There remain a large number of restaurants in the city that I’ve not visited. Of late, I’ve been trying to pick off some of those of longer standing that have clearly stood the test of time. It was in that spirit that I popped in to The Apartment in Tollcross.
In previous days it was operated by Malcolm Innes – of Outsider, Ting Thai and Wildmanwood fame – and had a solid reputation for bouts of fairly poor service. Consequently it had never been high on my list to check out.
Things were on a surer footing from the outset on my visit with a warm welcome from all the waiting staff as I arrived. I hadn’t booked but they were able to accommodate me in a nice corner table in their hubbub-filled main dining space.
The menu was quite an eclectic mix of smart bistro fare. I quickly settled upon the squid and smoked salmon soup to start, but couldn’t quite decide whether to double-up on seafood or go for a meaty main. On recommendation I stuck with fish choosing the special roast monkfish tail with gurnard, potato salad and a crayfish bisque.
The starter took a moment or two to arrive, but was worth the wait. Profuse and well-cooked squid was carefully presented in a lightly fragrant broth that had well-judged smoky sweetness. It was a really pleasing dish.
We had a little issue with the main as they’d run out of gurnard so they asked if a piece of cod would be an ample replacement. I was happy to go with that.
Again, it didn’t arrive at lightning speed but the ingredient deficit probably accounted for that. Although the potatoes tap-danced on the precipice of being undercooked, it was a dish of really satisfying textures and flavours. The monkfish was well-treated and the crayfish bisque had profound flavour. I liked it a lot.
Their cheese selection was pleasingly flexible: you could order anything from one to four cheeses depending on your appetite. I opted for two with a blue and a goat’s. This came with rough oatcakes, apple and chutney. It was very good.
In essence The Apartment is a great example of one of the things that culinary Edinburgh does brilliantly – the reasonably priced middle-market eatery – that we often fail to celebrate. It was a joy to find another place in this style to add to the list of my regularly recommended places.
So overall, while the pace at The Apartment is fairly relaxed the quality of the food more than makes up for that. I was served very good dishes in welcoming premises with staff members that were clearly clued up; they looked after me well. I’d recommend it to you and encourage you to visit soon.
Blythe scores The Apartment
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for setting
4.5/5 for service
giving an overall 16/20
I ate: squid and smoked salmon consomme; monkfish, cod and a crayfish bisque; perl las blur and ribblesdale cheese
I drank: special white wine, Trentham Taminga
I wore: pinstripe trousers
Total bill: £51.10
Address: 7-13 Barclay Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4HW