Today in an afternoon of pre-book-festian merriment we popped along to the Edinburgh Larder Bistro on Alva Street to give their lunchtime set menu a go. The place itself is stylish with open stone walls and a raised back room with a clear-ish covered roof that allows for a lot of natural light and adds to the simple elegance of the design.
After we had been seated, a jug of cold water was brought to the table as I took forever to decide between the three starters and mains that I wanted to eat. I finally opted for a beetroot, chicory and apple salad with a vinaigrette, followed by the spelt risotto, on our waiter’s recommendation.
It took just enough time to assure me that each dish was freshly made when it arrived. My salad was an interesting balance of flavours, with the predominate ones being the sweetness of the beetroot and the vinaigrette and the bitterness of the chicory. The dish was good, though I wonder if a citrus hit would have elevated it just that bit more? (orange? Lime? Perhaps)
Once we had cleaned our plates, the main courses arrived in short order. My spelt risotto looked like a wonderfully composed dish and I was grateful that they were willing to leave out the cheese curd. The courgettes and squash were cooked perfectly while the spelt risotto was done just to the right firmness with a silky smooth element that was facilitated by the lemon rapeseed oil.
It was earthy, light and very good.
These dishes were followed by decent espresso and a quickly brought bill. Actually, the whole meal took just under an hour, and was very well priced: A perfect place to go for a business lunch that is a step above the Greggs takeaway, and I’d like to go back here in the evening some time.
Since it opened, just a few short weeks ago, we’d been promising ourselves a visit to the Edinburgh Larder Bistro. Having taken over the Alva Street premises previously occupied by a branch of Howie’s, it has been steadily building a nice reputation in its first few weeks of existence, with positive reviews from Bite, Leil’Appetit and The List.
We were a little surprised to find it very sparsely populated, today, but that was good news for us, as we had our choice of where to sit. We chose a nice table in their “conservatory” area. The opaque glass roof and exposed stone walls give a lovely sense of dining outside, without any of the inherent, weather-related drawbacks.
Our excellent waiter left us to contemplate the short, focussed lunchtime menu, and soon returned with a jug of water. Indecisiveness was once more to the fore, so even from a selection of three starters and three mains, there was a good deal of humming and hawing, mainly because all of the options looked so good.
Now MJ was quite insistent that I shouldn’t mark them down for not having soup on the menu, but I can’t let it go without comment, as it seems they don’t even have the saintly dish on their full a la carte. I wouldn’t mind quite so much, but the soup I had in their sister café deli, the Edinburgh Larder, was absolutely excellent, so I was rather looking forward to sampling further soupy treats. But you can’t win ‘em all.
I opted for a pork feast, with potted pork and piccalilli to start and pork shank with a white been stew, to follow. MJ eventually settled upon the salad to start, and the spelt risotto to follow.
Dishes arrived with polished swiftness, and both looked rather bonnie. All elements of my dish were very good, with piquant piccalilli, crisp, fresh toast, and beautifully seasoned pork. It was the kind of dish that I could happily have devoured while standing at the end of the bar, drinking a pint of bitter. It was wholesome and hearty, but with a nicely refined finish.
My main course was a similarly high quality proposition. Presented as a little tower, the white bean salad, with lovely chunks of chorizo through it, was topped with wonderfully flavour-rich pork. A classic combination, it hit the mark with unfailing accuracy.
Good espresso rounded off our meal, and we were left to contemplate a very pleasing lunchtime experience.
So, the Edinburgh Larder Bistro has set itself very high standards to maintain. I’ll certainly be back to visit again, soon. Now, if they could just sort me out with a nice bowl of soup…
Blythe scores the Edinburgh Larder Bistro
3.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 15.5/20
MJ scores the Edinburgh Larder Bistro
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4.5/5 for service
giving an overall 16.5/20
Today’s questers were: MJ, Blythe
We ate: potted pork and piccalilli, beetroot, fennel and chicory salad, spelt risotto, pork shank
We drank: water, espresso
We wore: pony pendant, checked tie
Total bill: £27