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Archive for January, 2011

Dates for the diary

Blythswood Square dining room

Valentine's Day aside (you can check 5pm's Valentine's deals in Glasgow here and in Edinburgh here), a couple of imminent events taking place at 5pm member restaurants have caught our eye.

Inverarity Wines and Glasgow's Blythswood Square hotel are running another of their popular Wine Man's Bluff evenings.

Described as a sort of Call My Bluff with wine, it looks a fun way sample some fine wines, learn a little about them and have a cracking four course dinner.

After a tasting session in The Rally Bar, the evening moves into the Monte Carlo suite for a four course dinner which has been created by exec chef Dan Hall to match the wines.

Tickets are £55 per person and include a welcome drink, Wine Man's Bluff wine tasting hosted by Inverarity Vaults and a four course dinner with wine to match. It takes place on Thursday 24 February.

Alternatively, the Restaurant at Blythswood Square has a 5pm offer on their evening market menu. It's £20 for three courses including a glass of house red or white.

Over on the east, Hotel du Vin are having a winter BBQ Pig Out.

Back in August, we blogged about Peelham Farm in the Borders. They were raising two Tamworths for the Hotel du Vin in Edinburgh.

Allegedly named after the hotel's manager and deputy manager, Queenie and Prince Charming have led a charmed existence on the farm but the time has come for them to play a starring role at this event on Saturday 19 February.

There will be a variety of pork dishes on offer in the form of an ‘all you can eat’ buffet served with cider and wine. Thoughtfully, given February's traditionally cruel weather, heaters and blankets will be provided. Cost is £35pp.

Hungry? Ask your gut brain

Just found this Wall Street Journal article about Swiss scientists developing foods designed to trick your stomach into thinking it is fuller for longer.

Apparently, your stomach has its own brain of sorts which regulates your digestive system.

I must have a more advanced gut brain than most as mine seems to regulate most of my life.

New restaurant gets to the Point

The Point Hotel on Edinburgh's Bread Street has been under new ownership since September and they have just unveiled a number of new developments.

First up, The Point Restaurant has been rebranded as the Bread Street Brasserie.

With its floor to ceiling windows and chic good looks, it was always a rather smart space and it now has a new menu put in place.

Using fresh, local produce, Head Chef Kenny Leary has come up with a menu of bistro classics. Think along the lines of starters such as the cinnamon and clove-poached pear, spiced walnut and blue cheese salad.

Main courses include the roast Barbary duck breast, thyme fondant and Savoy cabbage with redcurrant glaze while a typical dessert might be the orange marmalade and white chocolate crème brulée served with vanilla shortbread.

The Bread Street Brasserie is running a rather tasty Big Deal offer on Monday so check back next week if you fancy trying Chef Leary’s dishes at a serious discount.

Another development at The Point is their new Sky Bar. On the last Thursday of every month, the penthouse suite is transformed into an after work/late night lounge bar.

There will be live music and cocktails but the star of the show is the panoramic views across Edinburgh’s roofscape. The Castle, all lit up at night, looks especially dramatic.

The bar will open to the public for the first time on Thursday the 24th of February (and the last Thursday of every month thereafter). The Sky Bar evenings will run from 6pm to midnight.

The view from Sky Bar

Whif, whaf, bof

Last year, we informed you of Le Whif, a French chocolate inhaler that allowed you to get a taste of chocolate but without the usual whack of calories.

According to this tale in the Daily Mail, our chums at Le Laboratoire have come up with Le Whaf, a sort of super-sized, bowl-shaped whif that allows users to inhale cocktails, tomato soup and desserts.

To me, it all sounds like someone has been inhaling le bong a bit too much but then what do I know? Le Whif's manufacturers apparently sold 200,000 units in the UK last year at £4 a pop.

Le Whaf is expected to go on sale in France later this year for about £85.

Back on planet Earth, The Guardian has an intriguing list of cooking tips. I thought that everybody knew to flatten garlic before peeling it but I didn't know that you could sharpen your knives on a mug.

New bar in Glasgow

Find yourself at Glasgow's Lost Souls

Lost Souls is a new bar diner on Glasgow's West Campbell Street that sets out its stall as a 'gin joint, bourbon bar and boogaloo'.

