The Old Peacock Inn used to be the place to go for a fish tea – I remember they used to have a sign up saying that their fish was fresh, unlike Harry Ramsdens across the road. Both of these institutions have now passed on to the restaurant afterlife with the Peacock Inn receiving the latest makeover courtesy of the Margiotta family. They have effectively transported their popular Caffe e Cucina restaurant from Morningside to this historic site and we popped in for lunch a couple of weeks ago.
The site has had a remarkable transformation and has been turned into a versatile eating/drinking space that feels very welcoming. There is a smart bar area where you can enjoy a glass of prosecco or a cappuccino which then leads through into the main dining area. The dining room has an après-ski feel, overlooked by a large photograph of Gran Sasso d’Italia with a log fire dominating one wall. The restaurant was quite busy but the staff managed to find us a table and we perused the menu.
The menu has plenty to choose from including some delicious sounding (and looking) pizzas, hearty pasta dishes and also some other interesting mains – it’s a well-balanced menu served from lunchtime onwards. The drinks menu also has a lot to offer the diner and casual drinker – you could definitely while away an hour or two in this bar – cocktails, nice selection of wine and also a good selection of Scottish/International beers. If you enjoy Campari then this is the place for you – a whole section of the drinks menu is devoted to this Italian classic.
As it was lunchtime, we decided to share a starter and went for the ciccio al’olio (£5.95), a pizza base with olive oil, rock salt and rosemary. We both enjoyed the deliciously light and crispy pizza but thought that it could do with a lot more fresh rosemary to give flavour. Neither of our main courses were lacking in flavour, however. We both decided to have pasta dishes – with Gran Sasso looking over us what else could we have? Mine was pappardelle con ragu di cervo (ribbon pasta with venison ragu) (£10.50) and Donnie went for the orecchiette pugliesi (pasta with broccoli, anchovies, chilli and pan fried breadcrumbs (£11.00).
Mine was a robust tasting dish with venison slowly cooked down into a ragu that tasted delicious – topped with parmesan cheese this was a classic tasting bit of Italian comfort food. Donnie’s dish did look slightly anaemic but was pretty tasty with the chilli giving this simple regional dish a bit of heat. The breadcrumbs were a little bit soggy and could have been a bit crunchier to give the dish a better texture. Overall though, no complaints and I’d happily order up mine again.
Service here was relaxed and friendly with Italian cheer and we certainly felt comfortable enough to want to stay a bit longer for dessert. The dessert menu has a mixture of Italian classics plus some other favourites. I was drawn to the tortino di cioccolato caldo (£6.00) a chocolate fondant with aged grappa, mango sauce and fior di latte ice cream. The soup spoon brought by our waiter was quickly replaced by a dessert spoon (I was happy with either) and we both tucked in to this chocolate delight. We poured the mango sauce over the pot and it soaked through into the molten chocolate below. It was a delicious end to the meal with the delicate fior di latte ice cream providing a cool contrast to the chocolate. Surprisingly, the aged grappa missed my taste buds completely – not sure where it was hiding but I wasn’t complaining!
We enjoyed our visit to Sasso and it’s a great addition to the Newhaven/Trinity eating and drinking scene where there is now a growing range of options within walking distance.
Sasso Bar and Cucina
100 Lindsey Road
Telephone 0131 552 2111