Eating & Drinking Awards
In with the new
New restaurants dominate The List’s Eating and Drinking Awards
Words: Allan Radcliffe
As the 14th annual Eating and Drinking Guide is published, The List can exclusively reveal the winners of this year’s awards for Best Restaurant, Best New Restaurant and Best Budget Restaurant in Edinburgh and Glasgow, which were presented at a ceremony at Glasgow’s stylish Classic Grand on Tuesday 24 April, expertly catered by Heart and Buchanan.
New restaurants feature heavily in all of the main categories. The award-winners were selected from among the 899 restaurants featured in this year’s guide. Indeed, the panel of judges - which included guide editors Donald Reid and Barry Shelby as well as Andrew Firth, proprietor of Herbie of Edinburgh and Craig Wood, proprietor and chef at Glasgow’s Wee Restaurant - selected two relative newcomers as the overall Restaurants of the Year. The Kitchin, where Michelin-starred head chef Tom Kitchin has enjoyed a hugely successful first year with his Leith venture, took the Edinburgh award, while the Bistro at One Devonshire, which opened in 2006 and has quickly garnered a reputation for bold and inventive cuisine, won the Glasgow accolade. Both restaurants were particularly praised for their scrupulous sourcing of seasonal Scottish produce.
With 150 new restaurants opening in central Scotland in the past year, the judging of the Best Newcomer category proved particularly tricky. In the end, the innovative menu at Edinburgh’s Abstract and Glasgow’s Left Bank, which has been widely commended for its buzzing atmosphere, great value and excellent home cooking, proved the strongest contenders.
It was left to the Best Budget category to reward the more established restaurants. Glasgow’s Mediterranean-styled Konaki and First Coast, a popular mainstay of Edinburgh’s food scene, were considered the best places for a meal under £15.
A new category, the Judges Special Award, this year honoured Iain J Mellis, proprietor of one of Scotland’s finest cheesemongers. Having opened their first traditional cheese shops in 1993, Iain and Karen Mellis now have shops in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St Andrews and have branched out into wholesale and affinage, testament to the fact that Scots have an eye - and nose - for good food.
Ghost fest returns to haunt Mary King's close
Now in its third year, Mary King’s Ghost Fest will send shivers through Edinburgh’s Old Town from Friday 11-Sun 20 May. The packed line-up of ghoulish events includes a joint paranormal investigation into Edinburgh’s underworld, overnight vigils in the Blair Street vaults and several electronic voice phenomenon workshops as well as talks and workshops with television paranormal investigators Dr Ciaran O’Keeffe and Steve Parsons. Storytelling and historical tours will take place at such landmarks as the Camera Obscura and John Knox House while the programme also includes Infrasound Tours, a world first. This hair-raising programme is augmented by screenings of spooky classics at the Cameo, including The Innocents and Poltergeist. www.edinburghghostfest.co.uk (AR)
News in brief
• Music and literature are coming together to form a death defying team courtesy of new Scottish super group Super Puny Humans. The line-up of Y’All Is Fantasy Island, Zoey van Goey and novelist Alan Bissett sets off on a tour of the central belt, including gigs at Edinburgh’s Cabaret Voltaire and Glasgow’s Oran Mor, beginning Thursday 3 May. www.superpunyhumans.co.uk
• Entries are being sought for the Glasgow photomarathon, which takes place on Saturday 16 June. The unique photographic competition, which kicks off at the city’s Mitchell Library, takes place over 12 hours, with 12 specially selected entrants being given a 12-picture film and asked to take 12 images of 12 given topics. To enter and for more information visit www.photomarathon.co.uk
• This year’s debut writer’s festival will take place at the Traverse Theatre from Friday 8-Sunday 10 June. The programme includes a number of enticing readings and debates as well as an unpublished authors jam session. Tickets can be purchased from the Traverse box office, while further information is available at www.debutauthorsfestival.co.uk
• Fans of Oran Mor’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint series of lunchtime dramas, which has presented new works by the likes of Liz Lochhead, Jackie Kay and Louise Welsh, can now purchase several of the scripts from the Scottish Playwrights’ Studio’s bookshop. To find out what’s available email firstname.lastname@example.org