Stars in their eyes

For many, the Michelin man is a fat, pretend bloke, made out of tyres. For restaurateurs, the Michelin man has a more important role: he decides who is included in the Michelin Red Hotel And Restaurant Guide. StOry: Jonathan Trew

Since 1900 the Michelin tyre company have been producing yearly guides to Europe's hotels and restaurants. They started out as a way of promoting Michelin’s tyres to early motorists but over the years they have become incredibly detailed and authorative books which cover almost every area of interest to the regular traveller. Need a hotel with business faCilities and an excellent restaurant that has a golf course on site and is near a natural beauty spot? The Michelin guide will have the answer, no matter how specific yOur requirements are. More pertinent, to this page anyway, is Michelin's restaurant rating system. Michelin have a team of full-time inspectors who spend all year tracking down Britain's best restaurants, Visiting them anonymoust and grading them according to their own rigorous standards. The awards are completely impartial

(Michelin guides dont take any advertising) and,

within the restaurant trade, they carry a huge prestige value. Three Michelin stars is the highest accolade which can be bestowed on a restaurant. They are ..warded for exceptional cwsine and make the premises worthy of a special journey. They are also extremely rare. Four restaurants have them in Britain, all in London, and you'd be lucky to get much change from £200 for dinner for two with wine. Reservations are a necessity and friends in high places are a help when it comes to getting a table a Saturday night. Closer to reality, as most of us know it, are two-star restaurants which provide excellent cooking and, according to the guide, are worth a detour. One star indicates a very good restaurant in its category. In the Central Belt there are two restaurants with one star: Glasgow’s One Devonshire Gardens and La Potiniere in Gullane, which have both retained their star from last year.

The next level of award is the red

‘We also try not to take it too seriously and you've got to be able to laugh at what you do,’ he reckons. 'It's only food. Of course, present it in the best possible manner but you must be prepared to stand back from it.’

(fitz) Henry: thumbs up from Mr Michelin

meal which is given to restaurants which offer good food at moderate prices. This year Edinburgh's Atrium is joined by ffitz) Henry: a brasserie in Leith. The brasserie opened a little under two years ago and has rapidly established itself as one of the best places to eat in Edinburgh. Proprietor David Ramsden's reaction to the award is, understandably, one of delight: ’l'm blown away. One of the biggest worries for any restaurant in its early days IS whether or not you’ve gauged the product correctly and been creative enough to stimulate interest. The red meal award is a vindication of the amount of effort which goes into a worthy, new restaurant.’

The red meal award has a particular emphasis on quality. At tfitz) Henry's a three course dinner comes in at £22 and offers starters such as coriander pasta salad With crab and gazpacho dressing and main courses such as duck Supreme With braised endive and red Wine jtlS or pan-fried panache of fresh fish, With


puree and deeptned

salsify The food is both interesting and of a high

standard but, according to Ramsden, it’s not everything in a restaurant 'The food must match the ambience which must match the decor which must match the level of comfort which has to match the wine list. You have to prowde a coherent whole.’

It all this sounds rather serious then it's best to leave the final word to Ramsden. 'We also try not to take it too seriously and you've got to be able to laugh at what you do,‘ he reckons. 'It's only food. Of c0urse, present it in the best possible manner but you must be prepared to stand back from it.’

(fitz) Henry: a brasserie. 19 Shore Place, 555 6625.

Michelin Guide To Hotels And Restuarants In Great Britain And Ireland 1997 (Michelin £12.99).

Malaysian Kris

Kris, the proprietor (it's also the name of a ceremonial Malaysian dagger, irrelevant fact fans), and his MalaySIan cursine have upped sticks from Edinburgh’s Albany Street and relocated to the former site of the River Kwai on Leopold Place.

During the first month in the new premises, Kris is offering a speCial deal for four diners on buffet nights. A table of four can eat for the price of

i three on the followmg nights:

Tuesdays are vegetarian/vegan nights when three courses cost £12.50 per head, the Taste of Malaysia buffet runs on Wednesdays at £14.95 per person and on Sundays the ever popular Curry Tiffin deal allows diners to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon chowmg down on the tastes of the East.

If you've not come across Malaysian food before then start drooling about Thai dishes With hints of Indian and Chinese but With their own flavours. See Reader Offers on page 104. Edinburgh A/fa/aysian Kris, 20a Leopold Place, 556 6748.


There are Wines, there are fine Wines and then there are Wines so rare that it costs £49 50 to taste them. Cheap it ain't but then it isn't everyday that cult Italian Wine grower AnJelo Gaia drops into Edinburgh, uncorks ten of his finest creations and presents a tasting

to the faithful.

Gaia has been described by Jancis


Robinson as 'the Italian star in the wine firmament' while The Wine Spectator magazine enthused that 'no other wine producer anywhere in the past 50 years, except possibly Mondavi, has made such an impact on the international wine scene.‘

Gala is best know for his Barbaresco. the classic red which four generations of the Gaja family have produced in Piemonte in north west Italy. Among the wines tasted will be the ultra-rare 1961 Barbaresco. Valvona & Crolla supply the crosti'ni' and there will be a champagne aperitif to get you in the mood. Tickets can be bought from wine merchants Lay and Wheeler, Gosbeck Park, Colchester, Essex, 01206 713 526. The tasting takes place on Wed 26 February at the Archers Hall on Buccleuch Street in Edinburgh.

Gaja brings a taste of Italy to Edinburgh

c: lg": .32


is?! C

25 years of traditional Scottish cooking



Tel 0141-3 34 5007

two cities.

over a million eaters and drinkers. over 700 premises.

one eating and drinking guide.

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16,000 copies on sale through newsagcnts and

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Make a meal of it.

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21 Feb—6 Mar 1997 "£08195