Tag Archives: food

A family trip through Edinburgh’s Christmas

EdinburghsChristmas2017This week the Sketcher clan took a trip through Santa’s Wonderland in the Princes Street Gardens before warming up with some very fine Asian cuisine at Wagamama.

Its at least an annual visit to Edinburgh’s Christmas markets and kids fun fair for the Sketcher family, we love having a go on the rides, watching the kids get so excited when they see the candy house and remembering how fast the little rollercoaster is when you jolt around the corners!

I think Christmas is my favourite time of year and I love the colours, decorations, music and silliness which takes over the city centre and enjoy spending time with the family and seeing them get so excited by it all. And there is no better place to do that than in Santa’s Wonderland. The Sketcher Twins (aged 6) highlights were the Reindeer ride with falling ‘snow’ and of course the beautiful Helter Skelter, always a favourite.

We spent the afternoon soaking up the festive spirit, and a mulled wine for Mum and Dad before heading up onto Lothian Road for dinner at Wagamama.

Wagamama food

Being Gluten Free myself the Japanese inspired restaurant chain is a familiar place for us, with a good choice of dishes for all. And the slightly spicy selection recommended to us by our helpful waiter was just the thing to warm us up on a frosty Edinburgh evening.

Edinburgh’s Christmas website

Wagamama Lothian road

Sketches made with ink and watercolourin an A5 ArtGecko sketch pad.

A friendly welcome at the ever popular Haven Cafe in Newhaven

TheHavenCafe insideMy favourite cafe in Edinburgh and coincidentally one of the first locations to show my work!

This week I popped in to The Haven Cafe which is situated opposite the Chancelot Mill at 9 Anchorfield,
Edinburgh to restock my wall of sketches and grab a gluten free bacon buttie and mug of tea.

The Haven serves the best breakfast in Edinburgh and their relaxed atmosphere, vintage decor and superb home style baking makes this Newhaven landmark a favourite pit stop of mine.

Since 2011 the Havenettes have been serving fine food to the people of Edinburgh and almost as long had a gallery of Edinburgh Sketcher prints for sale on their wall.

Pop in for a bite to eat and check out my seaside inspired wall of sketches, all framed and available to buy off the wall.

Sketch made on location in fineliner and watercolour. 

The Haven Cafe online.



Baking a delicious tiramisu thanks to the perfect recipe

Cookbook GF CoverI recently received this beautiful cookbook by Victoria Hall, a gluten free baker and restauranteur, and went straight to T for tiramisu.

Being a coeliac means eating a gluten free diet and although these days when most supermarkets have a ‘free from’ section this isn’t so hard, I am well accustomed to a very limited choice of desserts and pastries when eating out.

As chef Victoria cannot eat gluten herself she obviously knows the feeling of seeing the treats you cannot eat and has filled the book with such delights, from cherry backwells to chocolate eclaires. There is also a savoury section including a steak and ale pie which I might make at the weekend.

But first I chose the tiramisu, something I havent had for at least 5 years, when my diet changed. Many of of the ingredients I had already in the kitchen thanks to years of gluten free baking, some I had to ‘borrow’ (like the Tia Maria) in exchange for a slice of the finshed cake.

Cookbook GF Ingredients

The recipe was easy to follow and I like the way everything was made from scratch, no shop bought sponge fingers here! It took time but I felt a sense of achievement once I had it resting in the fridge.

And the resulting taste? Delicious, and that was the reaction from everyone who tried it. If you follow a gluten free diet or bake for someone who does then this is definitely the book for you.

Cookbook GF Tiramisu

This is Gluten-Free features recipes by Victoria Hall, photography by Adrian Lawrence. Published by Ryland Peters & Small 2017. Find out more HERE

Victoria Hall on twitter.

The Atelier Restaurant in Edinburgh’s West End

Atelier_starterRecently I popped in at the The Atelier Restaurant for a bite to eat, and a little food sketching.

