Saddle up for some flavoursome grub at The Fat Pony, says Gaby Soutar

I am an equestrian fail.

The handful of times I’ve been on a trek, I would slowly slide off if my mount went faster than a trot.

One time, aged about seven, I was dragged along with one foot in a stirrup, silent and resigned, head bumping off my Norman Thelwell-esque steed’s chubby flank.

Feeble thighs. It’s a Soutar affliction.

Owner of Edinburgh’s 10-year-old eatery The Dogs, restaurateur David Ramsden has recently added to his menagerie with this place.

Presumably tailored to the post-work decompression crew, it’s part of the spate of Edinburgh wine bar openings, which include Clark and Lake, Good Brothers and Smith and Gertrude.

At this place, booze is the focus, with small plates to accompany.

It’s on funny old Bread Street, where I once stayed in a flat that had views straight out to The Point Hotel, and, thus, the flashers who took full advantage of the floor-to-ceiling windows on their mini-break.

We kept our curtains shut most of the time.

This place, open from 4pm until midnight (or 1am on Fridays and Saturdays) is much less exposed and than that hotel’s residents. You could easily pass by without even clocking it.

Inside, and it has a suitably stable-like feel, with slatted wood across the windows, and Play Doh coloured stools that looked potentially uncomfortable, but were pliable and soft.

Above head height, on plinths against the grey wall, there are kitsch ornaments of horses and unicorns.

We were beside a sparkly fella with a touch of pink on his single horn. I toasted him with a chi-chi titled cocktail, desiree crusta (£7, Mandarine Napoleon, calvados, lemon and dark chocolate), with its dappled cocoa and sugar crusted rim.

Happy whinny.

Meanwhile, my other half saddled up with a glass of mellow Corte Lenguin Valpolicella Classico 2016 (£5.20).

Food-wise, you can go for cheese (£9 for three, £15 for five) or charcuterie (£14), or choose something from a choice of 11 small plates (they recommend two or three per person, we found six was more than enough).

These come when they’re ready, and first up was a pretty plateful of tortellini (£6), with fuchsia rosettes of good pasta filled with a very mild and nutty goat’s cheese, sails of more hard cheese, golden beetroot wedges, crumbled hazelnuts and herby sprigs.

Our set of five steamed pork and prawn gyoza (£6) had a dense meaty and five-spice centre, and we loved the side salad of sesame seed flecked gingery Asian slaw, with carrot, spring onion and daikon.

However, it’s the law that you have a vinegary dip with gyoza, and there wasn’t one.

Still, we were consoled by dragging their fleshy bodies through the rich and tarry sweet sauce that came with a small-ish portion of pork belly (£6).

This dish was teamed with a similar salad, though with the addition of some zingy pickled veg.

The layer of spinach in the ox cheek dish (£6) made it slightly watery overall but, otherwise, this option was as comforting as a bucket of bran mash on a frosty day, with a bolster of buttery polenta, soft meat and a bunch of peg-like mushrooms on top.

It must be all the splashing about in the river that makes duck’s hearts (£6) such bouncy little organs.

These were devilled with a sort of cayenne pepper infused jus, sprinkled with parsley and served on toast, for a dish that reverberated as clearly as a quack (which does echo, apparently).

Our veggie option was the halloumi (£5), with a coaster sized piece of charred cheese, slivers of asparagus, sun-dried tomato, olives, courgette, rocket and a minty yogurt dressing.

Pleasant.

For pudding, go for ice cream or sorbet (£1.75), or there are two proper chewable things.

The green-coloured coconut and kaffir panna cotta with gooseberry and lemongrass (£5) was unusual in its lack of sweetness, though it had an appealingly clean taste.

While baked Alaska (£6) looked so pretty, it was a shame to demolish the fluffy igloo of burnished Italian meringue with its pink heart of raspberry ice cream.

Mmm, sweet things, a minute on the lips, a lifetime on the… thighs.

Still, once I’ve built them up at The Fat Pony, I shall be a horsewoman yet.

The Fat Pony

47 Bread Street, Edinburgh

(0131-229 5700, www.thefatpony.com)

The Fat Pony, restaurant review, Edinburgh
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About The Author

Gaby Soutar

Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.

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