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Eve, Edinburgh, review

This casual eating space launched in October

Published: November 14, 2022
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Naming your restaurant after your late mum is a lovely tribute.

That's what Richard Branson has done with this new all-day dining destination, which is part of Virgin Hotels Edinburgh.

If it was me, I’d go a bit further, and only serve the things my remaining parent eats. At Susie’s, they’d have Pot Noodles, heavily buttered cheese scones, battered fish, prawn cocktail and blueberries. There would be no potatoes, since she’s not interested in those. Not even chips.

I’m not sure if this theme restaurant would be open for long, but mum would be there all day. They would play Midsomer Murders on the big screen.

Although this five-star hotel opened in the summer, along with the Commons Club Restaurant and Bar, this addition took a bit longer. It seems to be pitched at a younger crowd with space for 160 and an industrial feel, but they’ve made it feel a bit more intimate with low slung velvety seating and there’s a colourful mural on one wall, as well as a bar and a DJ.

We thought it might not be our scene, but there was quite a middle-aged crowd, and the music wasn’t pumping too loudly on a Friday evening. Maybe the dancing happens later, and us early bird diners dodged it. We didn’t order a drink, since we’d already popped into the Commons Club Bar on Victoria Street level. Beware, as the cocktails up there, along with a service charge, are smashing but pricey.

I had my Breakfast in the Highlands (£18), which was much better than stopping for a bacon roll at Little Chef on the A9. It featured Glenfiddich 15-Year-Old Single Malt, brown butter, toasted oat Amontillado Sherry, Edinburgh Honey Co. Heather Honey and Bittered Sling Kensington Aromatic, as well as a huge ice-cube that the mixologist had expertly whittled so it looked like a Barbara Hepworth sculpture. We also tried the fresh and zesty Queen Street (£14), which had an “Islay mist” sprayed around its rim, like a smoky Tom Ford aftershave, as well as Bacardi Carta Blanca Rum, Martini Riserva Ambrato, lemon and celery bitters. My drink was so strong, I left my stomach on the sixth floor when we got the lift down to Eve.

As I wanted something burly, we ordered a Small Plate of John Gilmour’s aged beef brisket (£9). There were six stoat-coloured blocks, with a dense and meaty middle that was lifted by a sweet and chilli spiked beetroot and apple ketchup on the side. Pleasant enough, though the Scottish salmon crudo (£9) was a bit onion-heavy for me. This ingredient made up about 50 per cent of the dish, and was chopped finely, so you couldn’t avoid it among the strips of limey fish, salmon roe, and slippery avocado chunks. There were also three puffy seaweed crackers, for scooping (or trying to scrape off the onions).

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There are Bowls & Salads, but we got our mains from the Burgers & Sandwiches and Large Plates lists.

My East Coast lobster club sandwich (£18) featured slices of white loaf that had been lightly toasted, but were soggy. The top deck contained bits of sweet lobster, smashed avocado and tomato, and the bottom level was filled with maple dry-cured bacon and sriracha mayo. I ended up eating the filling, and dodged the bread as it slowly turned to porridge. The side of triple-cooked chips (£4.75) wasn’t bad, though they could have gone a bit heavier on the malt side of the “salt and malt seasoning”. Also, for the price, you don’t really want a bit of scrunched up branded paper taking up half of the container.

Their mac ‘n’ cheese (£15) is a monolithic family-sized portion. At the bottom of the rottweiler’s-water-bowl-sized pot was slow-cooked bbq brisket, and plenty of it, then there was the macaroni cheese, which was more creamy than cheesy. Overall, it was an extremely sweet mixture, though not bad, and there were a couple of slices of charcoal bread on the side.

The food is very US style. We could almost have been in Vegas.

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We didn’t bother with puds, though we could have rolled the dice for an orange polenta cake, chocolate cremeux, dacquoise or sorbet.

I’ve heard good things about the brunch here, but I’d say this hotel’s Commons Club Restaurant is more my scene.

However, mention must be made of the lovely staff. This venue has bagged a lot of great people.

I might poach them to work in Susie’s.

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Virgin Hotels Edinburgh

18-20 Cowgate

(0131 526 4810, www.virginhotels.com/dine-and-drink/eve)

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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