Pizza Express Edinburgh: Date Night

Pizza Express Queensferry

Pizza Express Queensferry

My husband and I try to go on a date night once a month. We tried to do Alphabet Dates but kept forgetting what letter we were on! Last weekend we went for a meal out in Edinburgh followed by a few drinks. We went to Pizza Express in Queensferry Road in the West End of Edinburgh. I love Pizza Express – the food is always so tasty and the service is always so good.

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There is a new summer menu at Pizza Express and included on this are some summer cocktails. I tried both! First, there was the ‘Gin Spritz’ – which was Bombay Sapphire gin served with a Cucumber and Mint Belvoir Presse. It was nice and refreshing but I thin cucumber is such an acquired taste, you either love it or hate it. The second drink I tried was the Hugo St. Germain – this was Prosecco with Elderflower liqueur, lemon, and mint. This was my favorite of the two. I could drink this all day. Again I think Elderflower is one of them tastes you either love or hate but I think it is perfect for the summer.

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

For starters, my husband and I shared the Dough Balls Doppio. I love the dough balls at Pizza Express. They are the best starter there, especially with the various dipping sauces- Pesto, Garlic Butter and ‘pestorissa’, a harissa spiced tomato dip. I think the sharing portion was perfect for 2 to share and although there were other wonderful sounding starters like the Antipasto or the Bruschetta. I wanted to make sure I left enough room for the main course!

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

I opted for the Zapparoli which is described as ‘Chicken, hot soft ‘nduja sausage, mozzarella, garlic oil and Gran Milano cheese on smoky, creamed corn, finished with red Roquito pearls and parsley’ It was one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten! It was so flavourful, in fact just writing this post I am dreaming of the taste of the pizza again. This has been the first pizza in ages that I ate the whole thing! The red Roquito pearls were my favorite bit of the pizza – they should be on every pizza in my opinion! My Husband had an American Pizza on a classic base. He loved it and ate up every last bit of it too! Must have been good.

The great thing about Pizza Express is it caters for all; there was a whole range of groups in from birthday celebrations, to large groups and families with young kids. We were on a date night and it and still felt intimate enough. That is the worst thing I find with eating out, sometimes you feel like you are just another customer of a generic chain restaurant company. The menu has something for everyone and the food always tastes so fresh.

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

For pudding, I opted for the Coconut Delight – described as “Two scoops of intensely creamy, dairy-free, coconut sorbet, made with coconut milk and coconut pieces, served with fresh mint”. I am a massive coconut fan but I wasn’t so sure about this – it tasted like it had a little too much desicated coconut in it.  I couldn’t eat it all. However, it’s great to see more dairy-free options on the menu as someone who sometimes needs to go Dairy Free. This would be nice blended up as a summer cocktail too!

My husband is a self-confessed chocolate addict so naturally, he went for the Chocolate Fondant ‘PizzaExpress’ described as “A rich and intense warm chocolate cake with a soft melting center, served with vanilla gelato, fresh mint, and icing sugar” for me after a big meal I couldn’t imagine chocolate. But he said it was amazing – admittedly it did look really good!

Pizza Express Queensferry Pizza Express Queensferry

Overall the service and experience at Pizza Express was amazing. The new summer menu all sounds so delicious that I need to go back and try out the other new dishes on offer. There is a lot more on offer for Vegans and the great thing about Pizza Express is that it also caters for Gluten Free diets too. The Pizza Express in Queensferry Road is great as the back door exits straight into the beer garden of Indigo Yard – which is perfect for after dinner cocktails and it is a short walk away to Gin71 which is where we ended up before our carriage (Uber) whisked us away!

You can check out your nearest Pizza Express and the full menu here! 

disclaimer

*Thank You to Pizza Express for inviting me to try out their new summer menu. My meal was complimentary as payment for this post, however, all views and opinion are my own.

 

Say It With Cake… Win a personalised Cake with Bakerdays

Baker Days - Personalised Cake in the Post!

Cake… Everybody Loves Cake!

