Sunday, 22 August 2010

RESTAURANT AND BAR REVIEW: The Underdogs + Amore Dogs


BAR REVIEW
THE UNDERDOGS + AMORE DOGS
Doggone good

The Dogs empire of Edinburgh has become synonymous with rustic simplicity, with the food sourced locally and executed imaginatively at a price that is all too kind. But lest we forget that while The Dogs, Seadogs, and Amore Dogs get all the love, The Underdogs is nestled beneath the kingdom, quietly collecting a quirk all its own.

As my companion and I discover tonight, integrating experiences at Amore Dogs with Underdogs is a move that’s seamless and all too necessary. We descend into the latter to discover a space comparable to a grandparent’s living room. Plush, faded sofas and torn leather chairs create a lived-in warmth and it’s hard to decide where to plant ourselves for a pre-dinner bevvy. When the sweet sounds of the Fleet Foxes is heard overhead, we sigh gratefully and sink into the nearest cushions, which cover an old church pew.

Perfectly-chilled Prosecco spumante goes down a treat (£3.65/glass) while we ponder over the menu of nibbles. While we hungrily spy the beef and pork ragu pie and the assorted crostinis, we must dine upstairs as anticipated, and return here for a nightcap in another cozy corner.

Up in Amore, we gush over our salads, mine with smoked mackerel, egg, anchovies, olives and capers(£4.95); hers a similar but simpler puttanescca salad with tomatoes, olives, anchovies and capers(£3.65). My main is a deeply rich bowl of pesto risotto with the unmistakable bite of sun-dried tomatoes and creamy goat’s cheese (£9.95). I wish I’d done the small bowl of risotto with a large mackerel salad but hey, we live and learn. My companion’s pizza does not suck. At all. It’s made with a fresh tomato base, Gorgonzola and rocket (£7.25). I trade some risotto for two slices and no regrets.

Somehow we manage most of a block of white chocolate semi freddo with summer berries (£4.75). How one being could consume this on their own is a mystery. It’s a bit like devouring chocolate-flavoured butter but that doesn’t really stop us because it’s that doggone good.

We take our glutton with us back downstairs, leaving our shame behind as we sip on a Bailey’s and coffee and an Amaretto with the same (both for £10.10). The Underdogs is still darling and so agreeable, and on this August eve it’s a haven from all the festival fuss. Think this might be amore. (K. Smith)

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