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On a recent trip to St Andrews, I was in the mood to explore some other villages in the surrounding area. One that stood out for me was the pretty village of St Monans on the East Neuk of Fife, a little over 12 miles south of St Andrews. St Monans is the smallest of the East Neuk fishing ports, filled with 17th and 18th century colourful homes wrapped around the harbour.

A Merchant City staple since 2002, The Dhabba in Glasgow has consistently been named as one of the best curry destinations in the city, in particular, for North Indian cuisine. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I tried it out for myself – would it live up to its reputation?

It’s no secret that I adore Indian food, however, dining in a restaurant that purely caters to North Indian was a culinary adventure. Personally, the most I know about the differentiation between North and South cuisine is rather basic. With Middle Eastern influences in the North, Biryani is one of the most popular dishes to come out of the region. North Indian curries usually consist of creamy, thick sauces; ideal for dipping chapati or naan bread into. Food in the South, as served in The Dhabba’s sister restaurant, The Dakhin, is generally spicer with coconut based sauces, seafood and vegetarian dishes playing a huge role.

That’s where my knowledge ends.

Forget your Chicken Tikka Masala or Lamb Roganjosh, it was time to order some dishes and explore North India for myself, from the comfort of a rather elegant decorated restaurant in the heart of Glasgow.

The Glasgow Brunch Diaries is a new blog series where you’ll find me sharing my favourite brunch spots in the city, perfect with friends, family or loved ones, these are my top picks in the city. As this series grows, hopefully you’ll come to love my favourite places as much as I do.

It’s almost the weekend, you can say goodbye to your alarm clock and get that much needed lie in you’ve been craving since Monday morning. Brunch (after lie ins) is the best thing about the weekend in my opinion and what better way than to spend it stuffing your face and overdosing on caffeine.

In the first of the series, I popped along for brunch at family run Eusebi Deli on the corner of Park Road and Gibson Street in the West End of Glasgow. An Italian favourite, I’ve been numerous times for late lunches or dinner, however, this was the first time I tried their brunch menu.  

Eusebi Deli is always full when I pop in. I rarely book a table and I’ve never had to wait longer than 5 minutes to get a table either which is always great. On this occasion, we sat in their basement where private functions are normally held. Quieter and open plan, I love this space more than their main dining area where you can feel rather squished 90% of the time. 

I started my Saturday morning with Cacio e pepe, Roman style soft scrambled eggs with black pepper and pecorino shavings. Served with a generous amount of toast, they were cooked just to my liking, not too soft and not overdone. The addition of pecorino helped enhance “normal” scrambled eggs into something more indulgent. Say goodbye to eggs without cheese, so creamy, so delicious! Next time, I’m going to order a side of pancetta because they’d be perfect together and why not?

Eusebi Deli- Cacio e Pepe

Ross, ever the bottomless pit, ordered two dishes. First up was porridge, topped with orange compote, fruit and pistachio crumbs. Great portion size, the toppings married well with the oatmeal. I’m not a fan of porridge (a little like wallpaper paste for me) but I’m led to believe it was good. I think I’ll just take his word for it. 

Eusebi Deli- Porridge

Next up was Sugo– eggs baked in a tomato (sugo) sauce.  The Italian version of shakshuka, a rich tomato sauce was accompanied with two eggs and basil. Unfortunately, the eggs were overcooked so no yolk dipping but the flavour and taste of the sauce more than made up for it. I couldn’t resist scooping up some of the sugo with my toast, delicious. 

Eusebi Deli- Sugo

After a few more drinks, we decided to grab some items from their deli to takeaway for lunch later in the day. As well as selling a range of sandwiches, bread and popular Italian dishes to re-heat at home, they have a great selection of cakes on offer. My favourite? Bombolone. Pistachio Bombolone. Are you even surprised at that? I like the small little ones the most. Definitely make sure you have room for one of these after brunch. Or go wild with Nutella on tap. Oh yes. Trust me.

I regularly have pizza cravings. I wanted pizza. I needed to have pizza. To be fair, who wouldn’t want pizza? Pizza is the greatest food group there is. So I was on a mission to feed my desire with the best pizza I could find. Not an easy task when there are only a handful of places in Glasgow that serve half decent pizza.

