City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

The Glasshouse Off The Mile

Average Rating:
Restaurant Photos
Photo of the Edinburgh restaurant
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
Old Town Edinburgh
Serving times: 
Mon-Sun: 07:00-10:30, Lunch 12:00-15:00, Dinner 18:00-22:30
0131 225 4564

Good, honest, fresh food served in a contemporary, calm oasis in the heart of the Old Town, just off the Mile.   The Glasshouse is passionate about uncomplicated food which is clearly reflected throughout the menus.

The Reviews


Deserves to become a much-loved restaurant institution off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Reviewed by Euan Andrews

Thursday, October 21, 2010 - 2:34pm

Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is increasingly littered with pricey “tourist trap” restaurants, singing gastronomic hymns to a mythical Brigadoon version of Scotland where the merest mention of bagpipes, haggis and overpriced Cullen skink is deemed enough to pull the visiting big spenders in. 

They’re business class culinary variants on the tartan tat shops predominating the capital’s High Street.  There is, however, the odd gem. Wedgwood, Monteiths and, down a little side street linking St Giles cathedral to the Bank of Scotland’s mistimed museum dedicated to unfettered capitalism, there is The Glasshouse.

Although mere steps away from the nearby forced “hooch-ma-gandy” of the Mile, The Glasshouse is all calm and serenity in an elegantly modern dining room complete with friendly, welcoming service.  Executive chef Steven Adair has constructed three different menus which perfectly cater towards customers’ needs, providing anything from a quick round of sandwiches or bar snacks to a perfectly measured three course dinner menu.  If there’s nothing on the menu which tickles your palate (and if there isn’t, then you’re probably in the wrong place), there’s even an offer from the kitchen to see what’s in the larder and concoct a special dish for your delectation.   This is a restaurant which aims to please.

Mother and I are here for lunch today.  The Glasshouse could be named in relation to its large front windows, enabling Edinburgh’s autumnal light to flood the chicly decked out restaurant.  We’re trying two different menus, Mother going for the table d’hote deal of two courses for £12.50 while I decide to indulge in the full Monty of the dinner menu.  Orders are swiftly taken and rung through to the kitchen, which then returns the ready and waiting dishes on a dumb waiter system.  It’s tidy and efficient, although does impede against my favoured pastime of kitchen gazing.

The table d’hote menu offers a selection of simple but well prepared dishes, perfect for a decent but budget-minded lunch.  Mother’s starter of Stornoway black pudding with beetroot and goat’s cheese is all about excellent ingredients presented in a straight forward and no-nonsense manner.  Her main course is a navarin of lamb, a rustic-styled French stew with mash and root vegetables.  It’s good, hearty fare for a suddenly chilly October. 

I, on the other hand, am unleashed on the dinner menu which is on a different, yet still reasonably priced, culinary level.  A starter of foie gras parfait with onion layonnaise and toasted brioche for £6.50?  Yes, please.  The layonnaise is like caramelised zesty onion marmalade, the soft doughy brioche bun is delicately crisped on the outside while the foie gras parfait is a little slice of heaven.  The presence of foie gras on a menu is often the cause of ethical debate.  Putting these aside for now, this parfait has a deep, rich flavour and makes me feel all tingly inside.  I would like to spend the rest of my days devouring it for breakfast every morning with a tiny silver spoon.

My main course doesn’t disappoint either.  A confit of duck leg with braised red cabbage, breast of Barbary duck on mash and crispy duck skin with orange jus, it’s a whole lot of duck done three ways.  The duck leg simply melts and falls away from the bone to reveal succulent meat under the crisp skin.  The nuggets of duck skin are like the most decadent type of fries on the side with the sweet richness of the red cabbage soaking up the flavours around it.  My only slight niggle is the duck breast, which I would have preferred slightly pinker in the middle, but this is a minor quibble on a near perfect dish.

I am a most satisfied boy by this point, and could easily leave full and contented right now, but decide to end with a palate-cleansing dessert.  A glazed lemon tart fits the bill perfectly, complemented by a lime and ginger sorbet which is like an explosion of iced citrus.  All in all, a pretty fantastic three course meal nicely rounded off with coffees which manage to pass the rigorous high standards imposed by my mother’s personal espresso test.

The Glasshouse Off The Mile is that rarest of things in managing to simultaneously juggle three different menus.  So many restaurants attempt to do too much and come a cropper in doing so.  Here, Steven Adair has a dining room which expertly caters for those in search of perhaps a quick lunchtime sarnie, a convivial two-course meal or a three-course gastro blow-out.  It manages to bridge the gap between fine dining and simple well-prepared food at quality prices.  It deserves to become a much-loved restaurant institution off Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.