A few weekends ago, after a rather wet and windy Nordic Walk up Corstorphine Hill, (part of my new keep-fit regime), Mrs Bite of Bite Magazine and I refuelled at Cold Town House in the Grassmarket. We’d suffered a bout of FOMO, having been missed off the original launch-party list, but we managed to blag an invitation to visit the new Cold Town House in the Grassmarket to see this new bar and event space to try Prosecco and Pizza. What better reward after a bracing walk.
Formerly home to the Robertson Memorial Church, following a £4m investment, this former church has been transformed into a new bar, restaurant and micro brewery, reviving a brewing tradition in the Grassmarket that dates back to the 16th century.
Having worked in the brewing industry, I was particularly intrigued, and Mrs Bite’s interest stemmed from the fact that she had had her wedding reception here almost 10 years previously.
It’s a deceptive space and is large and cavernous. Set over two floors, plus its roof terrace, it has already become an Instagrammer’s dream, thanks to the two ski gondolas and chair lift seats, where you can sit sipping your beer as you look up to the castle, which overlooks the roof terrace. There’s even a a vintage Cold Town branded Citroen van which can serve drinks too but wasn’t in use when we were there. Vanessa, their events manager, told us that live music is also on offer.
Eight 500L beer tanks are on view in the micro brewery on the first floor, visible to all from the dining area, thanks to the floor to ceiling glass windows. This is where the magic happens producing many of the beers available on site.
So back to the refuelling and the purpose of our visit. We were actually invited to try Prosecco and pizza but it seemed rude not to try the beer, as this is what they specialise in so we opted for the beer flight and pizza instead. If truth be known, I’ve finally been outed by Mrs Bite, who is rather surprised at my dislike of pizza! It’s one of the last foods I ever crave, unlike most of my friends but I think Cold Town’s pizzas may finally have won me over.
The dough pizza base is made using Cold Town Beer, (proofing for 24 hours) and a bespoke organic multi-cereal, rye and spelt hybrid flour, which produces a beautiful stretchy base. This is then loaded with toppings, before being cooked in a traditional open pizza oven, custom-made in Naples (so big, it had to be lowered into the space on the first floor through the roof) that guarantees a traditional Neapolitan-style pizza, with a ‘leopard spotted’ blistered crust and which is best eaten rolled up.
We shared a Portobello (wild mushrooms, spinach, garlic, gorgonzola, EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and not served with tomato sugo) and a Calton Hill pizza (fresh Tuscan fennel sausage with tomato sugo, mozzarella, EVOO). Being greedy, I added an extra topping of some prosciutto to my Portobello.
I can highly recommend the dips on offer, which are fabulous for dipping the end crusts into. We tried the roasted garlic mayo and the amazing home-made seasonal pesto, which didn’t skint on the basil or parmesan.
I indulged in a beer tasting flight, where you can pick four tasters. Be prepared to take the flight of your life! I tried the Cold Town Pale Ale (3.7% ABV), which had a nose of grapefruit, peach and brioche and was very drinkable; , the Gingerbread Brown brown ale, which packs a punch with its ABV of 6.1%; a very girly Cold Town Raspberry Berliner Weisse (4.3%), which had a beautiful girly, pink hue and was delightfully fruit and sharp; and finally a Cold Town Chocolate Cake Stout (4.8%), which was the perfect marriage and was sweet, chocolatey, indulgent and far too drinkable.
We opted to share the Butter Beer Sundae, and boy, I’m so glad we did. It’s enormous and comes served in a dimpled, beer pint glass. A sundae of vanilla ice cream, butter scotch beer sauce (which was what caught my eye), pale ale blondie, salted tablet and shortbread and rather a lot of whipped cream. In my eyes, it definitely needs refining and would still be as shareable, served in one of the beer flight glasses and using less whipped cream, more ice-cream, blondie and sauce.
Even if you’re not a beer drinker (and in my case, not a pizza addict), I’d highly recommend you take yourself out of your comfort zone and pay a visit to Cold Town House for their beer flight and pizza. I can guarantee you’ll leave pleasantly surprised.
Follow Cold Town House on Facebook and Instagram @ColdTownHouse.