(Visited: June 2013)
We have a soft spot for seafood (we have a soft spot for many food things, come to think of it), and we wanted to sample this pub a few steps down from Martin Wishart which specialises just on that.
We have in our sight the monster size ‘Royale’ cold seafood platter, which comes with the house champagne option (the lovely NV Ruinart) thrown in at such a bargain price that it would be silly to resist.
So we don’t resist.
Note the glasses…and the amuse bouche 🙂
As we said, enormity is the name of the game: eight oysters, numerous mussels, large portions of cured salmon and poached (also smoked) salmon, smoked cod, smoked haddock, whole dressed crab (with two extra claws), small and large scallops (coral in), and of course the usual crustaceans, lobster and Dublin bay prawns, all accompanied by thick-cut chips, a salad and three sauces: a Thai-style one, an onion vinaigrette and a very, very nice home-made tartare.
It was a feast. It took us well over an hour to finish it. Seafood at its freshest and its best, in this genre. Undoubtedly certain items would be best eaten warm (e.g. scallops), but within the logic of a cold platter one could hardly ask for better or for more. Immaculate freshness (oh, that crab!), excellent quality (oh, the plumpness of those mussles!), nice preparation. The smoking of the salmon and other items was strong, peculiar and pleasant. Mr. Crab was dressed with some class (only the white, something we would not expect in a pub). The only minor fault was the cooking of the lobster, which was a wee hard.
This is simple fare, not haute cuisine, but when you think of the combination of quality and (stonking) value for money, you cannot not put this pub at the top of any foodie’s address list. The platter comes at £90 and would be enough for three, and the house champagne (a NV Ruinart) is basically given away at retail cost since it only costs you £35 when you have it with the platter (it comes at £50 on its own). And pricing is very good anyway: some of the competitors in Edinburgh have the Ruinart at £70 at the time of writing.
We liked it so much that we were tempted to go back for more just a couple of weeks later. We were not disappointed…