Monday, July 28, 2008

July 7, 2008: Plockton to Edinburgh

We had another half day in Plockton before heading back to Edinburgh. I'd finally run out of enthusiasm for cooked breakfasts, so we both started the day with porridge (with a bit of jam mushed on top).

It was a warming start to the day, and I'm sure my heart appreciated the break from fried eggs.

Our original plan was to spend our last couple of hours in the Plockton hotel enjoying their hospitality and free wireless internet. Alas, the internet was broken, so we were driven back out into nature. Following the recommendation of the hotel staff, we headed for a walk up a track in the northern section of the town. Something about the scenery reminded Cindy of a particular scene in Monkey Island, so she spent the whole stroll singing the midi-style tunes that are eternally lodged in her brain. It really added to the highland ambiance.

The weather was a bit crappy, but the walk was still wonderful. A fitting finale to our couple of days in the highlands. Afterwards, it was back on the train to get back to Edinburgh - more great scenery whizzing by, as well as a handful of new birds for me (buzzards, pheasants and some eider, not to mention kestrels hovering in almost every field).

By the time we made it back to Edinburgh, checked in and got changed, it was time to go and find some dinner. David Bann's was the venue of choice - a slightly upmarket vegie restaurant near the middle of town. The menu was chock-full of impressive sounding dishes: a dozen sides/starters and about ten main meals. We started off with vegan Thai fritters: aromatic, spicy fritters of smoked tofu, peas, ginger, green chilli, lime sesame and potato. Served with fresh mango chutney and a plum sauce. These were a highlight: nice and spicy, beautifully textured and with two great condiments included.

After much pondering, we eventually settled on our mains: harissa roasted aubergine, aduki and sweet pepper for Cindy (with a side of chunky chips) and a chilli and smoked cheese tortilla tartlet with chocolate sauce for me. In what was becoming a theme of the holiday, Cindy enjoyed her meal until she looked over enviously at mine - again I'd picked the menu winner. Still, the beany, eggplanty filling stuffed into the sweet peppers was a pretty satisfying meal.

My meal was outstanding: layers of flavours, with a spiced tomato sauce, smoked cheese, fresh guacamole, a variety of beans and a selection of vegies (celeriac, carrot and peppers). All served up on a layer of mashed sweet potato and coriander and the star of the show: a chocolate and tequila sauce.

With such wonderful courses behind us, there was no doubt that we'd be giving the desserts a shot. Bizarrely we didn't order up the dessert assortment plate - I was keen, but Cindy couldn't go past the lime and ginger parfait (with meringue and chocolate drambuie ganache), so we just ordered a single dish each.

The parfait had strong lime and ginger flavours, but was a little bit firmer than Cindy would have liked ("not silky enough" apparently). It combined delectably with the meringue and ganache though.

I got sucked in by the tradition option on the menu: Scottish strawberry pannacotta with a homemade whisky and raspberry chocolate. My memory is a little hazy (either due to the time that has since passed or the bottle of wine that Cindy and I 'shared'), so I'm not able to make specific comments on the pannacotta. The chocolate was dark, rich and flavoursome though - the whisky was surprisingly strong and combined well with the raspberry and chocolate.

It was a fine dinner - one of the best of our trip, and more generally one of the better vegetarian restaurants we've dined in over the years. Anyone swinging through Edinburgh should stop by and check it out.


  1. Hi! Very pleasant scenery and surprising weather. That sweet potato, mix vegetable and smoked cheese 'stack' with tequila and choc sauce does sound and look delicious. Must have'd been a nice and timely change from 'haggies (vegie), neeps and tatties', oatmeal, and chip butties!


    xox Sarah

  3. OMG. I already had plenty of respect for you Cindy, but having learned that you were (are?) into Monkey Island makes me respect you 500% more. Would you believe that when I was young I was such a fan of that game that I wrote to Lucasfilm asking them what the secret of Monkey Island was? They wrote back to tell me that the secret of Monkey Island is a secret.

    Would you say that David Bann's was of a similar standard to Shakahari?

    I'm really enjoying your nature photos BTW.

  4. Hi Michael,

    I just though you might be interested in meeting restauranteur Paul Mathis at The Hive next week -

    Cheers, Ross.

  5. Hiya Towser! Yep, it was a pretty special meal and a lot different from what we were eating in Plockton - for starters, the chips were way better. :-D

    Sarah, one day I might show you my photo of Michael dressed up as Guybrush for a Halloween party!

    Dmargster, your respect might disintegrate into madness if you had to listen to me sing the looping background music from Monkey Island all day. :-D

    Re: David Bann, I'd say it's up to the standard of Shakahari (and certain dishes might even outperform it). It doesn't have the Asian influence right across the menu and the fit-out is definitely more sleek and modern. I reckon it's worth a splurge if you pass Edinburgh in your travels.

    Thanks for letting us know, Ross! We've been to a few of Mathis' restaurants around Melbourne.