Each week, one of The Extra’s intrepid reporters heads out in search of the newest and best restaurants, cafes and delis in the southside and beyond. It’s a tough job, but someone has to d it, etc.
But let’s face it, come Christmas week, there’s enough going on in your house (and perhaps your wallet) to think about paying through the nose for a meal out.
Instead, we thought it was time that the Extra Review came home with you, and so I visited Waitrose Mearns for a festive sampling session, putting their nibbles and and cheeseboards to the test.
I sampled a delicious mini beef wellington; the ideal bitesized treat, and a step up from the usual sausage roll with flavours of earthy mushroom and toasted poppy seed.
Mini meatloaves were great; moist to the point of sticky slow-cooked meat, topped with a crumbed mash — man food in miniature — and barbecue chicken lollipops and cheese bites were also good, as was a festive figgy pudding stuffing (expect dessert sweetness followed by a hint of sausagemeat an unexpected but pleasant mix).
But the stars of the party food table, for fish lovers at least, were mini coquilles St Jacques; tiny scallops served in their shells and topped with cream and the crunch of cheese and parsley crumb. You may need to provide a spoon or two (going against the old party food adage that everything should be pick-upable and eatable in one bite) but guests will be impressed.
On then to the cheeseboard, which cheese specialist Claire Galbraith and team are happy to make up according to individual tastes.
I sampled an excellent blue Montagnolo — perfect for brie fans too shy for the traditional stilton — as well as gorgeous Old Amsterdam, stilton with apricot, and a beautifully crunchy Cornish quartz cheddar.
The store also has limited edition bries piped with a layer of festive filling — the cranberry mousse version, while too sweet for some palates, will delight those who like their cheese as a full-on dessert.
With freezable mini bites and enough cheese to feed an army, the store is packed with produce you’ll want to stock up on — go on, it’s Christmas after all.