Amidst the rolling hills, fields and woodlands of the Scottish Borders is the impressive Cringletie. Conveniently located just 15 miles south of Edinburgh and two miles north of the Royal Burgh of Peebles, it is perfectly placed for a relaxing stay or a visit to their renowned restaurant for a delicious heartwarming meal.
I recently visited to try out their tantalising Sunday Lunch menu devised by their head chef Iain Gourlay, which was launched early in 2019 and has received some fantastic reviews. It was a cold and windy day just before Christmas when I arrived but as soon as I walked into the hotel’s beautiful entrance I was immediately greeted with a welcoming roaring fire. Walking up the beautiful staircase I couldn’t help but notice all the stunning architectural details but it is the dining room that truly surprised me.
As soon as you enter into the lavish room you are greeted with the most beautiful views of the gardens from the large sash windows that are voluptuously draped in heavy luxurious curtains. The opulence continues as you look up towards the ceiling where a beautifully painted mural sits. Although the room was large and airy it retained a homely warmth partly due to the deep-coloured thick carpet and the crackling fire.
I was seated next to the window at one of the many tables draped in white linen with comfortable chairs which fitted perfectly into the rooms décor.
The three-course Sunday lunch menu features an array of locally-sourced produce which includes roast beef from the Tweed Valley and also contains a number of vegetarian and vegan options. As it was a typical cold and crisp Scottish day, I immediately gravitated towards the warming Chicken Broth with Chicken Dumplings for my first course and it immediately hit the spot, deliciously rich and full of flavour. In addition to this, the menu also delights with a Trio of Scottish Salmon or a Ham Hock & Gremolata Terrine.
Being a Sunday lunch I could not bypass the delicious selection of roasted meats. These were brought to the table and carved in front of me by the chef, and even before the food was placed upon my plate my mouth was salivating. I opted for a slice of all of them; roast beef, pork and turkey.
These were served alongside a selection of honey roasted vegetables, goose fat potatoes and greens. The meats were exquisitely succulent and full of flavour and paired with the side dishes, it was a perfect traditional roast. If these don’t take your fancy, there was also a fish dish of pan-seared fillet of Atlantic cod or another meat dish of slow-cooked pork belly, again with a selection of perfectly paired side dishes.
Dessert is always my favourite part of the meal and I always go for the sweet options rather than the cheese which was available on this menu. I went for the Chocolate & Hazelnut brownie with chocolate shards and yoghurt sorbet. Although deliciously decadent and moreish I did wish I had opted for something a tad lighter (due to the previous course) but who can resist chocolate and hazelnut together!
I really enjoyed my time at Cringletie House and it was a great little escape from the city buzz of Edinburgh. Its accessible location and scenic drive makes it the perfect place to combine some country walks along with an exquisite lunch or dinner. I myself am not a big fan of roast dinners but the delicious selection of food along with the ambience of the building made this meal truly enjoyable.My only wish was if I could have stayed longer and enjoyed more of that crackling fire, however that only gives me an excuse to visit again.
Priced at £35 per person with a £7.50 supplement for cheese.
I hope you have been enjoying my Christmas Gift Guide so far. This time I am sharing with you some delicious alcoholic beverages that I have tried recently and would make the perfect gift for those who like a tipple with a difference.
Lanique Rose Petal Liqueur is distilled from Attar of Rose which is a liquid as valuable as gold. This exotic ingredient is created by steam distilling thousands of hand-picked rose petals that are sourced from the East. The Attar of Rose is then added in a slow, multi-part process with carefully selected sugars and a neutral fine grain spirit. I love drinking this on its own or with tonic but it’s also a fantastic ingredient in numerous cocktails.
Kokoro’s Cherry Blossom Gin Liqueur is a British Gin Liqueur with a Japanese heart. Sakura in Japanese has a uniquely floral flavour and the softest hint of sweet cherry. The image on the bottle forms a triptych of Mount Bandai in Fukushima prefecture, painted by Koshu, the master calligrapher who also painted the Hiragana of Kokoro on Kokoro’s London Dry Gin bottle. The Liqueur bottle also includes the kanji meanings of ‘Hanakotoba,’ the Japanese language of flowers where Cherry Blossom stands for elegance.
North Uist Distillery is getting gin lovers in the Christmas spirit this new seasonal special. Its signature ‘Downpour’ gin has been reimagined as ‘Downpour Sloe & Bramble’. The spirit is infused with sloe berries and wild North Uist brambles, aged in specially selected bourbon casks – a process celebrated for its depth of taste.
