Wine of the Month

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Our wine of the month is a delicious Gamay, produced by renowned Scottish hotelier David Levin and his Australian wife Lynne at their organic winery in the Loire Valley. Their wines showcase a blend of French terroir manipulated using new world winemaking techniques.

The organic viticultural practices used by the winemaking team ensure that the resultant wines display wonderfully pure fruit, showcasing the freshness which has become a hallmark of Loire wines. 

The fact that David owns 19 distinct vineyard plots, over two different types of terroirs, allows the estate to experiment during the blending process, consistently delivering wines that are balanced and complex. 

This bright purple Gamay holds pure Loire Valley expression in its aromas of lavender, violet, cherry and chocolate. The red berry flavours mix it up with some butterscotch and spicy savoury characters followed by a silky, textured finish. David and Lynne describe their style as an amalgam of Old World tradition and New World finesse that they have crafted on their three vineyard sites of Oisly, Choussy and Bourre.

£26 a bottle  

£4.75 x 125mls 

£6.75 x 175mls 

£8.75 x 250mls 

Gen!us Craft Lager

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We’re excited to be stocking the UK’s first light craft lager. GEN!US is brewed to craft quality but with less alcohol and lower calories. Zesty and refreshing, it’s not just ‘smart drinking’…it’s genius!

Crafted from the finest pilsner malts and Styrian Golding hops, Gen!us is matured with Australian Galaxy and Ella hops for a subtle citrus aroma. With only 1 unit of alcohol per can and less calories than an apple Gen!us makes responsible drinking a pleasure, not a compromise.

#5p4Doddie

Genius Brewing is proud to donate 5p from every can of Gen!us to the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation founded by Scotland rugby legend Doddie Weir who has Motor Neurone Disease. Find out more here.

Wee Family

Stories from The Wee Restaurant

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Vikki Wood recalls the journey from opening The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry over a decade ago, to today.

It seems like a long time ago now, but in late 2005 we were looking for a bigger home for our growing family with a third child on the way. We stumbled upon 17 Main St in North Queensferry, and despite my worries that the house was actually smaller than were we were living, we went ahead and bought it! 

17 Main St had been a restaurant previously but when we bought it, it resembled an old potting shed with the ‘commercial’ kitchen containing only a cooker switch inside the carpeted and wood-chip-walled room. After two months of renovations and only two weeks after the birth of baby number three we opened The Wee Restaurant’s doors in March 2006.

Craig had worked in hospitality since supporting himself through university by being a kitchen porter at The Maybury in Edinburgh. He worked his way up through the ranks working at Restaurant Martin Wishart, Loch Lomond Golf Club, The Outsider, The Crinan Hotel and on the Royal Scotsman luxury train. And I had worked in psychiatry for 10 years when we decided to take the plunge and become self-employed. A decision made to improve the time we could spend with the children. 

At the time our eldest Ethan was 7, Zoe was 3 and Innes was just a wee baby. It was a scary time to double our mortgage with no security from a wage, but we’ve never looked back. From the word go the villagers of North Queensferry were very supportive of the restaurant and word quickly spread of a new place nestled under the Forth Rail Bridge. Over the years we’ve been honoured to see new customers become regulars, and regulars become friends. 

In 2015 we decided life just wasn’t hectic enough, so we had an idea to open a Wee Restaurant in Edinburgh. Never ones to hang around on an idea, within a few months we had the keys to 61 Frederick St. There have been a few times over the past two and half years that we have asked ourselves “what have we done?”, but in general it’s been a great experience. It all seemed a bit easier the second time around, we learned from the mistakes we made the first time. And not being pregnant/new parents helped massively!

Over the years there have been several tweaks to both restaurants from just learning on the job but also taking into account feedback from customers. Our ethos has always stayed the same. We want to serve simple good food and fine wines in a relaxed atmosphere. We are a family-run restaurant who care about service, quality of produce and the cooking of Scotland’s seasonal offerings. 

