Month: June 2014

Heavenly Food At Passorn

Sawadee Ka!

I’ve recently done a post on our ladies weekend in Edinburgh but I decided that Passorn deserved their own post – the presentation was too good to only show a couple of photos.


I have eaten in a restaurant in the West End of Edinburgh once before & My Big Fat Greek Kitchen suitably impressed me. So when I was surprised with another visit to the area recently I had high hopes. This time it was to visit Passorn – a Thai restaurant that my mum had scouted out.


We ordered three starters between five of us and we loved the presentation of everything served. Aob Chey was the first of the starters to arrive and this is thai chicken satay skewers. The chicken had a chargrilled effect and the peanut sauce really was heavenly. The cucumber sauce provided a sharper, cleaner option after the creamy peanut.




The beef tenderloin salad was bursting with taste. The mint, kaffir lime and lemongrass provided freshness to cut through rich tamarind & chillies.




The Puan Kan – Bangkok fish cakes – were delicately spiced and had just enough red chilli heat. We enjoyed the prawn cake & the fish cake, and the kaffir lime through them was a big hit.




Pla Ma Now is a seabass dish with red chilli, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime and lime juice. The delicate fish just about held its own with the other ingredients and this dish had quite a kick. I think this was my favourite main course.




The first of our stir-fry type dishes was Pad Med Hinmapan. We loved the cashews in this wok dish. The spring onion and peppers were tossed in the sauce of chilli and thai sweet basil with chicken.




My choice of red thai curry with chicken is the nicest red thai curry that I’ve tasted, ever. The spicy and rich flavours smacked you in the face whilst the creaminess calmed it down. I loved it.




I can guarantee that my mum will almost always pick a stir-fry style dish with garlic and ginger in a thai restaurant and her selection this time was Gratium Prig Tai. Alongside garlic and ginger, they had used black pepper and coriander to season the chicken.




Pad Thai was full of nuttiness and came with chilli flakes and crushed nuts on the side. The chicken was moist and beansprouts provided crunch for the dish.




Too stuffed for dessert, we went for cocktails instead. The fruity combos were cold and refreshing.


My parents are big fans of Thai food so when I go for Thai it tends to be with them. I’ll be making an exception for Passorn though, and visiting again soon with whoever happens to be with me in Edinburgh.



Price range: Starters £5.60 – £8.50, main courses £11.25 – £19.50, house wine £15.45 (bottle)


Passorn Thai on Urbanspoon


Guest Posts: Glasgow Artists

Today we have a guest post on the blog, written by Magda Bennett from Crush Digital. She got in touch after reading the blog as she deals with local artists and designers. As you will all know, I love shopping local so I’m excited to share the piece with you.



Glasgow has been known as a creative and cultural city for many years, with lots of musicians, actors and artists hailing from the city. Today, Glasgow is home to many talented designers who take inspiration from the city and the surrounding Scottish landscape; here are a few of the best Glasgow designers to look out for.


Jill Kirkham Textiles



Specialising in bespoke screenprinted textiles for the home, Jill Kirkham’s designs are inspired by the iconic buildings, landmarks and natural environments which represent Glasgow’s industrial heritage. The prints include iconic urban and industrial symbols like the Anniesland Gasworks, the Caledonian Railway Bridge and the Gallowgate Twins tower block. The fabrics Jill Kirkham uses to create her cushions, lampshades and other designs also reflect Glasgow’s heritage; she uses functional materials with an industrial aesthetic like cotton drill, canvas and linen.


Gillian Kyle



Gillian Kyle is a Glasgow native who, after graduating from Glasgow School of Art, took her passion for illustration and print and turned it into a business. Gillian Kyle has quickly become one of Scotland’s most popular young designers, and has gone from screenprinting on her kitchen table to selling her designs worldwide. Inspired by Scottish humour, eccentricities of national pride and popular culture, Gillian’s quirky illustrations are instantly recognisable. As well as her iconic Tunnock’s Teacakes and Caramel Wafer range, Gillian Kyle also creates mugs, tea towels, aprons, tote bags and more which celebrate Scottish childhood nostalgia and famous Scots like Charles Rennie Macintosh.


