Read our review of VDeep, a brand new curry-and-craft-beer restaurant on Edinburgh’s Henderson Street, brought to you by Scottish celebrity Hardeep Singh Kohli. Sit underneath the disco ball, and don’t leave without trying the dhal makhani…

vdeep edinburgh

in a nutshell

An Edinburgh go-to for sharing plates of great curry matched with craft beer. Energetic, a slightly mad front man, a disco ball and strictly no mango chutney.

vdeep edinburgh
who’s cooking? 

Chef Spencer Barrie previously of The Kenmore Hotel.

menu know-how

The menu is a one pager with all the comedy puns you’d expect from celebrity owner, Scottish writer and broadcaster Hardeep Singh Kohli. Bubble & Sikh (spiced potato cake with seasonal greens) and a Full Indian to name a couple…. read more at Olivemagazine.com

vdeep edinburgh

The full review of VDeep Edinburgh was written for OLIVE magazine and appears online HERE

Photos courtesy of Mymonkfish and Paul Johnston at Copper Mango.


farm to table

We’re delighted to be able to introduce a guest blog post this week written for us by Chet Sharma, of TRULY Experiences. Chet has previously worked in the kitchens of L’Enclume, Mugaritz and Le Manoir aux’Quat Saisons.

Here’s what he has to say on the subject of….

Farm to Table

The past decade has seen a push from chefs, the media and aristocratic foodies alike for more sustainably sourced food, preferably coming from local producers and vendors. I should know – I’m one of them. Having been involved in setting up Britain’s largest restaurant farm, I take every opportunity to champion the ‘farm-to-table’ movement.

And, on the surface, it’s working. Just pay a visit to one of the numerous food and farmers’ markets to see this revolution in effect. As we speak, crowds are flocking in the thousands to buy the season’s finest broad beans, peas and asparagus. It’s easy to conclude that the years of campaigning for more sustainably sourced ingredients have produced lasting change.

Except it hasn’t. For all of its successes, farm to table hasn’t changed the way the majority buys and – most importantly – has changed little other than the marketing ploys used by top supermarkets to make us feel better about what we’re eating.  There’s still a long way to go before we see a real shift in the landscape of dining.

The reason farm to table hasn’t been able to change the way our food is grown is because it still doesn’t yet make sense from an economic standpoint. The growth of the farming industry has almost entirely been at either end of the scale; the giant multi-nationals and small family farms bearing the fruit. The sustainable medium size farms – the ones that could feasibly supply restaurants and discerning food-lovers – have been closing in the tens of thousands, year-on-year, for more than a decade.

Marrying this duality is near impossible. We are bombarded by all forms of media telling us that eating ethically sourced foods should be at the forefront of the public zeitgeist. But this push for how we should cook and eat is up against a deeply entrenched status quo.

This is most prevalent across the pond; the conglomerate grain producers account for less than 2% of farms in number, but over 50% of the American farming industry’s annual revenue. They are producing high-yield crops, bred to require little in resources from the soil and the farmer, meaning that they can be planted more or less back-to-back, so that every square inch is producing maximum profit year round. Commercially operated smaller farms simply cannot compete when the economy of scale is so far out of their reach. Worse still, the majority of this grain is actually used for non-human consumption.

farm to tableIt isn’t all doom and gloom, however. There are people out there still making a difference. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of the River Cottage Empire is one. Manresa’s David Kinch is another. But it is Dan Barber who really sits at the precipice of the public consciousness.  Chef Patron of upstate New York’s Blue Hill at Stone Barn, Barber sees a bright future for farm-to-table dining, if farmers could adopt a more holistic, more connected approach to their crops. Barber advocates the planting of commercially viable cover crops such as mustard, followed by legumes such as kidney beans and cowpeas and a hardy grain like barley. This allows the land to be cleansed for the primary, resource-draining crop, while also producing sustainable crops as the soil is replenished.

Great in theory, the problem is that it requires an individual farm to not only specialise in producing a single product, but to specialise in ‘produce’ as a whole. For that to work, there needs to be a market for the cover crops, legumes and hardy grains that are being produced in between seasons. For this more traditional system of farming to be profitable, we need to create a market for those ‘less desirable’ crops; which is a market that just doesn’t exist as yet.

