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November 1, 2018

Condita aims to introduce a new style of high end dining to Edinburgh's Southside while Montpeliers is to start serving a new kind of meat-free burger.

We will start off with the news that the South African-born chef Conor Toomey is the man with the pans at the soon-to-launch Condita on Salisbury Place. Pic above is from their Instagram page.

Billed as 'an intimate dining experience with just a few tables', Condita will offer a surprise eight course tasting menu when it opens on Tuesday 6th November.

The menus will be ingredients-led with an emphasis on local and seasonal produce. Dinner will be £80 a head plus an additional £50 for paired wines.

If you prefer to choose your own wine, there will also be a wine list of some twenty different natural wines ranging from £30 to £100 a bottle.

While the pricing is reaching towards that charged by the capital's Michelin-starred restaurants, Condita is dispensing with the more starchy service associated with some fine dining.

For example, the eight courses are preceded by 'snacks' and the service is described as 'leisurely'.

Prior to Condita, Chef Toomey was at Isle of Eriska on the West Coast.

High expectations

No restaurant likes to be described in the same breath as another but Condita is not in a different ballpark from other Edinburgh restaurants such as Aizle and The Table.

Both offer set menus of emphatically seasonal ingredients to a small number of guests each evening. The Table only takes ten covers for each service.

The advantage for the restaurant is that the set menu helps keep food wastage to a minimum plus the kitchen can focus fully on a limited number of dishes, especially when compared with trying to juggle a wide a la carte menu.

A potential downside is that when they are denied a choice guests' levels of expectations rise sharply.

Woe betide the chef that doesn't meet them.

A burger with bite

On a completely different tip, these are turbulent times in food politics.

As William Sitwell, the former editor of Waitrose Food magazine, recently discovered after making some ill-advised jokes about veganism.

While the ethics and eco-credentials of veganism may be up for discussion, there is no denying that plant-based diets have seen an upswing in popularity recently.

It is a trend that Edinburgh's Montpeliers Group have long embraced. The most recent development is the announcement that they are to start serving Moving Mountains meat-free burgers in the following restaurants: Indigo Yard, Tigerlily, Rabble and Montpeliers Bruntsfield.

The burger's main selling point is that this is not just a veggie burger. According to Moving Mountains it is a 'a popular meat substitute' which is 'not just for vegetarians and vegans'.

Apparently, 'with its texture so akin to animal meat, it will convert even the most committed carnivores.'

Much has been made of the fact that it uses beetroot juice to give a 'juicy "bleed"'.

The restaurants will start serving the burgers from the 9th of November.

Interior of Rabble.

Interior of Rabble.

Of course, Moving Mountains burgers are not the only dish on Montpeliers' menus.

Check these Big Deals on sharing platters with wine for two or an overnight stay with dinner for two at Rabble.

Alternatively, you could watch the inaugural Doddie Weir Cup at Indigo Yard on Saturday 3rd November.

Hosted by SCRUM Magazine, the lunch will start from 12pm followed by an afternoon of prize giveaways and guest speakers before Scotland take on Wales.

The afternoon will feature guest speaker, the Scottish Rugby player Mark Bennett. The event is in support of his chosen charity - School of Hard Knocks.

An a la carte lunch menu will be running.

There is no ticket fee for this event but booking in advance is advised.