CAFE CULTURE ALWAYS SUNDAY 170 High Street, Edinburgh
It’s possible to visit this place virtually every day and not eat the same meal twice, so vast is the choice of food and Always Sunday’s ever-changing specials board. Though it proffers obligatory pots of tea, the café also serves Fair Trade coffee and fruit smoothies, as well as vegetarian, vegan and wheat-free options. If they had the space somewhere to include a few beds to go along with breakfasts, Always Sunday might attract queues of customers ready and waiting in their pyjamas.
The menu’s morning options range from traditional, veggie or salmon breakfasts to simple toast with a choice of three styles of bread. For lunch, freshly made soup such as mackerel and split green pea are far removed from the likes of school gruel. The rustic salads — which include sweet potato and spinach or green bean and caramelised onion - do not have a limp lettuce leaf in sight, though some rather dense cubes of tubers may not be to everyone’s taste. The prices might also seem steep - take the £4.80 salad plate, for example - but in this case the dish includes a generous serving of three different fresh salad leaves and a doorstep-size slice of bread. Comfort on colder days comes in the shape of wild mushroom risotto or lamb and bean casserole. And make sure you leave room for lemon sunshine cake.
The striking, Scandinavian-look of the cafe includes giant seasonal photographs but the most popular visual feature may be the views onto the High Street through enormous picture windows. Sadly, the café’s minimalism also extends to the seating on busy days (there isn’t enough) and it’s often difficult to order at the galley counter. If you do manage to grab the best seat in the house, a raised cubby-hole at the back, you’re rewarded with enviable privacy from the scrum. It’s a perfect place to pen a novel or people spot - and close proximity to the Parliament means there’s a steady flow of MSPs.
Always Sunday’s staff are eminently approachable. In fact, if you tell them what you think of the place (politely . . . please) you’ll get a cup of tea for just a pound. Combine all this with a selection of daily newspapers and it’s hard not to be late for work. (Alice Whitehead)
eat in take away open Sam till 6pm
taking bookings now please call for details
15 Blackfnians Street Edinburgh EH1 1 NB 0131 556 6922 /
PREVIEW SALTY DOG
Princes Square, Glasgow
Salty dog is a seamen‘s term for a seasoned old sailor as well as the name of a strong, if refreshing. cocktail made from equal portions of vodka and grapefruit juice. Now it's a new seafood. grill and cocktail bar housed in Glasgow's Princes Square shopping centre. as well — inspired by all of the above. The latest venture from Colin Barr of Republic Bier Halle fame. Salty Dog is on the second floor of the mall, next to Terence Conran's stylish Zinc. The addition of Barr's Suave bistro and leafy terrace bar has given another dimension to the centre's dining and socialising scene.
Influenced by sun-kissed travels across Europe. and the Joy of eating lots of simply cooked fish. Barr aims to bring the flavour of Barcelona barbeCLies and the caSuaI glamOur of Parisian street cafes back to Glasgow. ‘There are great fish restaurants in the city. but they're for special occasions.' he says. “Salty Dog fills a gap by servmg fresh Scottish seafood in a relaXing and informal environment.‘
Martin Teplit/ky. the founding head chef at St Judes (and briefly at the relaunched Buddai. has created a menu to cover most budgets and appetites — f.’()lf‘ a single oyster at $1.15 and tempting entrees for under to lobster ll‘alll courses or Iranian Sevruga caviar for $340. Beef. petiltry. pasta and salad are offered alongside the myriad Shellfish delights.
‘You don't need to be hungry to come] Barr says. 'Have a cOuple of oysters and a glass of champagne. if that's all you fancv And you don't need to dress tip.' The chic Alan Pert designed interior. however. n‘ight wake you want to: it's a stylish. unfussy space using grey granite —- TCll‘llllSCOlll of traditional llf;llll‘~()flg0f8 — to create the bar while the room is warmed with rosewood tables and softened by retro glass globe lighting.
Then there are the cocktails. all :30 of then‘. including classics such as the Sidecar or Dark'n'Storiny. And you wouldn't expect the man fOTll‘Ofly responsible for some of Glasgow's most vaunted clubs not to have a deck of turntables set up to help ease away the evening with a flow of good fl‘llSlC. 'But this isn't all about me] he insists. ‘This is about my team' So far. so good. Since opening in December, Salty Dog's catch-all concept has attracted everyone from posh shoppers to a pre—club crowd at night. lLOLl Prendergastl
Hi I Eat out for less
Check it out
8-1)? Jan 7004 THE LIST 99