Whilst it can sometimes feel impossible to keep up with all the restaurant openings in Edinburgh, there are some worth keeping up with and that is certainly true of 83 Hanover Street. The sister restaurant to 99 Hanover Street (you see a pattern emerging here), the latest opening on the Edinburgh food scene is one worth knowing about.
Officially open as of today (Friday 3rd August) just in time for the Fringe, I was invited along* with some fellow Edinburgh foodies just before the opening to sample the menu before they opened the door to the public.
The name doesn’t give any indication of what the restaurant is about (but handily tells you its address so you can be sure your taxi driver will take you to the right place) so you wouldn’t know that 83 Hanover Street is all about bringing you Scottish produce with South American influences, Chilean in particular, thanks to owner Juan Jose Castillo Castro’s upbringing. The former restaurant manager of the Gleneagles, this guy knows his stuff and it’s reassuring to be in the capable hands of his newest venture.
We were treated to “a little bit of everything” so I have some recommendations coming up for you!
Serving up small plates and bites from noon until 10.30pm, 83 Hanover Street encourages walk-ins and single diners and if you’ve been for a few drinks and need a snack, from 10.30pm – midnight they offer their charcuterie and cheese boards for their “modern casual offering”.
The restaurant is surprisingly bright for a basement and every bit as plush as a new restaurant should be with mustard leather banquet seating, grey interiors, exposed brick and soft wooden accents throughout. The colourful crockery only adds to the enticing nature of the food.
Without further ado, to the food.
Scorched padron with grana padano
Whitebait with aioli
Swordfish & chorizo skewers with mojo rojo
Sopaipillas & pebre
Beef short rib with purple causa
Pork belly with roquito pepper jam
Calamari with merken aioli
Stone bass ceviche
Octopus with white bean escabeche
Everything we were served was perfectly cooked from the fall off the bone short rib to the melt in the mouth pork belly. The pebre could be and should be eaten with everything – a Chilean salsa (like chimichurri but better).
The real highlights for me though, and many of my fellow diners, were the seafood dishes. Their calamari is soaked in milk before being crumbed and fried to ensure it’s as tender as it can be and the merken aioli dip is the perfect accompaniment (think a cross between chipotle and paprika spiced mayo).
The ceviche is easily the best I’ve tried with a zesty and refreshing chilli, lime and coriander curing broth and is sliced in a traditional Chilean way – much thicker than we might be used to which means even more delicious chunks of meaty stone bass (the fish is changeable to the season and what’s fresh and best to serve but stone bass is Juan’s favourite) to soak up the flavours and for them to then burst onto your taste buds.
My favourite dish of the evening was the charred octopus. With or without the white bean escabeche, this tender octopus was like the most delicious barbeque I’ve ever eaten, the charring adding bags of flavour and a hint of crispy texture.
And finally to dessert – 83 Hanover Street makes all your childhood dreams come true by making it acceptable to eat condensed milk with a spoon. N poutmeg spiced doughnuts in a condensed milk sauce made only better by the addition of cream and milk (!) After lots of light plates the doughy balls and rich sauce were the perfect indulgence at the end of the meal.
This has already entered the books as one of the most memorable meals I’ve eaten in Edinburgh so far and it will guve Baba a run for its money in the style and substance stakes (and it wasn’t because it was my first baby free night out!)
And did I mention that you can go in just for a cheese or charcuterie board until midnight? Now, if that doesn’t get the attention of Edinburgh, I don’t know what will.
* I was invited along to try all the dishes free of charge but this review is of my own volition and all words, compliments and attempts to tell you how delicious the food was are entirely my own – as always!