Welcome to the 5pm blog

Food news, restaurant news, offers and promotions and general musings

Subscribe to RSS

If you enjoy the blog, make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed.



The List Eating and Drinking Guide is out

List eating

The 21st edition of The List's Eating and Drinking Guide is in the shops today and, as happens every year, it is bigger than before.

According to Editor Donald Reid, the latest edition contains some 158 new entries out of an incredible 950 reviews. Covering restaurants, bars and cafes, it is by far the most comprehensive guide to eating out in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The 5pm Dining blog was at the Edinburgh launch of the Guide in the Scottish Cafe and Restaurant under the Scottish National Gallery.

Impeccably sourced

We were delighted to see Fred Berkmiller being given a special award for his contribution to Scotland's food culture.

Chef patron of L'escargot Bleu and Blanc, Fred's cooking is French but the ingredients he uses are impeccably sourced from Scottish producers.

One of the driving forces behind the Budding Chefs scheme, which encourages new talent, Fred has also done a huge amount to champion local farmers, fishermen and even snail producers.

Carnivorous treats

A new development for the Guide is their new bar award. In Glasgow, the excellent Meat Bar took the prize for their dedication to providing both fine carnivorous treats and inventive cocktails.

In Edinburgh, Blackfriars won on account of their imaginative approach to bar snacks which range from proper pork pies to sprouting broccoli with goat’s curd.

In Glasgow, the newcomers of the year were named as The Gannet in Finnieston and Singl-End by Glasgow Art School – two worthy winners.

In Edinburgh, The Atelier on Morrison Street got the nod as did Ting Thai Caravan, a personal favourite of this blogger.

 

 

 

 



Tony Singh opens new restaurant in West Linton

Tony is getting Tasty.

Tony is getting Tasty.

The 5pm Dining blog has always had a soft spot for the chef Tony Singh ever since we interviewed him on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

It was way back in the uncertain mists of the Nineties. Or perhaps it was the early 2000s. It was yonks ago, anyway.

Just a slip of a lad back then, Tony was the chef on the yacht and had just won the first of many awards.

It was an early morning interview- possibly not peak time for either of us - and Tony got the ball rolling by rustling up some breakfast. It felt slightly odd to be scoffing bacon sarnies in the Queen’s former dining room.

Anyway, I was sad to see his Oloroso restaurant go under but pleased when Tony subsequently popped up on the Great British Menu and The Incredible Spice Men with Cyrus Todiwala.

Having done various pop-ups, it seems that the irrepressible, Leith-born chef is about to launch his latest, permanent venture.

Distinctive style

Tony says 'I have been searching for a restaurant since the sale of Oloroso and finally I have found it. I will be bringing my own distinctive style of cooking to The Old Bake House, Main Street, West Linton 20 minutes from Edinburgh.’

The Old Bake House’s current owners, Fiona and Steve, are delighted to be passing the reigns over to Tony, saying ‘We have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the last nine and a half years years and couldn’t have wished for anyone better to hand over to. We wish Tony all the best.’

New book: Tasty

Tony will take control of The Old Bake House at the end of April and will be putting his own unique twist on it.

The new restaurant is scheduled to launch at the same time as his new book, Tasty, towards the end of May.

You don't have to be mad to work here...

You don't have to be mad to work here...



A dram good time at Arisaig

Scotch Broth events match food and whisky on a molecular level.

Scotch Broth events match food and whisky on a molecular level.

Happily, there is less than a month to go before the Homecoming Whisky Month pops its cork.

If malt whisky makes your mouth water then the 5pm Dining blog suggests you cast an eye over the four whisky dinners taking place at Arisaig in Glasgow’s Merchant Square during May.

With over a hundred single malts on offer, the contemporary Scottish restaurant has always been a haven for whisky lovers.

To celebrate Homecoming Whisky Month, the restaurant is hosting four entertaining and informative dinners with Scotland’s national drink at the heart of each evening.

Sensory whisky journey

The first event takes place on Friday 9th May with Scotch Broth events taking guests on a sensory journey through the world of whisky.

Called the Malts and Molecules Whisky Dinner, the evening promises to be a fun look at the science of whisky tasting.

As well as sensory experiments, the event will feature a four course dinner with each dish matched to selected whiskies on a molecular level.

Scotch and wry

On Friday 16th May and World Whisky Day on Saturday 17th of May, comic Alan Anderson will be entertaining guests at Arisaig with a live version of his acclaimed, online, Whisky Comedian chat show.

Featuring a tongue-in-cheek but informative interview with top whisky industry professionals, Alan aims to get to the heart of Scotland’s greatest export over a delicious three course dinner.

