Dinr b oonlight

iii if" i: .‘1 t

It’s a cafe by day and a restaurant by night, with a chef who works half the week as an architect. Xavier Toby had to find out the true story behind Maxi’s.

omhining a loye ol l‘ood

with a dedication to quality

and great seryice. a small new weekend restaurant at .\laxi‘s in Stockhridge proyides what l‘ew others can: a creatiye. inexpensiye menu without pretension. There’s nothing l‘rom the list of main courses in er Ht). while starters and desserts ne\ er top £4. The premise ol' Kathy Bull and lidward Murray‘s thinking is simple: good produce caretully prepared. and since it opened in late July. word has been spreading reassurineg quickly.

During the day .\laxi's remains a busy l'amily-run cal'e where Bull works as assistant manager. while l‘rom Monday to Wednesday. Murray works as an architect. lirom 'l'hursday to Sunday. starting at (i.3(lpm. how eyer. \laxi's is el'l‘ectiyely their own. The couple ltaye long shared a lo\e ol' l‘ood.

ol‘ten hosting dinner parties l‘or

l‘riends. and the idea oi opening their own restaurant w as just a dream. 'l‘hey once helped l’riends in (‘ornw all open a restaurant. and while that working relationship didn‘t last. opening their own seemed distinctly possible alter the experience.

.\laxi's has tried eyening hours


hel‘ore. but the pressures ol' raising a young. and ultimater demanding l‘amily meant the owners didn't hay e the time to do it for themselyes. Bull and Murray saw it as an ideal starting point: they could ayoid the set-up costs that new restaurants normally incur. plus the yenue was already licensed until midnight. 'I expected them to s21)‘ no. but they were Very positiyef Bull says. ‘\\'e'\ e been very lucky.’

liood is liuropean and .\lediterranean—inl‘luenced. with main courses such as heel' dauhe a slow-cooked proyincial l-‘rench casserole that includes tomatoes. red wine and a hint oi orange and desserts including Alsatian plum tat't. ’\\'e just loyc cooking liot' people] say s Murray.

But the menu will eyolye. depending on what‘s in season. 'l‘heir local meat and lish suppliers are eyen name—checked since the couple helieye it‘s important to know where the lood comes from. 'l‘he last remaining piece oi the pu//|e to l‘ind is a small—scale organic lruit and yegetahle supplier. "loo many restaurants forget the quality ol the ingredients and end up serying lood that's not particularly good.‘ Murray says. the most popular dish on their

menu. wild yenison with rosti potato and green beans. has apparently already sent satisl'ied diners to hutcher —- and Maxi’s suppler ~ lan l’roudl‘oot.

'l‘heir initial success at Maxi's has meant that the couple hope to have

their own premises alter a year. l"or

now. though. Bull and Murray are happy to have one of the few places that proyides a genuinely relaxed meal that is neither too specialised nor too expensiye. ‘We aim to pt'oVide quality at a decent price. without anything too tricky.‘ says Murray. ‘\\'e prefer to let the quality of the ingredients speak for theinselyes.‘

Evening at Maxi’s, 33 Baeburn Place, Edinburgh, 0131 343 3007.

Side Dishes

News to nibble on . . .

I Fans of Glasgow’s Spy Bar will not recognise the place now that the Butterfly and the Pig has opened in the premises with its retro Victoriana decor. Mix-and- match chairs, muslin tablecloths, music-score wallpaper and the bold combination of green hues and pink paint left Side Dishes pleasantly bewildered.

Food fits the cunent trend for comfort dishes, sold at reasonable prices, with meat sourced from Afton Glen farms and fish from MacCallum of Troon. The seasonal menu recently had ‘roastit’ beef with fresh salad (£4), grilled whole lemon sole with colcannon (£6.50) and oven-roasted ‘pieced’ chicken with potatoes (£3.20). Daily specials might include a cottage pie with beans and mince with a crispy mash topping (£3.50). The menu is served right through the day from noon until about 9pm or a bit later. Among the drinks, Guinness is £2.60 a pint, while weekly entertainment includes live acoustic sets on Sunday afternoons, a blues and jazz trio and DJs - with plans in October to open a back passage to the Buff Club if late licensing is approved. The Butterfly and the Pig is at 153 Bath Street. To book, call 0141 221 7711.

I Nearby. the Tom Tom Bar and Diner looks like it might have tapped its last beat. and a new pub called Over the Road has opened. The new venture (owned by Neil Connolly of Moskito which is just over the road) will show football on the biggest of screens and have open-mic nights every Thursday.

I In Edinburgh, the Honeypot is a new cafe-restaurant that has opened on George IV Bridge. It features a deli sandwich counter, as well as bistro fare such as roasted vegetables and spicy cous cous topped with homemade lamb medallions, and dressed with a fresh coriander herb mix (£5.95) from an all-day menu served from about 8am (9.30am on weekends) until 10.30pm.