We last enjoyed a visit to The Stockbridge Restaurant a few years back and it’s the kind of place that you wonder why you don’t visit more often as everything about it is pretty perfect. When we were invited along to try out their latest menu, we didn’t have to think twice. The restaurant is tucked away in the basement of number 54 St Stephens Street and you can almost feel the pull of its welcoming glow as you approach. The head-chef Jason Gallagher, along with his partner and co-owner Jane Walker have created a restaurant that you can relax into, safe in the knowledge you won’t leave disappointed.
On arrival we were shown to our table where we enjoyed a refreshing Pickering’s Gin and tonic with a slice of grapefruit while we perused the extensive menu. On a week night, they offer a great value set menu of 2 courses for £26.95 or 3 courses for £31.95 (if you dine on a Sunday night, you can enjoy the same deal plus a BYOB corkage of £4 for wine). We also enjoyed a selection of granary, walnut and white bread with a fresh tasting chive and chervil dressing that went down well while we were deciding.
I fancied something quite light so opted for the roasted vine tomato soup with croutons and Donnie couldn’t resist the smoked haddock risotto, roasted butternut squash, sweetcorn and parmesan crisp. We were treated to an amuse bouche of serrano ham, cherry tomato, mozzarella, spring onion and balsamic that was a tasty little appetiser before our starters arrived.
While my comforting bowl of soup was full of rich tomato flavour, it was Donnie’s risotto that really stole the show. The perfectly cooked rice was rich and creamy laced with flakes of smoky haddock and topped with a crunchy sliver of parmesan crisp. It was a perfect combination of flavours that worked incredibly well together – he savoured every mouthful and we couldn’t wait to taste our mains.
My main of Gressingham duck breast with confit leg ravioli, duck sausage roll, fondant potato, wild mushrooms, savoy cabbage with bacon and jus did sound like a dish too far. I wasn’t sure how chef was going to fit all that duck on one plate but when the dish arrived, it looked mouth-wateringly good. The duck breast was a moist blushing pink and would have been perfect even without the deliciously salty confit ravioli and crisp pastry sausage roll. There was a lot going on my plate but it was fun and tasted wonderful.
Donnie had almost as much fun with his pan fried venison loin with roasted potatoes, kale, celeriac puree, poached pear, chocolate oil and port wine sauce. First impressions were that it looked like a Frankenstein main course-dessert mash up gone horribly wrong. The reality was a dish that stood out – the venison was extremely moist, tender and flavoursome and its gamey flavour worked well with the classic pear and bitter chocolate combination. The celeriac puree was smooth and well-seasoned while the kale was crisp and added a nice texture to the dish. The roast potatoes weren’t really required in this dish but an added bonus!
After savouring every last mouthful of our mains, our lovely waitress gave us some breathing space before offering us a dessert menu. They did all sound very tempting but how could I resist the chocolate brûlée with chocolate brownie, white chocolate mousse and milk chocolate ice cream? Donnie had no trouble choosing his dessert, having spotted it earlier on the menu; vanilla rice pudding with apple compote, shortbread crumble and cinnamon ice cream. I was intrigued by the amount of dessert cutlery that appeared on the table but then our pre-dessert arrived. What a lovely surprise – a perfectly layered miniature plum trifle that had us gagging for our actual dessert.
My dessert would have been perfect for sharing but I was happy that Donnie had his own to keep him off my plate. I love crème brûlée and I love chocolate so this dessert was just about perfection for me – the crackle of the caramelised sugar giving way to the chocolate custard below. The addition of a warm chocolate brownie and milk chocolate ice cream meant that I was in seventh heaven.
Donnie wasn’t disappointed by his rice pudding either – it was rich, indulgent and topped with crunchy crumbs of melt in the mouth shortbread. The cinnamon ice cream wasn’t shy of flavour either and it was a terrific end to one of the nicest meals we’ve eaten.
Our visit to this most romantic of restaurants was filled with some fantastic culinary surprises and food combinations that make dining out so enjoyable. We’re so glad that we had the opportunity to re-discover the Stockbridge Restaurant and are looking forward to returning again soon.
Whilst we dined at the invitation of Jane all views and thoughts on the meal are our own. Drinks and service were paid for separately.
54 St Stephen Street
TEL: 0131 226 6766
Website: The Stockbridge Restaurant