61 High Street, Edinburgh , Edinburgh, EH1 1SR

SquareMeal Review of Monteiths

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.

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