the whiski rooms, edinburgh, review

Back in August (!) the Fringe was in full swing, we had some lovely weather and the streets (and restaurants) were awash with tourists. My in-laws were up for a week and so we met with some of their relatives who live up in Scotland for a summery evening dinner. It was so crazy at the time that I never got round to writing the review.

Wanting Scottish fare, that wasn’t going to break the bank, I suggested we head to the Whiski Rooms. As it’s in a prime spot at the top of The Mound, I was slightly dubious given that it will be a popular spot with tourists. I don’t have anything against tourists but I find that restaurants who cater to them know they don’t need to have their A-game so they don’t try as hard as the less touristy ones – if that makes sense?

Anyway, we headed there on a busy summer’s eve (seems like such a distant memory now) and were seated swiftly by the friendly staff.

The Whiski Rooms is famed for its whisky collection – with over 300 to choose from whisky connoisseurs and fanatics alike would be in their element here – and all of the menu options have suggested complimentary whiskies. The decor is cosy and tasteful with bare-stone, gallery walls of Scottish themed pictures and a nice atmosphere. It’s subtly Scottish without having to plaster tartan everywhere.

Between six of us, we had the haggis, fish & chips, steak and venison.

I chose the loin of venison with crispy kale, giroles, stilton and beetroot purée, parsnip crisps and a port and red wine sauce.

The venison was perfectly cooked with a rich pink centre; sitting atop the beetroot and stilton purée. I couldn’t detect the cheese which was ideal for a non-stilton lover like myself but I think there could have been more of a flavour in there which would have enhanced the earthiness of the beetroot. The crispy kale and giroles accompanied their plate-partners well and the sauce was divine. Silky, rich and paired perfectly with the venison it was a resounding success. My only complaint would be to say that for £22.95 I would like some kind of carb element – because the meat was cooked so well the sauce and purée could have done with some little crisp potatoes to mop up the rest of the sauce that was almost surplus to requirements.

My boyfriend went for the sirloin steak with pepper sauce and chunky chips. The steak was cooked as he had requested and was accompanied by some lovely fresh roasted fine tomatoes. The chips, which I wish I could have stolen more of, were crispy around the outside and fluffy on the inside. The pepper sauce was lovely and creamy with a the warmth of pepper behind it.

Other than my lack of carbs, there were no complaints from round the table from anyone and we all happily cleared our plates. The service was great, even though it was height of Fringe season and the place was packed.

So, it seems, that I had judged them too early – assuming them to be another average tourist restaurant and I am happy to report that I was wrong and that quite the opposite is true! So whether you’re Edinburgh born and bred or you’re just visiting, the Whiski Rooms has something to satiate everyone’s Scottish appetites.

* Disclaimer: I don’t often admit I’m wrong, so take it while you can get it 😉

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