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Friday, 16 June 2017

Wee Buddha, Jamaica Street

After a particularly tough Body Pump session at the gym I decided to reward myself with a whole lot of food (it's pretty obvious why I can't lose weight despite going to the gym 4 times a week right...?). My friend had been recommending Wee Buddha to me for a while so I dragged her to it last Sunday.

When I saw the menu I got super excited. There's nothing I love more in this foodie world than tapas or small bites... whatever you want to call them. As an absolute greedy guts I find it so hard to pick just one thing off a menu. I see so many things I want to try so when a menu gives me the option to have a lot of small plates, I'm all for it. Wee Buddha's menu is a combination of bowls (mainly noodle dishes) and small dishes. You could either order one small dish as a starter and a bowl as a main, or you can, like me, order a bunch of little dishes. So here's a low-down on the ones I tried.

Cantonese seasoned chips, satay pork belly and veggie gyozas
My friend and I shared the veggie gyozas, which were super soft and delicious. You get a fair few of them as well, so for a small plate/starter size they certainly aren't stingy.

The next dish I chose was the satay pork belly, which was really tasty. Now I'm a big fan of satay it is straight up my favourite sauce. So I was a little disappointed that they were more marinated in a satay sauce than covered in one. What I'm trying to say is that I would have loved more sauce. That being said the skewers were delicious and the pork belly was nice and fatty.

Pad thai wings
I also ordered pad thai wings which were insanely good. I'm not really that big on wings, I'd very rarely order it off a menu, but I was super intrigued by them being covered in one of my other favourite sauces. (Side note: Wee Buddha is you wanna make some satay wings I'd be SO DOWN FOR THAT!) Unlike the pork belly, these were drenched in sauce, which I actually didn't expect but was pleasantly surprised with. The sauce was so good, a little sweet, a little tangy. I was so full by this point but couldn't leave a wing uneaten. They were super crispy on the outside with juicy meat on the inside. I highly recommend ordering the wings if you go here, they also come in sweet siracha, garlic and chilli or k-wing sauce (not entirely sure what the last sauce is to be honest!).

Cantonese seasoned chips
And finally, the pièce de résistance... the cantonese seasoned chips. Oh. My. God. Were. These. Good. I don't think I ever want to try another chip again in my life. The chips are a must order at Wee Buddha. You know when you order a takeaway and you get salt and chilli chips? The cantonese seasoned chips are similar but EVEN BETTER. The seasoning is so good and not too spicy, so don't worry if you don't like spice. On top of that the actual chips are my ideal, not too skinny, not too thick, perfectly crispy with tons of those little super crispy ones. So good. If you've looked at the above picture and not decided to go to Wee Buddha and order the seasoned chips you're straight up crazy.

Another reason I love the option of small bites/plates/tapas style is that your meal can be as cheap or as expensive as you like. The small bites range in price from £3.20 to £7.90, so if you're a greedy guts like me you might need to order tap water because you'll be spending a lot, but if you have restraint you can easily pop in for a small, cheap meal. If I wasn't up for pigging out, I'd be happy with just the chips and wings!

Wee Buddha is an absolute hidden gem, tucked away on Jamaica Street in Stockbridge. Alongside the asian tapas-style food there's a great selection of beers and cocktails at the bar, and it makes a cute little place for a drink. Although I can imagine I wouldn't be able to resist ordering the chips even if I was only going in for an asian beer! I'm definitely going to be heading back to Wee Buddha soon, I'm dying to try their salt and spicy squid, so look out for more pics on my Instagram.


Check out Wee Buddha's food and drink menu for yourself over on their website!

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Afternoon tea at Patisserie Maxime, Queensferry Street

My flatmate and I decided to treat ourselves to an itison voucher for afternoon tea with prosecco voucher at Patisserie Maxime. And boy does this place put on a nice looking afternoon tea!


