July 5, 2012 Bistro, BYO, West End No Comments

MJ’s Verdict
The last night that my parents were in the lovely city of Edinburgh, we opted to go somewhere that embodied all that is good about the city, a cosy pub, good drinks, fresh products and great food. To get all of these things rolled into one, we decided to go to Blythe’s local, Teuchters.

We wandered over and began our evening in the pub where we had a drink before heading downstairs to the restaurant and were seated in the main dining room. The warm red walls and the mural made it seem both jolly and warming at once. After looking over our menu and trying to cajole my family into trying haggis, I ordered the vegetarian haggis to start, followed by the grilled sea bass.

Wheat and Sourdough Breads

In moment we were brought out a bowl of sourdough and wheat breads which was quickly followed by our starters. The bowls of soup looked nice, but my veggie haggis was really well balanced. I managed to talk my dad into trying it, and he was impressed. The taste of the onions and the sauce around the plate created a sweet element to work with the spice and flavours of the haggis. The only thing that I didn’t understand was that the onions were cold while the rest of the dish was hot. I wondered if the heat from the haggis was meant to warm the relish through or if it was specifically meant to be a contrast in temperatures.

Veggie Haggis

Starters finished off, our mains arrived alongside a large bowl of steamed veggies-which I always love. They were cooked perfectly, too.

My sea bass came sitting on wilted curly kale and chickpeas with green olive & chilli tapenade on top. The fish was nicely cooked married well with a taste of the tapenade and the heft of the chickpea. The extra greenery of the kale gave the dish a lushness that really hit the mark. This is one of the better fish dishes I’ve been served while questing.

Grilled Sea bass

Mom and dad both opted for the tempura battered monkfish with a warm tortilla wrapped pea shoot salad and wasabi creme fraiche, and they both really enjoyed it, with my dad eagerly helping mom to finish hers too.

To finish, I had an espresso while Blythe had the cheese plate and my parents shared their first taste of Banoffee pie, which they heartily tucked into and thoroughly enjoyed.

Banoffee Pie

This was my first visit to any of the “A Room In…” restaurants, and it was delightful and tasty and I’d happily go back and suggest you do too

Blythe’s Verdict
After a week split between Edinburgh and London, tonight marked MJ’s parents’ last night in the UK. They return to the US tomorrow for some much needed Florida sunshine, prior to heading back to the Alabamian homestead. It was a complete pleasure to have them visit, and a source of considerable joy to them to see their little girl graduate in such fine style.

Battered Monkfish

To mark their last night, we headed to A Room in the West End, the Scottish bistro beneath one of my regular haunts, Teuchters.

A few months ago, I had a pretty ordinary visit to their sister restaurant, A Room in the Town, but had always found this place to be rather better on the many occasions I’d previously visited, over the years. Strangely, this was the first time that I’d been here with MJ.


After drinks in the upstairs bar, a great spot for much good cheer, we popped downstairs and were quickly shown to our seats. After a leisurely perusal of the menu, we settled upon dishes which were soon relayed to our pleasant waitress.

Service, overall, was understated. Their menu is really well-written, so we didn’t have many questions to ask. What we did ask of them, in terms of accurate and timely delivery of dishes, they did very nicely.

Mushroom and Thyme Soup

First to arrive, were soups for Cliff and I, and some vegetarian haggis for MJ. Sharon eschewed the starter option, as she was still feeling a little full from a lunchtime stop at the Mosque Kitchen.

The tower of haggis, neeps and tatties looked rather bonnie. One pioneering Johnson parent ventured to try the great Scottish delicacy, but I won’t say which one of them it was.

The mushroom and thyme soup was good, although not the most spectacular I’ve ever tasted. It could have used an additional something (perhaps just a little punchier hit of thyme) to make it stand out from the crowd, but was satisfying enough.

My main course was an entirely different story. The rabbit loin wrapped in pancetta, served on mash, with prunes and a deeply rich sauce was an outstanding dish. It had colossal and overwhelming depth of flavour, matched with beautifully cooked rabbit, giving each mouthful real pizzazz and panache. It’s one of the best main courses I’ve tasted in 2012.

Cheese plate

A good cheeseboard and nice espresso rounded out a very good dinner. Oh, and I even had a little bite of banoffee pie, after recommending that the others give it a try. It was up to its usual high standard.

So overall, I was delighted with A Room in the West End. It almost goes without saying that the company played a huge part in that sense of delight, but the food, particularly that rabbit main course, played a significant part, too. It’s a smart place with a lot of charm, serving dishes to a much higher quality than it’s sister restaurant in Dundas Street. I’d happily recommend that you pay it a visit.

Blythe scores A Room in the West End
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20

MJ scores A Room in the West End
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20

Today’s questers were: MJ, Sharon, Cliff, Blythe

We ate: vegetable haggis, neeps and tatties, mushroom and thyme soup (2), tempura monkfish (2), fillet of sea bass, rabbit wrapped in pancetta, banoffee pie, cheeseboard

We drank: white wine, red wine, Belhaven Best, lager, water, espresso

We wore: purple stripey shirt, pony pendant, blue jeans, boat shoes

Total bill: c.£115

A Room in the West End on Urbanspoon

Written by BKR