Alan’s irreverent but loving approach to whisky has had audiences crying with laughter from Adelaide to Islay. Al Murray, The Pub Landlord, Annie Mac, Madness and the Top Gear team are among the fans that have enjoyed his whisky tasting comedy.

The Whisky Comedian Alan Anderson contemplates another dram.

The Whisky Comedian Alan Anderson contemplates another dram.

Tall tales with Simply Whisky

On Friday 30th May, Simply Whisky will be looking at the stories behind Scotch; its provenance and the craftsmanship needed to create this fascinating drink.

With the aid of several drams, Simon Roser and Franchi Ferla will explain the mysteries of tasting whisky; test guests on their knowledge of the whisky regions and toast the amber liquid’s unique heritage.

All events start at 7pm for 7.30pm. Tickets all cost £55.

Simply Whisky like to look smart when dramming it up.

Simply Whisky like to look smart when dramming it up.



La Bonne Auberge calls action on dinner and a movie

La Bonne Auberge: make your own rom com over dinner.

La Bonne Auberge: make your own rom com over dinner.

It’s a foolish man or woman who takes advice from the 5pm Dining blog on affairs of the heart.

Need a tip on how to make the perfect G ‘n’ T or how to produce great egg-fried rice and we’re happy to chirp away.

Got man/woman troubles? You’d be better off consulting a balloon on a stick.

That said, we do know that dinner and a movie is always a great date.

Theatreland location

Happily the lovely people at La Bonne Auberge in Glasgow are making the most of their location in Theatreland and offering diners a food and film package.

The restaurant’s blockbuster offer invites diners to enjoy an award-winning, two course dinner in the AA Rosette-garlanded restaurant with a ticket for any 2D film at the CineWorld Cinema directly opposite.

The cost? £19.95 per person; which is roughly what you would spend on popcorn if you hadn’t eaten before the film.

Paid parking

And the enterprising restaurant will even pay the parking fee for diners who park after 5pm at Concert Square Car Park, directly opposite the brasserie. All they have to do is show their ticket to the Maitre’D and it will be stamped as paid.

Lunch offer

Not that you have to take the dinner and movie package to benefit from the largesse of La Bonne Auberge. Lunch time diners spending some time in Glasgow can take advantage of eight hours parking for only £5 at Concert Square Car Park as the Maitre’D can provide a voucher that will amend eight hour parking costs to only £5.

‘Yippee kay ay!’ as you might exclaim if you had just been to see Die Hard 87.



Edinburgh Whisky Stramash returns

The Surgeon's Hall is again the venue for the Whisky Stramash.

The Surgeon's Hall is again the venue for the Edinburgh Whisky Stramash.

Like whisky? Yes?

Then you will probably already know that Homecoming Scotland’s Whisky Month gets underway in May.

There are loads of events taking place across Scotland including Glasgow’s Whisky Festival at The Arches on World Whisky Day on Saturday 17th March.

The 5pm Dining blog will cover lots of the events in due course.

Edinburgh-based whisky lovers and, of course, intrepid travellers may wish to keep their powder dry for The Edinburgh Whisky Stramash which is returning to the Surgeon’s Hall in Scotland’s capital on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th May.

Now in its third year, the organisers make a habit of keeping schtumm about many of its more quirky features. This year is no exception.

High jinx

What they will say is that ‘Whisky Stramash will bring whisky-inspired fun and frivolity to Edinburgh, with high-jinx characters and thought-provoking activities.  It showcases new ways to enjoy whisky with madcap molecular mixology stations as well as bringing famous whisky brands to life with immersive and interactive experiences.’

Deomstrations of the cooper's art have been part of former Stramashes.

Deomstrations of the cooper's art have been part of former Stramashes.

40% of last year’s attendees were female

The event certainly fulfils its remit to move the perception of whisky away from the stereotype that it is an old man’s drink. In 2013 the event attracted 2,400 attendees over two days. Forty per cent of them were women and the average age of blokes at the bash was 36 while the women averaged out at 34 years of age.

Big name brands

Big name brands including The Dalmore, Isle of Jura, Dewars  and Glenfiddich, as well as small independents within the industry, are already signed up to showcase their whiskies.

Not your average whisky event, the Whisky Stramash has attracted over 4,000 whisky lovers from across the globe since its launch in 2012.

Tickets are on sale now from Ticketsoup. Ticket prices are £26 per person.  Event session times: noon, 5pm.
Event Tel: 0844 481 8898



Raise a dram to your whisky clan

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 11.35.36

So, what clan are you? And we’re not talking about Game of Thrones.

As part of Homecoming Scotland’s Whisky Month in May, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is launching a Clans & Drams project.

