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The Wee Restaurant, Edinburgh, restaurant review

Gaby Soutar foresees a big future for the Wee Restaurant in Edinburgh

Published: May 23, 2016
Food: 
8/10
Ambience: 
8/10

The WHAT restaurant?”

It’s very childish to mention that this restaurant has a polysemic name, but maybe I’m not the only daftie, as everyone else tittered when I told them where I was eating. Don’t worry, I’m going to defriend them all.

Still, having a name with two meanings never did Winnie the Pooh any harm, though I’m sure the owners of this place, Craig and Vikki Wood, have heard it before when diners say they want to spend a penny.

We intended on splashing out a bit more than that (oh, stop).

Anyway, the proper meaning of this restaurant’s name seems a bit redundant. Their original and much loved eatery in North Queensferry may be petite, but the new place, in Edinburgh’s city centre, ain’t particularly, with space for 40 covers.

"The French meringue pudding was my best dessert for ages."

Previously creperie, Fleur de Sel, the walls are now the colour of HB lead, with abstract paintings, mirrors and those trendy bulbs with the conspicuous filaments.

The menu has a bistro feel, but the vibe is that you’re here for a treat. At the top of the menu, there’s the line; “Glass of Janisson Champagne or Kir Royale £9”.

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Well, it’d be rude not to. (Apologies, expenses department, but it’s hardly a bottle of Krug, and I didn’t explore their wine list, which has been nicely curated by Fife based wine merchants l’Art du Vin. Anyway, the soda bread with “vegetarian tapenade” and butter was free).

To start, I ate the seared king scallops (£12.50) – three creamy fleshed fatties, the Rubens nudes of the sea. These came with buttons of an earthy boudin noir and a piquant pile of celeriac remoulade, topped with a salad of micro herbs and endive. Great stuff.

The other starter of smoked Strathspey pork belly (£8.25) was served, unusually, in long fatty slices – good flavour, though some might be sad about the lack of crackling.

We liked the crunchy beansprout laden “oriental vegetable salad” that came with this, though it was slightly overpowered by the muscle bound attention seekers that are raw red onion and fennel seed.

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Doing restaurant reviews isn’t always about eating My Favourite Things, but the menu is such that it’s quite difficult to bodyswerve a risotto. Aside from the steaks, there are mussels, a vegetarian dish, a whole lemon sole...or two risottos (£21.50 each). We went for it.
Mine was a huge heap of a petit pois, leek and cream laced number, which was lush with a heady hit of wild garlic.

There were also four spongy wet slices of pink Perthshire lamb and a rather too fibrous (and, thus, unchewable) nest of shredded ramsons and spring onion on top, with a splash of red wine gravy round the edges to provide a touch of acidity to cut through the overall richness. Lovely, though I couldn’t eat it all, no way.

Risotto take deux – a fishy take on the genre – was also a winner. This scrambled egg coloured mixture was blended with tiny almost invisible nibs of spiced crab, spring onion, saffron and more fennel seeds, with a fringe of salsa verde and a crisp skinned piece of sea bass on the top, as well as a couple of salty-delicious pieces of artichoke.

My French meringue pudding featured three teardrops of pale sugariness, as well as blood orange segments and a nuttily textured chocolate soil on top of a vanilla-y panna cotta (£7.25). My best dessert for ages. Smashing, as was the caramelised baked banana tarte tatin (£7.25) – a sticky graveyard for banana slices, with a blob of vanilla ice cream melting into all its pastry crevices.
Despite a few glitches with menu design (really, one risotto is enough), this place is special and I imagine it being very popular.
As it’s name suggests, it might even be a number one.

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How much?

Dinner for two, excluding drinks - £ 78.25

The Wee Restaurant
61 Frederick Street,
Edinburgh
(0131-225 7983, www.theweerestaurant.co.uk)

Res

 

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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