Monday, 8 October 2018

Hotter and hotter! Midlothian restaurant snaps up second Asian food award

Hot on the heels after winning the title of Scotland’s Curry Chef of the Year, Midlothian restaurant Radhuni has been voted the country’s best South Asian restaurant.

The 120 cover Indian-Bangladeshi restaurant in Loanhead near Edinburgh received the award at a gala event at the Inter-Continental Hotel in London’s 02 complex (on Sunday 30 September) organised by the Asian Restaurants and Takeaway Association (ARTA).

In April its Head Chef Ashok Ram was named Chef of the Year in the Scottish Curry Awards.

Radhuni Manager Habibur Khan (pictured with trophy) commented: “To win one of these prestigious awards is a remarkable achievement for Ashok and the rest of our supremely talented and hardworking team. To win two in less than six months shows not only the quality of our food and service but the consistency with which we provide it. We are delighted to have been recognised yet again as setting the standard for Asian food in Scotland.”

Habibur’s father, Matin Khan, who runs Itihaas restaurant in nearby Dalkeith, won the Scottish Curry Chef of the Year award in 2014.

ARTA says its award is the only one which recognises, promotes and celebrates the importance and popularity of the South Asian catering industry in the UK, as determined by its consumers. Judges took into account votes from the public as well as online reviews and food hygiene ratings. Customers were asked to comment on  the quality of food and service, and the restaurant’s value for money.

Radhuni, whose name means ‘passionate cook’ in Bengali, opened in 2011 as Loanhead’s first Indian-style restaurant.

A Haute Couture Halloween

Get spooked in style at Hutchesons’ renowned Meet the Widow party this Halloween

Hutchesons City Grill, located in the heart of Glasgow’s Merchant City, is gearing up to host its darkly renowned Meet the Widow party in association with Veuve Clicquot on Sunday 28thOctober, and it is set to be the most glamorous Halloween party of the year.
This year’s theme is Seven Deadly Sins, which draws inspiration from Vogue’s 25th anniversary film featuring style icons Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. Following in these fashionista’s foot-steps, whether they are channeling lust or envy, guests will be asked to show off their sins in style as they walk the black carpet.

As Veuve Clicquot’s flagship venue in Scotland, Hutchesons grand interior will be transformed into a haunted mansion. Upon entering, dinner guests will be able to indulge in a decadent three-course menu while deathly staff serve up the finest champagne and canap├ęs to those who dare. Meanwhile, the evening’s entertainment will keep attendees on the edge of their seats with high-class acts making appearances throughout.

Louise Rusk, Co-owner of RUSK & RUSK, said, “We can’t wait to host our third Meet the Widow event at Hutchesons, a party parked with dark glamour. This year is set to be the most dramatic yet, with one-of-a-kind entertainment and prizes peppered throughout our three-course champagne dinner. We look forward to welcoming our black-tie guests into Hutchesons’ iconic building once again for this truly opulent event.”

Located on Ingram Street in Glasgow, Hutchesons is a restaurant and bar like no other. Spread over three floors, the restaurant provides a hauntingly elegant setting in which to sip champagne and dine on the best of Scottish produce.
The party will open its doors at 6:30pm on Sunday 28th October, tickets start at £140 for two people and include a three-course dinner and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label.  

Spaces are extremely limited and expected to sell fast, to purchase tickets please visit:

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Popular restaurant group reveals new concept name and opening date

A prominent Edinburgh restaurant group is bringing a new concept to the capitals Old Town.

Vittoria Group, the company behind popular restaurants La Favorita, Divino Enoteca, Vittoria George IV Bridge & Vittoria on the Walk as well as Taste of Italy, will open the new restaurant named Bertie’s on Victoria Street in the former St John’s Church.

Slated to open on December 3rd 2018, Bertie’s Restaurant and Bar will be open 7 days a week will serve lunch and dinner and will showcase the Vittoria group’s take on the nation's favourite seaside dish - fish and chips.  

Bertie's will open in Edinburgh's Old Town on December 3rd 
The 11'000 sq.ft restaurant will seat 300 covers and will be the capitals 'go to for proper fish and chips'. It will aim to attract both International tourists and Edinburgh locals looking for fun, casual dining in the city centre. The relaxed city centre restaurant venue will pride itself on quality authentic and sustainably sourced ingredients and will not require advance bookings.

Bertie’s affordable menu will reinvent the traditional British 'Chippy' dishes and will celebrate specialities including fish and chips - along with contemporary twists on the traditional chip shop experience. The menu will also boast several light options, all under ten pounds and will feature two bars, serving a selection of premium spirits and gins from around Scotland, along with seaside themed cocktails, beers and ciders.

