Saturday, 5 April 2008
The name means 'wandering about without aim' from the old Scots and with a tag line of 'think global, eat local' that's exactly what the menu at Stravaigin does. There is evidence of influence form many cuisines, Thai and Spanish being favourites, with an interpretation using local produce. For those of you that like to know the name of the animal you are eating, where he was born and what he had for his last supper, this is the place for you.
The atmosphere is cosy and bustling. In the upstairs bar they don't take reservations but the wait is made less painful by ordering a drink at the bar. The downstairs restaurant does take bookings, but compared to up-stairs is a bit characterless. How can you compete with a Highland Cow's head sitting next to you? Sitting up-stairs you have the best of both world's , you get the buzz, the bar menu and the downstairs menu, which is why if I can choose, I will always sit upstairs.
One of the good things about Stravaigin is that they can make a decent cocktail. I, myself am partial to a Margarita
and think the one made by the young guy with the tat's, among the best I have had. Him Indoors, as you know, is partial to a Martini and thinks that the Gibson you get here is passable (high praise indeed). K likes a French Martini (don't ask) and I have to say the Caipiriniha's and Pisco sours are pretty good too.
If you have read a mini-adventure, you will know how dear Stravaigin is to me. I go there usually once a week. I know that the staff instead of putting my name down or a table draw a margarita glass, as, invariably that's what I have. A margarita and a burger with the works (Ramsay of Carluke's bacon, cheddar,fresh sliced Habanero chili's - ouch).
Much to Damian's chagrin this order is always accompanied by a request for mayonnaise (for the chips) and some raw red onion to go on my burger. I don't know why he finds this bemusing, as most of the staff know to include it anyway..I wonder if it is that I also ask for it in Mother India's Cafe and have it on my pizza? Maybe he just needs to get over it.
It didn't always used to be like this. I only really discovered this place about two years ago. Him Indoors and I had dropped in for some lunch one Saturday, and I had been intrigued by a Rabbit Wellington served with beetroot chutney that was on the specials menu. One bite and I was hooked. It was great. Bite size chunks of Rabbit (shot removed), mushroom Duxelle and buttery flakey puff pastry that had gone all wodgey. This in combination with the beetroot chutney made me realise I was somewhere different, somewhere special (it seems I am not the only one to realise the merits of this place - it was mentioned in the Observer Food Monthly this month as one of the best places to eat in Scotland, alongside my other, Edinburgh favourite - Martin Wishart). I had come back a week later with K in tow. At that time I wasn't eating Beef but K had ordered the burger and was making such rapturous noises over it that, despite the habit of a life-time I had a bite. And that was that. I have been eating Beef ever since, not only that, I think with the exception of a couple of weeks here and there, I have had a burger every week since.As We are wont to do we have given the Burger a nickname- the BumRaa and the double burger the Double BumRaa (don't ask me why, it just is). As I have said before it's not that there is nothing else that takes my fancy, as it does, it's that there is a certain comfort in the burger. It's just so satisfying.
Last night for example both Damian and Victoria had this lovely pork loin dish:
and Him Indoors ordered the beef and chocolate chipotle.
Now, this surprised me. I had not realised the full extent of his devotion to the Red. This was the third night in a row he would be eating Chili. Of course, he wanted to compare this to his own. Rather smugly he sat back in the knowledge that his own Red (was to him) superior.