Nikky d’Aguilar



Based just outside Glasgow at Bardowie Loch, Nikky d’Aguilar’s designs are heavily influenced by the beauty of nature in the wild garden which surrounds Nikky’s studio. Her designs are created on canvas using oil paints and brushes to create vivid colours and striking designs; these are then printed on to a range of tote bags, makeup bags, scarves and even iPad covers. The gorgeous floral prints capture the vibrancy of the Scottish landscape after a summer rain shower.


Katherine Agnew



Glasgow jewellery designer Katherine Agnew often takes inspiration for her designs from the varied landscape of the Scottish Highlands. She gives her jewellery a modern twist with geometric shapes, 3D structures and a mixture of precious metals and gemstones. Katherine Agnew’s designs are based on the repetition of intricate patterns found in the natural environment; her Clover range takes the recognisable shape of this well-known plant and modernises it to create striking pieces of jewellery.


Amy McGregor



All of Amy McGregor’s designs are screenprinted by hand in her studio in Bridge of Weir to create bespoke printed homeware and fashion accessories. Amy has a passion for creating unique textiles and her work focuses on distinctive textures and contemporary geometric and floral designs. With everything from prints to cushions and scarves to tote bags, Amy McGregor’s products are all handmade in Glasgow using the best quality materials sourced from throughout the UK.


Innovivid Art House



Originally from Canada, Innovivid Art House’s founder Kimmy is a “Scotland-loving-Glasgow-living” freelance graphic designer. Her love of Scotland and digital design has come together in Innovivid’s range of bright pop art style prints. The fun prints which feature everyday objects and Scottish icons with a new twist – like neon Highland cows, stags, thistles or red squirrels! – are perfect for brightening up any home. Innovivid Art House also offer personalised prints so you can have your own photos turned into pop art prints.


Who are your favourite Glasgow designers?


Laura: My personal favourites are the stag print from Innovivid and Gillian Kyle’s ‘big fish’ range. Happy shopping!

Afternoon Tea At Culloden House

Culloden House stands on the outskirts of Inverness, near to the Culloden Battlefield. Bonnie Prince Charlie even stayed there during the Jacobite Rising. It is close to my childhood home & was the setting for afternoon tea with some of my closest & longest friends for one of my birthday celebrations.



The hotel stands on manicured grounds with highland cattle at the back. You could have a pre eating walk if you wanted to work up an appetite. It is now in a fairly residential area but it doesn’t feel like it.
You book afternoon tea so that the pastry chef has time to whip up the goods. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it’s quite grand but when we went inside we got the warmest welcome from the manager, Murray. He took us into a lounge and asked us whether we wanted the fire on. There were no other people in when we were, but I know other people who have visited when others have been in so we must have got a quiet day. It was off season so probably down to that but we loved having the place to ourselves.

He obviously knew his audience when he started talking about prosecco and we were only too happy to oblige.

The sandwiches were a crust off, traditional affair. Soft bread and tasty fillings so they got nods all round.


Ahh, and the tea. Loose leaf complete with tea strainer and served in gorgeous wares. Murray also gave us a pot of boiling water in case it was too strong for us – little things make all the difference.


It was time for something sweet to go with the tea. We all had our eye on something different, and I’m sure we all sampled everything else too. Mini scones with little pots of jam were warmly received. After a few of these afternoon teas, I realised that I can’t managed sandwiches then a whole scone then all of the cakes so the minis were designed for me.



There were meringues filled with fresh cream and served with white chocolate cigarettes next to traditional shortbread rounds dusted in sugar.


Gooey thin flapjack type delights were small enough to curtail the richness.


My favourites were the chocolatey, caramel bites. So soft that they were like a rich mousse and I’m sure I could detect a saltiness. They were so good that Murray packed up the last one for me to take back for mum to sample.


We were so relaxed in there that we asked to see some of the other rooms they use for dining and weddings. They were all so grand and beautiful.

