I saw Damm27 once.
They were supporting The Sex Pistols, back in 1978.
Their lead singer fell into the mosh pit, while she was performing their hit song, Causewayside Riot.
I don’t think there are any restaurants in Edinburgh that sound quite as punk band-ish as this neighbourhood gastropub. Most others at this end of town – Sonder, Condita, Southpour – are way more country and western.
To fit the name, the newest addition to this postcode is quite moody inside, though smart.
Children are welcome during the day too, so I visited en famille.
There are burgers and sarnies, but also an interesting selection of small plates with a pan European vibe.
The waitress recommended a couple of these each, but we went for a tad more.
After all, my nieces may look like Joan Eardley or Lowry portraits, but they can eat. I sympathise, since I remember the gnawing hunger of growing bones, which can only be sated by skyscrapers of peanut butter sandwiches.
Talking of which, I would have liked some halloumi, since it was part of the dish we’d ordered from the Vegetarian section. However, one of the nieces had quickly peeled these strips off the caponata (£8.50), as if she were ripping wet plasters off her knees. Anyway, the stew itself, with peppers and aubergine, was pleasant, though slightly boring texturally, with a couple of hunks of crusty toast on the side.
The choucroute garnie (£8.50) was another homely and rustic dish. There was sauerkraut, ham chunks, bits of sausage, and a single Weeble-sized potato in a vinegary gravy. I don’t know if it’s wintery enough yet outside for survivalist food, but I’m sure this helped me to lay down some fat stores.
We all liked the set of three smooth-centred and bullet-shaped ham hock and Gruyère croquettes (£6.50) with a condiment that was billed as apricot mustard but tasted just like ordinary wholegrain.
Our baby squid tempura (£7.50) was bouncily fresh, though the batter was soggy, so they resembled discarded inner tubes. Still, oomph was restored by a mahogany coloured honey, soy and ginger dip.
We were a bit confused by the charred pickled fennel (£7) dish, which seemed rather out of place amongst all the other generally hearty stuff. Still, this very subtle and light pastel-coloured plate looked pretty, with lemony hummus sprinkled with buttery soft tabbouleh grains and pansy flowers.
I think I preferred the mussel pot (£11). From a choice of four flavours, we’d gone for the boozy and thus children’s-unwashed-probing-finger-free Normandy one with dry cider, apples, mustard, cream and half a burnished lemon on the top.
We dipped some of the Gruyere and truffle fries (£4.50) into the juice, once we’d separated these chips from their cheesy bondage. Oh, and there was also a side of bone marrow mac and cheese (£3).
It featured a rich pasta dish, with a thick blanket of toasted fromage on the top, and a clunky block of empty bone that monopolised the end of the oven dish. Unless you’re advertising the entrance to an ossuary, I’m not sure this was the most enticing decoration.
We thought sweets were better than savouries.
The sticky toffee pear pudding (£6.50) was fizzingly hot, with a geyser temperature poached pear in the centre of the dark sponge igloo, but we managed to excavate it with much blowing and self restraint.
In a side jug, it came with the sugary lotion of joy that was buff-coloured toffee sauce. Our poor scalded mouths are proof of enthusiasm.
As the perfect foil to all the heavy and lardy stuff, there was also a frothily light crème brûlée cheesecake (£6.50), which was topped with caterpillars of candied orange, as well as chopped mint and citrus syrup.
Very nice, and this place offers better food and service than the average boozer.
I can’t wait for their second album.
27 Causewayside, Edinburgh
(0131-667 6692, www.damm27.com)