It’s always good to get tip offs about new places, particularly when they come from respected sources like Barry Bryson. Barry passed on a mention of The Walnut, newly opened where Cafe No9 used to trade on Croall Place. I made a note to visit at my earliest opportunity, which presented itself today.
The interior is much changed from before, although the same relaxed atmosphere pervades. This feels a good bit smarter though, and this is backed up by a menu of dishes more in the bistro style.
They have a focussed lunchtime menu, then a broader a la carte selection. I opted for the soup, which today was an intriguing sounding carrot, black pepper and bacon, then followed with their hot sandwich, which was a citrus marinated pork shoulder, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickle ciabatta.
First up came the soup accompanied by two generous slices of ciabatta bread, freshly made in-house. The soup proved to be absolutely outstanding, so rightly takes its place among the soup immortals on Soupquest. The black pepper was firmly an ingredient rather than a condiment or seasoning, with its punchy heat beautifully tempering the sweet carrot and salty bacon. It was remarkable and accomplished stuff.
The sandwich that followed was darn good, too. The pork packed plenty of flavour and the bread was very well toasted for excellent crunch. It was really pleasing stuff.
The husband and wife team running the place are delightfully friendly, with chef having previously plied his trade at the Grain Store and the King’s Wark, both of which are real favourites of mine. The quality of fare on offer here reflects that impressive grounding.
So overall, The Walnut represents the first entry on our Top in 2016 list. It’s a fantastic new place that you must visit. With no main course currently priced above a tenner, I must come back to for an evening visit, as on the face of it the value looks to be outstanding. Make sure to pop in when you’re next in need of high quality food prepared with care and attention.
Blythe scores The Walnut
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16.5/20
I ate: carrot, black pepper and bacon soup; pork shoulder, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickle sandwich
I drank: sparkly water
I wore: maroon shirt
Total bill: £8.50
Address: 9 Croall Place, EH7 4LT