Blackfriars Restaurant and bar opened in Edinburgh’s Blackfriars Street in 2013. Their aim is to create a place which is ‘relaxed yet professional, with food that is unfussy and tasty’. The bar and restaurant, which are next door to one another, share a garden space which can be used for alfresco drinks and dining. There’s some really good craft beers on offer if that’s your scene so it is well worth arriving early for some pre-dinner drinks.
Recently Blackfriars changed their dinner menu to a set 4 course priced at £35. As I love all types of food this is never a problem for me but I do think it can influence people’s decision on where they will dine. Is this a restaurants way to avoid the hassle of dealing with many different dishes or is it so they can focus on only providing quality seasonal ingredients? Either way it does take away the experience of looking over a menu and making the choice of what you are going to order.
The décor is minimalist, wooden chairs and tables with branches hanging from the ceiling. The friendly waitress explained that despite being a set menu we had two choices for our main Pigeon or lamb both served with the same accompaniments. We ordered whilst tucking into the warm homemade bread provided.
I have to admit I would not have chosen Grilled Corn, Cured Trout and Isle of Wight Tomatoes as my starter. It was not something that excited me, however I was quickly surprised. The corn had a barbequed taste and was crunchy and full of flavour. I could never have imagined corn could be so tasty. The cured Trout was delicious and was served on toasted bread to add texture and capers gave the dish a sharp saltiness which worked well with the juicy tomatoes. This was a great light starter and left me looking forward to the following courses.
Grilled Corn and Isle of Wight Tomatoes
The fish course of ‘Brill, Chanterelles, Patty Pan Squash, Courgette’ was truly outstanding. This was not just a very pretty plate of food but was also spectacular in flavour. The cooking of the fish was perfect and I find it hard to criticise anything on the plate. Patty Pan Squash was a new one on me but was delicious all the same.
Brill, chanterelles, patty pan squash, courgette
For main I choose the Pigeon where as my fellow diner chose the Organic Lamb. Both were served with salt baked beets and turnips, pickled beets and beetroot leave. The colours of the dish were vibrant and contrasting while the pigeon was pink and tender. The different tastes of the beetroot worked really well with the gamey pigeon and although still tasty it was not quite as good with the lamb.
To finish off the meal ‘Strawberry Sorbet, Raspberry, Meringue, and Lemon Balm’ was the dessert of the day. I cannot fault any of the individual components. The sorbet was smooth and was full of strawberry flavour; the meringue was sweet and the raspberries added sharpness to the dish. However, after the other courses, and the fact the kitchen only had one dessert to focus on, I expected a more technically established dessert and it left me slightly disappointed. Perhaps the previous courses raised my expectations to the point of being unfair but there was no wow factor with this one.
Strawberry sorbet, raspberry, meringue, and lemon balm
Overall Blackfriars delivers delicious fresh food in relaxed surroundings. Despite offering a set menu only at night they capture quality seasonal ingredients and execute them at a high standard. With many restaurants now opting for set menus only, is this what we should expect to see more of when dining out in future? Either way I will be returning to Blackfriars.
- Atmosphere - 7/107/10
- Food - 8/108/10
- Service - 7/107/10
- Value for Money - 7/107/10