I always wondered what the bedrooms were like and we were allowed to wander freely around some. They are currently refurbishing some of the rooms but what we saw can only be described as romantic.




It was unintentionally fitting to visit Culloden House for a 30th birthday visit – we grew up around it but always thought it was so adult as youngsters. When we became adults I couldn’t tell you but surely by 30 we are there!



Afternoon tea at Culloden House is currently priced at £14.95 per person.


Many thanks to my good friend Iona for taking the food photographs. You can check out her photography here




Edinburgh: A Ladies Weekend

For my thirtieth birthday this year I had a few celebrations. I spent my actual birthday in London, then headed up to Inverness then back to Glasgow for more mini celebrations. Finally, a few weeks later, some of the Mackenzie ladies in the family went to Edinburgh for the weekend. Sticking with our surprise birthday tradition, I knew nothing about what we were doing. This made it exciting but my inner planner was going mad!

We met at the train station & got a taxi to a mystery hotel. When we arrived I found out that we were staying in the Marriott Hotel in Corstophine, which is near the airport. The location was near the zoo so it made sense for us. If you are staying here then Haymarket is closer than Waverley – about 10-15 minutes in a taxi. Staying in a Marriott meant that we had the luxury of a swimming pool with spa facilities. We arrived late evening on the Friday so went straight down for a swim, sauna, steam room & jacuzzi before a gin to begin our relaxing weekend. The bed was comfy with nice bedding and we all slept soundly.

The next morning we went down for the buffet breakfast after a quick swim. There was a great selection and fresh food was constantly being put out but the thing that we noticed most was the service. Our waiter (I wish I could remember his name) was friendly, jokey and spent time having a chat with you. I find that sometimes in a big hotel they lack personal service so it was terrific to see a member of staff giving the personal touch. Just as important, the link sausages were of a good standard (everyone has their bugbears & grisly, fatty sausages is mine).




At breakfast I was told that we were spending the day at the nearby Edinburgh Zoo complete with a visit to the pandas. Edinburgh Zoo is in my top 5 days out in Scotland without a doubt. I try to go at least once a year but last year the panda visiting area was closed so I had not seen them yet.


Tian Tian

Tian Tian


I have previously done a post on the Zoo so won’t repeat any information except that it is a great place to go.


My personal favourites - the meercats

My personal favourites – the meercats


We squeezed in another quick swim and sauna before getting ready for dinner. Again I did not know where we were going but it turned out to be Passorn, which is a Thai restaurant on Brougham Place in the West End. I’ve done a separate post on Passorn but I’d recommend it.

What did we do in the morning? Swim, of course. If there was a competition on how many times you can use a hotel swimming pool in two nights we would have done pretty well.

After all of that pampering we checked out before making our way into the city centre. There was some wandering around the shops before a cocktail at Harvey Nichols 4th floor cocktail bar. What a view – try to go at quiet times to get a window seat.




We ended our girly weekend with afternoon tea at The Dome. Decadent at it’s best, this was one not to be missed. The building itself is grand (loved the toilets-bottom photo) and the food was of an extremely high standard.

Getting macaroons always improves afternoon tea for me but all of the cakes were moreish.




I bid them farewell at the train station then continued with the 30th theme with one of my oldest friends whose birthday is 10 days after mine. Eilidh suggested a cocktail at The Balmoral and who was I to say no? We badly needed a long catch-up & we were joining the 30’s club after all.




I’d never been to any of the places we visited (bar the zoo) and each one was a success. My favourite part of the weekend was spending time with the ladies but Edinburgh came a close second.

Ale Glorious Ale

I have previously mentioned my newfound love of beer and ale that opens up a whole new world for me. Instead of ‘where serves a good gin’ I’m finding myself thinking ‘where has a good selection of beer that I’ll like’. I admit that I’m still getting used to it and, at the moment, I prefer my lager tops to curb any bitterness. I do like a pale ale and I’ve been trying out a few.

Then I was sent a box of Isle Of Skye Brewing Co ales to try and I felt a post coming on.


photo 3


The brewery is relatively young and originated from a chat in the pub in 1992 regarding the lack of good beer in Skye. Everyone knows that all the best ideas come from a pub session! It was the first time that I’d tried their beer so I wanted to save it for a night with my more knowledgeable dad.

