Stac Polly has been around for many years, showcasing Scottish bistro food to appreciative Edinburghers. Strangely, I’ve never visited, although I used to pass their Grindley Street premises, now occupied by the excellent Kanpai Sushi, all the time.
I was joined on today’s quest by Gerry, who previously joined at the Olive Branch Bistro. We toddled the short journey from Waverley station to St Mary’s Street in the bitter cold, and were soon seated by the window in the bistro’s nice, warm, tweed-clad front room.
Their lunchtime menu offered one course for £11 and two for £15, which is towards the more expensive end of lunchtime pricing. Their location, in and around the central tourist area, is at least partly a factor in this.
They had a nice selection of dishes on the menu, from which Gerry chose the haggis bonbons, followed by the Portobello mushroom, while I opted for the aubergine bake, followed by the venison casserole.
Our welcoming waitress soon delivered our starters and they looked very bonnie, although my usual masterful camera work perhaps doesn’t quite convey that. Two haggis bonbons were served with a plum and coriander chutney. Gerry was very happy with the dish.
My aubergine bake was strong on aubergine, breadcrumbs and lentils, but light on tomato and mozzarella. The overall effect was quite good, and I liked the rocket pesto accompaniment, but it didn’t entirely rock my world.
I think that’s similar to how Gerry felt about her Portobello mushroom, with squash and cranberries, served in an open filo parcel. The combination sounds sweet, and so it proved, but it was a pretty decent dish.
My main course of venison was really good. It was a simple, hearty casserole, flavoured with juniper and accompanied by broccoli and a potato quenelle. The potato could have been a good deal more silky, but this was the only slight weakness in what was a highly enjoyable, warmingly seasonal dish.
We rounded things out with tea and coffee, accompanied by nice chunks of fudge, then we were soon thinking about getting on our way.
Rather strangely, we found the place curiously bereft of people, when we tried to get the bill. It was towards the end of lunch service, and we were the last table in the place, but it was rather strange to see the chef leaving. Then the waitress was nowhere to be found. When we finally tracked her down, then paid the bill, she disappeared again, so I had to go and grab our coats myself. We had no-one to say cheerio to, as we left. This was a rather unprofessional note on which to end.
So overall, I enjoyed Stac Polly. I thought the food was well-presented and offered good flavour combinations, with the venison dish really hitting the spot. The curious conclusion to service was a rather strange to end things, but hey ho. I’m glad we went, and I was pleased with our visit, although I’m not sure it’s a place to which I’ll be rushing back. It was solidly good, but not much beyond that.
Blythe scores Stac Polly
3.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
2/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 13.5/20
Today’s questers were: Gerry, Blythe
We ate: haggis bonbons; aubergine, tomato and mozzarella bake; venison casserole, Portobello mushroom, squash and cranberries in filo pastry
We drank: sparkly water, cola drink, tea, coffee
We wore: stylish black, tweed
Total bill: c.£45