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It may be pitched right on the Royal Mile main drag, but this stylish bistro and bar deserves plaudits for avoiding the tourist trap clichés. Reached via a small close, Monteiths has a
lights-turned-down, clubby ambience and even flirts with kitsch – yet it remains tasteful and playful, right down to the brasserie-style menu. Scottish staples such as crab, mussels, grass-fed
beef, venison, haggis and oysters are all tossed into the eclectic melting pot, and the kitchen conjures up some lively modern ideas ranging from Arbroath smokie risotto with poached egg or John
Dory with surf clams, sea beet and capers to pork belly with pig’s cheek fritters and cauliflower purée or wood pigeon with black pudding and rhubarb chutney. Desserts show the kitchen’s lighter
side (chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel popcorn), and there are some decent Scottish cheeses too.
Located on a prime piece of tourist real estate, yet still managing to retain a hideaway charm, Monteith’s aims for modern contemporary cuisine, to please both tourist and local tastes.Decor is a mix and match of eclectic pieces, from traditional tweed or leather covered straight-backed chairs, with Chesterfields in the bar area, to contemporary chic plastic chairs. Leather-bound books in the dining area are offset against a modern bar with stylishly under-lit bar shelves. Does it work? I’m not sure, really, but it’s certainly interesting...
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