Thursday 14 November 2013


Lunch at Edinburgh Larder

Edinburgh Larder is located in the heart of Scotland's capital and celebrated its first birthday earlier this year. There are two locations in the city and we had the pleasure to visit the Bistro on Alva Street, which offers its customers a fixed price lunch menu between noon and 2.30pm where three courses are priced at a very reasonable £15 per person.

As we walked into the restaurant we had the option to be seated downstairs or go up to the conservatory. We opted for a table on the second level, which while providing an open and inviting ambience did make us feel a little abandoned as we were the only diners there for the duration of our lunch. Furthermore the interval between courses was very long making it at times seem as if our waiter had forgotten about us.

With three options per course there isn't a lot of variety on the menu but as there is a vegetarian, meat and fish choice in the starters as well as the mains it is sufficient to fulfil most patrons' preferences and dietary requirements. And for the price of the fixed menu the choices on offer, varying from rabbit loin to pumpkin and pearl barley risotto, are more lavish than expected.

For my starter I chose the rabbit loin, potato purée, barley, green leaf sauce and cider butter. It was beautifully presented and all the different elements worked very well together, providing some unique flavour combinations. While there was too much sauce on the plate in comparison to the meat, it was a delicious start to the meal and I was overall very happy with it.

My friend opted for the soup of the day, which was an interesting and tasty combination of celeriac, toasted hazelnuts and apple; a very wintery and warming soup, which is perfect for the current cold temperatures sweeping the nation. It was served in a beautiful bowl and was complimented by bread with herb butter.

To follow up the soup my guest chose the fillet of local mullet, sea foraged vegetables, potatoes and tarragon vinaigrette, which was another lovely presented and tasty dish. The mullet was complimented superbly by the vinaigrette, but as a whole the main lacked both colour and vegetables. Furthermore the piece of fish was on the small side, making it not sufficiently filling as part of a three-course meal, let alone if ordered as a main on its own.

My toffee glazed pork, braised lettuce, crushed potato, horseradish and apple salad was more successful as the fantastic flavour combinations made it one of the most interesting and delicious dishes I'd tried in a long time. Not only that but I was in awe of the stunning and colourful presentation on my plate, the little touches with the flowers made this not only a very appetising dish to eat, but also inspiring to look at. The pork itself was cooked to perfection and combined with the wonderful horseradish and apple salad this was for me the unrefutable highlight of the meal.

To finish her lunch my friend opted for the sweet cicely burnt cream with sweet clover and honey biscuit which, in her own words, was a creamy and luscious dessert. I chose the savoury option of Scottish cheese of the day with homemade oatcakes, apple and fresh chutney which was a classic yet still tasty combination of flavours, hitting the spot just right after an already satisfying meal.

The restaurant has a rustic interior and the conservatory provides a lot of open space and greens making for a simple yet inviting atmosphere. The food served is both appetising and colourful and made from products which are seasonally fresh and locally sourced.

Slightly hampering our enjoyment on the day was the slow service. We waited nearly half an hour after our starters for the mains to be served and another twenty minutes between our mains and desserts, making this an unsuitable location for a rushed lunch. If however you have plenty of time for a sit-down meal in the afternoon then the fixed price lunch menu provides great value for some very tasty dishes.

Edinburgh Larder, 1a Alva Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4PH, Scotland.

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