City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Mussel and Steak Bar


Average Rating:
4
Restaurant Photos
Mussel and Steak Bar front
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
Grassmarket
Serving times: 
Mon-Fri: 12:00-14:00, Sat: 12:00-22:00, Sun: 12:30-22:00
Telephone: 
(0131) 225 5028

You want good mussels?  Or a well cooked steak?  And you're in the Grassmarket?  This is the place for you, then.


The Reviews

4

Excellent surf 'n' turf in the depths of the Grassmarket.

Reviewed by Euan Andrews

Monday, April 18, 2011 - 2:46pm

The streets of Edinburgh’s tourist zone (that’s the entire city centre, by the way) are awash with bars, bistros and brasseries specialising in offering up numerous different types of food under one roof so as to entice passing trade.

Burgers, tapas, sausages with mash and tempura; these eateries are jacks of all menus and masters of none.

So it’s refreshing to come across a restaurant keeping things simple slap bang in the centre of the tourist belt. The Mussel and Steak Inn nestles at the bottom of Victoria Street, looking out across the west of the Grassmarket. Just to think, once as we dined here on our surf ‘n’ turf platters we would have been entertained by the sight of public hangings and floggings. Now, in 2011, we must make do with the drunken hollerings and stumblings of seemingly endless Hen and Stag parties (neither of which are allowed in the Mussel and Steak Inn, thankfully).

The lunchtime menu goes up to three courses for £11.50 and is, in a nutshell, an absolute bargain. There is also the offer of a most palatable bottle of house plonk for only £9. While the menu has the odd digression, such as toasted gnocchi or chicken breast with salad, it is rightfully for the seafood and steaks that this establishment is renowned.

The atmosphere inside is light, bustling and family-friendly. Open doors offer a view of an efficiently operational kitchen, while large television screens situated around the room unobtrusively display recipe ideas instead of the dreaded Sky Sports so often pumped out in less considerate city centre venues.

M and I are here mainly for the seafood today, although M does go off-message for starters with a goat’s cheese tart with fig chutney which she declares a perfect, light beginning to a meal. I’m also impressed with my devilled whitebait served with a garlic yoghurt dip. The small fish are spicy and crisp, easy enough to eat with by hand and coat with the luscious dip. Anyone paying attention will know of my fondness for the idea of Scottish tapas, and these whitebait would be perfect served with a pint of pale ale for a mid-afternoon snack.

We go all out for mussels for mains. My seafood curry comes with an avalanche of the shellfish heaped on top, while underneath generous helpings of squid and the fish of the day (haddock, on this occasion) are found within a perfectly cooked spicy coconut broth. Served with pilaf rice and a cooling cucumber raita, it’s an ideal one-course meal in itself.

M chooses the main attraction of the half kilo of rope grown mussels. These are served with a choice of sauces as well as the option of having chips cooked in either vegetable oil or beef dripping. Choosing the classic accompaniment of white wine with garlic and shallots, M is most satisfied with the cauldron of plump, orange mussels arriving in front of her.

Neither of us samples the steaks, but going by appearances these are clearly substantial cuts well cooked to order. Gorged on shellfish as we are, only I am able to cope with dessert. My banana and hazelnut parfait with chocolate sauce is incredibly sweet and tastes a bit like a nougat bar that has been hurriedly whisked out of the freezer. It’s not really to my taste, but should go down well with those with young children.

All in all, it’s an excellent three-course meal at a budget price. Instead of trying to cater for notional customers’ whims and tastes, The Mussel and Steak Inn specialises in getting a few recipes with well-sourced ingredients absolutely spot-on. During the busy Saturday lunch service, we were surrounded by happy diners tucking into steak and seafood. There’s no higher compliment than that.