Oloroso, widely regarded as one of Edinburgh’s best restaurants, is great for formal dining in the evening. However through lunchtime, the stylish bar area of Oloroso has a menu of it’s own that, I think, offers great value for money and is an excellent way to enjoy this restaurant without leaving the usual hefty dent in your wallet. For those of you that haven’t been to Oloroso it’s located on North Castle St: when entering the build you can take a short lift ride up to restaurant level. Oloroso has a formal dining area, a roof terrace outside where food and drinks are served in summer, and also a bar area that has a fair number of tables with chairs and three blocks of comfy sofas. Incidentally, the views afforded from the roof terrace and even looking out the glass from the formal dining area are easily worth the cost of a drink or two. Their website has an online menu, including the static bar menu, and also listed are the wines and cocktails on offer.
The bar setup of Oloroso has improved since last Summer, when I last ate here. For example, the grill menu is now available in the bar area. The drinks list is extensive too, with a great selection of wines and Pommery champagnes. I like visiting bars where the staff know their trade and the bartenders here mix a mean cocktail. However, over lunch I stuck to draft Kirin Ichiban lager at ¬£3.60 a pint. Our order was taken at the table by one of the bar staff who informed us that today’s curry was lamb spinach. We both ordered this at ¬£8.95 each and had bread with olives (¬£2.75) for starter and also a bowl of chips (¬£2.95) to share between us.
We arrived just after 12pm last Thursday and (Oloroso can get busy over Lunch) our bread and olives were brought out with lightning speed. You certainly couldn’t fault the amount we got for the money. However, before we’d had chance to finish the olives out came the two curries and chips onto the table as well - I’d have preferred for these to come after finishing the bread and olives - but I guess this is bar service, Oloroso or not! Well on a brighter side the curries looked lovely, with plentiful lamb that was in a traditional tomato based thick curry sauce. The sauce was very good indeed, as was the presentation with the rice having little chopped onions on top. The two popadoms it was served with though tasted a little fishy to me; and I’m still not sure if this was intentional. Certainly popadoms seemingly cooked in fish oil aren’t my cup of tea, and I didn’t enjoy them too much. Also, to get all my negative points out the way, I’m sure the curries were a little mis-sold as the spinach was, at least in my eyes, nowhere to be seen. Last summer I had one of Oloroso’s lamb spinach curries, which was spectacularly nice but a lot different to what was served here! Saying that the curry I did eat was delicious, and so filling - it really whets the appetite to visit the head chefs (Tony Singh) Roti restaurant.
One thing that I had forgotten, but soon remembered when I saw the portion sizes, was that Oloroso serves up generous sized dishes. The bread and olives followed by the curry completely negated the need for the bowl of chips we had also ordered. However I persevered and can report these chips were nice and chunky and came with a cheese based dip.
Overall Oloroso for lunch is a good trip, although I’m not sure about the fishy popadoms my curry was served with. Lunch here is a great way to introduce yourself to one of Edinburgh’s most stylish venues. If you’re after quick service the bar area or roof terrace is the place to eat, while lunch can also be taken in the main restaurant area, but service will take longer. With bowls of chips, bread and olives, etc. being available Oloroso is also a great place to enjoy, with friends, some drinks with snacks. I’m certainly looking forward to a few pints during summer on the roof terrace (and a long overdue visit to sample their dinner menu again) !