Food & Drink
salsa with your
‘ V- fondue
FONDUE FANCY THE SWISS CHALET
43 High Street, Edinburgh, 0131 577 5724
It’s hard to think of a style of Cuisine that has fallen as far from fashion as fondue. That must surely mean it's bound to be one of the next big things.
At least Eric de Whale. who operates the Swiss Chalet within Edinburgh's Netherbow Arts Centre. should certainly be hOping so. Beginning on 10 May. he plans to convert
the cafe in the evenings to a restaurant that rather exclusively features fondue: one cheese.
one meat and one chocolate — plus some vegetarian a la carte choices as well as that other Swiss speciality avec fromage: raclette.
De Whale is a one-time Leipzig opera singer who made his debut in Carmen in the late 1970s. But for the last twenty-odd years. he's been a singing chef. For him. fondue allows for a good deal of socialising over the dipping bowl. It restores the tradition of the dinner table as the ‘main gathering place'. he says.
And another preference is to combine his continuing interest in the arts with the food he prepares and serves. As he says: ‘A restaurant doesn't always have to be only a restaurant.‘
To further those cultural ends. the Swiss Chalet is pushing the multi-ethnic envelope at the Netherbow with regular Latin buffet nights on the first Sunday of the month that feature live performance as well as a salsa and merengue DJ.
But in keeping with his own musical background. de Whale plans to bookend these nights on the final Sunday of the month with an evening devoted to opera. They are scheduled to begin with a tribute to Puccini on 26 May. followed by a night of Verdi on 30 June. (Barry Shelby)
I Bookings on 0737 466 9397 are recommended for evening meals. For more information on Netherbow Arts Centre activities, visit www.storytellingcentreorg.uk.
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Feedback 2001 winners
TAVERN OF TWO ClTlES
92 St Johns Road, Edinburgh, 0131 316 4466; 15 Millbrae Road, Glasgow, 0141 649 6861
When Chris Clark transformed the old Westbury Hotel in Corstorphine about a year ago and re-launched it with new bar and restaurant called Alphabet, it was proclaimed the flagship for his company, Clark Pubs. Alas, a trendy howff in Soho, London, with the same name put paid to Clark’s plans to run with that particular moniker.
But now a new banner’s been run up the pole and Agenda, in Edinburgh as well as a branch on Glasgow’s Southside (the one-time Alphabet Yard), is the re-branded standard bearer for Clark’s ﬁrm.
New faces have been brought on to the scene in the capital: manager Gordon Fuller, once development director for Montpelier’s, has arrived from Conran’s restaurants in Ocean Terminal. Chef Gary Thomson takes over the reins of the kitchen on St Johns Road: his first time as head chef after stints with Fisher’s and the Scotsman Hotel.
Agenda is notable for a family friendly approach that includes dedicated areas for kids in both venues, but the operation is not necessarily a slouch on the style stakes either. Modern design and special DJ events enliven evenings once any weans have been bedded in for the night.
‘It is difficult to get family friendly environment that is adult oriented, too,’ says Fuller. ‘It is not just a restaurant with a children’s area bolted on. We’re trying to create a stylish, contemporary environment that is European and cosmopolitan.‘
Fuller says the new Agenda is about ‘breaking down barriers’ and with that in mind a more flexible menu runs through out the day in the restaurant and bar areas.
Back in Glasgow, a recent tasting for the news media revealed that the restaurant appears a tad more ambitious than the old Yard. Here the menu covers ground from Asian influences to more traditional burgers and several pasta and pizza combinations. Certainly Thai fish-cakes nailed the spongy texture accurately, although any ﬂavour brought to the dish was largely compliments of the nippy chilli marmalade. Duck breast offered a nicely char-grilled taste and arrived on a hefty heap of potato mash. (Barry Shelby)
Alphabet Yard is now Agenda, which aims to be stylish and family friendly
u -- - -— ~ ‘ I Winner (Dinner for two up to £100) ' ° ‘ "' Chris Agnew, Hamilton Place, Edinburgh
‘- .2. I Runners Up (£15 Oddbins Vouchers) Mrs Suzanne Lakie, East Mayfield. Edinburgh Lukas Lehmann, Warrender Park Terrace. Edinburgh, Peter Kerr, Springield Road, Linlithgow, Mr & Mrs Calvert. Church Hill Place. Edinburgh, Alastair Keyte, St. Fillans. Haddington, Xavier Gros, Crown Terrace. Glasgow. Keith McLevy, St. Vincent Crescent, Glasgow. Matthew Bernians. White Street, Glasgow, J Allmark, Hillpark =I Avenue, Edinburgh, Mrs Eleanor Kennedy. i} Roddinghead Road, Glasgow, Emily Wilson, Garnethill Street. Glasgow, Henry Hepburn, ‘“"‘ High Street, Aberdeen
1 16 THE LIST 9—23 May 2002