It’s a familiar feeling at this point in the semester. The initial thrill of Welcome Week is long gone and the yearning for some home comforts replaces the excitement of independence. Lecture daydreams begin to revolve around the weekend when your family members will come and rescue your beans-on-toast diet for a few days. Parental visits are the perfect opportunity to test out a few of the more slightly expensive restaurants around town.
First up is a hidden gem located in Edinburgh’s South Side. Field is a little restaurant, cosy rather than intimidating, with fabulously warm service. The food has an astounding standard and value, especially the three-course lunch menu at only £16.95! Dishes are beautifully presented, a homely sister to overly fancy New Town eateries: Michelin-style food yet unpretentious. The seasonal menu uses the best Scottish ingredients, such as venison tartare and beautifully cooked fresh fish, but their desserts are the cherry on the cake (pun intended). Highlights include the maple parfait with spiced pumpkin mousse and toasted pecans or macerated blackberries with goat’s curd and ginger. You’re not the only one whose mouth is watering!
If you’re looking for a taste of real French gastronomy then head to L’Escargot Blanc in Edinburgh’s West End. Walking upstairs into the restaurant feels like stepping into a classic French bistro decorated with Le Creuset casserole dishes and vintage posters. The food follows all the traditions of rich, delicious farmhouse cooking – not one for the calorie counters! There’s a cheaper early dinner menu, however, the evening ambience of chatter and unhurried, rosy-cheeked enjoyment over candlelight cannot be missed. A must-try is obviously their ‘escargots en gratin’ starter, which uses Barra snails and comes to your table sizzling in garlic loveliness, in a specific snail griddle. I challenge you to push through for an array of classic French desserts such as ‘ile flottante’: a wonderful journey into French cuisine.
Stepping down out of the cold, you enter the magical scene of Edinburgh’s final secret jewel, Forage & Chatter. This restaurant is an experience of everything great about Scotland. Although the portions may not fully satisfy a ‘hangry’ father, the emphasis on local produce and foraged ingredients makes for some sensational flavours and dazzlingly colourful plates. Dishes like the braised lamb neck with sweetbreads and dark chocolate ganache with Scottish cherries and sweet cicely will not disappoint.
image: Emily Bolger