I’m thinking of inviting some midgies over.
Then I’ll rouge my body, paying special attention to my beak, before trying to complete a 9000 piece jigsaw puzzle with three bits missing.
I’ll use a fork to comb my hair, as if I’d forgotten my brush, and go to bed early in a huff because someone else is hogging the telly.
Anything to recreate a classic Soutar staycation experience.
There will be no summer holidays this year. Everything is booked up, so we won’t be going on our annual trip to Arran, or doing a European city break, or anything much at all. So far, my summer has involved wearing a divot, like the dent in a poached egg pan, into my sweaty grey sofa.
Thankfully there are restaurants to keep me from despair, and this one couldn’t have a more summery name.
To paraphrase The Stranglers, “Walking on the beaches, staring at the (wine and) peaches”. (Hmm, I wonder why there were so many peaches on that beach. Maybe they were washed ashore after a cargo boat incident).
Apparently, the Sartore family, who also own Dalry Road’s excellent Locanda de Gusti and Pizzeria 1926, have named their newest restaurant after a Southern Italian drink, which is made from sliced peaches marinated in red or white homemade wine and chilled.
They only had ten days of trading last year before the lockdown hit. Here I am, a year and a bit later.
Santo - Rosario and Maria Sartore’s son, who seems to be heading up this project - fixed our wobbly table, and handed over the cocktail menu, which comes in a Perspex cylinder. He studied at the European Bartending School, and has whipped up a selection of crowd-pleasers, with margaritas, negronis, espresso martinis and Aperol spritzes. To celebrate the homeland of my favourite nut, I went for a caipirinha (£6.90), which was a muscular punch of a thing, with a very strong white rum, plenty of lime and brown sugar. My plus one had a fresh and fruity glass of their “Pecorino IGP Biologico, 2019” (£4.90).
The Mediterranean food here comes as small sharing plates. They say two or three per person, so we went for six.
First to land was the souvlaki (£6.95). We weren’t crazy about our pair of Minion yellow taco shell containers, as they were slightly chewy, and allowed everything to fall out, like a suitcase with a broken zip. Still, the contents - nibbly bits of herby chicken, yoghurt, and a few cherry tomatoes and salad leaves - were decent enough. We’d also ordered a side of pita (£1.95), which consisted of griddled triangles, like the discarded bikini top of someone who’d been run over by a trike.
“I’m enjoying this couscous”, is a sentence I uttered for the first time in my life, when it came to the lamb chops (£6.95). The meat itself was slightly chugh, but the extra bits - that grain, which was studded with sultanas, red pepper and celery - made the dish.
Life may be too short to stuff a mushroom, but those who live in the Med tend to live longer - thus, the extra hours can be used to make olive ascolane (£5.95).
We had five of these tightly breadcrumbed balls, which featured green olives stuffed with finely minced meat and an aubergine pulp on the side.
Our baked saganaki shrimp (£5.95) had plenty of bouncy prawns in the tomato and pepper stew, which also featured a crumble of Feta on top.
While, the battered blossoms that are deep fried ciurilli (£5.95) were bronzed, sloshed with honey and pebble-dashed in sea salt, for that compulsive salty sweet sensation.
Pudding was probably my favourite thing. I do like a baklava (£5.95) and this ice-cream topped version was suitably sugar-saturated, with a craggy filling of crushed walnuts and layers of that lovely filo pastry that’s always impossible to saw through with a spoon. (Someone needs to invent baklava cutlery, or you could just use a laser). The ravani (£4.95) was a slice of syrupy and lemony sponge cake about the size of a Kleenex box, with another pompom of ice-cream on the top and crumbled pistachios.
I wouldn’t say this place is quite on a par with the Sartore family’s other restaurants yet, though my visit was pleasant enough to feel like a mini-break of sorts.
Until the next restaurant review/holiday, you’ll find me roosting on my sofa dent.
91 Dalry Road
(0131 337 7185, www.wineandpeach.com)
How much? Dinner for two, excluding drinks, £44.60
Places to try Nearby
First Coast, 97-101 Dalry Road, Edinburgh (0131 313 4404, www.first-coast.co.uk)
This place is back and offering, among other menus, its early evening bargain one, Tuesday to Thursday (5pm – 6.30pm) with three courses for £16. Options include the haddock thermidor with crushed baby potatoes, garlic and caper butter.
Nice Times, 147 Morrison Street, Edinburgh (www.nicetimesbakery.com)
In recent weeks, this bakery and coffee shop has been doing a weekend brunch pop-up. It sounds pretty magnificent, with dishes including the cinnamon bun French toast with compote and lemon lavender mascarpone; eggs benedict or lemon ricotta blueberry pancakes. Keep an eye on their social media (Instagram @nicetimesbakery) for updates and bookings.
Open for deliveries or sitting in, this is one of the best pizza joints in the capital. They also offer panuozzi - a “sandwich” made with dough, which they say is traditional to the Campania region. Fillings include slow-cooked pork belly, potatoes and braised white onions.