Lunch Menu (Mon - Fri: 12 - 3)
2 courses £11.95 | 3 courses £13.95
A la carte
Starters £4.25 - £10.95 | Mains £8.95 - £25.95
Desserts £4.95 - £7.50
Cooking 5/10 | Service 4.5/5
Flavour 3.5/5 | Value 4.5/5
A series or serial can capture the imagination. After the customary Toom, toom-toom-toom finale, Eastenders fans are often left with an appetite for more. Many of Charles Dickens' novels began life in serial form, Londoners being left on tenterhooks to learn the fate of Tiny Tim. And then we have On A Street near you, that street having been identified as Edinburgh's Dalry Road, a thoroughfare teeming with eating places.
At the beginning of 2022, I promised you would hear more. I have to concede that nine months between instalments wouldn't cut it with any commissioning editor. That, however, is how long it is since my review of La Casa Dalry. Oops. Such is the topsy turvy world of Tom Eats!
At the beginning of the year, a bit of spontaneity invaded this planned-to-an-inch-of-its-life blog. I will digress for an unpaid ad break. If you have any jewellery you need repairing, or watches requiring batteries, head to 202 Gorgie Road where the lovely people who run Gorgie Jeweller will attend to your needs at astonishingly cheap prices. But don't forget your ticket when you go to collect it. End of advert.
After such exertion and the deposit of a malfunctioning carriage clock, we strolled down the louche boulevard (Oy, you were in Gorgie! - Ed) to our lunchtime destination. Early January and it's busy - they must be doing something right. A wee tip for you. If visiting on a typical Scottish day avoid tables near the two doors - a bit on the draughty side. But the charming Eri from Albania was perfectly happy to move us. In fact I don't think anything would have been too much trouble for him.
The numbers must be in no small part due to the astonishing price of the set lunch menu. £11.95 for two courses, £13.95 for 3. How do they do it? (Note that this is available only on weekdays.) In the interests of research we went a la carte, though there was a cross over of dishes and, as far as I could see, portion sizes were the same on each. Which is to say, pretty huge.
A starter of Affettati Misti e Mozzarella was the star of the whole meal. It would have sufficed on its own, featuring really good coppa, salami and prosciutto. Even the normally avoidable mortadella was tasty, as was some excellent mozzarella. So this is a chef who can buy well. How good is his cooking?
Less good, is the answer. Calamari rings were perfectly cooked, but rather thick and chewy. Rigatoni Salsiccia e Porcini had a sauce that was mainly mince. For me it was underseasoned, but L was happy enough to take away a huge tub of leftovers for later. By way of contrast, the Veal Saltimbocca was a bit overseasoned and a bit overcooked. Bizarrely it featured cheese. Apart from that it was fine, I suppose. Against my better judgment I ordered a side of saute potatoes with pancetta, onion and rosemary. In Italian restaurants this is generally a leap of hope against experience. These were actually pretty good. Tasty, though the rosemary had been given the day off, and with a good bit of crunch.
We finished with some rather unpleasant coffee. I don't want to be too hard on this place, as its prices make it available to almost all. We know that there are two of them, a sister branch in Morningside. A Falkirk venture closed after a year. I mentioned La Casa across the road. Is there a connection? I quote from their websites-
La Casa: La Casa was founded by a young family who loves Mediterranean food and flavours.
Mia Italian Kitchen: Mia Italian Kitchen was founded by a young family who love Italy, Italian food, wine & coffee!
Of course, it really doesn't matter, but I like to know more about this street near me. Perhaps they just share a website designer, but my interest was piqued. This place is a real crowd pleaser. I chatted to a few regulars who raved about it. So as one who is, or tries to be, a champion of local eating places in areas where until recently such things didn't exist, I should be supportive. I discovered that chef is indeed Italian. If he could take some time to consult his Nonna's cook book and sharpen things up a little, this could be a true neighbourhood star.
The next instalment will follow a little sooner.