Entering No. 11 Brunswick Street, you realise the restaurant’s basic name belies something much more. It has a smart, modern interior, with dark grey hues and plush velvety chairs creating cool vibes, whilst the friendly staff provide warmth.
The food and service reflect a well-run boutique hotel with a just-out-of-city-centre idea of dining out. The unwieldy menu would benefit from refinement, dropping unnecessary explanations to address the absence of key dietary info. Still, I applaud the use of local produce and the passionate team clearly want you to have an enjoyable experience. Which we did!
To start, dining companion Kat opted for the ham hock bon bons; crisp, deep fried breadcrumbs housing moist flaked meat. I chose queen scallops with bearnaise, which came served in charming wee shells. The scallops were a little firm but weren’t overdone, whilst the plentiful homemade bearnaise was heavy handed in its application but light in flavour.
I always like a dinner chum who chooses the other thing you want. This was the case with Kat’s main, roasted red pepper and mozzarella gnocci. The bitesize gnocci were the right side of dense and came swimming in flavourful sauce. They shared their pool with delicious gooey blobs of melty mozzarella. A side of asparagus, green beans and broccoli was definitely surplus to requirements but the al dente, garlicky veg were a good colour contrast.
My whole roast pigeon, butternut puree, jus and saffron fondant potato was an umami adventure. The cleanly butchered pigeon was bathed in a sticky glaze, and I found the best way to approach it was to devour it “hands-on.” The rich, gamey meat was a touch dry but lapped up the large quantities of jus. The sweetness of the butternut was complementary and I was impressed by the soft and fragrant fondant potato, which held its shape nicely.
Our desserts were the weakest part of the meal. Kat instantly knew she wanted the vanilla creme brulee. She was pleased to find that despite a thin top, the brulee gave a gentle crack and was sweetly satisfying. However, it was bizarrely green, with a strong flavour of almond essence. We suspect it got confused with vanilla essence in the kitchen… The accompanying shortbread biscuit was very good indeed.
My dark chocolate cheesecake had a pleasant mousse-like layer but sat on biscuit with the texture of wet sand, too thick to cut through with a spoon. However, it was surrounded by puddles of raspberry sauce which offered a sharp fruity accompaniment and was happily partnered with a well made, crunchy brandy snap.
We left full, after a pleasant meal in smart surroundings. Whilst No. 11 may be just shy of fine dining in terms of execution, it’s still a quality local dining option for portion size and flavour, ideal for a pre-theatre catch up or post-cinema debrief.
Amy dined at the invitation of No. 11 Brunswick Street.
11 Brunswick St, EH7 5JB