Scotsman Review
Our criteria 
  • Ambience - It's important that a restaurant is inviting. We rate the decor, comfort and atmosphere.
  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
  • Food - We judge dishes on flavour, but also use of produce, cooking skill and presentation
  • Service - The staff and pace of a meal can make or break a meal out.
  • Value - From the food on the plate to service and surroundings, we check that you get what you're paying for.
September 14, 2016

Foundry 39, Edinburgh, restaurant review

Foundry 39 do a good cocktail, but the food is pedestrian, finds Gaby Soutar


Apparently, they eat 100 acres of pizza a day in the US.

I like this fact, since it conjures up a lush doughy landscape dotted with head-sized olives and a swamp of mozzarella that’s thick enough to get your wellies stuck in. Like something from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. But savoury of course.

It’s been a while since I had a slice of the good stuff, so a visit to this new bar restaurant was warmly anticipated. Located in the former premises of Tex-Mex chain Chimichanga, it’s owned by the London-based Revere Pub Company, which has a dozen places in England.

The look they’ve gone for is a bit hackneyed. Industrial, with bits of machinery on shelves, and lots of copper and pot plants. We’ve seen this before: hipsters, circa 2012.

Food-wise, it also does burgers, brekkie and brunch. Cocktails seem to be a big deal too.
I had a Purple Rain (£7.50, with lavender-infused Bombay Dry Gin, violet droplets, blueberries, lemon juice and honey), which was presented in a hammered copper tumbler. It didn’t cause me any trouble, didn’t cause me any pain. The opposite, in fact.

For starters, there are all sorts of lardy nuggets. We went for a complete showcase with our choice of the Sharer (£15).
It featured a helping of a half dozen flesh-coloured garlic dough balls, served in a cast iron pan. These were nondescript and paste-y textured, and served alongside a clutch of slightly better tomato and Parmesan versions, with sugo dumped on top. Our communal slate also featured a pile of jalapeño, sour cream and cheddar-topped nachos, which were more interesting than your average dirty pub snack, since the corny triangles were pleasantly bubbly and crumbly textured. Fine.

It was hard not to like a little stack of four gluey caramel and chilli chicken wings. I have a weakness for that sort of jammy hot topping. I’m only a bit sorry. The fried gherkins, each the size of a sunglasses pouch, weren’t bad either, with a blue cheese dip on the side.

Mains were a bit meh. My beef ragu and chorizo (£11.50) pizza was more ordinary than it had sounded. There were a few shreds of Parma ham, as billed, and oily pepperoni discs, but no sign of the chorizo Iberico, and the beef ragu appeared as a few blobs of something unidentifiable, though slightly fibrous and tomatoey.

Our smoked salmon (£12.50) version was more interesting, with a generous selection of stuff on top, though the addition of cold and congealed soft boiled egg quarters, with runny white bits resembling cataracts, wasn’t that welcome. This offering also consisted of pink fishy shreds, a rather bland “lemon and parsley butter base”, dollops of crème fraîche and hopelessly woody handfuls of samphire. The best bit was the fried crispy capers = heavenly green polka dots.

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Both pizzas came on a very thin, dry and undulating base, which slightly erred towards a Ryvita-esque texture.
From the list of burgers, we tried the black and gold (£9.95). Sadly, it also lacked chutzpah.
The peppery black pudding ingredient blotted out any flavour from the 6oz dry aged patty, which was topped with a slice of tomato, a layer of melted orange cheese, and a daub of American mustard, which looked and tasted just like mayo. Fries are extra, and the chilli versions (£4.50) were skinny and topped with gatecrashers: crisped-up onions, ground beef and jalapeños.

Stuffed to the gunnels, we ordered one pudding to share. I’m not sure how to describe the “apple, pear and hazelnut cheesecake with white chocolate crumb” (£5.50). It was like a breakfast option, with fruit on the bottom of the bowl, a layer of white yoghurt-ish mascarpone, then a biscuity granola on top. Rise and shine! It was nice, just not what was expected. And that’s the problem with Foundry 39 – things tend to read better than they taste.

I’ll be eating my acres of pizza elsewhere. n


The Verdict
How much? Dinner for three, excluding drinks, £58.95

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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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