And then Paesano Pizza popped up in Glasgow at the tale end of 2015.  

Ever since I first visited Glasgow Central Station’s underground restaurant Alston Bar & Beef,  I’ve been a firm fan, going back time and again. I like to think of Alston as Glasgow’s best kept secret which you enter via a secret passage door – blink and you’ll miss it. I cannot keep raving about the food to everyone around me and if someone asks for any restaurant recommendations in Glasgow, I make sure Alston is at the top of the list. If you want to check out my previous review, just click here.

This time around, I climbed down the Timorous Beasties staircase to sample their new Wednesday Steak & Lobster deal. For £40 for two, you can order a 250g dry aged rump steak, 1/2 North Atlantic lobster or a North Atlantic lobster roll each. The deal also includes a large portion of chips, lashings of garlic butter and a bottle of house wine to share. Sounds like a perfect way to spend a Wednesday. What’s even better is that the deal starts at 12 until closing which means if you want a rather decadent lunch, you can!

Alston Bar & Beef- Steak & Lobster Wednesdays

I’ve walked past The Millennium Hotel on George Square numerous times, all the while peaking through the glass windows at the diners. It is a place that I had never really thought about eating in as Glasgow has an abundance of great restaurants. That was until I was asked to visit the hotel and meet executive head chef Jean-Paul Giraud over dinner. 

Only a stones throw away from Queen Street Station, The Brasserie on George Square couldn’t be in a better location if it tried, right in the heart of Glasgow.  The hotel is always filled to the brim with tourists and business travellers alike. My mom and I were welcomed by the Brasserie Manager and shown to our table in the conservatory overlooking George Square. The perfect location for people watching as you eat. 

Chef Giraud developed the Brasserie menu, which reflects his French training, upbringing and incorporates the best seasonal Scottish produce. Just by looking at the menu and décor, you can tell that it has French cuisine at its core. 

After flying into London City Airport, making our way into Central London to leave our luggage at Kings Cross Station, it was definitely time for some well deserved food. We had plans to go see Wicked that evening so we needed something substantial that would fill us up, keeping the hunger monsters at bay. Honest Burgers did just that.

Ross had raved about Honest Burgers as he previously had one of their special burgers, onion rings and chicken wings while he was in town for the London Coffee Festival and was adamant that I should try it.

Even though they have Honest Burgers Locations dotted all over London, trusty Google Maps ensured us that it was only a stone’s throw away from Kings Cross. My tired sore feet were rejoicing. Being a Bank Holiday, we weren’t quiet sure if they’d be open but luckily they were and were able to get a table without any difficultly. A rare occurrence in London for the most part.

The menu is petite, pretty much like the restaurant, but the food sure does pack a punch. I opted for the Tribute Burger (£10) after playing a game of eenie meenie miney mo. My burger was topped with bacon (naturally, you can never have too much bacon, as long as it’s crispy!), American cheese, burger sauce, French’s mustard, onions, pickles and lettuce. Ross decided to try the namesake Honest Burger (£10) which was topped with red onion relish, smoked bacon, mature cheddar, picked cucumber and lettuce. Our waitress asked if we’d like our burgers medium, definitely. It’s the best way to enjoy a burger in my opinion.

What I love about Honest Burgers (other than the great ingredients they use) is that all burgers come with fries. Not just any fries though, skin-on rosemary fries. It’s a nuisance at times having to order separate fries, or should I say actually remember to. As we were starving and my boyfriend is a human dustbin, we also got BBQ Chicken Wings and Onion Rings on the side.

Honest Burgers, Kings Cross, London

We didn’t have to wait long before our food was in front of us. First impressions? It looked rather inviting with the cheese oozing down the sides. Oh boy. I’m currently salivating. 

Upon first bite, the burger was full of flavour. You could taste the fresh ingredients and as I was battling to not let the cheese drip onto my white t-shirt, I proclaimed that this was the best burger I had ever tasted. High praise indeed. I may have had my mouth full of juicy burger goodness at said time as well. The beef did all the talking, the combination of toppings were icing on the burger cake. It was divine. A joy to eat. 

