The trickiest part about Dine with Stuart Muir is actually finding the restaurant in the first place – the address is Saltire Court, 10 (1F) Cambridge Street. Where was that we wondered until we walked past the Traverse Theatre and realised that Dine is located in the former home of Café Blue. Heading up the stairs you are greeted by the restaurant name glowing like a beacon from a wall of moss – you can’t help but touch it on your way past.
|The moss wall|
Inside, the atrium restaurant feels like being on the deck of the Starship Enterpise, with wall-high windows giving glimpses out on to the busy street below. The décor is well thought out and is modern with organic touches like the apple tree sprouting out from the middle of the dining room – a relaxing and comfortable space. The warm surroundings and staff make you feel cocooned in an oasis of calm without a care in the world. We visited on a rather chilly and wet Saturday afternoon in December so Christmas lunch was on the menu – £34.50 for three courses. The restaurant and swish cocktail bar is open from 10am (Sunday Midday) and serves breakfast, brunch, lunch, Sunday lunch, express lunch, dinner, sharing platters and cocktails until late – phew – this restaurant definitely isn’t lacking in ambition.
Our waiting staff were on hand to offer advice and answer any questions while we perused the menu that was seasonal with a dash of festive fun. Our choices were soon made and we ordered a bottle of lemony fresh Picpoul de Pinet at £22 from the something for everyone wine list. We’ve dined on Stuart Muir’s food before when he was executive chef at Harvey Nichols restaurant and were looking forward to seeing what the extra freedom of having his name above the door would bring to our table.
|Beautiful dining room complete with apple tree|
Our starters arrived and looked very appetising; mine was the Borders pork and ham rillette, whisky prunes, piccalilli and home made cream cheese. Donnie went for the chargrilled pear, Lanark blue cheese, pickled walnuts, chicory and black truffle. My rillette was like a tasty chunk of salty, meaty turkey stuffing with the juicy, boozy prunes giving a nice sweetness and the piccalilli adding a crunchy bite of spice. The slice of crisp sourdough bread and cream cheese meant that each mouthful had a different combination of tastes and textures – very enjoyable. Donnie’s starter was a classic combination of pear, blue cheese and walnut with the chicory adding a nice crunch to the dish. The strength of flavours really came through as the dish was served at room temperature – all too often similar starters are made in advance, kept in the fridge and then served chilled. Stuart has a very noticeable passion for wanting to serve food at its best.
|Border’s Pork and Ham rillet|
|Lanark Blue Cheese, Chargrilled Pear and Pickled Walnut Salad|
The main course menu was also hard to choose from but I decided on the festive sounding roast partridge and stuffing, spiced cranberry chutney, creamed sprouts, goose fat roasted potatoes, glazed Scottish carrots and baby leeks. Donnie was tempted by the roast Loch Duart salmon, garlic and pomme mousseline, roast beets, salsify and bitter orange marmalade. The partridge was beautifully pink and moist inside and the whole thing tasted like the ultimate dish of Christmas comfort food – delicious. Donnie’s salmon was equally successful with the bitter marmalade really enhancing and complimenting the flavour of the perfectly cooked fish. Who would have thought salmon and marmalade would have worked, but it did! The roasted beetroot added lovely colour, texture and flavour to the dish.
|Roast Partridge and Stuffing|
|Loch Duart Salmon|
As it was nearly Christmas and we didn’t want to leave, we decided to tackle something from the tempting dessert menu. I opted for the chocolate pot, bourbon syrup and orange shortbread while Donnie went for the ultra-traditional Christmas pudding with brandy sauce. I’m a huge fan of chocolate but I wasn’t quite prepared for the rather large pot of dark, velvety rich chocolate that appeared. The addition of ice cream made it even more indulgent and it was topped off with a delicious crunchy layer of I’m not sure what but it tasted great – maybe cocoa nibs? I didn’t get a great hit of flavour from the bourbon syrup – perhaps it was as overwhelmed by the chocolate as I was – not for the faint hearted! The clootie dumpling-like Christmas pudding was equally indulgent with it’s boozy brandy cream. Lemon thyme was a nice addition to the top, providing a fresh light taste with every spoonful.
After a cup of coffee and a mince pie, we were joined by Stuart Muir himself who explained his ethos and vision for Dine. His enthusiasm for the job is infectious and he comes across as a man obsessed with getting every detail right from the eel-skin effect wallpaper to the provenance of his ingredients. He also wants Dine to be an all day destination venue from coffee and homemade scones in the morning to cocktails and dinner in the evening. If lunch is anything to go by, we can’t wait to come back and try some of their amazing sounding cocktails then maybe a spot of dinner…
Just next to the Usher Hall
Above the Traverse Theatre
Tel: 0131 218 1818
We were invited to visit Dine as guests to sample their new restaurant and menus. Two courses were provided free of charge but we paid for the additional course, drinks and coffee. All of the above comments and feelings are our own and we feel that the restaurant offers good value for money.