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California dining: review of Redwood Bistro

When you enjoy eating out as much as me and have tried various Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, steakhouse and burger establishments, sometimes you want a bit of ‘wow’ factor to keep you on your foodie toes. American dining has been stereotyped as mostly burger joints, breakfast consisting of waffles or pancakes with a large selection of sweet treats on offer. When Redwood Bistro opened, the OH’s boss gave us a voucher as a wedding present to dine at the neighbourhood bistro and since that first visit, we’ve visited a couple more times since can’t recommend it enough to friends and family.

” I love socialising over food and just wanted to create a local bistro where I would be proud to bring my friends and family.”

Annette Sprague, Chef Patron of Redwood Bistro

As a green-coloured house on the corner of the Drum Brae roundabout on the way to Glasgow, Stirling or Edinburgh Airport, the bistro cannot be missed. It is family friendly and with large windows allowing natural sunlight to filter through, I found myself dreaming of Californian sunshine amongst the surfer artwork and photos of different cities in the sunny state. They can also cater to vegetarians and as long as 24 hours’ notice is given to ensure the alternative ingredients are stocked and available, the bistro can also adapt dishes for vegans too. This bistro is a small establishment with food freshly prepared on site by Chef Patron, Annette Sprague, so it’s advisable to book ahead. There have been nights where it has been full as a result of reservations alone!

Every time we’ve visited the Bistro, the food has always been fresh and a wonderful combination of flavours I would never expect to have complimented each other so well. Take the nibbles for example.


Spicy caramel bacon popcorn

The popcorn is sweet from the caramel and although it’s common to find sweet chilli sauce, I would never have expected sweet, spicy and savoury popcorn to taste so good, yet it’s always a small nibble dish that we order every time we visit.


Starter of mixed greens with nectarines, crispy prosciutto, spiced pecans, blue cheese and passion fruit-poppy seed dressing


Starter #2: Asian spiced pork belly with caramel sauce and apricot, mixed greens and pickled cucumber salad

The combination of fresh fruits with savoury ingredients such as prosciutto and pork belly seemed a bit strange at first, but it really works to bring out the flavours in the dish. I’m not used to having fruit with my meat, but when I had the pork belly with the salad, you hardly noticed that there was fruit in it at all. Sometimes the fresh fruit brings a sweetness to the savoury dish, like prosciutto with figs that just work, no questions asked.


Smoked chicken breast with chilli-cumin butter served with chickpeas, spinach, corn and tomato salad main course


Harissa crumbled sea-trout with couscous tabouleh, almonds and tahini sauce


Blackened pork with black beans, red peppers, sweet cabbage and chipotle cream

The main courses are always beautifully presented and the Chef Patron certainly knows how to balance out each dish so there isn’t an overwhelming amount of meat which fills you up or too much carbs in the form of accompanying vegetables so you feel shortchanged. I had the smoked chicken breast and I loved the smoky flavour on chicken which I’ve never had before. The chickpeas are a good source of protein and also compliments the chicken nicely. The OH and parents also thoroughly enjoyed their delicious meals of the blackened pork and harissa crumbled sea-trout.

We were too full after our main courses to have a dessert each, so we decided to share two between four of us.


Dark chocolate marquise with fresh cherry sauce and hazelnut crumble


Lime curd tart with fresh cream, strawberries and strawberry coulis

The dessert was amazing and the dark chocolate marquise had a rich, chocolatey flavour that you know hasn’t been bought in a shop. Each dish was wonderfully tasty and I found it very difficult to fit all 3 courses in. If you have a healthy appetite, you should have no problems; I wish I hadn’t been indulging in so many snacks in the afternoon at work before we had dinner at Redwood! If you’re worried about eating too much and not being able to fit in 3 courses, you could always opt for the main course and decide based on your preferences whether you would like to go for a starter or dessert.

Redwood Bistro is located at 1 Meadow Place Road, Edinburgh EH12 7TZ and can be easily accessed by taking the 1, 12, 21, 31, 26 or Airlink airport bus to the Drum Brae roundabout. The bistro is less than a minute’s walk from the bus stop heading away from town (towards Edinburgh Airport).

It is open on Thursday through Saturday from 12:00pm to 2:00pm for lunch, till 5:30pm for coffee, drinks, cakes and nibbles; and dinner from 5:30pm to 9:00pm Tuesdays to Saturdays. For enquiries and reservations, call 0131 281 2576 or e-mail info@redwoodbistro.com.

Disclaimer: Menus are subject to change without prior notice to Life of a DIY Shopaholic and at the time of posting may be different from what has been posted above.

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