First of all let's talk about the presentation. I don't think I've seen such an elaborate cake stand in my life. Three tiers of planks of wood held together like a tree, topped with (fake) grass! It was certainly unique and really made it stand out.

In terms of the savouries they were for the most part okay, but nothing absolutely amazing or stand-out. There were the classic sandwich toppings of egg mayo and ham, cheese and pickle on a more French-style bread. There was also an omelette on a crunchy, crouton-like bread which was quite nice. The salmon and avocado mousse was pretty disappointing as it sounded right up my street, but in the end it had very little flavour. 


Now for the best bit... the cakes and pastries! We had one full-sized fruit scone each which was a nice surprise as afternoon teas tend to provide you with those mini scones and it just leaves you wanting a real one. The scone itself was nice but sadly was only accompanied by butter and jam... who doesn't want clotted cream on their scone especially in an afternoon tea setting.

The middle tier was probably the best one. There were two pastries each a chocolate twist and a cranberry twist (which was quite unique and very delicious), there was a fruity mousse which I could give or take, a pistachio chou and a macaron each. I was a little disappointed that neither macaron had a particular taste/flavour. The top tier included a mini raspberry tart which was delicious and a little pistachio cake. Overall my favourites were the pastries and the raspberry tart.

I wasn't particularly blown away by the food but the whole look of the Afternoon Tea was impressive and it would make for a great treat for a mother or grandmother. The prosecco was really decent and you get your usual tea (or coffee) as well. Considering we got a great deal, I wasn't at all disappointed as you get so much food and it's really good value. 

Check out their website for yourself here.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

L'Appetite Foodie's Cheesy Veggie Lasagne


I try to eat as healthy as possible during the week so I can, in the wise words of Donna and Tom, 'treat yoself' on the weekends (if you don't get that reference... I don't get you). This lasagne is one of my favourite things to make when I'm trying to eat healthier as it totally disguises all the veggies (although if you want to be even healthier try not to use as much cheese as I do!). Now as a general rule I don't really measure things out so I'm sorry there are no exact measurements but it means you can make your mince as tomato-y and garlic-y as you want and your cheese sauce as cheesy as you want. So read on to find out how I make my super cheesy all veggie lasagne!

Ingredients:



1 x bag of Quorn mince (optional - can also use meat if you'd prefer!)
1 x white onion
Half a courgette
Approx 4-6 closed cup mushrooms
1 x bag of Spinach (optional)
Olive oil
2 x cans of chopped tomatoes
1 x tomato puree
3-5 cloves of garlic
Butternut squash lasagne sheets (I've only ever found them in Sainsbury's but you can also try thinly slicing a butternut squash yourself!)
Butter
Flour
Almond milk (optional - use the milk of your choice!)
1 x bag of grated mature cheddar cheese (pre-grated for the lazies like me)
Parmesan cheese
Mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to season

Step 1: Making the mince!



Start by chopping up your onions, mushrooms and courgette into as big or small chunks as you like. The veg choices are optional, you can add whatever veg you like as this is your chance to disguise i all within the mince. Next brown off the onions, mushrooms and courgette in a big pan with one or two crushed cloves of garlic and a splash of olive oil. Now you want to add your chosen mince. As I'm doing an all veggie lasagne I'm using Quorn mince. The Quorn doesn't take too long as you're essentially just defrosting it. Once the Quorn is cooked I add in another clove of garlic and some of the tomato puree, just enough to cover the mince a bit - I don't know if this adds any flavour but I like to think it does! I then add in two tins of chopped tomatoes. You might need to add in a bit of water if the mince isn't saucy enough, maybe half of the one of the tins worth of water. I then add one more crushed clove of garlic, lots of mixed herbs and the rest of the tomato puree. I like to just keep tasting my mince sauce while I make it, I tend to add a bit more garlic, salt, pepper and mixed herbs as I go. Just keep tasting it until you get it to your desired taste. Once I'm happy with it I leave it to simmer on a really low heat.

Step 2: Get cheesy!

