Sunday, 3 February 2008

99 problems: Ninety-Nine

By Justin

See, this blog is aiming to attract the Kids too. Yes, that is a Jay-Z reference in the title. How cool are we!

The (rather pretentiously-titled) Ninety-Nine Bar & Kitchen occupies the site of the long-dead Booth's Bar, in a prime location just off Union Street and right next to the taxi rank. Booth's was probably my favourite pub when I first came to university, with its grimy interior, great atmosphere and beer, pies and football. When it shut down, it turned into a truly appalling-looking wine bar called "The Wynd", whose door I am glad to say that I never darkened. When I saw that it was now the 99, I looked at the menu and decided now was time to re-enter my old haunt. It looked really promising: informal dining with unpretentious, hearty-sounding food.

Unfortunately, 99 was unable to live up to the promise. Strike one came with the very slow service: it was around 1 hour after we arrived when the food was finally delivered. How it will pick up any business on weekday lunchtimes (when an hour is the limit for the entire break) I don't know. Strikes 2 and 3 came with my meal. I decided to pick some dishes from the Antipasti/tapas section, with my table-mates going for the standard main course-type fare (or provender, according to the menus). Slow-roasted garlic on ciabatta turned out to be a basic garlic bread, and came with the cheese option that I had not requested. Having been served garlic bread, I at least expected to taste the main ingredient, but am sad to say that I only tasted butter and cheese. I love roast garlic, and this wasn't it. My second choice was tiger prawns "drowned in garlic butter": the prawns were there (and tasty) but they weren't in any danger of drowning (can prawns actually drown?) in the meagre amount of butter. Again, I failed to taste any garlic. The day was saved somewhat by the zucchini fritters with spicy sauce, but you can't really go wrong with deep-fried veg, can you?

Maybe the 99 was having a bad day. The service was pleasant and attentive, and the food was alright. The hand-cut chips that Simon and Claire had were lovely, and Mark's sausages looked like a hit. Portions were generally a bit small, meaning that I was only satisfied rather than full. Top marks for not (unlike everywhere else) ripping us off on soft drinks: £1.50 a pint is reasonable. I'll certainly give the place another try at some point, but with so much decent competition in the immediate vicinity, I wonder how long it will be before the building sees another occupant disappear.

Ninety-Nine Bar & Kitchen
1 Back Wynd
01224 658087


Anonymous said...

"The (rather pretentiously-titled) Ninety-Nine Bar & Kitchen"
This bar was named after 99 hanover st - the first in a small chain of bars and hotels owned by Barrie Brown - in Edinburgh.
It has now been on number 1 back wynd for well over a year and is going from strength to strength. The food menu has been improved and the service is great.
I'm not sure if I would call the student bars that line Belmont St. "decent competition" but if you're after a cheap night out with double vodka and red bull for 99p then I suppose it is somewhat "decent" for those who are after something a little more classy - fantastic drinks with fresh ingredients made by ace bar staff, 99 is the place to be.

Anonymous said...

99 is very decent. Worth checking out. The bar staff are well hot.

Anonymous said...

The bar staff maybe hot..but the are bloody slow! They would rather be chatting with their mates than actually serve the customers. Rather pissing off