Coole Swan is a delicious blend of 100% natural ingredients including; single malt Irish whiskey, White Belgian Chocolate and Fresh Cream. They have just launched their stunning gift pack for Christmas.
Each set features a 700ml bottle of Coole Swan premium Irish cream liqueur along with two beautifully crafted glasses. Coole Swan is best enjoyed in celebration and this stunning Gift Pack makes the perfect Christmas present.
Barentsz Gin has just announcedd the launch of a new, flavoured expression, Barentsz Mandarin & Jasmine, which will be available to purchase just in time for Christmas. Delicately infused with natural mandarin peel and exotic jasmine flowers, this gin has a distinctively smooth and fresh taste. The secret to Barentsz Gin comes from its unique base spirit – a sophisticated marriage of golden rye and winter wheat. Barentsz is natural – infused with real botanicals and natural flavours. No artificial colouring or sweeteners and no sugar.
Over the past few years I have been exploring the health benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is a compound found in the Cannabis plant, however it does not contain the psychoactive chemical (THC) that gives you a ‘high’.Recently there has been a dramatic increase in the market and different products can be found everywhere you turn. Most of the CBD products that I have tried had been within a carrier oil which was applied under the tongue. Unfortunately I found the taste and texture a tad unpleasant.
I recently discovered MEDAHUMAN who have released a range of CBD drinks. From the moment I viewed their products online I was drawn in by their contemporary branding; which unlike other CBD products didn’t contain the stereotypical cannabis leaf symbol which can sometimes be off putting. Their marketing and website was full of facts and information backed by scientific research which was impressive for an extreme fact checker like me. MEDA uses Liposomal CBD which is described as “minute, stable particles, encased in liposomes”, this allows the CBD to pass straight into the cells, thus working faster than normal CBD. In addition, the CBD is derived from plants that are organic, pesticide free and non-GMO.
MEDAHUMAN were kind enough to send me a few cans and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. The drinks are divided up into different health-boosting categories: CALM to de-stress, GLOW to nourish skin, RECOVER to reduce inflammation, DEFENCE to help balance your immunise system and the self explanatory SLEEP and FOCUS. Therefore not only do you get 15mg of Liposomal CBD you also get the added health benefits of other natural ingredients that you may require. What surprised me the most was the beautiful flavour combinations of each drink, where none disappointed. That being said, my favourite flavour has to be CALM, with delicate tones of Lavender and Chamomile. It really does help me to wind down and relax especially on days where I am feeling overwhelmed.
I spoke with creator Adam Feldheim to find out more information on the brand and the products;
Adam, you created MEDAHUMAN, what inspired you to produce these impressive CBD drinks?
I am from LA, ground zero for CBD and wellness, I started taking CBD a couple years ago for anxiety and stress management and I recognised the opportunity to develop an interesting consumer business in Europe. I wanted to be a first mover, which I am.
There are many CBD products on the market, how do MEDAHUMAN CBD drinks differ from them?
MEDA is a nutraceutical health focused drink, ie CBD + adaptogens and nootropics that have a synergistic functional benefit. Most of the other products in the market are carbonated and sugary. We are also different from a brand positioning standpoint, as we are looking to de-stigmatise CBD, as is evident the branding is modern and clean with no association with marijuana imagery, which a lot of my competitors are more focused on.
CBD has many known benefits, especially for anxiety but who else can benefit from these CBD products?
There are wide ranging benefits of CBD, as described on our website. CBD helps with focus, immunity, inflammation, sleep, skin, sexual health, etc.
I especially like how each of the CBD drinks have been cleverly separated into different health-boosting categories, was it a difficult task to create these diverse combinations and flavours?
I worked with nutritionists to carefully select the ingredients in all of the drinks. It was important to me that we were credible from a health standpoint, as so I avoided using things like agave as a sweetener substitute to be true to these health claims. I will continue to develop and refine recipes to offer the best experience to my consumers.
Are the beneficial effects felt immediately after the drink is consumed or do they need to be consumed over a period of time?
In general CBD should be consumed slowly and regularly. Part of the reason I went with the smaller 150ml can was to encourage daily intake (ie, taking your medicine). Everyone reacts differently to CBD, but on average you can feel the benefits within 5 minutes of taking it.
Are there any plans to increase the range in future?
Yes, I am already developing a range of MEDA Mixers that will provide a low calorie/sugar alternative to many popular cocktail recipes, adding CBD and the other nutritional ingredients.
Thank you Adam, we look forward to seeing many more MEDA products.
As I sit here on a very warm Wednesday afternoon, (yes that’s right, Edinburgh can be warm!) my thoughts drift to what I fancy for lunch. Luckily for me, I have been invited to try the new set-lunchtime menu at the renowned Hawksmoor Edinburgh.
