REVIEW : Dinner at Element, Rose Street

Rose Street is a narrow cobbled street in Edinburgh that runs parallel to Princes Street and George Street. It runs the length from St Andrews Square to Charlotte Square is predominantly pedestrian access with lots of bars, boutiques and restaurants lining either side.

Between Frederick Street and Castle Street, on Rose Street you’ll find Element. They serve up breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, drinks, cocktails, Sunday Roast and a great big shout out – they have a dedicated Gluten Free menu!

I’ve been in Element a few times now, and I still really love the decor. The bar is quite tranquil but still has a lovely buzz and the restaurant/bistro part is warm and welcoming.¬†This visit was to review the Dinner menu at Element.

Whilst chatting we peruse the menu and order some wine. I chose the Cuvee Caroline Picpoul di Pinet. A french wine that’s light and fresh with acacia and white flowers with a saline palate. My dining partner chose the Apello Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough from New Zealand. Full on with tastes of passion fruit, peach, citrus and a touch of herbaciousness.

The menu is fairly substantial and they have a specials board too. On the starter menu you’ll find dishes like Ham Hock and Chorizo Terrine or the Carmelised Red Onion and Roast Fig Tart; this was the one dish we were both tempted to try.

We ended up ordering the Whisky Cured Salmon. A rock oyster cure and served with pickled lemons, creme fraiche and a stack of bilinis. You could slightly taste the subtle whisky flavours on the thin slithers of salmon. The pickled lemons were a stroke of genius and it was a delight to build you own little belini bite.

I ordered the Thai Fish Cakes with sweet chilli sauce. These looked more like little potato dumplings as fish cakes are usually well formed disc shapes. They were quite delicious though. Lovely and light with a decent amount of fish throughout. I’d say they were lightly fried and well seasoned. The chilli sauce was thin and more of a dip than a sauce, just coating the fish cake. A really nice dish and if you were looking for a quick bite, this would be the dish to have.

Mains are all quite hearty dishes perfect for cold winter nights to fill and heat your bellies. You’ll find Flat Iron Steak, Duck Leg Cassoulet, Baked North Sea Cod and Beer Battered Scrabster Haddock.

But it was the sound of the Venison and Juniper Stew that caught my eye; with the promise of truffle finished potato, pickled red cabbage and roasted butternut squash. Now I have to admit, it is difficult to beautifully present a stew and I think Element done a pretty good job of it. It’s a little rustic but that’s what I would have expected. The venison was melt in the mouth and the butternut added the pops of sweetness that made this dish a delight. I couldn’t taste the truffle in the potatoes but 10/10 for the smooth and creaminess of them. The dish did require some seasoning but I can live with that.

My dining partner went for the Duck Special and I have to admit that I never took a note of what it consisted of. Our server rattled off the description in haste and we managed to understand it was duck and cherries! Anyway, he somehow managed to sell the dish to us plus we had been intrigued since seeing the Duck Nuggets on the starter menu, what they were.

This dish was winter on a plate. The colours were just gorgeous with vibrant greens, the dark reds from the cherries and the pale pink of the duck breasts. The hazelnuts were a nice touch and added the crunch factor. The duck was cooked well, seasoned well and succulent and tender. A great plate of food.

At this point it seemed that our waiter forgot about us but we managed to flag down another really lovely and very attentive waiter; who seemed happy to help us complete our meal at Element. The Peanut Butter Parfait with cherry coulis and chocolate mousse kept staring up at us both but we resisted the urge to order the same desserts.

To the table came the Lemon Meringue Cheesecake with Breton Biscuit. This was a different take on a cheesecake coming in a bowl with Italian meringue ontop. My dining partner scoffed the lot. I managed to scoop up a half teaspoon for a taste. For me it was very ‘eggy’ but I am a bit weird with it comes to eggs – so just ignore me!

For my dessert I chose the Apple and Blackcurrent Crumble with Tonka Bean Anglaise. A really large portion of the crumble. It was boiling hot and the apples and blackcurrents were almost jam like and still quite tart, with the soft crumble topping; it was a really pleasant dish. However, it was the tonka bean anglaise that transformed this dessert. Give me a bowl of that anglaise on its own anytime! It was everything an anglaise should be – light and easy pouring made with lots of cream. Heavenly.

I know this sounds cheesy but I’ll say it anyway – I was in my element at Element. It truly is a hidden gem in the city centre.

Element, 110-114 Rose Street, Edinburgh. Tel : 0131 225 3297

My Spoon Award : Silver 8/10








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