In the early days of Lunchquest we put a fair amount of stock in visiting places early – hopefully scooping others to have the first review of a place, for example – but that has become less and less of a thing as time has gone on.
I remember being in Forage & Chatter on their opening night entirely by mistake, and I think we were the first to review LeftField but these are memorable for their rarity. It often pays to give places a chance to bed-in with a good example of this being Toast on the Shore.
We visited in their first month or so and found the place a total shambles with the disconnect between kitchen and front of house clear for all to see. We made a note to allow at least six months for a settling-in period. On a bright Wednesday it seemed about time to check on their progress.
The space – a former gallery – is very smart with a blend of banquette seating, high window stools, and outdoor tables with a view over the water. One wall has a very stylish wine cabinet and the whole place feels settled and elegant.
I took a seat at the window and was promptly greeted by a familiar face in the shape of chef Kenny, previously of No1 The Grange amongst many other places. He knows well that I write reviews but didn’t check whether I was on a “working visit” until after I’d finished eating so I reckon I got a fairly representative experience of what the place is about.
The food offering has a brunchy feel to it, with various Benedict style eggs combos, good quality coffee and a smart cake counter.
I opted for their shakshuka, a vibrant dish of Mediterranean veg topped with baked eggs served in a skillet. I added an espresso which was of very pleasing quality. I didn’t check but as with his previous businesses, I expect owner Zak Hanif is still staying loyal to his favoured Monmouth.
The shakshuka arrived looking pretty stylish served with two good hunks of sourdough toast.
Kenny remains obsessed with topping dishes with microherbs, which I suppose we’ll just have to agree to disagree about, but otherwise the dish was excellent. The tomatoey base of onion and aubergine was deeply satisfying and the brightly yolked eggs were spot on. This was a dish of charm and brio that was as substantial as it was enjoyable.
So overall, Toast has settled in very nicely and has a calm assurance about it that was not in evidence on my previous visit. I will have to come back and review their wine selection, perhaps during one of their regular tastings. I look forward to that as it’s a relaxed and classy establishment serving food that is highly likely to impress.
Blythe scores Toast
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 17/20
I ate: shakshuka
I drank: espresso, water
I wore: deep, deep mint trousers
Total bill: £10.50
Address: 65 The Shore, Edinburgh EH6 6RA