ll I \:
PORTUGESE SHOP/CAFE North Star
New star in food heaven
FUSION RESTAURANT Wok Wok
A. traditional thoroughfare With more " at‘ its fa.r share of banking estanvsliments, offices and upmarket < ot'ts stores, Edinburgh's George Street -s not noted for its wealth of r: 000".“ eateries The opening of Wok 470%, the latest in an ever-growmg line r,‘ As an fusioc. restaurants may be «NHL... to change all that. Like the trendy Japanese iomt Yo Sushi, this rl‘ar, u-ihrch is already well established so..ti. o‘ the border, belongs to a tit-"("‘dfloll of restaurants that offer a fl." :"(j experience a million miles away “or: stuffy, formal modes of eating Free ‘rom the burden of gimmicks (:T‘fl tiu'rky selling pOints, Wok Wok riznoses to place the emphasis on
While Portugal may not be the current tOp destination for the English footballing fraternity, anyone with an interest in good food and drink should give its underexposed cuisine some serious attention. lain Mackenzie and Angus McIntyre are so firmly of this view they've opened a shop, North Star, in Glasgow’s West End to redress the balance. ’No one stocks Portuguese products properly in this country,’ Mackenzie explains. ’They’re very high quality but they seem to be overshadowed by Spanish, French and Italian products.’
McIntyre, who has previously worked as a chef in Portugal, and Mackenzie, the former proprietor of Cafe Gandolfi are a seasoned team, and their culinary interests deserve to be taken seriously. From renowned Portuguese tuna and sardines to honey, their stock is excellent. They also have a range of fresh cheese from home and abroad and a thriving takeaway element. So what are they most proud of? Well, there's the coffee: ‘Portuguese coffee is a rounder roast and it doesn‘t have the bitter element that a lot of Italian coffee has. I’ve always liked it and people that come here seem to think the same.’ And there are rare conserves. ‘We have some really lovely marmalade from a very small supplier.’
But North Star isn't only a deli; it has a small kitchen and a stylish, though tiny, dining area. With white tiled walls, dark wooden seats and high mirrors, its inspiration is clear. ‘lt’s very much like these little shops you see in Portugal,’ says Mackenzie. 'It is a shop, but guess what, you can eat and have lunch.’ As well as coffee, customers can sample omelettes, grilled goats cheese, soup and sandwiches.
But this is a shop above all. 'We'd like to develop that element rather than be thought of as a café.’ And if it's not enough to have a drink and a cake then take home some goodies for your larder, you can also buy some magnificent earthenware crockery. lt's utilitarian, yet ever so stylish, a bit like this chic and unassuming shop. Welcome to a new star in the foodie firmament.
(Moira Jeffrey) F11 North Star, 708 Queen Margaret Drive, Glasgow, 0747 946 5365.
A bowl full of fusion
fit-sit, healthy and simple food The restaurant's Vietnamese chef lvlai Ngoc ‘rle'ir'y, 'eft her native land to work in m' ()liS locations around the globe As a result, her kitchen now combines the sl/:.ls and ingredients of both East and v'lest
Us .' g the best produce, meat and ‘wm ti‘at Scotland has to offer, Henry
116 THE LIST 22 lurk—6 lui 2000
creates stomach-pleasers containing a kaleidoscope of flavours. Fried chilli squid, wok-fried pork and MalaySian king prawn curry are Just a few of the dishes listed on a menu which manages to encompass snatches of cooking styles from all over Asia.
Like its food, Wok Wok's interior is fresh and simple, Large Windows
welcome in vast amounts of light, and the walls are splashed With colour thanks to paintings of all manner of vegetables and spices. George Street is dOing its utmost to shake off a rather restrained image, and get funky.
l Wok Wok, 737 George Street, Edinburgh.
Spit or swallow
It’s all a matter of taste: cheap summer bargains.
It’s always dodgy writing about summer Wines in the summer, because when you read about them, it’s ineVitably raining and the old man is snoring. However, given a spell of good luck we should be all right. There’s something about the Summer’s influence when it comes to Wine. We tend to drink more White than red, and the budget end, all of a sudden, taste better.
I Domai'ne Le Puts 7999 (VDP, France £2.99: buy two, save £1) Wines from the Gascogny Coast are always popular during the summer months. Light and refreshing, they are the perfect complement to a light picnic, or Just drinking in the garden. They’re never expenswe, but this one is ridiculously cheap and remains very typical of the style. Aromas of lemon and grapefrUit dominate the nose, and this follows through to crisp, zesty flavours of the same. It's not the greatest Wine yOu’II ever taste, but for as little as £2.49 it's qwte unbeatable value.
2‘ a- 2‘1 ‘ T W
lit i .\l tilt;
Vi\' Di l’ws i “l \ Cl i'l \
l Mi’rrabook Chardonnay 7999 (Australia, £2.99) For those who prefer a Wine a touch more body, less aCidity and With a little more creaminess, then look no further. Very cheap Chardonnays from Australia tend either to be flabby and reaching the end of their life, or dull and characterless. Refreshingly, this is neither: typical Chardonnay frUit on the nose, With nostrilfuls of ripe melon and peaches. The palate is medium- bodied With light tropical frUit character typical of Wines costing a pOund or two more. Now all we need is a lucky summer. (Gordon Haggarty)
goal h :At. T t» ill.’ .msrs‘tci I999 , Wines available from Majestic Wine
Warehouses. Prices valid until 29 June. Minimum purchase twelve bottles