This is my favourite bit... making the cheese sauce! At this point I start preheating the oven to about 180-200C (depending how hot your oven is or just a guesstimate between the two if like me your oven's numbers have been rubbed off...) If you've never made a classic cheese sauce, here's a link to an actual recipe because like I said I don't really use measurements.

I start by melting down a really big tablespoon of butter or two, depending how much sauce I want to make. You melt that down on a normal heat then pop it down to low. Start gradually adding plain flour to the melted butter until the butter and flour start to come together into a little almost dough like ball. That's when you start adding the milk. You don't need to use almond milk, it's just the only kind of milk I currently buy and it works perfectly fine. My diet plan is to use healthy alternatives for everything but the cheese so you can guiltlessly make it as cheesy as you want! If I'm cutting down on dairy I'd rather cut the real milk out not the cheese! Good plan right?

Anyway you want to gradually add in milk just a little at the time. Keep doing this to turn the paste into a thick sauce. The reason I don't know the measurements here is it can be different every time, it just depends how thick I want the sauce. If you add too much at once you'll end up with a super lumpy sauce, so be patient! Once you have your desired consistency add in the cheese! I usually add about 75% of a pack of grated cheese (such exact measurements) and I season with pepper. Again just keep tasting it until it is as cheesy as you like! And don't eat half the sauce while tasting like I do...

Step 3: Assemble!



Now it's time to assemble everything! I start with a layer of mince meat (sometimes when I want to add even more greens in I will layer spinach leaves on top of the mince at this point) and flattening it out across the bottom of my oven dish then add on a layer of cheese sauce. Don't make your layers too thick or you'll run out of the goods after just a couple layers! Then I add the butternut squash sheets where your pasta sheets would normally go.

TOP TIP: Sainsbury's also sell courgette lasagne sheets but I've found these do not hold once cooked the way the butternut squash ones do! I made a lasagne with the courgette once and it just totally fell apart! In my experience, the butternut squash sheets tend to hold together similarly to pasta. This lasagne works great when it is left to cool and reheated as leftovers - it really holds its shape well then.

Then repeat for as many layers as you can! If you've got a large dish you'll probably only manage three layers, you might get more out of a smaller, deeper dish. I managed three layers. I like to make sure the top layer is the thickest layer of cheese sauce! I then top the last layer of cheese sauce with extra grated cheese and some Parmesan. I usually use the crumbled up kind of Parmesan but they only had the flakes so this particularly lasagne turned out super cheesy (you know I ain't complaining about that!).

Step 4: Pop it in the oven!

Put the lasagne carefully in the oven. Now I again do not know exactly how long I cook it for, I just go back through and check on how crispy the top layer is and poke a knife through to see if the butternut squash has softened. You will definitely know when it is ready. As a guideline I would say 45-50 minutes but definitely just keep checking on it as the heat of your oven can cook things much faster or slower than others. And voila you're done!


This is one of my favourite recipes as it is comfort food that doesn't make me feel as heavy as ordinary lasagne does. It's also a great way of hiding a bunch of veggies if you feel like you're not eating enough. I usually serve it with a simple salad or a whole bunch of broccoli. I love making a huge batch of it and freezing or keeping the rest in the fridge for later in the week. They reheat really well and hold their lasagne shape better after being chilled.

Hope you enjoyed the 'recipe' and do let me know if you make it yourself!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Foodie Travels: London


Last weekend I headed through to London for the weekend to see some friends who thankfully tagged along with me on some foodie adventures (kudos to them for putting up with me taking 500+ pics of our food before allowing anyone to eat). I ate at some really great places, so if you're heading down anytime soon, you need to check some of these out. Here is the low-down on all the food (and drink) I ate over the weekend!