We work with staff who are passionate and have the same outlook. Along with our fantastic staff we have more of the Wood family now working in the restaurant. Little 7-year old Ethan has grown up and is now at university. After working as a pot washer initially for pocket money, he came front of house 5 years ago and is now the part-time Assistant Manager in Edinburgh. Zoe is almost 17 and works part time in the North Queensferry restaurant when not studying for her Highers. Little baby Innes has turned 12 and has been pot washing to help pay for a trip to Alton Towers. Sophie, our niece, joined the  front of house team part time in Edinburgh team at the start of the summer and is thoroughly enjoying it. She has been squirreling away her wages to help pay for a trip to South Africa with school. 

We’re also proud to have Kirsty, Sam, Debora, Adelin, Joshua, Louis, Simba, Nikki, Mikey, Roberto, Adela, Radek, Isabelle, Keri and Siobahn working alongside us. We love our big ‘Wee Family’.

FUNDRAISING DINNER, MONDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER

 Pupils of the Edinburgh Girls’ High School in Malawi

Pupils of the Edinburgh Girls’ High School in Malawi

We're delighted to be hosting a special fundraising dinner at The Wee Restaurant Edinburgh on Monday 17th September in support of this very good cause. The Chesney Trust raises money to maintain, develop and run a secondary girls’ boarding school in Engcongolweni, Malawi.

Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh has been supporting the school for several years by raising funds, and donating second-hand school uniforms and sports kits. Every two years a group of girls visits Malawi to join in with lessons, and also to help build and paint the buildings, and look after the nursery children. 

This year, twelve 5th and 6th year girls and two teachers are visiting the school in October. To help raise some money, the girls will be preparing a fabulous 4-course dinner (with a little guidance from Craig!) in our kitchen, and will be serving each course with matching wines - with all proceeds from the night going directly to the school in Malawi.

If you fancy enjoying a delicious dinner whilst supporting a good cause, please call us on 0131 225 7983 to book a table. 

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CRAIG'S INGREDIENTS: BERRIES

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At this time of year I try to incorporate local berries on our menu as much as possible as I know they won't be available for much longer. For the last couple of months, we've been getting fantastic berries from the family-run Blacketyside Farm in Fife.

Their raspberries and strawberries are amazing, and quite often are hoovered up by our kids before we get the chance to use them in the restaurant. I find it really inspiring to create desserts with such juicy, flavoursome soft fruits. I could happily use them all year round, but unfortunately the season is short!

For me, the best desserts are ones full of memories - the kind of sweet treats we enjoyed as a child. And I was a child with a very sweet tooth!

I try to create desserts for our seasonal menus that use great local produce and take advantage of the changing seasons. But ones that also have a familiarity to classic combinations. So I make traditional desserts a little lighter, or I'll add a little twist. I want everyone to be able to enjoy something sweet at the end of the meal without feeling too full.

Raspberries, strawberries and blackberries are so good eaten on their own, but my recipe for pain perdu is definitely worth a go. Enjoy!

Festive Season 2018

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FESTIVE MENUS

We look forward to welcoming you at both restaurants over the festive season! Join us for an intimate dinner, for a get-together - or you can take over the whole restaurant! Both Edinburgh and North Queensferry comfortably seat up to 40 guests. 

Take a look at our Festive Menu here which will be offered at lunch and dinner at both restaurants from the 4th to the 23rd of December (except Mondays). In addition, we'll also be serving a special Menu Du Jour in both restaurants throughout December.

HOGMANAY

We are open from 5pm - 11pm, with last orders at 9pm, at both restaurants. 

RESERVATIONS

NORTH QUEENSFERRY:  please call 01383 616263

EDINBURGH:  please call 0131 225 7983 or book online.

 

Craig’s Wine Chat

 Craig, Jamie and Philippe of l'Art du Vin in Switzerland

Craig, Jamie and Philippe of l'Art du Vin in Switzerland

Wine is a very important part of our offering at The Wee restaurant and no one is more passionate about wine than our Chef Proprietor, Craig Wood. Below, he tells us about his favourite wines.

We change our wine lists a couple of times a year. Although not seasonal, there’s a notable difference in customers' preferences during the summer and winter months. In the summer we all crave a crisp white wine, while the autumnal and winter months makes us long for much heartier reds. Our customers’ personal preferences also play a huge role in what we choose for our lists. We recently added a few really special wines that we know our regular customers love. 

Let me tell you a bit more about a couple of wines on our list that I particularly enjoy. 

