4 July 2013

Festival Foodie Guide

THE EDINBURGH FESTIVAL is soon upon us and I wanted to give visitors to our wonderful city a quick guide to the best places to eat and drink in Edinburgh.  

With such a vast array of great pubs and restaurants, here are my recommendations that'll leave you reminiscing about the Edinburgh food and drink scene for years to come:

Fine Dining


Don't let the 'fine dining' heading put you off here... you simply won't find this level of cooking for better value anywhere in Edinburgh.  Chef Paul Gunning has put together a menu that proudly showcases the finest local produce with stunning presentation and imagination. There's no pretentiousness with Purslane - just excellent and honest food from a chef on top of his game.

33a St. Stephen St., Stockbridge,
Edinburgh, EH3 5AH
0131 226 3500

Pub Grub

Nobles Bar

The perfect place to enjoy great value, top quality food and a great selection of beers and the whiskys.  Proudly using the finest local ingredients, Nobles is a very relaxing place to enjoy a few drinks and food that is far better quality and value than you'll find in the usual overpriced tourist spots. They also have live music on later in the night, which only adds to the atmosphere. Highly recommend their burgers!
44a Constitution Street, 
Leith, Edinburgh,
0131 629 7215

New Kid on the Block


Field opened in January of this year and has made quite the impression on the Edinburgh food scene with it's relaxed approach to fine dining.

From field to fork is very much the philosophy used by chef Gordon Craig, who's background includes some of the finest establishments in the UK, most notably working under the Roux family at The Waterside Inn.

This city centre restaurant boasts a superb menu with a great range of dishes that, not only showcase the best seasonal ingredients, but will leave you wanting to come back for more.

41 West Nicolson Street,
Edinburgh, EH8 9DB 
0131 667 7010

Beer and Whisky

The Bow Bar

For cask ales and whisky this is simply one of the very best bars in town. With over 200 malts, eight regularly changing beer casks and a wide range of beers from around the world, the Bow Bar is a must visit for any beer or whisky connoisseur.

The staff boast expert knowledge of their drink and expertly find something to suit any palette.  You can even bring some cheese over from I.J Mellis cheese mongers over the road and they'll happily sort you out with knives, plates and beers to suit your cheese!

Situated just off the Grassmarket, one of the things i love about this bar is that they don't allow tacky hen or stag parties to disturb your drinking enjoyment! 

80 West Bow, Victoria StreetEdinburghEH1 2HH

1 July 2013

Review: Field

WHEN YOU THINK of the name Field, you think of grassy pastures, hills and fresh air.  Field’s mission statement is to take the concepts of Michelin dining and turn it into a relaxed affair and that’s a breath of fresh air indeed.

Opening in January of this year, the restaurant is run by an ambitious team who have taken their experiences from several notable establishments and put their own spin on fine dining.

Chef Gordon Craig for example, has worked at the Roux family’s Waterside Inn, the Michelin starred Peat Inn and the Plumed Horse, while Maître D’ Richard Conway worked at the later as restaurant manager.

My partner Sarah couldn’t manage to this one, so I invited my brother Chris instead and he kindly added some professional photography skills to my humble blog. 

Richard greeted us warmly when we arrived  and we admired the freshness and feel of the dining area as the sunshine beamed through the windows. 

Instantly relaxed, you could tell there was going to be no pretention about Field and the giant cow picture brought both a talking point and a statement about the ethos of the restaurant.

Our menus came playfully in a luminous green picture frames and offered an intriguing mix of seasonal dishes.  

As we awaited our order, we tucked into some delicious homemade sun dried tomato bread.  Always pleasing to see bread being made in house.

Chris opted for the asparagus, poached egg, parmesan crisp and pickled shimeji (£5.95), while I went for beetroot cured Scottish salmon, citrus crème fraiche, raisin and caper compote, pickled peppers and crispy crab ball (£5.25).

My starter was the perfect choice for a summery day: fresh, clean, light and zingy, it utilised the colours on the plate well and showed off some good quality ingredients.

The salmon was wonderfully tender and paired well with the bite of the pickled peppers. The citrus of the crème fraiche and flavours of the compote really excited the palette. The crab ball was crisp and had a pleasant note of dill through it, which I really liked.

Chris’s asparagus came nicely chargrilled and still had suitable bite to it.  He burst the egg yolk to release a rich and velvety liquid centre that complimented the asparagus. The pickled mushroom gave a good contrast to the plate too, while the sauce brought it together. 

This dish was simple yet effective and the chef really allows the ingredients to do the talking.

I’m a man who really enjoys a good burger and after a fellow blogger recommended Field’s chorizo burger (£9.95)  earlier in the week, my mind was already made up on my main course.

Moist and tasty, the burger didn’t disappoint.  It was a tad pink in places, which would probably put a few people off but I like my meat that way and gladly polished it off.  The sweet potato chips were very earthy and without a hint of grease on them.   

However, the spicy mayo could have done with a bit more oomph for me.

Enjoying his first Phil’s Food World outing, Chris went for the pan friend hake with creamed sweetcorn, avocado, chorizo and chunky chips (£11.95). 

The hake was very fresh and the flesh inside soft and flaky but we felt the skin could have been crisper.  Chris enjoyed the creamed sweetcorn in particular, as it partnered the fish superbly and was well seasoned and vibrant.   

You could tell the perfectly uniform manner in which the chorizo and avocado had been cut that this is a chef that cares what comes out of his kitchen.

Chris’s generous portion of chips was equally as good as mine, which shows a good level of consistency and they dipped nicely into the creamed corn too!

So, to the third and final course and I went for coconut panna cotta with roasted pineapple and creamed gingerbread (£4.95) with Chris selecting peach tart tatin with Birds custard ice cream (£5.50).

The panna cotta was just set and no more and tasted pleasant.  The coconut on the outside added texture and enhanced the coconut taste of the mild set cream.

The pineapple in this Caribbean inspired dish worked with the coconut but could have been roasted a little more to add another dimension of flavour.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really get anything from the gingerbread cream element.

Chris ordered peach tart tatin with Birds custard ice cream and was impressed with the way the home-made ice cream balanced out the sharpness of syrup. The tart itself was very tasty and the pastry was expertly cooked. The ice cream was certainly a notable highlight of this pudding.

Field has only been open around six months and is certainly one to watch. The team’s philosophies and menus are excellent and extremely good value for money. It’ll be interesting to see the restaurant develop in the near future.

I have to say it’s certainly one of the friendliest and most relaxing restaurants I’ve visited in a while.

Field offers a lunch and pre-theatre menu for £11.95 (two courses) or £14.50 (three courses).

41 West Nicolson Street,
Edinburgh, EH8 9DB


Opening times:

Lunch: 12.00pm - 2.00pm
Pre-Theatre: 5.30pm - 6.45pm
Dinner: 5.30pm - 9.00pm
Field will be open seven days during the Edinburgh Festival.