Yesterday when OH and I were out with the dog in Elie we had a clear view of the 2 Cockenzie Power Station chimneys across the Forth from us, which made us start talking about heading out that way for Saturday lunch. I had looked up The Espy in Portobello a while ago and knew it was dog friendly so we decided we’d take Amber for a walk along the beach and give it a try.
Although it was a bit of a grey day the beach area was busy and you could just imagine it heaving in the summer. Seaside towns always look a little sad when it isn’t sunny but Portobello was a happy smiley place – nearly everyone we passed on the esplanade acknowledged us with a friendly nod.
After working up an appetite we ventured into The Espy and found it very busy. I hadn’t bothered booking a table so I was a little anxious that we wouldn’t get a table. I looked to one of the barmaids and pointed out our dog she smiled broadly and motioned for us to go through to the back where there was couch table just being cleared (we realised later that the back of the bar is the dog friendly bit).
The leather couch was covered in cushions and comfy. It sat next to a low wooden table already set with a water jug, glasses and cutlery. Amber lay under the table wondering what the hell was going on – visiting a restaurant was a completely new experience for her but she behaved really well. The waiter handed us menus and told us the soup was Butternut Squash with fennel and ginger.
I have to admit I hate sitting at low tables to eat – it gives me indigestion and I did say to OH that we could ask to be moved but he said he had settled in by this point.
The Espy is a cluttered, homely, child and dog friendly bar. Every space on the walls is covered with photos, album covers and movie posters. Nothing else could have been squeezed above the bar as it already had a giant pint of Guinness, an inflatable alligator, a skeleton, a treasure chest, a ….honestly I could go on and on with all the clutter. It would take a good few visits before you had seen everything that was on show in the bar. If you did get bored admiring the decor there was also games and newspapers to keep you entertained.
From the menu we were given, I ordered Trout but as it came with minted potatoes I asked if I could have them without mint or chips if the potatoes had already been minted. The waiter insisted that he went to check and would be right back to let me know. I told them there was no need as I’d be happy with either but he was determined to keep me well informed. True to his word he returned with news from the chef. The news was that he had given us the wrong menu and there was no trout with or without minted potatoes. The waiter could not have been more apologetic. On second look I chose the Pan fried chicken supreme with prosciutto and sage with a cracked pepper sauce, green beans and gnocchi. OH had Baked hake with chorizo and smoke red peppers – the menu description was loads better but neither of us can remember what it was – mind you, maybe if OH had paid more attention he would have realised that his dish was going to have a Spanish feel (not a favourite taste of his) and he should have probably chosen the Lamb instead. My dish was really tasty but I just don’t get gnocchi – it’s got an odd texture which sticks to the top of your mouth and you can feel it coating your ribs on the way down. I must remember not to order it in future.
During our time in The Espy numerous dogs came and went. Some barked, some sniffed. Numerous children came and went. Some screamed, some ran about. There was never a dull moment.
My overall view of The Espy is positive and if you’ve got kids and a dog I’d definitely recommend it – if you have neither Id wait until you do.
2 mains plus drinks came to £30.50