Rosé, Domaine Rimauresq, Provence, France 2016.

It’s crisp, it’s elegant, and I love the delicate floral and raspberry notes. It comes from the highly-acclaimed Cru Classé vineyards, overseen by the brilliant Pierre Duffort. It’s no surprise that Domaine Rimauresq has been lauded by critics in recent years for its excellent produce as Pierre leads a team of excellent winemakers. In fact they’ve been cited as being at the top of their game in the Guide Hachette, the well-known French Encyclopaedic wine guide, three times.

Named after the river which flows through the heart of the estate, the Real Mauresqué, Domaine Rimauresq is the home of nine grape varieties that are cultivated to produce red and white as well as rosé wines, which are known for being slightly darker than many other examples of rosé from the region. 

Pinot Noir, Les Deux Cimes, Valais, Switzerland 2016. 

I’m a huge fan of Les Deux Cimes and am fortunate enough to call its owner Jamie McCulloch a good pal. I’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed quite a few trips to his winery and vineyards in Switzerland. He produces his wines with great passion, and is involved in every step of the process in a really hands-on style. This is not your typical light French pinot noir. It’s smooth, slightly spiced and lightly oaked and is perfect with steak or Scottish game. It’s good enough to open a bottle after a hard week in the kitchen and enjoy on a Sunday evening.

Originally from Stirling, Jamie headed to the Swiss Alps in 2007, a year after completing his oenology studies. Perhaps not the most obvious location for setting up a winery, but Jamie was attracted to the scope the alpine region offers for experimenting with a number of different grape varieties. I love that the wine scene in Switzerland is populated, for the most part, by small independent wineries. Over the last few years, the quality of the produce has risen dramatically, yet due to the small amount of wine produced, only around 2% of overall production is ever exported. So we feel very privileged to have Jamie’s wines on our list.

He’s always such a wonderful host when we visit, and that can quite easily lead to a little over-indulging. But as a chef and restaurateur, I believe it is very important to taste the products! I’m looking forward to visiting Jamie again later in the year for more tasting and a game of golf on the nearby Crans-Montana Course. And perhaps another glass of wine or two!

WINES OF THE MONTH - JULY & AUGUST

Our current highlighted wines hail from South Africa and Spain and have been selected by Philippe of l'Art du Vin to complement our summer menu.

And, we're now offering Janisson Champagne by the half bottle. Ideal if you don’t want to indulge in a whole bottle, and perfect for that mid-week treat!

Unwooded Chardonnay 2015 Paradyskloof, South Africa

Having established his base at Vriesenhof, Springbok hero Jan Boland Coetzee took control of a separate area of vines in order to add the more accessible Paradyskloof range of uncomplicated, fun, easy-drinking wines. Produced from hand-picked grapes, the intention for these wines was to make them playful and accessible, yet ensure that they accurately depict the individual characteristics of the Stellenbosch terroir. The ‘Unwooded Chardonnay’ displays fresh citrus notes, with green apples and refreshingly crisp acidity.

Cabernet Merlot 2012 Baltana Seleccio, Penedes, Spain
Deep in the heart of the Penedès countryside you will find the delightful family run winery and vineyards J. Miquel Jané. 100 hectares of vineyard situated at 500 meters above sea level. The high altitude ensures cool nights that the grapes need after the heat of the day in order to acquire perfect ripeness, acidity and fine aromas. “Prominent aromas of raspberry and blueberry lead to a full, fruit forward palate with well-integrated notes of fresh herbs and toasty oak”

Both are £6.75 for a 175cl Glass, £8.75 for a 250cl Glass and £26.00 per bottle.

Harris Gin Click & Collect

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You can now 'Click & Collect' the award-winning Isle of Harris Gin at both our restaurants. We've been serving Harris Gin in our seasonal aperitif and love it. It's a complex gin, featuring nine carefully-chosen botanicals that capture the elemental nature of the Isle of Harris, particularly the maritime influences of the seas which surround it. Absolutely delicious served simply with tonic and a twist of orange.

Now you can get hold of your much-loved bottle of Isle of Harris Gin without delay! Click here to place your order and it will be ready to collect from us within minutes of receiving your confirmation email. Just bring your receipt along to us during our opening times for collection. Your bottle comes gift wrapped and with a little card telling you all about the gin. We also stock Sugar Kelp Aromatic Water to add that extra taste of the Outer Hebridean seas to your tipple.

