Thursday, 30 July 2015

Edinburgh is Delicious: Kyloe Restaurant and Grill





Scotland is rightly famous for its steak and, if you love a good one, then you're due a visit to Kyloe Bar and Grill, Edinburgh's gourmet steak restaurant. Located centrally in the West End above the Rutland Hotel, they take their beef very seriously (Kyloe is an old Scots word for Highland beef cattle), using cuts from pedigree Aberdeen Angus from Scotland's top farms and butchers. Their love of cattle continues with a cow motif throughout the restaurant, an uber-Scottish tartan cow to greet customers outside and cow hide wallpaper and seating.  Even the artwork is cow-themed!

If you're a steak novice or just like a good chat about what kind of steak you're in the mood for, Kyloe's friendly waiting staff are there to help. After being left with the menu for a wee bit after arriving, we were presented with a board of cuts and talked through the various steak options and specials available. This is particularly helpful if you're unfamiliar with some of the rarer steak cuts, such as feather cut. We were told that all of the steaks are aged for 28 days to enhance the flavour and juiciness, with the option for a 60 day dry aged steak to ensure the tastiest choice possible. The select breeds were also discussed, including the 100% Aberdeen Angus from Hardiesmill Farm from the Scottish borders and on this particular day, an American Black Angus steak, rich with marbled fats.

There's plenty on the lunch menu to tempt away even a dedicated beef eater, such as the grilled smoked Finnan haddock, served with Mull cheddar rarebit and a plum tomato salad (£11) and fresh linguine, with peas, broad beans, asparagus and crumbled goats cheese (£9). Other more meaty options include the classic mixed grill, a beast of a dish with lamb cutlet, pork sausage, rump steak, lambs' kidneys, grilled tomato, flat mushroom and fried egg (£13) or the lighter option of a Thai beef salad with crispy vegetables and soy dressing (£12).

It was hard to resist the steak though and we sampled the Aberdeen Angus and the Black Angus, cooked medium and medium well respectively. I'd enquired about ordering a steak whilst pregnant and cooked to 75 degrees medium well is perfectly safe in pregnancy, with the rich fatness of the Black Angus cut meaning that it could be cooked for longer without losing any moisture. The staff at Kyloe were so knowledgeable and answered all of our queries in a friendly manner. It was really nice to experience this service in a restaurant of this quality, there was no snootiness here at all.


Whilst the steaks were being cooked, we had some delicious freshly baked bread with butter and a chunky tomato dipping sauce. Our steaks soon arrived, cooked to perfection, with the medium well Black Angus having stayed juicy as promised. Beef dripping chips were a decadent accompaniment and the sauces were an excellent complement to the steak. The peppercorn had a sweetness with a nice wee kick at the end and the bone marrow had a rich flavour which enhanced the steak with every bite.

The steaks took a while to finish and it was great to take it slowly and have a natter whilst getting through these beauties. We were presented with the dessert menu and couldn't resist having a peek. Every single dessert sounded sublime but our favourites were the rhubarb and custard soufflĂ©, served with rhubarb crumble ice cream (£7) and the plate of orange desserts, which consisted of a caramelised orange pudding, iced orange parfait and citrus rice pudding filo (£6.50). We were so pleased to have decided to fit these in as they were absolutely stunning and were some of the most beautiful we have tried in the city. The rhubarb soufflĂ© would be our top recommendation, it was light and sweet with a punch of rhubarb flavour. The trio of orange desserts was also beautiful and a refreshing option for after a steak, with the ice orange parfait being a particular highlight.

Lunch at Kyloe was such a pleasant experience, a really lovely way to while an afternoon, eating one of our favourite meals. An essential Edinburgh experience for the serious steak lover!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Scottish Spotlight: Weird Crushes & Tom Pigeon Prints

Remember years ago there was that L'Oreal advert featuring Jennifer Aniston swishing her golden locks and trilling "I've fallen in love...with a shampoo..." and we were all like "RACHEL'S HAIR" and ran out to Boots? Well I've been thinking about it a lot lately, because I've developed a bit of a weird crush too. In fact, I've fallen in love. With a pigeon. A pigeon called Tom.