The 2 AA Rosette Scottish dining restaurant lies on Morrison Street in Edinburgh’s West End, and has a cosy and relaxed atmosphere with a friendly welcome.

I visited with the Sketcher Clan for a week day lunch, they open 12-2.30pm, 5.30-9.30pm Tue-Thu and 12-2.30pm, 5.30-10.30pm Fri and Sat, and the place seemed to be a popular business lunch location.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary ‘Atelier’ means a room or building in which an artist works. This couldn’t be more appropriate for this Edinburgh kitchen.

Atelier: a room or building in which an artist works

We enjoyed 3 courses of beautiful food. Each plate was a work of art, the above starter of ‘Lamb ballotine, buckwheat, fennel, artichoke’ had delicate sauces dabbed around the the plate like one of my sketches.

Not only did they look good but tasted delicious, the Sketcher twins shared a pasta dish of ‘Fregula, peas, asparagus, ricotta’ and when they couldn’t finish it all asked if we could take the rest home.

Our shared dessert of ‘Poached apricot, dark chocolate cremeux, sorbet’ disappeared before I could sketch it to a flurry of silent scooping and synchronised ‘mmmm-ing’.

Below is a sketch from after the event 🙂


Today’s sketches were made with a black fine liner pen and watercolour paint. 

The Atelier Restaurant website

The Atelier are holding an ‘Aura Night’ Italian cuisine evening on Monday 22nd August for one night only from 7pm-10pm, creating a ‘Tasting Menu offering a Journey through great Italian flavours’. Places are £45 per person and reservations are required. To book, please call 0131 6295040


Victoria Sponge Sunday

VictoriaSpongeIt looks a lovely Sunday out there but if the showers do return there’s no better place to take cover than the Modern Art Gallery.

Just fifteen minutes walk from Princes Street through Edinburgh’s stunning west end the gallery is easily accessible and a great place to have lunch or afternoon coffee and cake, surrounded by interesting and thought provoking art work.

I stopped by recently, and was delighted to find this gluten free victoria sponge in the Cafe Modern One.

This sketch was drawn in black ink with a watercolour wash.


Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art website

Sampling fine wine, food and hospitality at Le Di-Vin wine bar in the West End

LeDiVin_food and wineA relaxing evening learning about wine from an expert, and getting a little tipsy.

We entered the Le Di-Vin wine bar on Randolf Place flustered and stressed,  after I had mistakenly thought we were dining in a similarly named hotel on the other side of the city, resulting in a mad dash across town during rush hour traffic!


But once I stepped into the large hall like room (previously the Oratory of St Anne) and closed the door on the world outside I relaxed. The double height hall with a mezzanine at the rear was busy with small groups standing at the bar, under a wall of wine bottles from around the world. And to the right there were small tables with couples sharing platters of charcuterie and cheese.


LeDiVin_food and wineCROP


We were welcomed by an extremely knowledgeable member of staff who showed us to our table (without mentioning the fact we were over 30 minutes late). He then spent the evening, between serving at the bar and seeing to other diners, describing the wines he had selected for us to try and asking us to describe the subtle, and sometimes not so subtle differences between them.


With the finest cheeses and meats to accompany our wine discovery evening the experience was a huge success, and one I would repeat in an instant. See the link below for more information about the wines and food on offer.


My sketch was drawn later from memory and a few photos I took on the evening, using black ink and watercolour on quality cartridge paper. 


Le Di-Vin wine bar website.


Lunch Menu sketching at the North Bridge Brasserie, Edinburgh

ScotsmanLunchA three course lunch menu of exquisite Scottish produce for less than £20 is definitely worth sketching.


When asked if I would like to sketch their new lunch menu I didn’t think twice, having recently sampled their Gluten Free Afternoon Tea.


Inside the beautiful oak lined interior of the Scotsman Hotel, once home to the Scotsman Newspaper, is the North Bridge Brasserie, a perfect city centre meeting place for a spot of lunch.


