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Chop,chop..hurry to sample Leith's delights.

Byline: Jenny Foulds

HIDDEN away on the top floor of the A-listed Leith Assembly Rooms lies a quirky bed and breakfast, beautifully furnished with intriguing pictures, exotic furniture and scattered with inspiring books and cheeky artwork.

Well-travelled Wallace Shaw, who worked as a knitwear designer for Pringle and Donna Karan for many years, greeted my partner and I after our journey to Leith with a warm smile and a chilled glass of prosecco.

The three flights of stairs leading to his white-washed apartment (no lift) may not be for all but the welcome that awaits surely makes up for it.

We were given the choice of one of two spacious bedrooms, both en suite. The first, smaller and quieter, and the second, larger and facing the main road. We took the biggest one with its character fireplace topped with cheeky pictures of kilted Scots.

With tummies rumbling, thoughts of dinner were uppermost in our minds and Wallace couldn't have been more helpful.

He made recommendations and booked us a table at a nearby trendy bistro, even walking us to the front door to ensure we didn't get lost.

And that really is what makes this bed and breakfast unique - Wallace's attention to detail.

The next morning, breakfast was a delight. It was a crowded affair huddled around a small table filled with fancy jams, cereals, juice in posh decanters, fruit, yoghurts, warm breads and sweet pastries.

The B&B is in a great location, with visitors able to explore Leith and its independent boutiques, stylish bars, bistros, traditional pubs and top restaurants. The centre of Edinburgh is easily accessible by foot, which takes about half an hour, or by jumping on one of the many buses.

We had dinner on our second night at Chop Chop on Leith's waterfront in the middle of the Michelin-starred hub of Edinburgh's restaurant scene.

The Chinese restaurant has built up an enviable reputation, having been a finalist on Gordon Ramsay's F word show and winning an AA rosette.

Its menu is centred on its famous dumplings, which we savoured by ordering an unlimited banquet for two (PS19.50 per person).

The idea follows the Chinese tradition of enjoying a meal with a number of small dishes, which are brought to the table and shared.

The dumplings were the stars of the show, with various tasty fillings to be enjoyed boiled or fried (there are dessert versions too.). You can create your own dipping sauce by adding soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and chilli to give a salty, spicy kick.

The friendly waiter was happy to substitute any of the dishes we didn't fancy so we swapped pan-fried prawn dumplings with beef and chilli ones.

As well as the dumplings, we ate seasoned chicken wings, aubergines with garlic, boiled rice, cucumber salad and our favourite, crispy northern beef, battered beef strips in a soy, vinegar and sugar dressing.

The food was delicious, the atmosphere and service was divine and the experience rounded off an excellent stay in Leith.


CAPTIVATING J Chop Chop's stylish interior

BREAKFAST J In Wallace's kitchen
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 27, 2013
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