February 21, 2012 Bruntsfield, Closed, Italian 2 Comments

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MJ’s Verdict
Originally, going to eat Italian food hadn’t crossed my mind, but after my friend Hels, who is visiting from London, got her yearly tattoo at the ever fabulous Studio 13, we were hungry and B was coming down off the Pentlands. We decided to try out the wee Italian restaurant over in Bruntsfield that has had some chat with us on Twitter.

We arrived and were seated by the window in a well-laid out room with a small bar and the slow ambiance of an Italian eatery. After we peeled off our layers, we sat and soon B was with us, rosy cheeked and looking tired. The menu was great. There was a good choice of items from the odd cheese board as a starter, to an amazing sounding Christmas cous cous and veggie dish with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Everyone was so indecisive, that I took charge and ordered water and gave us a few more minutes. We decided to go from the lunch menu, which is 2 courses for £10.00 or 3 for £13.00. I opted for the mixed salad, which was beautifully presented baby leaves with carrots, spring onion and tomatoes with a small bowl of good olive oil on the side. It was fresh, and quite good. Perfect for what I wanted. Helen ordered the cheese board, and after the hilarity of her tasting a pile of the shaved butter (which, in all fairness, did look like cheese) we settled down to eating happily.

salad

Today there were 2 pastas of the day and one was the ragu. I asked my waitress how the ragu was, and she assured me that it was proper Italian ragu that she had chosen to eat for the pas couple of days and that as an Italian, she could happily recommend it. So I took her advice. B chose the other special pasta.

There was a small wait between starters and main, but I believe I saw this mentioned on the menu, as all items are created freshly to order. I fully like to think that someone was back in the kitchen making my pasta from scratch and am used to spending long, lingering hours in Italian restaurants.

pasta!

When our mains arrived, I was not disappointed, nor did I have any food envy of my compatriots. My dish was piping hot, fresh, and smelled amazingly. I didn’t remember what pasta noodle the ragu was on, but this looked like a pappardelle with the lovely beef ragu mixed in with subtle flavours of garlic, and pancetta. A touch of fresh pepper and I was gobbling up the pasta like there was no tomorrow. Ok, I was a little slower than that. The pasta was cooked perfectly, just al dente, and the powerful flavour of the sauce made me look forward to my impending trip to Italy. Helen’s mussels looked light and delicious too, but I was not even a little bit jealous.

I finished pretty much all of it, and the waitress was eager to know if she had advised me well. After very little debate, and a wee debacle whether or not there was enough cheese in the kitchen for a new cheese board for B, they settled on desserts and I opted for an Americano to round out my meal.

Helen opted for the chocolate cake, and it arrived looking decadent, if a touch dry. Chocolately goodness, but in need of a nice pouring of cream to help it slide down all the more easily.

A man who looked to be the chef kept popping out of the kitchen and I wish he would have just come and spoken to us. I would have liked to have asked about his regional influence from Italy and so forth.

Overall, the nice touches like the waitress being so genuine and the finger bowls for the shellfish eater’s dirty paws makes the difference, and I rather enjoyed lunch today and am already planning my next visit.

Blythe’s Verdict
I’ve been promising to visit Ristorante Ferrari for a wee while, as we’ve been exchanging tweets over the course of the past few months. Initially, they tweeted to say that while they didn’t do a lunch service, they’d still appreciate a visit. Then a little while later, they contacted me to say that they were doing a lunch service, once more, including a 12-4pm service on Sundays. So, I was glad when the opportunity to pay them a visit arose today.

What’s more, we were joined today by the lovely Helen, of Designs by Eleni fame. I’ve been having lots of fun with my www.tieclub.co.uk ties, but have been starting to feel a little guilty, as MJ hasn’t had much of an opportunity to take part (although the day when I make her wear the bow-tie is soon to arrive). So, with Helen’s approval, MJ will be showcasing some Designs by Eleni jewellery in upcoming reviews.

I digress. Ristorante Ferrari has taken over the spot that will forever be franked in residents’ memories as the old Bruntsfield post office. They’ve adapted the space very nicely, with a clean, contemporary aspect, set alongside some quirky details. There’s a piano right next to the entrance, for example. And the bathrooms are a feature in and of themselves.

For lunch service, they offer two courses for a tenner, and three for £13, which proved to be excellent value.

After firing a blinding barrage of questions at our lovely waitress, we settled upon our starter and mains. Having been walking in the Pentlands for the previous six hours, I was in the mood for a substantial feast, so already had half an eye on the cheeseboard for dessert, also.

soup!

