FEATURE LEITH/T ALL SHIPS
George Tait, employee of Forth Ports Plc,
who has lived and worked in Leith most of his life.
'There’s been a lot ofchanges round here. some of them for the better. That Malmaison used to be the old sailors‘ mission. It looks beautiful now. I’ve only seen the Scottish Office from the side. but it looks not bad. 11‘” be a lot better when everything’s finished round there. A lot of the real changes here happened in the o()s when they flattened the old Kirkgate. That was the heart of Leith. It was a narrow. single street with a warren of lanes round about it. and they just took a bulldozer through it. liverybody that stayed there moved out and they never got the opportunity to move back. A couple of years later they did the same in Newhaven. but they rebuilt all the houses similar to what they‘d been — everybody was moved back into the houses again. so they kept the whole identity. But here. when they took away the heart of l.eith. the place really died.‘
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN LEITH
l lFitzlllenry: a brasserie 19 Shore Place. Lcith. 555 6625. David Ramsden. the proprietor of this restaurant. is a man with a mission to stamp out mediocrity in the kitchen. The three course table d’héte menu at £15 offers delicacies such as game sausage. pigeon and pheasant breasts and some inventive methods of preparing fish. This restaurant has been open about two months and this shows in the enthusiasm of the staff and the dedication behind the menu.
I Martnette 52 Coburg Street. Leith. 555 0922. Slightly off the beaten track. but well worth a short stroll from The Shore. One of the best fish restaurants in Edinburgh with main courses from around £9, with a choice of sauces. The bouillabaise is a speciality of the
12 The List 14-27 Jul I995
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house and the langoustines and oysters are always excellent. Great desserts and a line winelist too.
I Port O’Leith 58 Constitution Street. 554 3508. This is your basic. down-to-earth. no nonsense and no umbrellas in your bevvy boo/er. lt attracts genuine locals and a host ofcharacters. Anodyne it ain‘t.
I Rai Restaurant 89—91 Henderson Street. l.eitli. 553 3980. The indomitable Tommy Miah is the powerhouse behind this spacious. friendly restaurant overlooking the waterfront from large bay windows. The tables by the bar are decorated with mounds of bright spices and they sell their own curry pastes should you wish to try to emulate their dishes in your own kitchen. To mark the arrival of the Tall Ships the Raj is offering a special menu of Goan dishes to complement its usual range.
I The Shore 3 The Shore. Leitli. 553 5080. Again fish is the staple at this charming and intimate one-room restaurant but the menu offers game and also caters for
vegetarians. Tempting starters include sautéed squid with cumin and lemon. mussels with garlic. shallots and cream and grilled black pudding with apple sauce. All prices are a la carte with main courses starting at £8. There is a non-smoking section and you can also eat at the bar. Friendly staff and excellent coffee. too.
I The Waterfront 1 Dock Place. Leith, 554 7427. The a la carte menu changes all the time in this former steamboat waiting room but there is a three-course set lunch at £6.50. Char-grilled shark, pan-fried pigeon breasts and the strongly ﬂavoured Gresham duck are some of the more exotic dishes on offer. The restaurant has its own smoker for home-made sausages. salmon and chicken which. weather permitting. you can eat on the terrace. The Waterfront has a pleasant bar with a very good wine list offering wine by the bottle or the glass. On a hot day sit in the beer garden and make up your own mind about the new Scottish Office building.