The positive thing is that we’ve seen it happen before; it used to be that fillet steak was the popular preferred cut of beef, but by showing the public that non-prime cuts such as flat iron, hanger and skirt can in fact be equal in quality to the fillet, we’re making better use of the animals now than at any point since the industrialisation of farming. And this mentality is spilling over into large-scale food manufacture; the only point at which we start to see a true shift in the economic drivers key for change.

What it comes down to is a re-education of how we can use native crops which renew the soil. Why do foodies reach for the exotic quinoa when the rotation crop millet can be grown locally and is far more beneficial for the soil? [1] Chances are that it’s because most people don’t know what the latter is. Sadly, this is an indictment of the current state of food education.

Farm to table can’t be seen as a passive activity – for it to thrive, we’ll need to create the most important economic driver; the demand which creates a new market. This means educating ourselves on how farms actually operate, and how use produce that can put back into the earth what we so greedily take out. Only at that point will there be a demand for farmers to grow the less fashionable crops which can save their business.

This needn’t be a revolution – the platform has already been set. We simply need to engage more closely with what it means to be truly sustainable.
farm to table

[1] (This is before we even enter the ethics debate about a food product that is now so expensive that the natives who have eaten this for the past 3000 years are unable to afford it)

If this subject wets your whistle then take a look at the recent Netflix series ‘Chef’s Table‘ – one of the episodes features Dan Barber and Blue Hill Farm – look it up, well worth a watch.

Till next time, happy eating :) And huge thanks again to Chet for this wonderful blog post.



Alberto Arellano


Alberto emailed us last week to tell us about his lovely new short film entitled ‘Fast food romance’ – check it out on Vimeo now.

Alberto’s grandmother is his biggest fan :) and she says this about him…

“Utilizing a wide array from stop motion, real filming and artistic approaches, his eye leads us into a special world where time, space and ideas are materialized. He always had a lot of imagination, I remember his 7th birthday party and he tried to….sorry..this is another story.”

She loves him, now we do too x

Alberto ArellanoFor more info on Alberto head on over to his website HERE. Lots more short films on gastronomy plus all sorts of other exciting stuff too.



- enroot - This warrants it’s own blog post which we’ll do following our visit next week (v v excited) but we wanted to share this with you while it’s hot off the press!

food news June 2015
food news June 2015

This month a group of chefs, artists, and activists dedicated to sustaining small scale farming in the UK, will come together to form Enroot.

Enroot is a travelling, grass roots kitchen that hosts farm-to-table events in collaboration with farmers and small business. The Enroot team strongly believes that there is an ever-increasing disconnect, between the food people eat and the farmers who produce it, which comes from the consumer’s lack of knowledge of where their food comes from.

Enroot’s goal is to bridge this widening gap between producers and consumers by removing the barriers separating them, and preparing dinners on the farm itself. During the months of June and July, 12 dinners will take place on four different farms throughout the UK. The food the team provides will be carefully sourced from the communities surrounding each farm, in an effort to create menus that reflect the produce of the communities themselves. Diners at the events will enjoy not only this site specific menu, but will also enjoy the company of the farmers and community members who will have all worked to make the evening possible.

The Enroot Collective was co-founded by Edinburgh born, Angus Buchanan-Smith and his great friend DeVonn Francis, the two young men met while Angus was attending The Cooper Union University in New York. Angus grew up on Cockburn Farm Dairy, located just outside Edinburgh and was deeply affected by the closure of the dairy in 2003, due to the collapse of the dairy market in the UK and has since become an advocate for small scale farming. DeVonn grew up working on his father’s restaurant in Virginia, USA, and is the chef who will be crafting Enroot’s menus.

To make this pop up series of dinners actually happen they have been seeking support from crowdfunding in order to turn their dream into a reality.

Dates for forthcoming events are Saturday 6th June (SOLD OUT), Friday 12th June, Saturday 13th June. £35 per head hosted at Cockburn Farm Edinburgh, Scotland.