 

Wee Family

Stories from The Wee Restaurant
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We are so lucky to have such great staff at The Wee Restaurant. From the beginning, when we opened in North Queensferry 12 years ago, we knew how important it was going to be to create our wee family. Hospitality isn’t the easiest career choice and we’re always so impressed by the young people who work with us and who show so much commitment and dedication to ensuring that our guests’ have a great experience dining with us.

We would like to congratulate Kirsty, our Restaurant Manager in North Queensferry, who has passed her level one and two Wine & Spirit Education Trust training. We're also saying congrats to Keri, our part-time waitress, who has gained her degree in Nutrition from Queen Margaret University. We would also like to welcome Siobahn and Sophie to our Edinburgh front-of-house team. And last, but by no means least, it is with a heavy heart that we say farewell to Katie our pasty chef. We would like to wish her good luck in her new job in chef recruitment. 

Beer on the house this Father's Day

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Whether he is a father, grandfather or father-in-waiting, spoil your loved one and celebrate Father's Day with us at The Wee Restaurant.

On Sunday 17th June we'll be offering every dad a Paolozzi beer from the Edinburgh Beer Factory at lunch and dinner in both restaurants. With a perfect bitter-sweet balance and fabulously sparkling appearance, it goes great with many of the dishes on our menu.

To book NORTH QUEENSFERRY please call 01383 616263.

To book EDINBURGH please call 0131 225 7983 or book online.

Please note that we require a £10 deposit per person upon booking.

Wee Family

Stories from The Wee Restaurant
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This month we are delighted to introduce Kirsty Moore, our new Restaurant Manager at North Queensferry. 27-year-old Kirsty has worked in the hospitality industry for over 12 years, whilst studying for her degree in French and Spanish. Originally from the Highlands, Kirsty has lived and worked in Edinburgh for the last 8 years and started working with us at The Wee Restaurant last September. It was quickly evident that she was a great addition to our Wee Family.

When we found out that Chloe, our previous Restaurant Manager at North Queensferry, was leaving for a new life in Glasgow with her partner, it seemed a natural progression for Kirsty to take the helm. She started her position in April this year and is already proving very popular with guests.

She has a real passion for great customer service and truly believes in our ethos of serving simple, good quality food. In the future she hopes to further her wine knowledge by carrying out further wine training. And we're sure she will enjoy helping us taste all our new wines. All for the purpose of work of course!

 Congratulations to Kirsty on her new position, and all the very best to Chloe for her new life in Glasgow. Good luck ladies! 

WINES OF THE MONTH - MARCH

With a hint of Spring in the air after the recent cold snap, we have two lovely wines on offer this month in both restaurants to warm your soul.

This month's selected wines hail from South Africa and Spain and have been selected by Philippe of l'Art du Vin to complement our new menu.

 

Unwooded Chardonnay 2015 Paradyskloof, South Africa

Having established his base at Vriesenhof, Springbok hero Jan Boland Coetzee took control of a separate area of vines in order to add the more accessible Paradyskloof range of uncomplicated, fun, easy-drinking wines. Produced from hand-picked grapes, the intention for these wines was to make them playful and accessible, yet ensure that they accurately depict the individual characteristics of the Stellenbosch terroir. The ‘Unwooded Chardonnay’ displays fresh citrus notes, with green apples and refreshingly crisp acidity.

Grenache Cabernet Syrah 2013 Baltana Negre, Penedes, Spain
Deep in the heart of the Penedès countryside you will find the delightful family-run winery and vineyards of J. Miquel Jané - 100 hectares of vineyard situated at 500 meters above sea level. The high altitude ensures cool nights that the grapes need after the heat of the day in order to acquire perfect ripeness, acidity and fine aromas. This wine displays prominent aromas of raspberry and blueberry that lead to a full, fruit-forward palate with well-integrated notes of fresh herbs and toasty oak.

Both are £6.75 for a 175cl Glass, £8.75 for a 250cl Glass and £26.00 per bottle.

INDEPENDENT RESTAURANTS - ALWAYS WORTH A SECOND THOUGHT!

