Review: The Grain Store, Edinburgh.

NESTLED AWAY ON the rather enchanting Victoria Street, The Grain Store was described to me as ‘one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh; a real hidden treasure.’ Now there’s an endorsement I simply can’t ignore.

Established way back in ’91, the restaurant has a stellar reputation of cooking Scottish cuisine in a classic style, while keeping it truly seasonal.  They offer a two-course lunch for £12.50 (or three courses for £15), as well as a dinner menu that could easily rival one of the city’s Michelin boys.

The dining room itself is small but spacious and I particularly like the stone arches and view of the bustling street below.I bet it would be rather romantic on a dark and chilli winter evening but on this freezing cold Saturday afternoon, we were most grateful our table was next to a radiator!

The phone rings and I hear the waitress apologise as ‘we’re fully booked.’  That speaks volumes for a restaurant that doesn’t actively advertise or seek the usual recognition from guidebooks and such like.

Sarah recommended the Stornaway black pudding and apple starter having had it on a previous visit, so I opted for that while she ordered the cauliflower and sorrel soup.

This simple dish really allows the quality of the black pudding to shine. The caramelised apple brought a sharpness, while the rich sauce tied the dish together. 

Sarah’s soup was smooth as silk and the sorrel gave a hint of fruitiness to match the earthy notes of the cauliflower.  A hearty portion and seasoned perfectly.

Sometimes service can be over looked but for me, it’s just as important as the food. I enjoyed watching the effortlessness and professionalism of the front of house staff here.  They made conversation with their guests without over staying their welcome and their sincerity was most apparent.

For main, I went for borders pork belly with celeriac puree, kale and raisins.  Pork belly is one of my favourite meats and too often I’m left disappointed when the skin isn’t sufficiently crisp.  

However, I’m pleased to report the skin was superb on this occasion. Box duly ticked.

The meat itself was tender and the fat well-rendered, while the celeriac puree was silky smooth and added an earthiness to the plate .  The  iron-rich kale still had a slight bite to it and the fruity raisins added texture. Perfect winter dish that. 

Braised pheasant with creamed cabbage and confit potato was Sarah’s choice.  The bird was tender and moist, which is difficult to achieve with pheasant and the cabbage added both texture and flavour.

The potato was buttery, slightly crisp on the outside and soft on the inside as expected.  The sauce was so good you could have been forgiving for wiping it off the plate with your tongue.

We admired a rather splendid Pinot Grigio as we entertained vanilla panna cotta with winter berry sauce to finish.  

A good panna cotta has a jelly-like wobble, which this did.  The vanilla was pleasant and the sauce cut through the creaminess of the panna cotta.

 It would seem my friend’s recommendation was spot on. The Grain Store showcase seasonal Scottish produce with classic cooking techniques in an expert fashion and at that price, superb value for money too.

 You can see why it was billed as a ‘best kept secret.’  

0131 225 7635

Mon-Sat for lunch: 12 - 2pm and dinner: 6-10pm
Sunday for dinner: 6-10pm

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