Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Edinburgh Part VI

I seem to end up in Edinburgh with Nick about once a year, in 201o it was for our friends wedding and 2011's excuse? Christmas shopping! We took an early December trip up there (thankfully on a plane this time!) and discovered some wonderful new places to eat as well as returning to our favourite eateries from trips past.

Our first discovery this time around was The Chocolate Tree, described on Happy Cow as an artisan chocolatier with an attached cafe it sounded right up our street. We headed there after an incredibly windy walk on a hill and it was the perfect cosy place to warm ourselves up.

The hot chocolates we ordered were literally the richest, thickest hot chocolates either of us had ever seen. They were delicious but super intense & neither of us managed to finish them. This may have been due, in part, to the unbelievably amazing slices of chocolate mousse cake with berries we ordered. The cake wasn't labelled vegan but when I asked if there were any vegan desserts they pointed me in the right direction.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that this may well be the best cake I've ever eaten in a cafe or restaurant...close contenders for the top spot are the Raspberry and Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake from Mildreds in London and the Chocolate and Black Cherry Gateaux from Napfenyes Etterem in Budapest. It's certainly up there in the top three! The Chocolate Tree is also a chocolate shop so we did the decent thing & bought a few bars to take home. How could we resist with flavours like Maple Pecan and Sea Salt Caramel?!

The second awesome discovery on this trip was Hanam's. We also spotted this place on Happy Cow & as it's situated right by Edinburgh Castle it's the perfect place for a bite to eat whilst checking out the touristy area of town. We visited this Kurdish & Middle Eastern eatery at lunchtime on a Wednesday and the place was packed but they happily squeezed us in.

I started with the Falafel plate which came with hummus and salad.

This was good, perfectly fried falafel balls and fresh salad. Yum. The main course was the real star of the show though. I ordered Qaysi which I had never heard of but it was described on the menu as "a sweet and sour delicacy, made with dried apricots, sultanas, yellow split peas & subtle spices." This came with Naan and Rice and I chose to pay the extra £2 (I think) to have the pomegranate rice.

This was a pretty ridiculous amount of food but every bit of it was delicious. The stew was indeed subtly spiced, I loved how sweet it was and the apricots were huge and moist. The pomegranate rice was totally perfect, you could tell that it had been cooked in the pomegranate puree and I enjoyed the addition of other dried berries to the dish. I thought the naan might be unnecessary given that we were having rice too but it was the perfect thing to soak up the juicy stew. I still think about this meal often and I have been tempted on more than one occasion to hop on a plane to Edinburgh just to head for Hanam's!