The brewery has recently rebranded all of their products so there have been a few changes – Red Cuillin’s name change to Red Skye being the main one. I found the new bold labelling to be a good thing – at least I’ll never open the wrong one and will easily pick it out in a shop.


Skye Gold (the yellow one) was my first pick because pale ale is one of my favourite things right now. This one is made with the addition of porridge oats and, whilst I couldn’t really taste oats, I could smell them and there was a definite twist to it. It was refreshing and a good new addition to my IPA style collection.


photo 2

L to R: Skye Red, Skye Gold and Skye Black


Skye Red is the Isle Of Skye Brewing Co’s baby as it was the first beer they brewed back in 1995. This is the one that used to be called Red Cuillin and is award winning. I thought that it was lighter in flavour than a lot of red beers that I’ve tasted and my dad agreed. It still had a nice fruityness to it with a slight bitter aftertaste. We thought it could be a perfect session ale for someone who likes red ale due to the lightness.


We left Skye Black to last so that it did not cloud our tastebuds for the others. It smells malty and slightly smoky and I was unsure about whether it would be too dark for me. It was too dark for my taste but my dad enjoyed it more. We agreed that it was not as bitter as some dark ales due to the addition of honey but it still had smoky tones to be in-keeping with a darker, stronger tasting ale.


It has inspired me to do a Scottish beers post so no doubt my instagram will be full of beer related photos over the next few months. My dads favourite was the Skye Red and I liked the Skye Gold so I’ll be looking out for it on tap in Glasgow now. The ideal situation would be to take another trip to Skye and drink it practically from the source – whilst eating some fresh fish after a walk on the coral beach but this will do for now. After a gander on their website I have seen that they also sell Skye Blaven, which is a stronger brew than the others. That’s part of my fathers day present sorted…thanks Skye Brewing.


Eat Local, Drink Local!


I want to extend my thanks to Ewan MacGill at Wire, along with all at Skye Brewing Co for sending me beer and alerting me of its presence.

Burger Then Wine

I won a competition in March on Twitter and my prize was two tickets for a wine-tasting night with Pieter Rosenthal in Curlers Rest on Byres Road.

We wanted some fairly inexpensive scran beforehand so tried out TriBeCa for the first time as it is only five minutes walk away. I’ve heard lots about their pancakes and waffles but it was 5pm and they seem like brunch food so we had burgers. I won’t go into too much detail but the burgers were large, chips got the thumbs up, lots of accessories to choose from but the meat was fairly tasteless. I thought that I was getting a burger with cheese in the middle of the patty but the cheese was just in between two patties.
I’m coming back for their pancakes another day because I’m fairly confident that I’ll prefer TriBeCa as a brunch place.




Anyway, back to wine night. Curlers had reserved most of upstairs for the tasting and had it arranged as three long bench style areas. We sat at the front because I can struggle to hear at these events. There were around 30 of us and we were given tasting note sheets to write notes if we wanted.

Pieter gave a brief outline as to what the night would entail & about new and old world wines. Old world wine producers include France, Italy & Germany among others and tend to use methods passed down from generation to generation. New world wine producers include New Zealand, South America, Australia and South Africa & use more up to date methods. I knew a bit about this already but I find the topic interesting so I’m happy to listen again and learn a few new snippets of knowledge.




During the tasting we compared an old world wine with a new world wine for each section. After each comparison we voted on whether we preferred the old or new one. The old world wines won the battle! The general consensus was that many of the new world ones were better for session drinking but the old world ones were better for serious flavour and meals.


Some of the snacks they gave us were a bit random for a wine tasting!

Some of the snacks they gave us were a bit random for a wine tasting!


I had a great night at the tasting and found Pieter to be informative without boring me with too much detail. Tickets are only £6, which I think is a bargain for wine tasting. It would provide novices with a solid introduction to the world of wine.