Honest Burgers, Kings Cross, London- Tribute Burger and Rosemary Fries

A little pet peeve of mine is when burger restaurants ask how you’d like your burger cooked and what you get in front of you is not what you asked for. If they state that their burgers come medium or even recommend it themselves, ensure it is medium and not well done. Luckily, Honest Burgers get it right. It was perfectly pink.

Honest Burgers, Kings Cross, London- Tribute Burger

Mid burger munch, I tried the skin-on rosemary fries. Perfectly seasoned, these fries were crisped to perfection. Marvellous. Not too crispy, not too limp. I loved the addition of rosemary which was different to the norm you’d get at other burger outlets. I couldn’t get enough of them. Cheesy thumbs up from me!

Sadly, I was a little let down with the rings and wings, which I hate to admit. As I bit into an onion ring, it was rather watery which in turn made them slightly flavourless. The BBQ Chicken Wings on the other hand were nice but a little underwhelming compared to the burgers. I adore chicken wings, but I just can’t pinpoint exactly what was wrong with them, maybe the tangy sweet BBQ sauce?

My boyfriend who has ordered both of these sides in the past even admitted himself that they were “different” this time. Both were edible but not as rememberable as the burger. 

Honest Burgers, Kings Cross, London- BBQ Chicken Wings

It’s hard to fault a place when the staff are so friendly, attentive & always had a smile of their faces. I loved the décor and the chilled out relaxed vibe. Prices weren’t as expensive as I thought they were going to be and unlike some places I’ve eaten in, there was no rush to get you out the door as soon as you had finished your food. The food, for the most part, was superb hence the high overall score and I would honest-ly (heh!) go back in a heartbeat.

Now if only they’d open in Glasgow…. until then, see you soon Honest Burgers

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Growing up in the Middle East exposed me to Lebanese and Gulf Arabic food. I instantly fell in love with dishes such as falafel, tabouli, kebbeh, shawarma, fatayer and machboos laham to name a few. When I moved back to Scotland, it soon became apparent that I would find it rather hard to get my hands on my favourite food.

Ahead of my current trip to London with Ross, I asked my twitter followers for Lebanese restaurant suggestions. Noura Restaurant spotted my tweet and invited me to dine at their Belgravia restaurant. After checking our their menu, reviews and realising it was only a short journey away from our hotel, we booked a table. 

We were welcomed by owner Hani Bou Antoun who talked us through the extensive menu. In the end, I left it to Hani to choose our dishes as quite frankly, I couldn’t choose. Hani picked some popular dishes for us a try and it turned into a feast! To complement our dishes, Hani suggested we try his favourite Lebanese Wine, Ixsir Grande Reserve Red 2010. The wine is a mixture of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, perfect to accompany red meat. 

Our waiter brought us a bowl of crudités to snack on along with a basket of fresh Lebanese bread which they make in-house. Not quite sure how lady like it is to snack on a whole cucumber and tomato in public though!

Not before long, our selection of hot and cold mezze started appearing at the table as and when they were ready. It didn’t take long for our table to be overloaded. Everything looked too good to eat and smelt wonderful. 

The first dishes we tried were the cold mezze; hummous (puree of chickpeas with sesame oil and lemon)moutabbal (puree of grilled aubergine with sesame seed oil and lemon juice) and tabbouleh (parsley, crushed wheat, tomatoes, onion, lemon juice and olive oil). 

Using our fresh bread, I scooped up some hummous to try. It was the smoothest I had ever tasted. I couldn’t get enough. By far the best hummous I had the pleasure of tasting. I asked Hani how they made it and he revealed the secret was blending the chickpeas with ice cubes. By using ice cubes, it helps to regulate the temperature while ensuring that it’s the smoothest it can possibly be.

I personally wasn’t a fan of the moutabbal, Ross loved it though and almost finished the entire bowl himself. There wasn’t any wrong with the dish, I’m just not a fan of blended aubergine or the texture. 

