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Restaurant Review: The Gannet and Broken Clock Cafe and Patisserie, St James Quarter, Edinburgh

There’s still a queue for Bonnie & Wild, so get there early

Published: September 4, 2021
Categories:
Food: 
8/10
Ambience: 
7/10

There are many things I’ve brought back from visits to Glasgow over the years.

Bags of unflattering clothes from COS, used clockwork orange tickets, a full stomach from Sunday lunch at my granny’s house, Tantrum Doughnuts, ringing ears, and sore feet from dancing all night.

There’s also an endless list of restaurants I’d like to smuggle home - Cail Bruich, Rogano, EusebiOx & Finch, Crabshakk, Gloriosa. I’ll take all of them.

Now the capital does have a couple of west coast imports, The Gannet and Broken Clock Cafe, both of which I’ve visited in Glasgow and loved.

(Also Ka Pao, another favourite, is coming soon to St James Quarter).

If you want to visit them, get in there early. The excitement about the month old Bonnie & Wild food market hasn’t waned. There was a queue at 11.45am.

We told the door people that we wanted to eat at The Gannet, but were seated near the main entrance. Them’s the breaks.

Thus, we didn’t get to see our food being made in the open kitchen, or get a shot on the (presumably) comfy grey banquettes.

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I know, we should have asked, especially as my desiccated discs were grumbling about the wooden chair.

Once our buzzer signalled that our order was ready to collect, there was also the pressure of carrying our loaded trays back to our seats.

It felt a bit like a scene in a US high school film. If a jock stuck their foot out, us nerds would be wearing our lunch.

Our precious cargo included Arbroath Smokie doughnuts (£7). This was a bit of a Smokie off, as Gary MacLean’s Creel Caught, also in this space, does a dish that showcases this fish. Round one to Gary.

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This trio of bollards was slightly dry and bready, with a diluted taste of Smokie, and noodly strands of cucumber on top, as well as a subtle “burnt cream” that stuck them to the plate. We weren’t really feeling the “celeriac tacos apple and whey cheese” (£7) either. There were three and they were overwhelmingly sweet and jammy. The strips of celeriac and the whey addition could have been anything really, they were so subtle.

In contrast, the “sea trout, apple and celery” (£11) was a beautiful and perfect thing, with a sticky fillet of plush and Barbie-pink fish, along with various seaweedy sprigs, crisp endive, and a salty buttery herby sauce.

Beautiful, as were the two pieces of nutty and iron-y medium rare bavette (£16) from Bonnie & Wild’s in-house butcher shop, MacDuff. This option came with pieces of charred leek and chanterelles, which were sloshed in a beefy jus that snuck into their crevices.

These two are representative of The Gannet we love, as was the magnificent side of bone marrow mash (£4.50), with a tarn of gravy on the top.

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We also got drinks from Bonnie & Wild’s central bar, The Hauf & Howff. You can now order from there directly, rather than scanning the QR code, trying to remember your password from last time and getting all flustered and red faced about it. He asked a human for a Bon Accord Ginger Beer (£3.95) and I chose a strong Aperol spritz (£8.50), in my attempt to desperately cling onto summer.

Up to the Broken Clock counter for dessert.

We ordered two flat whites (£3 each), which were more like lattes, and not quite on par with the excellent coffee we’ve had at their Glasgow Park Road branch.

Then there were the pastries. When you walk into Bonnie & Wild, these are the first thing you see (and smell). Behind the counter, there is a mountain range of craggy and sugar-dusted bakes. We went for the almond, chocolate and raspberry croissant (£3.20), which was loaded with rivulets of tart compote and squishy chocolate. Further back, in the fridge, you’ll find patisserie. I was attracted to something that looked like a Disney version of the Sleeping Beauty poison apple. It was blood red and laminated like lip gloss, with a scattering of gold confetti and a chocolate “stalk” sticking out of the top.

“Dark chocolate, cherry and lemon”, said the guy behind the counter. Mine. This “petit gateaux” (£5.50) had a sandy biscuit base, then a frothy chocolate mousse that had its sweetness tempered by threads of lemon and cherry in the centre.

Thank you, Glasgow, for these precious exports (though I still think the original venues, without the constraints of working in a food hall, are better).

I will dance all night and put a police cone on the head of our Duke of Wellington statue in tribute.

Bonnie & Wild

St James Quarter

Edinburgh

(0131 560 1800, www.bonnieandwildmarket.com/the-gannet)

Places to try Nearby

Maki & Ramen, St James Quarter, Edinburgh (0131 560 2823, www.makiramen.com)

If you can’t get into Bonnie & Wild, there’s always this venue on the ground floor. It’s the seventh restaurant for this business, including one in Glasgow. As their name might suggest, it serves sushi, sashimi and their bowls of soy egg topped ramen.

Bakery Andante, 49 Broughton Street, Edinburgh (0131 466 2901, www.bakeryandante.co.uk)

This new cafe from the people behind the original Morningside Bakery offers a decent brunch, with dishes including pancakes and their French toast with plum compote.

Down the Hatch, 13 Antigua Street, Edinburgh (0131 375 5566, www.downthehatch.com)

Check your diet at the door at this place, where the menu features poutine, Korean BBQ wings, breakfast skillets and quadruple decker burgers.

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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