Trying to catch up with Glasgow burger places is exhausting – me and my expanded waist are officially over it. I’ve found my favourites and I’ll go to them but that’s it. I still have a short post to do about TriBeCa but as of now I’m hoping that my willpower will kick in. There’s only so many ways to describe a burger and anyway, James Vs Burger is much better at it than I am. So this is one of my last burger posts for a while. Several food lovers had recommended Buddy’s in Shawlands when it was a takeaway and they now have a dine-in place nearby so it seemed a logical pick for an informal catch-up with Southside friends.


20140529-183458-66898020.jpg(Excuse the messy menu)

Buddys has an American diner theme to the decor. As you can imagine, the menu is all burgers. I had a Buddy’s Special – a beef patty, mushroom, onion, cheese & bacon. It was smaller in size than many burgers I’ve been served recently but the texture and flavour were superior to a lot of those so I preferred it.


Mr S chose a Western Burger – beef patty, BBQ sauce, bacon & a giant onion ring. He rated it highly but said it wasn’t very big. Although he did think that if it was bigger then it might have not been as juicy.


Fries were probably bought in and frozen but fine for the occasion.
The side of chicken wings was a big portion and I’d order them again.

A good addition to Shawlands, making sure that locals don’t need to go into town for good food.

Buddy's BBQ & Burgers on Urbanspoon

Gambrino – My Old Kelvinbridge Local

I used to live in Kelvinbridge in my student days & I have good memories of that time. We’d spend evenings in Kelvingrove Park eating treats from Philadelphia, have lunch in The Big Blue & dinner at Gambrino when we were feeling flush. Gambrino is still there so we went for lunch recently to see if it’s how I remember it.


The restaurant was quiet as it was the start of the week but they have a great value lunch menu for £6.95 (if memory serves correctly). We both ordered from the lunch menu because we were in a pizza mood.

I started with chicken strips and the portion size was large, especially for such a cheap menu. It was pure breast meat with no spongy taste from chicken pumped with water that some places give out. The crumb coating was crispy and I used the lemon provided to give zing to the mayo.


Mr S opted for the wholesome minestrone soup. It came with bread and they offered
fresh parmesan for the top. It was chunky as it should be and flavoursome.


There wasn’t a long wait before our pizzas arrived. Look away now pizza snobs because I indulged in a ham and pineapple number. I really liked the thin base with the crunchy crust with soft dough inside. Not too much sauce so it suited me perfectly.


The sausage and chilli pizza that Mr S created went down equally well.

I think we were served by the owner because between serving us he appeared to be doing paperwork. He made us feel valued and it was apparent that he cared if we enjoyed our meal or not.

We’ll be going back to Gambrino, in fact I’m a little irked that I left it so long after leaving Kelvinbridge to return. A lovely neighbourhood restaurant.

Gambrino Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

We Gonna Rock Down To Electric Avenue G

I found myself in the west end with a spare hour on a Sunday morning recently so treated myself to breakfast. As I approached Avenue G’s door I wavered. I knew that I was cheating on my beloved Cup but I couldn’t resist temptation anymore.


Alas, my guilt was eased with a strong cappuccino that came with real chocolate shavings on top. I debated what to have so made one of those split second decisions when the waitress came to take my order – the eggs en cocotte with bacon.

I had settled upstairs in the petite cafe on a high stool. This gave me the best position for noseying on the kitchen and people watching. Ideal for filling the time when you’re dining solo.


The eggs arrived. I started eating and discovered cheese. There was an option of cheese on the menu but I had decided that I couldn’t be that naughty to have cheese AND bacon so I just ordered bacon. I took this as a sign that I was meant to have the cheese. I certainly wasn’t sending back food that I’d started eating, think of the waste that would have caused. I’m all about helping the landfill.


Well, these eggs were great – brunch at it’s best. Forget a fry-up and give me these any day. My colleagues will testify how much I raved about them.


My belly was full and I was ready for a manic day at work. I left Avenue G with a smile on my face and a positive first impression. Some of the lunch options sound appealing, such as the homemade sausage roll of the day, so I will keep Avenue G on my lunch list.

Avenue G on Urbanspoon