Opened in time to catch the height of the tourist season, Metro restaurant in the Apex International Hotel should have any snagging items sorted before the arrival of Festival throngs. Situated on three levels, the former lecture halls of Heriot-Watt University have been transformed by Ian Springford Architects. Materials range from Welsh slate to rose-coloured Merbau wood, a sustainable timber from Latin America.

But most impressive is the tri-level use of the cavernous room. The central well serves as the main dining space, while the raised rear mezzanine is the cocktail bar. A street-level dining area borders the pavement. With three-metre tall windows that run the length of the restaurant facing the Grassmarket, views of the castle looming above are predictably impressive.

Food from the kitchen headed by executive chef Robert Brown is available from 7am to 11pm, with a breakfast menu in the morning, ’all- day' selections from 11am until close, and separate bar and take- away menus as well. Brown's


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Three-level eating in the heart of Edinburgh Old Town

background is in the Holiday Inn chain, with which he travelled to the Far East and Caribbean before joining Apex a few years back. The influences of his world tour are evident in the menu.

’l've taken a wee bit from quite a few places,’ he says. One favourite is galanga chicken, made using a spicy Chinese root vegetable galanga. Basically, everything on the all-day Metro menu soups, sandwiches, salads, mains, grills and desserts is available as a starter and as a main course. From the grill, for example, swordfish with mustard beurre is £3 and £6.50 while lamb rump, parsnip and rosemary rosti is £4.50 and £8.50. From the mains menu, a small portion of the roasted monkfish tail, cockle and saffron broth is £6 while a large order is

£11. Likewise, red onion tart with buffalo mozzarella is £2.50 or £4.50. Even the desserts are similarly priced: caramelised apple tart with creme fraiche is £2.90 and £3.90, respectively. Brown plans to change the menu seasonally.

Metro also offers online bookings. Although not a ‘live' reservation system, seats can be secured via email, and confirmation is promised within a half-hour. The website ( will also post diners' comments along with press reviews. Metro promises to show both praise and pans. If true, that might become the most ground-breaking development Metro brings to the catering trade. (Barry Shelby)

Metro, 37-35 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, 0737 474 3466.

124 THELIST 20 Iul- .3 M 2000

WINE BAR Grape Most people wouldn't think tWice about ordering a pint, short or bottle of beer in a pub or bar. But Wine . . that's a different matter

Many a poor soul has asked for it and been served a thoroughly Vinegaiy plonk bearing no resemblance to the beverage they expected You were better off staying home corking a bottle from the off-licence

Grape, at the East End of Edinburgh's George Street, hopes to quash the idea that Wine from a watering hole is a nasty affair It also aims to be the antithesis of cheesy or pretentious Wine bars ’A recent report showed that there was a real gap in the market for a quality yet accessible outlet selling a large range of quality Wines,' explains Andy Gorman, area manager for Scottish and Newcastle, Which owns the new venture. Grape plans to plug that gap,

Its desire to lure Wine lovers out of Iivmg rooms reSUlted in the refurbishing of the former Guardian Royal Exchange BUlldlflg, and the creation of an extenswe Wine list featuring 30 Wines and champagnes from all over the world. Many, such as Le Perriere Sancerre, can be ordered by the bottle or the glass. Premium spirits, bottled beer and draught lagers are available for those who don't partake in the frUit of the Vine and the food ranges from standard breakfast fare and snacky stuff for sharing to more substantial main c0urses.

ConSidering its location you might expect not to be able to move for suits, but this isn't the case. The clientele conSists of young and old in various levels of smartness. So maybe staying in With a bottle of BeanOlalS Will become a thing of the past.

(Dawn Kofie) I Grape, 73 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, 0737 557 4522.

Spit or swallow

It’s all done in the best possible taste

It’s rose time of year again! Get out the strawberries, fetch the blanket and head for the garden. But aren't roses all sweet and cloying or dry and insipid? Well, a lot of them still are, but there are many more out there that are made for the more modern palate. They tend to be lighter, crisper and generally more appealing to those diehard red and White fans.

Redwood Trail White Zinfandel 1999 (California, £4.49)

In Britain, Zinfandel is probably best

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its 'white' form. It is actually a blockbusting red grape, but is capable of producmg very enjoyable roses. This is Quite a light style, light peach in colour and With delicate peach aromas. It has only a trace of sweetness, Just enough to offset the aCidity, and a light alcoholic finish (10 5%).

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Santa Rita ‘120' Cabernet Sauvignon 1999 (Chile, £4.99)

Another grape variety usually assooated With red Wine. The colour is Quite a bit deeper, and the nose has more pronOunced, more varied berry frUit. It has really gune a tasty palate,

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crammed full of strawberries and

raspberries With a hint of vanilla. However, it is very well balanced, QUIE‘ fresh, off dry and very refreshing.

Marques de Caceres 1999 (Rioia, Spain £5.49) Again, an area more famous for its riCh Chunky reds, Rioia makes some great roses from the Garnacha (or Grenache) grape. This is the driest and fullest of the three, With a nose of berry fruit, but also a faint whiff of pepper. This makes this Wine the most complex of the lot a slightly more grown up, serious rose but Without it being heavy or full bodied. (Gordon Haggertyl

A/i Wines availab/e from Oddbins

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