Sunday, 30 March 2008

A mini-adventure

Whilst out for a drink one evening, myself and Him Indoors hatched a plan for this Saturday. We were going to walk in a big circle from the flat taking in as many shops and eating emporiums as I wanted on the way. No big deal you might think, but you'd be wrong. It's a very big deal. You see, Him Indoors is not called such for no good reason. He has been likened to that most rare of flowers, the orchid, requiring a very exact and controlled environment to ensure full bloom, namely the warmth, safety and comfort of The Sofa. Him Indoors has been known to spend a whole weekend from Friday to Monday in the flat, not leaving once. So, for him to volunteer to not only leave the flat but go for the walk was quite astounding. It was our mini-adventure and it was unhindered by the wet and the wind.

Our first stop was Sonny and Vitos.




Now, I have a love/ hate relationship with this place and it probably is more to do with me being difficult than anything.

It all started when K and I went for some Brunch at twelve o'clock. Brunch it seems is a convention that occurs everywhere else but here.
I wanted their very fine muesli, he wanted a meat platter.
I was told I could not have the muesli as they stopped serving it at 12. I pointed out that it was only quarter past and could I please, pretty please, have some. 'No' was the reply, and they wouldn't budge. I tried logic with them, it would make them £4.50 and it involved minimum effort- 'No'. I tried humour - did it magically turn into a pumpkin at 12pm? ( well, in my head anyway). I tried stubbornness: 'Oh well then I want nothing. I will sit here and starve whilst my friend eats his meat platter' 'OK then' and off she went. Harrumph.

So, since then I have not been back, which is a shame because they do lovely fresh baked goods and have some tasty deli meats on offer. Probably a case of my cutting off my nose to spite my face.

On our walk we had these tasty drinks to quench our thirst. I had the apple and elderflower which was like a posh version of Coppela and He had the pear and ginger which was more interesting but not as refreshing.




Our lunch destination was a place called Stravaigin 2 which is the sister restaurant to Stravaigin (affectionately refferred to as Strav).

Stravaigin holds a special place in my heart as it is one of the few places that does consistently good food. In addition to this is has a great atmosphere and the staff and nice and friendly. As a result I end up going there pretty much once a week and invariably end up having a burger. It is gratifying to see that this week it was listed in the Food Monthly as one of the 'best places for dinner in Scotland'.

The Stravaigin burger to me is a thing of joy. Nothing else seems to be quite as satisfying, and this is in a place that has a pretty good menu. The chef has a lot of talent, changes the menu regularly and uses locally sourced Scottish produce to produce dishes that are both inventive and tasty. When I have all of this why would I want to go anywhere else? And to go to a place that might be a poor relation? No, I couldn't.

This was a source of consternation to Him Indoors as one of the things that set them apart was that Stravaigin 2 had a larger burger menu, featuring boar and ostrich. It even has a triple burger with beef, boar and ostrich. This had made Him Indoors want to leave the flat, so I succumbed and agreed to go. I was relieved when we got there. It was no competition. I had felt slightly odd going there. I didn't have to worry , even though the staff were pleasant and efficient the atmosphere couldn't in any way compete with the original. Then there was the food. The menu was not as inspired as Strav and there was nothing on it apart from the burger that I wanted to eat (at Strav even though I usually have the burger there are usually 3 or 4 other dishes that take my fancy). Even this I justified to myself as a taste- test, something to compare to the original and the best. Disappointingly, they did not have any Boar or Ostrich.

Undeterred, Him Outdoors ordered the triple burger with beef, Thai chicken and lamb with chili and coriander. This is the beast:




As you can see its quite a mammoth amount of protein. Our friend Damian had joined us and it took the three of us to finish it. Individually the meat patties were very good- moist, well marinaded and charred nicely, but together they made an odd taste sensation.

This was my burger:




Which I have to say was pretty good and not that dis-similar to the one at the old faithful. It comes with cheese, Ramsey of Carluke's bacon and sliced Habanero chillies. At the back is another reason to go to Stravaigin-the chips. These beauties are crispy on th outside and soft on the inside and when sprinkled with sea salt and dunked in mayonnaise, are one of the most heavenly incarnation of the potato to be found.

All this protein and carbs stood us in good stead for our next destination which was the bar at Hotel Dy Vin. We had been there for dinner a couple of weeks ago and Him Indoors had been particularly impressed by the cocktail list and by their execution by the bar tender. Him Indoors is partial to a Martini as is quite exacting when it comes to cocktails.

I had a Londoner, not visible, which had Tanquery 10, St Germain liqueur, sugar syrup and soda in it, and HI had a Lucien Gaudin which had equal measures of Campari, Cointreau, Gin and Vermouth in it. Ouch.




Damian, whose leg you can just see, had a Long Island tea with all the requisite spirits in it, which he quaffed in no time at all. So satisfying did it seem that I had one next, whilst HI had a smoking Martini which involves a Pernod rinsed martini glass, Ketel 1 vodka and 10yr old Laphroaig . Double ouch.

We all agreed that this was a most pleasant way of spending a wet Saturday afternoon and we left friscalating. We toddled home via this very nice deli aptly called Delizique:




Where I purchased these little treats:




Bolo de nata aka Portugese custard tarts. We lucked out, these had just been baked and were oozy and gooey inside. Although still yummy after a day the insides go a bit more solid.

And these:






thin crisp shells of chocolate coated in cocoa filled with liquid salted caramel. Damn fine but damn expensive!

1 comment:

Damian said...

Being unhappy with the amount of attention payed to me in the above article, I feel I must point out that I was the life and soul of this day's drinking...

No diggity?
No doubt.

D