Here starts the trial, Guilty Lily of Bonnington Road

After the roaring success that is the Roseleaf pub in Leith, it’s perhaps inevitable one of the founders would fly the nest and try their hand at new bar ventures. The location of Guilty Lily could prove to be an extremely shrewd investment, given the number of flats springing up around Bonnington Road and the lack of gastro pubs in the area. Guilty Lily is a large undertaking, which occupies the premises vacated by Bacchus, whose manager lamented the smoking ban for the lack of trade and ultimate failure.

Pumpkin risotto with seared scallops at Guilty Lily, Bonnington Road, Edinburgh 8oz pan fried rib-eye steak at Guilty Lily, Bonnington Road, Edinburgh

We’ll start with arguments for the prosecution. It’s immediately apparent the atmosphere, warmth and homely feel which is in natural abundance at Roseleaf is a huge struggle for Guilty Lily. Nothing demonstrates this more than the sparse, perhaps even lonely back room. Our visit lacked atmosphere, literally lacked warmth and the whole venue lacked the ambiance I expected.

Interior of  Guilty Lily, Bonnington Road, Edinburgh

The service started off well, but soon our server became more engrossed in the laptop at the bar than his customers. Despite Guilty Lily only having a handful of tables occupied our visit ended with no offer of much longed for desserts, empty glasses and no presentation of a bill. Unhappily, we left by paying at the bar. A trait of Roseleaf is for at least one of the owners to be present, judging by our visit it’s probably a good idea to continue this at Guilty Lily. Not people to bear a grudge, we braved the winds and headed for a lovely slice of apple tart and a fine helping of superb service at Roseleaf. It’s just a shame the atmosphere and service, which are always excellent at Roseleaf, fell well short of expectation at Guilty Lily.

And now the defence. A fruit laden jug of water was delivered to our table without asking. Mains of roast duck, haddock risotto, beef bourbignon and superb looking burgers will appeal to most. My dining partner’s pumpkin risotto with seared scallops (£9.95) off the special’s board was totally excellent. The five scallops were cooked to absolute perfection and the risotto was engaging and wisely engineered. For a cut of steak as good as my 8oz rib-eye (a.k.a. Scotch filet) £12.95 is good value. The steak was tender, flavoursome and cooked to medium-rare perfection. The ‘cafe au lait’ sauce was great, as were the thick cut chips. My only improvement would be to include some vegetables or more chips (perhaps in a side bowl).

So it’s clear Guilty Lily have some great hands at work in the kitchen. The alcoholic and soft drinks angles are also well and truly covered. ‘Guilty Girls’ can enjoy a range of bellinis for just £3.50; although we were a bit puzzled to taste strawberry liqueur in our mango based drink. Guilty Lily also offer a range of interesting and attractive cocktails at £5 or under.

Now we’ve heard the case, the initial verdicts are:

  • Providing excellent quality food: GUILTY!
  • Providing comparatively poor service: GUILTY!
  • Lacking atmosphere: GUILTY!

Guilty Lily was a slight disappointment. Like all offenders there’s plenty of scope for rehabilitation - the product is great; the service can easily be improved and I’d hope a few tweaks would improve the venue and make it a place I’d not feel guilty spending a whole night in.

Guilty Lily is located at 284 Bonnington Road, Edinburgh.
Telephone: 0131 554 5824

4 Responses to “Here starts the trial, Guilty Lily of Bonnington Road”

  1. The Guilty Lily is not connected to Roseleaf bar cafe in anyway other than they want our customers!!! We’d love to share them however… Please don’t use our name in vain and for the record we are not, would never aspire to be and dislike so called “chains” of bars, one is enough and we are happy with what we have!

  2. As far as I know the Guilty lily and also the Espy are nothing to do with the Roseleaf? - There are a lot of local press outlets that have made this mistake and should maybe consult the owners of all 3 outlets before publishing as it seems to have caused unnecessary animosity between them. I have not visited the Roseleaf yet but I’m assured it lives up to its reputation.

  3. I don’t know where you get your information from but i served a four year apprenticeship as a butcher and i’ve been a chef for ten years..a rib eye is not called a scotch fillet.

  4. Yep apologies for not having the facts totally correct - I’ve now corrected the article, which hopefully better reflects the relationship between Roseleaf & Guilty Lily.

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