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Twenty Princes Street Grill and Smokehouse
Hidden in plain sight above Holland & Barrett, opposite the Princes St entrance to Edinburgh Waverly station is Twenty Princes Street. It’s the hotel restaurant for Hotel Indigo (formerly the Royal British Hotel) so is not to be confused with the other Hotel Indigo on nearby York Place!
We arrived by train to Edinburgh Waverley so it was a mere 2-minute walk to get to our destination.
First impressions matter, and inside the first-floor space the restaurant and adjoining Juniper bar look very swish, see for yourself above. We were seated at the round table by the window with views of the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh Castle and that rare big ball that appears in the sky in summer!
It was such a lovely sunny day so a bottle of Belvino Grigio Rosé 2013 was ordered and promptly delivered. This is an ideal wine for summer – light and easy to drink with a vanilla aroma and a taste of sweet peaches, strawberry, and watermelon with limey acidity.
We opted for some of the dishes which looked a bit unique and stood out, such as this Buccleuch black pudding and haggis French toast (£7.50), a snug starter, it held together nicely and was a good mix of textures with smooth haggis and black pudding inside. On the side was an unusual salad combo of raspberry and shaved fennel.
Another dish which stood out was the conceptual-looking Arbroath Smokie brandade (£10) with three pieces of pumpernickel leaning on the brandade – kind of like a coarse fish paté with crunch provided by thin slices of Granny Smith apple. There was also horseradish cream to provide a piquant zing. I enjoyed eating something a bit different using smokies.
Our first main course BBQ spatchcock poussin (£17) with smoked cheddar, maple cornbread, and jalapeño sour cream. Some moist and tender poultry – there was a glaze on the skin but it would have been tastier if the poussin has been marinated in BBQ sauce. The cornbread was pleasantly different too but some more jalapeño cream would have been appreciated. as it was tasty. A side of jalapeño and nacho mac ‘n’ cheese (£4) was also ordered and being a big macaroni cheese I am happy to report that this was a creamy thick and pleasantly cheesy mac but it’s not all that spicy if you’re expecting some heat.
Twenty Princes street have a Josper grill and with that in mind, it made sense to order a rump steak (280g for £23) with blue murder sauce (£3). An often overlooked cut of beef but we’re both quite partial to it. This matured steak came from the Scottish borders and was cooked as per the chef’s recommendation, it arrived medium and was an enjoyable slab of chargrilled smoky meatiness, made even better by the tangy blue cheese sauce. The thin cut chips were triple cooked and very tasty, especially when lathered with big flakes of sea salt! I also ordered the Innis & Gunn rarebit croquette (£2.50) on the side, these tasted like a posh cheese hamwich!
We were pretty full after all that but decided to struggle on and share a pudding and Tea & biscuits (£7) was what stood out: rooibos (red bush) tea, condensed milk, brown sugar and Abernethy biscuits with some fudge on the side. There was a little bit of theatrics with the milk being poured through the strainer into the glass forming a white pannacotta-style layer. Light and soft with a strong redbush flavour. I liked it, but if you’re expecting Tetley then this may not be the dessert for you.
A most enjoyable lunch was had during our visit to Twenty Princes Street. As a true grill restaurant, it has the attraction of a Josper grill and filling meaty portions, all of which was well cooked. The food is nicely priced for the quality, portion sizes and locale too, in fact, it’s one of the best-positioned restaurants in the whole of Edinburgh with views of the castle and the Balmoral Hotel, inside it’s beautiful too of course. It was such a hot sunny day when we visited so it was great to be seated at the window however no windows were open nor was there any air con so a bit of breeze from somewhere would have been nice!
Service was exemplary, we were greeted on arrival and taken to our table immediately and all three courses were served in under 2 hours. It’s just a shame that we had to be back in Glasgow otherwise we would’ve stayed for a few drinks in Juniper next door! Both male and female toilets were also clean and tidy. The total cost for this meal would have been £96 for a bottle of wine, 2 courses with sides each and a shared pudding, which we consider good value for money.
Here’s a video of our visit:
+ Lovely interior
+ Great view
+ Josper grill steaks
+ Some interesting menu choices
+ ‘Tea and biscuits’ was a bit different and Mr Foodie is a big fan of Red Bush tea
+ Attentive, helpful staff
+ Gin & cocktail bar next door
+ Super handy for buses on Princes St and trains to Waverley
– Poussin had a light glaze rather than being fully marinated in BBQ sauce
– Some more jalapeño cream with the cornbread would be appreciated
– On a hot day, some air being circulated would be welcome
Disclaimer: we received a complimentary meal but as ever Fred knows that this is an honest review.