I’d heard a little bit about Michael Neave, before I visited, on a recent Thursday evening. Caroline from Edinburgh Foody had been for a visit and enjoyed it, muchly, and a couple of Yelpy friends had spoken of it with wild enthusiasm.
I was on an errand to book for a forthcoming large group lunch party, as I’d heard about their excellent “express lunch for busy people”, offering three courses for £7.95. Once I’d done the necessary booking, it seemed churlish not to stay for some dinner, to give their a la carte a quick once over.
A split level place, combining an upstairs bar, focussing on an excellent array of single malt whisky, and a downstairs dining area, which combines clean wood and a green I might venture to call celadon. It’s as elegant a dining space as you’re likely to find in our fair city. It has a wonderfully understated chic.
The menu is beautifully balanced, too, with an excellent blend of meat, fish, poultry, vegetarian, and game. Soup was conspicuous by its absence, but I found solace with the crab and crayfish ravioli, served in a bisque. I followed with the Perthshire roe deer.
To open, little warm cloud rolls arrived. They were even lighter and cloudier than those served at Field, last week.
The ravioli was soon delivered, and was a pleasing, if not totally winning, dish. The ravioli were expertly made, and the filling light and sweet. The accompanying crisp seaweed was excellent, but the intense dressing on the accompanying leaves took things off in a complex direction. Without it, you would have had a very clean and elegant dish. With it…it was much more intriguing and in some ways more memorable, but I’m not convinced the overall effect was worth the gamble.
The main course again showed flair. The roe deer, wrapped in a lovely layer of smoky cured goodness, was accompanied by excellently fragrant lavender carrot puree, accurate fondant potatoes, and a deeply rich, savoury sauce, with notes of whisky.
I couldn’t resist the cheeseboard. It was a routine selection of cheeses, with good chutney and grapes. It was tremendously joyful to see properly generous oatcake wedges, rather than the overly dainty mini oatcakes that have depressingly become the norm.
This was all accompanied by satisfyingly aromatic malbec, and rounded out with good espresso and shortbread.
So overall, Michael Neave was extremely impressive. The place has style and class aplenty, and the seasonally changing menu offers well-executed, imaginative dishes, grounded in showcasing locally sourced produce. I look forward to my next visit, when I’ll sample their lunch menu.
Blythe scores Michael Neave
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16.5/20
I ate: crab and crayfish ravioli; Perthshire roe deer, with carrot and lavender puree, and rosemary and Auchentoshan sauce; cheese board
I drank: water, malbec, espresso
I wore: Magee suit
Total bill: £42.20