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Try our quick and fun quiz to see which Scottish food you are most like
(Click on the blog title link above to access the quiz)
Little Urban Achievers Club on Glasgow's Great Western Road is no more.
Look out for The Crafty Pig which opens in its place tomorrow from 2.30pm.
Billed as a 'brewhouse and smoke pit' our new porcine pal 'promises fourteen draught craft beers on rotation, over 60 bottled craft beers, local cask ales and a huge range of tequilas and rums.
'The menu is packed with slow-cooked smoked meats including sixteen-hour smoked pulled pork, handmade burgers (with beef exclusively sourced from the herd of a Lanarkshire farm), half-meter pizzas and a unique slow-cooked ribs menu.
The Crafty Pig will feature a games room screening all day live sports coverage, pool tables and beer pong.'
The 5pm Dining blog has often enjoyed a dram as a splendid way to round off a good meal.
Thanks to our friends at Glengoyne, 5pm customers can also enjoy the same treat at a number of tremendous restaurants across Scotland.
We have teamed up with the makers of Glengoyne to offer a dram of Glengoyne to 5pm diners at selected restaurants.
Simply look for the Glengoyne logo when browsing 5pm Dining for great offers.
Great selection of participating restaurants
Making whisky for over 200 years
Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky is world renowned as one of the finest Highland single malts.
The distillery takes its name from ‘Glen Guin’ or ‘Glen of the Wild Geese’, and has been producing exceptional single malt whisky for nearly 200 years.
Book into any of the participating restaurants and enjoy a superb Glengoyne to round off your meal.
Win a Glengoyne Whisky & Chocolate Matching Experience
The competition is for two people to win a tour of Glengoyne Distillery at Dumgoyne, near Killearn, followed by a unique whisky and chocolate experience.
The winners will enjoy a dram of the 12 Year Old on arrival followed by the tour and then a sensory experience that will live long in the memory.
Visitors will match two more whiskies (including the multi-award winning 21 Year Old) with four handmade chocolates from local chocolatier Nucoco.
To enter and be in with the chance of winning this fantastic prize, go to our Facebook page, like and answer the following question:
What type of drink is Glengoyne?
a) Gin b) Rum c) Whisky
It is always good to see someone take on these big, we imagine expensive projects, and try to do something with real ambition.
Glasgow’s restaurant scene certainly didn’t stagnate during the worst years of the recession but large scale, prestigious openings were thin on the ground.
Best of Scottish produce
Word has it that The Anchor Line will showcase the best of Scottish produce with influences from both sides of the Atlantic.
We are told to look out for ‘fresh oysters, lobster and scallops, the finest scotch beef, ribs and burgers to die for. There will be an extensive cocktail list with classics lying alongside some of our own signature twists, and a drinks list with a strong whisky, bourbon and gin influence.
'New York and Glasgow craft beers, and a wine list incorporating some of the finest America and the rest of the world have to offer.’
Di Maggio’s have completely restored the A listed building. Built in 1906, it was designed by the renowned Scottish architect, James Miller, and original nautical emblems can still be seen on the façade, with shells, anchors and ships all featuring.
The Anchor Line shipping company, which was housed in the building, played a prominent part in Glasgow’s maritime history. From the 1880s until the 1940s the company was famous for its sleek cruise ships and for the comfort it offered its travellers at very affordable cost.
The company played on its Scottish roots and employed Scottish crew and cabin crew, advertising ‘Scottish ships and Scottish crew for Scottish passengers’.
Bringing back memories
Di Maggio’s have been researching the company’s history and are keen to hear from anyone who had a relationship with the company or the building.
If you have any memories of either, or knew someone who did, ping Di Maggio’s an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Anchor Line is also running an exclusive competition for the chance to win an invitation for two to the VIP champagne reception and dinner pre-launch event.
Simply click this link, enter your details to sign up for The Anchor Line newsletter and you will be entered into the competition.
Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be about the latest royal sprog. Delightful as we are sure it will be.
Instead, if you are in Glasgow’s West End tomorrow then you may witness the birth of the city’s latest burger joint.
Hawd me back
Unique to BRGR will be the aptly named 'hawder', a device which 'hawds' your burger and ensures less mess, fewer spills and, apparently, an all-round better burger eating experience.
