Marisa Masoero’s Risotto alla Milanese

With the onset of winter you expect the temperature to drop. That’s fine. In fact I rather enjoy the clear, crisp, blue skied days, but not those damp, dank ones where the cold seems to seep into your bone marrow. At such times comfort food is called for. But which one? Looking through the archives…

Read More

Red Onion, Glasgow

  257 West Campbell Street, Glasgow, G2 4TT 0141 221 6000   www.red-onion.co.uk The Bill  Fixed Price Menu  2 courses £19.50 | 3 courses £25.00 A la carte Starters £5.00 – £12.00 | Mains £14.00 – £30.00 Desserts ? The Score Cooking 4/10 | Service 4/5  Flavour  3/5 | Value 4/5 TOTAL 15/25 Today’s story begins…

Read More

The Customer Is Always Right? Part 1

The local GP and his wife enter your restaurant. The exchange between them and your waiter goes something like this. Table for two, please. We’ve booked. Smith. Yeah, I know. Mrs Smith, did you look in the mirror before you came out? What on earth made you think that top goes with that skirt? And…

Read More

Salt Cod with Cream (Bacalhau com Natas)

This is a homage to Portugal where I holidayed recently. The country is the world’s largest consumer of salt cod. In every supermarket you’ll see racks and racks of the stuff, stiff as a board, probably handy as an offensive weapon. You’ll find variations wherever cod was common, Newfoundland, Norway and the Faroe Islands. It’s…

Read More

Balthazar, London

  Balthazar 4 -6 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HZ 020 3301 1155 www.balthazarlondon.com   The Bill A la carte Hors d’Oeuvres £8.00 – £12.00 Oysters and Fruits de Mer £17.95 – £66.00 Plats Principaux/Les Grillades £15.95 – £48.00 Les Desserts £4.25 – £9.50 The Score Cooking 6/10 | Service 3.5/5  Flavour 4/5 | Value 3.5/5…

Read More

Wendy Barrie and A Lot of Slow Food

Take your life in your hands and hurtle down the vertiginous slope to Hawkcraig Point in Aberdour. There you will find the home of the force of nature that is Wendy Barrie, chef, food fanatic and ambassador for the Slow Food Movement Scotland. I’ve been slightly surprised how few people actually know of the Slow…

Read More

Aqui Há Peixe, Lisbon, Portugal

  Rua da Trinidade No 18A 1200 – 468 Lisbon, Portugal +351 211 344 228        www.aquihapeixe.pt   The Bill (Euros) Lunch Dish of the Day €15.00 A la carte Starters €5.50 – €19.50 | Mains €22.00 – €49.00 Desserts €7.00 – €9.00 The Score Cooking 5/10 | Service 3.5/5  Flavour  4/5 |…

Read More

Chicken with Peppers, Olives & Black Pudding

While there are probably no new recipes under the sun, this one did come out of my head. One of the many reasons I like Nigel Slater so much is that he says he will often just decide what to cook for dinner when looking at the contents of his fridge. While his TV programmes…

Read More

Tom’s Food! Alphabet: N is for… Neep

Don’t start shouting that I’m cheating and that’s why you didn’t guess it. If managers of Scottish supermarkets are allowed to sit supinely (is that possible? – Ed) while head office decrees that they should label their turnips as swedes, then I’m entitled to redress the balance. And anyway N is also for navet, the little…

Read More

Boeuf Bourgignon/ a la Bourgignonne/ Beef Stew

Call this beef stew if you like, but that’s akin to saying that Leonardo da Vinci could paint a wee bit. Today’s column was inspired by two things. After being delighted by Felicity Cloake’s Red Sauce, Brown Sauce, reviewed in On The Side a few weeks ago, I bought a copy of her earlier work, One More…

Read More

Cafe Murano, St James, London

  Cafe Murano St James 33 St James’s Street, London SW1A 1HD 020 3371 5559 www.cafemurano.co.uk       The Bill  Menu del Giorno  (Served daily 1200 – 1500 and 1700 – 1900)  2 courses £23.00 | 3 courses £28.00 A la carte Starters £6.00 – £20.00 | Mains £18.00 – £38.00 Desserts £2.00 -…

