Looking for restaurants in Edinburgh? Read our review of this relaxed neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Leith in Edinburgh, Borough, and check out more suggestions for eating in Edinburgh here.
Borough in a nutshell: On the former site of Norn in Leith, Edinburgh, Borough has a tough act to follow. But, well considered dishes and a relaxed atmosphere make it an excellent addition to the food scene down at The Shore.
Who’s cooking? Chef Darren Murray, former head chef of Norn.
Oyster, tomato and cucumber consommé
What’s the vibe?
Laid back, with good tunes on the record player and eager-to-please front of house. Interiors are cool and Scandi-esque, with paintings specially commissioned by local artist Steven Cox.
Pigeon and Beets
What’s the food like?
We’re told that there are “no rules” with the menu – but without a handy guide, like starters or main courses, small or large plates, it is slightly confusing to read. Even more vaguely, dishes are listed as ingredients so what actually arrives at the table can be a surprise. The idea is to trust chef, go with the flow and order as much or as little as you like (although 2-3 each for dinner is probably a safe bet). Luckily though, all the dishes deliver on technique and flavour. This is a chef with a delicate touch and a flexible menu that gives him the freedom to really show off. And with a regularly changing menu, you’re unlikely to see the same dish twice.
Beef, lardo, aubergine and squid ink purée
‘Beetroot, beef fat and elderberry’ adds up to some serious flavour. Another plate of ricotta and chestnut dumplings turned out to be soft fluffy pillows of cheesy joy, served with charred radicchio. The tip here is to order one each, as they are too good to share. Local lamb arrives two ways – a rare fillet, alongside a handcrafted sausage – with kale, chopped green olives and a drizzle of oil. Light chicken parfait, with crumbled cobnuts and fresh figs, delivered lovely honeyed notes, and was scooped up swiftly onto crisp breads.
With four desserts on the menu, that’s an invitation to share a couple. Smooth and creamy Jerusalem artichoke and malt ice cream with crunchy oatcakes absolutely made the evening for us.
Chocolate fondant, mint granité
And the drinks?
A brilliant selection of wines by the glass accompany the Borough menu and restaurant manager Richard Kyle matched glasses perfectly with our menu choices. One of the highlights was the Vin Sauvage A Poil, a 2016 beaujolais paired with the beetroot, and a cracking Vigneti Radica montepulciano d’Abruzzo to complement the ricotta dumplings. There are also some great bin ends and some very expensive rarities should you feel like celebrating. Local beers, plenty of Scottish gins and other liqueurs line the rest of the bar.
Strawberries and goats curd
olive tip: The menu reads as a fine dining menu but what is different is that there’s no pressure to eat six or seven courses; so why not share one or two, or three or four? If you like the idea of a no-rules dinner then Borough is for you.
Borough, 50-54 Henderson Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6DE
Words Hilary Sturzaker