leith chop house


Now if that doesn’t make your mouth water what does?! Yes, it was all about the beef at our latest adventure for Olive magazine. The Monkfish family were out in force for one of the best lunches this year at Leith Chop House, tasty tasty tasty.

Very on trend with cool lighting, leather banquettes, heated tiled seats (oh yes), their own range of beers and a great wine list. The staff look dapper too with beards and denim and they really know their stuff – ask them anything about the sourcing of the meat and they’ll have the answer…

It’s a 10 out of 10 from us.

Read the full review over on the OLIVE website.


Les Amis


Next up we enjoyed a little bit of Paris over on Morrison Street in what used to be a tool shop. You would never have known! Les Amis is a dream come true for father and daughter team Peter and Alison McGrail. L’escargot are naturally on offer alongside some very tasty well cooked food. It’s got french brasserie written all over it and it does it very well. Expect set price lunches and dinners which are great value and they’ve even got a ‘deli to go’ if you don’t have time to dine in.

Read the full review over on the OLIVE website.



Scotland food and drinkThe last ten years has seen a huge change in the way we eat and drink in Scotland and all for the better…

Consider yourself extremely lucky if you happen to live in Scotland right now because you’re probably eating some of the best food you’ve ever eaten in the last ten years. There’s more choice, more availability, more investment – 2015 is officially the ‘Year of Food and Drink’ – and above all there is more passion from the producers, the suppliers, and the chefs. Not to mention us….you – the eaters!

SUPERSIZE_MERewind to 2005. If you can. Do you remember Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Super Size Me’, Starbucks quest for world domination (which continues…), the South Beach Diet, Jamie Oliver’s ‘School Dinners’ which led him to be voted by the people as the Most Inspiring Political Figure of 2005? Yes, that’s what we were all talking about with the occasional mention of the word ‘organic’ thrown in to conversations even though we weren’t quite sure what it meant. We probably didn’t own a coffee machine, if we did it certainly wouldn’t have used ‘pods’. We loved watching New Yorkers eat cupcakes in ‘Sex and the City’ but there wasn’t an equivalent Magnolia Bakery in Edinburgh, Glasgow or anywhere else in Scotland for that matter. Most of us had the entire collection of the Naked Chef on our bookshelves and sometimes dipped into them when cooking for friends.

noun_117830_ccTen years ago would you have gone out of your way to find the best artisan bread in town? Probably not, but you do now. Were we even using the word ‘artisan’ in the same sentence as food? Would you have asked for a flat white at a local coffee shop? Probably not. The flat white was only introduced to the UK in 2005, and the independent coffee scene in Scotland was far from thriving. Ten years ago the big guns were the places to hang out. We loved the ‘coffee nation’ movement and we couldn’t get enough of their skinny lattes, bucket sized Americanos, cardboard Panini’s and free wifi.

In 2005 had you heard the phrase ‘Scotland Food and Drink‘? Where did you shop? The local farmers market? Urm, sometimes? It was highly likely you did your ‘big shop’ at one of the larger supermarkets. Had you heard of craft beer? Did you have a veg box delivery? Did you know anything about charcuterie? Fish boxes? Posh doughnuts? Cold brew coffee? Sustainability? The new wave of Mexican food? Cocktails with crafted syrups? Small bites? Sodas? Refreshers? Did you get excited about spending the weekend meandering around a food festival?

Fast forward to 2015.

In Scotland we are lucky enough to have some of the finest produce in the UK readily available within spitting distance (mostly) of our own front doors. Hand dived scallops, small batch beer, more than enough gin to keep you and your granny quiet, top quality beef, cheese, amazing fish, the tastiest strawberries and raspberries, not to mention the whisky. And what’s even more exciting is the fact that your food, our food, is no longer being produced exclusively by the big boys. We are fortunate enough to have small scale creators – the makers – who are doing something a little bit different and who want to share it with us. Visit your local farmers market, your independent traders, farm shops, a street food event or a food festival and you’ll find them all there – we raise a glass to them.

