Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Eating Out - David Bann, Edinburgh

One thing Stockholm really lacks in, is classy vegetarian restaurants. Sure we do have vegetarian places that serve really nice food and yes many, if not most, restaurants do cater for vegetarians when asked. And sometimes really well. But as far as swishy solely vegetarian places go, nope, nada, nothing.

We have nothing whatsoever that resembles De Waaghals in Amsterdam, or, as this post will be about, David Bann in Edinburgh. Places that take vegetarianism seriously, places that are particular with interior details as well as in a decent, inventive menu. Places that don't suffer from the sometimes too, alas, dopey "happy hippie" syndrome, places that mean business AND serve vegetarian food in an overall pleasant surrounding and not buffet style.


So every time I get the chance to experience such a place I get such a happy buzz inside, it's not that the food always is fantastic, like any restaurant I can get disappointed by ingredients and taste, but still. That such places exist, places that offer a smart lieu as well as serve well thought through menus, you don't have to ask for a special order, the menu is full of interesting choices anyway and there's not a whiff of meat in the air. And it still is a place that due to its classiness and non slovenly approach to vegetarian food appeals to non-vegetarians that are looking for a good meal out.


My latest encounter of the classy, yet relaxed, fully vegetarian eating out experience was above mentioned David Bann. A place where it felt rather silly to be fluttering the camera, so the pictures are unfortunately rather lousy, but at least they give and idea of the ambiance and food.


I went with this - tart of mushroom, spinach and Criffell cheese meal, wild and cultivated mushrooms cooked with wine, garlic and tarragon blended with fresh spinach and Criffell, a semi soft cheese from Dumfries, baked on homemade puff pastry. Served with baby potatoes, carrots and onion gravy - and oh it was just lovely! The ingredients and the flavours worked so very well together.


M opted for this - Harissa roasted aubergine, aduki and sweet pepper meal, roasted aubergine and aduki beans cooked in red wine and spice with smoked paprika, cumin, caraway, chili and garlic (harissa) served in a sweet red pepper. With juniper pickled cucumber served with chips, homemade apple and tomato ketchup, crème fraiche and chives - and not being a vegetarian and not too keen on trying new *weird vegetarian food and flavours* he was rather raving about how good it was. Strong flavours and quite spicy.


The only real disappointment was the sadly savorless dessert we chose - assiette of desserts for two to share, hot rhubarb and vanilla steamed pudding with rhubarb and ginger sauce, cognac chocolate truffle, hot pear and passion fruit tart with raspberry ice cream and pineapple sorbet. The sorbet was the nicest thing on that assiette.

No cider in the house, I went with water and freshly squeezed orange juice. And it was truly fresh and an absolutely perfect blend of sweet and tangy. I think I had at least two of them... I'm not sure, I might have gone a bit orange juice tipsy there.

And then, one of the best thing with these classy vegetarian restaurants, they mostly show you can make quite wonderful (vegetarian) often organic food and serve it in a place with a most pleasant ambiance and you don't have to charge unreasonable prices for it. Quite the opposite really. Oh and sigh, I do wish such places of fine vegetarian dining could open up here in Stockholm too, that would be truly wonderful... And I'm not demanding, I'd be quite happy with just one really.

David Bann is situated not far from the Royal Mile, on 56-58 St Mary's Street, Edinburgh -
ps, the servers are really nice too and the website quite lovely


Wendy said...

I'm so jealous! I discovered the exisitence of this restaurant at a food fair during the summer and have been desperate to visit ever since. Glad it was so good. :)

Pia K said...

Oh yes, a definite food/experience highlight of this year's holiday! I saw they were looking for both a new chef as well as waiters, I can imagine it would be a nice place to work...:)

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