The Outsider is a well-established restaurant on George IV Bridge. It famously polarises opinion, with some considerable splenetic venting, particularly about the service, apparent from the briefest of web searches.
I’d never previously visited, and had heard just about as many good news stories as bad, from first hand accounts, so approached with my usual impartiality.
Today marked the third lunch meeting of the “random lunch collective”, a little lunch club that has grown out of Freelance Friday, which in turn is a little get-together for folks working on freelance projects, of varying types, for an occasional end of week ale or two.
Having been warmly welcomed, we were soon considering what we might like to eat. Their lunchtime menu offers a nice range of options, with some daily specials. I opted to follow my soup, which today was lentil, bacon and tomato, with their pheasant breast, which was served with black pudding and squash.
Round the table, we had two orders of their roasted vegetable salad, for Tracy and Milo, while Lilly opted for the crispy gnocchi.
The main dining room, where we were seated was smart and buzzing, with a full restaurant of patrons enjoying a relaxed Friday luncheon. The views over to the castle were very impressive, and one of the most valued items for visitors to the premises.
While I dived in to my soup, which promptly arrived, the others tucked in to some fresh and tasty bread, served with nice pesto.
My soup looked really smart, with little crisps giving the dish a focal point. It actually looked a little better than it tasted, as while it was solidly good, it didn’t really have a compelling amount of flavour.
Main courses swiftly arrived. The other dishes looked good, but I was happy with my choice. The pheasant breast fell into the trap that is quite often the way things go with pheasant, with it being a little dry and flavourless. The black pudding pieces and squash cubes definitely livened things up, though, so that was pleasing. Savoy cabbage added a nice green element, too. I’m not convinced that all of the elements quite worked together, but it was a perfectly decent plate of food.
So overall, I was quite pleased with The Outsider. The busy setting, with its lovely Old Town views, is reason enough for a visit. The well-priced lunch is worth sampling, too.
Unlike many people, I didn’t have a particularly strong reaction, for or against the place. My abiding impression was of a restaurant that was a well-worn favourite for many of its patrons, with all the positive and negative connotations that that brings. The owners and staff members know what they’re doing, and they’re very comfortable with delivering it, but it felt like a place that had been trapped in aspic for a little too long. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as they say, and based on the crowded restaurant they had, today, their model still strongly appeals.
Blythe scores The Outsider
3/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 14/20
Today’s questers were: Tracy, Lilly, Milo, Blythe
We ate: lentil, bacon and tomato soup; crispy gnocchi; roasted vegetable salad (2), pheasant breast with black pudding
We drank: water, cola drink, coffee
We wore: random lunch wear
Total bill: c.£40