Tabbouleh has always been a favourite of mine and I haven’t had it in years. Upon first taste, you could tell how fresh the produce were. It was clean, crisp and well-balanced. A beautiful delicious salad. It worked well in the bread with some hummous added for good measure. 

Following the cold mezze, we were presented with plates of kebbeh (lamb and cracked wheat shell filled with seasoned minced lamb and pine kernels)sojok (spicy sausages), rikakat (filo pastry filled with mixed cheese), arayess (Lebanese bread filled with seasoned minced lamb and pine kernels) and my all time favourite falafel (bean croquettes chickpeas, garlic and sesame oil).

Kebbeh is one of my favourite Lebanese dishes and Noura did not disappoint. They were utterly mouth-watering. Lebanese food is designed to be shared and I reluctantly shared them with Ross as he had never tried them before. Instant hit with the boyfriend. I added some hummous with kebbeh onto my fork, great combination. I couldn’t get enough of them.

Hani recommended that we tried the spicy sausages, sojok, which were one of his favourites. The beef sausage meat are mixed with lots of garlic and a mix of aromatic spices. The intensity of the garlic is what you are first met with but luckily, it does not overpower the sausages. I could only eat a few though as I still had to try so many other dishes. 

It’s no secret that I adore falafel. I cannot get enough of it. I can honestly say that the falafel I tried at Noura‘s were the best I’ve ever had. They were beautifully crisp on the outside, soft and flavourful in the inside. Words cannot express how much I loved them. Dipped into some tahini as well as hummous along with some of the fresh bread, sensational.  I want them right now as I’m writing this.

Rikakat are little spring rolls normally with a mix of feta and cheddar cheese along with herbs and then deep-fried. They are delicious little parcels of pastry, simple to make and wonderful as little snacks. I could snack on these hot or cold. Yum!

We still had more food to try but if I ate anything else at that moment in time, I’d burst. Unfortunately I did not try the arayess so left it up to Ross to try. They are rather similar to quesadillas, with the Lebanese bread being filled with minced lamb, pine nuts and toasted. Ross likened them to a kebbeh sandwich and that does sound rather good to me! Will need to save that for next time.

Managing to find some space, Ross & I shared the Mixed Grill. Noura‘s version comes with three skewers of chargrilled meat; lahm meshwi (lamb), shish taouk (marinated chicken) and kafta meshwiyeh (minced lamb) along with a fattoush salad (mixed salad, lettuce, tomatoes, mint, sumak, onion and fried Lebanese bread). Each skewer was perfectly cooked on charcoal, lahm meshwi and shish taouk being personal favourites. Sometimes when you ordered meat that has been cooked on charcoals, it can be overcooked and dry. Thankfully, Noura impressed me yet again with flavorful, succulent and mouth-watering pieces of meat. Perfect scooped up with some hummous and Lebanese bread.

Noura Belgravia- Mixed Grill

After a well deserved break and chatting with Hani about the food, we were unexpectedly given a plate of baklawa and a selection of ice creams which are made in-house. I’ve loved baklawa ever since I was a child, I think that is where my love for anything pistachio based comes from. The baklawa we were given were so light and soft. Thankfully they weren’t heavy as I doubt I could have handled them. Hani informed us that they used to make the baklawa in-house but when the chef making the baklawa opened his own bakery, they now order from him instead.

The ice cream selections (chocolate, mango, vanilla and strawberry) were smooth and creamy. The strawberry and mango were more like a sorbet and very well received after the amount of food we ate, but in all honestly, I could only fit in a little spoonful before resigning to the fact that I was well and truly stuffed.

Overall, the food I tasted at Noura, has to have been one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time. I’ve missed good quality, authentic, home-style healthy Lebanese food and I now know where I’ll be returning on my future visits to London. The staff were very friendly and attentive throughout, even when the restaurant was filling up. It is a little on the pricey side for some dishes, but the quality of ingredients and  food produced makes it value for money. 

What I loved about the restaurant, other than the food, was the vast amount of Arabic friends, families and embassy staff dining at the restaurant, the sign of a good Lebanese restaurant. If you are in the area or visiting London, Noura is not to be missed. 

