Destination : Dalkeith Country Park and the Restoration Yard Cafe.
Activity : to eat brunch with two of my favourite humans, my nieces Kim and Carmin.
Dalkeith Country Park is approx 20 minutes drive from Edinburgh. It has been in the Buccleuch family for over 300 years and on visiting you’ll find Dalkeith Palace, a stable block dating back to the 1740’s now home to the Restoration Yard, and over 1000 acres of woodlands to explore.
I particularly loved the Orangery which was built around 1832 by William Burn and was originally used to grow exotic fruits for the Duke of Buccleuch at Dalkeith House.
An orangery was often found in the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries. It was not only a greenhouse, but also a symbol of wealth and status and one of many outdoor features that owners would entertain guests with during tours of the garden.
It’s a brilliant place for children, who seem to love Fort Douglas, a new playground with two play zones for toddlers and kids over 5 with treehouses, suspension bridges and climbing walls, but who also love the amount of space to just let loose in.
For me the space was all about the dogs. It is dog-heaven. So many pups of all sizes and breeds lying, snoozing, drinking and sitting with their owners outside in the courtyard after long walks through the park. Download a map of the walks here.
The Restoration Yard consists of the Restoration Foodhall where you’ll find a self service coffee bar and can grab a cuppa coffee and cake to go; the Store where they sell some of the most beautiful things from homewares and fashion to glass and soft furnishings; the Wellbeing Lab where you can restore your self with yoga, pilates and massage classes; and finally we have the Restoration Cafe for something more substantial to eat.
On entering the cafe you immediately are hit by the brightness. Three sides of the cafe are floor to ceiling windows bringing the outside in, flooding the space with sunshine and happiness only accentuated by the large clusters of the gorgeous hand blown glass pendant lights, the quirky Parisian Volière aviary light fittings and the mass bouquets of bright summer flowers.
Some of the tables are cleverly themed using printers trays as display cabinets. Our table was model car themed and was a topic of continued conversation and delight, although it completely distracted us from looking at the menu!
This one was a particular favourite and reminded us of Ghostbusters.
With lattes and cappucino’s ordered it was time to stop staring out the window, or peering through the glass at our table trinkets, and study the menu.
The breakfast menu is small and simple – I like that. It’s fill with breakfast favourites and modern takes such as Smashed Avo with eggs, Eggs Benedict with additions of bacon, spinach or salmon, Full Veggie Breakie and Granola, Fruit and Yoghurt.
Kim chose the Waffles topped with honey and fresh berries. They also have a more savoury option of herb cream cheese and smoked salmon.
The waffles were dark brown in colour (perhaps just a little overdone) but still tasted yummy. Crispy on the outside whilst light, fluffy with a hint of vanilla on the inside. The berries glistened with the coating of honey and popped in your mouth. Some were tart, some tangy and some sweet. A filling breakfast but it definitely needed more honey.
Carmin loves Eggs Benny. This comes with two poached eggs on a tattie scone topped with hollandaise and she choose smoked bacon. Spinach and smoked salmon were the other two additional toppings.
The tattie scone instead of toast was a nice twist on this classic and proved a great vessel for soaking up the bacon flavours and the mopping up the egg yolk from the plate. A beautifully well presented dish.
I opted for the RY Full Breakfast with bacon, poached eggs, Lorne sausage, Stornoway black pudding, haggis, tomato, tattie scone and toast.
I was disappointed with this breakfast. At £11.95 it doesn’t offer value for money and when I requested no sausage, I wasn’t offered a substitute (which almost every where else that I have been for breakfast offers). The eggs were overdone (although not hard, they certainly didn’t come with a runny yolk).
However everything on the plate was well seasoned and cooked. The haggis and black pudding were lovely, the toast spot on and the bacon just on the right side of crispy.
Restoration Yard is possibly one of the most picturesque places in and around Edinburgh to have breakfast. Their ingredients are predominantly Scottish, sourced as local as possible (Dalkeith Country Park and Buccleugh’s sister estates) and change quite often according to the freshest and in season ingredients.
Their dishes are classics with a modern twist bringing you breakfast and lunch and on the odd occasion dinner. They cater for dietary requirements (just let them know in advance) and have a good few vegetarian dishes on their menu.
Service is good and very friendly with a lot of young staff working on the day we visited.
Restoration Yard, restores your self and the Cafe feeds your soul.
Restoration Yard Cafe, Dalkeith Country Park via Town Gate, Dalkeith, EH22 2NA
Tel : 0131 322 2572 www.restorationyard.com
My Spoon Award : Silver 8/10 (awarded to eateries where food and service are very good)