Read More

The Tollhouse, Edinburgh

  The Tollhouse 50 Brandon Terrace, Edinburgh EH3 5BX 0131 224 2424  www.tollhouse.scot   The Bill A la carte Starters £6.50 – £11.00 | Mains £15.00 – £23.00 Desserts £6.50 – £7.50 The Score Cooking 8.5/10 | Service 5/5  Flavour  5/5 | Value 5/5 TOTAL 23.5/25 Did you see the flash? Bright blue. Even if…

Read More

… Breaking Eggs

Well, what a stooshie we had after last week’s article about omelettes. I fear I may have lost a couple of friends in the fall out. I shall say no more other than to quote the wise words of Elizabeth David in French Provincial Cooking. As everybody knows, there is only one infallible recipe for…

Read More

Sessions Arts Club, Clerkenwell, London

  Sessions Arts Club Old Sessions House, 24 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1R 0NA 020 3793 4025  www.sessionsartsclub.com   The Bill A la carte Plates £5.00 – £27.00 | Desserts £7.00 – £10.00 The Score Cooking  8.5/10 | Service 5/5  Flavour  5/5 | Value 4.5/5 TOTAL 23/25 What’s in a name, eh? This place isn’t a…

Read More

Other Schnitzels Are Available

Last week’s article about Wiener schnitzel attracted a bigger postbag than usual. Breaking free of the authoritative Austrian shackles – it must be veal and it must be made in Austria – two things became clear. It’s a great favourite of many of you, and the majority would use pork or chicken over veal. The…

Read More

You Can’t Make An Omelette Without…

French Style That’s actually true of many people. Never mind. The inspiration for today came from the chronicles of Mr C’s trip to Egypt. Among his many posts on social media, he commented on the (poor) quality of the omelettes served to him in a particular hotel. They were so poor that he felt he…

Read More

Amarone Edinburgh

  Amarone Edinburgh 12 – 13 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2AF 0131 523 1177 www.amaronerestaurant.co.uk The Bill Lunch and Early Dinner Menu  *2 courses £13.50/£14.95 3 courses £19.50/£17.95 A la carte Starters £5.95 – £12.95 | Pasta £11.95 – £23.95 Pizza £11.75 – £14.95 | Meat and Fish £16.95  – £32.95 Desserts £4.65 -…

Read More

Wiener Schnitzel

Today’s ramblings were inspired by two things. A recent visit from the Vienna based members of the family brought back memories of my first (and thus far only) trip there earlier this year; and a brief snippet from a Radio 4 programme this morning. Wiener schnitzel translates simply as cutlet from Vienna. What I didn’t realise…

Read More

Because We’ve Always Done It That Way

I’ve done a bit of teaching over the years. I enjoyed it, but living with an education professional made me realise that, as with cooking, there’s an awful lot more to it than the untrained amateur might think. A lot of it was in my specialist field of liquor licensing. Lectures, seminars and master classes…

Read More

Claire Macdonald’s Sardine and Mushroom Paté

Now don’t recoil in horror. I can guarantee three things. Firstly, if it’s a Claire Macdonald recipe, it will work, no matter how unlikely the combination of ingredients may sound. Secondly, although there are only three principal ingredients, no one will correctly guess all three. And finally, it is absolutely delicious. And if it’s a…

Read More

La Bocca, Edinburgh

  La Bocca 108 Raeburn Place, Edinburgh EH4 1HH 0131 374 1584      www.laboccastockbridge.com   The Bill Lunch Menu (Served 12.00 – 16.00) Plates £7.00 – £15.00 A la carte Small Plates £8.00 – £12.00 | Mains £14.00 – £22.00 Desserts £6.00 – £8.00 The Score Cooking – L’s 7/10; Mine 5/10. Average 6/10…

Read More

Ravioli with Vegetables, Cheese and Walnuts

I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me, and I couldn’t get pasta. Believe it or not, Masai Graham’s piece of hilarity was voted the funniest joke at the year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It did two things for me. Firstly, I found it a depressingly sad reflection of the…

Read More