Stephanie Abbot explores the menu at Rabble in Edinburgh.
A MID-WEEK dinner out is always a welcome treat. It breaks up the monotony of the painfully dull and uninspired dinners I’ve been making of late, mostly because work has been keeping me busy (which I’m thankful for).
I can recall flipping through the Argos catalogue ahead of Christmas selecting what gifts Santa should know I wanted, and it was with a similar level of excitement that I perused the menu for Rabble in Edinburgh ahead of my visit. So many options, so many things I felt I needed.
When my date and I arrived at the restaurant we gave contact details and had our temperatures taken as part of the covid-19 measures. There was also a mini hand sanitiser on our table and hand sanitisers located at the entrance and outside the toilets. While it was good to see these things in place, there was no explanation of any changes to procedure or service, which was surprising.
I had only been to Rabble once before and it was for a Christmas meal with some girlfriends around four years ago. The décor has since changed from what felt a little dark and ominous to light, rustic and inviting. There are wooden beams throughout with hanging artificial flowers along with industrial style lighting, making for a relaxed and pretty setting. Perfect for a date or get together with friends.
We sat down to deliberate the numerous dishes we were both keen to try. To start we opted for the Scottish lobster and crab French toast with pickled cucumber, along with the 12-hour cooked pork fritters with piccalilli, apple sauce and crackling. The pork fritters were delicious, the meat proving to be juicy, soft and very melt in the mouth. I was surprised to see there were only two on the plate and would have felt a bit miffed if I wasn’t sharing the other starter. I think the rule of three is always best. The lobster and crab French toast was enjoyable but could have done with more seasoning, just to lift the flavour a little. The toast itself was perfect and I’d definitely come back for it, along with a good helping of bacon and maple syrup!
Alongside the starters I enjoyed a cocktail and opted for the Rabble Apple – which was simply Tanqueray gin and freshly juiced Granny Smith apples. It was certainly refreshing but I couldn’t really detect the gin. It could have benefited from a little less juice and a splash of tonic or soda.
When it came to choosing my main dish, the decision was made as soon as I saw the lamb. Served with French style peas and a twice baked pea and parmesan souffle, the rump of lamb was cooked perfectly and I only wish I had a little more. My dining companion tucked in to the chargrilled jerk chicken skewers with grain salad, tomato red onion and mango salsa and grilled flatbread. Unfortunately, his main was rather disappointing. The chicken was on the dry side and the flatbread was rock hard, making it a mission to tear and eat. The salsa didn’t do enough to add some much needed moisture to the dish so a serving of sauce similar to a sriracha mayonnaise would have been a welcome addition.
We also got two sides to share: the salt and chilli fries and the tender stem broccoli with garlic and lemon butter. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love fries or potatoes in any form quite frankly. So it’s an odd feeling when a serving of chips can’t hold my attention. The fries were covered in Chinese five spice, which was really overpowering and not what I expected at all when they are described as “salt and chilli” fries. Meanwhile the broccoli was perfectly cooked and just the right level of al dente.
Keen to end on a high – a sugar high that is – we simply had to try some desserts. We shared the sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice cream along with the sugared churros and dark chocolate fondue. The sticky toffee was surprisingly light for a famously stodgy pudding. It was exactly what you’d expect and hope for in terms of flavour and I actually have next day food regrets that I didn’t finish it. The churros were a little too crispy for both our tastes and could have done with a smidge less sugar. However, the chocolate fondue was delicious and made the perfect partner.
Overall, we left feeling a little underwhelmed by the food but there was little to fault in the friendly and quick service. There are many more dishes I’d like to try on Rabble’s new menu – including the tandoori seabass, potato and bacon gratin and the peanut butter and chocolate tart – and from what we sampled there are only minor tweaks needed to make this a winning menu for sure.
Find out more at www.rabbleedinburgh.co.uk