Food & Drink
Eat out, drink up
THE SCOTTISH BEER BIBLE
If whisky is our national drink, could beer be our first love? There is some evidence that as far back as Pictish times a type of heather ale was brewed here. In The Scottish Beer Bible - The Essential Guide to Over 150 Scottish Beers and Lagers Gavin Smith bestows on our favourite fermented drink the status that other authors (himself included) have long given the Scots so-called
Water of Life.
Edinburgh has always been Scotland’s brewing centre, but Glasgow once had as many as twenty operational breweries. Today, of course, what largely
remains are a select few
corporate operations; namely
Courage (the UK’s largest and responsible for McEwans) and the venerable Tennent’s (now
owned by the European conglomerate lnterbrew) in Glasgow.
Beer’s Golden Age may be past, but recent years have seen a revival. Speciality beers are now made at recently opened breweries
that have sprung up across Scotland.
The real beauty of Smith’s Beer Bible is that he susses out the smaller producers, such as the local Miller’s Thumb in Glasgow’s West End, Clockwork Beer Company on the city’s Southside and Fisherrow in Duddingston Park South, Edinburgh. Outside the
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Cafe and Bar
88 Lothian Road. 229 5932 Relaxed. atmospheric cafe bar. serving great value snacks. salads. specials and brilliant cappuccinos — 10am till late.
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The Capital Building,
13 St Andrew
Square Edinburgh. EH2 2BH (Imﬁo 0131 557 4522
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Winner: Bar Design of the Year 2001 (The Publican). For food. beer, wine. cocktails. champagne. Stylish.
spacious and comfortable, one of Edinburgh's great eating & drinking places. Bookings taken, large parties/groups welcome. Opening hours (during Festival) 1 1am—3am every day.
Salad table restaurant/bistro bar/deli -shop. Good quality. healthy vegetarian. Live music evenings. Open 8am—10.30pm.
wonderful, loose leaf teas. fruit/herb tisanes. Superb day and evening menus. Open 7 days 10am—Late.
Viuas FPCII’ICI’IO 240 Canongate.
Royal Mile. 557 4416
A little bit of Mexico in the heart of the city. Buen
cities, you find the more evocativer titled brewers and their products: Iris Rose Black Five ale in Kingussie, Galloway Gold Fresh Lager from Sulwath
Brewers in Castle Douglas, and White Wife
from the country’s northern-most
brewery, Valhalla in Unst on Sheﬂand.
Never heard of them? Helpfully, Smith gives details on where to find almost all the
beers he lists. Each brewery receives a potted history from Smith, who also describes (although not necessarily critiques) each brew. The aforementioned White Wife, he writes, ‘takes its name from the ghostly apparition of an old woman, the White Wife of Watlee, who appears in cars driven by lone males on an isolated stretch of road not far from the brewery. [It] is light in colour and body, a refreshing session beer. Bitter, with a fruity aftertaste.’ How about Tennent’s Lager, which staggeringly accounts for one in every four pints consumed in Scotland? ‘More malt and hop flavour than many of its competitors,’ he says. Smith suggests that his Beer Bible is best read
with a sampling of Scottish suds nearby. Indeed, beer lovers will likely find themselves longing for freshly pulled pint as they pour through this book. (Barry Shelby) I The Scottish Beer Bible by Gavin D. Smith, Mercat Press, Edinburgh, £9. 99.
NEW VENUE FRANGO
So adieu to that branch of the faux-French chain Cafe Rouge and welcome Frango. the new brasserie run by Alan Tomkins and Derek Marshall — the partnership behind Gamba. Tomkins is. of c0urse. a dab hand in Glasgow: founding Papingo and owning Vroni Wine Bar as well as the fabulous fish restaurant on West Campbell Stareet. By giving executive chef Marshall a direct stake in that operation, Tomkins and Gamba cracked the nut that many others choke on; more restaurateurs should consider making their valued chefs partners in the enterprise.
With Frango. the aim is to provide Cuisine on a par with Gamba at a fraction of the price. In true bistro/brasserie fashion. Frango is open all day and the menus meander across several styles. from creamy risotto of chick peas, roast red pepper. sweet chilli and feta to grilled whole grey sole. basil oil, balsamic and boiled potatoes; terrific, tangy rollmopp herrings with a nippy horseradish sauce to a less successful Cajun chicken (as dry as its bed of rice and sweetcorn was damp). But under-C10 prices mean that small sins are forgiven — and it is early days.
Style-wise, Frango fits well into the Italian Centre. Tomkins says he “spent a fortune' on the Iberian- inspired furnishings and renovation. The rear conservatory is a bit cramped but does give the sense of out-door dining under cover. If you want to brave the elements. pavement seating extends from the front door into pedestrianised John Street. (Barry Shelby)
I Frango, 75 John Street, Glasgow, 0747 552 4433.
54 THE LIST 23 Aug-6 Sep 2001
An extra helping of news . . .
STOCKBRIDGE HAS BEEN GRACED by the welcome addition of new Latin American restaurant, Sabor (36 Deanhaugh Street, 0131 332 3322). It features Venezuelan specialities - like the delicious national dish Pabellon (spicy shredded beef, black beans and rice) - as well as cuisine from Colombia and Peru. The kitchen is headed by Mercedes Liendo, a native of Puerta la Cruz in Venezuela, and Sabor (which means flavour in Spanish) and may well be the only place in Europe to find such authentic South American home-cooking. Watch this page for the full story soon.
GREIG MACCLEOD'S NEW project in Glasgow is Ivory bar and restaurant (2 Camphill Avenue. 0141 636 0223). Housed in the old Mulberry hotel opposite Queens Park in Langside. this venture from MacCleod (who gave Glasgow Mojo amongst others) also includes eleven overnight rooms. The restaurant offers a range of dishes with pre-theatre (two- courses for $28.25) and a la carte evening menus. Happy hour in the capacious bar runs pretty much all day. every day with special prices on pints, spirits and wine. The aim is a laid-back. relaxed atmOSphere for local Southsiders.
THE OWNERS OF CUBA Norte have opened a small wine bar on Cockburn Street, Edinburgh, in the style of enotecas found in Italy. Called Ecco Vino (19 Cockburn Street, 0131 225 1441), the all-day operation offers a full range of wines (some of which will be available for tasting and off-license purchase). The fare is basic Italian. Pasta, focaccia, antipasti and the like, with some of the dishes’ more authentic ingredients coming directly from Sicily and the venerable food market in Milan.
Finally. a wee (pardon the pun) correction. In fact there are disabled toilets at Rogue restaurant in Morrison Street. Edinburgh — contrary to what we published in our Festival food guide a few weeks ago. We apologise for this error.