Scotland Food and DrinkThe Edinburgh Farmers Market has recently celebrated its 15 year anniversary and is thriving to say the least. A few years ago The Telegraph named it as one of the world’s best farmers markets. Not many cities can claim that. Their 15 year celebrations, which included a pop up in St Andrew’s Square, drew in huge crowds despite it being held during the week.

Scotland’s first restaurant festival and pop up market takes place in Glasgow early September and has been created by ‘Real Food Real Folk’ who promise to serve up the cream of food and drink producers from across the West of Scotland. With names such as Ox & Finch, Ubiquitous Chip and Crabshakk lined up they’re going to live up to that promise. Championing some of the unsung heroes of the Glasgow restaurant scene they are ready to serve up to 5000 people over the course of the weekend plus they’ve got a very cool venue in the form of an old tobacco warehouse near the Clyde Waterfront.

Scotland is enjoying the hip·ster* coffee scene as much as anywhere else in the UK and most of us are pretty happy about that. Walk past Brew Lab on South College Street, Edinburgh on any day of the week and you’ll be lucky to see an empty seat. They’re doing something right and we part with our hard earned cash on single origin filters, espresso and cold brew coffee quite happily.

And, it’s more than fair to say that the dining scene in Scotland is on a serious ‘up’.

It’s been a hard slog though.

Social media has played a huge part in our increased awareness of food and drink. Tablets, smartphones, online ordering, twitter chats, forums, Facebook pages, the rise and rise of Instagram, the list goes on. And TV. Who would have thought that our small screens would have been as saturated with food programmes as they are now? Paul and Mary are laughing all the way to the bank. Saturday Kitchen, GBBO, What to Eat Now, Hairy Bikers, I Can Cook (or perhaps can’t), River Cottage, the lovely Nigella, Rick Stein, Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux, not to mention Masterchef whose reincarnations go on, and on. The list is endless. And then, to top it off, we all trot along to see them live thanks to the BBC Good Food Shows. We just can’t get enough. We are involved, we have been sucked in and we love it.

So where are we eating? We’re eating out. A lot. Yes, some things haven’t changed that much in ten years but the variety has. Michelin star dining, street food vans, supper clubs, pop-up dining, Nordic inspired tasting menus, farm to fork, nose to tail, communal tables, small plates, sharing, foraged food, raw, smoked, if you want it then finally Scotland pretty much has it.

Edinburgh has got Michelin stars well and truly covered but so much more too. Success stories such as Timberyard have set the bar high but the city goes from strength to strength with choices galore. Head to Glasgow and you will enjoy a more urban dining scene akin to East London, perhaps New York too, with unsung heroes such as The Gannet based in Finnieston. It is in fact this area of the city that currently has it all going on and more places open up as the weeks go by.

Further afield, on the Isle of Skye to be precise, The Three Chimneys is a must visit location for any foodie. It has won numerous accolades and deservedly so. Hot off the press, a very new addition to the banks of Loch Fyne is Inver, recently gaining a 9/10 from The Guardian. Chef Pam Brunton is delivering food (according to the review) in the ‘new-Nordic’ style that we’re all getting excited about. Dishes include Pigs’ blood bun and crab, Bute lamb with toasted caraway seed and fennel puree, and panna cotta scented with gorse. Fans of Magnus Nilsson’s Fäviken should be very very excited. It’s perhaps not quite as difficult to get to but apparently it helps if you’ve got a boat…

Scotland has also got some of the finest street food vans in the UK with Crema Caravan earning a well-deserved fifth place in the Scottish and the North of England heats of the British Street Food Awards 2015.

And we’ve also got everything in between. Tacos, sushi, sourdough pizzas, artisan cheese toasties, limited edition haggis, edible flowers, charcuterie boards. Food to go, restaurant food delivered to your door, neighbourhood bistros as good and sometimes better than anywhere in town centres. Great wine merchants, specialist beer shops, amazing cocktail bars, inspiring people developing their own syrups, tonics and sodas. The list goes on, and on.

