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THESE smooth-looking cocktail shakers from Edinburgh recently picked up the people’s choice award at the 42BELOW Cocktail World Cup UK Finals, thereby securing themselves a trip to New Zealand for the international finals next March. They are Aaron Jones of Rick’s Bar, Ben MacFarlane of Tigerlily and Nick Reed from The Raconteur.

THE OLD fire station on Ingram Street in Glasgow's Merchant City, most recently

Ad Lib, has been revamped as Balthassar, a café-bar- restaurant with a fin de siècle Parisien theme, serving onion soup, steak tartare and confit duck. It's the latest venture from Alan Tomkins of Gamba and Urban Bar & Brasserie.

THE GLOBAL gastronomy available around Edinburgh has always been reasonably cosmopolitan, but recent weeks have seen it reaching hitherto uncharted parts. Among the new openings we've spotted are Los Argentinos, a South- American themed steakhouse on Preston Street, Pho Vietnam House on Grove Street and Jo Jo's Danish Bakery at 77 Nicolson Street.


CURLERS REST 256–260 Byres Road, Glasgow Few pubs can boast a history matching the 300-year-old Curlers, whose recent transformation into dining pub ends a decade of student bar wilderness. Satisfyingly traditional in ambience, there's excellent range of global refreshments a handful of cask ales, draught ciders and lots of international lagers. Weary West Enders can resume a long tradition.

Pun fight If you can get over the punning name then Donald Reid suggests there’s nothing corny about the food at Edinburgh’s Love You Long Thai

T he groundbreaker in the field of puntastic Thai restaurants, Thai Me Up in Edinburgh, was long lamented after its closure in 2006. A couple of years later, the former manager and chefs from that venture teamed up to create Spicebox, a well-regarded Thai takeaway and delivery. Recently, Spicebox begat a restaurant, Love You Long Thai, situated in the basement below the rather nondescript Richmond Hotel on Leopold Place, part of London Road.

A couple of restaurants have been in this space and failed to establish themselves. You can see why: the subterranean setting; the tight, dark staircase down; the sense of scruffiness round the edges. The smallish dining room is pleasant enough with Thai- themed wooden screens and carved tables, although the patched-together look of a couple of adjoining rooms used by the hotel and delivery operation give it a just-moved-in feel. What Love You Long Thai brings, however,

18 THE LIST 4–18 Nov 2010


Thai food that feeds first the eyes, then the palate Unconvincing entrance and surroundings

in contrast to its predecessors, is a loyal clientele from Spicebox and a confidence born of past success. However dubious the setting, this is the kind of food that establishes a reputation. Speciality starter Gai Hor Bai Teoy is a good example. Balls of chicken breast are marinated in herbs, coriander root, sesame oil and Thai whisky then wrapped in pandanus leaves. It looks great on the plate the striking visual impact of the food and artistic presentation is a mark of the place - and tastes good too, though largely

from the spicing than the base meat itself, which is pretty featureless.


tantalisingly There’s more punch in the curries, not just from chillies but in sweet combination of coconut cream, star anise and cashew nuts in the massaman, while a choice of chargrilled dishes include soft, sticky pork neck fillets in a dark honey, soy and fish sauce.

The menu combines Thai classics such as fish cakes, Tom Yum soup and Pad Thai noodles with distinctive and quite intricate dishes. Throughout the flavours are clear and well-crafted: enticing if you’re a newcomer and reassuring if you’re an old hand. Although it’s new, Love You Long Thai has a good base of the latter. It will earn more.


20a Leopold Place, London Road, Edinburgh, 0131 652 3987

Food served: Tue-Sun 5-10.30pm Ave. price two-course meal for one: £12.95 (pre-theatre) / £18 (dinner)