September 27, 2011 Closed, French, West End 9 Comments
Blink and you’ll miss it

Blythe’s Verdict
The Mulroy is freshly opened on William Street, on the former site of Peter’s Cellars. Located in a secluded basement, you would barely even know it was there when they don’t have their street-level signage up. I noticed it as I walked past, the other day, as they’d tied copies of their menu along with “we’re now open” signs to their railings. Sometimes simple, direct methods are the best. Having opened just a couple of weeks ago, they’re in “soft launch” phase, for now, with word-of-mouth leading the way in drawing in punters.

Today, we were joined by two of our faithful flock of Twitter followers, John and Tony. Tony is in the midst of a week of birthday culinary experiences, which has taken him to the Botanic Gardens, the Lobster Shack in North Berwick, and an array of other places.

MJ, who knows about these things, says we’re an oddity in actually inviting our readers (both of whom we hadn’t previously met, face-to-face) to come and join in our reviews. If we are, I think that’s a shame, as meeting people who share our interest in lunching seems to me by far the best way to a) find out about the world, b) have an enjoyable, varied set of dining experiences, c) build and spread a readership, and d) make sure we get a good look at a range of dishes from a place’s menu.

So aside from new friendly faces, what were we greeted with in The Mulroy? I’d summarise the welcome as: warm handshakes, plentiful tweed, a country house feel, and a fast-track to our choice of tables, all of which were greatly appreciated.

We were seated in the room that will be their private dining room for evening service. It was beautifully bedecked in wood, silver and china. Certainly someone has had a lovely time at an antique fair, or was on the better end of a recent country house foreclosure!

Service was formal, but struck a good relaxed and affable balance. There’s a feel of “dress-rehearsal” about the place, at the moment, but I hope a good degree of that easy charm remains when they are up and running at full steam.

The menus presented us with a nice array of choices. In typical fashion I opted for the soup of the day, a creamy celeriac and truffle oil soup. Clearly it’s celeriac season, as I’d had something similar in Rogano, last week. This soup was a little more refined, but retained the rich flavour. The truffle oil was very well-judged, not overpowering, just subtly augmenting things.

Celeriac soup

The heady aroma from my main course of braised leg of rabbit wafted gently towards me as MJ expertly captured it on film. It was a first class dish. The rabbit was tenderness itself, the sauce a rich, wine-dark sea, and the bacon and mushrooms little power-packed flavour explosions.

Rabbit for B

I cast aside my usual dessert reserve with the petit fours, which were excellent, and the meal was rounded out with good filter coffee.

delicious, fresh breads

Overall, The Mulroy shows all the signs of being an excellent addition to the rich tapestry of culinary treats that Edinburgh affords us. The country house stylings are really quite something, the food beautifully prepared and pleasingly presented, and the service is right on the money. I have the feeling that this is a West End institution in the making, and feel rather privileged to have experienced it in its early days.

MJ’s Verdict
Today was beautiful. The sun was shining, I took my jacket off while walking down the street and even had a moment to pop into a shop to look at a necklace with moose head. And then I descended the stairs to The Mulroy. If B hadn’t have text me and let me know that I was looking for a basement location between a sandwich bar and an optician, I’d have walked right past it every time.

View from my seat in our lovely room

But walking down into the restaurant tweaked my love of a country home. The décor of the restaurant looks like something out of a Scottish-Southern Living hybrid. There were antiques and tweed EVERYWHERE. The thing is, it didn’t overpower the place. Everything was tastefully done on a light and bright backdrop so as to accent and not stifle the room. And, did I mention the sheer amount of tweed? (as an aside, I believe that men and many women should be wearing tweed around 98% of the time…It would make life better for all, and by ‘all’ I mean me.)
The rest of my party was already seated at the best table in the house, in a private dining area right next to one of the few windows. My jacket was hung for me, my chair pulled out and my napkin placed in my lap. Service was impeccable.

Sea trout starter

The menu was varied and with a good French-leaning list of starters and mains. I had a quick look and ordered the warm marinated Scottish sea trout fillet, pickled vegetables, baby capers, green olive tapenade, and crouton. My companions ordered the Brie de Meaux cheese and creamy leek tart, green leaves, black truffle vinaigrette; homemade chicken liver parfait, balsamic onion marmalade and toasted bread; and the homemade soup of the day: a celeriac and cream thing. (I’ll let you guess who ordered that one)

When our orders arrived, they were beautifully presented. The colours of the dishes were vibrant and they smelled delicious. My dish, the sea trout, was well…pickly. I wanted to call it briny, but that wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t expecting the fish itself to be pickled, but once I was reminded of the wording of the dish on the menu, I let my pre-conceptions go and enjoyed it. The green olive tapenade mixed quite well with the pickled carrots and bits of salty black olives.