GRIND - EXMOUTH MARKET

Pancakes with blueberries and coconut cream... with a side of bacon
My friends love Grind because they do bottomless prosecco to go along with their amazing brunch menu. We didn’t go for the bottomless prosecco that morning because we had so many plans for the rest of the day that we didn’t want to be half drunk for, but normally for £12 you get your prosecco topped up endlessly within a 2 hour window – a pretty good idea for a lazy Sunday! I ordered the pancakes with blueberries and coconut cream with a cheeky side of bacon. These pancakes were really unique and different from the standard buttermilk pancakes you usually tend to get for brunch. They were really thick and cakey making them super delicious and filling. They were just a hint fruity as well which actually complimented the salty, perfectly crispy bacon I ordered on the side. I also got a matcha latte which was nice and strong, how I like it when I’ve got a long day of eating and drinking ahead of me. I also absolutely loved the décor here, really simple and clean with stunning marble tables and an amazing neon sign with the motto I definitely live by: ‘Don’t just stare at it, eat it’. Check out Grind's menu on their website the food is so good you'll certainly be doing more than staring at it.

The motto I live by

CROSSTOWN DOUGHNUTS - SOHO

Seven Berry Doughnut
This doughnut shop has a really unique selection of flavours – like kiwi and green apple and beetroot lemon-thyme. I opted for Matcha and my friend went for Seven Berry. Mine was not only a matcha flavoured doughnut but also covered in lovely sweet matcha icing. I’ve always wondered why some places spell doughnuts D-O-N-U-T-S and others D-O-U-G-H-N-U-T-S but Crosstown have finally given me the answer as their delicious doughnuts are definitely on the doughy side. They are almost like cake in texture and actually pretty thick (I couldn’t even take a proper bite out of one… I posted a picture on Instagram with a bite taken out but that was actually after several bites!). I definitely recommend Crosstown if you’re looking for a pit-stop snack. I brought mine into the cinema with me (cheeky) and it was a great mid-day snack. We got our Crosstown Doughnuts from Soho but they also are available all across London. Check out their website to see more of their fun and unique flavour combos.

When your friends catch you taking pics of your food
CAMINO - BANKSIDE

Just a few of our tapas selection
We spent the rest of the day at the cinema watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (if you haven't seen it yet you need to for Baby Groot alone) and then headed off for some tapas and wine. We thought after a day of brunch and doughnuts, tapas would be a good way of being able to pick at a few things. Me and my friend ordered a few plates to share including the black pudding, cheese fritters, patatas bravas, croquettes, calamari and the prawns. The highlights for me were the cheese fritters which came with a slightly sweet and tangy tomato chutney and the croquettes. Oh man the croquettes are good, they are filled with potato, cheese and Serrano ham. I highly recommend them - although don't share they are tiny! Camino would make a great place for drinks and nibbles as well as they offer both cheese and ham platters and have a great wine menu. We went to the one in Bankside, but there are plenty dotted around London, check out their website for more details

VAGABOND WINES - VICTORIA

Can't beat a glass of red wine
I LOVE THIS PLACE! Definitely highly recommended if you love wine and you love controlling your intake of wine. We went to the new one in Victoria which was a good choice because it was pretty empty for a Saturday night. How it works is you get a card, top it up then use it to purchase your wine. You pay a £5 deposit for the card and then top up as much as you like. My friends kept their cards but I made sure to use all the money off mine then returned it to get my deposit back, since I wouldn’t be back for a while. There are a selection of wines at the middle of the bar from reds to whites to rosé. All you do is pop your glass under the tap (remember to do this!!! Or you’ll end up with wine down the drain), insert your card into the slot at the end of the row, then press a button and your chosen wine is poured straight into your glass. It’s a great way to try out new wines as you’re given the option of a taster sized measure, a regular glass or a large glass, priced accordingly. Most of the taster sized measures are around the £1-2 mark so you won’t feel like you’ve wasted money if you pick a wine you don’t like. The Vagabond in Victoria had a pretty decent selection and it was really great trying out a few different wines. There are also Vagabond wine bars all over London, check their website for one near you.

