Printing Press Bar & Kitchen
I’d heard mixed reports about the Printing Press Bar & Kitchen, in the George Hotel, since it opened in late 2015. The consensus seemed to be that it was very stylish, but the service, in particular, was mixed. Having given it a good few months to iron out the service kinks, I popped in for a lunchtime visit.
I was joined by first time quester Steph and returning hero Frances, who most recently joined at Seasons.
The dining room is indeed very smart with a large restaurant space populated with comfortable furniture. I was impressed.
At lunchtime, they offer both the full a la carte and an express lunch menu. The latter was only made available when we asked for it, which is usually a bad sign for how the overall service experience is going to go. Without making any major mistakes, aside from a wrong juice delivered to Steph, service felt just a little vague throughout.
Steph stuck to the a la carte, starting with hot smoked salmon, which was served with pickled fennel and little, round potato scones. This turned out to be the best dish we saw; neatly turned out, simply executed and rather pleasing.
She followed with a fish finger sandwich, which was her first and on the basis of today’s will likely be her last. Served neither open nor closed, the fish fingers lacked crispness and the bread didn’t hit the spot.
Frances and I chose from the express selection, both starting with the ironbark pumpkin soup. It was routine stuff that failed to raise interest levels. The scone-like accompanying bread (or was it a bready accompanying scone?) was leaden.
Frances’ mushroom barley risotto was bordering on disastrous. The presentation in a very simple bowl did nothing to make it visually appealing, the mushrooms on top had an inedible texture, and the risotto itself tasted plain odd. The dominant flavour was something other than mushroom – too much Marsala, perhaps? Whatever the case, it was a dud dish.
The mince n tatties were similarly underwhelming. Three inelegant potatoes were served atop a portion of richly dark mince in bone marrow gravy. It sounded good, but again we had ingredients that felt overworked and divorced from their native flavour. It was fine but little beyond.
So overall, it’s really hard to give the Printing Press a score that would make any sense, so I won’t even try. The bottom line is that as things stand style dominates over substance. The broad menu lacks coherence and the dishes we tried today were almost all problematic. A comprehensive rethink is required to get the fundamentals delivered to a much stronger standard. Until that happens, it’s not a place that I could recommend.
Today’s questers were: Frances, Steph, Blythe
We ate: ironbark pumpkin soup (2), hot smoked salmon, mushroom risotto, fish finger sandwich, mince n tatties
We drank: sparkly water, juice
We wore: black, black, pink
Total bill: £60.90
Address: 21-25 George Street, New Town, Edinburgh EH2 2PB