St. Andrews Brewing Company has been in place on Potter Row for almost a year. It’s in a unit that has seen various pubs and restaurants over the years, most recently The Potting Shed. I went here when it was called The Wool Pack way back when. Last week, I was invited to try the new menu. I was particularly excited about the Tweed Kettle.
St. Andrews Brewing Company is run by a group of people with a strong focus on quality, whether its making beer, gin or serving food. The Ediburgh site is a large pub but the warm decor and distinct sections for drinking and eating makes it feel comfortable.
There’s more than St. Andrews Brewing company beer available behind the bar. Their ethos is to go local so there are a great range of beers from local producers. For people who don’t love beer there’s a range of other options, from cocktails to wines and spirits. (I’ll talk about cocktails later – especially the raspberry ripple.)
We were welcomed with a gin and tonic based on St. Andrews Brewing Company’s own orange, cardamon and tonka bean gin. The tonka bean adds a vanilla smoothness that takes the edge of the tonic a little bit and allows the cardamon free play. Canapés of salmon cured with the same gin was a perfect match.
We took two tables at the back and waited for dinner, leaving the front to groups of friends in for a drink or two. We had the Fife Gold, a floral, light ale with citrussy flavours, with our food. Which was…
They did a really smart thing and gave us tasters of all the starters. The deep-fried goats cheese (crunchy, soft, tangy) was a favourite at my table, but we also ate all the haggis bonbons (rich, peppery) and the game terrine (chunky, deep flavoured).
The star or the show
The menu offers a good range of dishes, from pub classics like burgers, fi
sh and chips and nachos, to sharing platters, bowls (look here for vegan) and more restaurant-y dishes like the ones we started with.
The hero dish of our night was the Tweed Kettle, an updated take on a historical Edinburgh street food dish. From what was once somewhere between a fish pie and fish stovies, a beautiful yet traditional-feeling dish of baked sea trout with a lovage and sorrel crust, potatoes, girolles, samphire and the cutest baby turnip. It’s served on a creamy mace sauce. I enjoyed th flavours of traditionally forraged herbs – sorrel, lovage, samphire – and using mace is a nice touch. Now, we use nutmeg sparingly but 100 years ago, mace – the membrane around the nutmeg kernel – was used in everything from food to hot drinks.
I loved this dish. The story – the history, the ingredients, the thought behind it – is wonderful. The food was too. Perfectly cooked fish, lovely cooked new potatoes, giroles (which I was pining for because the season will end soon). It was delicious, rich and every ingredient got its moment to shine. I love the fact that Tweed Kettle, by its foraged nature, is seasonal and could be ever-changing. A dish very much of its place.
All of the sweets
For dessert we shared tasters and had shots of dessert cocktails. The cocktails were creamy – chocolate orange espresso, gingerbread, raspberry ripple. The ripple was a favourite at my table. I liked the gingerbread which made me think of pumkin spice and Thanksgiving. The choclate orange espresso was good too but to be honest, I like a straight-up, no cream, hardcore coffee-flavoured espresso Martini best.
My favourite dessert was the fig, hazelnut and ale pudding was my favourite. It’s dense, chewy and pops deliciously with fig seeds. It was served with a rather yummy malted ice cream. The chocolate brownie with the orange sorbet disappeared quickly and the stuffed crumble apple also went down well. I could have taken the apple a little softer but the crumb was nice.
St. Andrews Brewing Company at Potterrow manages to do a very difficult thing: it successfully serves a diverse community. They have a smart, contained menu that manages to have something for young and old, and a range of budgets. I look forward to going back for bowls and stout, fig pudding and whisky or maybe a cocktail with friends.
Edinburgh EH8 9BT
Telephone: 0131 662 9788
Caroline was invited to dine by St. Andrews BrewsingCompany.