CEREAL KILLER CAFE - CAMDEN MARKET

The Frooty One
We initially planned to go to Camden Market for the Cheese Festival, however, the Cheese Festival had created some RIDICULOUS queues. I was pretty annoyed at the whole event to be honest, from what I'd heard of it it seemed to be the same stalls that are normally at Camden but hidden behind barriers and with a whole lot more people (gathered for the gimmick of the festival). I follow quite a few of the cheese related street food vendors on Instagram so I know most of them do Camden Market regardless of the festival (including the pasta tossed in the cheese wheel, the mac and cheese and the newly opened cheese bar). But because of the following the Festival had drummed up, it was impossible to get in without waiting in a queue for several hours. So despite my love for cheese and thus utter disappointment we passed on spending a day waiting in a queue (and that was just the queue to get in, let alone for actual food).

But at least this left the Cereal Killer Cafe, located within Camden Market, nice and empty (while it does fit the dairy theme, I don't think they decided to try selling cheese cereal for the festival). The decor in here is what is most impressive. If you were a kid in the 90's you'll appreciate this place, it is like someone took your childhood, turned it up full blast and exploded it all over a café. My favourite part were the single beds lined up as benches to sit on, adorned in a variety of 90's bedsheets including Taz and the Power Rangers. After you order your food you are given a VHS case of an epic 90's movie (we had Jumanji) so they know who to bring your order out to.


The menu is literally as you'd expect... all cereal. You can just straight up order a bowl of Lucky Charms or Rice Krispies... whatever you want! My friend ordered a bowl of what we called in France 'Smacks' aka Sugar Puffs because she hadn't had them since she was a kid. I wanted something a little more extravagant... are you even remotely surprised? While I was tempted by their cereal cocktails (a mixture of different cereals and sweets) I opted for a sweet beverage. You have the choice of loaded hot chocolates or milkshakes, decorated with sweets and cereals. I went for the 'Frooty One' a strawberry milkshake topped with whipped cream and what I believe are Fruity Pebbles? Think if a Unicorn swallowed an entire box of Corn Flakes then pooped them out all and they were covered in rainbows and magic... that's Fruity Pebbles. As overly sweet it was... I did really enjoy it! It went down a treat surrounded by walls decorated with my childhood. If you're a cereal fan as I am myself, it's definitely worth a visit even just to see the place!


HOMESLICE - COVENT GARDEN

20inches of heaven
If you're looking for good pizza and a lot of it you need to go looking for Homeslice hidden in Neal's Yard in Covent Garden. The place is small so you'll probably need to wait for a table (by table I mean share a bench with a bunch of strangers because all good pizza places make you sit at a bench with strangers) but the pizza is worth it. All their pizzas are 20inch and cooked as they should be in a wood fire oven. Their pizza toppings are pretty out there and unique and every time something caught our eye on the menu something in the list sounded a bit off. In the end we went for half margarita and half mushroom, ricotta, pumpkin seed and chilli. The mushroom side was SO good. It was tangy from the mushrooms, sweet from the ricotta, a little crunchy from the pumpkin seeds and had a bit of spice from the chilli. So good I think I could eat a whole 20inches of that pizza to myself. They also serve pizza by the slice if you're not a big fatty like me and deliver! I know where I'd be getting my pizzas if I lived in London.

So that's it! There are still so many places I want to try out in London but I sadly did not have the time or belly space. I love going down to London for a little weekend away so I will definitely be back soon to tick a few more places off my foodie bucket list - so stay tuned!

Friday, 28 April 2017

Brunch at The Huxley, Rutland Street

Last weekend I was invited to try out the Huxley's brunch menu and to say I was excited was an understatement. If you've read even one of my blog posts you've probably gathered that I am a die hard fan of a weekend brunch. I honestly can't remember a weekend where I didn't go for brunch. Breakfast food is the best because it's not only acceptable to have something sweet it is equally acceptable to have something savoury and even better is when you combine the two. Brunch is just a longer period of time where it is acceptable to eat breakfast foods and that is why I love it.