After opening a steak restaurant in London, Hawksmoor’s excellent reputation rapidly grew. After an abundance of positive feedback from its diners and obtaining a numerous awards, they decided it was time to expand their horizons. Hawksmoor now has a number of restaurants all over London, Manchester and here in sunny Edinburgh.
Hawksmoor Edinburgh is housed in a stunning former National Bank of Scotland Banking Hall; a Grade A listed building overlooking the prestigious St Andrews Square. Its interior design echos its opulent past exuding a luxurious Art Deco vibe. The expansive space sits 185 people, serving its them with a delicious array of the best produce that Scotland has to offer.
Being a lovely summers day, I opted for a starter of heritage tomato salad. The salad was deliciously fresh and uplifting. A juicy selection of plump tomatoes was accompanied by thinly sliced crunchy fennel, herbs, scattered bread crumbs and a deliciously tangy vinaigrette.
Up next was a beautiful main dish of hake, again accompanied by heritage tomatoes and new potatoes. The fish was fresh and flaky with a crunchy skin, the perfect dish if you fancy something light and full of flavour.
For the veggies/vegans out there, you should definitely try the chargrilled courgettes with Twineham Grange dumplings and courgette fries. It’s an absolute taste sensation with an abundance of different textures. It’s been a while since I have had a vegetable dish that tastes so delicious and I cannot wait to order this again my next visit.
Last but not least was my favourite part of any meal, the dessert. I chose the absolutely scrumptious peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream and Original Beans chocolate and lets just say I wasn’t disappointed. My spoon sunk into the smooth ice cream, cracking open the shortbread to reveal a sumptuous gooey centre. The saltiness of the ice cream and the peanut butter was a perfect match against the sweetness of the chocolate and shortbread.
As many of you know, I have a very sweet tooth. Therefore I could not leave without trying their panna cotta accompanied by raspberries and lemon & elderflower granita . The sharpness of the raspberries and granita was balanced perfectly by the creamy vanilla-infused panna cotta, a match made in heaven.
I couldn’t have all that food and not try something from their delicious cocktail menu. First up was the marmalade cocktail made with a mixture ofBeefeater Gin, Campari, lemon and marmalade. It was very refreshing, tangy and just the perfect size for a pre-lunch drink.
Next was a cocktail aptly named ‘the full fat old fashioned’. I’m not a huge fan of Bourbon but this delicious concoction may have just changed my mind. Made with homemade butter-infused bourbon the normal smokiness gives way to an indulgently smooth and very addictive cocktail, one that I would highly recommend.
I absolutely loved my visit to Hawksmoor Edinburgh and was very impressed with their new set-lunchtime menu. Not fancying a steak for my lunch, I was a tad worried that the menu would be a tad limited but there is definitely something to suit everyones taste. What made my visit even more special was the friendly and informative staff who not only shared their knowledge with regards to the food but also to the beautiful building in which the restaurant is located. Their passion for the restaurant really shone through. I left Hawksmoor with a full belly, a smile on my face and a mental list in my head of what I want to try when I go back.
Lunch available for reservations made Monday to Saturday 12 pm – 3 pm. 2 courses £25.00, 3 courses £28.00.
23 WEST REGISTER STREET
EDINBURGH EH2 2AA
0131 526 4790
I don’t know about you but when it comes to Father’s Day I find it very difficult to get my dad the perfect gift. Over the past year I have come across some amazing products and experiences and I thought I would share them with you to make choosing your Father’s Day gift that little bit easier. Whether it be for your father or a special father figure, I am sure you will find the perfect item.
House 99 by David Beckham
David Beckham was determined to create a new grooming brand that supports men in their quest to feel and look their best. The House 99 range provides a selection of products covering skincare, hair-care and shaving. With its slick black and white masculine packaging and logo it’s the perfect understated choice for those fathers who want to experiment with grooming products.
I recently attended their event to try a few of their products and I was very impressed with the range. Here are my Blublazerguy top three choices:
Face Moisturiser Greater Look – This multi-effect formula helps hydrate the skin and reduce shine whilst protecting it from pollution. I especially love how even though it has lightweight texture it still manages to keep the skin moisturised throughout the day. 75ml – £22.00 at house99.co.uk
Toning Lotion Spruce Up – This is a fantastic product for re-energising the skin and adding a boost of hydration to replenish lost moisture, especially after shaving. 200ml – £18 at house99.co.uk
Bronzer All Bright – Most men are a tad dubious when it comes to using a bronzer or fake tan, but this product manages to solve the problem. Once applied to skin, this refreshing gel gives a natural and healthy looking glow. It also provides the skin with an intense dose of moisture and evens out the skin complexion; a great all in one product that is quick and easy to use. 75ml – £18.00 at house99.co.uk
Like our fashion sense and style choices, we are always on the lookout for unique ways to show off our personality. In my personal opinion, a fragrance is just the way to do this, therefore it makes a fantastic Father’s Day present.