Recently I have spoken about how I’m going through a bit of a low point with my mental health, I am on the mend at the moment and feeling a lot more positive. One thing that did help was how supportive people were being – there is also a downside of that and that is how I got to the lowest point. People would ask how I am and I would say, “I’m Fine” when we both knew I wasn’t. The biggest thing I struggled with was telling how I was feeling. It left us all in an awkward situation because people didn’t know what to say to me, I didn’t know what to say to people and I probably started shutting myself off from people for fear of awkward conversations.

Baker Days - Personalised Cake in the Post!

People would ask how I am and I would say, “I’m Fine” when we both knew I wasn’t. The biggest thing I struggled with was telling how I was feeling. It left us all in an awkward situation because people didn’t know what to say to me, I didn’t know what to say to people and I probably started shutting myself off from people for fear of awkward conversations. I know too what it is like being on the other side of these conversations too. I am rubbish at thinking of the right thing to say and have the fear of saying the wrong thing so just don’t speak to someone who’s clearly having a rubbish time.

Baker Days - Personalised Cake in the Post!

Now I have the perfect solution. BakerDays is a personalized service that allows you to send a cake to someone through the post. They have cakes for all occasions, birthdays, anniversaries etc. However, you can personalize them from the writing to the flavor meaning it is perfect for the introverts that want to show they care but don’t know what to say.

Baker Days - Personalised Cake in the Post!

I have tried the lemon drizzle cake and it was delicious! It was the perfect amount of moist and lemony. A beautiful treat to have with a cup of tea and a book! I was really surprised at how yummy the cake was after traveling all the way in the post. The best thing is the cake comes in its own tin that you get to keep and comes with balloons, candles and party whistles to help the recipient celebrate.

The cakes start at £14.99 and the best thing about them is if you order before 2pm you can select next day delivery! Perfect for those accidentally forgotten about celebrations.

Competition: Win a Personalised Cake!

Now over to you, I would love to give someone the opportunity to give a cake to someone to show they care. It may be to show someone who your not going to be with you are thinking of them on their birthday. It may be congratulations for a recent graduate or maybe even get well soon cake. I love the photo cakes you can get too. There’s one where you can put a photo into the famous Beyonce pregnancy shoot. What better combination than Beyonce and cake! Enter the competition via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Baker Days - Personalised Cake in the Post!

Check out Baker Days here!

Thank You for Baker Days for sending me this cake and cheering me up and allowing me to run this fantastic competition.

Restaurant Review: The Raj, Edinburgh

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Indian food is my favourite. I could eat it all day every day, I love how flavourful it is. I was also thinking the other day how bland looking and tasting traditional British Food is.

 

I recently was invited along to try out the new menu and visit the new restaurant. The Raj is a well established Indian, recently relocating from Leith to Blackhall. Blackhall is a 15 minute bus ride out of Edinburgh city centre and there are buses every few minutes. So it’s really handy to get to!

The Raj, Indian Restaurant Edinburgh

We received a warm welcome and were impressed by the restaurant. The menu was impressive, there was almost too much choice, everything sounded so good!

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Whilst we were waiting for our starters we had poppadoms and chutneys. We got a tray with 5 chutneys. Mango Chutney, yoghurt and coriander, mint sauce, spiced onions and my personal favourite an Apple Chutney which is made on the premises. I used to never be bothered about chutneys and poppadoms however I definitely recommend them here purely for the Apple Chutney!

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For starters,  I opted for the Mysore Bonda, which is deep fried potatoes with a coconut chutney. I am a glutton for anything coconut flavoured. These were so tasty. They tasted a bit like a donut, that kind of batter. Matched with the coconut Chutney it was delicious. My husband opted for samosa. It was also delicious. The waiter also brought us their speciality dish, Lal Michi, this was chopped marinaded chicken (although also available with lamb) with mango chutney and spices and served on an onion Bhaji.  This was one of the best Indian starters I have ever had. The flavours were wonderful and although there was a spice it wasn’t over powering.