The new Bertie’s restaurant design will also play on the chip shop theme. The restaurants grown-up seaside style will also feature a variety of coastal inspirations and contemporary designs: rope, anchors and wall-hung oars as part of the interiors.

Artists Impression of Bertie's Interiors

Vittoria Group Chairman, Tony Crolla said:

"We are excited to be bringing an authentic restaurant experience inspired by 'Proper Fish & Chips' to Edinburgh. Bertie's will not compromise on quality - everything we buy and serve will be of the highest quality. Fish & Chip ventures run in my family and Bertie's will be a proud new addition to our growing business in Scotland's capital."

Local design team MD Hospitality along with the main contractor Pride Commercial Interiors have been appointed by Vittoria Group to develop the new city centre restaurant and work is currently underway.

Earlier this year Vittoria Group announced the three million pound investment in the Bertie’s Restaurant and Bar site that housed the popular Byzantium market and Khushi's Indian restaurant before a blaze in 2008. The property had lay empty until Spring 2018 when work began on their latest project.

Bertie’s Restaurant and Bar will create over 50 new jobs as they expand their restaurant portfolio in Edinburgh and the Lothians. Recruitment is set to begin this month.

Please visit to subscribe to receive news and promotional offers about the exciting new Victoria Street restaurant.


Thursday, 4 October 2018

Celebrating Chinese Moon Festival at Lychee Oriental

On the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, Chinese and Vietnamese people all over the world celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. After the Spring Festival, this is the most important date on the Chinese Calendar and is sometimes known as Chinese Moon Festival or simply Moon Festival. In the Gregorian Calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls in late September or early October depending on when there is a full moon at night. 

On Tuesday 25th September, Glasgow restaurant Lychee Oriental launched a 5 course set menu that pays homage to Hong Kong's 1950's tearoom culture and Chef Jimmy Lee hosted a special press dinner where myself and Nicola joined some of Glasgow's movers and shakers to celebrate the Chinese Moon Festival in style.
Chef Jimmy Lee is a popular face on the Glasgow restaurant scene, partly down to his regular TV appearances but mostly down to the rave reviews that his upmarket restaurant has been receiving since he opened the restaurant doors.

The menu at Lychee Oriental offers a wide selection of traditional Chinese dishes using the best Scottish ingredients and often with a modern twist however, the Chinese Moon Festival menu that we enjoyed was a collection of dishes that Jimmy had put together to help us get a feel for the food that he would enjoy with his family at this important time of the year.

Once our introductions were out of the way, our first course of Ginger Broth Congee arrived to kick off the celebrations. I've never had congee before and when advised that it is a traditional rice porridge (or gruel) served all across Asia, I wasn't too sure that I wanted to eat it as I'm not a big fan of porridge however the contents of the little copper cup in front of me was a very pleasant surprise. Once I got over the texture, the rich flavours of fresh ginger and spring onion stood out and acted as a foil to the savoury and salty flavour from the broth that the congee had been cooked in. The crispy deep fried lotus root looked great for the picture but also provided a contrasting texture against the soft congee. 

Next up, we were presented with Crispy Wontons with Soy Butter Dip. I love wontons, regardless of whether they are boiled or deep fried although if given the choice, I'm on the crispy version every time. These traditional deep fried parcels were stuffed with a filling of well seasoned pork mince & shrimp and on the plate resembled the money bags carried by wealthy Chinese gentlemen in days gone by. The wontons were fantastic, crispy on the outside but soft and juicy on the inside with the flavour of ginger, garlic and sesame fighting for attention on the palate. Great on their own, but when dipped in the accompanying soy butter sauce, the flavours were taken to another level. 

The showpiece of the evening was the main course of Five Spice Beef Flank Stew which was served at the table by Jimmy from an ornate casserole dish. I always associate Chinese food with quick stir-fries and dishes so was eager to see how the Chinese do classic comfort food.

When the lid was removed, the restaurant was filled with the rich aroma of a well cooked stew. The undeniable notes of Chinese five spice, star anise and cinnamon permeated the room and we all looked forward to tucking in.

