City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Three Birds

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Average Rating:

Three Birds
3-5 Viewforth Bruntsfield
Edinburgh EH10 4JD
Restaurant Photos
Three Birds
Restaurant profile
Edinburgh Area: 
Bruntsfield, Edinburgh
Serving times: 
Mon–Fri 12:00-14:30; 18:00-22:00 Sat & Sun 12:00-16:00/ 17:00-22:00
(0131) 229 3252
Restaurant Established: 

Small and friendly restaurant serving imaginative and creative local food since 2012.

The Reviews


Quirky, cosy and stylish restaurant offering a creative menu of local food

Reviewed by Irene Brown

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 10:40pm

It was a serendipitous conversation in my local wine shop that led me to Bruntsfield’s new restaurant, Three Birds. In these days of rising prices, it is becoming more and more difficult to find good places to eat within the budget of Edinburgh Guide’s £10 challenge so it was a pleasure to find that Three Birds offers a 2 course lunch for £9.50. The purse strings could be pulled open with impunity!

There is an immediate sense of intimacy when this quirky, cosy and stylish restaurant is entered. That may partly be the mere size of the place, but the welcoming atmosphere from the friendly attentive staff has to be a factor too. The tables are of smooth dark wood with nicely styled matching chairs. The artwork of on the walls is limited but entirely suitable to an eating place for carnivores and vegetarians alike. It shows a pig, a cow and a bunch of carrots, beetroot and artichokes. There are also various wee spotty birds dotted prettily around here and there. In the state of the art candle lit toilet, Scottish Soapworks delightfully provide bespoke soap made from sweet tobacco, bergamot and olive.

When I arrived a little late, H. and I. had already chosen from the Side Bar of small snackettes that go from shoestring fries at £2 to charcuterie or veggie mezze platters at £7 and had almost cleared the 3bird dukkah, that comprises bread, extra virgin olive oil, smoked shallot vinegar and a dish made up of coriander and fennel seeds, ground macadamia, pistachio, hazelnut, almonds with cayenne.

There are specials on the board and sharing platters on offer in the daytime menu but we are on a mission – to lunch well for under a tenner. There was plenty to choose from the creative and imaginative menu with five starters and mains and seven ‘afters’ on offer. From this, my choice was wild garlic and potato soup with almonds and served optionally with snails. I opted in and they came nestled in the pleasantly green soup that was smooth, thick and with a gently piquant flavour. It was a thoroughly satisfying starter. I.’s choice was the crumbed seaweed and scallop squid with a sweet sesame dip whose white meat shone sharp against the green/brownish shell and was pronounced ‘very good’. A little pot of curried kidneys, that was both tender and naturally strong in flavour, and served with artisan bread was H’s choice.

It is a bonus in today’s world of allergies that Three Birds states that ‘Dishes marked with * can be made gluten free with minor adjustments. All other dishes are naturally gluten free unless stated’. The mains portions are quite small but it is lunch, not dinner, but if you are looking for a Desperate Dan serving, be warned.

My subtly spiced pork loin that came served on a creamy white bean ragu with wild leeks with barely cooked broccoli was tender with a crunchy coating the colour of burnt sugar. My dish was bright, flavoursome and attractive. H. chose the Toulouse sausage but ended up with the sumac seared baby octopus with squid ink risotto and preserved lemon drizzle as the black colour was not to I’s taste. (I should say at this point that impressively ‘Pickling, smoking and preserving are all done in house’) The risotto was suitably soupy and the baby octopus squidgily edible. The Toulouse sausage and pancetta broth with baby new potatoes was passed to I. but the verdict was that though the liquor was tasty, the sausage was dull and plain. Overall that dish was a bad choice and disappointing.

Afters, Three Birds name for puddings, called and two of our lunching trio had Affogato which here is a Matthew Algie Tiki espresso shot that comes in a tiny pot to be poured over a scoop of vanilla pod ice cream. A perfect wee pud in a cup! Okay, this took us over the £10, but that personal choice was ours. H. was more adventurous going for sweet lasagne sheets layered with summery fruits and mascarpone served with blue cheese ice cream. This novelty stood as a tower of sweet delight that miraculously held its shape till its demolition. Ice Cream and sorbets are made especially for Three Birds by Over Langshaw Farm and we were told that bespoke ice cream available on request. We will have to return to set that challenge!