Here are my Blublazerguy top three choices:
For a unique fragrance choice why not choose a scent by the house of Carthusia which comes from the beautiful Italian island of Capri. Most of the ingredients contained in the fragrance are indigenous to the area of which they are made. I recently had the opportunity to visit their perfume factory in Capri and I was amazed by the passion and dedication that goes into each bottle. With high quality ingredients, its distinctive history and its beautiful geographical location make a fragrance from this house a special and unique gift.
Numero Uno is one of my favourites from this house and is perfect for both young and mature men. This Citrus/Woody fragrance contains the beautiful top notes of Orange and Bergamot with a heart of Ylang-Ylang and base of Vetiver and Musk. This truly gives an opulent scent and leaves you with an uplifting feel.
Design Your Own Fragrance for Men – If your father is a true fragrance lover then why not treat him to a gift where he can create his very own bespoke fragrance. The Perfume Studio London have created a specific collection of kits allowing you to do just that.
Each kit comes with easy to follow instructions, equipment and a 30ml glass bottle which can be personally inscribed. In addition, it also contains six perfume blends that have been meticulously selected by their in- house master perfumer; Francois Robert.
The process is very easy to follow and it’s a fun way of getting involved in creating a fragrance that is unique for your Dad.
See my previous blog post here and video here for more information. Also look out for my giveaway on Instagram.
Jusbox is a luxury fragrance brand inspired by the world of music so if your Dad is little more daring or is a fan of the music industry then this brand is a great choice.
No Rules – This aromatic and woody scent is perhaps for the more daring fathers out there and is inspired by the leather clad era of punk. With top notes of Aldehydic, Ethereal and Saffron, middle notes of Lavender, Vinyl and cinnamon and base notes of Leathery accord, Birch Bark and Musk its a fragrance that plays between the cold notes of metal and the warmness of leather. 75ml – £140 Exclusive to selfridges.com
Acqua di Parma – Barbiere Collection
Acqua Di Parma are known for their iconic range of quintessential Italian colognes but did you know they also have shaving products? Their Barbiere range is a modern interpretation of a long tradition of shaving, Italian style.
Each one of their products comes in their striking yellow packaging and contains the fresh light notes of their renowned cologne. Here are my Blublazerguy top three choices:
Soft Shaving Cream – This is the perfect choice if your father prefers the traditional method of shaving using a brush. This rich cream is formulated with pomegranate seed oil, lemon oil, extract of basil and hyaluronic acid which helps prevent irritation and reddening. 125ml – £47.00 at acquadiparma.com
Shaving Gel – This shaving gel is for those men who favour a quicker shave without the irritation. This luxurious gel immediately transforms into a refreshing and creamy lather for an ultra- comfortable shave. 150ml – £31.00 at acquadiparma.com
Refreshing After shave Emulsion – To finish off the shaving routine, this Refreshing After Shave Emulsion is the perfect solution. The smooth and rapidly absorbing emulsion hydrates the skin and soothes any irritation. 100ml – £52.00 at acquadiparma.com. For more information on the fragrances, head to my blog post here.
I always get asked what to get a Man that has everything? You cannot go wrong with treating them to an experience. For Father’s day I have selected my top three Blublazerguy choices:
Darnleys Gin. – Gin School Distil Your Own Experience
If your father is a gin lover then why not treat him to the Darnley’s Gin ‘distil your own” experience. Housed in a small cottage at their distillery in Fife is the Darnley’s school of Gin.
Here you can learn about the history of Gin and how different botanicals can be used to enhance its flavour. You can then pick your own botanicals from their vast collection and craft your very own blend of Gin in their mini stills.
After naming and labelling you Gin, you get to take your unique bottle home. I recently visited the distillery and found this experience unique, fun and highly informative.£100pp weekly on Friday at 3pm and Saturday and Sunday at 11am at darnleysgin.com
The Balmoral – Father’s Day Whisky & Beer Experience
Located in the prestigious Balmoral Hotel is the fantastic SCOTCH, a bar that sells over 500 malts, blends and vintages from all over Scotland. I experienced one of their whisky journey’s a few months ago and really enjoyed it.
