Edinburgh – a tasting menu at Timberyard

This visit in late July 2016 was my third time in Edinburgh, and like the others, it was a fleeting one-night affair.

Here’s my Google map with quite a few other restaurants, bars and hotels on it.

After work I went to this place a couple of streets south west of the castle…

Timberyard (Advanced B+), 10 Lady Lawson St, www.timberyard.co

Out of the many top notch restaurants in the Scottish capital I decided to come here because it’s one of Guardian restaurant reviewer Marina O’Loughlin’s favourite restaurants in the UK. It’s an upmarket hipster joint (tattooed young staff, reclaimed industrial interior) but not in a bad way.

Unfortunately very few of my photos came out as the lighting was very low. I don’t hold that against them as I’d light it in the same way if it were my restaurant.

I had the six course menu (other options are four or eight courses) for £65 with the paired drinks add-on for £50.

We began with an amuse bouche of Sourdough, Onion, Crowdie and Truffle which was fine (B). Crowdie is similar to cottage cheese and is said to have been introduced by the Vikings in the 8th century.

This was paired with a titchy pouring of a beer called Burning Sky Saison Anniversaire from Sussex which was okay (C) but not what I really wanted, especially at an average price of £7 a drink.

Things kicked off properly with Crab, Lobster, Pea, Horseradish, Brioche, a delightful combination (A) although I couldn’t detect the latter two ingredients.

This was served with Orea, a 2010 Ar Riesling Spatlese from Saar, Germany which was just okay to my, admittedly limited, palate (B).

Next, the Raw Beef, Quail Yolk, Daikon, Buckwheat, Shallot, was also excellent (A).

With this, a glass of 2010 manzanilla (B+) called La Bota de Florpower 53 Mas Alta by Equipo Navazos from the Jerez DO in Spain. The bottle looked familiar so I think I may have had something else from their bodega.

After this, another riot of fantastic flavours with Scallop, Smoked Roe, Courgette, Fennel, Leek (A).

This was matched with Le Coste Bianchetto 2014 from Lazio, Italy; a cloudy and highly unusual mix of fifteen different grapes (B).

Next, the Duck, Elderberry, Beetroot, Tarragon was again excellent (A).

This matched well with my favourite wine of the night; Le Grappin a 2015 Fleurie-Poncie from Beaujolais, France which had a great nose and strong flavours (B+).

The following Lamb, Carrot, Mushroom, Radish, Kale, Chard pressed all my buttons. Three different parts of the lamb were used including the heart. I adore big flavours and the caramelised jus elevated this to being my favourite dish of the night (A+).

The 2014 Olek Bondonio Barbera D’Alba from Piemonte, Italy was a fairly good match for this (B).

Finally for dessert I was given Blueberry, Strawberry, Oatmeal, Buttermilk, Mint which was nice (B+) and apparently very simple. I must have a crack at this myself.

This came with a glass of 2001 Maximin Grunhauser, Abstberg Riesling Spatlese from Mosel Germany which was served from a huge bottle and probably cost a fortune, although I was not completely enamoured with its petroleum flavours (B).

In short then, the food had some fantastic flavour combinations but the drinks failed to impress me. Having said that, I’m not the greatest connoisseur and they were certainly all highly unusual. I only felt slightly ripped off as the experience was still better value than many fine dining establishments in other parts of the country. I’d definitely recommend it but personally I will probably try somewhere else next time I’m in town.

After this I went in search of a nightcap near my guest house to the north of the castle…

Bramble Bar & Lounge (Intermediate B+), 15A Queen Street, www.bramblebar.co.uk

This small atmospheric bar is not easy to find as it’s in a basement and has no sign. I would have completely missed it if a customer hadn’t been smoking outside. I finished the evening with a couple of decent Negronis for £7 each, much cheaper than at Timberyard where they are £12. I also liked the cosy atmosphere, the hiphop soundtrack and the friendly hipster barman so I’d definitely come pop in again if I was passing.

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