My soup was cauliflower and cumin, which I chose ahead of green pea and leek. The cumin was pretty subtle, just adding a little earthy note, but the overall effect was extremely pleasing. I’m a great fan of cauliflower soup, and while this wasn’t of the calibre of the version I had at the Whiski Rooms, this was firmly in Soup Quest’s “very good” category.

I had serious food envy with Helen’s cheese selection starter, and after staring at it for the entire duration of my soup consumption, I did eventually pick a few stray corners off the plate. The mozzarella (which we rather alarmingly thought was a poached egg, at first sight!) was particularly good.

pasta and mussels

With the main courses, my envious eye was on MJ’s plate, where her ribbony ragu looked great. With my pasta with mussels, I had committed my intermittent error of ordering a pasta dish without enquiring what type of pasta I was about to receive, so inevitably received a bowl that was of the noodley variety. My inexpert skills with this type of thing is well established, across a range of cuisines, but this stuff was way too tasty for me to play my usual game of chasing strands around the plate then giving up.

The dish, though simple, was extremely satisfying in its well-judged balance of flavours. It had been made with real care and attention, with the loving expertise of chef keen to share the passion he has for his native cuisine.

dessert cheese board

The cheeseboard that followed, featuring a lovely spoon of honey that worked beautifully with the blue cheese, was grand, bringing to a close what had been a really enjoyable lunchtime experience.

Overall, Ristorante Ferrari is an impressive place. The relaxed and amiable service, the stylish surroundings, and the well-prepared dishes come together to provide a high-quality product. If you haven’t paid it a visit yet, I’d suggest you do so, soon. I’ll certainly be back to sample some more of the inviting dishes from their menu.

Helen’s Verdict
Since the magnificent birth of LunchQuest, I have found myself anticipating great culinary treats whenever I visit the lovely Miriam in Edinburgh.  This long weekend in February was no exception.  After getting a UV tattoo seared into my skin, I was very hungry (watching needles permanently scar your skin can be quite exhuasting!)  so Miriam whisked me off towards an Italian restaurant and the dapper Blythe!

The restaurant was intimate, quiet and quite nicely decorated and I enjoyed my seat on lovely pumped up cushions.  They had a lunch set meal or the a la carte menu.  We all decided on the set meal, which seemed a very reasonable price (though coming from London I think my pricing is all scewed, everything outside of the sprawling metropolis seems cheap to me!)  I ordered the cheese & bread to start with.  I found myself torn between choosing cheeses and Italian meats to go with the bread.  Ideally it would have been nice to have both, but I think maybe I am being too picky.  The cheese starter was brilliant, and after a minor mishap involving the butter, which we all thought was a Gouda, and the Mozerella that we had labelled as a poached egg, quite a lot of cheese disapperaed.  There was a fair amount on my plate and I couldn’t really eat it all, so Blythe was forced (completely against his will you understand) to help me out.

cheese starter

MusselsOnto my main meal, which was muscles with a bread, cheese and herb topping – mmmmmmmmmmmmm is all I have to say here.  I will say it again mmmmmmmmmmmmm  I was definitely glad I had gone for such a big starter though, as this did not fill me up, but completely worth it!

As I was on holiday and Miriam doesn’t eat puddings and Blythe had got a taste for the cheese board, I felt it was my duty to sample the desserts.  I was expecting great things, the starter and main courses had been superb.  I went with the chocolate sponge with a delicious alcohol infused cream.  I was excited!

Alas my dream was not to be.

The sponge was dry, completely dry, saved only by the cream.  I didn’t really want to eat any of it, but felt compelled as I didn’t want to upset the kitchen; though it annoys me when I take in extra calories for no pleasure!

Chocolate cake stack

That being said, I would definitely recommend eating at this place, it has a lovely atmosphere and the starters and main dishes are delicious…just miss out on dessert and go for the cheese board!

coffee

Scores
MJ scores the Ferrari:
4.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 16/20

Blythe scores the Ferrari:
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 15.5/20

Helen scores the Ferrari (with her own unique scoring system):
4/5 for main food
1/5 for dessert
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 17/25

Today’s questers were: Miriam, Helen, Blythe

We ate: cauliflower and cumin soup, selection of cheeses, salad of the day, pasta with ragout, mussels gratin, pasta with mussels, cheeseboard, chocolate cake

We drank: sparkly water, coffee

We wore: House of Vera – Designs by Eleni jewellery, sheepy jumper, action footwear

Total bill: c.£45

Ristorante Ferrari
http://www.ristoranteferrari.co.uk/

Ristorante Ferrari on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR