Restoration Yard

Restoration Yard – Steak Night

26th April 2019 7.30pm

Dalkeith Country Park is a lovely place. I am ashamed to say I had not visited since its refurbishment a few years back. There’s a new chef on the block in the form of Colin Halliday, who has previously worked at the likes of The Caledonian and Gleneagles. The café opens up in the evening on the last Friday of each month for a steak night, which is what we went to sample. Don’t worry if you are not a steak fan, as there are alternatives if you prefer.

Food – 9/10

What we ate:
Pork belly
Smoked haddock fishcake
Fillet steak
Rib-eye steak
Sticky toffee pudding
Raspberry crème brûlée
Two diet cokes

The starters were a bit different in size but that wasn’t an issue. My pork belly was small but perfectly formed. However, it was the accompanying Stornaway black pudding bon bon which was the star of the plate. Every mouthful was packed with flavour and was a delight to eat. The pea purée and apple sauce ensured that the food wasn’t too dry and pulled all the elements together. Across from me, the fishcake was also getting the thumbs up. This came with a crispy hen’s egg, which was breadcrumbed, along with a tomato and onion salsa. It was a hearty starter but balancing it with salad was a good idea.

Smoked Haddock Fishcake - Restoration Yard

Smoked Haddock Fishcake – Restoration Yard

Pork belly - Restoration Yard

Pork belly – Restoration Yard

Both steaks came with roasted cherry vine tomatoes, a portobello mushroom and hand-cut chips. I chose the Café de Paris butter to go with my steak and my dining companion opted for a peppercorn sauce. We didn’t get steak knives for the steak but this caused no bother as the meat cut like butter. Both of the steaks were full of flavour. I was really pleased with the café de Paris butter, which I had not eaten before. It was full of herby flavour that worked so well with the steak. My friend also rated the peppercorn sauce, adding that it had a nice heat to it. The chips were plentiful and the vegetables well cooked.

Fillet steak - Restoration Yard

Fillet steak – Restoration Yard

Rib-eye steak - Restoration Yard

Rib-eye steak – Restoration Yard

We pushed the boat out with dessert. I couldn’t resist the sound of the sticky toffee pudding and my friend loves a crème brûlée. The sticky toffee pudding was delicious. The vanilla ice cream was beautifully smooth and the toffee sauce was incredible. The raspberry crème brûlée was being enjoyed too. My friend said it was unusual to have the raspberries under the sugar top rather than at the bottom of the dish but it worked really well that way. The top was crunchy and gave a good crack when hit with the spoon.

Sticky Toffee Pudding - Restoration Yard

Sticky Toffee Pudding – Restoration Yard

Raspberry Creme Brûlée - Restoration Yard

Raspberry Creme Brûlée – Restoration Yard

Service – 9/10

Nothing was too much trouble. The staff were friendly and helpful.

Atmosphere – 8/10

The dining area was light and airy and full of quirky decorations from the tables, which all seemed to have themes, to the light fittings. The views were great, with the large windows allowing diners a view out into the park. However, there was no escaping the fact that this felt more like a café than a restaurant – which is what it is most of the time.

Value – 8/10

Pretty good value. Whilst this meal was complimentary, the total cost would have been around £95.

Overall – 34/40

Would I eat here again? Definitely. It is well worth a visit.

Whilst this meal was complimentary, all views expressed are my own. Thanks to Lucy for organising.



9th July 2018 8.30pm

Hawksmoor opened in the newly renovated Edinburgh Grand complex to much excitement across the city. We went along to Hawksmoor’s soft launch to see what they had to offer. Set in a grand former bank, the venue is certainly impressive. We had put in for the random draw for tables in the soft launch and ended up with a table at 8.30, which meant it was a little quieter but also that most specials had sold out and they also had no bone marrow related items left.

Langoustine scampi - Hawksmoor

Langoustine scampi – Hawksmoor

The menu looked good but I couldn’t decide on which starter to pick, so I asked the server which to pick between the langoustine scampi and the potted beef and bacon (which is unlike me to do). She said both were great but believed the langoustine scampi edged it. I took her advice and she kindly said she’d also order the other one for us to try, on the house. At the time I was impressed at this generosity but it appears they offered something free to other diners, a hook for a return visit no doubt. I also ordered a rib-eye steak with a side of dripping fries. My dining companion went for the old spot belly ribs followed by the rib-eye and triple cooked chips. We got a side of spinach with lemon and garlic to share too.

