Welcome to the new Rabble! Gone are the brown banquette chairs, mood lighting, low ceilings and ‘that’ wall of darkness of the old Ricks. It’s been replaced by very open, light and airy decor. The ceiling is still low but its been replaced by lightly bleached wood which complement the light flooring. Many of the walls are filled with empty bottles and the bar rack surrounding the U-shaped bar refracts the light brilliantly creating even more light.
Rabble restaurant and bar declares itself as a rough-luxe taphouse and grill; and I went along to see how it all comes together.
On arrival we were shown around the newly refurbished space. I was here a few weeks ago for their launch but it was so busy that you couldn’t move never mind have a look around. The one thing that is very evident from the refurb is that Rabble have really thought about how the space will get used. They’ve thought about their audience and have came up with clever multipurpose solutions. Many of the sections can be closed off to create private party/dining areas with the use of moveable display units and seating can expand or contract. There are some nice poser tables for those wanting to stand at the bar, fabulous outside seating and I love the fact that they have also utilised the stairs down into the restaurant from street level by providing perfectly fitted cushions.
We grabbed a comfy booth by the large window. The sun was streaming in and it was roasting hot but the sights of the cocktail menu meant that we would soon be cooled down.
I love a good cocktail but for me as a blogger it’s all about the photograph. So when I ask a staff member what looks best they always look at my quizzically but soon come up with great suggestions. Our waitress recommended the Watermelon Un Classico Miami. This sexy wee number is made from Bacardi Superior, Mahiki Rum, Sailor Jerry Rum, fresh watermelon, Martini Rosso vermouth, Martini bitter with raspberry and sugar. It surely is sunshine in a glass!
And the Famous Langham Colada hit the spot on this super sunny evening. It’s essentially a frozen Pina Colada. A concoction of Koko Kanu, Bacardi, wray, coconut cream, pineapple, sugar and lime.
Their menu is filled with tasty delights, but it was such a hot evening; it felt like Summer had finally arrived in Edinburgh and we didn’t want to spoil it by eating something too hearty.
You’ll find the likes of Copper Dog and Hickory BBQ Smoked Ribs and Salt Baked Beetroots on the starter menu. We opted for the Pig Cheeks and the Slow Roasted Peach Salad. Outstanding choices.
The pigs cheeks are slow roasted (Rabble is all about low and slow. Their meat and fish are slow cooked over white oak charcoal on their open fire pit) in a lemon thyme crust with sticky pork sauce and apple ketchup. These are porky pig heaven and I could easily of had numerous portions of these. The pork sauce comes in a wee copper pan that you pour over the crusted cheeks. Soft, tender, melt-in-the mouth.
The peach salad is genius! It’s light and fresh and you can build the perfect mouthful of torn mozzarella, caramelised pickled shallot, tomato, basil, lettuce and then the soft, sweet, fleshy, warm peaches. I loved this and will try replicate it at home but I know I will have to go back to Rabble to eat this again!
On to the mains. There was a slight mix up here as our waitress thought we had ordered the Asparagus starter, so Coal-Fired Asparagus with Poached Duck Egg and Hay Hollandaise was delivered to our table instead of the Chargrilled Asparagus, Broad Bean, Pea and Tomato in a black pepper crusty tart with a Smoked Arran Cheddar Cheese Sauce (sounds delicious right?!). Nonetheless, the asparagus and poached egg where lovely. The egg was poached to perfection with the yolk oozing out over the spears.
We also tucked into the Marinated Salmon with red pepper and oregano, baked on cedar wood with crushed potato and chorizo crisps. The salmon was nice, a little over cooked for me but I have to give them credit for baking it on the cedar wood. The smell was incredible. The potato and chorizo smash was nice too but the whole dish needed something with a different texture to really elevate the dish.
It was cocktail time again and we went for the Blackstrap ‘n Buck which is Chairman’s Spiced Rum, Mount Gay Black Barrel, Appleton Estate Signature, Pomegranate molasses, lime, pineapple and ginger beer. This is rich with intoxicating spice and tropical sweetness.
And the Peach Cosmo Cobbler pimped for the Scottish Summer. It’s white peach, summer shrub, Lillet, Stoli, Cointreau, wine, pomegranate syrup and citrus.
And just because we still had room in our dessert belly, we opted for the Sugared Mini Doughnuts with raspberry and salted caramel dipping sauces (stop drooling!). The salted caramel sauce was silky and thick with the perfect balance of salt and sweet. The raspberry sauce was thinner and provided the tart sharp taste. There were plenty of doughnuts coated in sugar. If you have a very sweet tooth, this is the dessert for you.
And the Strawberry Cheesecake with Prosecco and basil jelly. This dessert was mediocre. It was quite a large chunk of cheesecake on a very odd biscuity base. We only managed a couple of spoonfuls.
I think Rabble (Ricks) has found it’s identity. No longer is it a bar with 10 unique rooms upstairs, it’s now a boutique hotel, restaurant and bar smack bang in the city centre that radiates relaxation and comfort. A welcome addition to the George Street side of the city.
The food is delicious here and I will be back several times for the Pig Cheeks and the cocktails. A super venue for first dates, date nights, dinner with friends, a works night out or just drinking cocktails and beer.
Rabble Taphouse and Grill, Frederick Street, Edinburgh Tel : 0131 622 7800 www.rabbleedinburgh.co.uk
My Spoon Award : Silver 8/10