We’ve had quite a lovely summer in Edinburgh. Sunshine and warmth has tempted me to walk around the city, enjoying its architecture and people. As well as taking increased exercise (walking, walking, walking) C. ad I have recently tried to be a little healthier. This means eating out less, a sadness for me, a necessity for the man in my life. So when I was asked to review The Magnum, I was delighted. It’s a good walk from where I live and I’ve wandered past and admired the menu several times recently. No walking past this time, instead I walked straight in.
The Magnum sits just back from Broughton Street on the corner of Albany Street and Dublin Street in the New Town. It’s a good place to be: the area is has several good restaurants, pubs and bars. The Magnum stands proud on its corner. The large windows glitter invitingly and there’s always a bit of a buzz about the place. C. was away, so one of my glamorous companions kept me company. I can tell you now that she’ll be back – and so will I – because we had a great evening and some very good food.
Choosing A Balanced Meal
Sometimes, you sit down to look at a menu and think about how to balance your meal, finding starters and mains that will work together and give you a balance of flavours and textures. This time, I didn’t do that. I ordered the two dishes I really, really fancied, regardless of the fact that they were both beef. My starter was a lovely Asian beef, fennel and coriander salad with thinly sliced, seared beef on a crispy salad with a sweet plum glaze. The aniseed flavour of fennel works well with the deep flavour of beef and the veg was fresh and crunchy.
My companion, meanwhile, had the crab gazpacho with avocado cream. What a lovely plate! Sweet crab on top of a very nice gazpacho, a cooling and refreshing dish on a muggy day, with a dollop of fluffy avocado cream in the middle. Gazpacho can be almost overpowering in its wholesomeness, but this was gentle and turned almost wicked by crab and the avocado cream.
Hoof and Wing
I was tempted by the aubergine and pine nut involtini (roullades) with passata and mozarella, as well as the pan fried sea bass but went for the chargrilled beef fillet with potato dauphinoise and horse radish and garlic butter. I take my steak rare and rather enjoy watching butter melt on top of it. The dauphinoise was presented as a tidy stack of thin slices of creamy potato with a crispy top. Everything on my plate was lovely but the steak shone. It was flavourful, tender and cooked perfectly.
While I was tucking in to my meat and trying not to eat too quickly, my glam comp enjoyed guinea fowl supreme with smokey bacon risotto and green beans. Rich and savoury, the risotto formed a soothing backdrop to the gamey guinea fowl.
Savoury and Sweet
Eating with someone who wholeheartedly enjoys food is a pleasure. When we couldn’t decide which dessert we wanted, we decided to share a chocolate and caramel pot and a cheese board. If we’d know how very generous the servings were, we would probably have shared just the one.
I expected the chocolate pot to be a teensy little pot of ganache (and would have been happy with that) but what appeared at the table was a good-sized jar of mousse resting on top of a layer of butterscotch. Served with a praline biscuit and Chantilly cream, it was beyond indulgent. And very, very nice. Caramel and chocolate just goes and the velvety texture of the mousse was fab with the smooth caramel.
Then there was the cheese board. I disappoint myself whenever I leave food but there was just too much on the board for us to finish. I did my utmost, and enjoyed every morsel of creamy Morangie brie, tangy Colston Basset blue cheese, oozy and crumbly goats cheese, firm wash-rind cheese and smoked Applewood. I didn’t have much of the last – I like it, but I like the others much more and when I’m full, I prioritise. The cheese was served with oat cakes, grapes, celery and a rather special chutney. Whole baby figs!
Dinner was fabulous and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. The Magnum looks formal but not forbidding – it is about to get a paint refresh to lighten it a little – and is small enough to be intimate yet big enough to have an ambiance. They were busy the night we were in, and people of all ages were meeting up for food and drinks.
The magnum has a bar so you can go for a cocktail (glass of wine or pint – whatever is your pleasure) if you’re not sure you want dinner. Either way, enjoy your evening and a warm welcome.
1 Albany Street, Edinburgh, EH1 3PY
Telephone: 0131 557 4366