It is a fun idea but, having not seen one in action, we like to imagine that it will be the cutlery equivalent of those hats that hold two beer cans and have straws leading to the wearer’s mouth.
Anyway, where were we? The new venue boasts six different varieties of meat-based burgers, including three beef choices, as well as a seventh vegetarian option.
All the burgers are handmade using the freshest ingredients and can be teamed with a range of sides including wings, mac ‘n’ cheese, charred corn with jalapeno butter and a selection of fries.
Although owner Chris Lessani has been inspired by many of the burger joints he encountered while visiting America, BRGR is firmly focused on Glasgow.
Suppliers include Rodgers Butchers and George Mewes Cheese on Byres Road, Big Bear Bakery in Glasgow and Glasgow's Direct Foods for fruit and vegetables.
To celebrate its opening tomorrow, BRGR, with support from Rodgers Butchers, will be giving free burgers away, while stocks last, from noon to 8pm.
As part of the giveaway, hungry burger fans will have the option to make a donation to the Scottish charity, Unite Against Cancer. The charity will receive all the proceeds from the day.
West End burgers
Owner Chris Lessani commented: ‘Burgers are hugely popular in Glasgow's city centre, but in the West End there aren't that many options if you are looking for a really high quality burger in a great dining experience.
‘We have some fantastic suppliers in the city and we wanted to celebrate this in the creation of our braw burgers. We have kept our menu quite small but with enough variation so that people can get what they are looking for. We will also have a kids menu for our little BRGR diners.’
The 5pm Dining blog has not been far from a glass of something tasty most nights recently. And, for once, it’s been very educational, not to mention hugely enjoyable.
Last Tuesday night, we were at Indigo Yard in Edinburgh’s West End. Part of the hugely successful Montpeliers group, the bar had a major revamp last summer and, as part of the overhaul, they introduced a wide range of craft beers to complement their existing global selection of draught brews.
It was a bit of a gamble for the bar. Traditionally, bars make more margin on spirits and wine than they do beer. Anything that encourages customers to drink more beer runs the risk of undermining more profitable sales.
Or at least, that was the perceived wisdom.
Craft beer boost
At Indigo Yard, their experience has been that their increased beer sales have been matched by a chunky uplift in sales across the board. Far from eating into the profits of other key products, extending the range of craft beers available seems to have boosted them.
It’s an interesting theory and one that may become apparent to other operators as they try to carve a slice of the booming craft ale market.
As part of their drive to revitalise beer sales, Indigo Yard have been working with Molson Coors to match foods with craft beers.
Beer and food pairings
In particular, they have been working at pairing food with beers from the Blue Moon Brewing Co in Colorado; the Franciscan Well brewery in Cork and Sharp’s Brewery in Cornwall – all of which are brands owned by Molson Coors.
We tasted six different beers from these breweries with six different foods. We’re not going to go through all the pairings here but we will have a shout out for a couple of them.
The Blue Moon, a Belgian-style wheat beer, worked phenomenally well with spicy Thai green king prawns. Oats are one of the ingredients in the brew and these give it a creamy texture – handy for taming hot spice.
Another cracking marriage was the Shandon Stout from Franciscan Wells paired with a rich chocolate cheesecake. Beer and cake might sound like a no-go area. However, the creamy, roasted, slightly chocolaty notes of the beer worked with the dark chocolate of the pud.
We also picked up a handy hint. The bitterness of a beer is produced by hops and in particular by the hop oils produced during the brewing process. In the finished beer, the oil rises to the head of the liquid in the foam.
So, if you want to taste how bitter any beer is, a wee dab of your finger in the head will give you a more accurate gauge than taking a swig.
One of the highlights was attending the recently launched Heads and Tales gin bar in Edinburgh for the release of the new Cannonball Gin.
Cannonball is made by the Edinburgh Gin Distillery which has two rather handsome stills on the Heads and Tales premises.
A punchy belter of a gin, it is flavoured with Szechuan pepper, Scottish botanicals such as pine and heather, and double strength juniper all bound together at a potent 57.2% alcohol by volume.
Alex Nicol, the jovial Managing Director of Edinburgh Gin, said, ‘Our mission... is to create unique and interesting gins of the highest quality. This gin, although strong, has a great balance of flavours and makes an outstanding martini.’
