Month: August 2014

A Tuk Tuk In Edinburgh?

No, not an actual 3 wheeled tuk-tuk, a restaurant called Tuk Tuk. Although I’d love to see tuk-tuks going about Edinburgh streets. Someone should make this happen, this would be sensational as a wedding car. Anyway, back to Tuk Tuk the restaurant. We visited for lunch after watching the Commonwealth diving and by the time we arrived we were more than ready for a curry. The restaurant is right opposite the Kings Theatre so I am sure that it fills up pretty quickly around 5pm so we wanted to get in early. First impressions were good – modern, colourful decor with funky lighting.


They have a BYOB policy for beer and wine but we stuck to soft drinks at lunch. For a casual restaurant I love the idea of BYOB and it would be ideal for larger groups not wanting to worry about how big the bill is getting. Since we were not drinking, I took it as an opportunity to try Thums Up ‘the cola of Bombay’. Coca-cola have conditioned me to think of their flavour as normal and any other coke as abnormal but I love a Barr’s every so often so thought I’d give this a go. I liked it and it reminded me of Barr’s.


We did not know how many dishes to order as it is tapas style so the waiter helped us choose seven dishes plus rice and naan between the two of us.

We were told that everything might not arrive together and asked if that was okay. The quicker dishes start coming, the better in my opinion. The Bengali fish cakes (£4.95) were first to the table which boded well as they were a starter kind of option. I thought these were great and reminded me of little fish balls that we ate in The Maldives. The sauce was kind of minty and I would never normally put mint with fish, but with the spice going through the cakes it worked.


The channa puri (£4.85) was delivered at the same time and we were also really happy with this dish. This is a dish that I like to order as a starter when out for a curry and Tuk Tuk do a fine example of it. It was creamy & rich but not cloying, and the fried bread was crispy enough to scoop the chickpeas into your mouth.


Chicken 69 (£4.75) was the third pick – described as mouth watering chicken nuggets, an Indo-Chinese delicacy. On appearance it reminded me of something that you’d pick up from a takeaway and not big nuggets of chicken as we had expected. I didn’t enjoy the taste either. My tastebuds couldn’t work out what the flavours were and I could just taste a kind of sour taste. Maybe others like it but it was not for us.

left - chicken 69, red pan - lamb station curry, right - staff curry

left – chicken 69, red pan – lamb station curry, right – staff curry

The garlic naan (£2.20) that had now arrived was far more pleasing. It was thinner than a conventional naan bread, so was not as stodgy, and the garlic butteriness just right. We ended up trying the cheese naan too and it was also great. The cheese was sandwiched inside the dough and there wasn’t an overkill of cheese.


My sister in-law always picks a lentil dish when we eat curry and I pick a meat dish but the tapas style eating at Tuk Tuk afforded me both. Daal Makhni (£4.95) is slow cooked lentils and kidney beans so they go kind of creamy and then are mixed with spices. Mr S had to sit this one out because of his nut allergy but I wanted to try it because the guy recommended it. I couldn’t eat the whole thing – definitely one for sharing – but it is a good dish for scooping up with naan. I will pass on the recommendation to my sister in-law for next time she’s in the ‘burgh.




Our three meaty curry dishes chosen were railway station lamb curry (£5.20), lamb rarah (£5.25) and tuktuk wallah staff curry (£4.90). There’s always a favourite curry that you all end up using to dip your naan into and the staff curry won that award. The chicken was moist and it had a deep aromatic piquancy without being too hot. I’d absolutely go back for one of these with naan and daal makhni for lunch.


The two lamb curries both had meat on the bone to pick off. In fact, all of our meat dishes were on the bone. That was an ordering rookie mistake from us because it was a lot of picking. We were probably just being lazy – usually we like meat on the bone because we know how much rich meaty flavour it adds. Anyway, on first appearances there was not much meat but we realised that you just have to get right in there with those bones.

The lamb rarah turned out to be a bit too spicy for me but Mr S liked it. The railway station curry was slightly milder but I could not pick out the individual tastes except from spinach.




Due to the bring your own bottle policy, dinner at Tuk Tuk would only cost about £20 per head for a feast. That is pretty impressive and ideal being opposite the Kings Theatre. I thought that portion size was just right for sharing and price charged. As I said before, I’d suggest the staff curry and daal makhni with some naan but I’d like to further investigate the other dishes. Give the chicken 69 a miss and try something traditional.


Tuk Tuk Indian Street Food on Urbanspoon


I was invited to the restaurant for a complimentary meal. As always my views and opinions are my own.


Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

I would like to start by saying – Glasgow, I could not be prouder!!