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I tried the Mango Lassi, which was delicious and you could tell was very freshly made! I love lassi, it’s a bit like a fruity youghurty drink if you’ve not tried one, I highly recommend it! I also had a half pint of Kingfisher, it wouldn’t be an Indian without beer right?

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For mains, I opted for the Aromatic Lamb, on the waiter’s recommendation. Lamb is not something I normally order although I’m really starting to get into it! This lamb dish was again so flavourful, it came in a dish with spinach, mushrooms, and garlic. I know I keep saying that it was so flavourful but it really was. It wasn’t like sometimes at Indians when the spices overpower the flavour and so your mouth is on fire and you cannot taste anything. My husband had the Chicken Patia, this is his normal favourite and he was not disappointed here. We ordered a naan and rice between us which was plenty, in fact, I even took some of the curry and naan bread home for leftovers.

 

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After the meal we were brought a dessert plate, this was a plate with fruit, custard, and various baked fruit tasters. Although I was stuffed full this was a nice small plate. This is complimentary to all diners and is a welcome addition. In addition to this, all diners are also offered a complimentary liquer or liquer coffee. This is an excellent touch and shows what the Raj is all about. Great customer service and great authentic South Asian food!

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The restaurant has a buffet on a Sunday and Monday, which is £10.95 for the choice of over 50 dishes. This may be the way forward as there is so much good food on the menu. I will definitely be going back to The Raj and recommend you go too!

For more information see www.therajblackhall.com

*Please note I was invited along for a complimentary meal at The Raj to review their new menu. Views and photos are my own.

For more information see

www.therajblackhall.com 

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Where to Eat and Drink in Paris

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

I recently returned from Paris, you can read about my trip and my Top 10 Tips on these other posts. This post I am dedicating to all the food and drink that I had in Paris. I ate well when I was there and overall I would say prices are probably comparative to any other big city. Here is a rundown of places I ate and what I thought about them.

 

  1. L’Ivress

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

If you are in the Les Halles/ Opera area make a point of going here. This is a wine bar I visited when I was a student and visited Paris and knew I had to come back. It is a wine bar who have a great selection of wines. They ask your preference for wine and suggest a few getting you to try a few before buying. This changed my husband into a wine convert. He now loves a glass of wine. If you go here order one of the charcuterie boards it is amazing! We booked ahead and are glad we did.

2.  Eiffel Tower – Snack Bar

Paris Eiffel Tower

Now there are so many dining options at the Eiffel Tower – there’s cafe’s, fancy restaurants, snack bars – all pretty pricey I might add! We arrived at the Eiffel Tower slightly early. So we hung about soaked up the atmosphere and grabbed a Pretzel from the snack bar at the base of the Eiffel Tower. It was really yummy and just what we needed for a wee snack going on. The prices are as expected!

3. Angelina – Breakfast

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

If you have completed any research about Food in Paris you may have already heard about Angelina. This is a Chocolatier and Pattiserie. It is situated near the Louvre. We went one morning before hitting the museums. They have a set menu for about €17 each. This gave us a whole tray of pastries, cakes and yummy goodness and a pot of the famous African Hot Chocolate- this is basically the thickest Hot Chocolate you have ever had – it’s so thick you get a spoon to eat it with! If it wasn’t rich enough you also get a pot of cream to stir into it! I highly recommend going to Angelina even if it’s just for a takeaway Hot Chocolate!

4. The Cafe Campana, Musee’ d’Orsay

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

The Museum D’Orsay has two massive clocks – which are quite iconic. Behind one of them is a restaurant that my husband and I decided to stop at because we were starting to get a bit fatigued with Museums. We ordered a drink and a Characterie board between us and so I think it cost about €20. The meat platter was really nice and I did start to get food envy of other people. The only thing I didn’t really like is because the restaurant is so open is you started to feel like a goldfish in a bowl being stared at.