 Vikki Wood at The Wee Restaurant North Queensferry

Vikki Wood at The Wee Restaurant North Queensferry

Our co-owner Vikki Wood shares her thoughts on independent restaurants, and their impact on the local community and economy. 

It’s a hot topic amongst the independent restaurant owners of Scotland - “how do we raise the profile of our independent restaurant over the big chains with big spending power and budgets?”. In particular this has been discussed by independent restaurant owners in Edinburgh with the recent influx of big chains, renting big spaces within a fairly short space of time. After speaking to my family and friends about this topic it appears it’s not at the forefront of most people’s minds when choosing where to eat that weekend. They hadn’t thought there was any local impact of where they spend their hard-earned cash.

It’s a much bigger question than just choosing what kind of cuisine you fancy and using a booking app to book your next meal. When you support a local, independent restaurant you are supporting local suppliers and producers too. There are fundamental differences to your evening if you choose a big chain over a small, independent restaurant. Some of these differences I hadn’t even thought of myself until I opened my own business.

Firstly, I would say that when you choose to shop, dine or support your independent retailer or restaurant you are helping to shape the neighbourhood you want to live in, not just now, but in the future. Do we want to live in a homogenized world? Do we want our village, town or city to be just like every other place in the country? When we support independent restaurants or shops we are investing in the community around us. I know I want to live in an area with uniqueness, where I can shop in a one-of-a-kind business that distinguishes itself from others.

I also want to reduce environmental impact by supporting local businesses who, on average, use less transportation (thus less pollution and congestions on the roads) to receive their goods and produce, for the good of myself and my kids.

Local businesses are by far the largest employers nationally, and I want to support the people who work in these businesses. With a little bit of encouragement, local talent working in local business could be the local entrepreneurs of the near future. At present, local employees spend the vast majority of their money locally (estimated by the Federation of Small Businesses to be 70p in every £1) which will have a positive knock-on effect to my local economy.

I hadn’t given it much thought before, but I’d rather not support businesses who have a centralised ordering system, probably based around London, where no local suppliers or producers are gaining any business with them. With this system, little money goes back into the local economy. Independent restaurants take time to find the right person for the job, invest heavily in staff training. We know the importance of a warm welcome, getting to know the regulars, and relish meeting new diners. We also know our offerings, giving some inside info on the local area and places not to miss. Generally just going the extra mile!

I looked at our list of suppliers and producers for The Wee Restaurants. We always strive to support local, small producers and suppliers. We understand the provenance of our food, and can discuss with our guests, all evening if you want us to, our beef, our wine, our oatcakes, our fish. I’m sure you’d rather be chatting to your dining companions, but you only need to ask! It all adds to the uniqueness of a night out when you’ve chosen an independent restaurant.

A lot of our suppliers are small, local, family-run independent businesses themselves. So when someone dines independently they aren’t just supporting the restaurant owners and staff - it goes much deeper. I’ll give you two examples of this, although I could give you several. We have sourced and are now using Your Piece Baking Company in North Fife to provide Porridge Oatcakes for our cheese board. Not only are they absolutely delicious, they are a very small family-run company which operates with only 3 staff. The oats they use for these delicious oatcakes come only from the fields of Fife and are farmed by local farmers.

We also use James F Kidd & Sons of Edinburgh to supply our crockery, cutlery and glassware. A slightly bigger local employer than Your Piece Baking Company with 42 local people employed. They have provided us with a great service over the last 12 years. We have built up a great rapport with their staff that cannot help enough when we need them. Local businesses like Kidd’s aren’t getting any of the business from the new chains popping up all over Edinburgh. The chains don’t use local suppliers but use centralised suppliers for their crockery.

Here's a, not exhaustive but pretty comprehensive, list of producers and suppliers we use so you can get the gist of how far-reaching for the local economy it is when you choose to dine independently. If you look at these independent, and mostly family-run businesses, you can imagine just how many people they are in turn supporting locally down the line.

