Patrons include Writer Robert Louise Stevenson, our National Bard Rabbie Burns and royalty – Bonnie Prince Charlie when his army encamped at Duddingston a month prior to the Battle of Prestonpans and Mary Queen of Scots who frequented the Sheep Heid as a stop on her journeys between Craigmillar Castle and Holyrood Castle.
It’s a pub steeped in history and is one of the oldest serving public houses in Scotland, established in 1360.
Fast forward over 600 years and the Sheep Heid has just undergone a massive refurbishment. It’s undergone a beautiful restoration, bringing it into the 21st century and appealing to a younger more foodie based clientele.
The bar is horseshoe shaped and stocks a wide variety of gins, craft beers, ciders, wines and sparkling wines. They also have a fantastic cocktail list that is seasonal as well as some classics. Monday to Friday, 12-7pm, you can get 2 selected cocktails for £10. Pornstar Martini’s here we come!
The Tartan Army (ok the TartanSpoonies and I) were out on force this evening having been invited by the Sheep Heid to review their new menu and a chance to see the refurbishment ahead of it opening to the public.
The menu is extensive and they also have a separate Vegan menu. They seem to cover everything and are trying to tick every foodie box out there.
On the menu, you’ll find:
- nibbles and sharing – 7 dishes
- starters – 9 dishes
- pizzas and salads – 6 dishes
- mains – 16 dishes
- steaks and burgers – 4 dishes
- sides – 8 dishes
- desserts – 13 dishes
Plenty of choice. It took us a while to decide but we eventually made up our minds.
Starter 1 – Deep Fried Brie in panko breadcrumbs with chutney. This sounds absolutely delicious and it’s quite impressive on the plate, but it was only just slightly warm. You so wanted the cheese to be soft, gooey and hot. Potential to be a fabulous starter.
Starter 2 – Chargrilled Chicken Skewers with goats’ curd, plum tomato, roasted red pepper, cucumber & mint salad. Chicken is the swop out option for the lamb koftas. This was pleasant. Chicken was well cooked and seasoned and the salad fresh. Three chicken skewers with warm wraps which might have been lavash bread (read on).
Starter 3 – Crispy Karaage Chicken with with cucumber ribbons, mooli, kale & cauliflower couscous salad and warm katsu sauce. This seemed to be the winning starter. It was served hot, the chicken was tender and the katsu sauce tasty.
Starter 4 – Salt and Szechuan pepper squid with aioli. I had high expectations here, but unfortunately it just didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Although the squid was cut really thinly, some of it was slightly chewy and it was another dish that was served luke warm. It has elements that could make this a fabulous dish.
Mains 1 – Lamb Chops served on a bed of peppers. The lamb chops were beautiful and pink in the middle; nice n tender but they lacked any seasoning even when the gravy was poured over them.
Main 2 – Chargrilled Lamb Koftas with goats’ curd, plum tomato, roasted red pepper, cucumber & mint salad with lavash bread. This is were it became a bit confusing as the starter of the chicken skewers or lamb koftas, was practically this same dish but with a £7 price difference. The portions were the same size, so I think either the starter got confused with a main or the main served was actually a starter. Either way, this was a tasty dish. The koftas were cooked perfectly, soft, succulent and sweet.
Main 3 – Roasted Pork Belly with potato dauphinoise, butternut squash purée, green beans, toasted almonds, crackling and red wine jus. The best part of this dish was the crackling. The other elements of this dish were nice but I really wanted something delicious. The pork, I felt could have done with more cooking although it was tender and tasty. The green beans were slightly underdone and the potatoes were a little insipid for me.
Main 4 – 8oz Rump Steak with twice-cooked chunky chips, crispy onions, grilled mushroom, confit tomato and baby kale with king prawns in garlic butter. For the price point and the description, you absolutely wanted this to be mouth-watering and deliver on every level. There was very little to find fault with here, everything was cooked well; it just missed out on something special.
Dessert 1 – New York style baked vanilla cheesecake with a forest fruit compote and whipped cream. It was creamy and packed a vanilla punch. Good berry coulis over the top.
Dessert 2 – Cheese Board (its sort of dessert) Shepherd’s Purse Yorkshire Blue, Lubborn Somerset Camembert, Belton Farm Red Leicester, Isle of Man vintage Cheddar with a selection of Fudge’s nut & mixed seed biscuits, grapes, celery and chutney. It’s cheese – nothing to say other than it was lovely.
Dessert 3 – Sticky Toffee Pudding with Bourbon vanilla ice cream. Sticky Toffee Pudding is my go to and my benchmark dessert. Get this right and all else is forgiven. Parts of this dish were good – the sauce was nice n sticky and caramel-ly but there wasn’t enough of it and the sponge tasted like it was ‘pinged’ courtesy of Mr Mike the microwave.
Dessert 4 – Melting Chocolate and peanut Bomb filled with sticky toffee pudding and peanut butter cream. Served with Bourbon vanilla ice cream & hot salted caramel sauce. This is what Instagram dreams are made of. It’s also a dessert lovers heaven.
The Sheep Heid has the potential to deliver stunning dishes. There is some tweaking to be done re the cooking and the service. Waiting 45 minutes between starters and mains doesn’t bode well especially when they stagger seat tables in 10-15 minute increments to allow the kitchen to actually cook the food.
It’s a corker of a bistro/pub. The decor is lush, they have a stunning outdoor beer garden which will be well used over the Summer and also have the oldest Skittle Alley complete with it’s own bar thanks to Johnnie Walker whisky upgrading the space.
I would definitely go back but I might leave it a few months whilst they iron out their teething issues.
The Sheep Heid Inn, 43-45 The Causeway, Edinburgh, EH15 3QA. Tel : 0131 661 7974 www.thesheepheidedinburgh.co.uk
My Spoon Award : 7/10 Bronze Spoon
I was invited by The Sheep Heid Inn to review their menu. Food and drink were complimentary but the views are very much my own.