Disclaimer: I was invited by  Noura Restaurant as a guest in return for a review. Whilst my meal was complimentary, I was under no obligation to write a positive review and my comments reflect my true experience that evening.

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The Bothy is a place that I had always heard good things about but never got around to visiting until Christmas Eve with Ross and his mother. Even though staff were rushed off their feet that evening, the food was delicious and the service was great. So when The Bothy asked if I’d like to try their newly relaunched brunch menu, it was time I made my way back to Ruthven Lane. Brunch is the best part of any weekend. Forget waking up before 9am, brunch is meant to be enjoyed after you’ve had a well deserved long lie, that’s why The Bothy serve brunch until 3pm.

Upon entering The Bothy, it feels like you are transported into someone’s house. The beautiful stone brick building has to be one of the prettiest locations in the West End of Glasgow. Cosy tables with sofas and upholstered armchairs adorn the dimly lit main restaurant alongside open fireplaces. In true Scottish fashion, the staff even welcome you in kilts, which is always pleasing on the eye, and are friendly to match.

The Bothy- The Bothy

After being shown to our table and offered drinks, I decided to try The Bothy Full Breakfast. Lori opted for The Bothy Vegetarian Breakfast. As Lori also has a nut allergy, she asked our waitress if her vegetarian haggis contained any nuts. A few seconds later after asking the chef, they confirmed that it was nut free. Thumbs up.

The menu also states that both breakfasts come with a fried egg, but we were actually offered a choice. I opted for poached and Lori ordered scrambled. I’m not a huge fan of fried eggs outside of my own kitchen so I’m glad we were given a choice. Maybe the menu should reflect that you can choose the egg of your choice?

The Bothy- Menu

We were starving so it was a welcome relief that we didn’t have to wait too long for our order even though the restaurant was packed full of locals or tourists alike either having brunch or ordering from the Braw Deal Set Menu.

My plate was overflowing with food, delicious looking food. I loved that both of our breakfasts came with a welcome surprise of some toast. You definitely need a good few slices of toast, especially to dip into beans and runny egg yolks.

The Bothy- Full Breakfast

The Bothy Full Breakfast comes with two Cumberland sausages, two pieces of smoked bacon, potato scone, Stowaway black pudding, beans, grilled tomato and my choice of poached egg. The Cumberland sausages were absolutely delicious. They were some of the best sausages I’ve ever eaten. High quality, flavoursome and no gristle. The rest of the breakfast was appetizing, but the sausages were the stand out for me.

The Bothy- Cumerland Sausage

Lori was equally as impressed with her vegetarian breakfast which came with vegetarian sausages, vegetarian haggis, potato scone, beans, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and her choice of scrambled eggs. Lori loved the vegetarian haggis as it was not something you’d normally get in a full breakfast. I’m also led to believe that the scrambled eggs were light and fluffy.

The Bothy- Vegetarian Breakfast

The Bothy- Vegetarian Haggis

The staff were as friendly as I remembered and even though the restaurant was full, they were very attentive. Overall, The Bothy has to be one of the best places in the West End to get brunch. I loved what I had ordered so much that I’ve been dying to go back ever since and I think it just may be on the cards again this weekend. 

The Bothy also hosts live music acoustic sets from local musicians who entertain you as you dine. If you don’t fancy having brunch, you can also try their great value Braw Deal Set Menu with three courses for just under £15, you will be sure to get your monies worth!

Where is your favourite place for brunch in the city? What do you like to order? Are you more of a full breakfast or benedict type of person?

Disclaimer: I was invited by The Bothy as a guest in return for a review. Whilst my meal was complimentary, I was under no obligation to write a positive review and my comments reflect my true experience that afternoon.

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Whoever discovered that by adding flour, eggs and milk together, along with a few other staple ingredients, you’d end up with round thick fluffy delicious pancakes is a genius. In fact, I wish he was my best friend. 

Blueberry Pancakes, Pancakes with Strawberries and Bananas, Pistachio Pancakes, Pancakes with Bacon & Maple Syrup. I love them all. Why can’t Pancake Day be every day?

