Food 8. Drink
Eat out, drink up
A taste of things to come
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I LA TASCA, THE UK CHAIN of Spanish tapas bars and restaurants, is officially opening its second branch in Scotland - at 9 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh - on Wednesday 17 April. Glasgow’s La Tasca opened in 2000 and quickly become a popular spot as much for the casual ambience as the cuisine. The outlets, which began in Manchester (and recently made their founder a bundle when he sold it to a bigger conglomerate) offer a variety of small dishes with nothing too terriny challenging to the local palate. Edinburgh’s Tasca will offer room for almost 200 diners.
I EL SABOR lS ANOTHER tapas restaurant coming to Edinburgh this month. This one began in Glasgow's Merchant Square before opening a second branch that survived for only a short time in Charing Cross. Now ambitions appear to rest in
= Next issue we’ll be ivin ou the i g g y
% bumper ninth edition of our best- selling annual Eating & Drinking Guide. But why not sample a few appetisers first?
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!_ lg n the t'oodie l‘irmament. the past year has been dynamic. lioot and mouth and the events of ll September certainly had their impact on the trade.
But many predicted that the four-year boom — with
many new restaurants and bars opening — might go bust.
That hasn‘t happened (though Glasgow has seen some
Overall. we have seen still more launches. even it they have replaced struggling operations. Both lidinburgh and Glasgow now are blessed with greater diyersity — and value for money — than before. ()ur [fitting (Q Drinking (:‘rrr’r/i' will give the full details on 25 April. Buy the next issue and you‘ll save £2 over the cover price ol’ our bible to dining and drinking (and. of course. get the magazine too).
In the meantime. howeyer. we invite you to chew over a selection ol‘ some new places — offering meals for less than L‘ l 5 — pinched and edited down lt‘om our upcoming best selling publication. just as it went to press.
EAT NG& DRINKING; GUIDE *
La Cocina, Glasgow.
‘Starters range from nachos and soop to crispy battered Jalapeno peppers stutfed wrth cream cheese. For the more adventurous. ceviche — marinated mussels. white fish. prawns and scallops — bristles with fresh coriander and Citrus flav0urs. La Coona may challenge the city's established Mexican restaurants if it can maintain these standards of service. food and atmOSphere' Average price of two cOurse meal £12.50
'This cafe. iust across from the Tron Theatre. opens early with a breakfast menu worth setting an alarm for. There is truly something for everyone. from porridge to pancakes to cheesy baked beans in a granary pocket. and for those who scoff in
the face of tooth decay. marshmallow and nutella toastres.‘ Average price of two course meal €5.50
Beer-battered cod l‘."./|lll chips and mushy peas) is sen/ed piping hot. the fish deliciously fresh. the chips homt-z-made and chunky. Small details such as lovely. Japanese-style crockery make this most British of meals appear elegant.’ Average price of two course meal 89
‘This cosy cafe and delicatessen. lying deep in the Canonmills district of the New Town. has a self- assured bu/z that's striking when you consider that a year ago it was merely an
idea in the minds of its founding trio of two Frenchmen and one Scot. Using flour imported from France. seven types of bread are baked daily. together with home-made patisserie. The seryice is both friendly and informative. and. what with thoughts of later opening hours and a drinks licence to come. this is truly a place for confirmed — and aspiring — gOurmandsI Average price of two course meal E7
'Namaste serves a diverse clientele in intimate and tastefully decorated surroundings. Everything here is geared towards an authentic experience with North Indian Frontier cuisine. traditionally dressed staff. atmospheric music and aroma of incense. You'll find an array of fragrant food. from sparklingly fresh and superbly spiced king prawns to vegetarian options such as palak paneer. home—made curd
cheese in aromatic spinach-
based grayy. Eating here is an original and inspiring experience. where the fusion of interesting spices. together with the coal- fuelled tandoori oven. creates some intense but never overwhelming tastes and flavours.’ Average price of two c0urse meal £12.50
Bar:Alba, Edinburgh. - I M
'Sad as it is to see Er‘linburgh's boo7ing heritage trampled upon. quite often the new venues are Simply better. Such is the case with BarzAlba. which opened on the site of the Fiddler's Arms in December 2001 . Once you've stomached the pretentious colon, y0u'll find an airy, viiell—deSigned bar that offers a welcome contrast to some of the Grassmarket's dingy pubs. This is top end pub grub with nachos. soup and a fresh. tasty Orient Express combo that mixes a range of Chinese seafood starters.‘ Average price of two course meal C9
Edinburgh. With Hanover Street. however. El Sabor has room for not only a casual tapas bar but also a basement restaurant - Sabor del Mar - that will be a bit more formal serving seafood. fish and Mediterranean inspired dishes.
I SCOTTISH SPICE IS A SIX- week long festival sponsored by Herman Rodrigues and his two Suruchi restaurants in Leith and Edinburgh’s Nicolson Street. The plan is to celebrate the ‘marriage’ between Indian spices and Scottish produce. Special concoctions served until the end of May included salmon and venison curry as well as neeps and tatties Indian style. ‘Suruchi means “great taste” in sanskrit,’ Rodrigues says, ‘and this perfectly sums up the mouth watering selection of Scottish-Indian dishes during our Scottish Spice festival.’
I SIDE DISHES ENCOURAGES readers to spare a warm thought for James Sankey. the co- founder of Oloroso restaurant who Suffered a serious heart attack recently. With chef Tony Singh. Sankey launched one of the capital's most talked about restaurants and bars in December. It is unclear when Sankey may return. Although shocked at the tragic development. Singh and Oloroso's staff carry on.
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