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Jul 16, 2013 09:00 AM

Edinburgh - Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar

We'll be in Edinburgh for in early September. I have many ideas, but am trying to decide on a restaurant for Friday night. Upscale, but not high-end Michelin range (that's the following night, and already booked). Not pretentious, welcoming, not necessarily specifically a Scottish menu, but with a good selection of meats that we don't see so much in the U.S. - rabbit, lamb, quail, etc. Considering The Honours, but we've eaten there, and I'd like to try something else. I came across Michael Neave Kitchen & Whisky Bar. It sounds very good, made especially appealing due to the two whisky lovers in the group. Any advice?

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  1. The NY Times recently ran one of their "36 Hours In" travel articles about visiting Edinburgh. The article had quite a number of suggestions for eating & dining.

    Here is a link:

    1. You don't see much lamb in the States?

      4 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        I live in San Francisco, but get to spend almost 2 months of the year in northern Scotland. I see far more lamb in the meat cases in the supermarkets in Scotland than I do in the U.S.

        1. re: DavidT

          Is Lamb not so popular in the US?

          1. re: AWaiting

            Lamb was pretty popular when I grew up but maybe things have changed. My mother often made us lamb chops for dinner, and that was probably the most common thing people bought. I don't remember having a leg of lamb all that often and certainly not lamb neck fillet and never lamb steaks.

          2. re: DavidT

            Yes, that's definitely true, DavidT. There's a real abundance of lamb in the UK and in different forms like I mentioned below. I was just a bit surprised to read there wasn't much lamb... rabiit I can understand!

        2. Michael Neave is pretty decent if somewhat hit or miss. Sometimes he throws some bizarre ingredients at dishes that just don't work.The room is kind of funny as well down in a basement and with an almost canteen type feel but the staff were lovely when we we've been there. He does have a good range of whisky though!

          There are plenty of bars serving decent whisky. Mark up of whisky in restaurants is generally sky high.

          I love the Grain Store which sounds like it could fit the bill. It's also directly across from an excellent beer and whisky bar. Dubh Prais also has a Scottish slant to it although it's been a while since I've been there. Both have websites to look at details on line.

          For something a little bit different and also quirky, have a look at Iglu. It's quite a small room above a bar heading down into the New Town. They place a lot of emphasis on the provenance/quality of the ingredient. I've also just noticed that they do a whisky meal tutoring as well although I'd be inclined to skip that and walk the 50 metres to Kay's bar for something very different and a fantastic range of great beers and whiskies!

          2 Replies
          1. re: AWaiting

            Thank you all, and keep the suggestions coming; good to hear that about Michael Neave; I'll have to consider that further.

            Lamb is not so commonly seen on menus in the US; rabbit and pigeon are more rare; don't know that I've ever seen grouse (though we do have pheasant in our area). We live in a smaller city, so we don't have the choices available in San Francisco, Chicago or NYC, for example. We can buy lamb at the market, but I think the one time I made rabbit, I had to special-order it. To generalize, probably more Americans than Europeans view lamb and rabbit as cute animals that they would never eat. That's nobody in my family, though!

            Iglu has been a possibility; I also like it because it's closer to our B&B and in a less-touristy part of town, but I was thinking maybe something a little more special. The Grain Store - I have it on my list, but hadn't thought about it for this dinner. As far as I'm concerned, the foie gras torchon has me sold. Dubh Prais seems a little too Scottish for this dinner - we'll be in Edinburgh to drop off our son at University, this will be his last dinner with us before we head home; he'll get plenty of Scottish food over the next four years!

            1. re: AWaiting

              I second the excellent beer and whisky bar opposite the Grain Store and Kay's bar for Whisky and not choosing a restaurant for whisky. Timberyard is upscale (well in mind it is for the prices) but welcoming, and has things like pigeon and pheasant and specials of the day. It will be funky and vibrant enough for the youngsters.