When my boyfriend Ross told me that Bill’s Restaurant were opening their first Scottish restaurant, he told me how good the place was after visiting the Cardiff branch while living in Wales. After checking out the Bill’s Breakfast Menu, I instantly heard the pancakes scream my name. It was also the day after my birthday so calories do not count during your birthday week. It’s the law. 

Bills Restaurant Glasgow

We walked into Bill’s Restaurant without a reservation on it’s first week of opening, luckily we managed to get a table just before the breakfast menu ended and the lunch rush began. Within 10 minutes of sitting down, three large tables of girls arrived and I started feeling sorry for the kitchen. The restaurant was packed out. 

Ross decided to order Bill’s vegetarian breakfast consisting of poached free range eggs, tomatoes, hummus, mushrooms & guacamole, sweet chilli sauce, basil & toast with a side of crispy potato (a giant hash brown). Of course, I couldn’t really say no to the blueberry and buttermilk pancakes with banana, strawberries and maple syrup along with a side of streaky bacon.

Bills Restaurant Glasgow- Menu

Unfortunately, due to the amount of people entering the restaurant all at the same time, we had to wait a rather long time for food. No good when it’s breakfast and you are starving. However, they had only been open a few days so I can’t mark them down for that.

To help keep our hunger at bay, we ordered a couple of Bill’s green smoothies. They had spinach in them, as our waitress informed us. Other than that, I honestly have no idea. It would be good for the ingredients to be listed on the menu so that you can tell what you’re drinking before ordering. It did taste good, but instead of helping fill us up, it made us hungrier. 

Finally, our food arrived. First impressions? Full marks for presentation. It almost looked too good to eat, but quite frankly, we were that hungry that after forcing Ross to wait until I took photographs, we started demolishing our plates. 

Bills Restaurant Glasgow- Vegetarian Breakfast

I loved that fact that the vegetarian breakfast was like no other around the city. No vegetarian sausages in sight, instead, hummus and guacamole on toast. Even though Ross isn’t vegetarian, he watches what he eats, ensuring for the most part that his diet is healthy. So, it was a welcome change from the norm and one that was absolutely delicious. It is also a dish that I would quite happily enjoy eating myself.

Back to my pancakes, I was met with three rather large blueberry pancakes, with fruit scattered around the plate and a little jug of maple syrup. They were perfectly cooked, although the blueberries inside the pancakes were a tad on the sour side. That’s where the maple syrup helps counter balance the sourness.

Bills Restaurant Glasgow- Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberries and Bananas

The bacon that I ordered on the side, I have to admit, did not work with the blueberry pancakes. It was a strange combination of flavours. If the pancakes were plain, I’d have no issue but then again, the bacon didn’t come as standard, I ordered it as an addition. Next time, I’ll just skip the bacon. Due to the sheer size of the pancakes, I could only eat one and a half. Ross ate the rest. As he normally does. My mom says he has hollow legs!

Bills Restaurant Glasgow- Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberries and Bananas Half Eaten

Throughout our meal, staff were very attentive. Maybe verging on the side of overly attentive, especially when different waiting staff approached us over five times asking if we wanted more drinks, in the space of 15 minutes. It did get a tad annoying. 

Overall, I loved Bill’s. It’s a welcome addition to the city centre, especially somewhere that does brunch. I can’t wait to go back to try their lunch and dinner menu. I’ve already spied a few dishes that I really want to try. 

Have you tried Bill’s before? What’s your favourite menu item? Any recommendations?

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It is no secret that I love Burger Meats Bun. I could talk for hours about how good they are and how I look forward to every single visit I make to the basement restaurant on West Regent Street. My excitement was further warranted when I opened my email to read that Burger Meats Bun were starting a #MeatUp on the first Monday of every month in Glasgow starting tonight and the second Monday of every month in Edinburgh.

The inaugural #MeatUp saw Mark Donald take over the reigns of BMB. Mark begun his cheffing life at Stravaigin and has gone on to become one of Scotland’s brightest young kitchen talents. Following a stint at the world-famous Noma in Copenhagen, Mark spent two years at Scotland’s only two Michelin Star establishment, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie. He is currently back in Scotland following two years in London as Sous Chef at Claude Bosi’s two Michelin starred Hibiscus, before heading Down Under to be part of the opening team at Sydney’s hottest new restaurant.