Now they are offering a special Father’s Day Whisky & Beer Experience. They have partnered with The Edinburgh Beer Factory to pair beers with their Whisky Ambassadors’ chosen drams. Sunday 16th June from £25.00, advance booking my emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Prestonfield House – Rhubarb Restaurant
Situated only five minutes from Edinburgh City centre is the impressive and renowned Prestonfield House hotel, owned by hotelier-restaurateur James Thomson OBE. Why not treat your father to a wonderful meal at their renowned restaurant, Rhubarb.
The restaurant spans over two large adjoining rooms. Each room is adorned with high ceilings, sash windows and walls of beautifully restored historical paintings. Again, the decor echoes the rest of the estate with antiques, historic architectural features and lavish materials. Three Course Set Menu Dinner – £38.00 at Prestonfield.com Head to my previous blog post for more details.
Situated only five minutes from Edinburgh city centre is the impressive and renowned Prestonfield House hotel, owned by hotelier-restaurateur James Thomson OBE. This historic building sits within its own 20 acre garden, its white baroque exterior standing proud against the rugged backdrop of Arthur’s seat.
As you turn into their impressive driveway, the city noise fades away and you are greeted by the hotel’s resident peacocks that wander aimlessly around the grounds. The adjacent field is also home to some large and hairy resident highland cows aptly called Toffee and Treacle.
The quant entrance to the house is often strikingly decorated to reflect the ever changing seasons; billowing with pumpkins in the autumn, twinkling with Christmas trees in the winter and beautiful displays of fresh flowers in the spring/summer.
Here, you are always greeted with the most attentive and friendly members of staff who constantly strive to make your visit extra special. As you enter the foyer, the space opens up into a beautiful staircase and hallway of deep rich hues whilst the air is filled with the scent of fresh flowers which are impressively displayed throughout.
I love to visit Prestonfield House for their famous afternoon teas where you can sit in one their numerous antique filled rooms.
It is here you enjoy a delicious selection of savoury bites, sandwiches and scones, all washed down with a lovely pot of tea or if you are anything like me, a little glass of champagne.
If you long for something more substantial however, their in-house restaurant Rhubarb is the place to visit.
Their renowned restaurant is appropriately named due to Prestonfield House being the first Scottish estate to propagate Rhubarb, which still grows in their garden today. Situated in the heart of this beautiful building, Rhubarb spans over two large adjoining rooms. Each room is adorned with high ceilings, sash windows and walls of beautifully restored historical paintings. Again, the décor echoes the rest of this estate with antiques, historic architectural features and lavish materials.
Sitting at one of their large circular tables, adorned with a crisp white table cloth accented with long black candles, I always enjoy perusing through their extensive red leather bound menu. It comes to no surprise that their the menu has been carefully curated, providing a delicious choice of Scottish produce with a contemporary twist.
For my starter I chose the delicious Prestonfield smoked salmon accompanied with cockles, dill pickled cucumber, scurvy grass & samphire. It was a fantastic tangy, salty and smoky concoction providing the perfect opening to the meal.
I then opted for the slow cooked blade of Scotch beef en croûte, which was to die for. The meat was extremely succulent and melted in the mouth. The accompanying dripping roast carrots, sprouting broccoli, onion confit and basil pommes purée was a marriage made in heaven.
I couldn’t resist but try try their renowned Rhubarb that grows on site, so for my dessert I chose the apple and rhubarb crumble. The tartness of the rhubarb was well balanced with a smooth vanilla custard and a ginger ice cream adding another dimension to the dish.
This restaurant is the perfect place to escape the hurried city centre and provides an opulent sanctuary with a delicious selection of food. The portions are perfectly balanced, the service is impeccable and of course the impressive surroundings make this place extra special. I have enjoyed several meals at Rhubarb and also recommend their traditional Sunday roast.
I especially love to visit Rhubarb as the sun goes down and the restaurant transforms into a sumptuous and luxurious space. The grand chandeliers look more luminous and the dispersed candles add a sense of opulence, calm, romance and drama. Whatever time you visit, you are sure to be enchanted by the magic of this beautiful hotel.
On Thursday 4th April, Guild Magazine held an exclusive event at Rox Jewellers on the prestigious George Street in Edinburgh. This event marked the official introduction of Guild Magazine in Europe and was attended by fifty creative and inspiring individuals in Scotland representing the world of fashion, art, travel, and food.
The event, hosted by Myself as UK Travel & Culture Director and editor Feraz Ahmed, welcomed the guests to the world of Guild Magazine.
