Twenty Princes Street has to be one of my favourite places to eat in Edinburgh. It has a beautifully decorated big open dining room, high ceilings, marble table tops and one of the best cityscapes in the Burgh overlooking the Balmoral, Waverley Station, down Princes Street then sweeping up towards the ever iconic Edinburgh Castle. It’s especially special in the evening and more so at Christmas with everything twinkling as far as the eye can see.
I was back at Twenty Princes Street to review their new seasonal menu.
There are some nice additions to the menu and some old staples too that have just had a wee make-over for the winter like the Seared West Coast Scallops. On the previous menu these were served with smoked haddock croquettes, leek and parsley and on the new menu they are served with squash puree, samphire and sage beurre noisette and pancetta crisp; whilst the North Sea Cod has been switched for Seabream. The steaks haven’t changed and you’ll still find a great selection for chargrilling on their Josper grill.
The most amazing addition to the starters is the Buccleugh Black Pudding and Haggis French Toast with black crowdie cheese and a spiced pork glaze (£7). This is insane! It’s all quite soft but so so tasty. The black pudding and the haggis had little delicious gnarly well cooked bits that had caught in the frying of this dish and the brioche bread added a slight note of sweetness. My only criticism… I wanted another 2 slices of this on my plate.
Next up was the Braised Ayrshire Pig’s Cheek with sesame pork croquette and star anise jus (£7). A little disappointed at the size of this starter as pig cheeks are fairly large and this was fairly small. They were succulent though and well seasoned. The croquette was densely stuffed with pulled pork. A nice enough dish but the french toast won this round hands down.
The Mains both came from the Josper Grill; the 18oz T-Bone Steak (£38) and the 10oz Venison Barnsley (£27) served with triple cooked chips and a watercress and rocket salad.
The T-Bone you’ll always find on the menu but as it was so great on our previous visit, my dining partner decided to have it again. Cooked medium, it was soft and tender and large enough to fill the belly of any hungry man.
The Venison is new to this menu and comes on the bone. It’s quite a thick cut of meat and very flavourful. I ordered the red wine sauce with it which was rich, silky and shiny.
The chips are outrageously good and abundant. Dunk them in your sauce at the end and you’ll be a very happy person for the rest of the night.
Now this is a side dish to write about. Creamed sprouts, savoy cabbage and bacon lardons. It has the flavour profile that hits every spot. Salty, sweet, crunchy, soft and it’s got bacon in it! Everything is better with bacon – right?!? It’s perfect for a winters evening but I could easily enjoy this all year round.
Throughout our dinner we were craving a bottle of wine and Twenty Princes Street has some of the best wines. We would have gone for the red wine Chateauneuf Du Pape, France at £64 – a bright and intense ruby blend of Syrah, Grenache & Mourvèdre with notes of ripe fruit, liquorice & gingerbread. If we have chosen white wine then maybe the Domaine de Castelnau Picpoul de Pinet, FRANCE at £27 – full bodied with herbal & citrus aromas.
In the end though, as we were both trying to be good and leaving the drinking for December, we ended up ordering two mocktails. From the Sunshine on Leith section of the bar book, we choose the Exotic Passion (£4) – Passionfruit Purée, Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Vanilla Gomme,
Fresh Lime Juice and the Very Cherry (£4) – Cranberry Juice, Cherry Purée, Fresh Lemon Juice,
topped with Tonic Water. Both very refreshing, slightly sweet with a tart sour finish.
I find at the moment I am on a loosing streak when it comes to desserts. I am not sure if my expectations are so high that I am let down or if the desserts are just genuinely not that great; or maybe I’m just a bad dessert penny!
The dessert menu looks and sounds scrumptious; and I form pictures in my mind from the descriptions hoping that either it will look or taste like I think it’s suppose to. For instance the warm Quince Frangipane Tart with stem ginger and honey clotted cream sounds amazing and I want it to be a warm hug next to a roaring fire. I didn’t order it so wouldn’t know. Next time.
I ordered the Buttermilk Banana Bread and Butter Pudding with pecan nut praline and my dining partner, the Tonka Bean Brulee. We ended up switching as I preferred the brulee and he the bread and butter pudding.
Unfortunately, although we had swopped neither were brilliant desserts. The bread and butter pudding was lovely on the top. The bread had been baked to a wonderful golden brown, the ice cream was melting over the hot pudding and some of the raisins had gone that crunchy chewy way which leaves them sweet. However once you’d eaten the top layer you were left with a very dry bland pudding underneath.
The brulee came with a fantastic crackled burnt caramel layer that any spoon would have been proud to crack through. Their was a definite taste of tonka bean but the mixture was seconds away from becoming scrambled egg. Again the top layer was nice. The Vienesse whirl however was lovely. Soft, crumbly with orange and dark chocolate.
My love affair with Twenty Princes Street continues. Despite the slight hiccup on the desserts, it remains up there with some of my top places to eat in Edinburgh. The staff are super friendly and very helpful.
My previous visit I awarded them my Tartan Spoon, and this time I award them my Silver Spoon 8/10.
Twenty Princes Street Tel: 0131 652 7370 www.twentyprincesstreet.co.uk