I went for lunch today with two of my American friends, who really wanted to try Frontier, a north American restaurant which has opened up near Bruntsfield Links in Edinburgh.
There was quite a few dishes I had heard about, mainly from films but never tried such as cat fish, and Philly cheese steak settled in among the more well known hot dogs and burgers. We all really wanted to try several dishes, so opted to order one each and share.
I’d often heard about cat fish in films set in the south, but had never tried it. It was baked in parchment with orange, a preparation my guru’s for all thing America had not seen before. The result was succulent, fragrant, surprisingly light and well accompanied with fresh salsa. The fries felt a bit more like chips, but overall a good dish and a fish I’d definitely try again.
The carnitas came with a flour tortilla, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. The pork itself was incredibly tender, moist and suffused with lime and spice making a flavoursome dish.
We all agreed that this was the stand out dish from the three we ordered. Made with a mix of pork and beef with ancho and pasilla chilli, chipotle and chocolate, topped with cheese and sour cream. It’s the tender meat and blend of spice which make it so wonderful. The chocolate far from being overpowering lent a baritone of flavour to the stews tingling warmth that made this the perfect dish for a snowy Edinburgh day.
While we tucked into our dishes, I also realised something about myself. I had been unconsciously carrying around a prejudice against American food. In my mind I had consigned it all to the boxes marked “unhealthy” and “fattening”. I myself get annoyed at people who assume all Scottish food is deep fried and unhealthy, but I had treated American cuisine in exactly the same way.
At the back of my mind I expected Frontier to confirm my prejudice. It didn’t. The dishes were fresh, well seasoned and flavoursome. Yes, because they are kind of meat heavy if you eat a lot of it all the time and don’t have the calorie expenditure of a cowboy you’d put on weight. But if you eat too much of any national cuisine you’ll put on weight. It’s the eating too much or with little variation, not the cuisine that is unhealthy. My sincere apologies to the chefs and cooks of the United States.
We none of us tried the desserts, but the menu does look pretty special and I plan to take my daughter for the Funfair Sundae. I opted to finish with tea, which unfortunately was not great. This may be the one are where my newly discovered and slain prejudice against American food may have been right. I’d be happy to be proven wrong there too.
On top of the really excellent food I also have to put a word in for the staff. Our waitress Sarah was friendly and efficient. My friends also made some enquiries about how to source some of the American ingredients that they hadn’t been able to find in Edinburgh and the staff were able to give some tips and pointers about what they could do. My customer service standards were both met and exceeded.
A delightful and pleasant experience. We all plan to return.