I should digress. The bread. The bread came out in a nice silver basket and was neatly sliced. There was a granary style bread and a bit of sourdough. I tried both and both were warm and tasty. The granary one has particularly good snap to the crust and a very soft crumb.

After we scared the server about whether or not he should take away the bread basket, our mains arrived. I opted for another fish dish. Fish seems the safest thing to me at a French-leaning restaurant (a cuisine I tend to be growing less fond of as I age). Regardless, my Roast fillet of salmon, potato and vegetable gratin, chive Beure Blanc, was pretty, and pretty tasty. The salmon was delicate and the flavours worked very well with the tomatoey gatin, which, to be honest, when I hear ‘gratin’ I associate it with the crust like came on another diner’s sea cod. I’d liken the mixed vegetables and potatoes under my salmon to a light form of ratatouille more than anything else. And, the pesto and olive oil drizzled around the edge really gave the dish an extra oomph.

Salmon for MJ

Though they only have filter coffee at the moment, that is fine by me. I rather enjoy a good, strong filter coffee, and the service with the coffee was absolutely tremendous.

Overall, I liked this place. I think their menu is not quite what comes out to diners, but its nothing a bit of tweaking to the wording won’t fix right away. I’d go back here if I had a special occasion or event because I know that they would bend over backwards to make my meal fantastic, and, I believe it would be.

Tony’s Verdict
A restaurant establishing itself before publicising its presence? What a very sensible attitude and investment in these days of searching for quick returns. It allows staff to get used to the premises. For example, the loos are excellent, but the bin for towels is very small. They’ll no doubt iron this out, over the next few days and weeks.

The set menu had 4 or 5 options for each course. These were varied enough to cover most tastes.

We were immediately served with ice-cold tap water and our glasses quietly refilled throughout the meal – very impressive. The tables are a good size, as are the chairs, with linen table cloths and napkins.

I started with the homemade chicken liver parfait, balsamic onion marmalade and toasted bread. It was very rich. The balsamic onion marmalade complemented the richness of the parfait. Very enjoyable.

Parfait

For my main, I had North Sea slightly salted cod “Brandade” with garlic croutons and green leaves. I had not taken on board the ‘Brandade’ word on the menu and would not have known what it meant. A brief consultation of Wikipedia says Brandade is: “an emulsion of salt cod and olive oil eaten in winter with bread or potatoes.” So, although it was not what I had expected (the croutons were very fine and are served as a crust on the cod and potato), it was tasty.

Cod for Tony

The portion sizes were perfect and did not leave any of us room to have a sweet. To finish off, we had filter coffee, which was served with some lovely petit-fours. The chocolate truffle was a little too rich for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed the other two.

John’s Verdict
Lunch at the Mulroy was excellent – great food and company.

I cannot fault the food; ingredients, taste and presentation were all excellent from the warm bread to the petit fours.

I started with a brie and leek tarte. The pastry case was the lightest and most delicate I have had anywhere, with a filling that was full flavoured without being rich or heavy; the perfect blend of ripe brie and baby leeks.

Tarte

My main course, shoulder of lamb with peas, broadbeans and, if I remember correctly, gnocchi was equally good – the lamb presented in neat rounds was very tender and the whole dish delicious, and perfectly seasoned. My only criticism might be that I would have happily eaten more so would say avoid if ravenous!

Lamb for John

The Mulroy’s décor and style is somewhere between gentleman’s club and country house which could have been a bit oppressive for an old class warrior like me, but the welcome and unobtrusive service made me feel quite at home among the antiques and tweed. I did find the contrast between the thoroughly modern cooking and the old world ambience a bit odd initially, but ended up thinking it was really quite charming.

All round very, very good and great value.

Scores on the Doors

Out of 20 Blythe gives The Mulroy:
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
5/5 for setting
giving an overall 17/20

Out of 20 Miriam gives The Mulroy:
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
5/5 for service
5/5 for setting
giving an overall 18/20

Out of 20 Tony gives The Mulroy:
4/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 17/20

Out of 20 John gives The Mulroy:
4.5/5 for food
5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 17.5/20

Today’s Lunch Questers were: Miriam, John, Tony, Blythe

We wore: Incipient lion’s mane hairstyle, distinguished grey beard, the smile of culinary birthday delight, more devilish pinstripes.

We ate: Cream of celeriac soup; warm marinated sea trout; homemade chicken liver parfait; Brie de Meaux cheese and leek tart; salmon fillet with potato and vegetable gratin; slightly salted cod “Brandade”; braised leg of rabbit in a red wine sauce; braised shoulder of lamb; petit fours.

We drank: Water, coffees.

Total Bill: c.£50

The Mulroy
William St
Edinburgh
EH3 7NG
www.facebook.com/TheMulroy

Mulroy on Urbanspoon

Written by TheDudley