Scotsman Review
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August 15, 2018

Beetroot Sauvage, restaurant review, Edinburgh

Edinburgh's Beetroot Sauvage is a wholesome vegan eatery, where you can relax and soak up the healthy atmosphere, finds Catriona Thomson

Vinyasa, Chi Kung, Nidra, Tai Chi are not the names of delicious dishes on a menu, just a small selection of the therapies and classes on offer at the Edinburgh Community Yoga social enterprise just off Ratcliffe Terrace.

This time we are not visiting to unblock our chakras, or take a yoga class but to sample some of the dishes at Beetroot Savauge, which is a vegan cafe/restaurant located in the downstairs space.

This independent eaterie is the brain child of Edinburgh-born chef Gary Mcgirr a vegan street grub vendor, and french woman Marie-Anne Marten who ran the Beetroot police box at the Meadows.

She is also top notch foodie, and reiki practitioner and yogi (well this is a holistic joint, so what else would you expect.)
Perhaps this food partnership will rekindle the close historic ties of the auld alliance.

I made the mistake of arriving absolutely famished, and almost couldn’t wait to sample the healthy delights on the a la carte menu.

All wholesome plant-based grub promising to lovingly nourishing you, and from soil to soul.

A large party arrived just before us, so we made a beeline for the quieter outdoors seating courtyard.

Think bohemian shanty town chic, with taverna bulbs swaying in the breeze.

We staked a claim on an booth roofed by corrugated iron, complete with sofa, wooden table and carpeted with fake grass and a scary distressed framed portrait hanging on the wall.

The back yard also hosts a weekly Sunday vegan market and there is a weekly Wednesday kids project called Corylus, where youngsters can grow their own fruit and vegetables and eat healthy food and there are ongoing plans for other pop up events galore.

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After relaxing and taking in the calming atmosphere I selected the roasted salted beets starter (£6.00), it arrived delicately presented on an tres instagrammable cracked glazed plate.

Slivers of golden and regular beetroot, topped with pea tendril and berries, all beautifully presented, completed with piped stars of smoth nutty cashew butter and an artistic swipe of pistachio puree, all drizzled in a fine vinegary dressing.

My least favourite part was an aniseed flavour in the pistachio concoction, but this was an immaculate start to the meal.

My companion, had wisely plumped for a warming bowl of courgette and sorrel soup (£6.00), topped with a frothy almond foam and pumpkin seeds, which was served with a chunky slice of wholesome bread and a pot of an oil based spread ideal to to smother the bread with.

Although an extra slice slice would have been welcomed, but the distinctive sorrel tang made it stand out from the crowd.

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Our waitress was charming and attentive although a little busy, so after we had demolished our starters we got a bit cold so plumped to move inside for our main course.

Inside there are large wooden tables and benches, expose walls and painted iron beams, but pretty flowers and tealights made the place most welcoming.

There is also a private dining room, very much, like a posh potting shed which you can nab for a friendly get together.

To make amends, for the leisurely service we scored a complimentary pot of Orange Pekoe tea from the extensive tea selection, our cockles well and truly warmed.

Main course for my companion, consisted of delicate portion of pan fried scallops served with roast garlic mash, asparagus, chantrelles and romanescu cauliflower, decorated with seared forage greenery (£12.00).

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Beetroot Sauvage
Picture: TSPL

Don’t panic anyone, everything on the menu is entirely plant based, the scallops are in fact mushroom stalks.

Fans of fake meat will approve of the other main course offering which was seitan steak sauvage, served with sweet potatoes, brocolli and smoked tomato.

I plumped for a whopping bowlful of orzo pasta (£12.00), mixed with courgette and purple kale, which was flavoured with lemon, olives and sage and kale pesto.

Orzo pasta is shaped like a supersized flat grain of rice, and every forkful from the dish revealed new discoveries, it didn’t knock my socks off but I adored the crisp kale and tempura battered courgette flower which took pride of place on the top.

Overall it was a little bland.

The most substantial dishes of the evening came with our desserts.

My companion selected a ultra rich Meadowsweet and chocolate torte (£6.00), with was served with cherries and a few broken crackles of mighty fine hazlenut brittle.

Beetroot Sauvage
Picture: TSPL

I confess I couldn’t quite finish my doorstop sized, Lime, blueberry and ginger cheesecake (£6.00), this came topped with a pretty flower and dots of jam coconut and blueberries.

I reckoned food waste would be frowned upon in this place so I snuck the offending article out in a napkin, to savour at home later.

Whether you are a vegan or simply fancy a bit of a change, this place is friendly and welcoming and it produces proper vegan cooking, not fast food.

As it only opened in May and has only recently opened for evening meals on a Friday night, I know given time, good things will continue to grow out of this place.

Beetroot Sauvage

33-41 Ratcliffe Terrace EH9 1SX
(0131 6294484


Catriona is a freelance writer based in the Scottish Borders, and a nominee for Food and Drink writer at this year's Scottish Press Awards.
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