North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

March 14, 2016

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh


My first haggis at North Bridge Brasserie, Edinburgh

First and last impressions, the opening and the closing act - those are the moments you take away from an event, the souvenirs from a story. The rest is just filler, as some comedians would say. How fortuitous that the standout moments of dinner at North Bridge Brasserie were the alpha and the omega, those winning dishes certainly made for a meal to remember!

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

Would you try eating haggis?” smiled my vegetarian Scotsman. “You know it’s sheep’s stomach…” I flicked my hair. “Darling, I’m Chinese. If it flies and isn’t an aeroplane, if it’s got four legs and isn’t a table, if it swims and isn’t a submarine - I’ll eat it.” Not strictly true - I draw the line at chicken feet. But I’d already declared my culinary intrepidness on behalf of the Malaysian-Chinese so I couldn’t let down my team. Happily, I chose the right restaurant for my first foray into trying that quintessential and divisive Scottish dish, haggis.


North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

North Bridge Brasserie is the perfect place to start for a fine-dining experience of Scottish cuisine. Paul Hartley Barber - the young chef de cuisine whose accolades include 3AA Rosettes at renowned Rocca Grill at St Andrews Golf Course, and counts some of the most prestigious chefs in the UK including Albert Roux and Jeff Bland as his colleagues - has already revolutionised the North Bridge Brasserie with his eclectic tasting menu showcasing seasonal, modern Scottish fare with a strong focus on exceptional local ingredients. 

Combined with a well-curated and extensive whisky list - I myself am partial to a good scotch - I couldn’t be more confident that North Bridge Brasserie would serve me an  gourmet experience full of style and surprises.

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

The decor of North Bridge Brasserie is a serendipitous marriage of mine and Henry’s styles - solid, traditional, earthy, and masculine (much like he is) juxtaposed against the airy, decorative aesthetic I like with soaring, double height ceilings and marble columns. With just the right touch of modern - a spiral steel staircase with famous Scotsman’s names printed on the mirrored steps - the restaurant offered a feast for the eyes to match their sumptuous menu.

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

Henry and I settled into our elegant surroundings with glasses of Aberlour A’bunadh while we contemplated the menu. While I had already researched the menu beforehand (I’m the sort who checks out the offerings and plan what I’m going to order ahead of visiting a restaurant - call me a thorough blogger or just an enthusiastic eater) and knew exactly what I wanted, Henry being a vegetarian usually rocks up and asks “I don’t eat anything that has a heart, what have you got for me?”. 

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

As the rest of The Scotsman Hotel staff are, our waitress was very helpful with recommending vegetarian options. Henry plumped for the Cauliflower Velouté with roasted hazelnuts and white truffle oil with a side of parmesan and truffle fries. Both of which he reported as absolutely delightful and a pleasing testament that being vegetarian hardly lessen one’s culinary experience.

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

Small details are spared no less attention, with complimentary bread rolls (just the right shade of warm) and delightfully soft butter presented on a slab of stone that looks like it could have been carved out Scotland’s famous cliffs.

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

I embarked on my Scottish culinary adventure with haggis, naturally! Diving into the deep end and all. 

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

The Scotman’s Haggis with needs and tatties, braised shallot, and whisky sauce was absolutely delicious and surprisingly comforting, which I attribute to its similar texture to cottage pie. The fluffy mashed potato topping added a much appreciated balance to the rich flavours of the haggis and whisky sauce. I honestly had not expected to enjoy my first haggis as much as I did, and here I was savouring every bite and wishing I had ordered only the haggis for my 3-course meal - I couldn’t get enough of it!

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

My second course was the Highland Beef Tartare with quail egg yolk, sourdough, and watercress followed by a third course of Guinea fowl breast with pastille, almond, and red pepper.

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

Both classic dishes I’m familiar with, made with exceptionally fresh and locally-sourced Scottish ingredients. I could definitely taste the difference with these dishes compared to similar ones I’ve had elsewhere, and I was all the more grateful to have tried them at the source. Even so, as beautifully presented and skilfully cooked as these lovely dishes were I found myself craving more of that gorgeous haggis I started with! 

It’s official, The Scotsman’s Haggis has spoiled me.

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

Henry and I ended our meal on a sweet note, and a high one at that.

The bitter chocolate ganache with milk, caramelia, and hazelnut looks every inch the carefully deconstructed pudding I come to expect from a fine-dining restaurant. The flavours and texture of the chocolate ganache were out of this world - thick, rich, and intoxicatingly moreish, with every bite better than the last. Even as my too-loose trousers began to feel uncomfortably snug I couldn’t stop helping myself to more than my share!

North Bridge Brasserie at The Scotsman Hotel, Edinburgh

I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful and satisfying introduction to proper Scottish cuisine, nor for a more surprising discovery of the joys of haggis! If you are a haggis virgin, like I was, and in Edinburgh you absolutely must try your first at North Bridge Brasserie - I cannot recommend it enough!   It made me forget about my steak tartare dish which is one of my favourite foods, that’s how good the haggis is. The bitter chocolate ganache pudding is unmissable and is the final flourish to see out a delightful Edinburgh culinary journey.




I was invited to review North Bridge Brasserie and my meal was complimentary. 
All opinions, as always, are audaciously mine - as were any embarrassing moans of 
Great Scot, get me more of that haggis ahhhh-mmmmmmm
PHOTOS 2, 5, & 9 COURTESY OF NORTH BRIDGE BRASSERIE
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