Over delectable canapés, glasses of Moët & Chandon and cocktails served by the expert team at Rox, guests were able to meet some of the International Guild Magazine Team, who travelled from New York City for the special event. Founder & Editor-in-Chief Jose Morales, Fashion Director Luis De Jesus, Creative Arts Director Isabel Merchand, and Digital Design Consultant Robert Nunez, mingled with the guests throughout the night.
After a speech by Feraz Ahmed introducing Guild Magazine and discussing its unprecedented success since its launch on August 2018, Jose Morales explained his mission for Guild Magazine: “to serve as a trusted voice for experts and professionals in the fields of fashion, art, travel, and food, by showcasing the work of people who have studied and dedicated their lives to their craft and areas of expertise, while inspiring a new generation of up-and-coming experts.” His speech was closed with a sneak peek of the next issue – The Travel Issue – highlighting an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of one of the fashion editorials featuring international supermodel, Pritika Swarup, and the covers commemorating this 3rd printed issue.
This event enabled the International Guild magazine team to truly convey the essence of what the magazine is about and highlight their passion towards it. We at Guild were overwhelmed by the positive response and forthcomingness from all those who attended.
At the end of the night, those in attendance received a deluxe gift bag with items provided by Walker Slater, Kiehl’s cosmetics, Darnley’s Gin, and Guild Magazine.
For more photos of the evening head to the events article at Guild Magazine.
Located in the beautiful New Town area of Edinburgh is the family run restaurant; New Chapter. Hidden between Stockbridge and Canonmills, this warm and friendly establishment offers a contemporary menu using the finest Scottish produce. Serving a delicious mix of food with European influences, diners are treated to an array of exciting and unique dishes.
New Chapter have recently launched their weekly Jazz night, where every Wednesday customers are treated to live music performances by Edinburgh’s top jazz musicians. The renowned Robert Pettigrew and Kenny Ellis who have played at numerous venues and festivals around Edinburgh delight guests with their laid-back jazz, blue and soul music.
I was invited to experience this new addition alongside their award-winning cuisine from their extensive A la carte menu. On entering the establishment, the restaurant is a typical New Town building mixing a perfect balance of contemporary and tradition. The interior of the restaurant offers a calm and relaxed ambience with opulent dark blue hues along with an impressive geometric designed accent wall.
I am a huge fan of locally sourced ingredients and their beautifully crafted menu did not disappoint. It wasn’t long before the dishes were swiftly brought to my table. For the starter I chose their grilled octopus which I am always a tad dubious about due to its chewy consistency if not cooked properly. However, this was not the case as the octopus was cooked to perfection and was delightfully succulent and fresh as if it had just been plucked from the ocean. The cod mousse and chorizo gave a delicate saltiness to the dish and the wild garlic emulsion was sumptuously smooth. If that wasn’t enough, the beautiful sweet and tangy dressing of Amalfi lemon added a delightful kick to the dish, bringing the delicious ensemble together.
For the main course I opted for their rump of lamb and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The medium-rare meat melted in the mouth and the accompanying rich gravy provided an extra level of flavour. The dish was complimented by wild garlic and the beautifully delicate sweetness of hispi cabbage. To top it off the addition of perfectly cooked cockles added another dimension to the dish.
Finally, we get to my favourite part… the dessert. New Chapter have their fair share of winners, so obviously I had to try two of them. The first dessert was their new heavenly scrumptious banana parfait. It exuded a perfect balance of sweet banana and honeycomb, the smooth richness of a chocolate and caramel mousse with the tartness of a passion fruit and banana sorbet.
The second was a panna cotta delicately laced with ginger. In my opinion, ginger can sometimes over power a dish, but in this dessert, it was beautifully subtle. A ginger crumble added another texture to the dish while a delicate rose water cream paired well with the tartness of rhubarb.
Accompanying dinner is a delightful wide-ranging wine list and an ever-changing cocktail menu. I opted for a Gran Cerdo Tempranillo 2017 red wine from the La Rioja region of Spain. Its fruity notes of cherries and violets paired perfectly with lamb. To accompany the desserts, the restaurant also offers an array of sweet wines, I especially enjoyed there Maury “Grenat” Domaine Lefage, Roussillon 2016 from France. This softer alternative to port was delicious and had a beautiful taste of black fruits.
I was extremely impressed by the selection and quality of food in New Chapter Restaurant. The array of choice was outstanding and there was something on the menu for everyone’s taste. The staff were very endearing and professional and happy to talk you through all the options of food and wine available. The live jazz music was a charming bonus, providing the perfect backdrop to a lovely meal and adding greatly to the warm and welcoming ambience of the place. I will certainly be back to this little hidden gem, my only regret being that I had not found this place earlier.
