I have never … at all … ever … reviewed the same restaurant twice.
But for the Mussel and Steak Bar in Edinburgh’s historic Grassmarket I just have to make an exception.
There is a point, though. The last time I went, nine months ago, it was for dinner. This time it was lunch. And there is a difference.
Nothing different in the service however, the sheer quality, or the fact that these guys know their business. Just a slight shift in ambience.
Lunch at the Mussel and Steak Bar comes at one course for £7.95 … two courses at £9.95 and three courses at £11.95. So we three cheerfully ordered, and shared, haggis wellington with sweet tomato relish, brie tart with cranberry jam and smoked salmon and haddock terrine with oat cakes … and to refuse a bottle of house wine at a giddy £10.00 would have been simply bad manners.
Now my wife’s ½ kg of mussels cooked in chilli, ginger, cumin, coriander and lime, with a side of chips was pretty much what you would expect here. Top notch, beautifully flavoured but, visually, mussels are mussels.
My daughter’s chicken breast with roast pumpkin, sun dried tomato, croutons and parmesan salad was the usual cut above.
But my seafood coconut curry - with mussels, squid, cod, pilaf rice that had more taste than rice has a right to have, and cucumber raita – was just something else. (That’s when I felt a second review coming on.)
My wife, having watched my daughter and I demolish a £10 bottle of very quaffable rioja, decided to catch up with a personal favourite - the espresso martini cocktail – and justified it as part of the celebration of our daughter’s graduation with master’s degree from Heriot-Watt university the day before. Some people just need excuses for alcohol … as if being so close to Edinburgh’s whiskey joints isn’t reason enough!
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