In the interest of full disclosure, I will immediately admit that I love Scottish food. OK, I may not be too keen on deep fried Mars bars (I’ve never actually seen one) but haggis, Cullen skink, tatties and tablet are all really high on my list of things I love to eat.
And they’re not shy about their food either, the Scots. They’re proud of their produce and quite right too. For example, Scottish sea food is blooming out of this world. The only problem is, that when you’re in the Scottish capital trying to decide where to go and feat on their fares you’re overwhelmed with the options.
I mean, sure, it’s a nice problem to have, but I’m hungry now and having serious indecisivety issues.
Anyway, we ended up choosing Stac Polly, one of Edinburgh’s original Scottish fine dining restaurants. The fact they have gin bar above their cellar type venue had nothing to do with it, I promise. OK maybe it did but that’s beside the point. We fancied something traditional but also something a little sophisticated and Stac Polly comes highly recommended.
Now, they say they’re a fine dining restaurant and they are, the food is very much of a fine dining ilk, but they’re not pretentious, which is the problem with quite a few fine dining gaffs. The atmosphere is really relaxed, the staff are super nice and chatty and they really know their stuff. They can tell you exactly what goes into your dish and they can recommend you some top vintage wines and whiskeys to go with your grub.
I kinda don’t want to call it grub, because that’s feels like undervaluing the food. When you serve things like Shetland salmon fillet with leek, herb and seaweed salt risotto, spring onion and carrot salad, buttered bok choy, lime and virgin oil dressing (£23.95) or prime Scottish fillet of beef with a fondant potato, Stornoway black pudding, broccoli, woodland mushrooms, red wine and thyme jus (£27.95) you earn the right to be referred to as something else than “grub”. But then I kick off at the TV when someone on Come Dine With Me calls food “dishes” or “cuisine”… So I’m kinda stuck. Let’s just say the food there is delightful, and worth every single penny.
Speaking of which, their wine list is a mile long and you can treat yourself to a really nice 2013 Sauvignon Blanc or a 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon for less than £20, which comes as a nice surprise for a place that is more “fine dining” than “eatery”. Their whiskies are also plentiful and very fairly priced.
Anyway. Going all out for a three course meal with some whiskey and wine set us back around £100 and I regret nothing. In fact, I’ll eat there again next time I’m in Edinburgh. Fine dining is not supposed to be your bog standard every day dinner, it’s supposed to be something a little special and that is exactly what Stac Polly is, without being obnoxiously pretentious.