Aside from getting to learn all sorts of things about Scotch meat I did not know before, and getting to discover a new city, one of the things I enjoyed the most about my recent trip to Edinburgh with Scotch Beef and Lamb was the opportunity to try a couple of restaurants that are Edinburgh institutions. Stay tuned for a review of Timberyard and a full post from the trip with lots of pictures of the city and Aberdeen Angus cows. But first, let me take you to dinner at The Scran and Scallie, the more relaxed sibling to Tom Kitchin's famous Kitchin.
To kick off proceedings while we perused the menu we were brought some nibbles. Homemade root vegetable chips, pork scratchings (both of which were most serviceable) and something that is something of a speciality from Tom Kitchin: pigs ears. A few people around the table were slightly suspicious, but after discovering a love for them at Tart in West Hollywood, I dove right in. My only complaint is that once everyone else discovered how good they were, there were not enough of them! Salty, chewy yet still crisp, and with that je ne sai quois that makes you think a little, I want these with every drink I'm served up from now on.
With our nibbles (and the more traditional bread and butter) came the cocktails to kick off our meal. There were classic cocktails on our table, and a good few sweet yet still refreshing cucumber martinis on our table, but as far as the most interesting cocktail creation is concerned, I think I came up trumps with my Tomato Martini. Belvedere Vodka, Cocchi Rosa Vermouth, Tomato Consommé and Lemon Gomme, seasoned with a good amount of salt and pepper and finished off with a fragrant micro basil leaf. As a big Bloody Mary fan I was overly enamoured with the light and refreshing combination, which was both familiar in its flavour profile, and deliciously unusual. On the menu they listed it as a pairing for their tomato salad, which I think would have been a wonderful partnership, and a good Summer to Autumn transition number, too.
After selecting some Châteauneuf-du-Pape to be decanted to go with some mains, and selecting a lighter white for our starters, it was time to dig into the first course. Most of us went for a special they'd put on the menu just for us, ox tongue cooked up with mushrooms, resting on a hunk of sourdough to soak up all the juices, with a fried egg on top and roasted bone marrow on the side. If that does not scream comfort food, I don't know what does. It was bloody delicious, too. Though, you'll always get me on side with even the slight mention of bone marrow! It is always my gain when other people don't like it.
The most popular dish at our table was the steak, served with another fried egg, a corned beef and potato hash, and a good amount of kale. However, I had slight order envy of this Scotch meat stuffed pie, which clearly was all unctuous in the middle by way of another bone marrow being allowed to melt into the filling during cooking. Looking at this picture again, I'm seriously regretting the fact I did not think to ask for a taste.
A rather impressive looking plate of monkfish happened for those of us who felt we needed to take a break from all of the meat on the trip, but what I really want to focus on right now is my main. I went for the special, and as far as I am concerned the only problem with it is that because it was the special, you probably won't be able to get it again. Look at the picture, and imagine a soft bowl of polenta with juniper flavoured roe deer meatballs, in a tart berry glaze, dotted all over it. Add wild mushrooms, baked aubergine, woodland berries and Scottish cherries, and finish the whole thing off with a few good spoonfuls of rich creme fraiche that melt as the dish is brought to the table. I told you.
While we were all pretty full by that point, we felt that we just simply could not leave without dessert, so we decided to share a couple. The Summer berries pavlovas were pretty great, but of course after such a rich and filling meal I had to go for the sticky toffee pudding (thankfully split down the middle and shared with Kristabel!) God it was good. Light, rich sponge buried in an incredibly toffee sauce and lightened somewhat with a scoop of homemade vanilla. This is the dessert you want to order, if you still have room for it that is!
Last up, while I did really love the sticky toffee pudding and did not regret ordering it one jolt, a special mention has to go to the dessert I did get a little jealous of, up until the point where its owners decided that they could not eat any more and I was given the task of polishing it off! Meet the champagne jelly with mixed Summer berries and the most incredible homemade raspberry sorbet. Refreshing and packed with flavour, this is the dessert to order if you want something light after the meal, but you don't want to have to compromise in the dessert department.
If you're looking to either kick off or finish off a trip to Edinburgh in style, I urge you to book at table at The Scran and Scallie; I'll certainly be going back the next time I'm in Edinburgh, which hopefully will be sometime soon. Keep an eye out for a great spot to go if you've got something to celebrate, and for more on the adventures we had with Scotch Beef and Lamb, as well as some more general snapshots and thoughts on the city. If you're after a little bit of a sneak peek, Kristabel has already uploaded a vlog featuring a bit of our trip. (I promise not to go after anyone with a butchery knife, I am aware that I sound a bit sinister in the butchery school - we were joking around, swear!)
I traveled to Edinburgh and ate at The Scran and Scallie as a guest of Scotch Beef and Lamb.