At £22.50 for 3 courses, I couldn’t pass this opportunity up.

While browsing over the menu and deciding whether or not to add-on the alcoholic drinks package for £15, we were given a little tub of Popcorn Chicken. No, not the KFC type but Popcorn with a homemade Chicken Salt. Now I love Salted Popcorn but this was Popcorn on steroids. A delicious little snack to get our appetites ready for action.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Popcorn Chicken

After a short wait, our first course was presented to us in what I can only call a majestic setting. Sullen Kink was Mark’s taken on Cullen Skink and was presented beautifully to us. Three elements made up Sullen Kink: Smoked Haddock broth with dashi, Smoked Haddock Brandade and Smoked Haddock Wafers. This was sensational. Not only did it look amazing, it tasted just as good, if not better. The Smoked Haddock Brandade which was smoked haddock, cream and herbs coated in panko breadcrumbs stole the show for me. They were presented on top of a bed of rocks, langoustines and clam shells with some dry ice for good measure. Impressive Mr Donald, impressive. I could have seriously just ordered a whole plate of these and was left a tad disappointed we didn’t have more.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Sullen Kink

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Sullen Kink Plate

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Smoked Haddock Brandade

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Smoked Haddock Brandade Closeup

Next up, our main was Reef & Beef. The ultimate burger. Two thin beef patties were complimented with Jamon Iberico, Manchego Cheese and Lobster Mayo. The patties were cooked to perfection for my taste, seasoned well and the flavour combinations worked extremely well. The lobster mayo (mayo with lobster oil and lobster meat folded through) did not overpower the burger in the slightest which is what I originally feared. The Jamon Iberico gave the burger a lovely crunch, only wish there was more. Again.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Reef and Beef

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Inside Reef and Beef

Served with the burger, we were given a tub of Hot Mess aka Poutine. This poutine was made with chips, cheese curds from Dunlop Dairy in Ayrshire, braised pig’s cheeks and pig’s cheek gravy. Once again, Mark can do no wrong for me. I’ve always been a little wary about eating poutine because I’m not the biggest fan of gravy on chips or the thought of eating curdled cheese. Oh how I was wrong. If there was one way to introduce me to poutine, this was it. Beautifully tender pig’s cheeks, crisp and fluffy chips, a rich delicious gravy and squeaky cheese curds. I just wish I was able to finish the poutine, but I was ready to burst. Instead, Ross decided to devour every last crumb and then drink the left over gravy. A sign of a delicious dish if ever there was one.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Hot Mess Poutine

Lastly, dessert was served. Everyone knows we have a separate tummy for pudding, right? Well…. I couldn’t say no to a Snickers Eclair. This was no ordinary eclair. A homemade eclair with a peanut butter and caramel creme patisserie, chocolate glaze and topped with salted, caramelised and crystallised peanuts. Unbelievable. Such a delectable dessert and a perfect ending to a delicious dinner.

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Snickers Eclair

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Snicked Eclair on plate

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp inside Snicker Eclair

& the best bit is always licking the chocolate off your fingers afterwards, am I right?

Burger Meats Bun MeatUp Chocolate Fingers

It was such a great evening, one I could not fault in the slightest and I cannot look forward to the next #MeatUp. Be sure to register for the BMB Newsletter to get more details on the next popup in Glasgow and Edinburgh. It’s worth it, trust me.

A couple of months ago when I was through in Edinburgh for a full day, I was invited to check out The Magnum situated on Albany Street. I had never heard of this Bar & Restaurant before but I’m always up for trying somewhere new. From their website, they state they “combine Scotlands best local ingredients with traditional flavours. We serve classic Scottish dishes alongside fresh seasonal game and seafood”. Since Ross and I had a jam-packed day, we decided to have lunch instead of the original dinner invitation.

We walked in and on first impressions, The Magnum is beautifully decorated, very contemporary and laid back. The restaurant was rather empty and we clocked less than a handful of tables at the height of Sunday lunch service. We had a choice of table and decided to sit next to the window so we could people watch. Beautiful fairy lights cascaded down the window but what wasn’t so pleasant was the little family of rather noticeably dead wasps which were laying all over the window sill along with a layer of dust. Cringe.

