Dining out this week took us to the recently opened Anfora. Situated in the Vaults, and formerly known as the Vintner Rooms, it’s just a short walk away from Leith and across the road from Vdeep. We love finding new places to eat and Anfora had been on our hit list for a while so we were excited to finally have time to visit. On arrival there is a lovely courtyard with some seating available for when summer finally arrives and then inside we were greeted and shown quickly to our table. Once seated we noticed that we were the first ones here which was kind of surprising but we then realised shortly before we left that there was a live jazz band and the bar was packed. We reckoned everyone had left it a little later to come down to enjoy their food and wine whilst listening to some great music.
The interior has a sophisticated feel and is very much what I would expect from a nice wine bar. Their main focus is fresh, seasonal food and showcasing wine from small independent producers around the world, so you can expect some wines on the list which you might find harder to get a hold off from your local wine shop.
The menu changes regularly in order to make the most of what’s available seasonally. There were a lot of dishes on the menu we could have ordered and would have most likely enjoyed very much.
Our choices on this visit were salad of poached pear, gorgonzola and walnut and Devon crab, chilli, garlic ginger, smoked trout and garlic croutons.
Both dishes were presented in a thoughtful manner and showed that those preparing them had carefully thought about the ingredients and presented them in a way which showed them off. The poached pear was delicious, soft with just enough bite and easy to slice. The saltiness of the gorgonzola and the crunch of the walnuts made this an excellent dish, with every mouthful tasting great. Not usually one to order a meat free starter but if this was on the menu again I’d definitely consider ordering it over meat. The crab starter was equally as tasty. It was packed full of crab and the chilli, ginger garlic flavouring of the crab was delicate enough you could taste it but didn’t overpower the crab. With both starters off to a great start we couldn’t wait to see the main course.
The main courses on offer were good Scottish, comfort type dishes. Rump of lamb, crushed Jersey royals, peas and salt baked turnip caught Mr E’s eye and I choose pork chops, creamy savoy cabbage and creamy mash with apple puree.
Again both dishes were well presented. My creamy mash was delicious, no unexpected lumps and had a lovely creamy taste to it. The cabbage and apple were also delicious. The pork chop was a pretty decent size and overall the dish was great. It definitely hit the spot. Mr E’s dish was also tasty. I didn’t hear any complaints, in fact he hardly spoke whilst eating it, which is definitely a good sign. The lamb was cooked medium, which you might not be able to see from the photos but it was melt in the mouth. After such good starters and main courses it would be rude not to try out the dessert. Mr E quickly chose the cheese board and I had the pineapple carpaccio, roasted pineapple and coconut sorbet.
The cheese board was much bigger than he had anticipated. It was a lovely selection of cheeses and none which we have tried before. One helpful tip would be if the waiting staff could explain what each is cheese is when they serve it, rather than having to try and work it out for ourselves. My pineapple dessert was fresh and a welcome end to the meal. It was light and full of flavour. The coconut sorbet was excellent, I had expected to find some evidence of coconut in it but it was smooth and presumably made from coconut milk, which gave it, it’s smooth texture. My dessert was finished quickly whilst Mr E was still tucking into his cheese board so it was only right that I gave him a helping hand.
Overall we had a very enjoyable meal at Anfora and would definitely think about returning. Maybe we’ll pop along for some wine and jazz. The service is somewhat a little hit or miss. One waitress cleared my dessert plate before Mr E had finished his cheese board which I find a little rude. Everyone else who served us, we couldn’t fault. Anfora is definitely somewhere worth heading to if you find yourself down that way.