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.
Ambiance
9/10
Food
9/10
Total
0%
January 20, 2024

Montrose, Edinburgh, restaurant review - the Timberyard team offer a Zen-like eating experience

They’ve transformed the interior of this B-listed building

Montrose House at Abbeyhill is the opposite of a Tardis.

The white late-19th-century building, originally an inn, looks huge from the street, but is relatively titchy inside. Not that I’ve visited that much, only a couple of times during its various incarnations as a cafe, yoga studio and pub.

Now the Radford family, owners of Edinburgh’s Michelin-starred Timberyard, and their head chef, James Murray, have taken it over and opened Montrose.

At last, it feels as if the landmark building’s full potential has been realised. There’s a wine bar downstairs, offering small plates, and a neat three-course menu, or, head up the winding staircase to their 15-cover fine-dining area. The two spaces are pretty distinct.

As our server and sommelier said, they’ll be playing rock music on the ground level, so there’s a happening feel. While the smarter candle-lit first-floor space, with bare brick walls and linen curtains fixed shut with dolly pegs, has white noise, birdsong and Brian Eno-ish musak coming out of a single speaker. 

The room is filled with the smell of holy wood, palo santo, which is supposed to reduce stress.

Basically, it’s like being in a culinary spa. If the chef, Moray Lamb, came out and offered me a shoulder massage, I’d say yes please.

The tasting menu is four courses (£65), including lots of additional snacks and sweets. Choose matching wines for an additional £50 or soft drinks for £30. The ‘snacks’ are first. I’m the kind of person who associates that word with Wotsits, but these were more sophisticated than that.

Our pair of ‘smoked eel and radish flatbread’ consisted of tiny puffy saucers of chewy and buttery carb, with two slices of fish and finely chopped peppery radish on top, while the duo of Dexter beef croquettes were hearty, with a dot of tangy walnut ketchup on their hemispheres.

Snack number three was hip-flask-sized seeded wholemeal rolls, along with a ramekin of pure white whipped sesame and another of pickled cucumber, both of which we applied to the bread using one of their wooden knives.

Lyla, Edinburgh, review - a beautiful seafood focused experience that's worth dressing up for

What a start, and not a crumb was spilled on the pristine cream linen tablecloths.

We started with a fishy course, which Lamb delivered. This was a take on prawn cocktail, with two langoustines, a piece of celeriac and a lush pink celeriac sauce. In lieu of Tabasco was a green Szuechaun oil, which provided a lovely gentle tingle, like Tiger Balm on the tongue. It was knife licking stuff.

Same for the next course. Each of us had a fillet of silky cod, with caramelised Roscoff onion, and a thick vin jaune sauce that was studded with shrimp. Fish isn’t often teamed with nuts, but this came with a hazelnut praline, and I enjoyed the textural contrast against the creamy backdrop.

About now, the music changed to a church choir style medley, which seemed apt, as we were undergoing something of a religious conversion.

Our final savoury course was the venison. It was excellently feral, thanks in part to a piece of black peppery game sausage, along with the pink BBQ-ish meat, and beetroot chunks. I’m not sure what the dandelion leaf stems were there for, but maybe they have some therapeutic quality that we don’t know about.

The Taybank, Dunkeld, review - this hotel restaurant's menu is good in parts

There was another forage-y flavour, when it came to the chocolate tart. It had an earthy and astringent taste, which prevented the Madagascan-chocolate-topped option from being too sweet. This isosceles slice was decorated with shreds of Armagnac-soaked prune, and came with a salty sweet soil, and vanilla ice-cream.

If that’s not sugary enough, the meal concludes with a pair of chocolate rum truffles - big enough to leave impressions of your incisors in their creamy middles. That’s as well as brown butter financiers with a brightly tangy sea buckthorn curd.

We’d rattled through all this food, and three drinks - an ice-cold house martini (£11) with bergamot; a mezcal negroni (£11) and a glass of their very reasonable 2022 Poivre d’Âne cinsault (£6) - in under 90 minutes.

Others might prefer a different pace, but I’m not good with delayed gratification.

It was still light outside, as we left our dreamy portal and were decanted onto Montrose Terrace via the already bustling wine bar.

Three Chimneys at Talisker, Skye, review - tasting menu in tranquil new restaurant at waterside distillery

Even if the chef had offered me a massage, I probably couldn’t have loved this place more.

1 Montrose Terrace, Edinburgh, UK
1 Montrose Terrace, Edinburgh, UK, EH8 8EJ
0131 605 0088
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.
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.
Ambiance
9/10
Drinks
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
8/10
Total
0%
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