It seems like ages ago that we visited The Refinery on St Andrews Square but our experience is still fresh in our mind. St Andrew’s Square has been the point of major redevelopment over the last few years and joining the eateries is Drake & Morgan’s first Scottish venue, The Refinery. We had been tracking the opening with much excitement as we had seen posts about their London venues and the food looked delicious. So when the chance to pop into their Edinburgh branch presented itself we quickly made sure we were free.
The venue itself is a beautiful glass fronted building with welcoming and cosy interiors on the inside. There is also a small seated area outside and if you get a little bit chilly there are warm blankets and hot water bottles to make you comfortable. Inside they have dressed it well with stylish leather seating, luxurious furnishings and a touch of Scotland with a big highland cow mural. We were delighted when our table was at the huge glass window on the 1st floor. When we were seated I did wonder why there was a throw on my chair but as the evening progressed it was clear that the glass front is quite cool. Mr Edinburger didn’t complain about this tho as he likes being cool.
The menu is a mix of small, tapa type plates for those in for a quick drink and a bite to eat and then there are bigger plates for those who are looking for something a little more substantial. On the menu there are the usual bar type offerings of burgers, steaks, fish & chips with a few more exotic offerings such as Thai green curry and lemon chicken. Once we had made our final decisions we sat back, enjoyed our wine and mocktail and watched the world go by from our seat whilst we waited for our food to arrive.
We didn’t have to wait long for our food to arrive. We both decided to sample something from the small plates to start, I choose the salt & pepper squid, lemon mayonnaise while Mr E had picked out the Scotch egg, chorizo & smoked paprika mayonnaise to try.
Both dishes arrived piping hot. Mr E was pleased to see the egg yolk was still soft as this is difficult to achieve. The were definite sounds of approval coming from across the table. I’m told the smokiness of the paprika and chorizo worked well with the Scotch egg. The breadcrumb coating on the egg was crispy and well seasoned. It did look like there could have been a little more eat around the egg but for a starter it was a good size. My portion of salt & pepper squid was pretty substantial. The batter was well flavoured and crispy and the squid was well cooked. It was a good start to the evening.
Choosing the main course was a little more difficult and we both stuck to classic dishes as it’s a sign of a good bar if they can get these right. Mr E had a rib-eye steak medium done and I had the fish pie with a cheddar potato crust. To be a bit healthier I ordered a side of broccoli and almonds and Mr E had a side of mac’n’cheese.
On advice of our waiter Mr E upgraded the fries that came with his steak to the Roman fries which had a helping of parmesan, truffle & rosemary over them. The steak was well seasoned and cooked to order. Mr Edinburger commented that there was plenty of meat and hardly any fat. The Roman fries were delicious but could have done with a little more of the parmesan and truffle but that’s just a little comment.
My fish pie was well presented and was delicious. It was packed full of fish, I counted at least 8 mussels, 3-4 prawns and chunks of salmon and a white fish which I think was cod. The sauce was well seasoned and full of flavour. My only comment here is it little difficult to eat due to the dishware it is served in.
We weren’t quite sure if we had room for a dessert so decided to share a chocolate orange jaffa cake. When the dessert arrived it wasn’t quite what we were expecting. I think we both had in a our head it would be some dark melting sponge which was orange flavoured, instead it was a lot of plain sponge with a thin layer of orange jelly which to me didn’t have a very zesty taste and an even thinner layer of milk chocolate on top.
It was a little disappointing but this was the only negative from our visit. The atmosphere is relaxed and on the night we visited there were lots of post work folk in eating and drinking giving the place a bustling feeling. The service during our visit was also excellent, our plates were cleared quickly, a nice little break between courses and with a few stops to ask how we were getting on.
Overall if your after nice bar food we would recommend you visit but if you’re after something a little more fancier the menu is a little limited. Drake & Morgan have created a beautiful venue and we’ll be back in to sample one of their burgers and some cocktails very soon.