Rick’s is a member of the Montpelier Group of bars and restaurants in Edinburgh. Tigerlily, Candy Bar and the Indigo Yard are some of the other bars in their portfolio. All of the bars and restaurants owned by Montpelier are offering buy one get one free (BOGOF) on selected drinks between 5pm and 7pm, and, buy one get one free on main courses 12pm Sunday - 6pm Friday. It was the former which drew us into Rick’s, specifically the draft Kirin lager which is around ¬£1.80 per pint with the BOGOF offer. House red or white wine is also included in the deal, as are some cocktails.
I’ve always been a fan of the interior of Rick’s. Despite being in the basement the front restaurant area catches the sunlight shining down on Frederick St very well. An atmospherically lit and square shaped bar area sits further in, with the bar running along one side and another recessed dining area, which can be wholly reserved for private parties, running along the other. The final section of Rick’s has doors to the guest rooms - it is also a successful boutique hotel right in the heart of Edinburgh. The bar staff are always dressed immaculately and give an air of professionalism, especially when expertly mixing cocktails.
Unfortunately the professionalism of those behind the bar wasn’t mirrored by the waitresses patrolling the bar area. Being offered another drink became a game of chance when our glasses emptied. Eventually we attracted enough attention to ask for a table in Rick’s restaurant area at the front.
Service improved in the dining room proper and we even received complementary bread (albeit a little hard) while waiting for our mains. My dining partner’s pumpkin and toasted pine nut risotto with crispy parsnips (¬£11.25) was difficult to judge, as it contained enough garlic to repel a film-set full of vampires. The tastes were more distinguishable in my pancetta wrapped pork fillet with mustard mash and Somerset cider reduction (¬£13.25). The mash was lovely and the broccoli healthy, but the pork was desperately overcooked and dry enough for eating it to quickly become a chore. I’d have preferred the pancetta to be crispier as well. The BOGOF is calculated on the most expensive main, so we paid ¬£13.25 or about ¬£6.60 each for these two dishes.
At full price Rick’s main courses would have been a clear rip-off, at effectively half price they were acceptable. Rick’s is a style bar, which after 18 years of operation can still hold its own with any of the elaborate newcomers. But the food, on our visit at least, didn’t match the swank surrounding and craftsmanship of those with the cocktail shakers.
Rick’s is located at 55a Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 1HL.
Telephone: 0131 622 7800