The starters looked a little uneven in size with the langoustines being relatively small and the potted beef and bacon, coming with two Yorkshire puddings, which were massive in size. Let’s start with the langoustine scampi. There were about six pieces served with a tartare sauce. These were light and tasty. The langoustines were cooked well and the tartare sauce was of good consistency. The potted beef and bacon came not only with the Yorkshire puddings but a big boat of gravy to pour over the top. This was all tasty but way too large for a starter for one. It would work better as a sharing starter. That being said, I would never want to share my Yorkshire puddings! The pork across the table was gorgeous and the accompanying salad was refreshing.

Rib-eye steak - Hawksmoor

Rib-eye steak – Hawksmoor

We both had the same cut of steak and I have to say they looked a bit lack lustre, appearing rather dry than succulent. I even got a comment on Instagram saying how poor it looked. However, whilst it wasn’t a stunner, the flavour was spot on. The steak was perhaps a touch more well done than the rare I had asked for but only a smidgen. It was still juicy and full of flavour. I picked a béarnaise sauce which was tasty and the fries finished it off nicely. The triple cooked chips on the other side of the table were also pretty decent. The spinach wasn’t too bad either. However, we couldn’t finish the steaks as we were scuppered by that additional starter.

There was no way we could fit in dessert but we were given a couple of the salted caramel rolos free to take home and try. I had mine the next day and they were pretty delicious. The oozy caramel was on the generous side, which in larger numbers would make for a fun dessert.

The service in Hawksmoor was excellent. The brand will hold the place up, as well as having an beautiful venue, but I’m not sure it offers the best steak in Edinburgh.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 9/10
Atmosphere – 7.5/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe if there was a deal on.

Cost £47 full price cost closer to £100.

Fillet Steak - Miller & Carter

Miller & Carter

2nd May 2017 6pm

Already well established out at a Cramond Brig, Miller & Carter have recently opened up on Frederick St, so it would be rude of us not to pop in to put it through its paces. On entering the place, it had quite a stylish, albeit dark, feel inside. We both really liked how it was decked out. We were welcomed by our waitress, who was incredibly helpful. We had a quick look at the drinks menu and spotted that many of the cocktails were £4.95 Monday through Wednesday – bonus! So we got on with ordering a cocktail each and then chose some nibbles plus mains. I went for olives followed by a fillet steak (ordered rare, as recommended on the menu) and my dining companion chose the toasted breads with bread dripping butter followed by a full rack of smokey barbecue ribs.

Strawberry Daiquiri - Miller & Carter

Strawberry Daiquiri – Miller & Carter

The drinks and nibbles came quickly. The cocktails were excellent. My olives were all pitted, which I prefer and were large and juicy. On the other side of the table, the bread was cut into fingers and were a variety of types, which was really nice. The beef dripping flavour was quite subtle but did allow for the butter to be slathered over the bread easily.

Bread and Olives - Miller & Carter

Bread and Olives – Miller & Carter

I was advised on ordering my steak that I also got a lettuce wedge before the steak which is treated a little like a palate cleanser. Our mains were not brought by the waitress who had been serving us but by another member of staff and came without having the lettuce first. Our original waitress came to check on us and I explained the missing lettuce and she was so apologetic and brought it out instantly, along with a steak knife she’d notified I was missing. To be honest, I hadn’t missed that as my standard knife was cutting through my meat like butter. The fillet was cooked as I’d requested and was incredibly soft. It was full of flavour and just delicious. It came in at 8oz which I thought was very reasonable and had a small circle of parsley butter on top. Alongside the steak was my choice of sauce (bearnaise), an onion loaf, which was very lovely, a balsamic tomato and a side of fries. All of the food was of a really good standard. My lettuce wedge ended up being eaten alongside the steak. I’d chosen it to have a cocktail and crouton dressing on top which was beautifully creamy. I couldn’t finish the dish (partly as I had also been out for lunch, like the pig that I am) so left a bit of the lettuce and some of the fries but it wasn’t for lack of trying! On the other side of the table, my friend absolutely demolished her ribs. They were massive but she managed to get through them. The meat came off the bone easily, which meant she could use a knife and fork so her fingers didn’t get sticky. She also had fries with her ribs and a small tub of slaw. You can order the ribs as a half rack if a full rack seems a bit over-facing.

There were a lot of lovely desserts on offer but we just couldn’t manage them so had another cocktail before leaving. I think next time – and there will be a next time – we’ll need to make sure we’ve not eaten all day to eat a full three courses here.

Food – 8.5/10
Service – 8.5/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 33/40

Would I eat here again? Yes and fully intend to.

Cost £68 for two sets of nibbles, two mains (including fillet steak at £24.95) and four cocktails.

