Now that the urban village of Stockbridge has become an exciting foodie destination, it was time for more Edinburgh districts to offer good eating and drinking venues. The opening of the Riparian Rooms has thus been welcomed by local Broughton – Bellevue and New Town residents.
River in Latin is Ripa and Riparian means 'relating to or situated on the banks of a river’ but you won’t be overlooking flowing water outside the window here.! An ancient Broughton brook is now an underground river from York Place to the Water of Leith.
The aim is to create a restaurant that feels like a home from home …“Whether it’s breakfast at 4pm or cake and a cocktail at 1pm we want to accommodate our guests anytime of the day.”
The place was packed on a recent Thursday night when Ken and I visited for dinner; clearly the word has spread. The spacious, light-filled Bar-Brasserie has fashionable industrial chic decor, stripped back stone walls, dark wood, softened with leather, velvet and patterned drapes.
And so to the menu. Scottish produce – from porridge, black pudding and haggis for breakfast, to classic Cullen Skink, shellfish, beef, and Mull cheddar, the backbone of the cuisine.
To start, three Loch Fyne Oysters served with shallot and red wine vinegar. Salty-sweet and succulent, I could easily have enjoyed half a dozen. (Perhaps ring the changes and offer the option of Tabasco, a chilli or champagne dressing, gin & tonic marinated oysters ?) With this I sipped a glass of ice –cold Deutz Classic champagne.
Meanwhile Ken quickly consumed a hearty bowl of Carrot soup. When we asked Corey, our friendly waiter, to describe it – he said, “just carrot!.” Pure, smoothly textured without thick calorific cream. Very tasty.
Next, a well-presented bowl of Pan-fried Sea Bass on a nest of cherry tomatoes, green beans, sautéed baby potatoes drizzled with rocket oil. I appreciated the light, fresh simplicity of this Gluten Free fish dish, with no need to smother it in a richly flavoured sauce.
Alos sampled was a layered tower of Butternut Squash, wild mushrooms, truffled potato all topped with poached duck egg. Excellent!. At last, an inventive, appetising veggie dish.
Our selected wine was a bottle of Chilean Carmenere, well described as an aroma of cherries, coffee and vanilla. After this feast, just enough of an appetite to share a platter of cheese with home made crispy oatcakes.
We ended the evening downstairs in the Burrow Below, a cellar bar, all very relaxed and mellow and the ideal spot to try a Martinez cocktail, (gin, triple sec, bitters, lemon twist). The soft jazzy soundtrack, playing upstairs and here, adds just the right background mood.
The flexible menu flows seamlessly from breakfast-brunch (served daily till 5pm – hurrah!), blending into lunch service and then flowing through to martini-time and dinner.
Expect a distinctive ambience, welcoming hospitality and fresh, seasonal, Scottish food - Riparian Rooms is clearly a meeting place for all day sociable, leisurely eating and drinking, from morning coffee to late night cocktails.