Right I've got to break the bad news to you first before I get to the good stuff. The menu I'm about to talk about is only available Sunday 12 noon – 5 pm. I know, I'm sad about it too. But if you're not out for brunch on a Sunday then you have serious issues anyway (or I'm starting to think I do given my unhealthy obsession with brunch).

Brunch with a view
When we arrived we were seated at this little corner of the building on the right-hand side when you come in. This is definitely where you want to sit if you're ever in the Huxley as it is the prime spot for views over the castle. We were there on a pretty nice day and the big windows really lit up the room. It was also the prime location for watching the tourists take pictures with the cow that sits outside the Huxley (not a real cow, a statue of a cow). We were especially amused when a couple of ladies got down on the ground and posed for a picture as if they were drinking milk straight from its udders! The staff don't seem to mind too much if people jump on for a photo op as long as they don't try and push the thing over. I'm not going to lie, I have vague memories of attempting to jump on that cow myself on a few very drunken occasions (sorry miss Huxley cow). In all seriousness, definitely asked to be seated at the windows if possible, it's great for people watching and fantastic views up to the castle.

The Sunday Brunch menu has a pretty diverse range of food from your breakfast-type foods such as avocado toast and fry-ups to your classic British Sunday lunch meals such as fish and chips or a burger. This means there's something for everyone, even if you're not a fan of breakfast (but in that case you wouldn't be my friend). There's a pretty diverse range of meals and even a couple salads (you know I barely even glanced at those though) although I will say there are only a handful of options on this menu for vegetarians.

Roast Beef Croque Monsieur
I brought my sister along for brunch and she ordered the 'Roast Beef Croque Monsieur', a twist on the classic French toasted sandwich in its use of beef and smoked applewood cheddar. She really enjoyed it and it wasn't too large a portion (ordinarily Croque Monsieurs tend to be absolutely ginormous by sandwich standards). It got the L'Appetite Foodie's sister's seal of approval!
Parmesan French Toast
I went for the 'Parmesan French Toast' which, spoiler alert, was so good, I'm already dying to go back for it. I don't often get to order French toast in restaurants because they usually use cinnamon in the egg mix (and I'm bizzarly allergic to cinnamon) as it tends to be a sweet meal, so I was really excited to see a good take on a savoury French toast. The fluffy and super cheesy parmesan French toast was topped with fried portobello mushrooms and garlic oil which went really well. If you're a fan of cheese and mushrooms like me then you'll love this.
Sweet Potato Pie
We didn't feel too overly full so we decided to have a glance at the dessert menu. The menu is just three items but at only £4.50 they're pretty affordable puddings. Upon our waiter's recommendation we went for the 'Sweet Potato Pie'. Now I didn't really know what to expect with this, but I'm an adventurous eater and love trying new things. The pie was a weird (but not bad weird, good weird) combination of sweet and savoury. The sweet potato pie was super creamy and the accompanied mild coconut ice cream really complimented it. I wasn't too keen on the pineapple and ginger compote that came with it as I couldn't stop thinking that it tasted like curry. Since the pie was not overly sweet I thought the pineapple and ginger compote would have complimented the pie better if it had been sweeter and fruitier. Instead the curry-type spices on the pineapple felt a bit out of place to me. But the pie itself was really delicious and exceeded my expectations – I'm definitely a new fan of sweet potato pies.

Overall I'd really recommend the Huxley to anyone looking for a spot of brunch, especially if you want to please a lot of people. Whenever me and my family go out somewhere for brunch there's always an argument between those that want the pancakes and bacon type brunch and those that want a big old burger, so the Huxley's menu would easily settle those disputes. I'd recommend you top your meal off with a couple of Mimosas because what's Funday without a couple drinks (especially if you're hanging – Mimosas are my favourite hair of the dog). Even if Mimosas aren't your thing they've got a pretty extensive cocktail menu aside from the classic brunch drinks (Mimosas, Bloody Mary and Espresso Martini). If you don't fancy boozing at all with your brunch the menu has a few smoothie and milkshake options that look great. 