The trends we read about from London and beyond continue to venture north.  Three or four years ago would you have expected to sit at communal tables when you went out for dinner? These days it’s pretty normal. Given, it’s not for everyone but that’s OK too, you can dip in and out of these trends when you want to.

And we’re eating at home. We’re influenced by the availability of produce on our doorstep, we watch our favourite chefs on TV, we read about food online, we follow numerous foodie Instagram feeds and we want to create the finest food we can in our own kitchens using the best ingredients we can. We’re shopping ‘local’ and are thinking about sustainability and food miles more than ever.

So much has changed in the last ten years it’s hard to know what will happen next but it’s going to be good if the last decade is anything to go by.

And as final food for thought – in 2005 a skinny cappuccino in a cardboard cup ‘to go’ was just sooo cool. But in 2015 you’re very excited at the prospect of popping along to your local coffee roaster, purchasing a blend of your choice and brewing up with the Aeropress when you get home. You’ll probably pick up a few items from a local deli while you’re out and about too, because you can. Happy days.

2015 is a very good year to be enjoying very good food, and drink. Scotland food and drink that is.

*hip·ster – noun informal
noun: hipster; plural noun: hipsters
a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.

An alternative definition would be ‘bloke with beard and tatts’ – see below…



LOVE love love this, only stumbled upon it yesterday whilst perusing Facebook etc but it really caught our eye. We were lucky enough to go to The Scratch Series at the start of this year which took place in Iglu, Edinburgh, run and hosted by Ben Reade and David Crabtree Logan.

Ben Reade has now created the Edinburgh Food Studio with Sashana Souza Zanella. Looking for investment via a Kickstarter campaign you can help to get the Studio up and running. Click the video above to find out more.

Edinburgh Food StudioThe Edinburgh Food Studio is a space dedicated to keeping food interesting. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings they’ll be open for dinner. The dinners will frequently be collaborative ventures with guest chefs, artists and people from diverse disciplines such as ceramics, botany, music, poetry or perfume.

They will host master classes and workshops on culinary techniques such as fermentation, foraging or butchery. These will be supplemented with a program of tastings, small conferences and product-based consultancy.

50% of the profits will go into researching and exploring Scotland’s food: its history, its culture and its future possibilities. They will publish this research on their website: so when you go to the Edinburgh Food Studio, you will enable them to disseminate knowledge.

For more info click HERE

Follow them on Twitter HERE


IMG_0032OK, hang on a minute, where did the summer go? Has it actually been? Well, there was that day in July when temperatures peaked at 26.5 in Edinburgh but aside from that it’s not exactly been a scorcher. And now we’re greeting Autumn with a slight chill in the air and thoughts of “should we or should we not flick the central heating switch to ON”…

Apart from the weather the ‘summer’ has been good in terms of eating. Festival madness brought lots of exciting places to eat including a ‘pop-up’ from the Lobster Shack which usually resides in North Berwick. There was a pretty cool Artisan Roast pop-up just off George Square with not only coffee (black OR white, nothing else…) but also the added bonus of Twelve Triangle Doughnuts to boot. We ventured to a new bar/restaurant called Checkpoint which, if our drinks only visit was anything to go by, will hopefully be a great new addition for Edinburgh. Think Amsterdam chic, industrial lighting, shipping container with tables and chairs in, hard to imagine? Go visit.

And there’s plenty of new places to look forward to eating and drinking in too.

The Chophouse in Leith opens this month promising to bring red meat of the highest quality to your mouths.
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British bred beef, butchered and dry-aged in house, cooked over an open flame charcoal grill….mouth watering stuff. From the people who have brought you The Westroom, Sygn and Monteiths we’re sure it will deliver. Mrs M will be popping along early October to check it out.

