A Room in Leith
You can soak in rich history around the Port of Leith - the ghosts of mighty industries are still lingering in the shadows of warehouses and the new shiny mall. Our path was to Room in Leith which is tucked away a bit, but very noticeable, nonetheless, because of the bright lights in an otherwise dark corner.
The restaurant is all the way at the end of a small street with a simple handwriting on circular signs, almost like labeled barrels. The sign was lit up from the top, creating a simple fisherman restaurant feel. It was on a brick wall and its creativity made it difficult to read with the bright flood lights.
It was dim and cozy inside, initially seeming like a small, dim village restaurant room. We sat in a lovely little extension with a skylight-filled roof. A space, further reinforcing the resemblance to our vision of a seaside pub. Slanted roof and skylights gave the space a modern open feel. Overly generous wall decor added too much noise and distraction; as a large panorama of the bay around the room surrounded us fighting for attention with the window views. Later on in the evening, as it got quite dark outside, we appreciated the large vinyl wraps reminding us of the exterior.
Traditional sounding Scottish music suddenly came on as we ordered a meat-sharing plate. It took 20 min or so, but the mountain of meat eventually landed on our table. The staff was a bit rushed, and our waiter appeared stressed out. It did not affect the quality of our service though. Besides the order taking a bit longer than we hoped, there was nothing to be upset about.
What we truly liked about Scotland is the almost universal availability of gluten-free options, including drinks. We ordered Bellfield Bohemian Pilsner (gluten free and local) and Thirsty Cross cider from Dunbar.
The Leith Sharing Platter Leith came on an oval white dish, with all the meats we could think of. There was roasted Burnside farm roe deer haunch, smoked bacon, haggis and chicken ballotine, stew of the day, stornoway black pudding bridies, filled venison and pork sausage, jug of red wine gravy, pickled, mustard, and a side of wee bowl of chips. There were two hearty, small bowls of stew on the side, adding a daily dish for us to get a flavour of what the chef can do. The deer meat was tender, pinkish, surprisingly not game-smeling as we expected. The bacon was a thick piece and almost plastic-like, with a very poignant aroma. The chicken paté was with many herbs, juicing and saucy inside. The chicken breast wrapped in bacon was a great addition, with haggis paste in the middle. A fusion of meats worked beautifully together. The pork sausages were dense, with no fatty chunks but an unexpected herb that surprised us. Lastly, the stornoway black pudding was bready, and had no strong blood smell, which we expected. They were very pleasant dark patties. A side of mustard, pickles, and gravy were perfect condiments for this platter.
After a whole day of walking in the wind and cold, this big meal was perfect. It turned out a bit pricier than we’d expected at first, but was well worth it with the large amount of meats and flavours.