Out of everybody that I’ve spoken to on the topic, we had no idea how much the Commonwealth Games was going to affect the city. We weren’t expecting the ridiculous underground queues to be quite so big (use the shuttle buses people), so many people to be milling about in the city but most of all we never expected to feel so much pride. There was a point during the opening ceremony that I was scared that we could pull it off after a massive dose of clichés on my telly. Alas, I needn’t have worried. After all, People Make Glasgow.


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I went to two games sessions – athletics and diving – and enjoyed them both even although I’m not particularly sporty. Contrary to what I had heard we found it relatively easy to get to Hampden. The shuttle bus queue was cleared in ten minutes and it was a fast journey. The athletics was action packed with up to 4 events going on at the same time. We had excellent seats in front of the high jump, discus throw and hammer throw. We were also treated to watching the long jump, 100m, 400m and 1500m.

Bobrownicki for Scotland

Bobrownicki for Scotland

We got a train to Edinburgh to watch the mens 1m and womens synchronised 10m diving. Wow, it was crazy hot in there and we ended up eating ice-cream even although it was raining outside. The diving was fascinating to watch, especially the synchronised dives. Such skill.


En girls sync

I spent much of the two weeks working but, any time that I wasn’t in work, I was off exploring the pop-ups and events that were around the city. My highlight was definitely the Merchant City Festival. They host it every year but this year was bigger and better than I have ever seen. Every road was crammed with stalls & food places and there were a couple of stages with live music. Notably, the Brunswick Hotel/Brutti Ma Buoni had a big stage, a BBQ style grill and bar stalls that we spent a couple of nights at. If they do all of this again next year then I think I should ask for that week off and take advantage. The weather behaved too so it felt like we were in a different city!


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Pop-up restaurant The Fish Plaice on Trongate went down a storm. This unique place fused Scotland’s freshest catch with live DJ sets under fairy lights. We tried to go a second time but the waiting list was massive – surely a sign that they should become a permanent fixture?! Turn the music down a bit and build a toilet block and you’re ready to go.


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Glasgow Green also had transformed into the Live Zone, which had big screens showing that days events, a stage with dancers & musicians and a host of activities. I was not brave enough to try to outrun Usain Bolt in front of an audience but I did enjoy watching others. It was lovely to spot the Three Sisters Bake van but I felt that we needed more local stalls to fully utilise the games for local benefit.

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George Square had the official Commonwealth Games shop and The Big G 3D installation to mark the event. Then Buchanan Street & Argyle Street were full of street performers – from jazz bands to juggling with knives. Certainly made my usual walks more interesting.


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There was also the Clyde Trail where you could download a map to find the twenty-something Clyde mascots around the city. I haven’t spoken to anyone who managed them all but Glasgow Food Geek got pretty close.


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The city got a bit of a clean up before all of our visitors and I think the new artwork is great.


Processed with Moldiv


C’mon Scotland! Loved the Wellington Statue getting into the spirit of things.


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What a two weeks… with Caledonia now on my phone and a refreshed love for Glasgow I wish we could do it all again.



Finally, I wanted to share some more of my photos so have a gander-


Meeting James Heatly after his dive

Meeting James Heatly after his dive

Female sync divers

Female sync divers

Tom Daley supporting the other divers

Tom Daley supporting the other divers

Breaking Bread street food

Breaking Bread street food

Limited time Irn Bru shop

Limited time Irn Bru shop

The Big G

The Big G

Brunswick Hotel outside bar

Brunswick Hotel outside bar

Art at the Fish Plaice pop up

Art at the Fish Plaice pop up

Hampden pano

Hampden pano

Hampden athletics

Hampden athletics

Irn Bru poem

Irn Bru poem

Scottish busking

Scottish busking

Ping Wan Coombes on Buchanan Street

Wan Ping Coombes on Buchanan Street

Edinburgh Commonwealth Pool

Edinburgh Commonwealth Pool

Glasgow Green Stage

Glasgow Green Stage

Loved the wee remote controlled cars used to return the discus

Loved the wee remote controlled cars used to return the discus




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Edinburgh Foodies Festival

On Sunday we nursed our hangovers in a rather novel way. We went to a Foodies Festival in the rain! The atmosphere on the train through to Edinburgh was not very upbeat and I was starting to worry how we’d all get through the day. But it turns out that it was the perfect cure for us – food, fresh air and whisky samples.

We had checked the weather beforehand and it was rain and more rain so wellies and trainers were dug out. I felt like I was back at Rockness using the portaloos in my wellies. Except that they were posh portaloos that flushed and I had actually showered that morning.


Typically Scottish weather!

Our plan formulated on the train was to walk around the whole thing and then we would start eating and buying things. We stuck to the plan for all of ten minutes after reading the menu at Mark Greenaway’s Bistro Moderne – the tempura soft shell crab had to be mine. It was hands down the best cooking that I have ever had at an outside venue and it has made me want to go to Bistro Moderne – success for both sides.


