My GPS said as I entered the gates, continue for half a mile. It is one of those narrow drives that you just hope you won’t find anyone else coming in the opposite direction. Suddenly you see the building that is Melville Castle. True to its name it has castellations on top and a gothic air about the place.
You can imagine coming to Melville Castle for a wedding – indeed there is a marquee to the right or perhaps a conference or even a murder mystery weekend. We were off to try the Brasserie.
We walk past quite grand decor with many portraits of past owners (perhaps?) down into what was the cellar of the castle. We receive a friendly welcome from the barman who is coaxing the fire to life. We elect to site close as it’s a chilly night.
Perhaps we’re lacking an appropriate word in English, but Brasserie to me conjures up French cuisine. On reading the menu, we discover dishes with a Scottish twist. Vegetarians might find it a challenge to choose, it is definitely for meat and fish lovers.
Our waiter is equally friendly. I am not too sure about being called “You Guys” but it’s done with such charm.
It’s early on a Thursday night and as we sit there, a good number of diners walk in. Many seem to be regulars. We debate where people might come from to dine at the Castle: Eskbank, Dalkeith, South of the City? Priced at £28.50 for the 3-course menu, it’s good value, a step up from the local pub.
My starter of roasted carrot tart with spiced honey dressing and spinach salad arrives. Surprisingly, the flavour is predominantly cheese, which was not described on the menu. The pastry is good, but I would have liked more of a carrot flavour. The salad (which is rocket) has a very good dressing. Altogether a pleasant start.
G has plumped for Henderson’s Haggis and Clapshot (potato and swede) with whisky sauce. This disappears quickly, so I am assuming he’s enjoyed it!
It is at this point, we decide that this is definitely comfort food. Portions are generous and tasty.
My main course is honey roasted and spiced pork belly, crispy black pudding, toffee apples and cider sauce. There’s also a generous helping of mash potato and vegetables. The meat was melt-y soft, but I was a tad disappointed that the crackling was not crisp. I had to leave some of the large portion of mashed potato so I could squeeze in dessert.
G’s portion of Pitenweem Smoked Haddock, mature cheese Rarebit, poached egg, creamed leek and potatoes arrived. Again, the portion was ample. The haddock was very lightly smoked. The kick to the dish was provided by the mustard sauce. “This is the favourite dish of most diners” the waiter explained. G felt that it really didn’t need the rarebit, but it didn’t stop him finishing every bite.
I was taken by the description that the plum crumble had home made vanilla custard. Our barman alerted me to the fact that the custard would be cold – interesting! For the first time throughout our meal, the serving of crème brulée was rather on the small side and unfortunately not set under the crackly top. My portion of the crumble was large. The custard was cold and served in a separate dish but was delicious.
The Brasserie is a great place to go for comfort food and a warm welcome. We suggest an early supper is ideal, then home to curl up in front of the TV: A perfect evening.
At the time of writing, you can enter a competition to win an overnight stay. Enter before 31 March.
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Tel (0)131 654 0088
We dined at the invitation of Crimson Edge. Photos of the exterior and interior of the Brasserie courtesy of Crimson Edge.
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