Wedgwood the Restaurant first appeared on The Edinburgh Blog’s radar, when it became the subject of a legal battle with Wedgwood the ceramics company, who accused the restaurant of using their typeface. All publicity is good publicity and further awareness of Wedgwood the Restaurant came when The List magazine named it best newcomer in their 2008 eating and drinking awards. After browsing Wedgwood’s fine sounding Scottish menu online, I headed to Wedgwood on a bitterly cold Saturday night with a high sense of expectation, courtesy of a late cancellation.
Not unreasonably I’d associated a Scottish restaurant such as Wedgwood with warmth and cosiness. Unfortunately nothing could have been further from the truth. The front door of Wedgwood, which doesn’t close properly, opens straight onto Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Everyone coming and going resulted in an icy wind rippling through the restaurant and sending shivers down our collective spines. Fully closing the door, as diners and waitresses often did, has little affect. It was only when my dining partner considered asking for her coat that I spotted the electric heaters: it would seem Wedgwood the Restaurant don’t have radiators in their dining room. It’s obviously down to the hot grill in the kitchen and a few portables to struggle at keeping the diners warm. With a three course dinner around the ¬£30 mark it’s impossible to not pick fault at Wedgwood for failing to keep their upstairs dining room warm (there is a downstairs dining area, but that also felt pretty cold when I headed to the bathroom).
We considered it too cold to begin the evening with a glass of champagne and Wedgwood’s amuse bouche selection (¬£9.75 each), so we dived straight into our pigeon and prawn based starters. The pan fried pigeon, served on top of haggis, neeps and tatties was generous in quantity and excellent in quality. The only down side was the rich red wine jus, which was a little too overpowering. At ¬£6.75 this was a sound effort and exactly the hearty Scottish dish I was expecting from Wedgwood’s kitchen. It was a shame to ruin the ornate presentation of my tiger prawn, tomato and vine leaf lasagne (¬£7.95). After a moment’s admiration, the prawns were tumbling and another well prepared starter had been demolished.
A nice touch at Wedgwood the Restaurant is the presentation of main courses, all of which are all plated in miniature mounds. My trio of Scottish fillets (¬£16.95) comprised three such mounds: beef, lamb and pork. Each fillet was topped with some wok fried vegetables and a third of a crispy pancake. The meat was all perfectly cooked, with the lamb reigning supreme. On our table’s other plate the sea bream (¬£16.95) was simply served on top of a overly dry shellfish risotto. An inclusive side bowl of vegetables was hardly needed, but welcome nonetheless. Both mains were good efforts, but neither had the culinary spark to set the room on fire. This was somewhat of a shame considering the plummeting temperature.
Both our desserts (¬£4.95 each) were served with a dollop of heavenly white chocolate ice cream. The ice cream was was put to far better use in the sauce of the wonderfully warm sticky toffee pudding than by the side of my cold slab of chocolate and ale heather cake. The sticky toffee pudding was moreish, whereas the chocolate and ale heather cake was somewhat of a struggle - it longed to be served warm or with more zest. Service throughout the night, while not superb, was slick and attentive.
I’d describe Wedgwood as a good restaurant. It’s certainly a welcome restaurant for Edinburgh’s The Royal Mile, whose eating and drinking choices are expanding with some maturity. On a warmer night, or with a seat away from the wind, Wedgwood the Restaurant could well approach the very good territory.
Wedgwood the Restaurant is located at Royal Mile, 267 Canongate, Edinburgh, EH8 8BQ.
Telephone: 0131 558 8737