The Scran and Scallie has been top of the review charts, over the past couple of months, with Dominic Jack and Tom Kitchin’s new “public house with dining” having been launched with much trumpeting, at the end of March.
The premises are split into two sections, with a bar area, as you enter, then the main dining room through to the left. The entrance feels solely like a place where you would wait for your table to be ready, rather than a genuine bar. I can’t imagine just popping in here for a drink.
The main dining room has a slightly strange feel to it, too. It’s like a smart country inn that you’ve driven to on a Sunday afternoon, yet plonked in the middle of the city. The dominance of greying hair, wool sweaters and comfortable driving loafers does nothing to diminish the impression of pastoral repose.
As is the approach at both the Michelin-star restaurants of Messrs Jack and Kitchin, a battalion of waiting staff is on hand. Numbers work out at around one for each table. This ensures that services licks along at a decent rate.
The menu is extensive, offering a comprehensive selection of starters (“yer starters”), main courses (“yer mains”), alongside a good dedicated list of vegetarian options (“nae meat, nae fish”). I found the Scots language detailing gratingly twee, but I imagine that might be considered mean-spirited of me.
I chose to start with the sheep’s heid broth, not least because Edinburgh Foody had said some wonderful things about it, in her recent review, then followed with the braised hogget shoulder. Kim opted for their burger and chips.
My soup soon appeared in a lidded pot, which I was warned was rather hot. I removed the lid, to reveal a meaty looking soup, replete with mutton, vegetables and barley. It proved to be very good.
Main courses were similarly impressive, although my hogget danced on the very precipice of being over-seasoned. Certainly, the primary flavour sensation was of saltiness, rather than of meaty richness from the beautifully soft meat. The peas and lettuce brought balance to the dish, though, so I was pleased with it.
The burger was pleasingly soft, flavour-packed and juicy. It wasn’t quite as satisfying as the rabbit burger in Nobles, but it was still a damn fine dish.
So overall, the food at The Scran and Scallie is very good, so you’re likely to enjoy that aspect of your visit. I’m not sure what you’ll make of the overall package, though. Dressing the staff in jeans and polo shirts doesn’t give a place a relaxed, pub-like atmosphere. It just makes the staff look conspicuously less elegant than the punters, so that’s something that needs some consideration.
Much as many other reviews of the place have concluded, it’s a qualified thumbs-up for The Scran and Scallie. For devotees of Jack’s and Kitchin’s culinary skills, I think the lunchtime menus at their restaurants offer much greater value (although since writing this review, they’ve announced a new 3 course for £15 lunchtime deal, so perhaps the market has spoken), and equally for pub grub aficionados, I think Edinburgh has places that will please you just as much, in surroundings that are altogether less staid and stuffy.
Blythe scores Scran and Scallie
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20
Today’s quester were: Kim, Blythe
We ate: sheep’s heid broth, burger and chips, hogget shoulder with peas and lettuce
We drank: water, espresso
We wore: stylish blouse, brown suit
Total bill: £37.50