In a nutshell
New Chapter has been many things in the past including a tapas bar, a curry house and a French bistro. With an almost overnight handover from its previous owners (the refurb took just 10 days) it has already become extremely popular due to the clever marketing of a two-course lunchtime menu at a staggeringly low price point, £9.50!
The restaurant’s mission statement of “serving quality, fresh, innovative Scottish and modern European food, always with a twist” appears to be pretty much on the money.
The owners of New Chapter have brought a kitchen team together that has plenty of Edinburgh restaurant experience under its belt. Chef Maciek Szymik has previously worked in the Fourth Floor restaurant at Harvey Nichols, Abstract and the Bonham Hotel in Edinburgh.
Food comes out from the pass with the confident timely flow expected of somewhere that’s been open for years not just a couple of months. Customers can see in to the kitchen from the dining room and can witness the perfectly choreographed sequences that are taking place.
Fans of locally sourced ingredients will be more than happy with their lot here. The menu reads like a ‘best of’ Scotland food directory featuring hand-dived Ullapool scallops, 35-day dry-aged ribeye steak from the Borders, Loch Etive sea trout, North Sea plaice and Isle of Mull cheddar to name but a few.
Pan-fried hake comes with borlotti beans, Jerusalem artichoke, winter chanterelles and wild leek; the North Sea plaice with brown shrimp, sea vegetables, and potatoes roasted in seaweed butter.
What’s the room like/atmosphere
It’s all about the lighting when you’re dining in the evening and New Chapter informed us they were experimenting to get things ‘just right’ the night we visited. A huge chandelier in the middle of the dining room combined with exposed filament bulbs and flex around the edges made for an upmarket vintage feel.
Quiet at the start of the evening, but with a pleasant level of chat and customers by the end, there was a near-full service on the Thursday night we visited.
The fish dishes here are highly recommended. We tried cured salmon ballotine, scallops and pan fried hake, all of which were superbly cooked. The chef knows how to treat his ingredients with the utmost respect. Scallops on warm pork belly and black pudding terrine were a joy, so tender and full of flavour.
The dark chocolate cremeux with popcorn ice cream and salted caramel was another highlight: rich, deep flavours with the right intensity and portion size.
The wine list has been created by Art D’vin, a Fife-based wine merchant who is passionate about food and wine and believes in supplying quality, unique wines to the restaurant trade. The Verdejo Canto Real 2014 (£4.75 for 175ml) was extremely refreshing and matched perfectly with the hake. A Spanish Rioja (Finca Valvares, £5.90 for 175ml), too, hit the spot with beef cheeks.
What else did you like/dislike?
New Chapter has a couple of private dining rooms in the basement which even on a Thursday evening were buzzing with diners. Here menus can be created for you according to your budget.
Service was friendly, informal and informative. Nothing seemed too much trouble for any of the staff.
It would be rude not to return when a two course lunch costs a mere £9.50: you’d be lucky to get a flat white, a panini and a muffin for less than a tenner anywhere else in town.
18 Eyre Place
Words by Hilary Sturzaker, mymonkfish.com
Written March 2016
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