5. Cafe Indiana, Grands Boulevards

Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking

One thing I love about France is Happy Hours! Most bars and restaurants have a happy hour at around 5-7pm. Mostly it was cheap cocktails although some did cheap food too! Look out for it! My husband and I stopped into Cafe Indiana for a drink and ended up staying for dinner after I spotted they had Steak Tartare on the menu. This is something I have always fancied trying but never really seen it on menus. The Steak Tartare I ordered had olives, basil and parmesan through it too. It was nice but not very filling I would say. This place also had amazing cocktails, there seemed to be a few of them in Paris.

6. Mercado, Supermarket

If you are really on a budget; one thing I suggest is finding a supermarket. The range and quality of food in there are incredible and so you can stock up on meat, cheese, baguettes and even cheap wine. Have a picnic in one of Paris’ many parks!

7. Planet Holywood, Disney Village

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

This is as cheesy as it gets as you can imagine. But we ate here so I thought I would put it in. We went here to have a little rest before the Fireworks at night. It was quite pricey and very busy.

8. McDonalds/ McCafe

In all honesty, McCafe is actually not bad. The one we went to in Les Halles served properly looking coffee and cakes -like proper pastries. It was Starbucks quality but McDonald’s prices! They also had fresh salads available there – it was in all honesty quite a good cheap meal if you’re stuck!

9. La Creme De Paris, Grands Boulevards

Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris - Oreo Milkshake

We went here on our last morning for Crepes and Waffles. They were delicious. The restaurant is open fronted, it is very white and looks great. I opted for a caramel apple crepe and my husband went for a Nutella and strawberry one. They were both delicious and freshly made!

10. Berthillion, Ice Cream

Where to Eat in Paris - Guide to Eating and Drinking

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

You may have heard of Berthillion Ice Cream – there are a few places that sell it on l’Île island – this is the island behind Notre Dame. We went to a wee shop selling it out of a window, not the actual shop- but only realized this after we had queued for a while. A woman was trying to tell us this but we didn’t understand her french! The ice cream is lovely and there are so many unique flavours.

There is a short overview of my Paris food experiences! The food was certainly to die for! If you are on a budget remember

  • you can order a meat platter between two
  • look out for happy hour
  • Most places give water for free
  • Wine is cheaper than Coke

Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to Pin it for later!

 

Where to Eat in Paris, A Guide to Eating and Drinking

The Whistle Stop Barber Shop, Edinburgh

Whistle Stop Barber Shop Edinburgh

On a recent sunny day in Edinburgh, my husband and I tried out a relatively new restaurant  – The Whistle Stop Barber Shop. The WSBS is located on South Bridge in the Old Town, near the National Museum. We got an excellent deal through 5pm.co.uk – 15% off our bill and a free cocktail on arrival!

Whistle Stop Barber Shop Edinburgh

The service we received was amazing, from a friendly welcome to the waitress talked us through the menu, made recommendations but without being false or scripted. We got the choice of 5 cocktails for our free one, I went for a Gin based one and my husband a rum based one. We later ordered another cocktail each too. They were also very tasty! The restaurant is decorated like an old American prohibition barber shop, which seems to be the in thing at the moment. The best thing about it, however, was the fact that there was an actual barbers shop downstairs.

Whistle Stop Barber Shop Edinburgh

The food was amazing though – We shared the Buffalo Chicken Nachos. These were some of the best nachos I have ever eaten! The chicken was so so tasty! I am going to try to make my own buffalo chicken some day soon! The nachos were served on a baking tray adding to the hipster vibes. For mains we went for a burger and a sandwich- I had the Joey Tribbiani Sandwich and my husband had the Angry Onion as recommended by our waitress. Both were so delicious! The meals were really filling which is a shame because I really wanted a pudding as the first tow courses were so tasty!

Whistle Stop Barber Shop Edinburgh

I definitely will be back, even just for a drink – but most likely for the Buffalo Chicken! I could not fault it –  but I would say make sure you book ahead on 5pm so you can get the discount and cocktail – everyone loves a freebie right?!

