The query, “Are you sitting comfortably?" is sure to be greeted with a positive response. The soft cushioned armchairs and banquette around the walls are well designed to entice diners to linger longer over a leisurely meal.
You could imagine Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, lounging on high backed wing armchairs here as they ponder a curious crime case, over Venison stew and a single malt... "Elementary, my dear Watson".
So, all settled, let's begin. Around midday on a winter afternoon, cosy and comfortable, Ken and I browse the All Day Menu. This covers both Lunch (soup, Ploughman’s platter, Croque Monsieur, Chicken, homely desserts), and also Brunch, served 10am to 5pm daily which is a most sensible concept: classic and contemporary dishes such as the full Scottish (Crombie’s sausages, black pudding, haggis, egg, tattie scone, et al), and Eggs Benedict any which way you fancy with ham, smoked salmon or spinach.
After a month of Dry January and Veganuary to encourage us all into a fitness regime, Ken ordered the Vegan Breakfast: a healthy combination of meat free sausages, haggis, home made baked beans, mushrooms, tomato and a mound of scrambled tofu. This has the pale yellow colour and fluffy texture of the real egg version, and very tasty indeed.
I selected another healthy Brunch dish, Smashed avocado jazzed up with chipotle flakes on toast, topped with two poached eggs. This was oh so delectable – the creamy, vibrant green superfood spread thickly on chunky ciabatta toast over which drizzles the rich golden yolk. Other "On Toast" options are ‘hummus, roasted red pepper, halloumi’, & ‘scrambled egg and smoked salmon’.
The flexible menu means you can mix and match, adding sides to create your own brekkie feast – such as bacon, black pudding, sausage, as well as Chips - irresistable!. So we shared a portion of long thick fries, perfect crispy skin around soft flaky potato.
Bubbly and Brunch cocktails are warmly recommended including the essential Bloody Mary as the ideal accompaniment. This is shaken up according to your taste, based on a 5 - 10, medium to hot, Tabasco score.
After 5pm, the Dinner menu takes over with Starters (Thai fish cake, ham hock terrine), followed by lots of mains – steak, cassoulet, venison stew, Haddock & chips, and Perthshire Beef Burgers (with optional cheese, bacon or haggis on the side); fruit crumble, ice-creams. The wine list is well priced from around £18 a bottle (South African Chenin Blanc/ Merlot), international beers, (Scotland, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Mexico), spirits and house cocktails. The "One o’clock Gun" sounds like a colourful concoction of Bourbon, Laphroaig, Torrino Rosso, Campari, which will surely fire a shot!
Morning, noon and night, you will be in your element here, to enjoy imaginatively devised dishes and reinvented pub favourites with style, complemented by a fine choice of drinks.
Stop Press: Element is part of the Edinburgh Restaurant Festival, 5 – 25 February, 2018 offering a special menu: £20 for 2 courses, £25 for 3 courses celebrating fine Scottish cuisine with an optional whisky flight per course.