The Huxley sits in a prime location at the end of Princes Street at the West End (you'll instantly recognise the cow) and offers great views of the castle. Whether you're a tourist or a local we never get tired of looking out onto our beautiful city. 

To check out the Huxley's Brunch and Daytime menu, head over to their website. Plus if you sign up to their mailing list you get 20% off!

Friday, 14 April 2017

Afternoon Tea at Tower Restaurant, Chambers Street


It was my mum’s birthday last weekend so I decided to get the family all together for a spot of afternoon tea. I decided to book a table at Tower Restaurant which sits at the top of the National Museum of Scotland, thus offering a fantastic view of the city. The weekend before had been pretty decent weather so I had my fingers crossed that we could make use of the restaurant’s terrace and we were in luck! That being said whether the sun is shining or not (and let’s face it, it’s more often the latter in Scotland), this restaurant is the perfect spot for gorgeous views over our beautiful city of Edinburgh and the castle. The indoors restaurant features window-side tables and circular booths (ideal for larger parties) so everyone gets a great view out the huge glass windows. I’m definitely keen to come back to Tower Restaurant and sit indoors as well, but we could not miss the opportunity to soak up the sun (it is after all a pretty rare occurrence).

Unbeatable view over the castle
The terrace is not as fancy in terms of décor as the interior of the restaurant, however, it definitely doesn’t get as much use as the indoors facilities so that is fair enough. It’s got a pretty cracking view and that’s all that really matters. It was quite difficult fitting all the afternoon tea cake stands, glasses, cutlery and cups of tea at the small outdoors tables, so I would say the outdoors is better equipped for a spot of lunch. The tables are quite small, but the waiters are happy to accommodate if you do want to sit outside. Our waitress was lovely, she was super friendly and patient with us despite the fact that we spent ages rearranging the tables so we could all get a spot in the sun (sorry about that guys ;)).

The selection of sweets and savouries
The food overall was really delicious but I would say that the sweet treats were the highlight. Our cake stands were adorned with the usual sandwiches, cakes and scones. They asked if we had any dietary requirements before bringing in our food so they’ll likely accommodate for most intolerances and allergies. The scones are mini but you do get two each, and trust me with all the other treats on the plate you’ll be happy they’re mini, and they come with the standard strawberry jam and clotted cream. We also got little mini lemon meringues, chocolate choux (like a profiterole) topped with a blackberry, and mini carrot cake slices (topped with adorable fondant carrots). The sandwiches themselves were not, in my opinion, particularly unique or special, apart from one. There was an egg mayo which was nice, one with just cucumber and a ham and mustard (not a big fan of mustard personally) all on plain old white bread. The savoury highlight was a salmon and beetroot mousse on little toasts which was really tasty (and seems to have completely hid in the shade for my photo). Luckily for my mum and I, the rest of the clan are not fishy people so we ended up eating most of these. Overall though the selection would appeal to most palates and we were pretty full up in the end.

The food and drinks at Tower Restaurant are a bit on the pricier side, but what we had to eat was definitely worth the price, especially with the added bonus of the location and views. The price for the afternoon tea menu was £26 per person, which is pretty standard in Edinburgh. It bumps up to £35 for an added glass of champagne. We opted for a tea themed cocktail from the afternoon tea menu which was an added £7 per cocktail. I had a ‘G and Tea’ which was deliciously sweet gin-infused tea with grandine, cranberry and grapefruit juice. My sisters and mum all had ‘Green Tea Mojitos’, a classic with a tea twist.