 

Find Out More

Find out more about The Whistle Stop Barber Shop

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A Busy Wife’s Guide to an Indian Feast

A Busy Wife's Indian Feast

I love cooking. I love experimenting with different flavors and going with it. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. My uni flatmates will tell you all about ‘weird pie’ which was towards the end of the month I used to just make dinner that involved all the ingredients in my cupboard and hoped for the best. Once I made pasta with vodka, I genuinely read a recipe for it somewhere. It wasn’t the greatest! Anyway now I have moved into my own house and finally have a kitchen that I can properly cook in, I invited the parents round for our first Sunday meal together.

I did have a lot to get on with that day as I had to tidy the house, clean the spare room etc. But I also wanted to make a big WOW statement. This is where I used my Slow Cooker and Le Creuset Pans – to slow cook some curry. This along with the Vini and Bal’s Sauces made a proper feast but really simply. I normally am against pre-made curry sauces as they never taste quite right. However, the Vini and Bal’s sauces are fresh ingredients and very authentic.

A guide to making an Indian Feast - For minimal effort Click To Tweet

Here’s a little overview of my easy Indian Feast Hacks!

Starters

 

Poppadoms and Chutneys

The Poppadoms were shop bought! The Mango Chutney was shop bought too but the spiced onions and Raita were homemade. For the spiced onions, I basically threw an Onion, Red Chilli, Mint Sauce, Tomato Ketchup and Paprika in the food processor. They were delicious and tasted just like the onions in an Indian Restaurant. The Raita was some Creme Fraiche mixed with mint sauce. Simple yet effective!

 

Meat Samosas

These were shop bought from Iceland. However, I have made samosas before they are really simple to make. If you get pre-made filo pastry, make a filing and fold into triangles.

Mains

Vegetable Shahi Curry

I chopped up some peppers, onions, potatoes, carrots and popped them in the slow cooker along with half a tin of chickpeas and the packet of Shahi sauce. Total prep time was about 5 minutes. I left it on low for a few hours, occasionally stirring it. Just before serving I stirred in some Creme Fraiche, to give it a little more creaminess.

 

Chicken Jeera Curry

I cooked off some onions then added chopped chicken to my Le Crueset pan, along with the Jeera Sauce mix. It took about 20 minutes to cook. Easy as that!

Rice and Naan

Naan Bread

Everything was going smoothly. Until we went to get the rice from the steamer. It was still raw. I am not sure what happened as it had been steaming away for about an hour. Anyway, we eventually had to cheat and cook some microwave rice. Naan was shop bought too!

Review

So it was extremely simple to make didn’t take long and was stress-free. The results were amazing though. The curries were delicious and totally different to anything I had tasted before. There is a whole range of flavors available from mild to really spicy so I am excited to try them all! The parents seemed to enjoy the meal too. They even went back for seconds! There we have it a really simple and delicious Indian feast!

*I was sent the Vini and Bal’s sauces to try out and review. The views in this post are entirely my own honest opinions. For more details see their site here. 

 

Date Ideas in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Castle - Juniper Daze

Date Ideas in Edinburgh

Whether you have just started going out or been married for years it is always nice to go out on a date. My husband and I try and go out on ‘dates’ every few months. It’s nice to make a wee bit of an effort and go out! Here I have written a wee list of ideas on where you can go for a date in Edinburgh. This will hopefully give you some inspiration for Valentine’s day or any other time of the year.

Places to Go

Edinburgh has some lovely romantic places to go for date night. There are great places for cute romantic walks, like the Royal Botanic Gardens and Holyrood Park. If you are feeling adventurous you could even climb up Arthurs Seat, just like in the movie One Day. On a clear day the views from the top are stunning. If you are not keen on walking really far Carlton Hill also offers some great views. I highly recommend booking on a Photography Tour for something a little bit different to do.

Edinburgh SkyLine

If walking is not your thing, I recommend the Camera Obscura, which is a perfect first date location! There are loads of fun things to do that would break the ice and awkward tension, if the date is going really well you can even get married at the end. Read about my recent visit here! 

