Skua

International·
££££
·
Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Skua

Silver Award

No sooner had chefs Tomás Gormley and Sam Yorke bagged a Michelin star at debut restaurant Heron, they were already onto a second project - Skua - which, besides the seabird connection, has very little in common with its older sibling. Heron is bright, airy, and elegant, with views overlooking Leith Water; Skua is a vibey, intimate subterranean restaurant and bar, illuminated by candles. There are no views here - it's just you and a handful of other punters across a few tables in a moody basement, with four-on-the-floor dance tunes pumping out of the stereo. Oh, and the toilet is outside, so if it’s raining, you might want an umbrella.

The compact menu is such that you can crack on with almost everything on the menu between two; we did just that, leaving only a cote de boeuf for two by the wayside. An opening salvo of vegetarian dishes might be passed over by some, but they’re among the very best things on the menu. Ripe strawberries, green strawberries and tomatoes mingle together in a little pool of tomato water - an assemblage that brings out the vibrant best in these summery friends. High marks also go to a bowl of king oyster mushrooms and girolles, strewn with blushing pink shreds of pickled ginger, and a dish of blowtorched cured mackerel, sliced into pieces and served with a prickly horseradish sauce and the warming aniseed of braised fennel.

Skua’s fried chicken with peach hot sauce has been a favourite since it opened, and though we’re also fans, though we’d have liked more of that delicious hot sauce. The only real miss on the night was a lamb rump and wild peppermint dish, where the peppermint’s overwhelming menthol vibe rather overpowered a nicely cooked piece of lamb.

Still, this is cooking of great assurance. Skua has a commanding hand on the drinks list too, delivering some inspired mixes as well as classics that really pack a punch. Your mileage might vary on the basement dining room, but there's no doubt about the wonderful cooking at Skua - the sky is the limit for this high-flying bird.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cuisines
International
Ambience
Cosy, Dark and moody, Fun
Food Occasions
Dinner, Late night dining
Special Features
Vegetarian options
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Steaming ahead, following a successful beginning in Michelin star fine-dining kitchens, young-duo Tomás Gormley and Sam Yorke opened a second site in Edinburgh in 2023, this time under the guise of a new name; Skua. Focusing on a more casual, budget friendly dining experience than that of Heron - the pair's first restaurant - this impressive partnership has once again resulted in a trendy and sophisticated show of culinary talent.

A bright red neon sign lights up the facade, inviting you in for a dark and moody taste experience in this intimate basement bar and restaurant. Shrouded in candlelit shadows, its predominantly black décor adds to the mysterious atmosphere, piquing your interest even before the food and drinks on offer grace your table.

Just like the predatory seabird that is its namesake, you’ll be diving at a chance to get your hands on the creations cooked up in the Skua kitchen. From the Japanese flavours of koji chicken and pork belly sandos, to a bream ceviche enhanced with hints of grape and chilli, as well as the team's own twist on a sweetcorn chowder, the menu is made up of a variety of small seasonal plates, inspired by a passion for local and sustainable produce. Not to be overlooked is the sweet addition of a sticky toffee dessert to finish off the meal.

Open until late into the night with walk-ins welcome, whether you are just popping in for drinks or settling down for an indulgent night of sharing dishes and sipping on a glass or two of red, white, rose or orange, you’ll need plenty of trips back to Skua in order to get through the extensive variety of international wines and the constantly changing cocktail list.


FAQs

Are there vegetarian options available?

Yes.

Helpful? 0

Is it necessary to make a reservation?

No, walk-ins are welcome.

Helpful? 0

Location

49 St Stephen Street, Stockbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 5AH
Website

Opening Times

Dinner
Mon 17:30-00:00
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu 17:30-00:00
Fri 17:30-00:00
Sat 17:30-00:00
Sun 17:30-00:00

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