We visited the Top Out Brewery stall and found that beer and soft shell crab actually taste good together. An edinburgh company, they have only been brewing for a little over a year but are growing all the time. Expect to see their beers in shops more and more over the next year.


After catching a bit of Stephen K Amos from Celebrity Masterchef at the chefs theatre we wandered from stall to stall. There was a big selection of mainly Scottish producers and produce varied from oils to seafood, whisky to peanut butter marshmallows. Safe to say we were enjoying ourselves.

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As we were walking round we were taken in by the smell of meat from The Pantry so we stopped to share a roll. Not any roll, this was a Thistly Cross cider braised pork shoulder, red turnip slaw, apple & thyme sauce with a whisky & barbeque sauce roll… drooling as I write about it.


Back to the chefs theatre because I wanted to see Adam Handling from Masterchef. Clearly passionate about his food, a great guy to watch and I would love to dine in his restaurant.


There was a champagne tent so we had a couple of Strawberry Bellini’s whilst chatting to the folk at the Discover The Origin tent. Discover the Origin are trying to raise awareness of five key European products: Bourgogne wines, Parma ham, Douro wines, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and port. I’m a believer that you can tell the difference when it comes to cured meat and this Parma ham was delicious. I also loved that they were serving the Parmigiano out of the shell and letting you compare the flavours of different maturities. They don’t even charge you as it is a big campaign to raise awareness.


Moreover, because there was four of us on the day, we could buy one food item and share it so that we had the opportunity to taste more producers food. The gents were angling for more food and I honestly have never seen them as happy as when they spotted the Gaucho BBQ. Meat on the bone, barbequed and smoky – they were in dream land.


There were plenty of drinks companies to keep us entertained too. Lots of craft beer, gins, whisky, wine and cocktails. The Riot Bar provided much needed shelter from the downpour and there was also a sheltered eating area but I’d love if they made this bigger for next year.


The live entertainment stage provided some tunes to bob your head along to whilst munching and shopping.


I have to mention my personal favourite stall of the day – Goya 23. Iberico ham on the bone coupled with quality red wine, all served by a friendly and knowledgeable gentleman. After listening to much chat from us self-confessed pork obsessives, he even gave us some free samples of the other meats he had.

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Shopping wise I seemed to have an oil obsession on the day because I came home with three oil themed items. Summer Harvest is a company based in Perthshire that turns the bright yellow fields into gorgeous rapeseed oil products. We first came across them at the foodie day at Hamilton Races and now I keep an eye out for their stuff. This time I bought a garlic mayonnaise (proper yellow fresh mayo to eat asap… yes I’ve started) and a chilli & red pepper salad dressing to liven up our Autumn meals. Then I saw the Supernature stall, which is also rapeseed oils and Scottish. Based in the Lothians, they are all about coldpressing rapeseed oil so I got a bottle of the garlic one after extensive tasting on the day of every flavour.

As you can probably tell, we had a grand old time. Mr S even said to me that he wishes they would have this every month – he was extremely impressed. It is a yearly event so we will be getting tickets for next year without a doubt. I think that this sort of event would really work in Glasgow too, and I would love to see it there next year with some of my favourite local producers and food-to-go places from the West coast.


3 sisters bake

3 sisters bake

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fresh coconut water

fresh coconut water


Foodies Festival sent us complimentary tickets for the event so that I could be an official blogger for them. As usual, all opinions are my own and honest.

Fanny Trollopes

My big sister was down visiting me and we were going to a show at the Hydro. I was looking for a restaurant to book and chose Fanny Trollopes.The location was right and I have been a handful of times before and liked it. I had not been for a while after having a mediocre meal but every meal before that left with me raving about Fanny’s so this return visit was long overdue.


A bottle of red was ordered but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. We both liked it though. The red wines are all priced between £14.95 and £19.95 – pretty decent prices.

We had a little pre-starter of salmon with salad, crème fraiche and capers. Not usually one for salmon, I tentatively put some on my fork but it was actually lovely. I’d have happily eaten it as a starter with a few more leaves and will keep an eye out for it next time.



We both chose the pre-theatre menu, which is £12.95 for two courses. Our first starter was smoked salmon kedgeree with crème fraiche. It was delicately spiced so the salmon flavour still got a look in and had a slight smokiness. The crème fraiche was nice to bring some zingy creaminess into the dish.




I chose spicy mince koftas with a cucumber and mint dressing as my starter. The cucumber and mint dressing was just like the tzatziki I was eating in Greece earlier in the year and I liked the aromatic koftas. The meat was a little more cooked than I would have done at home.




I’ve had gammon here before and really enjoyed it so as soon as I spotted baked ham on the menu my main course was decided. My sister was convinced by the colcannon so we both had the same. It was good, in fact I’d say great. Comforting, tasty and meaty. The honey and mustard on the ham almost melted into the gravy and the ham itself was melt in the mouth.