The Society, which bottles single cask single malt whiskies from a huge range of distilleries, has created twelve special whisky clans based on flavour profiles.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 11.36.14

Spicy and sweet

It works on the idea that every traditional family clan has attributes such as bravery, honesty or dexterity that defines them.

The Society have taken real clan mottos and personalities and attributed these to their flavour clans. They include the fiery Spicy and Sweet and the majestic Deep, Rich & Dried Fruits.

Mark van der Vijver, UK Sales Manager for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society said: ‘We believe it’s really important for our members not to have any preconceptions based on traditional whisky regions or distillery brands when choosing a whisky.

Focus on flavour

‘We encourage everyone to focus on the flavours within each whisky so they don’t miss out on discovering something they may not usually try. Clans & Drams embodies this concept by taking a playful approach to traditional clans and creating our own flavour-based whisky clans.’

Normally a members only club, the Society is opening its two branches in Edinburgh and its London outpost to non-members throughout May so that everybody can try to find their perfect whisky clan.

The Clans & Drams project is just one of several that the SMWS is running in May. A full list of the events can be found here. They are open to members and non-members alike.

The following especially caught our eye:

EDINBURGH WHISKY FESTIVAL 2014,

SMWS is back at The Hub with their friends, The Whisky Lounge, to kick off Whisky Month and Homecoming 2014. The second Edinburgh WhiskyFest will offer drams and food to match.

Sat 26th April, noon- 5pm, The Hub, Castlehill, Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NE

SEAFOOD AND WHISKY DINNER

A celebration of the best Scottish seafood, paired with SMWS whiskies and served with entertaining tales from Jimmy Buchan of BBC series, Trawlerman.

Thu 29th May, 7pm-10pm, The Vaults, Leith.

CLANS AND DRAMS TASTING

In celebration of Homecoming Scotland, local Society Ambassadors will help guests find their Flavour Clan with a range of tasty SMWS whiskies and a delicious supper.

Thu 29th May, 7pm-10pm, Garvock House Hotel, St Johns Drive, Dunfermline, KY12 7TB

Fri 30th May, 7pm-10pm, Radisson Blu Hotel, 301 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8DL

They are all open to non-members. Call 0131 555 2929 (Mon-Fri 9am-4.45pm) to book tickets.

Food and whisky pairing is always fun at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.

Food and whisky pairing is always fun at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.



Aizle opens

Aizle's dish of pork cheek, pig ear crackling, turnip, radish, watercress, togarashi

Aizle's dish of pork cheek, pig ear crackling, turnip, radish, watercress and togarashi.

The 5pm Dining blog had a fun evening last night at a preview of Aizle, a new restaurant on Edinburgh's St Leonard's Street.

Regular blog readers may recall that we wrote about it a couple of weeks back but, for those who missed it, here are the basics.

Aizle is co-owned by husband and wife team Stuart Ralston and Krystal Goff. Stuart cooks while Krystal is front of house and makes a mean cocktail. Try the Sparky Jay – a turbo-charged G ‘n’ T.

They have a background in high end restaurants and bars around the world including stints in New York, Barbados and working with a certain Mr Ramsay.

Unconventional

The idea behind Aizle is to have no menu. Or at least not in a conventional sense.

Instead, diners are presented with a list of potential ingredients and asked to cross off any they don’t like.

Stuart then takes each list and prepares a four course dinner for £35.

Best produce

It makes choosing a bottle of wine slightly tricky although the easy solution is to order by the glass.

It’s a system which has definite benefits. Stuart gets to create dishes with the best produce that his suppliers can provide on the day and adventurous diners get a surprise with every course.

Last night, among other ingredients, the list included Mallaig skate wing, Wye Valley asparagus, sweet cicely, sea lettuce, Yorkshire rhubarb, Inverurie hogget and heritage carrots along with a couple of things that I had to look up.

Congrats if you know what chawanmushi is without Googling it.

Unexpected flavour combos

There is little point describing each dish we ate as tonight's menu will almost certainly be different.

What we can say is that Stuart’s dishes are beautifully presented; use unexpected flavour combos and feature an eye-opening range of textures.

If your idea of a good meal is meat and two veg then you probably won’t like Aizle. If you enjoy being surprised, intrigued and possibly mystified by every mouthful then book a seat now.

There is nothing else quite like it in Edinburgh. Although if you crossed the Gardener’s Cottage with Paul Kitching’s 21212 then you might come close.

Aizle's presentation is playful.

Aizle's presentation is playful.

 



Innis and Gunn HQ launch

The rather stylish Drawing Room at the new Innis and Gunn HQ and events space.

The rather stylish Drawing Room at the new Innis and Gunn HQ and events space.

‘Learn something new every day, even if you forget what it was two days later’ is the motto of the 5pm Dining Blog.

