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Milk at Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh, restaurant review

Gaby Soutar takes a visit to Mik's newest Edinburgh set-up at Jupiter Artland

Published: August 8, 2015

Please don’t: Bring a picnic or BBQ (For animal welfare there is a very strict policy of no picnics. Picnics may be taken at nearby Almondell Country Park).”

This is one of the few rules at the spectacular art park that is Jupiter Artland, which is open until 27 September.

So leave your flask at home, and resist the temptation to crack open the peanut butter sandwiches in Anya Gallaccio’s The Light Pours Out of Me – a basement level crystal cave lined with jaggy-edged amethyst – or shell your hard boiled egg underneath the 12 metre high orchid otherwise known as Mark Quinn’s Love Bomb.

If you get hungry, there’s always Milk, who are the new providers of catering in the white painted Proposal Room.

Be quick though, as our party of a grown-up couple and two under fives, bagged a table for lunch at 11:30am, then felt smug as people (mainly young families) started rolling in at noon, when it was already full. You snooze, you lose, suckers.

I’m a big fan of Milk’s other venue on Edinburgh’s Morrison Street, and their basic pop-up beside the Collective Gallery on Calton Hill is OK. The newest branch features their usual brand of savoury, healthy, casual fare, punctuated by lots of cake.

Sarnies are £6.95, with fancy fillings such as prosciutto, manchego and plum preserve, but we thought the salads (£8.50) were more interesting. From that genre, we went for the carrot and halloumi fritters, and roast chicken and Keralan slaw.

Despite the fact the sliced piece of chook needed a bit of jazzing up, the meaty option was pretty satisfying.

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As well as a big blob of sticky rhubarb chutney, which was stuffed with bloated raisins, there was a sprinkling of dal muth and toasted coconut for texture, a heap of chunky coleslaw with red cabbage and carrot, bouncy and well seasoned leaves and a couple of half moons of flatbread. Still, I think the other main was more appealing.

As well as the same slaw, bread and green salad, there were three carrot and halloumi fritters, which didn’t have any obviously discernible cheese in them, but were decent pucks of densely packed vegetation (as if they’d been in a flower press for a week). We also liked the creamy sumac-injected hummus and a vibrant and squishy salad of sesame and cumin seed sprinkled roasted sweet potato chunks, courgette and peppers.

Our thick soup – coconut and mushroom (£4.50) – served with two triangles of spongy brown bread, was a winner too. Our civilised plan to share nicely soon deteriorated into near bloodshed, which is always good sign.

And to drink, the adults had minty lemon coolers (£2.50 each), served in milk bottles, which made us feel like Postman Pat gone off the rails.

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We didn’t get the children anything, they sat and watched us eat. They cried a little, but we just laughed and stuffed our faces. I joke.

They had the lunch bags (£3.95 each), which consisted of grapes, a bottle of water and a puffy, flour dusted ham-filled roll, as well as a greaseproof paper wrapped flapjack (the two year old spat this out immediately, but she does this all the time – could be a good thing, could be bad).

The four year old’s verdict is as follows; “I love ham more than chicken, but I like chicken too.”

Especially when it comes to the small people, I do appreciate Milk’s concession to healthy eating.

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Saying that, we all enjoyed a slice of their liberally iced milk chocolate and rhubarb cake (£3) and demolished a tile of rich Belgian chocolate and almond brownie (£2.50). The slightly dry lime and ginger sponge (£3) was neglected.

Their coffee (£2.40 for a flat white) is served from the 1953 Silver Streak Caravan that’s parked outside. It’s the good stuff – all you’ll need to power you round this place, past Laura Ford’s Weeping Girls and Firmament by Anthony Gormley.

See, you don’t always have to take a picnic or barbecue, and if you disagree, you can visit Almondell Country Park (wherever that is).

Our civilised plan to share nicely soon deteriorated into near bloodshed

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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