Food & Drink

Eat out, drink up

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Anyone who recalls the honest breakthrough in design from Terence Conran in the early Habitat era - and who’s also familiar with his restaurants in London may well wonder about the location of this new venture. Why come all the way to Edinburgh and open a bar/restaurant in a glorified shopping centre on the Port of Leith rather than, say, George Street? The short answer is simple: his company designed the Ocean Terminal.

Keeping with Conran’s timeless look, Zinc doesn’t disappoint. The steel-topped tables (zinc presumably?) have been artfully stained with faux water marks. The chairs, big round upholstered seats to accommodate the biggest bum, with curved backs of designer ply, are surprisingly comfortable. The clean lines of the slatted ceiling help accentuate the depth of the room. Large square photos hang in neat rows on the walls. Commissioned from Nathan Jones, they are colour de- saturated depictions of Leith details: telephones on a ship, pipe fittings, etc.

On an exceedingly average weekday afternoon you might find the following here: business executives to the right and a pair of bleached blonde shoppers to the fore; behind, a couple of groups of attractive twentysomethings and at port the panoramic views of the Forth and Fife beyond. That sight is only marred


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Ocean Conran scene

these days by the earth-moving, foundation-laying work on the port’s peninsula. One hopes that whatever development is planned there - flats apparently - won’t block the vistas from here.

Food is fresh and basic: for example, fishcakes, pasta, tempura, and a full selection of grilled meats and fish. Alas, the only thing crispy about crispy duck is the spring-roll-like pastry parcel that wraps some soggy, flavourless shredded meat. On the other hand, a grilled chicken supreme is well executed: the breast of chicken beat thin but blissfully not over-cooked. A side of beans are crunchy and clearly not long picked. Contrary to early criticisms, Zinc’s service seems to have been raised to the standards set by other Conran restaurants.

Some outdoor seating is available on the veranda, which is about as close as you can get to the water. Most sea-front developments allow visitors access to, well, the shore. Surely that is part of the attraction. Curiously here there’s no walk along the water; only an access road to loading bays.

But then the over-riding point of the venture is shopping, after all. So even if you’re down to board the Britannia (or soon the cruise ships that will dock nearby), you’ll be funnelled towards the mall. Conran knows: commerce is king. (Barry Shelby)

I Zinc Bar and Grill. Ocean Terminal, Leith, O 737 5:32 8070.

someone else was picking up the

Heather Duncan, general manager of the BT Scottish Ensemble which performs candlelit concerts across the country next month on its Britten‘s Saint Nicolas tour tips her favourite restaurants.

Where did you eat your last good meal?

On a hillside terrace in Bavello. southern Italy. I've Just been there on

had seafood ravioli to die for. But nearer to home. Sunday lunch at the Loch Fyne Oyster Bar and Restaurant was a highlight a few weekends ago. The fish was so fresh. with great plates of mixed shellfish and an excellent Sancerre.

Fine, but what are your favourite local restaurants or bars?

My favourite treat in Glasgow is a glass of champagne at Bogano. | Just love the decor. Upstairs at Air Organic has a great lunch menu which doesn't take all day to arrixe.

Caprese [on Buchanan Street] does a good lunch. too. and Constanzo always remembers my favourite pasta. I love Mao. it you can get in. the food is so good and OKO. too.

Where would you like to go if


I haven't yet been to La Parmigiana on Great Western Road. By all acc0unts it's excellent Italian food; pricey but has to be tried.

Finally, where you would like to go for your last supper?

it tomorrow were to be my last. I'd probably need a hearty Grosvenor cafe breakfast. For supper. the setting would be all important and so it would need to be somewhere beautiful: back to Ravello or the ultimate real fire barbeCue on a white sandy beach somewhere like Coll.

{Interviewed by Jane Hamilton)

I BT Scottish Ensemble 's national tour plays Glasgow Cathedral on 5:3 December and St Mary's Cathedral. Edinburgh. on 20 Dr~>cernher

Side dishes

An extra helping of news . . .

GLASGOW FANS OF THE Grosvenor Cafe on Ashton Lane may well have been aghast at tabloid reports that this West End institution was shutting. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, news of its demise was greatly exaggerated. The property has indeed been taken over by a new tenant, restaurateur Alan Tomkins, who has also assumed control of the first- floor premises of Michells West End.

But the Grosvenor is still with us; it’s just moved up the stairs. Many of the staff have been asked to stay and the general ambience will be maintained. Food is served all day and night, with a bistro feeling in the evening. Tomkins describes the menu as ‘short and sharp’ Scottish-inspired cooking not unlike that done by Mitchells previously.

On the ground floor, a new bar called VodkaWodka is planned, specialising obviously in the Eastern European spirit of choice. But a full range of continental food and Eastern European food such as goulash and other stews will be served. MEAN‘nHlLE: CHEF- ANGUS Boyd may ’iéinl‘: oicseu fine Ashton LEN‘C‘ manor: of nis MitCDen's restaarairts. but the

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namesaar‘: lira", ar‘:: .1 more recent M fiche 's on fine Southside of tne -::=t,. car", c". foresees a relaunch 0‘ We Charmg Cross "(L-Sta..:'ar‘t. .'."‘.€§l'{} 'ie 5 he has Ls: sane: a 25 ea' lease.

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THE SECOND ANNUAL BAR Guide to Glasgow and Edinburgh will be published with the next issue of The List. Expanded this year to include more bars, pubs, saloons, hostelries, inn and taverns than ever before, the guide anticipates listing some 300 in total from Teuchters to Traverse, Rogue to Rose Street Brewery; Ad Lib to Alphabet Yard, CCA to Curlers.

Of course, each entry offers not only the usual useful information, but also the invaluable poop on happy hours, special promotions and perhaps most salient of all: the price of a basic pint.

Insightful reviews from our team of dedicated (but always sober-minded) bar flies should inform and enlighten. Out 29 November, only in The List.


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