Friday, 30 January 2009

Restaurant Review: Always Sunday


ALWAYS SUNDAY - Written December 2008
If only!


IT'S PROBABLY A UNANIMOUS AGREEMENT AMOUNG MOST PEOPLE THAT OF ALL THE DAYS OF THE WEEK, SUNDAY IS THE MOST DESIRABLE ONE TO FIND YOURSELF IN. YOU CAN DO ALMOST ANYTHING WITH YOUR SUBCONCIOUS VOICE NUDGING, "WHATEVER, IT'S SUNDAY." IT CAN BE A DAY OF LAZINESS, A DAY TO FEAST ON SWEETS, A DAY TO LEISURELY CATCH UP WITH FRIENDS AND LEAVE THE WORRIES OF THE OTHER SIX DAYS BEHIND AS YOU CELEBRATE THE BEST DAY, THE DAY OF REST.


Seeing the name of this cafe, Always Sunday, from the bustling and ‘Baltic’ High Street is enough to entice anyone to seek refuge inside. Owner Mary Macdonald has done an undeniably amazing job of giving this place an all-encompassing feel of a sunny, relaxing Sunday, even if it's a miserable Monday outside. Her goal to "appeal to all five senses" and to create an atmosphere that is "lit with a sense of sunshine" is an admirable and accomplished one. From enormous wall hangings depicting seasonal scenes in progress to the sincerity of the smiles from the staff, it is a place that begs for your lingered presence.


The room is lively and energetic during my visit. It's all counter service here with your menu beautifully displayed before your eyes, allowing you to choose from what you see. This menu is fresh and changes daily, with many of the favourites reappearing often so there are many things you can count on eating again in the future.


I was spoilt for choice between the unusual likes of a chocolate and ginger tray bake, chocolate and coconut cheesecake, cranachan raspberry cake, wholemeal scones, handmade shortbread and carrot cake. I opted for a slice of Polish cheesecake, which I have been craving ever since, with a sweetened soya (because they actually give you a choice) latte.


On the savoury side, you can go for a cheeseboard, a haggis breakfast (mornings only) and hot specials like steak pie, lasagne and focaccia treats. They also let you mix and match between items like homemade soup, specialty breads (think walnut, olive, sun-dried tomato), and a vast range of salads such as spinach and sweet potato.


There's so much more that you must experience yourself someday, any day, soon!


Also in Bite Magazine or on http://www.bitepublishing.co.uk/

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

MODUS @ CABARET VOLTAIRE


24 January 2009


No band should ever have to share the stage with this Scottish fivesome who distinctively demand to be seen AND heard. A mod band of the millenium, Modus ('mod' plus 'us') endears its audience with an unrelenting reminder of the kind of fun sixties pop that no other modern day divas have been able to touch.

The era emanates through some nostalgic sounds, including that of a Hammond, tamborine, maracas and the soulful voice of their resident siren, Miss Modus, who initially emerges from the back of the audience clad in solid silver and clinking a cowbell before shaking things up with their single, Club Soul Magic. It's a stunning vision of showmanship as she, and the ensemble of smart-suited modmen, groove their way through songs from their debut album, Kitten Casino. Toe-tapping is involuntary to the last note of Go Go Shake, and Miss Modus descends back into the crowd as we are all left wondering just where the hell they came from, and when will they be back?

Also published here on isthismusic.com

Friday, 23 January 2009

Restaurant Review: The Lot



You’ll like it a lot - written December 2008


THE LOT IS NOT ONE OF THOSE PLACES THAT IS NESTLED AWAY LIKE A HIDDEN GEM. IT’S BRILLIANTLY, AND PERHAPS INTIMIDATINGLY, POSITIONED NEXT TO THE CASTLE'S BEATIFIC BACKDROP ON THE GRASSMARKET. THIS ASSOCIATION ALWAYS ENCOURAGED MY IMAGINATION TO ASSUME THE RESTAURANT TO BE FILLED WITH TOO MUCH GRANDEUR FOR MEAGRE LITTLE ME, BUT WHAT I'VE DISCOVERED IS A WARM WEE BRASSERIE THAT IS, IF ANYTHING, WELCOMING.

The first thing I notice is its warmth. It’s mid December and the night air isn’t endearingly Christmas-y; it’s just cold. I recover from my walk and my scrooge-like train of thought while the sweet and attentive staff show me to a cosy corner table and explain the specials for the evening.

The menu plays no games here. It’s simple stuff to warm the soul and thaw the bones. As their chef explains to us, they’re hoping to bring back some favourites that many neglect but many locals still remember. (Look out for the kedgeree in the future!) My seafood chowder (£3.95) is very much the kind of thing I’d imagine anyone to be in the mood for this time of year. It’s creamy, hot and hearty, full of prawns, salmon, mussels, carrots, corns, peas and the obligatory potatoes. My friend’s goat’s cheese and mushrooms on ciabatta (£3.75) is reportedly (and visually) amazing, however a drizzle of balsamic may have cut through the richness a bit better.
Both of these come in small or large, we opted for the smalls. The day’s catch is mackerel (£7.95), which with its delicate saltiness pairs perfectly with a rustic ratatouille and baby potatoes. It’s delicious, but a lot of food for a girl with a starter of chowder! My friend compliments her lamb (£8.25) throughout, adding that the char-grilled flavour is nicely pronounced. Her bed of crushed potatoes is enriched with sliced olives, a combination we’ve not encountered but she does so with enthusiasm.

My cheesecake (£4) is appreciatively laced with rum and dotted with raisins, and I can see why it’s the pastry chef’s pride and joy. The chef also recommended the fruit fool (£3.75), a cool, light and refreshing way to end a hefty, filling meal. With ace service and location, and food with a good twist on simplicity, The Lot is a welcome end any kind of day you’re having.

The Lot is also a venue for events such as weddings and ceilidhs.
Also in December 08 Bite Magazine

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Broken Records



Broken Records Live - video powered by Metacafe

Just found a video of these guys from an in-store appearance at Avalanche Records on Cockburn Street. Thought I'd kindly direct any and all's attention to it. Because they are pretty sweet. My review from last year is here. Enjoy!