I’m always happy to be proven wrong, and so I was, this evening. For one reason or another, I’d had a strong suspicion that Earthy wouldn’t really be for me. I had made the assumption that it would be one of those meekly worthy places that so pleases many, and so bores me. But not for the first time, I was entirely incorrect.
MJ has been having some bad luck with cabs, lately, so I was first to arrive. I was delighted to be greeted by a friendly face, as our waitress, this evening, was a friend I hadn’t seen for many years. I was shown to a nicely solid wooden table, just next to a stylish upright piano.
I was left with the menu and wine list to consider, while the Edinburgh taxi fraternity ferried my dining companion across the city.
Soon enough, I was welcoming the beaming-faced MJ, and I was successfully predicting what she would be ordering. My choice was fairly predictable, too, as I opened with barley risotto with squash, hazelnuts, and parmesan, then followed with rump steak, served with winter vegetables.
Starters were soon with us. MJ’s mussels looked impressive, but my risotto, once the tiresome rocket hat had been shoved aside, looked really good. Each element, from the flavour-packed squash to the beautifully toasted hazelnuts, was of real quality, and the salty parmesan brought things together really well. It was a really pleasing dish.
My main course was an absolute monster. I’m not quite at competitive eater standards, but I can happily pack the stuff away. This plate both intimidated my eye and defeated my belly capacity, by the end.
The potato and sweet potato wedges, were disappointing, being respectively too floury and just a little underdone, but the roasted swede was excellent. The star of the show, though, was a deeply flavourful piece of rump steak, cooked accurately rare. It was right up there with the Nira Caledonia as the best steak I’ve eaten in the city.
So overall, I was highly impressed by Earthy. I was always sure that this would be a place that MJ would love, but I wasn’t so sure it would win me over quite so overwhelmingly as it did. Their dishes were high on quality and flavour, with very generously sized portions. I’d happily come back to sample more of their delights and would strongly recommend you visit, at your earliest convenience.
I knew when I arrived at Earthy, in Canonmills, that I had won. It took me a while to talk Blythe into going, even though I’ve long been a fan of their cafes ever since I lived around the corner from their shop in Newington.
I hadn’t eaten at this branch since they got their kitchen installed and I was really looking forwards to exceptional food and had been drooling over the menu online for days.
Blythe was there before me (in an affront to my uncontrollable urge to arrive for things about 10 minutes early), and he was comfortably settled into a corner table beside a closed up piano, which reminded me of the quirky decorations at Lovecrumbs.
Looking at the menu, I decided to go doubly fishy this evening and ordered the mussels and the fish and a carafe of their house white.
The wine was nice, unmemorable, but it gave a nicely acidic kick to the courses on the eve. When the large bowl of mussels in cider with wholegrain mustard came out on a large slab, accompanied by a couple of slices of the shop’s bread (which I know to be tasty) arrived, I was pleased. The mussels were large and well cooked, and the cider and mustard played off each other and the wine superbly.
It didn’t take long before our mains arrived. Blythe’s large plate of steak and trimmings looked grand if a little un-finessed. But my fillet of sea bass, crushed sweet potatoes, grilled spring onion with harissa and lemon was an elegant symphony of tastes. It was perfectly cooked and the sweetness of the potatoes worked well with the lemon and onion. It was a winning dish bursting with freshness.
I love Earthy. I always have, and now that I’ve eaten there for lunch and dinner, I look forwards to getting to try their popular brunches one weekend.
MJ scores Earthy Canonmills
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 15.5/20
Today’s questers were: MJ, Blythe
We ate: barley risotto; mussels; hake; rump steak
We drank: white wine; red wine; water
We wore: pony brooch; stripey socks
Total bill: £62.50