Choosing to clean away the wasps ourselves,  our drink order was then taken and paper menus handed out. We were informed that we couldn’t order A la Carte and that we could only order from the Bar Menu or from the Set Lunch Menu. A little disheartening but this was my own fault for not checking what their weekend lunch service is like.

Looking at the menu’s, I was rather perplexed why a Sunday Roast was not on offer. The mains offered within the Set Lunch Menu were not appealing therefore we decided to just order off the Bar Menu and request if we could order a Starter from the Set Lunch Menu. Thankfully, our request was granted.

After a short wait, our starters arrived. I decided to try the Buccleuch Haggis Spring Roll with Hickory Relish and Rocket. I loved this starter. A beautifully crispy Spring Roll shell surrounding a wonderfully spiced Haggis which was cooked perfectly. Sometimes with Spring Rolls, they are drowning in oil but I’m glad to say that there was no grease in sight. The Haggis Spring Roll was complimented with a Hickory Relish and a Mixed Leaf Salad (instead of Rocket as advertised). I didn’t get a huge Hickory Barbecue taste from the Relish but worked very well alongside the Haggis. I’d definitely order this again.

The Magnum Edinburgh Buccleuch Haggis Spring Roll with Hickory Relish and Rocket

Ross opted for Homemade Soup of the Day which was Roast Tomato and Basil if I recall. It isn’t something he would normally order but with limited choices, it was the best of a bad bunch for him. The soup was a lovely vibrant red colour and smelt wonderful. It tasted as good as it looked, ignoring the rather strange balsamic glaze squiggle. You could taste the basil throughout the soup but it didn’t overpower it. Thumbs up.

The Magnum Edinburgh Roasted Tomato Soup

It took a while for our plates to be cleared and for our mains to arrive but we didn’t reach the fidgety stage, yet. I ordered Tempura Battered Haddock and Handcut Chips with a Sweet Lemon and Gherkin Aioli. Two beautifully cooked chunks of Haddock were on my plate in a light crispy Tempura Batter. The fish was soft, flaky and fresh. Paired with the Sweet Lemon and Gherkin Aioli, it was a winner. The Handcut Chips could have done with some more seasoning, but when dipping into the Aioli, you didn’t mind. This was by far one of the best Fish and Chips I’ve had in a Restaurant.

The Magnum Edinburgh Tempura Battered Haddock and Handcut Chips with a Sweet Lemon and Gherkin Aioli

Annoyingly for me, Ross ordered the Pulled Pork Sandwich in a Rich BBQ Sauce on a Glazed Brioche Bun with Baby Gem Lettuce, Apple and Fennel Coleslaw and Beer Pickled Onion Rings. I detest Pulled Pork. I think it is one food item that needs to end. STAT. Ross however, loves it. The Pulled Pork was tender and smothered in the Rich BBQ Sauce. I tasted a little of the sauce and it was delicious. We both weren’t huge fans of the Apple and Fennel Coleslaw and the Onion Rings were too sweet which was a little off putting.

The Magnum Edinburgh Pulled Pork Sandiwch in a Rich BBQ Sauce

Once again, service was slow at taking our plates away. The restaurant wasn’t busy at all which, if was, I could understand why service would have been that slow. It seems our waitress was more interested in chatting to one of their female friends that entered the bar just after we finished our starters. I really don’t think we needed to hear about our waitresses love life or how drunk she had been lately. Sadly, we couldn’t get away from it as they were far from quiet. It was rather off putting. The bill couldn’t come quick enough so we could leave and have dessert elsewhere.

It was a rather sad end to a mostly enjoyable lunch. The food for the most part was very good and I’d definitely return again for the Haggis and Tempura Haddock, if different staff were on duty. It’s just a pity that the staff let the kitchen and Restaurant down.

Disclaimer: I was invited by The Magnum Edinburgh as a guest in return for a review. Whilst my meal was complimentary, we paid for drinks and left a tip. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and my comments reflect my true experience that afternoon.

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