Sunday, 29 June 2014

Eating @ Quattro Zero, Edinburgh

My score: 3.5/5
TripAdvisor review: here.
Adress: here.

Ah, Quattro Zero! I have mixed feelings about you! So much promise and yet...

Let me start by saying that I am reviewing the take-out lunch menu ONLY, and not the restaurant as a whole. With that out of the way, on to my review!

One rainy workday lunch time I was asking around my work colleagues for recommendations on where I could get something other than a sandwich for my lunch. Upon the suggestion that there was a restaurant nearby that I could get a slice (ha! How little I knew at this point) of wood-oven cooked pizza, I was sold and dutifully headed to Quattro Zero.

To my taste buds, the perfect Margherita pizza has a thin, hand-stetched base, a rich tomato sauce, a sparing layer of fresh buffalo mozzarella and a drizzle of olive oil on top. Some fresh tomatoes and basil would be nice. Cook it in a wood oven and I am a happy camper!

For me, the pizza was disappointingly average. The pizza dough is fresh but has a strange aftertaste, especially the crust. The tomato sauce is slightly too sweet and exceptionally normal (no secret recipe sauce here!) and, the worst crime of all, the pizza is covered in cheap mozzarella that solidifies into a cold 'cheese' lump very fast! The end result is an unexceptional pizza that has a lot of promise but ultimately fails to deliver.

What rescues Quattro Zero is that this freshly made, 12" pizza only cost me £3!!! Yes, that's right, £3!  For that price I'm willing to overlook the flavour flaws of Quattro Zero's Margherita pizza and I know I will be returning every now and then for a quick pizza fix. The lunch menu is quite varied encompassing burgers, pasta, panini and, of course, pizza. Everything is priced within £3 to £5.

By the way, pictured is Quattro Zero's mushroom and thyme pizza (also £3) that my workmate ordered. She loves Quattro Zero's pizzas, so I guess in the end whether you enjoy your pizza depends on your personal preferences. At £3 a pizza, it's certainly worth a try!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Eating @ Rice Terraces, Edinburgh

My score: 4/5.
TripAdvisor review: here.
Address: here.

It has taken me far too long to write this review! So, let's get on with it!

Rice Terraces is a fairly new restaurant and as far as I know, the only Filipino restaurant in Edinburgh (and the whole of Scotland?). During my time in Japan, I made had many Filipino friends and I remember how fondly they talked about their (pork) food but as none of them were big cookers, I never got to try anything Filipino. With this in mind, I headed to Rice Terraces with an ignorant but excited mind.

The restaurant itself is tucked away in a fairly quiet back street in Edinburgh's south side, but if you know the area it's not hard to find. It's essentially opposite Homebase (free parking anyone?). The restaurant it not too big, about 25 people max, and the decoration is simple but pleasant enough. A word of warning, the bathroom is cold! 

As I said, I have no idea about Filipino food beyond the basics (adobo, lechon and polvorón being about the extent of my knowledge) but luckily the staff (a family affair, by the way) are friendly and are happy to explain about their food and make recommendations. The waiting staff all seem very proud of their food, which is a nice sign. I decided to go for a starter, main and dessert and with a little help from my server chose Lumpiang Sariwa, a spicy pork dish that I forgot the name of (opps) with a side of rice, and Ube Halayan. To drink I had mango juice and plenty of water. All of my dishes arrived in good time and the service from the waiters was attentive and friendly. On to the food!

My starter, Lumpiang Sariwa, was certainly larger than I expected! It also tasted completely different than I expected! it was like a thick pancake, covered in crushed peanut and filled with bean sprouts and other veggies. Occasionally I get a kick of black pepper where someone hadn't mixed properly, but otherwise the filling was good and the pancake was good overall. The veggies in the middle were tasty and fresh and the overall experience was a good one. The peanut and garlic sauce was delicious but I could have done with more of it! Not enough gravy is a crime.

I have forgotten the name of my main dish, apologies, as it was on the list of specials, all of which sounded delicious! My dish came to my table sizzling hot, and I was asked if I wanted a fresh egg cracked and scrambled on my dish, which I most certainly did! This is optional. The dish consisted of (deep-fried?) pork cubes in a smokey, peppery gravy. This dish was apparently spicy, but I have an extremely high tolerance to spice and say this was about... a 7 out of 10? But don't trust me because I love spicy food... The dish was good, but I wouldn't order it again, if I'm honest. It was a little too heavy for me, and although the dish had good flavour, as a stand-alone main (with rice) it can become a little same-y. There are many other wonderful sounding mains at this restaurant that I would rather try!

As for my dessert, well, this was called a soufflé but it most certainly is not! Ube Halayan is a very heavy, thick dessert made of ube, a delicious purple tuber, and coconut. There was a delicious caramel/chocolate sauce around the outside, but again this was in short supply! I must warn you that this is a very heavy dessert, and best shared! The texture is like a very thick mousse, and the flavour is of mild coconut and ube (uhm, duhh). I can't say I loved it, but I think if I had someone to share it with, or had eaten a lighter meal beforehand I would have enjoyed this. It was freshly made, which I appreciate.

My overall experience at Rice Terraces was good, and I certainly recommend anyone to try this restaurant! The portions are huge, the food is freshly and lovingly made, the service is friendly and the price is fair! However, I recommend this as a place to visit with family or friends where you can order a wide variety of dishes and enjoy many different flavours and textures. For me, I don't think I ordered the best dished for my tastebuds, but I will certainly be back to give it another try!   

For a nice list of Filipino food, please see here

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Eating @ Bobby's Sandwich Bar, Edinburgh

My score: 4/5.
Address: here.

It seems unfair to judge a shop on a take-away bacon bap, but that's what I'm doing. It is, after all, a take-away sandwich shop. So how was my bacon bap? Well, there was a good amount of bacon and it was nicely warmed. Also, it had a good proportion of fat to bacon and a nice smokey taste. I got a gentle amount of ketchup, as asked, no butter, with a nice soft roll. I must say that the bap was very pleasing. Service seemed a bit slow but everything seems slow when you're in a rush. 3 to 5 min was all I waited, truth be told.

So, for £1.35 this bap was definitely worth getting, and I will come back to Bobby's Sandwhich Bar in the future to satisfy my bacon needs!