionable because your dad didn’t drink it. When they put it in bottles and doubled the price it became even trendier. Now beer drinking has turned a full circle with a crop of

bottled ales now available. '

But don’t try sticking a lime wedge in the neck, says Catherine Fellows.

Two years ago. Oddbins picked up on a couple of significant trends in the beer

market. It noted a definite shift towards

home drinking. and. at the same time. with the help of organisations such as CAMRA. the Campaign for Real Ale. there was a growing demand for better quality brews. Oddbins approached a number of the many British breweries producing traditional cask ales for pubs and persuaded them to develop bottled versions for the home market. Today it sells 28 varieties of British stout. mild. bitter and ale. including beer by Green Mantle. Caledonian and Belhaven. Though Oddbins probably has the biggest range of British bottled beers. these are becoming increasingly available elsewhere. and small brewers in particular are seizing on the opportunity to sell to pubs not prepared

? to take casks. But doesn’t bottling itself

jeopardise the much-vaunted quality of the beer?

Caledonian's Gavin Lockhan explains that while cask conditioned ales are ‘live’. the yeasts still active. most bottled beers. his own included. are pasteurised. ‘Thcy will not improve or

deteriorate in terms of colour. aroma.

? Glasgow I Bar Miro 36

flavour or alcoholic strength.‘ he says.


‘There aren‘t any added chemicals. but there is a discernible difference. Bottled

beers tend to be “brisker”. not as smooth.‘

There are. however. a few

; unpasteurised. ‘bottle-conditioned’

beers. such as Wonhington‘s. which.

= like fine wines have optimum drinking : ages. It has been suggested. for

example. that Thomas Hardy‘s is best

‘laid down’ for 25 years!

Even draught devotees at CAMRA

admit that the bottling process does not E seem to damage beer unduly. ‘Bottled beers certainly don't taste as gaseous as ~ keg beers.‘ says lain Lowe. who holds

the enviable post ofCAMRA

; researcher. ‘because it is easier to

; control the carbonation in bottles; nor

do they have that chemical. metallic

taste. Ofcourse there are good bottles

; of beer and bad bottles of beer. but

i basically we are happy if good beer in

I any form is reaching a wider market I

mean there are even a few canned beers that are almost drinkable on the market now.’

The canned beers in question are meeting with approval thanks to the

Kelvingrove Street (on the corner with Sauchiehall Street). 353 (H75. .\lark Goldinger. owner of Nico's. is one of the team behind this spacious new bar/restaurant. On two floors of a fine listed building. the place has been decorated with deference to the Spanish painter it is named after. and. thanks to a combination of wooden floorboards. big couches and open fires. the atmosphere is elegant but cosy. The upstairs restaurant area is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. and serves everything from ‘big bloomers' open

sandwiches piled with lavish fillings and bowls of steaming mussels. to slap up dinners which. in keeping with the Spanish theme. include a lot of fish dishes. Miro‘s chef takes pride in having no microwave in his kitchen everything is freshly prepared. Bar Miro is jointly owned by music man Willy Knox. hence the ambitious programme of live gigs that is planned for the next few months. 6 At present. Saturday afternoons are dedicated I to folk. Sunday evenings to DJ Jazz ofClub Havana fame. and Wednesday 8 March will see the first of three performances by all girl punk band the Space Kittens. On Thursdays. the stage is given over to comedy apart from the

. booked ‘star‘. there's an

I open spot for intrepid

| punters. As if all this were

i not enough. Happy Hour every evening from 5—7pm means a large glass of Spanish house red forjust £ l .50.


I Innovations ll Blackl'riars Street. Edinburgh‘s first Afro/Caribbean food store is now open and selling a wide variety of items unavailable elsewhere and indispensable for that authentic Jamaican or Ghanaian meal. Apart from gari. salt fish. jerk. palm oil. maize meal and so on. Innovations also stocks authentic cooking vessels and a range of specialist cookery books. Pick up a copy of The

Voice while you‘re in.

invention by Guinness of a little ‘widget‘ which releases carbon dioxide as the can is opened. producing an effect tnuch closer to draught. But it is unlikely that many brewers will choose to put their ‘classic' ranges in cans. They say they have no truck with the other bottle brigade - the trendies with ‘badge brand‘ imported lagers but they are well aware of image. ‘Bottles are discerned as containing higher quality products than cans.‘ says Belhaven‘s marketing man Andy Messenger. Until the 50s and ()()s. nearly all beer was in bottles. so there is also nostalgia value ripe for exploiting. as brewers well know. Tennents may be using Japan. and some of the cleverest minds in advertising. to debunk the imported- lagers-are-best myth. but Traquair ale. ‘brewed for generations at historic Traquair House‘. is selling like hot cakes in Tokyo.



I COUSCOUS The Marrakech Restaurant, in ; Edinburgh’s London Street, is one of

the few places in Scotland where you

; can eat couscous, Morocco’s most famous dish. Proprietor Bouchaib

Maghrour gives his recipe which, he says, with a good steamer and a bit of

_' attention to detail, anyone should be

able” to manage.


(or, Couscous with Chicken, Chickpeas, Onion, Sultanas and Cinnamon - serves four)

1 lb couscous

2 tbsp olive oil, or a generous knob of


1 small chicken, or four chicken quarters

6 oz dried chickpeas, soaked overnight

2 large onions, roughly chopped small handful sultanas

2 tsp cinnamon

Wash the couscous in cold water,

drain, and leave to swell for around 5—10 minutes. In the meantime, lightly fry the chicken in olive oil in the

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bottom pan of the couscoussiere or steamer. (Whether you leave the chicken whole or not will depend on the size of your pan.) Add the cinnamon and chickpeas. Add water to cover. Bring to the boil.

Fluff up the couscous thoroughly with your hands or a fork, and place it gently in the top part of the couscoussiere or steamer. It is important, if the final result is to be light and even, not to pack it in, or let it condense at all. Place this over the bubbling chicken, and leave until the flavoured steam has percolated right through the couscous - about ten minutes. (Do not cover as this lets condensed steam drop on the couscous and makes it soggy.)

Take the couscous, in the top part of the steamer, off the pan, and tip it onto a dish. Fluff it up again, and mix the olive oil or butter through it. Pour three wine glasses of cold water over it, and let it stand for about five minutes, while you add the onion and sultanas to the chicken casserole. Put the couscous back in the steamer, lightly as before, and place over the chicken to steam a second time. When the steam has percolated through it again, it is ready, and the chicken and

' chickpeas should be cooked by now as

well. Tip the couscous onto a warm serving dish, and arrange the chicken on top of it. Finally, pour over the stewing juices, and serve.

Marrakech Restaurant, 30 london Street, Edinburgh, 031 556 7293/4444.

Le Sept

7 ()Id Fish mar/eel Close E (l 1' n b 11 lg}?

lunch and (lllillt'l' Monday to 'l‘liursdav all (la). Friday and Saturday Sundays dinner only

telephoni- 031 225 5428



TEL: 041-334 5007


The List 25 February—l0 March 19.94 77