According to David the distiller, one of the reasons that they wanted to make the over proof gin was because of demand from customers at the bar.
After work drinkers were pitching up from 5pm with the intention of having just the one drink –something many of us have promised.
However, they wanted to make that one drink count so they were asking staff which over proof or extra strength gins they had in their wide selection.
The 5pm Dining blog can confirm that a martini made with Cannonball is certainly an effective way of making the working day fade into the background.
Apparently, Cannonball fits the Navy proof category. Navy proof gin had to be at least 57.2% ABV as at this strength gunpowder would still ignite even if you had accidentally knocked your gin over it.
We’re not sure what this means should you happen to splutter while enjoying a crafty gasper with your gin but we’re not going to experiment.
The bottle design reflects Edinburgh’s heritage with the image of a cannon on the back of the bottle being magnified by the gin. On the front of the bottle is a depiction of Edinburgh’s skyline including the Castle.
You can draw your own lines between the gin and the practice of firing the one o’clock gun every day.
Cannonball joins Edinburgh Gin's original gin and their more recent orange and elderflower expressions.
As ever, it’s all go in Glasgow with new ventures springing up faster than the 5pm Dining blog when it has the scent of a bacon buttie hot in its nostrils.
First up, we suspect that any suggestion that Glasgow has reached peak burger may be premature.
Along with reports of the Gourmet Burger King and Five Guys chains planning to set up shop in the city, we also understand that a new local operation is about launch.
BRGR on horizon
The owners are keeping it under wraps at the moment but we understand that BRGR will be opening their doors to the public in the next week or so.
The new venture promises to ‘celebrate the best of local produce’ with a range of ‘braw burgers’ all inspired by ‘venues over the pond’.
The new venture is at 526 Great Western Road, formerly home to the Black Rabbit Bar. More news as we get it.
We’ve also been in touch with Kyle Steel who we last saw at the launch of Las Iguanas back in March.
It turns out that Kyle, along with Chris Gibson, is behind the new Section 33 pop-up company which is making waves on the twittersphere.
According to their rather cool website, they aim to be ‘the cutting-edge of the underground pop-up restaurant scene’.
Guests will get to taste ‘the best in locally sourced produce delivered in soulful street food fashion’. All done with a ‘high-end foodie twist’.
The first adventure is taking place over the weekend of Friday October 3 to Sunday October 5. At the time of scribbling, the actual location is still secret squirrel but we do know it’s somewhere on the Southside.
We have suspicions that the venue may have historic links with the meat trade but, TBH, we’re stabbing in the dark a bit.
Apparently, the proposed menu currently has fifteen dishes. Three are veggie; two are fish and the rest are meaty.
The dishes are designed to be shared.
Tickets are available now from here. A fiver gains entry and your first drink. All the dishes will hover around the £6 mark.
Expect live music, DJ sets and an open bar. There is also a strong ethical slant to the business with the organisers promising to hand over a chunk of each event's profits to charity.
The 5pm Dining blog is not going to pretend that it never finds itself with a dram in hand come midnight.
However, it’s not often that we find ourselves heading out for a new whisky launch at midnight on a school night.
Still, that’s the way they roll at anCnoc and if the Knockdhu distillery wants to unveil their latest peated malt at midnight on a Sunday, we will be there.
In fact, we were there, in the dim candlelight of Edinburgh’s Last Word Saloon as the clock struck midnight and the Cutter whisky was released.
Regular readers may recall that the 5pm Dining blog blethered about anCnoc’s previous peated malt releases earlier this year. Named after peat-cutting tools, Rutter, Flaughter and Tushkar were released in April.
Bottled at 46%ABV, the new release is named after a hand tool used to cut peat from less wet, shallower bogs. Apparently (we’re not hugely au fait with peat-cutting techniques), the peat thus produced is drier and more easily burnt, helping to make a whisky with a heavy smokiness – around 20.5 phenol parts per million in the case of the Cutter whisky.
Non chill filtered
Neither chill filtered nor coloured, Cutter is the most peated of anCnoc’s single malts to date. These are the official tasting notes:
‘Light gold in appearance, it has an intense, thick and oily smoke structure on the nose which reveals a sharper, more medicinal phenolic layer with a piercing burst of fruity ripe peaches and just a touch of oak. It has an ashy taste, with slight apple-core bitterness and notes of leather and spicy vanilla lingering at the back, accompanied by sharper notes of pink grapefruit and ripe orchard fruits. A long, elegant finish brings a kaleidoscope of spicy and peaty notes that die out with a juicy burst and a loud call for another sip.’
