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Report 136: Edinburgh in Two

By Alice Twain from Italy, Summer 2003

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Page 8 of 10: Chapter VII. Eating out

If you happened to read my “Introduction” to this trip report, you may understand that on leaving Italy I was honestly concerned about the food subject. Yet, on arrival, I was a little awed to discover that Edinburgh actually offered us, even within our meagre budget, several nice options for eating out. I suppose (from my brief experience at 18 and from the even more brief experience of this summer) that the food scene in the Uk has been getting better, and as a matter of facts we had several really nice meals there. Sure, we also had bad meals, but than you can happen to eat bad food everywhere! Of all the places we ate, two left very good memories, but I mut say that the city is literally dotted with cafes and smal restaurants. I must also say that food is quite more costly in Edinburgh than in Italy: I found prices moderately highier than in Milano (which is one of the most costly areas of Italy when it comes to eating out) and Luca found them much more costly than in Northern Tuscany (where a good meal can also be very cheap).

Parrots is a small theme resturant in Bruntsfeld. A theme restaurant means that the place is literally crowded with parrots. Not living ones: there are paintings, models, origami, drawings, sculptures, stained glasses, etc. Parrots everywhere. But the place is not only about scenic rooms. On our dinner at Parrots we had an entrée of spicy chicken satay, very delicate, but I do not particularly like chicken. Than I had a vegetarian main course of broccoli and other vegetables cooked with a cheese topping, with a side dish of a baked potato and green salad, while Luca had a delicious “Beef with three mustards”, basically a beef casserole in a delicate mustard sauce, with fried potatoes and green salad. Both our main dishes were really good, but I must say that Luca's beef was really delicious. No dessert, only water as a drink, we spent 17,50 pounds (plus service). Parrots, 3 Viewfort, Edinburgh, 0131 229 3252 RATING: ****

For a cheaper dinner or lunch, try out Ndebele. It is an African cafe that also offers very good sandwiches with an absolutely fabolus salad garnished with an incredible sauce that was so good that I felt compelled to ask if they were going to sell me a jar of it (they don't sell it) for 3,50 pounds or a delicious vegetarian soup with bread for 3 pounds. They also prepare larger platters with a variety of African foods from either the Maghreb or Southern Africa. The ground floor has sitting for smokers, while the below ground room is strictly no smoking and also hosts a gallery of African art where I was on the verge of buying myself a print. If you check out the prices on the site... They are old ones. RATING: *****

A special metion should be done about the Mosque Kitchen. Edinburgh central Mosque is a new building near West Nicholson street. A yellow sign right by the Avalanche shop directs you to one alley and finaly to the mosque, but before one gets to the mosque itself, there is the kitchen. Two unadorned rooms abnd a couple of plastic tables on the outside. Since we were hungry after a long morning browsing used CDs, we followed the sign and our nostrils. Two very Scottish businessmen in blue coats and with their briefcases by their chairs were eating platters of rice and meat and sipping Mecca Cola. We entered and a smiling middle aged man showed us the spicy rice, the several curry options (lamb, chicken and vegetable) and the fridge, from where we took two bottles of water. I had a lamb curry, and honestly I must say that I have never had a better curry in my whole life, with tender and not too lean meat and savory sauce. Luca's Chicken curry was just as good. The rice was absolutely perfect, spicy but gentle and full of flavors. For three pounds one gets rice, a curry of his choice and a small amount of salad. Also take away. Great value. RATING: *****

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