Overall this is a great little spot hidden above the museum (also worth wandering for a few hours for any tourists reading this), offering fantastic views over the city you’ll find hard to beat. I’m keen to try out their ordinary menu and indoor seating the next time I go. Their menu overall is on the pricier side, but this is definitely reflected in the food, décor and view. It would be the ideal place for a lunch break on a tour of the museum, but even if you're not interested in the museum it's a great find. I’d especially recommend Tower Restaurant for tourists as it offers a unique way to see the castle while enjoying a couple drinks and a lovely meal. For us locals, it's the kind of place to take someone for a treat, a birthday or event. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Badger & Co, Castle Street


Earlier this week I was invited to try out Badger and Co, a restaurant on Castle Street I've actually been dying to try out. Thankfully, I was far from disappointed.

I absolutely loved the décor in Badger and Co. Set in the former home of Kenneth Grahame, the author of the Wind in the Willows, the restaurant and bar is inspired by whimsical woodland animals. With luxurious brown leather couches and grand chandeliers, it has a real cosy vibe. The walls are adorned with quirky paintings of woodland animals (of course quite a few badgers) in human clothing. But enough about the décor, you're here to read about the food!

Grilled Scallop & Apple Black Pudding
For my starter I chose the 'grilled scallop and apple black pudding'. The scallops were cooked beautifully and I'm a big fan of this classic combo. The tomato and pepper confit was a bit sweet and really complimented the saltiness of the black pudding. It was a well sized portion as well perfect for moving on to a filling main course...

Game Pie
Inspired by the cosy, warming feel of the décor, I decided to order as my main one of their gourmet pies. A 'game pie' is not something I'd normally order off a menu (especially with warnings of potential traces of shot), but inspired by the woodland theme I gave it a go and was really pleasantly surprised. The pie was packed full of tender, beautifully cooked meat in a delicious stout gravy. The pastry was flaky on top and buttery on the inside, just how I like it. It was super filling but just at the right amount for a good winter's meal (I know it's Spring, but come on guys we live in Scotland). I'd like to take this time to make a special shout out to the fries – they were amazing! Let's be honest, it's hard to make chips stand out but Badger and Co's hand cut chips really did. They also have 'triple cooked beef dripping chips' I'd be eager to try next time I'm back (and not sharing with a vegetarian friend).

While I'm on the subject of my vegetarian friend, I would have to say that the veggie options were a bit limited. The menu caters really well to us meat-eaters and pescatarians, but not so much for vegetarians. She wanted to order the soup of the day as a starter, but the waitress kindly warned us that it was really spicy, so she went for the goat's cheese starter instead which she did enjoy but was the only thing she could order. She was also a little disappointed in her 'vegetable patch pie' as it wasn't a hearty pastry based pie like mine was.

Caramelised Banana Parfait
For my dessert I went for the 'caramelised banana parfait' which topped a piece of toasted banana bread and came with a side of roasted figs. This was delicious, and again not too big a portion, so the ideal way to finish off a meal without feeling like you're going to burst out your belt.


Each page of the menu even recommends a drink choice to perfectly accompany your meal, putting in that bit of detail really makes a menu stand out. Speaking of drinks, they have really unique and tasty cocktail menu, as well as a little outdoor patio downstairs, dubbed their outdoor riverbank area, that would be the perfect place for after work drinks (providing the weather is above the Scottish average). Both of the cocktails we ordered were great, my favourite was actually my friend's 'Pimms in the Willows' a delicious combination of plum and vanilla flavoured Edinburgh Gin, Pimms, plum, mint and ginger ale, I can imagine drinking far too many of these on a warm summer's night out on the riverbank area.

Overall, Badger and Co's warming atmosphere is really echoed in its menu, with hearty pies and tasty classic British dishes, it is definitely one of the nicer places to eat in the centre of Edinburgh (the centre is far too bombarded with chain restaurants). I feel like I say this every time (because I'm obsessed with brunch and breakfast food) but I am really keen to come try out their breakfast menu. I'd also love to bring my mum along as she loves woodland animals.


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