Eat out, drink up I
To take the edge off winter, we marched out to find the best and the most unusual take-away soups around. Words: Jane Hamilton and Mark Robertson
pictured from top Heart Buchanan, Naked Soup, Chocolate Soup, Spoon
1 14 THE LIST 14-28 N( v 2002
irst stop in our taste quest was Soups U
(146 Wellington Street. Glasgow. 0141 332
0500). It offers six soups every week with fat free. low fat and veggie options. Our fave was curried lentil. a warming and wholesome soup with a curry kick. Soups start at £31.80. 000
Next was Where the Monkey Sleeps (182 West Regent Street. Glasgow. 0141 226 3406) which offers one veggie and one carnivore horne- made soup a day. The winner was sweet potato and roasted red pepper. a smooth yet substantial soup with more taste than you can shake a Cup- A-Soup packet at. Prices range from £1.90 to £2.90. 0000
Then it was off to the West End to visit Naked Soup (106 Byres Road. Glasgow. 0141 334 6200). Faced by five daily varieties. three veggie and two chicken. we didn't know where to start. The one that won our hearts and stomachs was the fragrant Thai chicken soup — a creamy base with lots of onions. chicken and veg and a subtle burst of spices. £2.95 for a small tub is pricey but worth it. 0000
Our final West End pOrt of call was Heart Buchanan (380 Byres Road. Glasgow. 0141 334 7626). Our two choices here were traditional pea and ham. and a more curious mixture of mushroom, courgette and Pernod. Despite our initial reservations. we ended up fighting over this excellent soup. It had a smooth and creamy consistency - an indescribable but addictive flavour that we can only attribute to the Pernod. ‘Soup for grown-ups' as someone put it. Prices start at $21.75. so great value as well as unusual choices. .0000
Down the M8 and to Edinburgh where the wild winds from the Firth of Forth are enough to make anyone crave a bit of central heating in a cup. First stop was Spoon (15 Blackfriars Street. Edinburgh. 0131 556 6952). where the choice was minimal — only one on offer — but the flavour changes every day. When we showed up it was a Chinese pork and vegetable broth. a glossy. tangy oriental sensation. brimming with moreish flavours. At £2 for a small(ish) tub it was economically sound too. 0....
Fighting the good fight in the city centre amid corporate competition. Chocolate Soup (2 Hunter Square. 0131 225 7669) is a coffee house/soup house which doesn’t make it on site but has five to choose from each day. On our visit it was its sun-dried tomato and red pepper soup that was taster's choice. rated
as 'simple but effective. ‘not too dense' and 'pleasantly watery'. Portions start at a sensible $31.65. 000
If variety is the spice of soups then Juniper (117a—121 Hanover Street. 0131 225 1552) w0u|d win hands down. With an adventurous selection of home made fare including the intriguing wild trout and mushrooms soup (which sadly wasn't on the menu the day we visited). it utilises the ingredients from the Scottish countryside to interesting effect. We sampled the hefty Cullen skink: although the smoked fish within was bordering on overpowering. it was heavy but rewarding once inside. .00
Lothian Road is tragically renowned for little else other than late night jakey-ned action but with eight soups on offer at any one time from a measly £21 a pot. Stir (63 Lothian Road. 0131 221 1 155) is valiantly attempting to change that. The one that rocked our buds was the sweet potato. coconut. chilli and chicken — a lush. orangey mush. all exotic and aromatic. One taster pronounced it 'a chicken korma in a bowl‘ but that only tells half the story. The sweet and sour battle between the chilli and coconut left an indelible impression on the panel of tasters. .0...
An extra helping of news
I THE ONLY POSSIBLE shock at the Macallan Taste of Scotland awards would have come had Andrew Fairlie not won the two plaudits he was capable of snatching: best newcomer and overall excellence. But he scooped both, which rounds off a year full of trophies. Edinburgh’s big success - in the category of best city restaurant - was Haldanes, whose owner could be seen tightly clutching the boxed bottle of vintage Macallan that went to winners as he exited the Glasgow Hilton. Quite right, too. Apparently a similar bottle fetched £15,000 on auction recently. Other victorious operations were Ayshire’s Entrekine House for rural restaurant, Kilberry Inn in Argyll for bar meals, Abbey Cottage, Dumfries, for tea/coffee room and Kilmeny Farm guest house on the isle of Islay for top dinner 8&8.
I ON WEDNESDAY evening. 20 November. a selection of wines from Bordeaux will be available at a pubic tasting in Edinburgh's Fruitmarket Gallery. Tickets are $28 and available from Peckhams. the Noble Grape. Raeburn Wines. Peter Green and Cockburns of Leith.
I WALIMA IS A NEW Moroccan restaurant in Edinburgh’s Dundas Street. In addition to traditional specialities from north Africa, Walima will have belly dancers at the weekend.
I IN GLASGOW. Deirfiuracha is moving from Ashton Lane to the leafier West End district of Jordanhill. The reason for the move is more space. according to Pauline O'Donnell who runs the Irish/Scottish restaurant with her sister. The new location is 512 Crow Road at the Jordanhill railway station.