A late night lounge bar, it's on the first floor space that overlooks Sauchiehall Street. I'm not sure but I think it last housed one of Colin Barr's operations.

They have a bar menu which runs along the lines of nachos, pasta, pizza and burgers and they have plenty of wallet-pleasing deals such as two pastas/pizzas and drinks for a tenner.

While the food menu doesn't try too hard to do anything new, the drinks menu is rather more adventurous with a range of vodka, bourbon, rum and, especially, gin that will keep the most enthusiastic of booze hounds smiling.

New diner in Stirling

The interior of Gabe's in Stirling

Gabe's Diner is a new venture which has just opened for business in the newly developed riverside area of Stirling.

As you might expect, fresh and local produce are to the fore. Some of the most recent dishes include a Moroccan lamb stew; a Thai fish stew and a Ferrero Rocher ice cream which is quickly proving a hit.

The diner is open seven days from morning to night.

They offer a BYOB service with a corkage of £3.50 for wine and £1 a bottle for beer.

There are also plenty of 5pm member restaurants in or near Stirling including d'yoga Indian restaurant and Nick Nairn's Kailyard at the Doubletree by Dunblane Hydro.

Arches Cafe becomes Scotch Corner

It's all gone Scotkitsch at The Arches

Dig out your kilt and dust off your Tam O'Shanter performance 'cos tonight is Burns Night.

Lots of 5pm restaurants are running special dinners either this evening or over the course of this week but the blog was particularly tickled by the shenanigans planned for The Arches in Glasgow.

You may remember that last November, The Arches Cafe was taken over by performance artist Adrienne who created her own menu and stamped her own interior design on the space.

The same thing is happening this month as the performance duo Fish and Game have taken their turn to transform the cafe into a tartan-loving, Highland lodge complete with its own menu.

Fish and Game are a Glasgow-based duo creating experimental work which sits somewhere between theatre and live art. Past pieces include Eilidh's Daily Ukulele Ceilidh and the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe hit Two Trillion.

This evening Fish and Game, aka Eilidh MacAskill and Robert Walton, will be putting on an alternative Burns Night show which will run 6pm to 8pm. They will also perform on the  evenings of 28th January and 10th and 18th February. Just don't expect it to be anything like a trad Burns dinner.

To go with the show, they have also devised their own taste of Scotland menu which sells at £8.95. Here it is:

A wee dram of AncNoc to whet the appetite


Lentil soup (v)
Smoked Mackerel salad in a rosemary dressing
Black pudding and white pudding Terrine


Game pie
Haggis, neeps and tatties or
veggie haggis, neeps and tatties (v)
Tweed kettle
(salmon, peas and leeks, tatties)
Rumbledethumps (v)


Scottish cheeses and oatcakes
Atholl Brose ice cream

Grand Central Hotel launch party

The swish champagne bar at the Grand Central Hotel

Glasgow's recently refitted Grand Central Hotel has been up and running for a few months now but the official launch party took place last week.

It was a lavish bash by any standards with seemingly endless lakes of champagne on offer; a performance from Darius and an opening speech from the First Minister Alex Salmond.

I felt sorry for the kitchen staff who had to make some 11,000 canapes. One imagines that they went to bed dreaming of vol-au-vents.

Tempus bar and restaurant is the hotel's main dining room. A large mural in the restaurant shows a steam train and alludes to the hotel's location next to Central Station.

However, the jewel in the crown is the hotel's champagne bar, a very glam room that looks out onto the station concourse.

Jamie Oliver in hot water

Given how many customers are spending their money in his restaurant rather than theirs, one imagines that many a Glasgow restaurateur must be delighted to see this Jamie Oliver story in today's Herald.

Apparently, some of the sauces used at Jamie's Italian on George Square are manufactured on an industrial plant in England and then transported some 400 miles to be reheated in the Glasgow restaurant.

Burns night stories

Loving this story on the BBC about the  Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead trying to get the Americans to lift their ban on Scottish haggis.

Apparently in place for forty years, the American veto on proper haggis has led to a rise in haggis-smuggling. The Times ran a slightly tongue in cheek piece about the illegal haggis trade a couple of years back.

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