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With Bastille Day’s arrival on Monday 14 July, it’s time to look at what the French have done for us. Words: Barry Shelby
ast month. the Radio 4 l'iim/ l’mgnmrmr' asked the
rather big question: why has l‘r'ench gastronomy
triumphed in the kitchens of Britain'.’ A cynical \‘lCW is that British cuisine didn't offer much defence against the Norman culinary invasion. And you could argue that today Italian/Xlcditei‘ranean gastronomy has overtaken the (‘iallic when it comes to inﬂuence. The country‘s many contributions are too many to note on one page. so forgive us it l‘oie gi'as. l'romage. pate and .s'aucis'son remain in cold
storage this time around.
No one rriatcl‘in; l iencl‘. output and range. Once suspect regions. such as t anguedoc. produce
excellent taliie tor money \.’!".lélt](}§$. And here's a hot
tip: at le Marche l i‘ancais near llaymarket in lzdinhuigh you can get hotties from bulk supplies
Common on the continent. this is the only place we
know that does it in SCOUZU‘O. recycling bottles to
boot. Prices range from 5‘1). $0 for a drinkable Merlot
to 93.50 for Bordeaux Superior. BREAD
How sublime is the mornng trip to the botilangerie
when you stay in France? Fresh hakeo bread; those
crispy crusted baguettes. begging to be sliced lengthways and slathered With butter. It should be considered a duality of life Criterion: how would sutter as a result (and no amount of batons produced en masse by UK supermarkets can compensatel. Au Gourmand in the capital's Canonmills district is. however. baking traditional French bread. At 95p. the shop's rustic loaf. nutty and substantial. is an absolute steal.
1 12 THE LIST 3" ' ’ Jun 201‘}
Real men do eat the open-faced savoury tarts that originated in
l orraine. Made in. France Lochrin Place. Edinburgh) usually has a selection of four. charmingly wrapped fOr takeaway in gingham paper. Their hand-made Quality. loose and a bit wetter than you might expect. is admirable. A far cry from ~ as one of our tasters
put it — “the insulation foam' conSistency of lesser quiche.
CROISSANT Few French breakfasts w0uld be complete WithOiit the obligatory
crescent-shaped pastry. Look for a buttery aroma and flaky crust: aVOid those s0ld in plastic wrapping. Lest you think the French
1 Brandon Terrace 0131 624 4666
Le Marché Francais 9a West Maitland Street 0131 221 9041
Made in France 5 Lochrin Place 0131 221 1184
Plaisir du Chocolat 251 Canongate 0131 556 9524
Patisserie Francoise 138 Byres Road
are solely responsible fer such wonders. the croissant began in 17th century Budapest when bakers marked the defeat of the Ottomans by creating a pastry to mimic the Crescent iconography of the Turks. As for the crOissant's near cousm. pain au chocolat. it's apparently a Viennese speCiality.
Sweet teeth are rewarded by all number of French cakes and desserts. Of COurse. in France the preparation of them has long been an art form recognised by kings. and the incorporation of a patisser or pastry chef into restaurant staff is new global. Nougat. mousse. meringue. puff pastry and sponge are all characteristics of Classic patisserie. Occasionally. they can be better to look at than to eat. it in doubt. keep it simple. Tarte aux traises. for example. where fresh sharp strawbs are balanced against sweet Custard. whose Creamy conSistenCy centrasts With a crispy base, Superb.
I THE OMNI COMPLEX at the top of Leith Walk in Edinburgh completes the tenancy of its food and drink venues with the launch of the Australian theme pub and sports bar Walkabout. This means the indoor mall is dominated by predictable national and global chains. There is only one venture of local origin: Chinois. a sister restaurant of China China, that combines oriental buffet with Japanese-style tepanyaki.
I IN GLASGOW. ZINC Bar and Grill has been launched after a party co-hosted by Weegie gig promoters DF Concerts. Zinc. part of Conran's Restaurants. opened its ﬁrst Scottish branch in Leith's Ocean Terminal. The setting in Glasgow is a shopping centre. as well. but this time in the city centre at Princes Square. in July a second Conran's outlet opens here. too. Billed as the company's first 'destination restaurant' north of the border. etain Will offer modern French cuisine.
I AS FOR MORE MODEST Scottish empires, Howie’s restaurants plan to open another branch in a couple of months. The location is Bordeaux House in Perth.
I SURUCHI RESTAURANT on Nicholson Street. Edinburgh. has inaugurated a new ‘Coastal Cuisine Menu‘ on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Owner Herman Rodrigues is highlighting seven to eight main cowses and three starters from Goa. Kerala and Tamil Nadu. with ingredients such as fresh fish. coconut, mustard seeds. Call 0131 556 6583.
N“\\ ° J ONKB