Rome is known as the ‘eternal city’ and having visited it over ten years ago I was excited to take another trip back. I could talk about all the historical sites which are what makes this city amazing however I shall leave that to a later date. What I am extremely excited about is to share with you the delicious foods and drinks that were on offer whilst I wandered around this spectacular city.
If your only in Rome for a short stay you want to ensure you make the most of this intoxicating city. Luckily it is filled with an array of quick pitstops that serve delicious food and drink. Here are my Blublazerguy top picks:
Just a stone throw from the impressive Pantheon, you immediately smell the enticing aroma from this small coffee shop. Renowned for its delicious coffee, this establishment is often very busy, so expect queues on most occasions. This gives you the perfect time to decide on what delicious drink you wish to try from their extensive menu.
If you want a quiet coffee, then this may not be the place for you. As soon as you enter, you are immediately immersed in the rabble of chatter, the clatter of plates and the hissing of coffee machines. After you order and pay for your choice of coffee, ensure to grab a nice spot at the bar and hand the receipt to the nearest barista. These baristas know their stuff when it comes to whipping up a coffee, usually working on numerous orders at the same time, they tailor your order to suit you.
As there is no seating here, you are encouraged to do like the Italians do and stand, socialise and quickly drink your intensely flavoured coffee. This was by far my favourite place to visit and on most occasions, I would try the simple espresso! At only 1 Euro a shot this delicious coffee was truly worth it with the caffeine hit preparing you for your next walk around the eternal city.
We all know that Italy is renowned for its Gelato and with so many places to try it, it can become overwhelming. I discovered Venchi purely by chance whilst leaving a nearby coffee shop, and for those that know me, I never walk passed ice cream without trying it!
Venchi is a gourmet Gelateria and Chocolatier which celebrates its 140-year anniversary this year. With an array of delicious flavours, I am sure every individual will find something they would love. My absolute favourite was Cremino Venchi; the “frozen” version of their traditional Cremino 1878 recipe. It consists of a hazelnut base which is added to milk and some hazelnut paste and covered with an indulgent layer of dark chocolate cream. Their larger store on Via del Corso is more crowded however you do get the chance to see their impressive wall of dripping chocolate. I was excited to learn that Venchi also has four stores located in the City of London, now if only they would open one in Edinburgh.
After wandering around the food markets in the quaint square of Campo de Fiori, it is of no surprise that you become peckish.
Luckily, just on the corner of the square is an amazing little bakery; Forno Campo de’ Fiore. Peer through their window into the kitchen and you can see numerous bakers hard at work, preparing and baking fresh bread, cakes and biscuits. The focaccia bread is to die for and is filled to the brim with an array of different fresh ingredients to choose from. I recommend their freshly toasted focaccia with courgette flowers, tomato and buffalo mozzarella. The salty crispy exterior of the bread and the freshness of the courgette flower go well with a deliciously thick slice of mozzarella which is beautifully creamy and melts in the mouth.
This is another little treasure that I stumbled upon by chance. This tiny bolt hole located near the Piazza Navona doesn’t look so impressive from the outside, but it’s what inside that truly counts here.
This small establishment is filled to the brim with the well-loved Italian dessert; Tiramisu. Available in ‘Two Sizes’, hence the name, they have an abundance of different flavours and I only now wish that I tried them all. The traditional coffee flavour was available along with Pistachio, Peanut Butter and Caramel. I opted for the Caramel flavour which was sweet, creamy and deliciously smooth. Whilst in Rome, I have tried a number of tiramisu desserts and this was by far the best. My only regret was not getting the bigger size.
Enjoy luxurious surroundings and delicious cocktails in this beautiful hotel located off the main street of Via del Corso. Perhaps not a quick stop but after all that sightseeing its a great place to relax in the evening.
As you enter through its old wooden turnstile doors you are immediately transported to an opulent space. The lobby bar is extravagant in every way with oversized crystal chandeliers, intricate frescos on the ceiling and old-fashioned decadent furniture.
Although it can be quite quiet, this bar provides the perfect place to unwind from the chaotic streets outside. With soft music echoing in the background, ensure to order one of their delicious cocktails. I opted for my favourite iconic Italian cocktail; Negroni.
Do you have any favourite food and drink establishments in Rome, I’d be interested in hearing what they are?
It comes as no surprise that over the past few years there has been a massive revival in the Gin industry. As a younger man, I probably would have squirmed at the thought of drinking Gin but times have changed and I have taken quite a liking to this deliciously refreshing drink. Over 16 million bottles of Gin worth £413m were sold in the 2017 festive period. There are over 315 Gin distilleries in the UK alone and with each competing to bring a new contemporary edge to what used to be quite a traditional tipple, it’s important that they stand out in a crowded market. Juniper berries, which gives gin its unique taste, grow in abundance in Scotland. Therefore it is no surprise that Scottish distilleries are taking full advantage of this as well as the varied amount of botanicals available.
