Edinburgh's 83 Hanover Street is a hot address for tasty food, says Gaby Soutar

Ah, the dilemma of deciding whether to include the title AND address of a restaurant, see above, that’s named after its location.

I believe I have done the right thing, style wise, in including both, even if it does make the reader feel as if they have diplopia (double vision, nothing to do with those herbivore dinosaurs that resemble the love child of an elephant and a newt).

However, an ex-postie pal of mine says you wouldn’t have to include the name of the place if you were sending them a letter, as only the address really matters. If in doubt, hand deliver.

This prosaically named eatery is the second project on this street from former Gleneagles restaurant manager, Juan Jose Castillo Castro, of the bar 99 Hanover Street at 99 Hanover Street (or just one of those, if you’re sending them a postcard).

• READ MORE: Watch: first look inside 83 Hanover Street, one of Edinburgh’s newest restaurants

He co-owns the new place with his partner Vanessa Alfano, while head chef Ross Clarke does the cooking.

The title doesn’t say a lot, and neither does the wine bar-esque interior, though it’s very chic, with tables that look as if they’re carved from nougat.

“What kind of food are we getting?” asked one of my dining partners, when I met her at the top of the steep stone stairs that lead down to this basement level eatery.

“Um”.

Dammit, I hadn’t done my research, though a quick squizz at the website reveals that, inspired by Juan’s upbringing, it’s Chilean meets Scottish, via Swedish. We found a menu featuring escabeche, ceviche, chicharrones and sopaipillas. Can’t see the Swedish bit, though maybe they sold out of smorgasbords. Served on colourful patterned plates, savoury dishes come in two sizes and are designed for sharing.

We had an immature giggle at aioli featuring merkens, though it’s actually smoked chilli pepper and nothing to do with any sort of downstairs wiggery.

It came with squished Os of chilli flecked calamari (£6), in a sand coloured and well seasoned knobbly batter.

There was more good dipping action thanks to the dense and rust coloured lamb croquettes (£7), with three heavy globes that were sinking into a luxurious and starchy mulch of herb and chilli spiked lima beans.

Our favourite plate was probably the beef short rib (£10), which boasted paprika-infused meaty dollops that unravelled like wilting tulips.

These came with an onion and tomato salad, and smooth piped-on blobs of purple causa – a potato the lilac shade of Princess Jasmine’s frock.

It was en garde when it came to the pair of crisscrossed wooden skewers that had been threaded with blocks of oily swordfish and a robust chorizo (£12), and this dish also featured a clutch of soft potato hunks in a tomatoey sauce.

We liked a smaller plateful consisting of two meaty tentacles of charred octopus (£10), though the white bean escabeche was a little too tart alongside the mellow seafood.

The whitebait (£5) option was fine, though a little too subtle compared to the other exciting stuff, with a clingy scoop of aioli and a wedge of lime.

One of the mercury-coloured fishies, with batter in his lashes, looked right into my eyes, and asked what had happened to the tarragon that was supposed to be part of this option. I had nothing to tell him.

Someone had switched the billed watercress in the burrata (£9) dish for the slightly less peppery rocket, though I don’t think either would have made this vegetarian option more exciting.

The milky cheese was nice enough, but the accompanying cubes of apple not quite zingy or sweet enough to pep everything up.

We rounded lunch off with the tres leches donuts (£5) – soft deep fried and bouncy balls dunked into a pool of melted white chocolate.

While, the pineapple (£5) option featured this fruit as two mini fritters, an enzyme-y sorbet that made the taste buds at the back of the tongue spark up and fizz, and a couple of pieces of charred fruit.

So, yeah, lovely place, and what’s next – number 64, number 79, 8, 3….the street is their oyster.

Go, and if you want to send a thank you card, the address will do.

83 Hanover Street

83 Hanover Street, 83 Hanover Street, Edinburgh

(0131 225 4862, www.83hanoverstreet.com)

83 Hanover Street, Edinburgh, restaurant review
Food80%
Ambience80%
80%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
53%

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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