I recently changed jobs and as a leaving present I was given a voucher for Forage and Chatter in the west end of Edinburgh. Therefore OH and I headed there yesterday to enjoy a spot of lunch on the hottest day of the year so far. Incidentally, when I phoned to book a table the restaurant was fully booked but they thought someone was going to cancel their booking so they took my number and phoned me back within 10 minutes to offer me a table at 1.45pm, which I thought was great and endeared me to the restaurant immediately.
We found the Forage and Chatter hidden down some stone steps at the end of Alva Street. Inside we were led to our table, which was basically out the back door of the restaurant in a covered over back yard. We were then given 4 menus – drinks, wine, table d’hôte and à la carte. The set menu was 2 courses for £14.95 and 3 for £17.95. Obviously, I opened the wine one first.
Not long after the wine arrived we were given two deep-fried dough balls along with some pesto and spiced butter. Looking at the menus, I really wanted to order the Langoustine Bisque, mussels, leeks and fennel for starters but the restaurant was really hot as was I so the thought of soup became a no no. Instead I ordered Chicken liver parfait, prune, hazelnut and mushroom.
The liver parfait was gamey tasting but not over powering. The hazelnut was crushed over the top to give it a bit of a crunch but I felt it could do with another texture as overall everything was just too smooth.
OH ordered Roasted Cauliflower, dates, capers and wild herbs.
He loved the date sauce and the chargrill flavour of the cauliflower.
For his main OH ordered Red Deer Loin, turnip, purple sprouting broccoli and mustard seed with a side of buttered new potatoes. OH really enjoyed his deer loin and felt the portion size was perfect, pointing out that as it was a strong meat he wouldn’t want to eat too much of it but it was enough to satisfy.
I had North Sea cod, leeks, potatoes parsley and capers. I thought it was a bit on the salty side but I don’t know if I’m just noticing salt more nowadays due to trying to avoid it (yes i know I mention my low salt diet every blog – deal with it). The cod was lovely, big chunky flakes with a fabulous crisp edge.
As is our norm nowadays, I stuck with the wine and OH had a dessert. Carrot cake, orange, pistachio, white chocolate, which visually looked more savoury than sweet but was well-balanced and a good end to the meal (the waitress brought me a spoon too). Although I didn’t try it all I can testify that the cake was light and spongy.
The restaurant has a quirky dining space with menus that make the most of local Scottish ingredients and I’m really glad my ex-colleagues made it possible for me to enjoy this hidden gem.
1 starter £8.50, 1 main £21.00, 1 side £3.50, 1 set lunch £17.95, 2 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc £45 = £95.95. (Yes 2 bottles of wine. It was really hot and the wine was really cold and moreish)