EDINBURGH OPENINGS Extracircular options

In addition to the usual influx of earnest scholars, the new academic year has brought changes to a clutch of eateries and bars in Edinburgh's university area. Perhaps most significant is the transformation of Howies in St Leonard’s Street. The chain's original restaurant has become Blonde. ’Over the years Howie's has grown up with its clientele,’ says Andrew McGregor, Blonde’s director who until recently was head chef and a partner at Howie's Bruntsfield branch. ‘I decided to take a step to the side and do my own thing. I wanted to create something a little more modern and relaxed that would attract a slightly younger crowd.’

Mindful of its moniker, McGregor's new establishment is awash with flaxen wood, soft lighting and shades of mocha and cream. lts brand of Scottish/European cuisine is not a million miles away from that offered in Howie's. Typical dishes include seared salmon with egg noodles and spinach and bacon pesto or chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and bacon. Two

differences between Blonde and its predecessor are

Blonde specialises in Scottish/European cuisine


watering hole,

The Woolpack, has

that the menu is now a la carte and there is no bring- your-own-beer policy.

Nearby, what was formerly Bar Ce Lona will shortly begin a new life as the Human Be-In. Uneasy with the term 'style bar’, Michael McGuigan, the bar/bistro's co- director, prefers to describe it as 'a modern bar cafe with traditional influences.’ A thorough refurbishment means chrome and riotous colour will give way to wood, slate and earthy tones. Food, with the onus on tradition and simplicity, will be served between 11am and 8pm. The half dozen or so mains ranging from £5 to £7.50 will include the likes of wild mushroom cassolet and ham and lentil stew. Daily specials will be available and bread will be baked on the premises.

Over the past month or so Potterow's short-lived faux

metamorphosed into Native State, a student- orientated bar/lounge by day and pre-club venue by night. Full breakfasts will be served from 10am and lunch will consist of a selection of bagels and ciabatta. The usual suspects, chicken Caesar and penne with chorizo, dominate the list of salads and pasta dishes on offer. Char-grilled steak, chicken, tuna and vegetables served with potato wedges and fries (all under a purse-pleasing £6) form the bulk of Native State's heartier fare. So Cheesy Pasta and Beanfeast are no longer an option. (Dawn Kofie)

l Blonde, 75 St Leonard Street, Edinburgh, 0737 668 2977,. Human Be-ln, 2—8 West Crosscauseway, Edinburgh, 0737 662 8860, Native State, 32—34 Potterow, Edinburgh; 0737 662 9788.


The Glasgow bar scene has enjoyed a number of new openings and re- Iaunches over the past few years. But only With the arrival last month of the Candle Bar in Merchant City has there been an addition to the gay pre-club market in the Big Smoke. The 20 Candleriggs address has seen its share of changes in the past four years, gOing from Paddy O'Brian's Dream to Waxy's before last year's transformation into the Wax Works. When new owner Jeanette Latimer took over this year, the tallow-based theme was not significantly altered Indeed, manager Evan Fitzsmnmons says the place is seen in its best light in the later hours, when the candles are lit, the electric bulbs dimmed and the mu5ic is up. Alth0ugh the bar gives out

fliers to Bennet's, and may soon have a clutch for the Polo LOunge, it's not feeding one club or another.

Every night has a different promotion, with pints, bottles of beer (Budvar, Holsten, Becks and morel as well as alcopops at £1.50 being the rule through October. The Candle Bar has thrown itself into karaoke on Thursday and Sunday, while Friday’s ’camp attack’ features disco and house on the s0und system Reasonably priced bar food is served noon—5pm, although they may extend h0urs depending upon demand. The £2.99 mains include mince and tatties, roast chicken, chilli con came and burgers Filled potatoes are £2.50 and a range of light bites are available at £1.50. (Barry Shelbyl I The Candle Bar, 20 Candleriggs, Glasgow, 0747 564 7285.


Spit or swallow

It’s all done in the best possible taste It’s that time of year again the time when the International Wine Challenge (a body comprising Winemakers, JOUmaIISIS and Masters of Wine) announces its chOice of Wines of the year. This year is a goodie, With affordable Wines in good supply.


Trulli Chardonnay 1999, Anzienda Vinicola Cantele (Puglia, Italy) £4.59. (Safeway, Co-op, Oddbins, Somerfield) This is a lightly oaked Chardonnay, the creaminess of the oak not swamping the delicate peachiness of the Wine. It’s very much in the New World style, being made by a Kiwi. A great all rounder, With enough depth to keep chunky Wine lovers interested, but elegance enough not to deter the 'oak tired'. Wolf Blass Chardonnay 1999 (S. Australia) £7.99 (Widely available) This used to be a massive fudgey, oaky, vanillin Wine. These days, however, it has '_ become a tad more refined, xi ’, escheWing in-your-face oak for a touch more tropical frUit (bananas, pineapples, etcl. Quality Wine that won’t knock your tastebuds off.


Peter Lehmann Barossa Shiraz 1998 (S. Australia) £6.99 (Oddbins, Sainsbury’sl Warning: this man does not make subtle Wines! Layer upon layer of aromas: eucalyptus leaf, chocolate, coffee, leather and Spice. These strangely follow thrOugh to the palate With touches of toffee and caramel. This is a lot of Wine for the money Without being excessively tannic. Stoneyfell Metala ,. Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon " 1998 (S. Australia) £7.49 (Safeway, Oddbinsl In their Olympian year, Australia is taking all the Wine medals. This, another Ozzie number is proof again that they 7 make world class Wines. This is the style the Australians have claimed for themselves. Nosefuls of blackCUrrant and liquorice, With a hint of spice, this has a huge, but refined taste and a long finish.

SPARKLING Seaview Blanc de Blancs 1995 (SE Australia) £8.99 (Virgin Wines, OddbinSI Surprise, surprise! Australian! An unuSuaIly mature fizz, made in the Champagne style, but With 100% Chardonnay. Deliciously Creamy With a lightly yeasty nose, this has a very complex set of flav0urs: buttery, bready, fresh, not too heavy, but With enough body to Justify the price.

(Gordon Haggartyl

II All prices are approxrmate.

19 Oct—2 No\. 2000 THE lIST103