Great Places to Eat in Scotland
- The North Bridge Brasserie, The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh
In April 2001 the 68 room Scotsman Hotel opened its doors for the first time - a sparkling new, very contemporary and chic hotel but created within the shell of a prestigious Victorian property. This landmark grey stone building stands majestically at the top of North Bridge with fabulous views across the gardens to Princes Street and the Castle and was for almost a century the offices of the Scotsman newspaper. Even before its grand opening, the Leading Hotels of the World group included The Scotsman Hotel within its collection, describing it as "one of the most stylish hotels in the city".
The Brasserie (telephone 0131 622 2900) is a stunning transformation from the original newspaper marble reception hall. There is direct access from the original main door on North Bridge, to welcome all, not just hotel guests. In the centre is an island bar with tier upon tier of glass shelves rather dangerously holding dozens of bottles. Scattered around the ground floor are tables and private booths in the window recesses. But the piece de resistance is the giant gleaming steel staircase which reaches high up to the gallery mezzanine level, where tables are placed all the way round, offering a terrific view of the giant marble pillars, and of the bar and diners far below.
A basket of exotic breads and tasty dips is brought to your table immediately which is a thoughtful touch. This is very much a Grill Room, with a wide selection of meat and fish - Sirloin steak, veal, lamb, salmon, tuna or scallops. You choose the sauce or dressing to your taste, as well as your favourite type of mash or fries and vegetables to accompany it.
I began with a fabulous crab cakes served with a chili sauce while my partner had a meal-in-itself seafood chowder. One of the house specialities is Sushi - raw or cooked fish with vegetables and rice; Sashimi - seasoned fresh fish; and Tempura - deep fried prawns and vegetables. Each dish especially prepared for you by an expert Japanese chef.
There's a good selection of vegetarian dishes, such as delicious fresh tagliatelle with garlic roasted vegetables which I'm sure even a carnivore would lap up. The salads show an inventive touch divided into Classic (Waldorf) and New wave (roquette and parmesan), very much in keeping with the architectural blend of the building itself. Classic puddings too, such as lemon tart or apple and cinnamon crumble.
See www.northbridgebrasserie.com for current menu and prices.
The Scotsman may be a 5 star hotel but this Brasserie is for everyone with reasonable prices for superb, freshly prepared food served by enthusiastic friendly staff. Stylish, contemporary food with surroundings to match.
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