Since we’ve moved out to Tranent, we love nothing more than coming into town at the weekend for dinner and then possibly a few too many drinks before getting the last train/bus home. Last weekend saw us head along to try out The Observatory.
Up until recently the restaurant within The Glasshouse was open only to residents but at the start of July they made the decision to open it up to non-residents also. We couldn’t think of anything nicer than spending a Saturday evening with good food and nice surroundings. We had high hopes for The Observatory as we’ve looked many times at treating ourselves to a night in the hotel but never quite got around to making the booking.
On arrival to The Glasshouse, you are greeted with this fabulous old church front. There is something about this Category C Listed weathered stone facade and everyone in Edinburgh will know exactly where you mean when you describe it. The 160-year-old Lady Glenorchy Church was converted into The Glasshouse Hotel in 2003, Scotland exchanged one iconic piece of history for another. This 77-bedroom luxury boutique hotel is now considered one of the best places to stay in Edinburgh, with cosy-contemporary interiors, warm Scottish service and consistently spectacular views of the city centre, Calton Hill or the hotel’s hidden two-acre rooftop garden.
With the restaurant only being opened up to non-residents in the last few weeks, the restaurant is a little hidden away. We were kindly escorted to our table by a very friendly member of staff, who took us on a tour of the roof top garden. I have to say we were a little aware of the garden but when we saw the size of it we couldn’t quite believe it. When summer finally arrives the plan is that you will be able to enjoy a drink or two on the roof top garden before you eat. We think this is a fab idea as it really does offer spectacular views of Edinburgh. We could easily see why it’s a favourite for weddings.
For those of you quick enough to book before the end of July you can enjoy a complimentary glass of prosecco. The restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday between 6pm and 9.30pm. We choose to dine at 6pm to allow ourselves time after to have a few drinks in town. When we arrived we were the only ones there, which we actually enjoyed. It gave us time to take in the lovely surroundings and ponder over the menu without rushing to get ordered before other tables. After a lot of debate we had finally decided on what we were going to have. The menu caters for a wide variety of dietary requirements and certainly makes use of local ingredients. We loved the range of meat on offer and Mr E was loving the pigeon starter. Starters were pretty easy choices for us; Pigeon – Wood pigeon breast, nettle, potato & hazelnut pastry, radish sheet, carrot emulsion and Pea – Bacon crisp, crackling, pea salad. You will notice that all of the dishes have simple names so it was a little strange asking for pea 🙂
Pigeon is something which we have discovered is pretty easy to get wrong but on this occasion it was cooked perfectly. It was tender and easy to cut with a fabulous taste. The nettle, potato and hazelnut pastry was also something different but the textures all worked well together and was well flavoured. My pea, bacon and salad starter was vibrant, the peas fresh and crunchy and the bacon and crackling crispy, just how I like them. Each dish was presented well and full of colour and both had us excited to see what was coming next.
Main course was somewhat of a more difficult choice. We could have both ordered any dish on the menu and I reckon we’d have been pretty happy. In the end we choose wisely, Venison – Haunch of venison, baby Scottish potatoes, tender stem broccoli, carrot puree, juniper jus and for Mr E Lamb – BBQ roasted shoulder, lamb cutlet, spiced neck fillet served with triple cooked chips, garlic grilled Portobello mushroom & roasted vine cherry tomatoes.
I really enjoyed my dish but I have to say there was a little bit of food envy on my part! The lamb looked and tasted delicious. Each dish was well cooked and packed full of flavour. The chips were flavoured well and definitely the right choice for the mixed grilled lamb dish. My new potatoes were lovely and floury although being N.Irish I would have liked a few more on the plate but with dessert still to come I didn’t mind too much.
After the main course we definitely had some space for dessert and we did have our wine to finish so thought we’d have a look at the menu. Again this was a slightly tricky task as there were a number of our favourite things in different dishes. In the end we had; Teacake – Hazelnut sponge, marshmallow, chocolate ice cream, jammy crumb and Vanilla – Vanilla cheese cake, blueberry compote, honeycomb, vanilla iced tea.
The vanilla cheesecake was the best vanilla cheesecake I think we’ve ever had. It was light and fresh with a lovely consistency. It didn’t need a whole load of sauce with it and the honeycomb topping added another texture to the dish. The teacake dessert was also delicious. This deconstructed version of a teacake worked very well. I would have maybe liked a little bit more jam but that would just be personal preference.
Overall it was a great evening at The Observatory. The staff were attentive but slightly nervous in the serving of dishes. The food is well priced and the wine list will have something for everyone. We’d highly recommend visiting if you’re looking for something of the beaten track. Hopefully if you do visit it will be on a sunnier evening than us so you can enjoy a drink on the roof terrace before your meal.
* We were invited to dine as guests of The Observatory, all views expressed in the post are our own!
The Glasshouse, The Observatory | 2 Greenside Place, Edinburgh, EH1 3AA | 0131 525 8200