Their menu is constantly evolving and changing depending on the Scottish seasons so take a look at the brasserie website below for the latest information and to book.


When I visited the food was exceptional, starting with a melt in the mouth piece of citrus cured salmon which I would of been happy having three courses of! Instead I chose the slow-cooked pork shoulder to follow. Tender and full of flavour, creating a slightly heavy but very satisfactory main course before our sweet treat of Bitter Dark Chocolate. A rich chocolate mouse formed an S (of the Scotsman?) with dark biscuity chunks and smooth ice cream making a perfect ending to my meal.


Sketch in fine liner with light watercolour wash over the top. 

Scotsman Hotel North Bridge Brasserie website.


Afternoon Tea at The Scotsman Hotel’s North Bridge Brasserie.


The Scotsman Hotel commands stunning views over Edinburgh from it’s North Bridge location, and provides an Afternoon Tea to match even for those with particular dietary requirements.

As a ceoliac I follow a gluten free diet and although that is much easier to do so when supermarkets provide an ever increasing range of foods, eating out can be more hit and miss. Usually resulting in a dish simply missing certain items rather than a replacement added or substitute thought of.

Which is why I was so pleased to hear the North Bridge Brasserie has created a gluten free afternoon tea available alongside their regular option. As you can see from my sketch the three layered display was packed with tasty mouthfuls and beautiful creations. So much so my dining partner let out a ‘wow’, as the food arrived, not a sound usually heard when the gluten free option is unveiled.

Each of the miniature courses had been thought about too, sandwiches on both rye and wholemeal bread that was soft and well made. Both the Mull cheddar and Herb Scone and the classic Freshly Baked Fruit Scone with Butter, Clotted Cream and Selection of Preserves were extra ordinary treats, greatly appreciated by this non wheat eater.

Afternoon Tea at the North Bridge Brasserie is priced at £19.95 per person or £24.95 with a glass of Prosecco. See the website below for more details and to book.


The sketch was drawn in fine liner, with a watercolour wash.


North Bridge Brasserie website

The Scotsman Hotel website


Looking Glass Books for a wee afternoon treat

Cakes_LookingGlassBooksIt’s a beautiful day in the capital and I’m hoping for a sunny walk in the Meadows followed by a tea in Looking Glass Books


Just off Middle Meadows Walk, which runs from Teviot Place down into the city centre park is a wee haven of a cafe/book shop which is well worth a visit.


Their many varieties of tea all come with a sand timer so you know exactly when your cuppa is at it’s finest. Drop in for a moment, nibble on some delicious baking, look through the fine selection of literature and take a deep breath. Life is good.


Oh and you can buy Edinburgh Sketcher merchandise there too 🙂 The sketch above is of their counter top selection of baking.


Looking Glass Books on Facebook


Fine Scottish dining at the Scotsman Hotel

TasteofScotland_MenuThe North Bridge Brasserie within the Scotsman Hotel offers an exquisite five course ‘Taste of Scotland’ menu.

I’m a huge fan of good food, and all things Scottish so when I heard that chef Paul Hart had combined the two in a fine dining multi – tasting experience,  I had to try it… and sketch it.

We began with perfectly cooked, hand dived Orkney scallops. Followed by haggis neeps and tatties, then Loch Etive seatrout and Shetland mussels. We travelled the country, all from our North Bridge Edinburgh base.

The finale (just as Mrs Sketcher and I thought we could fit in not a morsel more) was perfectly chosen. The Granny Smith apple and savarin cheesecake was light as a feather, the accompanying sorbet so refreshing.

Head Chef Paul combines locally sourced ingredients at their freshest,  and is constantly tweaking and adapting his menu to suit the seasons. In my sketch above I have tried to describe all five courses of a superb Scottish dining experience, but there is no substitute for tasting the real thing and for that I suggest booking a table at the link below.


The North Bridge Brasserie website

The Scotsman Hotel website