City Hippy

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

REVIEW: Edinburgh's ethical eateries

Over the past few weeks my boyfriend and I have had the pleasure of being treated to a meal at two of Edinburgh's excellent restaurants, which also happen to try and run things as ethically as possible. Locally sourced, organic, fairtrade food is the name of the game here and whilst finding something that fits all three of those may not be that easy they give it a fair go.

Back at the beginning of September visiting friends wanted to take us out for a meal and we thought we'd all enjoy Iglu, winner of a fair smattering of awards, within walking distance and aiming to sell ethically produced dishes. The menu tells you what's organic and what's not and also which ingredients are wild. There was also a warning that the game dish may contain stray bits of bullet, a challenge which did not put off the meat eaters in the party (which, ok, was everyone except me). There weren't many vegetarian options (you get used to that in most restaurants) but those that were there sounded so good I still had trouble deciding. In the end I went for the special, which was a baked squash with vegetable chilli. The meat eaters enjoyed their dishes (including pork and pheasant) before we ordered pudding. As we were there on the final Sunday of the festival Iglu had obviously been pretty busy the night before and a few puds were off the menu, unfortunately this included the Green & Black's chocolate delight so some of us went for the yummy apple crumble option and very good it was too.

Iglu is in the New Town on Jamaica Street and also has a bar downstairs. The upstairs restaurant is very cosy (but not claustrophobic) and displays some stunning photographs of Skye by Alan Campbell on the walls.

Last weekend my boyfriend's mum wanted to take us out for a meal and we thought a return visit to Iglu would be in order. Now let this be a warning to you, if you want to eat at Iglu on a Saturday night, book earlier in the week. By the time I called on Friday there was no availability. Brilliant for them, but not so good for us.

However, round a couple of corners at the bottom of Hanover Street sits Urban Angel, who are also into serving organic, local and fairtrade food. They (just about) had room for us so off we went there, and yet again, were not disappointed. This time there were lots more vegetarian options (and enough to please the meat eaters, my boyfriend had a locally sourced rib eye steak which he loved) and I struggled to decide, finally opting for a sweet potato, baby spinach and spiced pumpkin seed risotto. Yum! Plus you could choose between a small or large portion. I went for a small portion to ensure room for dessert, and I'm very glad I did. I had a delicious chocolate pecan pie with Guinness ice cream (I'm still not sure about that!) and it tasted wonderfully comforting and real. Jon had cinnamon and apple pastry and his sister opted for fruity ice cream, all equally gorgeous.

Urban Angel also has a deli and take-out area at the front, and is open from 8am in the morning should you want your breakfast to be of the more ethical sort. It's also handily near Henderson's Farm Shop (and cafe/bistro) and Neal's Yard Remedies if you're on a bit of a green shopping splurge.


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