On our first evening in Edinburgh we all got dressed up and headed for dinner in the beautifully appointed private room at Timberyard, somewhere I'd wholeheartedly recommend if you're in the city for a special occasion. The restaurant is a beautiful space with lots of hidden corners, a wonderful herb garden and a wonderful atmosphere once the lights are dimmed and the candles are lit to flicker against the walls.
If you have a moment before your meal and it is a nice night, ask if you can take a turn around their courtyard herb garden. Aside from the beautiful fragrance and the golden glow given off by the light from the restaurant, there is just something about the rows of different mints, basils, rosemaries, thyme, lemon verbena, edible nasturtiums and everything in-between that is simply magical.
To kick off proceedings, we smothered fresh, pillowy slices of sourdough with whipped cream cheese with juniper or celery salt, and some of the richest, creamiest chicken liver parfait I've ever tasted. Okay, and so we may or may not have all been fighting over the perfectly brittle (and not greasy) shards of chicken skin.
We also turned out full attention to the cocktail menu. I had what seemed to be one of the most popular choices from a menu riddled with unusual and unknown flavours: Noble Fir, Unripe Berries, Vermouths and Sparking Wine. The fir added an interesting woodland element, and surprisingly there was nothing unpleasant about the flavour. Personally, I think there should be more fir in cocktails. The berries also did not add anything unpleasant as you'd expect, they were actually pleasantly fruity without being too sweet. To be honest, I'm still not quite sure what I made of the cocktail, except that I really enjoyed it!
For our first course, we had a tartare of raw beef with bone marrow, baby mushrooms, chopped shallot, linseed and a quails yolk. The dish had a really interesting flavour and texture. The gamey quality of the beef really came out, and it had an almost velvety, very unusual texture.
Next, we had Halibut served with mussels, lobster, peas, broad beans, leeks and broccoli. I really enjoyed this plate, how the different sauces really drew the accompaniments in with the flavour of the fish. I wish there had been more mussels on the plate, though, because they were mouthwatering morsels of flavour.
When I first browsed the wine list, I was excited to see that among the by the glass options for sparkling was what I consider the gold standard of English sparkling wines: Nyetimber. Sometimes I enjoy it better than champagne (it all depends on the champagne, you see!), and I loved how the two glasses I sank at Timberyard each came in a different vintage flute. It is always a mark of a restaurant who cares about their ingredients and their provenance that they've got a really considered English option on their wine list.
For our final savoury course we had lamb served with squash, baby onions, mushrooms, beetroot, juniper and kale. Now, when we were first invited on the trip we were told it was for Scotch Beef, rather than Scotch Beef and Lamb. The thing is, I don't actually like lamb. I did try some every time I was presented with it on the trip, but while I enjoyed this fantastic plate of vegetables, I think the mark that this lamb dish was good was that when I announced that my lamb was up for grabs, people dove in as quickly as possible to get mine!
I really, really loved our dessert and I wish that there had been more on my plate! We had strawberries with elderflower, buttermilk, woodruff and biscuit. The strawberry element in particular had been played around a bit in the best possible way; the fresh strawberries were accompanied by probably the most concentrated and mouthwatering round of strawberry sorbet I've ever had, and a really interesting layer of a wafer thin, plastic like strawberry leather. Those white shards? Really, really thin meringue. Deconstructed desserts may be less fashionable these days, but plates like this show how when it is done really, really well they'll always be welcomed.
Timberyard provides a brilliant contrast to my other Edinburgh eat from my trip at the beginning of the month, The Scran and Scallie, and I repeat what I said at the beginning of this post that it really is one for a special occasion, and if you're into food that will get you thinking and you like to try something new with your flavours, pairings and textures. Keep an eye out on Wednesday for the third and final post from my trip, which includes a lot of photos of the city, a few indie shop recommendations and my pick in the city where you really need to go for some of the best gelato I've had in ages.
I traveled to Edinburgh and at at Timberyard as a guest of Scotch Beef and Lamb.