Camera Obscura Views

In town there are also fun activities like going on a tour of Edinburgh Gin Distillery (for a little dutch courage) or even the Edinburgh Dungeons (if unlike me you are not scared of the dark so much you have a panic attack midway through the place!)

View from Camera Obscura

Outside of town you could visit somewhere like Murrayfield Ice Rink or even Ryze, a trampoline park. These would all be great things to do on a first date. I like a date where you are doing something it helps fill awkward silences and makes memories.

Places to Eat

 

If you fancy something quite fancy I recommend Taisteal in Stockbridge. This is definitely a restaurant to impress! The food here is delicious and the venue is beautiful. If you fancy trying something a little different try Voujon. This is a Bengali/ Indian restaurant in the Newington area of Edinburgh. It serves some gorgeous food and even has a special set meal for two people! Whistle Stop Barber Shop  is great for casual drinks and nibbles too

Places to Drink

The Beehive in The Grassmarket
The Beehive in The Grassmarket

There are loads of places in Edinburgh to go for a drink. It is all dependant on your budget too! There are a lot of great pubs in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh, if you fancy a traditional pub style outing. There is Juniper on Princes Street which is perfect for beautiful drinks in a classy location. Juniper also serves gorgeous street food. If you fancy something a little bit different I recommend Panda and Sons, which is a prohibition themed bar, decorated to look like a barbers shop from the outside!

Whatever you do on Valentines day or any other date night for that matter make it a good one! Remember to book ahead wherever you can! Make memories and put your blooming phone away!

(Some of the places featured on this page, I was invited to review as part of a collaboration. All views are my own however)

 

Voujon Edinburgh, A Delicious Dining Experience

Voujon Indian Restaurant Edinburgh

Nestled on the south side of Edinburgh on a relatively busy road is Voujon, a Bangladesh and Northern Indian Restaurant. I love Indian food, I genuinely could eat it all day every day. I had heard good things about Voujon so we decided to go check it out.

Voujon Indian Restaurant Edinburgh

There was a very extensive menu, with lots of classic dishes as well as specialties. I opted for a Panee Puri for starters. This was a vegetarian dish, pastry puffs filled with chickpeas, potatoes, red onions, and coriander. The dish was served cold with a spicy sauce. The waiter explained that they were best eaten with your fingers. You put the whole thing in your mouth and bite. They were completely different and I wasn’t too sure at first but actually, they were really tasty! My husband opted for Chicken Pakora, which he said were also delicious. Even the pre-starter poppadoms with pickles were delicious. The spiced onions had chopped up cucumber in it which was a nice difference.

Panee Puri

Chicken Pakora

The whole restaurant had an air of sophistication about it. It wasn’t a typical Indian. It was more of a fine dining experience. For mains, I ordered the Chicken Shahi Chasni – which is like a sweet and sour curry. Chasni is my favorite curry and although there were lots of dishes on the menu I fancied trying I couldn’t resist a Chasni. It was gorgeous, really flavourful and the chicken was so tender. My husband had the Katmandu Chicken Delicacy, I couldn’t resist a wee taste, it was also so delicious. The Keema Naan was also so tasty. I was so stuffed I even had to take away a doggy bag!

Curries at Voujon, Edinburgh

Naan Bread

The nice thing about the menu is that there were so many different options, you could just order a meal for 2 and the chef would cook you a whole meal based on your tastes and likes. This takes the stress out of ordering and also pushes you out your comfort zone a little. I think I will do that next time I go!

Voujon is on Newington Road, which is a main bus route out of Edinburgh so it’s really easy to get to. It’s a perfect location for a date, a family meal or even a bigger celebration as they have a ‘party area’ towards the back of the restaurant. The waiters were very attentive and explained different parts of the menu to us and gave some recommendations. It is definitely worth a visit!

 

Voujon, Newington Road, Edinburgh

http://www.voujonedinburgh.com

 

I would like to thank Voujon for inviting me along for a meal in order to write this post. This review is still an honest account of my visit.