City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Princes Street Hotel Restaurant for smart, sophisticated wining and dining


By Vivien Devlin - Posted on 14 October 2013

5

The opening of Twenty Princes Street and the Juniper cocktail bar is a very exciting new venture for eating and drinking: glamorous, sophisticated with a prime city centre location.

The Restaurant is called a Grill and Smokehouse for good reason; the kitchen features a famous Josper Grill (pronounced Hosper). Steak and seafood retains flavour and texture in this sealed charcoal-fueled oven, thus recommended by top chefs Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal.

In charge is Head Chef Tony Sarton, (formerly at Tigerlily on George Street) so he knows all about fashionable good food. The huge menu is well designed with sections called Warm Up Acts, Main Event, Headline Act and Garden Party.

With so much to browse through, head first to Juniper for an aperitif. As the name implies, Gin and Tonic is a signature tipple. When was it invented?. A 17th century Dutchman used juniper berry oils to create a spirit he called Jenever. A century later, when French brandy became expensive, a gin craze spread through Britain.

The Drinks menu has all the classic martinis and inventive new cocktails, wines by the glass, beers and Bubbles. Sit back and relax in one of the gorgeous armchairs or sofas.

After a flute of Prosecco, my partner and I took our seats next door in the Restaurant at a spacious booth. Banquette tables all around the room – but if you want a window view, you would have to book well in advance.

From the list of starters (Duck Liver Parfait, Smoked Halibut, King Crab), I selected Seared West Coast Scallops. These were delicately cooked and lighly flavoured with apple and vanilla consommé. Across the table Ken enjoyed a kind of Edwardian Devilled Mushrooms breakfast dish : Garlicky Woodland mushrooms on toast with a poached quail’s egg on top.!

In the section, Alternative Act, Seafood is the star turn. I could not resist the Grilled Lobster, accompanied with garlic butter or Thermidor sauce. I also had a cheeky side order of Triple cooked chips. I wasn’t sure what these Fries would be like, but certainly very well (too well!) crisply cooked. But the lobster was superb.

From the Main courses and Josper grilled steaks and burgers, Ken chose Roasted Salmon served on a nest of Tagliatelle alla Vongole (Cockles) in a creamy broth. The chunky fish with the classic pasta dish made a refreshing change from the ubiquitous mash - and was quickly consumed. With our meal we sipped a brambly Australian Shiraz.

Encore is the name of the Dessert menu but we opted to decline, after our excellent meal. (Chocolate Fondant, Crème brulee, and other indulgent treats).

The cuisine celebrates the finest, freshest Scottish produce, with the provenance given on the menu. (Castle May Estate Beef, Hebridean Salmon). This will change regularly according to the market and season.

As well as lunch and dinner served in the restaurant, you can call in to Juniper anytime for a drink and a savoury snack from the Street Food menu. Perfect pitstop after a shopping trip: Lobster sub sandwich, Oysters, Smoked Salmon croquettes, Mac & Cheese.

This “Hotel” restaurant will certainly attract guests staying here. But 20 Princes Street will no doubt soon be on smart and savvy Edinburgh diners’ map for a classy place to meet for a night out with friends.