Rump Steak - Shebeen

Shebeen – Dalry

7th February 2017 6.15pm

We were actually booked into the Morrison St branch but a call just over an hour before our booking confirmed an issue with gas and the grill and they offered to move us to the Dalry Road branch, which didn’t pose too much of a problem. It was a dreich night and as a result the restaurant was a little chilly. However, the restaurant braced it’s South African roots with décor and music to buoy you. I had been recommended Shebeen a couple of times for its steaks, so I had to choose a steak. Shebeen offers a variety of steaks – rump and sirloin are available in ‘cheetah’ size (up to 480g) and ‘lion’ (over 500g) and then when available, t-bone and rib-eye are also options. I went for the cheetah sized beef rump and ordered monkey gland sauce on the side. My friend went for the rack of ribs. We both chose calamari for our starters.



The calamari came out very quickly. Served in a bucket on a plate with side salad and a sweet chilli mayo, it looked nice but meant having to lift the big bits of calamari out onto the plate to cut. The calamari was covered in a nice herby batter. It was just a shame it didn’t actually stay on the calamari. The seafood itself was a touch rubbery, which was a shame but it wasn’t as far as making it inedible. We kept our fingers crossed that the mains would be a bit better.

Calamari - Shebeen

Calamari – Shebeen

The mains came out and whilst we knew the portions would be big, we were still stunned with the size on arrival. My steak was verging on 2 inches thick (the photo doesn’t do it justice). Cooked exactly as I requested it – rare – and coated with their own special rub which was tasty. The steak was served with a small number of chunky chips (when I say small, I mean 4, but they were huge), mushroom, onion rings and a side salad. This was a hearty plate of food. The monkey gland sauce consisted of onion, garlic, smoked paprika, mango chutney, chilli, Worcestershire sauce and port, which was sweet but delicious. The whole dish was full of flavour and I have to comment on how tasty that mushroom was, even if it wasn’t the star of the dish. This was a good course. On the other side of the table, the ribs came with the same accompaniments, even though it hadn’t be advertised as such on the menu. There was lots of meat on the ribs and the flavour was excellent. She sung the meat’s praises. Sadly due to the volume she couldn’t eat much else on the plate but she enjoyed what she had.

As we were, unsurprisingly, too full to finish everything we had to pass on desserts, which was a shame as I had been eyeing up the peppermint crisp tart.

Overall Shebeen is good. A little costly, particularly the starters (£7.50 for the calamari) but the mains are probably worth it.

Food – 7.5/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 7/10
Value – 7/10

Overall – 29.5/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe

Cost £55 for two starters, mains and diet cokes

Rib Aye




23rd October 2016 1pm

Sister restaurant to the Kilted Lobster, Rib-Aye opened in Leith earlier this year. A little hidden away but actually just a stone’s throw away from the main road and surprisingly very spacious inside with not one but two open fires. A timely Itison voucher meant we were able to check out the restaurant at a reduced price. The voucher was a steak (rib-eye or sirloin), side, sauce and cocktail for two for £35.

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart - Rib-Aye

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart – Rib-Aye

We both selected the rhubarb and raspberry tart cocktail. This was quite sweet but went down well. We went for a very similar steak set up, both choosing rib-eye, mine rare and my friend’s steak was medium. I chose asparagus and spinach as my side and my friend when for triple cooked chips. We both had a béarnaise sauce, although there was an extensive list to choose from, which was nice.

We didn’t have to wait too long for our steaks. They were presented on beautiful plates but they were a little cold. However, the steaks themselves had good flavour and were cooked just as we had requested. The size was decent too. A little side salad was pleasant enough but I really enjoyed my side of asparagus and spinach. Just a shame they cooled quickly on a cold plate. The béarnaise sauce was more of a dip but worked really well with the steak. On the other side of the table the chips were demolished!

We had enough room for dessert, even though this did not form part of the deal. I went for a chocolate mousse and my dining companion went for her favourite, creme brûlée. My chocolate mousse said it came with candy. What I hadn’t expected was haribo. Most of it was chopped up but the mousse was topped with a haribo fried egg. It did make me chuckle. I am not entirely sure it worked with the mousse but I am never going to complain over haribo. The brownie pieces that came with it gave it texture but wasn’t really necessary. On the other side of the table, the brûlée was a generous portion. Whilst there was not enough sugar caramelised on top to give it a crunch, the flavour was really good. She was not too keen on the apples and crumble on the side.

Whilst generally the food was good and the venue was lovely, I left feeling slightly underwhelmed and it’s going to need a few tweaks to be at the same standard as the Kilted Lobster.

Food – 7/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10

Overall – 31/40

Would I eat here again? Maybe

Cost – voucher was £35 plus another £10 for two desserts.