What makes a great date night restaurant? With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, many of us may be thinking of celebrating. Although I would go along with many others who now choose to eat on a night other than the 14th.
Sitting in Dine with Stuart Muir – the new restaurant above the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, I realised that it would be a perfect date night restaurant. The decor is gorgeous from the moment you walk up the stairs – there’s a growing wall on the way up. The tables are spaced well, so that you feel able to talk about anything without being overheard. The lighting is muted but not so much so that you can’t read the menu. The sound track is enjoyable and not intrusive. And there’s even a tree (imported from France) in the middle! A mention must go to the cocktail menu. There’s a wide selection you’ll not have come across before. I am sure you’ll agree my fabulous Santana cocktail was very eye catching!
But of course, beautiful decor doesn’t make the evening memorable. The food is all important. The name Stuart Muir might sound familiar. Until setting up Dine with .. he was in charge of the restaurants at Harvey Nichols. On the opening night, we had a quick chat, and he explained he’d persuaded several chefs who he had worked with in the past to join him at the restaurant. He was particularly relishing using Scotland prime ingredients to create the menus.
There’s an à la carte menu, an express menu (for lunch time) and market menu. We decided to dive straight in to the main course. Mr EF went for the market menu as he really wanted to try the lamb. I chose Gressingham Duck from the à la carte menu. This came with a confit leg bonbon, carrot and orange purée, sweet and sour red cabbage, glazed carrots. The puree was silky smooth, the cabbage had a touch of spice which made it really special and it was served with a very flavoursome jus.
Mr EF’s Braised Borders shoulder of lamb, came with a very pretty pressed potato and turnip, sautéed kale. The lamb was beautifully soft and tasty and again served with a very good jus.
Those of you who read the blog regularly know that I will always go for rice pudding if it is on the menu. This version came with whisky syrup and plum jam and was particularly creamy and filling – lovely! Mr EF went for the Chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache, hot chocolate sauce, roasted hazelnuts. He felt that this was almost two separate desserts with ganache and cake.
We have to admit we were disappointed that no bread was served with the meal. I desparately wanted to wipe all the lovely jus up on my duck dish. It was a gorgeous dish that also really cried out for some potatoes. You could pay extra for vegetables and maybe we should have done, but our waiter suggested we didn’t really need them. At £18.50, perhaps the price needs to be adjusted to include potatoes?
The market menu is good value at £14.50 for two courses after 7 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, but the portion was a little small – perhaps that could be flagged up?
A great date night restaurant? Most certainly.
It’s still early days, and I think the restaurant will find its niche. A few small tweaks and it’s going to become a favourite! The restaurant has negotiated a special rate with NCP for parking too!
Check out Stuart’s Valentine’s menu £69.95 per couple including a glass of prosecco each.
Danielle dined at the invitation of Dine by Stuart Muir.