Scotsman Review
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  • Drink - Is the wine or cocktail list as exciting as the food, or does it fall short? Same goes for soft drinks. 
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May 12, 2018

LeftField, Edinburgh, restaurant review

An evening jaunt to the Meadows, one of Edinburgh’s best loved green places, head to Leftfield for a spot of dinner with some people watching and a stunning view, says Catriona Thomson

To the Meadows, one of Edinburgh’s best loved green places with its wide open space, trees and spirals of paths.

No matter what the weather is doing you are guaranteed to see folk enjoying the great outdoors; squads of fitness peeps can be found paying for the privilege of being screeched at, red-faced fluorescent-clad joggers pound their way around the perimeter, and we even spied a pair of neckerchief-wearing Scottie dogs off for a stroll from our rendezvous point on Barclay Terrace.

Invest just a little more time and you may be lucky and discover the more quirky leisure offerings on show; peer over the hedge at a keenly contested game of croquet at the Meadows Croquet Club, or watch the Royal Company of Archers hit the target.

We have booked for dinner at a bijou place at the west end of The Meadows, overlooking the Bruntsfield Links Short Hole Golf Course.

It also happens to be an ideal spot for early evening people watching, with the bonus of a stunning view of Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat.

Appropriate as its name is to the green and pleasant setting, I am eager to discover whether LeftField lives up to its other connotation, with a surprising or unconventional style, or a radical and experimental approach.

It’s exciting to learn that the menu changes depending on what’s inspiring LeftField on the day.

The titchy interior is mismatched but welcoming, with the first oddity the fact that the menu arrives on a clipboard with handwritten notes for the ever changing drinks list.

It’s not my normal tipple, but I opt for a cheeky glass of rosé, an organic Rosado Finca Fabian, made from garnacha grapes from La Mancha, Spain, and I’m selecting this specifically because we live in Lamancha, in the Scottish Borders.

From my first sip I detect the fruity berry notes and decide that this is a most refreshing and quaffable, light choice for an almost summer’s evening (£3.90 glass).

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It seems appropriate for his nibs to opt for an IPA called Tiny Rebel (£4.20), and there are no complaints about its citrus, hoppy flavours and serious alcoholic kick.

We order some bread and olive oil (£3.50) while perusing the menu, and the seeded bread is also delivered with a tasty dukkah made from nuts, chilli, paprika and a hint of turmeric, which we plan on recreating at home.

The fella’s crispy fried squid (£7), served with sriracha mayo and a dusky chilli sauce, is seafood perfection, which he approves of heartily.

It’s accompanied by salad mixed with dill and coriander, and a lemon rind kick to wake up the taste buds.

I opt for what the menu refers to as fresh charred purple sprouting broccoli Romenescu (£6), although it turns out not to be the cauliflower-like veg I was expecting, but rather Romesco, a roasted red pepper and almond sauce which hails from the Catalonian region of Spain, with nuggets of feta.

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The dish features watercress and mint and colourful radish discs and I will certainly forgive any confusion.

It has to be an 8oz sirloin steak (£21.00) for sir, served medium rare, just the way he likes it.  This is fine Scottish Borders beef matured for 28 days, beautifully presented, seared with a criss-cross pattern.

It’s simply cooked, but paired with his choice of chimichurri sauce, made from red onion, chilli, lemon coriander, paprika and pepper sauce, and a mighty fine stack of home made chips.

I finally get my cauliflower hit with my main course, featuring a roasted wedge (£12.50) placed on top of a bed of freekeh, which is young green wheat kernels that are toasted and cracked, a new ingredient on me, but I like what I’m tasting.

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The dish also comes served with a half lime to squeeze over the top of the messy jumble of pomegranate, herbs and a hidden gem of a smoky, hot and sour aubergine.

I can’t resist pairing it with a sneaky side order of paprika chips (£4) with generous Parmesan shavings, hidden under more watercress and flavoured with truffle oil.

My Favourite Things by John Coltrane plays in the background, so I guess they must be mind readers.

Desserts are a given, so the fella chooses the lemon tart (£5.00) – think crème brûlée crack, served on bed of sweet strawberry quarters with an elderflower and gin sauce.

I plump for the somewhat orthographically challenged “Eastern” Mess (£5.00) and do not regret my choice, as this classic dish of meringue and cream with raspberries, pistachio and rose petals tastes divine, with or without any putative oriental trappings and boasting –the best bit – jewel-like drops of honey.

We might easily dally to watch the sun go down, but we head for home instead having thoroughly enjoyed our out of the ordinary dinner.


12 Barclay Terrace, Edinburgh EH10 4HP
(0131-229 1394

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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