One thing the 5pm Dining blog is not good at is writing tasting notes. But we know people who are. You can see what the good people at the Whisky corner blog thought of the Cutter here.
Cutter is now available online and in specialist and independent UK whisky retailers at a rrp of £52.
Dark and mysterious
The distiller plans to launch a new peated expression of anCnoc every year on 1st September. They are threatening to make it an annual, midnight celebration of anCnoc’s ‘dark and mysterious side’.
The 5pm Dining blog will start building its Zzzz reserves now.
The Tollcross area of Edinburgh possibly offers diners the greatest choice of different cuisines in the entire city. By our reckoning, you could eat Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Greek, Southern Indian, Polish, Punjabi or pizza all within a five minute walk of the Tollcross clock.
One of the more recent restaurants to join the market is Croma Pizza at the Odeon on Lothian Road. With an interior shaped by the Italian designer Enzo Apicella, Cromer Pizza is an airy, 90 seat restaurant specialising in pizza and pasta.
The pizzas are Neapolitan in style – none of your American deep pan here. Hand-stretched, they are quickly cooked at 750°C so that they are crispy with a slight smoky flavour around the edges. Choices range from a classic Margherita to more contemporary options like the tandoori chicken or pizza Inglese – a sort of Anglo-Italian take on the full English breakfast.
Not only can cinema-goers buy tickets for their films in the restaurant, they can also take pizza in to the screenings.
Heading in the opposite direction and towards Bruntsfield, Bisque Brasserie is a popular restaurant in the Bruntsfield Hotel.
Handy for the Meadows, King’s Theatre and the Cameo cinema, Bisque Brasserie rightly bills itself as ‘a neighbourhood restaurant with a city centre approach but without the city centre prices’.
Diners are welcome to eat in the bar or in the brasserie overlooking the garden terrace. In a city which isn’t overburdened with al fresco dining options, the heated terrace garden at Bisque is understandably buzzy during the sunnier months.
The restaurant serves an all day dining menu as well as a dinner menu – both offer what the restaurant calls ‘casual gourmet quality’. Many of the dishes are contemporary Mediterranean – fritto misto, seafood linguine and risotto.
Others are much loved British classics such as Cumberland sausage and mash; haddock ‘n’ chips or chicken stuffed with haggis and a whisky cream. There is also a grill section offering burgers plus sirloin and rib-eye steaks from the Borders.
Moving towards the Grassmarket end of Tollcross, Simpsons Restaurant is a cosy and friendly restaurant in between the capital’s Old Town and Meadows.
Part of the Edinburgh City Hotel on Lauriston Place, it is close to several of the city’s theatres and an ideal stop for a pre-show meal.
The kitchen’s aim is to provide creative, yet simple and wholesome dishes. Typical starters might be the marinated herring with pickled red cabbage or the haggis beignet served with crushed new potato and turnip plus a red wine sauce.
Popular main courses on the regularly changing menus include steak pie with new potatoes and seasonal vegetables or the roast cod with a Puy lentil casserole. All dishes are prepared and cooked to order using the finest, fresh local produce.
Also handy for the theatre district is the bright and cheery Elements Restaurant, part of the Novotel Edinburgh Centre on Lauriston Place.
Open in the evenings, it has a wide ranging and versatile menu which draws on culinary influences from all over the world.
The menu changes with the seasons but the current a la carte features starters such as the confit duck spring roll with plum sauce; a Greek superfood salad and the ever popular mozzarella bruschetta with shaved fennel and courgette.
Main courses range from a simple three egg omelette with a choice of cheese, ham or mushroom fillings to more elaborate options such as the grilled lamb cutlets with a hazelnut and mint pesto.
Of course, Elements also offers a range of steaks plus the mighty house burger - 8oz of 100% ground beef with lettuce, smoky bacon, Swiss cheese plus tomato and red onion chutney served with jalapeños, onion rings and French fries.
‘Bon appétit!’, ‘Kali órexi!’ and ‘Douzo meshiagare!’, as they say in Tollcross.
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