Whether you like it straight up, on the rocks, with tonic or mixed in a cocktail, there is bound to be a Gin that tantalises those taste buds.
I was first introduced to Darnley’s Gin whilst attending a masterclass at this year’s Edinburgh Cocktail Week. This Gin is created at a quaint distillery called Kingsbarns which is located in the East Neuk of Fife. Having grown up in Fife, I was immediately intrigued about this brand and the range of Gins that they produce.
I was lucky enough to visit the distillery and try out their new ‘distil your own’ experience. Housed in a small cottage in the Darnley’s school of Gin, this experience is the perfect gift for any Gin lover. Here you are able to learn about the history of Gin and how different botanicals can be used to enhance its flavour. The exciting part for me was when i was able to pick my own botanicals from their vast collection to craft my very own blend of Gin in their mini stills. After naming and labelling your Gin and you get to take your unique bottle home. This highly informative and fun day costs £100pp and lasts 2.5 hours. . I found this day very enlightening and it was a great way to learn more about the process that goes into Gin making.
Whilst there I tasted their numerous blends of Gin, my favourite being their original blend which contains notes of elderflower and citrus creating a clean, fresh and light taste that goes perfectly with tonic.
Situated on the outskirts of Edinburgh is the beautiful Secret Herb Garden, a patch of land taken over in 2012 by Hamish Martin and his family. They painstakingly brought the area to life, creating an award-winning herb nursery with over 600 types of herbs. They then branched out and used this space for events, local arts centre, shop and café. If that wasn’t enough, Hamish then created Old Curiosity Gin with co-founder and mixologist Steve Ross. Using both of their experience and taking advantage of the vast range of natural ingredients that grew around them, this distinctive Gin was born.
After attending an evening in their new barn conversion and meeting Hamish himself, it was evident to see how passionate he was about their range of Gin creations. With distinctive flavours such as Lavender and Echinacea, Chamomile and Cornflower and Apothecary Rose you are guaranteed a beautiful tasting Gin with the added bonus of a miraculous change in colour as the tonic is added. In addition to these, Old Curiosity Gin have launched three limited edition blends; Damask Rose, Geranium and Mallow and their Christmas blend with Cinnamon, Ginger and Cardamom. My favourite was the Damask Rose as the sweet smell of Rose petal transports you to the exotic middle east.
I am not going to lie, I know it’s what’s on the inside that counts but the beautiful bottle that houses this delicious Gin is what initially caught my eye. The vessel was created to represent the crystal clear water that laps against this Scottish island shores. You will be thankful to know that you won’t be disappointed by what’s on the inside either. I remember first experiencing this Gin in a small cosy pub in Edinburgh. Its clean, refreshing and unique taste immediately captivated me. The sugar kelp that is hand-harvested by local divers off the coast of this beautiful Island, gives this gin its unique taste and truly captures the essence of the Isle of Harris. As I haven’t yet visited Isle of Harris yet, I have made it my 2019 resolution to explore this magnificent island and visit their distillery.
I first discovered Daffy’s Gin just after its launch at the Edinburgh Foodies Festival. It was clear to see that this Gin was going to be a hit as there was queues of people waiting excitedly to taste it. Distilled in Strathmashie Distillery located in the Scottish Highlands, this Gin’s unique selling point is its use of French Grain Spirit, Lebanese Mint and other carefully sourced botanicals from around the world. Along with its this fantastic blend of ingredients and its striking bottle design, Daffy’s Gin have created a contemporary Gin that takes your taste buds on a fantastic journey. I often use Daffy’s Gin in Gin Martini’s due to its fresh and clean taste.
Based in Scotland’s capital city; Edinburgh Gin is a small-batch distiller who produces a varied range of Gins to suit all tastes. Their distilleries are based in Edinburgh’s West End and Leith. Edinburgh Gin have grown in popularity immensely as they stand out with their brand logo and unique variety of products. Along with their Classic, Seaside and Navy Strength gin, they also produce a delicious selection of Gin-based liqueurs, each with its own distinctive flavour combination such as Pomegranate and Rose, Plum and Vanilla and Rhubarb and Ginger, to name a few. My favourite has to be their Seaside edition, which is inspired by the East Coast of Scotland. This contains a delicate selection of marine plants adding a subtle minerality to the blend. In addition to this I often use a dash of their Rhubarb and Ginger Gin liqueur to transform Prosecco.