The Dogs, New Town, Edinburgh


This was my second attempt at dining at The Dogs. The first, a couple years ago, was an unfetted failure with no prior reservation for a 10pm dinner. I had heard about this no nonsense clear cut cooking restaurant that was cheap as chips. The owner I was told was unmoved by restaurant reviewers and critics could well, bugger off. David Ramsden cuts an nice smiling character in his press photos, but woah, has now grown out his beard and his gruffalo reputation precedes him. I have to admit that knowing who he was as he came to our tabel to take our order, not a word. He walked over, and we knew we had to order. What?! Change or mind?? … err… he might just take an axe to your head and there’ll be brains on tomorrow’s menu. let’s just stick with whatever we ordered. We’ll eat, and we’ll be liking it.


Walking into the establishment, you are greeted by two massive stone dogs. As you make your way past the couch in the corner (why’s it even there?), you wind up the stairs to be greeted by antlers and a cute dog in a frame. The dining area is brightly lit through the windows overseeing Hanover St in New Town. Get a table by the windows and you can even wave to the busloads of tourists that course through Edinburgh each day.


The menu is a simple one pager of rustic scottish fare. Crispy pigs ears salad with almonds, sundried tomatos and rocket. Pea and smoked ham hough soup. Soup of the day was a thick lushcious pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seeds. Devilled ox liver with camerilised onions, bit of bacon on a tost, all slather in this sweet and sour syrupy reduction. Mussels tossed in fennel and pumpkin, with a touch of chilli.


I had the Cumberland sausage stovies, chunks of meaty juicy sausage with potato halves, onion. Sure, sounds like and looks like my occassional sunday lunch conjoured up form saturday’s bbq leftover. But the combination, the delicious mouthwatering rich sauce enveloping the entire dish was simpky awesome. The chicken and mushroom pie was crusted in a fantastic pastry. Flavourwise it was rather mild, but the chicken breast meat was tender and succulent.


And the damage? Lunch for two, under £25. Take that you tofsy high-wannabed overpayers!

Posted in Daily happenings | Leave a comment

Winner or stinker? My Singapore transit

Changi Airport duty-free Dom Perignon 2006 SGD$205 (AUD$216) *winner*

Food Centre Chinese coffee $0.80 *winner*

$5.80 for a large cup of weak flat white *stinker*

$3.90 lunch of rice and 3 dishes *winner*

Serve size was half of what it was 3 years ago *stinker*

Dinner at Odette, National Gallery Museum *winner*

Crispy skinned Kinmedai with charred Frementle octopus and Bouillabaisse

25MBPS home network *winner* hello NBN?

Humid warm 6am runs *stinker*

Half a Hainanese chicken with rice at Shunfu market $11.40 *winner*

Dinner at Summer Pavilion, Ritz-Carlton *winner*image
Braised Boston lobster, HK noodles and lobster broth

6 egg/onion roti pratas at Sin Ming for $9.90 *winner*


Posted in Daily happenings | Leave a comment

Chardy Friday


Clonakilla Chardonnay 2012, Murrumbateman, NSW

One from the office stash, forgot how much I paid. Pulled it to lift my draggy week. Solid as ever, the Clonakilla 2012 chardonnay exemplifies Tim Kirk’s wine crafting skills. A blend of high altitude fruit from Tumbarumba with single barrels from Clonakilla and Murrumbateman vineyards, whole bunch pressed, lees stirring and 11 months in French oak. Light yellow with a slight tinge of green. Vibrant nose, grapefruit and orange citrus notes, cashew puree and struck match. Reminds me of a warm vintage Chablis. A delicious wine, ripe grapefruit and mandarin flavours, doesn’t feel thin at all, rounded mouthfeel. 12% alc. The acidity is not prominent but is certainly in the back palate. Persistent finish. Great with a seafood chowder. Drink now – 2020. 94.

Stonier Chardonnay 2014, Merricks, Mornington Peninsula, VIC

Yup, it’s been that kinda week. Home and munching on Japanese peanut snacks, I reach for one of my go-to wines, Stonier’s chardonnay. As customary, this is a blend of tank and barrique fermented wine, creating an interesting layered drink. Light yellow colour, soft restrained nose of mandarin citrus, waxy lime leaves, warmed talc perfumed by white florals. High acidity, that sheer bite on the tongue is refreshing, yet perhaps that slight bitterness does take away from the soft fruitiness and residual minerality. The mouthfeel is tight initially, but gets rather broad too quickly. This would work really nicely with the thin lean winter oysters, not those fat creamy ones. Generous splash of Tabasco of course. Drink now. 89.

Montalto Chardonnay 2013, Red Hill, Mornington Peninsula, VIC

What the heck, good things come in trios yea? Another bottle, another year. My experience with Montalto is very limited. As in, I’ve visited once. Nice winery, nicely developed cellar door with fresh oven pizzas, beautiful expansive vineyards to wander by and appreciate the sculptures.  But I recall wondering whether the pricetags were justified. 2013 was marked by a warm spurt towards the end of vintage, expect that ripe intense surge. So here goes. Light yellow colour, fragrant honeymelon and slight grapefruit notes. Young refreshing mouthfeel, zippy acidity, delicious sweet crunchy melon flavours with that residual citrus bitterness. Overall, an enjoyable solid wine to drink right now. Would I buy for $42 (current vintage 2014), erm…. hmmm.. Note that Montalto has three tiers of labels, Pennon Hill, Montalto ‘estate’ and singe vineyard wines.

Posted in Australia, Canberra District, Daily happenings, Mornington Peninsula, New South Wales, Victoria | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sine Qua Non Kolibri white blend 2008, CA

Sine Qua Non. The Californian cult winery with a waiting list for the waiting list to be ON the mailing list. I was finally offered wine after receiving postcards for the past dozen years. Manfred and Elaine Krankl craft wines of such extraordinary characterics, these are ethereal creations of man and nature.

The Kolibri is a white blend of Roussanne and Viognier (69/31). It is a head-spinning 14.9% alc, but it is not so apparent with age. With is retained is that mouth-filling tastiness. Round and robust. I can imagine this paired with a steaming baked lobster drizzled with white creamy cheese sauce and just unashamedly blanketed with black truffle shavings. Alas, I just so happen to be out of truffles in my kitchen.


Rich golden sunflower oil in colour, fresh aromas of crushed orange, marmalade and white florals. A full-bodied white, balanced acidity, flavours of honey, orange, citrus peel. Intense in that initial instance, then peeling retreat that leaves you to astound at the brilliance of winemaking and the superbness of this wine. Shit. I wish I’d bought more previously. Full marks, 100.

Posted in Daily happenings | Leave a comment

Feudi del Pisciotto Frappato 2010, Sicily

imageFrappato di Vittoria is a Sicilian grape variety that makes light and fragrant red wines. However all Frappatos tend to be IGT and there is only one DOCG wine from Sicily. The attractive label on the Feudi del Pisciotto is designed by Carolina Marengo-Kisa and these labels are sold to benefit the restoration efforts on the island.

The winery enjoys the key elements of the Sicilian coast. 6km inland from the sea, and slight 250m elevation.Deep permeable ruby colour with a thick lightened rim. It has a smoky floral fragrance, black pepper and concentrated dark berries. Full-bodied wine with high acidity, given the age the tannins are resolving nicely. Intense flavours of black dark berries, slightly citrus, swirly tasty textures. Great with grilled lamb sausages and roasted tomatoes. Drink now. 89.

Posted in Daily happenings, Italy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment