Food & Drink

Eat out, drink up




Au Gourmand, 1 Brandon Terrace, Edinburgh, 0131 624 4666; McFeer's Cafe and Bookstore, 30 Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, 0131 662 8570

With budget airlines discounting fares to France it’s hard to resist even an overnight trip to the continent. But residents of Canonmills, Edinburgh, are probably aware they only need walk to Brandon Terrace for a proverbial taste of France.

Au Gourmand is the new bakery/café/deli with a rather exclusive selection of traditional Gallic goods, from cheeses and charcuterie to yoghurt, French- roast coffee and a range of specialist dry goods. Bread is baked fresh daily by Alain Fayat (formerly of the Auld Alliance) and Au Gourmand’s membership in a French cooperative ensures that products are not from mass-market factories and meet France’s strict controle standards.

Jean-Francois Toulouze (partner with fellow Frenchman Nicolas Delamarche and Scot Derek Johnstone) emphasises that Au Gourmand’s “formula is simple’ and designed to highlight the produce, whether in patisserie, sweet crepes or savoury galettes, such as

La Bretonne with Andouille sausage and cheese (£4.10).

Soups, such as red lentil with carrot, are made daily and a list of ten sandwiches is offered.

The shop, which has been renovated to reveal stone walls and a marvellous corniced ceiling, has space for about 20 diners in the back. Current hours are Monday- Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday10am-6pm, but the future may hold a refreshment licence and later dinner hours, Toulouze says.

Across town, Gerry McFeer has decided to keep his

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café and book shop open a bit longer during the week. Geared to the academic tides, with night classes resumed at the new term, McFeely’s now stays alit until 8pm on week nights.

Some may be unaware that the used and rare bookstore had converted its basement into a cosy café with room for about twenty people on banquettes and seating around tables with literary quotations etched on the surfaces.

McFeer had sought to use the space since opening his business in the one-time Kosher butcher four years ago. In addition to renovating the room, a separate stair and café entrance in Buccleuch Place was added.

The menu is basic and vegetarian friendly, with vegetable lasagne, sandwiches such as cottage cheese with asparagus spears or spicy bean and tomato and salads such as prawn Marie Rose. Coffee is Fair Trade and will soon be brewed upstairs, as well. (Barry Shelby)


The Glasgow pubeflFCaWCfl

Rudolph Kenna is Glasgow's unofficial pub historian and after five years he has finally updated his Glasgow Pub

Companion. The most obvious improvements are cosmetic. The layout is clean and tidy while colour photography has replaced the grainy black-and-white shots of the previous guide.

Kenna's entries continue to highlight history. often placing venues in the context of the surrounding neighb0urhood. His reviews duly note the availability of cask-conditioned beers. single malts and particularly good food. But. alas. the helpful icons of the first edition which indicated live music. DJs. real ales. good whisky selections and the like have been dropped from the new book.

Kenna reaches into those districts that for many of us are terra incognita. In the East End. he uncovers such gems as the 1930s ‘art moderne' Portland Arms in Shettleston.

He is never bashful about decrying the destruction of the city's rich pub legacy. The Sou'Wester on Bridge Street was until quite recently a ‘fin de siecle pub of character and a fascinating link with old Gorbals,’ he writes. ‘It was completely unspoilt. [But] Glasgow's reign as City of Architecture and DeSign 1999 did

96 THE LIST 1/ 7‘,’ .Jg‘i'l INT)?

nothing to save historic pubs . . . In the present Sou‘Wester. revamped in non-descript open-planned fashion. there survives a relic of the Original howff.‘

While Kenna has not focused entirely on traditional pubs (here you'll find such style bars as the Living Room. Firebird. Budda and Bar 91). his compendium lacks a few entries to make it a complete guide. Key venues that have been around for a while now such as Air Organic. Spy Bar. Groucho Saint Jude’s or Moskito are noticeably absent.

Nevertheless. the strength of his ‘companion‘ are those write-ups on places not in any way trendy. In fact. the guide might entice readers to try a few that they previously thought too scary from the outside.

Take the Carnarvon on St George Road near the M8. ‘This is the sert of no-frills Glesca “drink shoap" associated with Hugh MacDiarmid's cantankerous essay The Dour Drinkers of Glasgow.‘ Kenna writes. ‘A largely unspoilt Edwardian interior. with snugs. island bar and central gantry . . . As for the habitues. they're actually far from d0ur.' (Barry Shelby)

Side dishes

An extra helping of news . . .

ARCHES CAFE IN Glasgow has expanded the menu to include a la carte evening selections to coincide with longer hours. Now food is served in the basement level bar and dining room until 10pm. Bravo. A DELICATESSEN AND Mediterranean food shop called Dionika has opened in Henderson Place. Edinburgh. In addition to a range of Spanish dry-Cured meats. cheeses and other goods from the continent. the shop also sells sandwiches and features a pescaderia (fish mongerSi. Eventually the busmess will be expanded to include a tapas bar and restaurant With the deli goods moving up a level to a shop that fronts Dundas Street. DION/k8. l 3— l 5 Henderson Place. Edinburgh. 0 73!

47 7 7367.

IN GLASGOW’S Merchant’s City, the old Fiddler’s Court bar has been transformed into a new pre-club haunt called Locomotiv. All the traditional furnishings have been chucked and feeling is one of black- lacquered finishes. Once favoured for match- watching, the venue is (for now, at least) television free. DJs play every weekend. The menu has been paired down to basic bar food and snacks all quite reasonably priced. Locomotiv, 49 Bell Street, Glasgow, 0141 552 3539.

SNOW BOARD AND SKl enthus:asts heading towards Awemore this Winter vhight conSider the Ecclefechan Bistro in Carrbridge fOr their luncn Or “apres ski' lea. It's now headed by two refugees from the Culinary world of Edinburgh. Chefs Katie Lindsell lex-Montpelliersi and Nick Bryan (ex-Hut). Their goal is reasonably priced and freshly prepared modern cooking. “A place where people can come whatever time of the day. feel relaxed and have a good time.' Bryan says. Ecclefechan Bistro. Carrbridge, lnverness- shire. 07479 847 37-1.