Never let it be said that we are not ambitious in our continuous personal development targets.

Last week, at the official launch of the Innis & Gunn HQ on Edinburgh’s Randolph Crescent, we learned that Innis & Gunn Original beer pairs incredibly well with Isle of Mull Cheddar while their Rum Finish matches well with Strathdon Blue.

Trust us, you’ll thank the blog for those little nuggets the next time you have friends around for dinner.

Georgian townhouse

Anyway, the Innis & Gunn HQ is well worth a visit. A Georgian townhouse in the West End, it has two floors which are given over to public tastings and food matching events as well as hosting private launches, dinners and conferences which can all be tailored to suit clients’ needs and budgets.

There are four spaces available: the Drawing Room is a rather elegant reception space with an open fire and custom-built oak bar. Also on the ground floor is the Dining Room which can sit up to 24 for dinner.

Downstairs is The Boardroom with all the AV stuff needed for modern meetings plus the cosy Beer Kitchen – a sample cellar with four draught lines pouring two beers from Innis & Gunn’s core range and two rotating limited edition brews.

Canapés to three course dinners

It’s all backed up by Chef Russell Smith who can cook up everything from canapés to three course private dining.

You can view all the events which are open to the public from here. The forthcoming haggis event – James Macsween Haggis Hero – taking place on Tuesday 6th May should be a great evening.

Cheers!

Scotch eggs made with haggis. Which Innis and Gunn brew will they match best with?

Scotch eggs made with haggis. Which Innis and Gunn brew will they match best with?



Piaf night at Le Bistro Beaumartin

 

Rather like Edith Piaf, the 5pm Dining blog ne regrette rien. Except perhaps that large wedge of Camembert we rather unwisely demolished just before bedtime last night.

We’re certain that you won’t regret anything if you sashay along to Le Bistro Beaumartin on Saturday 26th April.

On that evening, the marvelous Christine Bovill (that’s her in the YouTubeclip) will be performing her acclaimed Piaf show at the Hope Street restaurant.

Guests will enjoy a welcome drink, three course a la carte dinner and two forty minute performances from La Bovill.

Troubled chanteuse

Packed with memorable songs made famous by the troubled chanteuse, Bovill’s Piaf show has been a huge hit at the Edinburgh Fringe for the last three years.

The Scotsman has given the show five stars while the Sunday Times noted that the show was ‘something that will stay with you for the rest of your life’.

Authentic Gallic cooking

Le Bistro Beaumartin has also had its fair share of plaudits.

The List’s Eating and Drinking Guide reckoned that ‘Le Bistro Beaumartin is an independent with real strength of personality that prides itself on marrying the spoils of Scotland’s natural larder to authentic Gallic cooking techniques’.

5pm customers have given the restaurant a healthy rating of 4.1/5.

The evening starts at 6.30pm and tickets for dinner and the show cost £50 a head. You can book here.



Family friendly restaurants in Glasgow

This week on 5pm Dining we've been looking at family friendly restaurants. Eating out with children can be a challenge and it can often be tricky to find restaurants which easily accommodate children as well as provide a quality dining experience for mum and dad.

Real mums and dads

We decided the best way to recommend family friendly restaurants was to ask YOU. Sure, a restaurant might provide a children's menu, but it's the real mums and dads who know the details which matter - space for a buggy, changing facilities, accommodating staff. With that in mind, we asked this question on our Facebook page:

_____

Answers:

_____

Nicola McFadyen: Cafe Andaluz are great with my 2 year old.

Kerry-Ann Begbie: Cafe Andaluz all the way!

CAFE ANDALUZ

£13.95 For 3 Tapas + Dessert from Cafe Andaluz City Centre and West End.

_____

Mhari Riddell: Soho Miller Street town centre is brill.

Soho_pic_big

£14.50 For 2 Courses + Drink from Soho on Miller Street

_____

Joanne Buchan: Sapporo Tepanyaki in Glasgow. Food is fantastic, service is fab and u get a wee bit of entertainment.

EDr7TeNLPD4

£16.95 for 3 Courses from Sapporo Teppanyaki

_____

Lauren Murphy: The Byre East Kilbride are very family friendly! Lots of things for little ones they can make their own pizzas, there a park in it and also bouncy castle and face painting in the nice weather.

XlWKmf0JBhO

£13.99 For 2 Courses from Bothy at the Byre, East Kilbride.

_____

John Bones Koolba Indian Restaurant is great for families, very friendly and remember curries are not always hot so kids will love them.

5Z8QsNA8QE6

£10.95 For 2 Courses from Koolba.

_____

For more restaurant offers in Glasgow and Edinburgh take a look at our 5pm Dining page.



Switch to our mobile site