The Stockbridge Restaurant - some of the finest dining north of the New Town
The Stockbridge area of Edinburgh has its fair share of accomplished restaurants. Being weegies we made our first foray into Stockbridge territory in 2009 when it was a toss up between The Saint and The Stockbridge Restaurant next door. On that occasion we picked the former, which has now sadly closed, but recently we returned after almost 7 years to finally pay the Stockbridge restaurant, which is still going strong, a visit.
Like a number of the places along this side of St Stephen Street, it's at basement level. Note that the two doors at the entrance open into each other making it a bit of a fankle to enter gracefully!
Chef-Proprietor Jason Gallagher has operated The Stockbridge Restaurant for the past twelve years and has a wall for his awards, check them out as you head to the toilet!
The darkly-painted bare walls act as a backdrop to colourful artwork, reflective mirrors, crisp linen and luxurious seating and despite being below ground level there was a lot of light coming through the windows. On the wall behind this photo there is a fireplace that has collected a year's worth of candle wax (see picture at very bottom)!
There are both à la carte and set menus on offer, here's a photo of each from our visit:
We shared a bottle of Montaignan Carignan from the 2015 vintage which was slightly spicy and very drinkable but hasn't made it onto Vivino yet as far as we can tell.
A plate of freshly-baked and cut bread was placed before us: white, brown and walnut. Beautifully soft with a crisp crust - if only my home made bread turned out this good!
Served alongside the bread was a pot of creamy butter and a jug of chive and chervil sauce which was a bit different! Dipping the bread into the herby sauce seemed almost decadent - look at the colour of that sauce, isn't it intense? The flavours were summery and fresh, and the aroma made us think of sunnier places as well.
The amuse-bouche was a simple affair. Cherry tomato, Serrano ham, mozzarella, spring onion and a herby balsamic drizzle. Simple, tasty and again transporting us to the Med.
Spiced wood pigeon with duck liver pate, pancetta, wild mushrooms, toasted brioche and a port wine sauce isn't something you would normally associate with a summer menu, and despite our weather lately it actually fitted in very well! It reminded Mrs Foodie of Christmas with the strong flavours of duck pâté, pancetta and port wine sauce. We may be pinching this idea for our own Christmas dinner this year. A perfect mix of strong flavours and a comforting starter.
The salmon, by contrast was summer on a plate. Seared with asparagus, pink grapefruit, cucumber and green bean salad, it cooked and no more making it tender, moist and moreish. The asparagus was delicate and perfectly dainty. A whole plate of them would have hit the spot. The lime and grapefruit gave this starter a delicious zing.
Sea bass with crab cake, tomato salsa, avocado ice-cream, fennel salad and aioli. Perfectly cooked fish, sweet creamy avocado ice-cream (yes indeed!) and a light salsa sent another ray of sunshine out of the kitchen and onto the plate.
Gressingham duck breast with duck sausage roll, dauphinoise potatoes, spinach, wild mushrooms, savoy cabbage with bacon and jus. Faultlessly cooked duck, pink and supple with cripsy skin. The duck sausage roll caught Mrs Foodie's eye, buttery puff pastry and duck sausage without the fatty bits, this would be the queen of any buffet table.We soon reached the hardest part of any review...choosing dessert...
Now this is an idea we could get used to, a pre-dessert.
Rhubarb trifle with rhubarb jelly - we are big rhubarb fans so loved this. More please!
And as we do love rhubarb, Mr Foodie chose the rhubarb and nut crumble with a vanilla and praline ice-cream to move away from the summery fare onto comfort food for a dopamine-boosting end to his meal.
Mrs Foodie chose the banana tart tatin with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream. This was a giant's causeway of a dessert, a buttery base with caramelised soft bananas. It was just the right size for ending the meal without feeling too full.
Coffee and petit fours, with rocky road, peppermint cream, macaroon, choc-chip cookie soon followed. They were delicious, and the peppermint cream was a blast from the past - just like a Fry's Peppermint Cream.
Overall, the ambience hit the spot with both of us. It was cosy and relaxed. The music consisted of jazz covers of pop songs (Beatles etc), some afrobeat and other funky stuff which we were happy to listen to. The service was attentive and well-paced. The dishes were well-executed using fresh (and local) produce that is cooked just right - the food is probably deserving of a third AA rosette and if you pay attention to the door you'll see a wealth of window stickers from those who've recommend The Stockbridge restaurant over the years. It's been going strong for well over a decade and now after a 7 year wait we finally know why! The toilets also passed the all-important toilet check.
+ Superb food
+ Friendly, helpful service
+ Cosy, good music and not too cramped
+ Clean toilets
- Doubles doors at the entrance are a bit awkward
Official website: www.thestockbridgerestaurant.co.uk
Fred's humans had a complimentary meal at the behest of the Stockbridge restaurant. We have promised to tell the truth lest Freddie will claw the furniture next time we leave the house.