Scotland; home to the deep fried Mars bar, cross-dressing men and other soft, southern stereotypes and prejudices. Ok, the national dish is a stuffed sheep's stomach filled with innards and barley (to which the national poet wrote an incomprehensible address), but is that really so much worse than blood sausage? Boudin noir, morcilla and the like may sound exotic (ok, black pudding maybe accurate, but doesn't have the same ring) and are staples of far more refined cuisine, but are essentially just pig's blood and pig fat. Andouillette (which has its own association in France) is pig's intestine, the best of which are supposed still to have a whiff of the farmyard about them. We don’t mock the French for this, so why mock the Scots for haggis?
So lay off Scottish cooking; there are a number of excellent restaurants in Edinburgh and, whilst the Altnaharrie Inn may be long gone, Nick Nairn and others are still pushing forward the boundaries of modern Scottish cooking. Even Sweary Ramsey was once Scottish, before he went all sweary Hollywood and started hanging out with his new BFF, Becks. (I hasten to add that this review is written immediately before the game against England in the Rugby World Cup. Should we lose that by eight or more points, all bets are off. Be as rude as you like about the Scots and their spud heavy cooking).
Alas, Tigerlilly is not one of those pushing anything, other than sweet brightly coloured cocktails on sweet brightly coloured young girls.
On a gloriously sunny, September day in Edinburgh (yes I know what you're thinking, but it really was. OK, it was windy too, if that makes you feel better), two old men found themselves in the totally trendy, totally happening TL; more out of place than a funny joke on Family Guy.
The room is enormous, housed in a Georgian townhouse on George Street, one of the most buzzy streets in town. The bar and the restaurant sort of merge into one loud space, with booths along one side, which is where we found ourselves put. As far away as possible from anything remotely trendy, hidden from view in case the trend police were in and noticed that we were double the average age of the rest of the clientele.
The food is perfectly fine: the scallops were fine Scottish ones, on some pea mush, with texture given to the dish by a piece of bacon. OK, it said pancetta, but this is Scotland: it was bacon. The ham hock too went down well, as did the Borders lamb and the trendy special of slow roast pork belly.
As this is a bar first, the drink’s list is heavy on cocktails, but we did manage to find a Spanish red that was called “The Flying Scotsman”, so had to have it. Why it was called this I don’t know; in fact, whilst this is what it said on the wine list, it didn’t mentioned it once on the bottle.
Service was far better than you’d imagine at a place so packed and seemingly so understaffed – the starters and mains arrived at a nice pace, the friendly waitress didn’t get in the way, and was as good service should be: noticeable when needed and not when not.
I cannot comment on value for money, I'm afraid, as my Scottish companion picked up the tab. That's another southern prejudice that you can put away. Until Saturday at least.