Which, with two fingers up at tenuous segue haters, introduces the brilliant work of Scottish lovely stuff creators Tom Pigeon. I've recently purchased their wonderful Largo print, which is sitting pretty in my hall, but I'm generally obsessed with their entire range, and so felt compelled to do my own wee bit to spread the bird. Bare wall sufferers of the world, rejoice! Here are some of my faves from their latest collection:
Top of the list is the dreamily stargazing "Luna Collection", three gorgeously shiny foiled prints featuring the crescent moon at Dawn, Day and Dusk (£35 each). I think they would look very swish indeed on my bedroom wall.

I also utterly adore the geometric Harbour Collection in blocks of very on-trend blush and mint. Inspired by local harbours, they're £50 each. From L-R Harbour 1, Harbour 2, Harbour 3.

In summery shades of pale pink and blue is the Constructing Worlds trio. Originally designed for an exhibition at the Barbican, you can pick up them up for £60 each.

And finally - how apt? I really do want everything from Tom Pigeon, so this print has to be a must. It's £50, and comes with a twin print "Anything" in black and white for a lovely monochrome contrast.

The team at Tom Pigeon also do a stunning range in geometric jewellery - check it out here.
And like any true crush, you've got to do a little light stalking on social media (WE ALL DO IT) - follow them on Instagram and Twitter for beaut pics and design inspiration galore. Heart U Forever, TP. Love, your biggest fan, Jane ; )

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Edinburgh is Delicious: The Blackbird, Tollcross


The Blackbird is celebrating the summer with a delicious new menu to enjoy, with a lovely mix of light and healthy eats, sumptuously filling salads along with classic favourites. We were invited to sample their new menu and really loved it. It's rare that you can find a place to eat that caters for those who want to stay healthy and those who just need to have a burger. Surely that's all of us at some stage or another right?

We were both keen to try the light salads for starters and tried the walnut and caramelised pear salad and sumac-crusted halloumi. The pear salad was served with kale, smoked cheddar and fresh raspberries and the combination worked superbly. The halloumi was served very simply with a balsamic glaze and fresh raspberries, for a salty-sweet experience. Both dishes were of a good size, not too filling and just enough to get started. Some of the other starter options we were tempted by included the wasabi and panko crusted tiger prawns, and the crispy chicken with sancho pepper, tequila, fresh lime and sour cream - a summery sounding combination.

For mains we went with the crispy Gressingham duck and a superfood salad with grilled tiger prawns. The superfood salad was both delicious and virtuous, and was a generous portion size with plenty of healthy greens in there - avocado, broccoli, kale and garnished with green tea, fresh lemon and chia seeds. The prawns were juicy and plump and ensured the meal was both light and filling. The crispy duck was gorgeous, served with roast beetroot, mandarin, golden squash, lemon thyme and toasted peanuts. The duck was the star of the dish, with juicy cuts making a perfect combination with the beetroot and mandarin, in both flavour and texture. The menu had so many tasty sounding options that I'm sure we'll be back soon enough to try out the sticky lemon chicken with udon noodle salad, the cauliflower fritters with quinoa and mango, and the grilled red mullet with charred asparagus, pomegranate and honey. Traditionalists should note that. in addition to these delicious but worthy-sounding eats, there are also good old burgers, fish and chips and steak pie on the menu too.

We decided to share a dessert and we were recommended the warm chocolate brownie with chocolate fudge sauce and pistachio ice cream. The brownie was dark and gooey, just like it should be and the pistachio ice cream complemented it beautifully. Next time we'll try the tarte au citron with gin and tonic ice cream which sounds like a lovely summer treat.

In addition to the new menu, there are summer cocktails specials too. In keeping with the existing imaginatively-named cocktails, there are The Girl with the Dragon Yuzu, Ol' Dirty Mustard and, a favourite of ours, The Adventures of Sherbert Holmes. These are bursting with fresh flavours of blueberries, mango liqueur, orange blossom water along with the more exotic Yuzu lemon sake, aloe vera juice and Pamplemousse rose. It's definitely worth a visit to try these menus out and enjoy these summer flavours while they're here!