I’m always on the look out for new places to eat whenever we visit the student in Edinburgh. Now just off Nicholson Street, close to the student’s flat is Nicholson Square. In the square there are a couple of North African and Middle Eastern food stores, which we raid for cheap spices, squeezy tubes of harissa paste, and exotic fruit drinks. There is also Beirut (24 Nicholson Square 0131 667 9919), which is unsurprisingly a Lebanese restaurant, complete with sisha pipes, although thanks to current smoking regulations these have to be taken at the tables outside come shine or more usually rain, given that it’s in Scotland.
It’s only been open for about a year and it got off to a bit of a rocky start judging by the review in The Scotsman. They do seem to have upped their game significantly since then though, as the menu now offers a Mezze complete with a selection of starters, grilled kebabs and Lebanese sweets for four at £60 all in. The starters which included Kibbeh (deep fried lamb meatballs), Falafel, Humous, Sucuk (a kind of ground meat sausage popular in Turkish and middle eastern cuisine) in a spicy tomato sauce, stuffed vine leaves and Baba Ghanouj (spiced aubergine paste) served with Khobz Arab flatbread, and the grilled meats were all very tasty. By the time the ‘sweets’, which were middle eastern cakes, arrived we were all too stuffed to really do them justice.
The only thing that let the dining experience down was that when the Kibbeh arrived they were red hot on the outside but still frozen in the middle. However this was promptly rectified and with good grace. I also thought the corkage (Beirut is a BYOB restaurant) of £3 per bottle for wine was a bit steep for just having to wash up some glasses.
In total our bill came to £77 for four which I thought was pretty good for a Saturday night out.
The following morning we went for breakfast at Mums (4a Forest Road). A retro diner inspired by the 1960s complete with squeezy red tomatoes for ketchup, brown ones for brown sauce and transparent pyrex cups. The menu is retro with a twist; sausage and mash with exotic sausages for example along with staples like shepherd’s pie and macaroni cheese.
This place is an offshoot from the now gone Monster Mash which used to be a few doors up the road, and has now become one of our favourite places for breakfast in Edinburgh. They do a great full Scottish for £4.95 even if it does lack square Scottish sausage, black pudding and deep fried wedding cake.
Nick had the Eggs Benedict, two eggs on muffins with streaky bacon and Hollandaise sauce (£5.95)
And Mab had the pancake stack with bacon and real maple syrup (£4.95)
It was all so good I think we might give it a go in the evening and maybe even forgive the missing apostrophe!