When Autumn begins to roll in, a hearty stew is one of life's pleasures and the slow cooked beef flank infused with the flavours of the Orient was an absolute winner. The meat was soft, tender and fell apart with little pressure from my fork whilst slow cooked carrots added an extra layer of texture to the stew. In addition to the spices mentioned before, the beef had been cooked alongside a generous handful of dried chillies and although Jimmy warned us not to eat the chillies, they did manage to impart a very pleasant heat that lasted on the tongue and lips for some time after. I serve my stew with mashed potatoes and and brocolli, Jimmy served his with steamed rice and pak choi - both work a treat! 

Chinese restaurants are not really known for their desserts. I think the last time that I ordered a dessert in a Chinese restaurant I had a choice of either banana fritter or a banana split, which in fairness don't really float my boat, and as a result I have not ordered a 'Chinese' pudding in many years. That said, after Jimmy's pudding of Hong Kong Peanut Butter French Toast with Banana Fritter and Ginger Ice-cream, I'll be taking care to check the puddings in the future.
Talk about indulgent? Soft, sweet banana encased in a thin batter made this one of the better fritters that I've had the pleasure of eating. The French toast was sublime, crispy outside with soft eggy bread and salted peanut butter inside, and when eaten with the ginger ice-cream, an almost perfect mouthful of pudding heaven. 

The Moon Festival is all about lunar appreciations and as such, Jimmy ended the meal by serving Mooncake, a Chinese bakery product made using lotus been paste with a salted duck egg yolk hidden inside which is regarded as a delicacy and usually shared with friends and family. Mooncake is very rich and also a bit of an acquired taste so Jimmy cut the cake into bite size pieces and also removed the salted duck yolk. I'll be honest and say that I wasn't a fan of  the Mooncake although the majority of the guests at our table seemed to enjoy the unusual texture and flavour of the cake.

Our Mooncake was served with a pot of Chinese tea and despite the tea not being as strong tasting as my preferred 'Builder's' Tea', I found it worked well as a digestif after our traditional Chinese banquet.

The Chinese Moon Festival Menu is available until October 25th and costs just £30 per head which I think offers fantastic value for money. 
We had a great evening as guests of Jimmy Lee and look forward to  getting back again soon. In fact, we have no excuses for not returning quickly as Nicola was lucky enough to win a voucher at the start of the evening when Jimmy welcomes us all along and offered us each a Moon Festival gift. 

I would like to thank Chef Jimmy for his hospitality and generosity on the night and wish him all the best for the future. We dined as guests of the restaurant however the review above is an honest account of our evening.

Don't miss your chance to grab a piece of Chinese tradition by booking online here.


Friday, 21 September 2018


RUSK & RUSK Scotland's leading independent hospitality and lifestyle group has  announced it is set to open a new concept, named So L.A., in Glasgow city centre later this year.

RUSK & RUSK are the group behind some of Glasgow’s most stylish restaurants such as Hutchesons City Grill, The 158 Club Lounge, The Butchershop Bar & Grill, and The Spanish Butcher – with So L.A set to add a Pacific beat to the mix.

So L.A. will open its doors on Glasgow’s Mitchell Street, with the restaurant, bar and events space giving a nod to the lifestyle and culture of California. James Rusk, Co-owner of RUSK & RUSK, said, “While the RUSK & RUSK restaurant collection already boasts some of Glasgow’s most impeccably designed establishments, each having their own distinctive characteristics and unique identity, So L.A. is a new concept, which pushes the boundaries of our current offering. Our new venue is set to be a truly one of a kind drinking and dining experience.” He continued, “Being authentic and bringing depth to the dining experience are our core values, and these are reflected in everything we do.

This is an extremely exciting time for us at RUSK & RUSK.” For more information or bookings visit:

Sunday, 26 August 2018

New jaw-droppingly refreshing fruit liqueurs to add to your drinks cabinet now

Jawbox Small Batch Gin has just launched two delicious, fruity gin liqueurs which are perfect for evoking thoughts of warm Caribbean evenings.  The Rhubarb & Ginger Liqueur and Pineapple & Ginger Liqueur are equally as good on the rocks as when mixed with ginger ale or added to cocktails - and they look beautiful too!

Jawbox Pineapple & Ginger cleverly combines fiery ginger with the gin and finishes with the intense flavour of pineapple.  Jawbox Rhubarb & Ginger combines the finest ginger spice paired with the Victorian garden flavour of rhubarb and Jawbox Gin. 
With the heat-wave set to last, there’s still plenty of time to get your hands on a bottle and enjoy some sipping in the sunshine.
RRP: £25 for 70cl. ABV: 20% 
Available to buy online from Master of MaltAmazon31DoverDistillers DirectThe Whisky Exchange and Drink Finder.
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