The A Room In… empire now spans across Edinburgh’s West End, New Town and Leith. The latter location became the latest addition to this popular group of Scottish bistros, when the Waterfront restaurant was renamed A Room in Leith. The adjacent Skippers Bistro is also owned by the same group, as are Teuchters and Teuchters Landing pubs. In the West End Teuchters is at ground level, while A Room In The West End is below. In Leith Teuchters Landing occupies the bulk of the floor space and the restaurant sits in the conservatory at the back. There is no separate bar area at A Room In The Town.
The team behind A Room In Leith have done a great job with the interior refit. Teuchters Landing is a cosy pub, which consists of three small and atmospheric rooms. It’s gained a solid following among Leith locals, especially now the Old Dock Bar has closed for business. My only criticism would be there aren’t enough comfy chairs - after finishing our wholesome Scottish meal in A Room In Leith, I’d have appreciated somewhere to slouch! One wall of the restaurant now hosts the trademark mural, which depicts life inside Teuchters Landing and along The Shore. The snug feel of the bar welcomingly continues in the restaurant. The views over the water are pleasant and it’s worth remembering what a great outside drinking and dining spot this is in Summer.
Before delving into the specifics of the food, it’s worth noting the excellent service given at A Room In Leith. Only one French accented gentleman was running the whole front of house, yet the bread was always plentiful; the jug of water never empty; plates were cleared in good time; food was delivered with aplomb. Many Edinburgh restaurants struggle to provide good service with hoardes of staff, so it was impressive to be shown how it should be done by a sole server.
My warm starter of chicken, crab & Ayrshire bacon terrine (¬£6.45) was excellent and packed full of quality ingredients. My dining partner’s vegeterian haggis (¬£5.25), neeps and tatties longed for greater taste. Perhaps the whisky, leek and thyme sauce suited the meat haggis, but it was a non-event with the vegetarian option.
My slow cooked shin of borders beef with rosemary glazed root vegetables (¬£15.95) was a hefty portion on its own. When the horseradish mash and my share of the included side bowl of vegetables and potatoes was taken into account it was a colossal portion. It’s not often I criticise a portion size as being too large, but for those with more modest appetites this would be quite intimidating. I struggled on, helped by the perfectly tender beef and the excellent horseradish mash. The baked salmon en croute (¬£14.95) was, courtesy of the cider and parsnip cream, a very rich affair. The salmon was wonderfully fresh and lively, but was slightly let down by the soggy pastry underneath.
After conquering the shin of beef, it seemed only right to celebrate the end of the meal by sharing a slab like portion of banoffee pie. The ’super server’ indicated his approval of our choice and the banoffee proved a fine effort.
A Room In Leith, like all the A Room In… restaurants operate a Bring Your Own Wine policy which carries a ¬£3 corkage for wine and ¬£4 for bubbly. Unwisely we didn’t take advantage of this, but we still enjoyed our ¬£19.95 bottle of white Rioja (Spain, Paternina Banda Dorada, 2006).
A restaurant is judged on its food, ambiance and service. Overall the food was good, but would benefit from a few tweaks. The ambiance was great and the service was superb. It’s very easy to see why the A Room In… bistros have become so popular and why they’ve been able to sustainably expand across Edinburgh.
A Room In Leith and The Teuchters Landing Bar are located at 1c Dock Place, Edinburgh.
Telephone 0131 554 7427