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SIDE DISHES NEWS TO NIBBLE ON
THERE ARE JUST 350 tickets available for the exclusive Whisky Luxe event in Edinburgh
on 7 September. Each £125 ticket allows you to sample whiskies costing hundreds of pounds per bottle, with food and entertainment laid on alongside nosings led by various experts and ambassadors for the leading brands. See whiskyluxe.com and list.co.uk/offers
STREET branch has made way for Papa Tony’s – they’re claiming
it’s Glasgow’s first halal Italian restaurant. It has links to Café India in the Merchant City but it will remain Italian at heart.
THE ANNUAL FOODIES Festival event runs from 10 to 12 August this year in a new location, Inverleith Park. Among the usual chef’s theatres, masterclasses and producer stalls is a new Street Food Avenue and Pagoda offering food from around the world. More at foodiesfestival.com and you can get 2 for 1 tickets at list.co.uk
At just 21, Michael Neave cuts an impressively confident fid t figure in opening his first restaurant, writes Hannah Ewan l
+ Consistently good cooking with fresh & chatty service
- Looped power ballads – and fake carnations
M ichael Neave took a different approach when launched his first he restaurant six weeks ago. There was no loud, proud social media campaign, no advertising and no worrying about not being full from day one. Instead he’s relying on word of mouth to smoothly push those covers up, and picking up feedback as he and his staff find their feet. It all adds up to a confident start, and is even more impressive considering Neave is only 21 years old.
There’s a rash of young chefs coming through, highlighted by awards such as the Young Scottish Chef of the Year, for which Neave was runner-up in 2010. They’ve done time at the bottom, in this case at his father’s restaurants, before taking on their own projects or head chef positions. They’re connected, through social media and savvy interest, to what’s going on throughout the UK and they’re keen to be noticed on that stage. Neave hopes to attract special occasion groups – there’s deliberately only one table of two – and business meals from the nearby lawyers. At present it feels well placed for the latter. He’s had feedback that atmosphere is lacking, and this is a fair judgement. The venue has changed little since its previous incarnation as Mai Thai, with the same set-up of basement restaurant and ground floor bar, now concentrating on whisky, with a bar snacks menu imminent. The restaurant will benefit
104 THE LIST 17 Nov–15 Dec 2011
from the hoped-for Renato Guttuso artwork, whose ‘Caffe Greco’ is the menu image. The food, however, is good enough and unfussy enough to impress clients (or a birthday girl/ first date).
Flavours are interesting and occasionally playful – a chocolate brownie served with avocado cream, for example. The menu varies from a pretty starter of moist quail breast with poached pear and pesto, to gutsy, for example a hearty portion of crayfish ravioli with a crab bisque made of excellent stock.
Other than a dry loin of pork, cooking is consistently good – champagne sabayon is foam light with the perfect kick of wine. Neave admits he’s ‘not happy yet’, but is self- assured enough to be talking about the ambiance. He’s justifiably confident about his kitchen. After all, as he says: ‘If it all goes wrong, I’m young – I can just try again.’
MICHAEL NEAVE KITCHEN & WHISKY BAR
21 Old Fishmarket Close, Old Town, Edinburgh, EH1 1RW, 0131 226 4747, michaelneave.com
Tue–Sat noon–3.30pm, 5.30pm–midnight. Ave. price two-course meal £11.95 (set lunch) / £20 (dinner)
DEUCHARS RECOMMENDS CITY CAFÉ 19 Blair Street Edinburgh, EH1 1QR
The Fringe brings with it many challenges, including missing breakfast at the hotel after Late ‘n’ Live. Breakfast is the most important meal and at City Café you can sink your teeth into a substantial, cooked breakfast with unlimited tea or coffee for £7.50. It’s served from 9am till 10pm – so if you’re not a morning person, this is as good as it gets. All washed down, of course, with a pint of Deuchars.