Thursday 24 November 2011

Montgravet - tremendous value

Quite definitely the best value red wine I've drunk all year. Not complex, just light, lovely blackcurrant and plum fruit flavours with a deliciously refreshing acidity that makes it shockingly moreish. Best of all, it costs just £4.99 in Waitrose. What a bargain.

Monday 21 November 2011

Asian Gourmet - a dreamy restaurant.

We were headed down West Princess Street to Asia Style on St Georges Road. It was Thursday, dark, damp and early. We'd skipped lunch. Almost there, stomachs rumbling, sensing some sort of atmosphere, we stopped, turned and stared down through a steamed up basement window. Inside were tables filled with Chinese people, all laughing, slurping, and passing pots filled with diabolical looking wonders. We fell down the stairs and through the front door.

Normally at this point I wake up. Luckily, this time I didn't. There was one table free. Within seconds of sitting a plate of delicately salted daikon dressed with chilli and vinegar arrived. Then an enormous pot of green tea. The menu was massive. The daikon was delicious and scoffed in minutes. Another plateful arrived.

From the massive menu came Shredded Pork in Peking Sauce with Pancake and from the Chef's Specials supplement Monkish with Spring Onion and Ginger. The Shredded Pork was ok. The Monkfish was superb and without doubt the biggest portion of monkfish I've ever been served. All this plus a mound of steamed rice came to £20. Remarkable.

The decor's best described as functional. Intensely bright lighting, paper tablecloths and after thought wall hangings. But the food's good. The daikon dish, which was free, was worth the trip alone. Really. The portions are huge, so you'd get the best out of the place by going in a bigger group and sharing. Over the next few weeks I plan to do just that and try the following...

crab and pumpkin soup £12
white clam and tofu soup £10
deep fried pumpkin coated with salted egg yolk £8
jellyfish with shredded cucumber in garlic sauce £7
salt and chilli crab £10
hot and spicy frogs legs £9.50
steamed tofu with king prawn in salted egg yolk £8.50
fried jade Japanese tofu with spinach £8.50
deep fried sea bass with leeks £11

Some other 'interesting' dishes on the menu...

braised pork trotters £6.50
stir fry pork head meat with green pepper £6.50
marinated honeycomb tripes £6
fried fish head with tofu and vermicelli £9
quick fried pork intestines in brown sauce £8
shredded pig ear and cucumber in garlic sauce £7

We headed off to Chinaskis for a digestive rum and passed Asia Style on the way. Completely empty. The staff stared back at us, somehow they knew.

Asian Gourmet
17 West Princes Street
G4 9BS
They do takeaway too, and the more usual Chinese restaurant fayre.
0141 332 1639
07588 598 862
Open 7 days a week 5pm - 3am. 

Asian Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Thursday 3 November 2011

Confessional... and a tasty tart.

I've been a bit bored of food of late. That might not sound like much, but for someone whose life has more or less evolved around the stuff, it's quite an admission. Even evenings spent flicking through my favourite food porn failed to reignite the flame and I'd find myself heading straight for articles by Paul Krugman on the New York Times website, poor old 'Dining and Wine' didn't get a click in.

Well, I'm happy to say this fug is lifting. Yesterday, for the first time in ages, I found myself browsing blogs for a spot of inspiration, mainly those with Eastern Mediterranean leanings. I decided on a 'sort of tart sort of thing'.

Simple ingredients and couldn't be easier to make.

Roll out the shop bought, all butter (ideally), puff pastry and slightly push the goat's cheese and figs into it. Sprinkle with red onion and a generous amount of flaky sea-salt. Add the toasted pine nuts after cooking. Into a 220c/200c fan for about 20 minutes.

Oh it tasted good. Next time I'm going to double the quantity of goats cheese, it just needed a bit more tang to balance the figs. And, if two mini ice ages hadn't finished off my rosemary bush, there'd have been a spring of that on top too.

The white wine was a recommendation from Ross @ Woodlands Road Oddbins. It's a Galician wine with an unusual grape mix. The exotic floral nature of the 'Torrontes' grape helped make this a pretty successful match. Drinks very well on it's own too. Well worth £8.