We went along to The Blackbird the other week on a Tuesday evening to sample their offerings. We had both heard good things and were very much looking forward to our visit.
Initial thoughts on walking through the door was that it had more of a pub which served food feeling. For some reason I had it in my head that it was a restaurant. We were warmly greeted after we entered and told our table was almost ready (we were early) and did we want to have a quick drink at the bar, and unsurprisingly indeed we did want to have a drink at the bar.
I was pleased to see the excellent Williams Brothers Joker IPA on tap and swiftly ordered a pint. Miss Edinburger went for the equally tasty Sierra Nevada (I’ve clearly thought her a thing or two about beer). When standing at the bar enjoying our beer we noticed some comfy looking sofas at a couple of the tables, the bar area had a cosy feel and struck me as a perfect spot for a quiet Sunday afternoon drink. Although trying to get out of those sofas after a few may prove trickier than it looks! There was also a number of tasty sounding efforts on the cocktail menu up on the wall I knew we would have to come back and try a few of those bad boys regardless of how good the food would turn out to be.
A few minutes at the bar and our table was ready. The friendly waitress showed us through to the dining area which is in a separate area at the other side of the back wall of the bar. The food menu was impressive, there’s a good compact selection of tasty sounding dishes with plenty variation. Our initial plans on sharing a starter went out the window when we couldn’t decide between the Innis & Gunn beer battered tiger prawns with honey beer dipping syrup or the coconut crusted chicken with peanut butter and chilli hummus so we did the sensible thing and ordered both.
For main course I went for the pie of the day which was steak and haggis with all butter puff pastry and twice cooked cut chips. Miss Edinburger went for the Mushroom and Spinach burger with glazed brioche bun, melted goats cheese and crispy onions, twice cooked chips and roast red pepper mayo, with a controversial but quite correct in my opinion, request to have some bacon added to the veggie dish. I ordered a large glass of malbec for good measure and we were all set.
After a very short wait our starters arrived (they are actually described on the menu as “small dishes” rather than starters and to be honest they are pretty substantial on their own for a light dinner or quick lunch). Both dishes looked fantastic and we quickly got stuck in. The prawns were fantastic, light, crispy and very tasty. Possibly some of the best we’ve ever had! The honey beer dipping sauce rounded it off perfectly.
The coconut crusted chicken was also really tasty, not quite on the same level as the prawns for me but still very good. The peanut butter and chilli hummus dip was excellent and much like a thick satay sauce. It worked really well with the coconut chicken. The portion itself was huge and could easily have served two.
We had just the right amount of time for our first dish to settle before our mains arrived. The presentation of both dishes was great, my pie arrived in it’s own individual pie dish, both dishes had a separate cup for the twice cooked chips sat on a wooden board. The pie was also very impressive, pastry was light and crisp, the gravy and haggis was very tasty and there was a huge amount of large perfectly cooked steak pieces within the pie.
Miss Edinburger also suitably enjoyed her veggie burger with bacon. I got a bite myself and the mushroom and goats cheese tasted excellent together and the brioche bun was light and tasty. The bacon added a saltiness to the burger and made a great addition (sorry if we have offended any veggies out there).
Despite both of us being stuffed, the success of the starters and mains made it essential that we at least sampled something from the dessert menu. We decided on the Warm chocolate brownie with chocolate fudge sauce and pistachio ice cream. The brownie was also really tasty (there’s a theme emerging here), nice and warm and rich and set off well with the pistachio ice cream. Unfortunately due to the lighting the picture didn’t do it justice.
As you can probably tell by now we thoroughly enjoyed our evening at The Blackbird and was some of the best food we have sampled in Edinburgh. To describe it as bar food would be doing it a disservice as the quality of food could easily stand up against many good restaurants in Edinburgh.
The Blackbird Bar and Restaurant | 37-39 Leven St, Edinburgh, EH3 9LH | (0131) 228 2280 |