Decent dinner at Diner 7

You should be reading a review of the Blue Parrot Cantina. However after trying to book a table on Saturday afternoon and being told (twice!) there were no waiters to take my reservation I switched attention to Diner 7 in Leith. This is a compact venue on Commercial St which models itself on an American diner and comes complete with booths and motorbike. Diner 7 distinguishes itself from American counterparts with an inventive menu which changes regularly and showcases a real mixed bag of dishes; all of which are usually well done and offer very good value for money. However, if burgers and steaks are your thing don’t worry, as Diner 7 offer these in abundance.

Thai steamed mussels at Diner 7, Leith, Edinburgh Venison with mash potato & roasted parsnips at Diner 7, Leith, Edinburgh

The close proximity of the tables in Diner 7 allows evaluation of the night’s dishes. At least it should, but initially nearly everyone in Diner 7 was eating the burger. At ¬£6.95 for a top quality burger and chips I can hardly blame them, but I was determined to try some of their more adventurous offerings. As for the interior: I’ve always liked it. Diner 7 is a great venue for breakfast/lunch which really captures the laid-back diner feel. I’ve been before for morning pancakes, where I’ve enjoyed reading through the papers and relaxing in informal surroundings. Diner 7 does an equally good job at night, where the lights are dimmed and the candles lit. The same informal and laid-back feel is welcomely present and Diner 7 becomes a venue where you’re comfortable and happy to spend an evening.

One female waitress, extremely chirpy and welcoming, was running the front of house, assisted by another guy who served the drinks and cleared some plates. The kitchen is at the back of Diner 7’s narrow interior, so you can see the chef at work. The mirror in Diner 7 lists a cocktail and smoothie which change daily. My dining partner enjoyed the champagne cocktail with gin at ¬£4.95. My bottles of Peroni were somewhat cheaper at ¬£2.85 a time. Diner 7 don’t serve draught beer, but they do have a small wine list.

For starter I chose the Thai steamed mussels at ¬£5.25. A huge bowl of mussels nestled in a delicious Thai soup with lemongrass was delivered. Unfortunately the bowl for the empty shells was somewhat smaller. This was a faultless starter and summed up by the very audible “absolutely delicious” comment by the couple sat on the table next to our’s. My dining partner chose the crayfish cocktail with oatcakes (¬£4.85), which was another good dish - “really tasty” and it contained lots of plump crayfish.

I agonised between the cod and venison for main, finally choosing the latter. There was a lot of venison, which was well cooked to medium rare doneness. Unfortunately some of the fatty venison made it onto the plate, but this was cancelled out by the huge swathes of lean tender venison. The mash potato was good, but totally eclipsed by the brilliant roast parsnips. The chocolate and ginger sauce worked well. For ¬£10.45 Diner 7’s venison offered impressive value for such a decent and substantial offering. My dining partner chose the pumpkin and coconut risotto (¬£4.25) starter as another main course. This was ok, but had a little too much parmesan for my liking.

With Diner 7 providing a good night it seemed a shame to stop at two courses. So I struggled through the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream (£3.80). My dining partner skipped dessert after the rhubarb and apple crumble supply exceeded demand. The sticky toffee pudding was decent and wholesome, with the accompanying ice cream proving absolutely delicious.

And so ended an enjoyable evening. Diner 7 offered a relaxing evening meal with hugely friendly staff and service. It’s a place for very informal, consistently good quality dining at very affordable prices. I’d also recommend popping in for weekend brunch or afternoon coffee and cake. Even with Leith’s extremely competitive restaurant scene Diner 7 is still pulling in a good trade (those without reservations were turned away on the Saturday we visited) well over a year after opening. It’s deserved success.

Diner 7 is located at 7 Commercial Street, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6JA. Telephone: 0131 553 0624

If anyone from Diner 7 is reading: please get your website updated and online!

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