; Whereto?

where you can drink absinth. 3 imported into the UK, after a gap of 7 several decades, this was one of only

Scotland. It's still selling strongly at £4 a shot and the staff go through the full

At first, information technology, outdoor pursuits and café culture may seem unlikely bedfellows but the three have found some common ground at Whereto?, a new café bistro in Edinburgh’s Tollcross area.

Whereto? is the offspring of Whynot?, a company that provides management development combined with outdoor activities. Their aim is to provide a cafe bistro where people can eat and drink, use a range of computing services, take personal development courses in subjects like setting up in business and arrange various types of running about in the great outdoors. If that all seems a bit much to take in then think of it as a one-stop shop for building a busy mind in a healthy body.

It's a pretty striking place to look at. Carved wooden beams give it a log cabin feel which contrasts with k the high tech equipment it packs. Imagine climbing a mountain high in the Swiss Alps, entering a bothy and in finding it stuffed with video conferencing facilities and internet phones. It's all strangely reminiscent of a James Bond movie. The fact that the dining tables flip to reveal flat screen monitors furthers the impression.

Yet for all the electronics and cyberspace, Whereto? is primarily a place to fill the belly rather than the head. The food is all hearty, healthy, day-in-the-mountains type stuff with nods to California. The Telluride Plumpjack Riser offers a substantial start to any day with two eggs done any way you want, served with ham, bacon or fruit on Swiss rosti potatoes. Alternatively, there are dishes like the Mammoth Mountain Salad, the original West Coast health fixer of ham, tuna, roast chicken, spinach, rocket and grated carrot.

Balsa: to absinth friends

Five bars . . .


Outhouse When absinth was first two places which intially sold it in

malarkey of soaking a lump of sugar in absinth, setting fire to it and generally doing their best to keep the drink’s mythology alive and well. They also sell

100 THE HST 8—22 Jul 1999

Ice in your drink: Whereto? combines the great indoors and outdoors

pitchers of the stuff With lemonade and lime for £20. Goodnight sweet

Outhouse Brough ton Street, Edinburgh, 0737 557 6668.

Oblomov To begin With, this was the only other pub which sold the green fluid. They still do and again it's £4 a shot. Oblomov maintain that the ritual of setting fire to a saturated sugar lump and mixrng it with water is an old Czech tradition. They recommend diluting the resultant mix With two parts water to one of absmth.

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_ Metatarth


In keeping with the theme of vibrant activity (not to mention the Californian propensity for early rising) which runs through Whereto?, the place will open at 7am so that those with full lives can get a head start on their caffeine intake.

Through Whereto?, people with a hankering for open spaces and fresh air can take part in myriad ways of getting breathless. Climbing and scrambling, downhill and trek mountain biking, canoeing and kayaking all sound quite frantic enough but really hardcore mountain men and women might be tempted by one of their wilderness expeditions. (Jonathan Trew)

*7 Whereto? 703 Highriggs, 0737 229 6886

Oblomov 372 Great Western Road, Glasgow, 0747 339 9777, 24 Candleriggs, Glasgow, 0747 552 4257. Café Aquarius Some people call absinth the green fairy. The green brain scrambler might be more appropriate, if less romantic, Cafe Aquarius Will only sell it Mon—Thu. Very Wise. There’s enough maniacs wandering around town at the weekends Without throwrng in the green fairy's perniCious influence.

Cafe Aquarius 70 Drummond Street, Edinburgh, 0737 557 6337.

Balsa The old dream demon is for sale here at £4. The barman said that they were toying With the idea of absinth cocktails but had nothing fixed up yet. The idea of pitchers of absinth-based drinks didn’t go down too well either. ’I don't think I’d be brave enough to give any one in Glasgow a iug of absinth,’ he said With admirable foresight.

Balsa 77 Renfie/d Street, Glasgow, 0747 333 9725.

Pivo Caffe Absmth shooters cost £2.50 here. Appropriately, they're called Czeching Out.

Pivo Caffe, 2 Ca/ton Road, Edinburgh, 07375572925.

Spit or swallow

It's all in the best possible taste. Fizz, bubbly, sparkling Wine or whatever you call it, no celebration is complete Without those little pearls of carbon diOXide gracing a good Wine. Champagne has often been seen as out of the reach of all but a chosen few, but the appearance of quality New World sparkling Wines on the market means that everyone can enjoy the pleasures of this decadent drink. Most of these Wines are made using the 'methode champenOIse' and are a blend of the traditional grapes of Champagne Chardonnay and Pinot Norr. Even the big boys of Champagne, such as Moet And Mumm, are now looking to Australia, New Zealand and California for production of their more affordable fizz.

Montana Lindauer Brut NV( New Zealand, £7.49) Rich, robust flavours of green apples and fresh yeasty bread give this Wine more impact than commonly associated With fizz, all of which combines perfectly With its strong bubbles (mOusse), Tasty enough to be drunk With any light meal


Mumm Cuvee Napa Brut NV (California, £9.99) More delicate and traditional in style, this has refreshing Citrus flavours and hints of sherbet lemons. With a soft but lasting mousse, it is as good as if not better than many a Champagne.

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Deutz, Blanc de Blancs (New Zealand,

£70.99) Unusual in the fact that it is

made from only Chardonnay grapes

(hence the name), this Wine is

incredibly creamy With melon and kiwi fruit filling the palate. Its soft bubbles compliment this softer style showing off its delightful flavours to the full.

(Jane Qumn)

l Available from all Oddbins stores.