It was really good to get back into the walking with Blythe since our wee trek from London to Brighton (62 Miles) is a mere 2 weeks away. We wandered for a while with the general goal of having lunch at the Antiquary pub in St Stephen’s Street in Stockbridge. After scoffing at the silly fools who were sitting in a prominent chain restaurant on the corner (eating muffins—when the Stockbridge farmers’ market was on and, I can assure you, the cakes there looked absolutely delicious!), we headed to the pub and found a seat near the Cluedo and the Edinburgh version of Monopoly.
The menus were quickly brought around and we had a look. I was tempted by the roast of the day, but I am not an avid pork eater when I have the option of beef, and I decided to go for the beef casserole with mash potatoes.
Blythe, as expected, went for the onion soup as a starter, which smelled appropriately oniony!
After a short wait, two piping hot mains were delivered to we hungry diners. Blythe’s porky roast looked good with a nice hint of mustard in the gravy and an exceptionally soft cut of pork.
My beef casserole with ale was good, honest, hot food. The ale gave it a depth while the beef was cooked until it fell apart with a fork, just the way it should. The mash was just as I like my mash: heavy on the actual potato, light on the cream/butter/milk/other products they use to make these things a bit smoother, but though it was an excellent example of mash, it could have used a bit of salt or pepper or maybe a bit of both.
We were going to order coffees, but we couldn’t get the server’s attention again and so we opted to pay at the bar and head to Café Florentine around the corner.
The Antiquary is generally a charming pub that serves good food at a good price and I’d be quite pleased if it were my local.
With another “fine-tuning” walk under our belts, we headed for Stockbridge to visit The Antiquary. Their kitchen has recently been taken over by the wonderful chaps at the nearby Purslane, so we were optimistic that we would find some rather tasty dishes to salve our hunger.
Slipping smartly in to the below street level bar, we spied a free table next to an impressive selection of board games, which will need to be played with on a future visit. Our friendly and helpful waiter offered us two menus to consider: the brunch menu, served from 11-3pm; and the lunch menu, served from 1-6pm.
I was keen to sample their Sunday roast, and pleased to hear that today it was roast gammon. This followed my obligatory bowl of soup, which today was white onion.
The soup arrived swiftly and in abundance. The accompanying freshly warm roll was an absolutely ideal consistency for dunking, so that’s exactly what I did. The soup had an intense onion flavour, not too sweet, and beautifully smooth. It was really very good, and much more satisfying than the white onion and cider soup I recently had at Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food.
My main course was similarly top notch. The gammon was incredibly tender, with lovely subtle notes of mustard. The “trimmings” were good, too, with chunky roasted potatoes and lightly treated cabbage, carrots and broccoli.
So I was very pleased with The Antiquary. The food was a cut above the regular pub grub fare and the setting very cosy. I could see myself regularly spending Sunday afternoons here, topping up my roast meat levels, playing a little spot of Monopoly and supping an ale or two, from their impressive selection.
Update – August 2013
A change of chef has seen a drop off in the quality of the Sunday roast, sadly. The Yorkshire pudding, on a recent visit, was really poor. Still, it’s a smart place, so perhaps things will return to an even keel, in time.[BKR]
Blythe scores The Antiquary:
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20
MJ scores The Antiquary:
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s questers were: Miriam, Blythe
We ate: white onion soup, roast gammon, beef casserole
We drank: Bitter & Twisted, sparkly water
We wore: cream trousers, black action socks
Total bill: c.£25
72-78 St Stephen’s Street
Edinburgh EH3 5AQ