Food .& Drink

Eat out, drink up -


Sabor, 36 Deanhaugh Street, Edinburgh, 332 3322.

We should be grateful for the diversity in local dining options. In the end, evidence of cosmopolitan life is what helps separate metropoles aspiring for world-class status from the more common provincial urban backwaters. Alas, oft times the purveyors of international or ethnic specialities across the UK are mediocre commercial mega- ventures capitalising on the latest fashion in food.

But, this is not - repeat not - the case with Sabor, the new Stockbridge restaurant that features Venezuelan and South American specialities. Muhammed Taheri (from India) and partner Mercedes Liendo (Venezuelan born) have transformed the basement space on Deanhaugh Street into a sort of little Caracas, with bright reds and yellows, faux stucco casa facade and even a nod to Amazonia (ie thatched roof on bar gantry).

During the Festival, they fed the dance troupe Cutumba Cuba. One local resident who trades whisky in Latin America was impressed enough to inform a colleague across the Atlantic that he had found some real Venzuelan cuisine in Edinburgh. The response allegedly was: ‘I bet they don’t have pabellon.’

Indeed they do offer the excellent national dish of Venezuela, pabellon criollo (pah-BAY-yon cree-oiyo) - a heap order of black beans, rice and spicy marinated shredded beef - as well as staples such as arepas (corn-flour bread) and fried yuca (served with a pleasingly garlickly guasacaca sauce).

Assisting Liendo in the kitchen is Carlos Romero, who oversees the grill, and Malvis Hernandez, who has a hand in the preparation of most of the home- made Venezuelan dishes. Additionally the menu features parrilla Argentina, a plate full of grilled meats and poultry, bandeja paisa (red beans, rice, mince,

An understated mix of textures and colours giving a laid-back feel


Sabor claims to be the only authentic Venezuelan restaurant in Europe

crispy pork) from Colombia and hallaca, which is the Venezuelan version of Mexico’s tamales with plantain leaves substituting for corn husks. Prices hover in the £3.50 range for starters and main courses run from £6.75 for pollo guisado (chicken stew) to nearly £14 for the hearty mixed grill feasts. Lest it sound all too meaty, there are a half dozen vegetarian main courses as well as salads.

Liendo, 27, is originally from the northern coast of Venezuela, near Barcelona and resort of Puerto la Cruz. While Taheri provided the hard graft to get Sabor in physical shape for business and makes frequent trips to the fish market and other suppliers, he says that she drives the business along. The personable Liendo knows the food and at least one dish on the menu, langostinos al vino con perejil (king prawns in white wine sauce), is her own creation.

She insists Sabor is the only authentic restaurant in Europe serving food from her native country. Indeed, an informal check confirms that Venezuelan restaurants are far and few between, with a handful in Italy and Spain but seemingly none (save a potential candidate named Aragua in Dartmouth) in more northern climes. So Edinburgh is blessed with a rarity in international dining. We’d be wise to take advantage of it. (Barry Shelby)

bar is an understated mix of wooden floors and stone with a dusky brown and blue colour scheme giving it a laid-back feel. The restaurant is a smaller more intimate space made up of both booths and tables (some of which may feel a little too close together if you crave privacy).

Chef Thomas Grant presides over the food. Formerly of Alphabet Yard. Grant wants to steer clear of fine dining and offer good unpretentious food at reasonable prices with main courses such as grilled skewers of chicken yakatori with spring onions. soy sauce and coconut rice priced around £8.

McLeod hopes he has created a

While many continue to open bars and restaurants in Glasgow's city centre. it would appear that some are starting to head out of the heart of the metropolis. One Such person is Greg McLeod. owner of the Ivory. a new bar restaurant and hotel on the south side of the river near Queens Park.

During McLeod's twenty years in the bar and club business he has started up several venues throughout the city

including Mojo. the Velvet Rooms. Sub Club. and more recently Alphabet Yard. This is the first time he has been involved in running a hotel. as well. Although it is not his priority. as McLeod says “Our main concern is the bar and restaurant but we have a hotel to use and therefore we'll use it.‘ Formally known as the Mulberry Hotel. the site has been extensively refurbished to include eleven modern bedrooms. a bar and restaurant. The

relaxed atmosphere. As he believes ‘you can‘t afford to alienate portions of the eating and drinking population,‘ he has tried to keep things simple yet welcoming. So far things appear to be ticking over nicely. McLeod has enough confidence in this venture to plan a move further out into Glasgow's leafy suburbs for his next foray.

(Jane Hamilton)

I Ivory, Camphi/I Ave, Langside. Glasgow, 0747 636 0223.

112 THE LIST b Sep 20 Sep 2001

Side Dishes

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