The Refinery by Drake & Morgan
I was on my way to the train station, heading for Newcastle. I had a gigantic hangover acquired by having far too much fun at Field and the Last Word Saloon the night before. I was consequently in the mood for something pretty straightforward and hearty so headed to The Refinery by Drake & Morgan which I thought might hit the spot.
Despite the recent arrival of Dishoom, Wahaca and this place in quick succession and close proximity, I reckon the days of the Edinburgh restaurant scene waiting like a Pavlovian pup ready to suckle at the moist teat of watered-down provincial versions of tired London ideas is largely now behind us. I await the arrival of The Ivy with about as much relish as Gaby Soutar greeted her ghastly dessert at the Marco Pierre Shite steakhouse at the Carlton Hotel.
But people seems to lap these places up with unabashed vigour so who am I to stand in the way of them filling their boots? Well, I suppose I’m a voice yelling into the gale that we could do much better. We can certainly do a damn site better than The Refinery by Drake & Morgan.
On my visit, the first in a barrage of staff members greeted me at the door then showed me to one of their high tables that coupled impractically with discomfort.
The reverberating dining space is reminiscent of a typical Wetherspoon’s but with a nondescript upbeat soundtrack, an open kitchen and shiny copper cocktail shakers to inject some semblance of class.
The menu proclaims: Eat Beautifully, Drink Happily, Live Completely. I had to choke back the boak.
The selection of dishes is pretty standard pub grub fare. I opened with the scotch egg then followed with the fish pie.
The starter arrived looking much as expected. There was some mention of chorizo but this must have been part of the paprika mayo that accompanied things. The runny-yolked egg was fine but it was a characterless dish.
The fish pie came in a skillet atop a board and had a prawn complete with face peering out of the cheesy mash crust. The prawn had been cooked for about a fortnight so was inedible. The rest of the pie contained a number of little prawns that were rubberised making for intermittently chewy eating. It was another weak dish.
So overall, I could not be less interested in The Refinery by Drake & Morgan. I don’t get what they’re trying to achieve with their mish-mash of mediocrity. But the place was packed so it must just be a case of this being another place whose charms are wasted on me. Give it a go and see what you think, but set expectations to very low.
I ate: scotch egg, fish pie
I drank: sparkly water
I wore: new trousers
Total bill: £19.05
Address: 5 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BD