The Walnut in Leith – home away from home

Well, we have all survived the excesses of Christmas and as a family we were certainly no different, however I made sure we had one evening’s escape from the kitchen as a treat and change of scene for everyone.

Hot smoked salmon, beetroot & horseradish

Hot smoked salmon, beetroot & horseradish

So, where do you go that will please everyone’s palette’s without breaking the bank after Christmas? I know I was slightly behind the times discovering this little neighbourhood restaurant in Leith, but The Walnut certainly has been a great find and was a hit for both ‘date night’ in November and a family soiree after all the turkey and stuffing!

It’s quite small, but that’s part of its appeal and charm. There are probably no more than around 24-30 covers in the restaurant and the front of house staff are very welcoming and helpful, especially with little diners in the group.

As a family, we love fish and our choice of starters reflected this with the final selection including scallops, as well as steamed mussels with chilli and lemongrass, but for me the overall winner had to be the hot smoked salmon with mussels, mackerel, beetroot and horseradish. It was delicately presented on the plate with colourful discs of vegetables complementing the wonderful seafood.

After turkey and rib roast on Christmas Day I was keen to increase my veggies and chose a tasty and comforting winter warmer with the chickpea and aubergine cassoulet with goat’s cheese and marinated red pepper. I love chick peas and often feel they are undervalued in the world of pulses, combined with melted goats cheese and a crispy crumb topping to the cassoulet this was a perfect healthy filler for the evening.

Chickpea Cassoulet

Chickpea Cassoulet

In true stereotype the gents had the meaty option in the form of lamb shank with puy lentils. Once again portions were generous and the lamb was literally falling off the bone and melted in your mouth – absolutely delicious.

Although we had certainly had our fill of food a hungry nephew who had been to the gym earlier in the day had room for a pudding or two, so we decided to share three across the table to try the various sugar high temptations.

Lamb shank with puy lentils

Lamb shank with puy lentils

The descriptions on the blackboard certainly had the sticky toffee pudding in first place, but after the extensive tasting panel had completed their research it lost its pole position falling to the bottom. The sticky toffee was beaten by both the apple custard meringue with salted caramel and almonds and the vanilla cream sundae. The meringue was lovely and anything with salted caramel is a hit, the only request would be for a few more almonds, but this is a small detail. While the sundae was layered with mango, ginger and chocolate, it too was another strong contender, but I would have liked to experience a bit more of the ginger coming through.

Trio of desserts

Trio of desserts

The blackboard highlights the menu for the evening and has a broad variety of options to deliver a fab three course meal at very reasonable prices. The Walnut also allows you to BYOB and charges a small corkage fee in return.

It almost feels as though you are in someone’s house, it is such a cosy place with an eclectic mix of cutlery and some great dishes to satisfy even the hungriest of relatives!

The Walnut

To find out more about The Walnut, check them out on Facebook

To book call 0131 281 1236 and visit 9 Croall Place, Edinburgh.

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