If that ticks all of your boxes as it does ours then click on the website and book your spot now before they sell out. Jamie Oliver has already ‘got wind of them’ so strike now, before it’s too late….and remember, you heard it from the Monkfish first!

In other food news….

- HOPETOUN FARM SHOP 4TH BIRTHDAYHopetoun Farm Shop have announced a family BBQ day on Saturday 13th June, 12-4pm to celebrate their 4th birthday. Loads going on including beer tasting, mural painting for kids, meet the farming team and of course some tasting BBQ food.

seafood-supper-1172x856- HARVEY NIX SUMMER SEAFOOD DINNER – Wednesday 17th June, 7pm, £75 per person includes Prosecco on arrival, four courses with matched wines and tea or coffee. Hosted by executive chef Stuart Muir and Stevie ‘Fish’ the duo will talk you through four incredible courses (all with matched wines) describing the sourcing, provenance and cooking techniques involved in creating beautiful seafood dishes. The dinner will take place in the Forth Floor Restaurant, Edinburgh. To make a reservation or for further information contact the Reception Team on 0131 524 8350 or email forthfloor.reservations@harveynichols.com

food news June 2015

- - CRAIL FOOD FESTIVAL - The 5th annual food festival runs from 12-14 June 2015. Lots and lots going on, check out the website for more details. Highlights include the opening night film showing of ‘Chocolat’ and the Food and Drink Emporium which showcases produce from jam to gin. There is something for everyone and if it rains don’t forget your pac-a-macs, you’ll be in Fife after all…

RHS 2015 Creative Landscape- - ROYAL HIGHLAND SHOW 2015 - this year the Royal Highland Show celebrates it’s 175th anniversary and runs from 18-21 June at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh. Tonnes more detail over on the website so click HERE now. If it’s anything like last year the Food & Drink hall will be well worth a visit and considering 2015 is the ‘Year of Food and Drink Scotland‘ it’s going to be moo-hoosive…to quote their publicity material….
food news June 2015

- CAKE FEST EDINBURGH - 21 June, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. As if the Royal Highland Show wasn’t enough the very same weekend you can ‘have your cake and eat it’ quite literally. Cake fest promises a free day of cake, entertainment and Scotland’s best food and drink. Head on over and check it out for yourselves. One of our favourite street food fans, CREMA CARAVAN will be there.

- SAVOUR – Savour is back again following a successful event in 2014. Taking place at Summerhall, Edinburgh, Sunday 5th July, 1-6pm, while away your Sunday afternoon eating and drinking your way around The Dissection Room, The Wine Lab and The Pudding Hall plus more! Tickets available via the BITE magazine website HERE.

FOOD HATS - come on, you know you want one. Follow ChiliPhilly on Instagram now, he’s sure to put a smile on your face and stop you talking about the weather!

food news June 2015food news 2015food news June 2015

- PIZZA IN THE WILD – no food news to speak of but just because we like the pictures. see more HERE

pizza in the wild, Jonpaul Douglass pizza in the wild, Jonpaul Douglass pizza in the wild, Jonpaul Douglass

Yep, we’re here to inform as well as entertain! That’s your food news for this month, till next time Monkfish Fans. Get knitting, clickety click….or perhaps chuck your pizza over a traffic light and instagram it pronto :)




COOK edinburgh

Cook Edinburgh, see below for details of our amazing 10% off orders for June 2015!

***T’s and C’s***

COOK Morningside, Edinburgh

328 Morningside Road 
Midlothian EH10 4QJ

t: 0131 447 1736

OK, we’ve all been there…ssshhhhh…*adopts whispering tone*…”Iceland”…or have we?

Maybe not the country but perhaps the shop? Maybe maybe not but don’t be ashamed to admit that you watched  ’Life in the Freezer‘, the documentary that the Beeb ran at the end of 2013. Anyway, we’re not here to discuss the pros and cons of a high street shop we are here to tell you all about ‘COOK‘ – ie ‘remarkable food for your freezer’ and here at the Towers we are about to decide if it is indeed remarkable or not. Read on. Continue reading