Saturday, 5 September 2015

Review - Nile Valley Cafe, The Dogs, Kampung Ali, Spoon

...and then as soon as 6.30 hit, I felt like a completely new Edinburgh opened up. (#cliche) Seeing an avant garde (a term which I now know the etymology of) was the best way to get into the swing of things. It was so weird and despite trying, I didn't quite get into it enough but I still felt flush with the satisfaction of knowing that it was so far from anything I could ever suggest in work-Edinburgh-world where Mistress America is considered niche. But then being in that Edinburgh brought back strange, floopy reminders of happier times and practicalities that don't pertain to paying cheaper rent in London but of other practicalities that I don't have much reason to think about anymore like what it's like to have a family (even if not your own) and family home to hang out with without any hint of soured memories and teenage years. Modern love is modern.

Nile Valley Cafe
Nile Valley Cafe is the antithesis of Cafe St Honore. It's cheap, BYOB and very scuzzy on the inside. I went for the lamb shish: chewy (but not in a bad way) cubes of dry marinated lamb. Cous cous which was so nicely executed it reminded me how bad I am at cooking cous cous and how all supermarket examples are just a travesty. Fresh salad and a little yoghurt to add some cool and bring it all together. I really enjoyed this place.
The Dogs
On the second night, we weren't able to get a table at The Scran and Scallie so went to The Dogs again. I was craving mash but none on the menu so I went for fish and chips. Oh man, it was so great. The fish was so meaty and thick that it was like someone had taken a fillet, poached it perfect then teleported it into a light batter with no weird sticking bits. 
Kampung Ali Malaysian
Then it was Friday and I was seeing a university friend after several months. It felt only appropriate to go for BYOB curry. Since the Explorer was there, I chose a Malaysian place. Of course we went for rendang, roti canai, satay and fried rice. In the rendang stakes, it's nowhere near the greats of Rasa Sayang but still retain the moreish quality that slow cooked beef should. I wasn't a fan of the greens they had running through it, they gave it a kind of stringy, jarring texture. All the rest was exactly as Asian fast food should be: brash, a little greasy and spicy. Enjoyable!
Spoon
Having finally got to Spoon, I was largely underwhelmed. I don't know if that's the consequence of having tried to go several times before and it being too busy meaning it's been overhyped or because I've become immune to the taste of fairly good hipster brunch, but it just didn't do it for me. Yeah, the meats in the mixed grill were all clearly high quality. Yeah, I was pleased it included haggis. But was it really any more than fine? No. To its credit, I like the bright, airy set up and the coffee was delicious. 

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