We still had a fair bit of wine in the bottle so thought we might as well share a dessert. The weather was rubbish so we stuck with the comfort food theme and ordered sticky toffee pudding. The sponge was soft and there was lots of sauce to scoop up with each mouthful. We struggled to finish it but that wasn’t a reflection on the food – eyes bigger than our bellies.




Fanny Trollopes is another place in Glasgow that often flies under the radar and, as much as I want to keep it to myself, I also want to share it. Our waitress, Harriet, was friendly and accomodating. The pre-theatre menu is remarkably good value for money and they nail the neighbourhood bistro brief.


Fanny Trollopes on Urbanspoon

Scran and Scallie

I’ve had The Kitchin restaurant in Edinburgh at the top of my most wanted list for a long time. They have a long waiting list (I’m not the best planner that far in advance) and it would need to be saved for a special occasion so we have not made it yet. Then I heard about The Scran & Scallie, a gastropub in Edinburgh owned by Tom Kitchin & Dominic Jack. They do not accept reservations so there was no real planning required except from getting there before peak dining time because I’d heard that they fill up pretty quickly.

There are a lot of 30th birthday celebrations going on this year and this was one of them. Therefore we arrived in Edinburgh later than planned as we took a gin and tonic detour! To set us up for the walk to Stockbridge we nipped into Harvey Nichols fourth floor Window Bar to enjoy a cocktail with that amazing view.


It took us about half an hour to walk to Stockbridge but I enjoy looking at all of the old buildings and indulging in a bit of house lust. We arrived about 4.30pm but we were told that they don’t start serving food until 5pm (they also serve lunch earlier) so we could sit and have a drink until service starts. The bar area is quite small and appears to be more for people having a drink waiting for tables than an actual bar.


Williams Bros £1.95 & Orkney IPA £2.50 (half pints)

Tables have to be back in an hour and a half in the restaurant area. To me The Scran & Scallie is not a pub because in a pub that does food they usually serve meals all day, you’d wouldn’t be told to give the table back so soon on a Wednesday and there would be more people using it as a boozer. It felt more like a restaurant. Not a problem but that is how it appeared to me. If we had arrived an hour earlier I would have been annoyed that the website did not state the food service times and table back policy. We’d come all the way from Glasgow for it- the least they can do in return is be upfront. That is not to take away from the place because the decor and feel of it is a delightful mix of Scottish and Scandinavian with simple furnishings and lots of wood. I really enjoyed our visit.


Warm bread arrived in a mini sack and I had soon forgotten about our table wait.


Their whole ethos is ‘from nature to plate’ so I knew that the squat lobster ravioli with asparagus would be freshly made. The three ravioli were in a creamy but fresh sauce and the asparagus was fantastic with it.


Ox tongue on toast should be the new comfort food, it certainly ticks the rich and satisfying boxes. The bone marrow continued the theme with its jellied meatiness. And the egg, I’m not sure it was even needed, but I never question a soft egg on my plate. Especially a flavoursome, proper farm egg.


Steak pie, hogget, steak pie, hogget? Choices, choices. I really wanted the ham and chips but I didn’t want us to order the same main. I had never tried hogget before so I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity. It is a slow cooked meat and had an even softer texture than lamb shank. Darker in colour, it is more intense than meat from a younger sheep. To be honest, I found it too strong in flavour for me. I liked the peas surrounding it but felt that some mash would not have gone amiss. I ordered a side of potatoes as well but they did not really match up with the dish and just notched the already expensive (£19) price up.


The ham, egg and chips came with a side of contented silence. The presentation got top marks from us, the taste of the ham also got top marks. The homemade pineapple salsa is something that we’ve tried to recreate since but have never managed to get it exactly correct. In my opinion the egg did not need the breadcrumbs but that’s being pernickity. I hope that this dish never comes off the menu.


As I mentioned before, the hogget was rich and I couldn’t manage the whole thing so took it home with me to give to Mr S. Bar my vaccum packed steak at Chez Bruce, it was the fanciest looking doggy bag I’d had.


Apple crumble came with its own jug of custard. Great balance ratio of fruit to crumble with a slight crunch on top.


I chose lemon curd and meringue & it came in an elegant champagne coupe. It was a cross between a lemon posset and lemon curd with a layer of biscuity crumble and then delicate piped meringues sitting on top. Lovely.


It is undeniable that I was impressed by The Scran & Scallie. The food was all of a high standard and the presentation impressive. I still feel slightly confused by the marketing but maybe that’s just me. I won’t be back for three courses because I felt rushed at the end but the ham, egg and chips warrants a second visit.

The Scran & Scallie on Urbanspoon

prices: starters £9

mains £18/19

desserts £5.50/5.75