The vaulted ceilings of Black Pig and Oyster in Leith’s Commercial Quay are gorgeous. The restaurant is the only unit that has chosen to showcase the original brickwork in its unassuming yet intricate glory. Walls and ceilings are discretely lit and the whole restaurant feels warm and welcoming. You know you’re in an place where they’ll take good care of you.
Earlier in the year I had bellota from The Black Hoof. It was a revelation and I was interested in the animals the fabulous meat came from, and how they were reared. The black pig referred to in Black Pig and Oyster is the same acorn-fed, special Spanish breeds that bellota is made from. Here, however, the meat is served in a variety of delicious ways, not only dry-aged.
Oysters (and other creatures of the sea)
I brought my friend R. to Black Pig and Oyster. I knew she’d like it. We caught up on holidays and recent sport injuries (hers, not mine) over a bottle of aromatic white and a sharing seafood plate. And six oysters – it’s in the name so must be tried. The oysters were perfect: plump and creamy, very happy-making molluscs.
The sharing board was a feast of seafood. Smoked salmon, grilled sardines, mackerel paté, garlic king prawns – with that lovely crisp bite they have when they’re cooked just so – calamari and aioli. Comforting and delicious.
A good reason to eat pork
R. decided to try the house speciality, salt & pepper black pig served with sauteed potatoes and onions. The soy, salt and pepper glaze was lovely and the meat melt-in-the-mouth. I tried the smoked black Iberico pig. It was succulent and dark, subtly smoky and came with hand-cut chips and a tomato and red onion relish and home-made aioli.
I had mangalitza at L’escargot blanc last year and remember thinking ‘oh, pork can be like this!’. I had that experience all over again with the cuts we had at Black Pig and Oyster. There aren’t that many places in the UK where you can get black Iberico pig and it’s a meat well worth trying. Because it can be served pink, and because it’s a darker meat, it is full of flavour and wonderfully juicy. We had a side of broccoli and did a lot of blissed-out eye-rolling over our food.
There are other things on the menu, but when in a restaurant called Black Pig, why would you try something else? You can have the classic cut, or add some surf to your Black Pig turf. There’s also lamb, chicken, steak and The Butcher’s Grill (all the meat!) and a selection of fish options. There’s reason I didn’t bring Christopher: vegetarians will have more fun elsewhere. Lovers of good, well-cared for meat, however, should go here. And that’s entirely fine.
We finished our dinner with port and dessert. I had poached pears, and R., who’s gifted with a savoury rather than a sweet tooth, passed on the Eton mess, the chocolate brownie and the dulche de leche mousse and went straight for the cheese board. Which was generously sized for two people, so I got some cheese too. The blue picos was perfect with my port.
Black Pig and Oyster serves a wonderful product in a respectful and very toothsome way. Service is friendly but unobtrusive, the surroundings are cosily elegant, the menu intriguing and the wine list tempting. It’s the perfect place for relaxed and luxurious dinners a deux or maybe a quatre. Grab your best conversation, look forward to some excellent food and have a good evening.
82 Commercial Street
Edinburgh EH6 6LX
Telephone: 0131 285 6900
Twitter: @BlackPigOyster | Instagram:
Caroline dined at Black Pig and Oyster at their invitation.