Brasserie Les Amis on Morrison Street opened a few weeks ago and has already had some great reviews. Bringing ‘the best of French and Scottish cuisine as well as beautiful wines, craft beers and spirits’….definitely one to try.

Our friends at Alright Treacle have just released their last three dates for suppers in 2015. Yes, sadly AT HQ will be closing at the end of the year as Anna moves on to pastures new.
static1.squarespaceGet your tickets while you can – click HERE to book.

Over the summer we’ve read about these new places too…



Both based slightly further afield than Edinburgh but not that far! Put them on the To Do List…

The Monkfish Famille have been lucky enough to try out some new places over the summer including The Star at Harome. Regaining it’s Michelin Star in 2015 it’s such a beautiful spot for lunch and a chillax if you’ve got a spare couple of hours. If you like your bread served in a Flat Cap (we were in Yorkshire after all…) then we think you’ll like it.
The Star Inn Harome The Star Inn Harome The Star Inn Harome The Star Inn Harome The Star Inn Harome The Star Inn Harome The Star Inn Harome

So, as usual, there’s been lots of eating by us and plenty of coffees have been slurped to keep us going.

Even though we’re waving the Summer goodbye (kind of), there is plenty to look forward to. We’re already planning a trip here…..


Sounds very exciting, read The Guardian’s review HERE. We may need to invest in a boat to get there though.

And we’re also going to stop by here…..


Part of the Tom Lewis Monachyle Mhor group, a budget motel with a great restaurant. Looking forward to trying it out.

There’s never a dull moment when it comes to food. Enjoy your Autumn eating and let us know where you stumble upon too, just in case we haven’t been already…




Very excited to report that Enroot will be serving dinner during August at a ‘pop-up’ location on Holyrood Road

If you’ve not heard of them yet then listen up….

This past Spring, a group of chefs, artists, and activists dedicated to sustaining small scale farming in the U.K., came together to form the Enroot Collective. Enroot is a traveling, grassroots venture that hosts farmtotable events in collaboration with local farmers and businesses alike. The Enroot team strongly believes that there is an ever increasing disconnect, between the food people eat and the farmers who produce it. Enroot’s goal is to bridge this widening gap between producers and consumers by removing the barriers separating them. The Enroot team has just concluded a two month trip across the UK visiting various dairy, arable and pastoral farms, filming a minidocumentary and culminating their research with a series of dinners held on farmland, out in the field.

During the month of August, Enroot have already hosted events at Cockburn Farm in Balerno, a former dairy farm, and next weekend will be hosting events at Henderson’s new Cafe & Deli on Holyrood Road. The team will provide food that has been carefully sourced from local farms located near the outskirts of Edinburgh with an emphasis on a few struggling dairy farms that are left, in an effort to produce a menu that reflects seasonal produce.

Guests at the events will enjoy not only their locally conscious menu, but will also enjoy the company of farmers, fishermen, butchers, chefs, and various other tradesmen that Enroot have invited to eat and speak to a community of people who may not have been given an opportunity for open dialogue regarding the plight of British farming as it stands today.

The Enroot collective was cofounded by Edinburgh born Angus Buchanan Smith and his good friend DeVonn Francis. The two met at The Cooper Union College in New York and both have deep ties to food and farming. Angus grew up on Cockburn Farm Dairy, located just outside Edinburgh. He was deeply affected by the closure of the Dairy in 2003, due to collapse of the dairy market in the UK. He has since become and advocate for small-scale famring along with his brother Charlie. DeVonn grew up working in his father’s restaurant and is a chef who will be crafting Enroot’s menus for the dinners.

This weekend find Enroot at:

Henderson’s Cafe and Deli
67 Holyrood Road, Edinburgh

Google map link HERE

August 21st, 22nd and 23rd – tickets HERE

enroot enroot enroot enroot enroot

And for all the social stuff you can find them….

Website www.enrootcollective.com
Instagram enroot_collective
Twitter we_are_enroot