Hendersons Meats, Glenrothes

David Lowire Fish Merchants, St Monans

Iberico Foods, Stirling

L’art Du Vin, Charlestown, Fife

Pillars of Hercules, Falkland

Great Oil Olive Oil, Kirkcaldy

East Coast Cured, Edinburgh

Iain Mellis Cheese, Edinburgh

Your Piece Baking Company, Fife

James F Kidd & Sons, Edinburgh

Caroll’s Heritage Potatoes, Cornhill -on-Tweed

Edinburgh Gin, formerly Inverkeithing

Harris Gin, Isle of Harris

Braehead Foods, Ayrshire

Edinburgh Beer Factory Paolozzi Lager, Edinburgh

Mitchell MacGregor Public Relations, Edinburgh

In total 14 out of 15 of these companies are family run, local and amongst them employ over 220 people. This is not including the two big companies who regularly supply both restaurants, Campbell’s Fine Meats and Graham’s Dairies who employ many more people in Scotland, all spending money in their local communities.

If you want your local community to be a vibrant, diverse place to live and work, it’s always worth a second thought to dine with, shop with, spend with, and enjoy independent businesses, enabling them to be there for many years to come. Whilst there may be a lot of chains opening in Edinburgh just now, luckily there are independents opening all the time too. Get out there and give them a try knowing you are supporting not just the restaurateurs and their staff, but so much more. It takes you to start a trend!

 

VALENTINE'S DAY SHARING MENU

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This Valentine's Day indulge your loved one with dinner at The Wee Restaurant. We've devised a sumptuous sharing menu to enjoy on the most romantic day of the year.

MENU

Shetland mussels with basil, pine nuts & bacon with Parmesan cream (or marinière), to share 

Cote du beouf with hand-cut chips, field mushrooms and rocket salad, to share 

Banana tart tartin with home-made white chocolate ice cream, to share 

£70 per couple, MUST be pre-ordered upon booking.*

DRINKS

Also available for pre-order, we're offering a half-bottle of La Jara prosecco at £12 (normally £19), or a half-bottle of Janisson champagne for £18 (normally £26). MUST be pre-orderd upon booking.*

*The offers above are available on Wed 14th February 2018 at both Wee Restaurants and must be pre-ordered upon booking. Offers will not be available to order on the night.

To book:

NORTH QUEENSFERRY:  please call 01383 616263.

EDINBURGH:  please call 0131 225 7983 or book online.

Please note that we require a £10 deposit per person upon booking.

WEE FAMILY

Stories from The Wee Restaurant
 Keri left, with our North Queesnferry manager Chloe

Keri left, with our North Queesnferry manager Chloe

This month we’d like to introduce you to Keri. Keri is one of longest-serving members of staff and a real trooper. She started at The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry in 2011 when she was 15 in a front-of-house role, working a few shifts at weekends and the occasional weekday evening when we were busy. 

It was her first job and she was a little nervous. “I was super shy when I first started. I knew next to nothing about wine and I didn’t know what half the things on the menu were!” But it didn’t take long for Keri to learn the ropes. “After a month or two, I really began to love the job, and I started to get to know many of the regulars.”

Six and a half years on, Keri is still working front-of-house (with a few pot washing shifts thrown in!) and has worked full-time over the last two summer holidays when she has time off from university. She now predominantly works in our Edinburgh restaurant, however she never turns down the opportunity to cover a shift in North Queensferry if she’s needed! 

An average shift for Keri involves her greeting the customers, ensuring they are happily seated with drinks and helping them decide what they’ll have from the menu. Keri continued: “We really are one wee team, so we all pitch in and help each other whenever someone else needs it on a busy shift. There have even been a few occasions when customers have had their meal brought to them by the chef on a very busy shift!”

Keri is about to enter the final semester of her degree in nutrition and food science, and she hopes to work within the food industry as a food technologist. But she says she would never turn down the idea of working in hospitality again.

“I absolutely love my job, and the thought of leaving in a few months once I’ve finished my degree makes me slightly emotional. I’ve made some amazing friends over the years and learned so much.” 

And we’re also emotional at the thought of losing such a great member of our team, she feels like a member of our family. Keri has learned a lot working with us. She’s discovered a passion for food and wine, taken on lots of responsibility and found her confidence. The shy 15-year-old has blossomed in a very competent and confident young woman.

“Craig and Vikki have been incredible to me over the years, just like they have with my colleagues. Working for them has been and will continue to be an absolute pleasure. I’ve got some amazing colleagues, who I’m happy to call some of my greatest friends and who make working at The Wee Restaurant a blast.”

