I’d noted with interest the signs of Lovage’s imminent arrival, then heard a little about the place in the build up to its opening. So having given it a decent while to find its feet, we were delighted to finally visit for lunch today.
I was joined by MJ which was rather lovely. With a strong commitment to local sourcing and a good value lunch menu – two courses for £13.95 – it’s just the kind of place she tends to like.
The lunch menu has a focussed selection: three starters, three mains, three desserts, a cheese option and some side dishes. We were very happy with what was presented so quickly alighted upon our choices.
MJ started with their take on haggis, neeps and tatties then followed with the steak served with wild garlic mash. I opted for the pea and lettuce soup then a main course of hake.
Service was friendly and attentive throughout; very nicely judged to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Quite often its these sort of “intangibles” that new places struggle with so it was great to see this settled feel established from the outset.
Lightly toasted bread and fresh green dip arrived and was very tasty. It was a good prelude to my fresh green soup which was velvety smooth. The rather chunky piece of little gem lettuce at the centre looked and tasted good but was a slightly challenging thing to work out how to eat. I eventually managed without inflicting major facial burns.
MJ’s haggis dish looked very bonnie and the piece I sampled had good flavour and texture.
I enjoyed my main course hake a lot. It was very smartly cooked, with crisp skin. It was rather better than a similar dish I’d had at Norn a few weeks back. The accompaniments – ratatouille, baby potatoes and a shellfish sauce – weren’t quite so convincing but it was still an accomplished dish.
We rounded things out with half decent espresso then were left to ponder, chat – which included discovering that we were sitting next to Joanna Blythman’s – and reflect on a very enjoyable lunch.
So overall, Lovage is a very pleasing new addition to the Edinburgh restaurant scene. They seem to have licked some of the very difficult aspects to get right with new places; the atmosphere and feel of the restaurant is spot on. I think there’s room to make their food, which is starting from a smartly elegant footing, just a bit more memorably compelling as I found the overall experience better than the individual dishes, but if they can keep improving things they have the potential to become one of the best restaurants in the city.
Lovage is a small but beautiful modern Scottish restaurant just off the Royal Mile, but the tranquillity (and lack of punters) inside makes it feel a world away from the crowds of Edinburgh.
One weekday I met BKR there for a much-planned lunch. Once we discovered it is in prime Pokemon location, we took a few minutes to look over the menu and order.
I went for the haggis, neeps and tatties to start. All the elements were there and it was solidly good.
For the main part of the show, I went for the steak with wild garlic mash. Though I admit I was sad at the small portion of steak (3 pieces), it was a good size for a lunch when, ostensibly, I would have to waddle back to work and not fall asleep on my desk. The mash was well-flavoured and the steak was very good. It all came together nicely.
Overall, the lunchtime prices are quite reasonable and the service was excellent at Lovage. The only slight downside is that just over a week later, I had to go back to the website to look at the menu to remember what I had ordered, as the dishes had not lived on in my memory.
Blythe scores Lovage
4/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16/20
Today’s questers were: Miriam, Blythe
We ate: pea and little gem veloute; haggis, neeps and tatties; steak; hake
We drank: water, espresso
Total bill: £31.40
Address: 38 St Mary’s Street Edinburgh EH1 1SX