McKirdy’s is a staple of Edinburgh’s West End, having moved from the premises now occupied by Khublai Khan’s, many years ago, to its current location on Morrison Street. The McKirdy family butcher pre-dates that by a century or so, too, so it’s safe to say they’re well established.
I’d visited many years ago, and remember being quite impressed, so arrived looking forward to a considerable meat fest.
The decor is simple, heavy on Vettriano prints, and somewhat in need of updating. You could call it “classic” if you were feeling generous. It reminded me of other Edinburgh restaurants that are trapped in a time bubble: Kweilin, The Outsider, the Broughton Street Khushi’s. These are places that have hit upon a winning formula and are reluctant to deviate from it. The risk of staleness will eventually loom large, though, for all of them.
I enquired about their soup of the day, and mention of spicy bean and honey had me intrigued. I chose to start with that, then following a period of humming and hawing, I eventually settled upon their mixed grill, to follow.
The soup was good without hitting the heights. The spice and sweetness cancelled each other out, rather, leaving a decent but fairly innocuous bean mixture.
The mixed grill was the proverbial curate’s egg. The steak fries (what I’d call chippy chips) were the best I’ve tasted in the city, by some distance. The haggis was excellent, too. The lamb chops and rump steak, though, were entirely under-seasoned, which was a crying shame, as the quality of the produce was clearly extremely good.
Perhaps I’ve been spoiled for beef and lamb, given my frequent trips to steakhouses in Istanbul, where they serve things highly seasoned. I’m sure Scottish meat is far superior, though, so it’s so vexing to find it prepared in such a timid way.
Also, bottles of Heinz tomato ketchup and Hellman’s mayonnaise really don’t have a place in a restaurant serving beautifully-sourced fillet steak for £27, these days.
So overall, for its core product, McKirdy’s didn’t hit the mark, for me. Great chips and haggis are always to be valued, though, and if the kitchen can be persuaded to season the meat with more brio, this could be an excellent place. For now, they’re not getting the best from the outstanding produce they have on offer, which is a source of considerable sadness.
Blythe scores McKirdy’s
3.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
3.5/5 for service
giving an overall 13/20
I ate: spicy bean and honey soup; mixed grill (rump, chicken, sausages, haggis, black pudding, lamp chop) onion rings, steak fries
I drank: house red
I wore: purple tie
Total bill: £33