We’re looking forward to the next few months working with Keri, and wish her all the best when she moves on to pastures new.

WINES OF THE MONTH - JANUARY

For those of you not taking part in Dry January, we have 2 superb wines on offer this month in both restaurants. Both very drinkable, they are produced by the Miquel Jané family have been making wines in the Penedès district of Cataluña for four generations, and come highly recommended by our supplier Philippe of l'Art du Vin.

Known primarily for Cava production, in recent years the production taking place in Penedès has become increasingly diverse, thanks to the intervention of forward-thinking winemakers such as J. Miquel Jané. Located in the village of Font-Rubi, the vineyards are situated at high altitude, around 500 metres above sea level. Being positioned at this altitude ensures cool temperatures at night that, after the intense heat of the day, allows the grapes to develop ripeness, acidity and fine aromas.

Maccabeu Parrellada Sauvignon Blanc, Baltana Blanc, Penedes, Spain 2015

A blend of the local varieties Parellada and Maccabeu along with some Sauvignon Blanc to add some zippiness. Juicy and approachable with delicious notes of stone fruits and citrus.

Grenache Cabernet Syrah, Baltana Negre, Penedes, Spain 2013

A blend of the local Catalonian Garnacha with Cabernet and Merlot, a smooth and spicy red full of sunshine.

Both are £6.75 for a 175ml glass, £8.75 for a 250ml glass or £26 a bottle.

SCOTTISH THISTLE AWARD FOR NORTH QUEENSFERRY

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We were delighted to receive the title of Best Restaurant Experience in the regional finals for Central East and Tayside at the Scottish Thistle Awards. The national final takes place in March.

Vikki said: "It's a real honour to have made it through the the finals of this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards. Craig and I are extremely proud of the hard work and dedication of our wee team at North Queensferry for the last 11 years. We continue to strive to offer our customers the best dining experience we possible can.”

CRAIG'S INGREDIENTS: CELERIAC

Every season, Craig shares one of his favourite ingredients. This season, it's celeriac.

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It’s rather ugly, craggy appearance might put you off  - and I agree, it does look a bit intimidating - but the celeriac is a very versatile ingredient and I love it. In France you see it in markets everywhere at this time of year - they really celebrate the celeriac and cook it several different ways.

In fact, I was introduced to celeriac by two French chefs I worked with in Edinburgh over 20 years ago. Celeriac was a bit of a novelty as you couldn’t buy them easily here in those days. I was really eager to learn about this new ingredient from these chefs. Both had come from Michelin 3-star restaurants in France to their first jobs in the UK and I was their commis. I was really thrown in at the deep end as they didn’t speak English, but I learned so much about the French way of cooking and how they design their menus around the changing seasons. 

One of the dishes I discovered then, and is still one of my favourites to this day, is the celeriac remoulade. It’s a lot like a coleslaw, but with a more sophisticated flavour. Finely shredded raw celeriac is mixed with Dijon and Pommery mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice and parsley. It’s great as a cold starter served with cured meats or salmon, and will keep in the fridge for a few days.

It also makes a luxuriously silky winter soup. Dice the celeriac and cook with a little water until soft. Then blitz with a pinch of saffron a splash of double cream and a couple of big spoonfuls of mascarpone and top with some chopped chives. If you’re feeling very decadent, add some shaved truffle or a little truffle oil. Not too much as it’s already a very rich soup.

A celeriac gratin makes for a deliciously interesting side dish for a family meal or Sunday roast. Slice on a mandolin then layer with cream, garlic and nutmeg, topped with Gruyère cheese and bake in the oven. Just like making a potato Dauphinoise.

Look out for celeriac in the supermarket, where they’re mostly imported from Europe. We do grow them in Scotland but they’re a bit trickier to find. Try the Edinburgh Farmers’ Market, or farms like East Coast Organics, Pillars of Hercules and Cyrenians. Most organic farms will grow some.

Embrace the change in the season and give it a bash. So much of cooking is about trial and error – so don’t be afraid. For me, I love celeriac’s versatility. It’s full of flavour, brilliant to eat and packed full of vitamins and nutrients.