Friday, 31 August 2012

Best Burger Quest - The Cambridge Bar




I've been meaning to write about the burgers at the Cambridge Bar for a while now.  A lot of people consider these to be the finest in Edinburgh - I'm not sure if they quite beat Bell's Diner for the top spot in my favourites but I can tell you that they are pretty damn fine.  Being the sister restaurant to Wannaburger, they definitely know a thing or two about how to make great burgers.  The pub is a cosy wee space down the cobbled lanes of the New Town on Thistle Street. There are comfy leather chairs and sofas, big windows which are lovely in the summer, a fireplace perfect for when it’s chilly and a decent choice of wine, Scottish ales and whisky. It comes equipped with big televisions showing background sport.  These are incongruous with the surrounding and, unless you’re both really into watching sport, I wouldn't recommend it as a first date venue.  

There are three core burgers of beef, chicken and bean which have the usual salad and relish toppings (all £6.45), but can also come with a range of topping combinations – fifteen different combinations in fact. These range from classic cheddar or blue cheese to more interesting options like Mexican with peppers, cheddar and chilli sauce and Italiano with homemade pesto and mozzarella. Then there’s the other side of the scale that tips these burgers into the giganto scale – a breakfast burger with bacon, fried egg and mushroom or a fajita burger with spices, chargrilled peppers, onions, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. Or there is the Aussie burger – topped with bacon, pineapple, mature cheddar beetroot and a fried egg.  It takes a mighty mouth to conquer this beast (priced at £8.95).

 

Thankfully, I am blessed with a massive gob and a boundless sense of culinary adventure. I ordered the Aussie burger and warned my boyfriend in advance, “This is not going to be lady-like.”  Throwing caution to the wind, we ordered some chips and onion rings to share too. He ordered the classic beef burger, just for some balance. 

 
Above is the mammoth task I was faced with and I can confirm that it was indeed less than lady-like. The burger was large and juicy and when stuck joined together it was quite drippy. A lot of people don’t enjoy pineapple in savoury food, but I quite like the sweet contrast that it brings to the bacon and beef. I thoroughly enjoyed eating the burger although perhaps the beetroot was a step too far. It didn’t add a huge amount to the taste and slid about a bit too. But The Cambridge definitely deserves the praise that it receives – it was really one of the best burgers I’ve had for a while. The chips were a perfect sharing portion for two and the onion rings, although light, crispy and delicious, were an eyes-bigger-than-belly choice and were pretty much left untouched. 

Another great selling point for the Cambridge Bar is they do fabulous milkshakes. They're listed under desserts and I can understand why - my chocolate milkshake was super creamy and thick and had flakes of chocolate throughout.  If you’ve got a bigger appetite than me you can also indulge in other puddings like brownies and waffles with ice cream (£3.95).  

The Cambridge Bar is definitely recommended for some really good quality burgers in the city centre.  There are even additional vegetarian options of portabella mushroom with peppers, sundried tomatoes & chargrilled peppers (£7.50) and a haloumi burger with peppers & an olive tapenade (£7.95).  Just make sure you have a good appetite when you go!

The Cambridge Bar
20 Young Street
Edinburgh
EH2 4JB
Tel : 0131 226 2120

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Salted Caramel & Cocoa Nib Brownies


Last time I visited London I was very lucky that one of my best pals knows me oh so well bought me a wee treat in the form of Paul A Young's salted caramel, cocoa nib and white chocolate brownie.  Put simply, it was damn fine - the best brownie I'd ever eaten.  The flavour was intense, with the sweetness of the caramel offset with a slight saltiness and an ever so slightly bitter crunch from the cocoa nibs adding some contrast to the 70% cocoa dark chocolate.  The texture was dense, fudgy and supremely gooey.  It was so rich that I could only have tiny amounts at a time - a quarter here, a nibble there until the sad time when it was all gone.
  
Cocoa nibs from Coco Chocolate


I thought of this brownie wistfully from time to time, as one does when one thinking of a lost love nostalgically.  "That brownie was the best.  I wish I could get my brownies that gooey.  I wish they'd open a shop in Edinburgh," I'd think whilst munching other brownies which, whilst tasty, weren't quite the same.   Recently I happened to pop into Coco Chocolate on Broughton Street and found some cocoa nibs for sale.  Straight away, I knew I had to try get them and replicate this brownie - it was my new baking mission.  

My version - heavy with salted caramel and nibs

But how to make these brownies?  How to get them so fudgy?  Well, I googled Paul A Young and salted caramel brownies and whaddyaknow - someone had already had pretty much these self same thoughts.  Reason #86 why I love the internet.  The rather beautiful Poires au Chocolat blog has posted a recipe for Paul A Young's super duper dense brownie and a salted dry caramel to pour over the top and I am forever grateful.  She has also made the genius suggestion of freezing these brownies which suits them perfectly, seeing as they're so rich they'll last a really long time that way (for which my teeth will be forever grateful).  I would absolutely recommend making these for a special treat and if you're able to resist eating the lot, you'll get to enjoy these from the freezer for a long time too, so visit Poires au Chocolat for the recipe