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[Edinburgh] Somewhere fairly casual

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We're planning on a 3 night trip. Perhaps almost needless to say, we'll be taking care of two dinners - one at the Kitchen and the other at Wishart (interested to try the mother ship after a stunner of a meal at Loch Lomond).

Fancy somewhere a bit more casual (ish) for the first night. Ondine, Plumed Horse or the Witchery all tick different boxes for us but we've no experience of any of them. Any thoughts?

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  1. I can't comment on the places you mention Harters, but my causal choice on a recent trip was Gardener's Cottage which we loved.

    Manintransit also visited recently but drew the short straw on where he was seated, which made it less successful for him. There are write ups on both our trips, I think.

    have a lovely time - we had a great time at Wishart too.

    1. Harters

      I don't think that I could really class any of those as being casual. Plumed Horse is clearly ex Michelin star and the room is as such. I'm never taken to it particularly and part of the problem is that with it being so close to MW and The Kitchin and for a similar price, it's no where near as popular and therefore the room can feel quiet.

      I'm not a fan of the Witchery at all. If anything, it's almost the most formal of the 3 as it has a reputation that almost makes it want to live up to "This is what fine dining restaurants are". It's a wedding anniversary/valentines day restaurant in my opinion.

      Ondine is probably the least formal since it's basically a hotel restaurant. I really rate Roy Brett as a chef. Brilliant if you enjoy seafood.

      If you stayed down in The Shore section of the city for proximity to Wisharts and The Kitchen, there's Edinburghs fine dining Indian bang inbetween the 2 - Mithas. Food's very good and is more casual than the first 2 restaurants that you mention at least.

      As Abby has stated, The Gardener's C is excellent and certainly casual/rustic but top quality.

      1. Thank you both.

        After some juggling round of dates, we are now booked at Kitchen & Wishart. Mrs H has also scored a scorching hotel deal on the Leith waterfront, so it may well be Mitha's is the third meal. We do like an upscale Indian. Is it a walk-in sort of place or do I need to book?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Harters

          I quite enjoyed Kitchin (note the i) but it was pretty exxy.

          If you want really casual, how about the Tail End fish bar - excellent fish and chips, and on the bus route from Leith.

          And you could always do the really good value lunch at 21212 and compare notes from The Old Days.

        2. Hopefully the weather's nice when you're up. I like The Shore part of the town, particularly on Sunday as it just feels a bit more relaxed and less hurried.

          You could probably get away with walking up to Mithas, particularly if it's not a Friday or Saturday night but it may be wise to phone up in advance, even if it's the same day. In that area you also have Fishers seafood restaurant which is decent and the Kings Wark for pub grub (people rave about the great breakfast they do but I'm not convinced).

          1. please try Mark Greenaway, I just posted a reply to Manintransit. We had lunch there at the weekend and it was really good. Tasty, pretty, good sized portions, modern ie espumas, smoke and pearls but not sic-fi level.

            2 Replies
            1. re: curiouseater

              It's interesting that you rate it so well. I've read some reviews on other blogs rating it highly. I've been three times trying to understand what the fuss is about including one time with a GFG reviewer and one time with a chef who knows him. There's not been one meal that I (or others) rated that highly and some dishes that were just poorly executed. It felt like dishes were used to show off techniques rather than using techniques to show off ingredients. The menu was also priced at a similar level as Edinburgh's Michelin restaurants.

              I agree that the restaurant is more relaxed than other "fine dining" restaurants having said that the staff do not know as much if you ask them questions so overall it comes across as less fine dining. Mark's supposed to be a really nice guy, the restaurant has just moved location and he's just had a really good review in one of the Scottish papers so maybe I should give it another go, although for the time being I couldn't rate it.

              Thanks for reporting back though Curiouseater.

              1. re: AWaiting

                oh no I feel the weight of expectation on me. I hope you enjoy it if you go! We had the crab cannelloni and duck pave to start, these were probably the weakest if the dishes primarily as it was a cold sleety Edinburgh day and those dishes would be better in summer as they were cold starters.
                Next we had the hake which was a good piece of fish, cooked well with an Asian slant which worked well. The cauliflower risotto which was what you would want from a risotto rich, warm- an edible hug.
                Then we had the mains, The beef was excellent as I said ( in reply to an old post it seems! )fillet, bone marrow, short rib. Good quality meat and a generous portion which is rare in places with fine dining aspirations. The pork belly whilst good paled in comparison to the beef. The puddings were an unexpected pleasure, especially the peanut butter cheesecake which I would definitely have again, and the plum jam jar, which being tart was a good foil, for the quite decadent hot toffee sauce which came with the cheesecake. We also had the broken citrus tart which I didn't like as much as I thought I would primarily because of the texture of the tart which had a bit too much gelatine ( or something) in it for my liking.