Places to Eat

Sasso Bar and Cucina, Newhaven, Edinburgh

Lip-smackingly lush seafood dishes, tender beef, pork and chicken courses, as well as new takes on the traditional pasta and pizza are what’s on offer at this new kid on the block. Sasso is an Italian restaurant with a lovely, homely vibe about it. Whilst it’s spacious enough, the decor, intimate lighting and delicious aromas make for a cosy, comforting feeling.

Sasso Restaurant, Newhaven

Everything tastes deliciously fresh and flavoursome with the emphasis being on top quality, local produce. Some knock-out courses included the generous portion and flavours of the bruschetta, linguine ai fruitti de mare and the most incredible spaghetti carbonara I’ve ever had in my puff (life). Soooo tasty! I’ve also been reliably informed that their brasato di manzo (Scotch shin of beef) is tender to the point of no return and that their orata (sea bream) is to be relished.

Delicious food at Sasso Restaurant, Edinburgh

A couple of things to mention about the drinks. The Picpoul I had was sublime and the Sasso Craft Lager is very delicious and decently priced at £3.80 a pint. Cheers!

Sasso Restaurant wine

My favourite thing – asides from the incredible tiramisu – is the warm, relaxed atmosphere which is generated by the friendly, helpful staff. The owner, Ernesto, is a lovely fella who greets and chats to guests like he’s known them for years. In a world filled with Whatsapp and Twitter conversations, he is a tonic.

Sasso Restaurant desserts

Of note is the outside veranda/smokers bothy and seating area ‘lest you fancy a spot of scran al fresco in the sunshine.  It’s a nice, additional touch which just adds to whole rustic, Italian charm of the place.

This restaurant is undoubtedly, the best Italian Restaurant in North East Edinburgh and y’know what? I reckon it’s on it’s way to becoming the best in Edinburgh. Sasso is the very essence of the term hidden gem. Hence why I’m writing about it and exactly why you, dear reader, should know all about it too 😉

Exterior of Sasso Restaurant, Newhaven, Edinburgh

Find Sasso here.

Sasso, 100 Lindsay Road, Edinburgh, EH6 4TZ.  Tel: 0131 552 2111

http://www.sassoedinburgh.com/

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The Butterfly Cafe, Dundee

Haud the bus! There’s a splendid, new addition to the Yes City of Scotland’s ever-burgeoning, cafe culture scene. Dundee Common Weal‘s Butterfly Cafe only arrived at the tail-end of last year, but is fast becoming a key pit-stop for the discussing of lefty politics over lattes (yaaaassss!) It’s a bright, spacious premises in the heart of the city’s Commercial Street with bags of playful, creative flair in its decor. Origami, butterfly mobiles and pretty, paper flowers dangle overhead, old-skool toys on display in the windows and curios ahoy festoon the place. I personally delighted in a Millenium Falcon suspended from the ceiling, Lego in the table drawers and a pinball machine in one of the corners just itching to be played … this place is a nostalgia nerd’s dream!

The Butterfly Cafe, DundeeDecor in the Butterfly Cafe, Dundee

They do a small but perfectly formed, Menufesto consisting of delicious ciabattas, toasties and salads. My chicken Caesar was particularly legendary. Oh, and did I mention the cakes which also include gluten-free options?

Caesar salad at the Butterfly Cafe, Dundee.

Flat white in the Butterfly Cafe, Dundee

The staff are very attentive and helpful, and it was good to chew the fat with them about the recent UK election results. They also told me that one of my favourite journalists and broadcasters, Lesley Riddoch sometimes records her podcasts in this very cafe. As if this place wasn’t cool enough!

Children's playroom in the Butterfly Cafe, Dundee

What’s most impressive about The Butterfly Cafe is the inclusive nature of the venture. Not only is it incredibly, family-friendly as they have a big and well-equipped playroom for kids (I had to practically drag my niece out again after she had had a whale of a time making pals, dressing as Wonder Woman and playing Wendy Houses), but there has also been a lot of thought put into making the place accessible for wheelchair users. The cafe plays host to an array of political and social events, and has a book/merchandise shop in it too. I bought a couple of their rather fetching, Common Weal Dundee mugs as well as a copy of Lesley Riddoch and Eberhard Bort’s McSmorgasbord to keep my brain challenged.

Book corner in the Butterfly Cafe, Dundee

Stewart Bremner illustration

People Make Glasgow, but Community Is Dundee. In addition to it being a lovely place, The Butterfly Cafe is also a great social hub for meet-ups and discussion. A venue which brings together culture, politics and community in a welcoming and open space. I can’t think of a more fitting cafe for my hame toun, nor can I imagine a city more deserving of a such a great community resource. Good work Common Weal Dundee. It’s definitely a big, Take It From A Local thumbs-up from us!

Find The Butterfly Cafe, Dundee on this handy map here.

The Butterfly Cafe, 28-32 Commercial Street, Dundee, DD1 3EJ

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VietNOM! The Hanoi Bike Shop, Glasgow

I recently had a taste experience SOOOOO good that I had to write about it and spread the word! The Hanoi Bike Shop is a great, wee Vietnamese restaurant cooried (tucked) away down Ruthven Lane in Glasgow’s West End.

The decor is quirky and intended to simulate an authentic, Vietnamese restaurant experience. It’s very much about a casual dining with a lovely, laid-back ambience here and I found it very easy to relax, and switch off.

The staff were also lovely, chatty (I got complimented on the shade of my red lipstick) and very helpful, taking care to explain how your course is to be traditionally eaten. They don’t hound you however, and leave you to eat your meal in peace which in spite of being a sociable type, I really appreciate sometimes! Especially when I am dining on my own and just want to face-plant into a book.

The fresh, locally-sourced food did not fail to deliver a universe of flavours unto my yearning tastebuds and growly belly. The summer rolls I ordered truly were something else, as were the daikon and soya bean cakes.

The entire, damn menu is stappit fu o’ (filled to bursting) spicy, palate seducing delights and they even have a gluten-free menu, of which ma maw would be fair thrilled.) I’m personally coming back again soon for some of the specials though. Fermented chilli pork shoulder? Aye tae that!

How to get there:

Take the Clockword Orange (Glasgow’s underground) to Hillhead Station, taking a wee bit of time to marvel at Alasdair Gray’s beautiful mural of Glasgow. Cross the road outside the station and veer to the left a little once across and you’ll see Ruthven Lane, advertising all of its braw wares and eateries.

Get yerself along here troops – yer laughing gear shall be greatly rewarded!

The Hanoi Bike Shop, 8 Ruthven Lane, Glasgow, G12 9BG

http://hanoibikeshop.co.uk/