Step inside this new-look Restaurant, with its neat rows of high backed leather chairs and dark wood tables for two or four diners. (Perhaps the seating layout is a little too crowded?). The corner window space with its long sofa would suit a group of six.
A vase with a single poppy flower and red napkins decorates each table. It's warm and welcoming.
To launch Papavero, Proprietor and Chef Gregor has decided to offer an extended menu covering all the Italian classics as well as quality Scottish cuisine. The choice of dishes may be reduced in time, with the addition of seasonal specials.
So what to select from a long page Starters? – Bruschetta, Black Pudding with Parma Ham, Mussels, Gamberoni, Insalata Caprese etc. etc. I could not resist Calamari Fritti, deep fried squid rings with garlic mayo. These were freshly cooked for me, soft and juicy (not a rubber ring in sight) with a crispy coat, and a crisp green salad on the side.
Across the table, Ken sampled Crostini Misti – a generous portion of garlic bread, grilled with gorgonzola cheese and aubergine – an unusual but very tasty savoury dish. With our starters we sipped our wine, a soft, fruity Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
We were at Papavero for a pre-theatre supper and on this chilly November evening there were several tables already taken. Also local residents were popping in to order a take away Pizza. Gregor was doing a good trade with this, and offers T/A Pasta dishes too.
The range of main courses will suit every taste and appetite - Steak, Lamb, Fish, Pasta, Risotto and Pizza with side orders of salads, chips and vegetables.
I love Pizza and selected the Pescatore: tomatoes, mozzarealla, mixed seafood. This was stuffed with tiny prawns, mussels and squid, dotted with salty black olives and baked to my preference with a soft crust.
It could perhaps have benefitted with an additional vegetable for texture and variety, but in fact (which I had not noticed at the time), the menu offers a range of other toppings (mushrooms, courgette, aubergine, egg, salami, capers ..) to create your own personal Pizza.
Ken also selected a fish dish, Scottish Salmon with an ingenious pistachio and parmesan crust, served with a basil pesto jus and sautéed potatoes. Not a forkful was left on his plate and it was voted a simple, yet extremely delicious combination.
We were rushing off to the theatre so did not linger longer for a Dessert, but the list is tempting – Tiramisu, Pannacotta, and Banoffee Pie, as well as ice creams and Cheese.
Papavero is cool and casual with friendly service, lively music (American blues to Scottish folk tunes), and with such an extensive menu, it’s the perfect neighbourhood place for families, friends and couples for lunch or dinner.
As the new kid on the New Town block, special offers should entice you along – Children’s meals just £1 on Sundays, 50% off Pizza on Mondays and 50% off Pasta on Tuesdays.
I shall be back soon to create my own special Pizza with all my favourite toppings. What shall it be? Smoked salmon, goat’s cheese, peppers, artichokes, chilli …