Review: The Broughton, Edinburgh

Stephanie Abbot enjoys an end of week visit to The Broughton in Edinburgh.

NOT a lot of things can compete with that Friday feeling. And, while the promise of finishing the evening on a dancefloor is still a long way off, the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal and a tipple or two is thankfully still there. After a busy week, my friend and I were excited to check out The Broughton, which funnily enough can be found on Broughton Street in Edinburgh.

It was obvious right away this establishment had received a bit of a makeover since my last visit, which was around October. The walls have been painted in a beautiful dark green and the furnishings were lush and inviting. It was clear there was a shift in focus towards food while the lower section of the pub still had a relaxed vibe for drinks and bar snacks with friends.

As we browsed the menu, we decided a cocktail would be the perfect way to kick things off. While my friend opted for a classic margarita, I had the French martini. Both were dangerously delicious, with just the right amount of booze while being really refreshing.

We were both swayed by the snack section and chose East Coast cured salami and homemade pickles. Living merely a stone’s throw away from East Coast Cured, it seemed too big a sign for my friend (and flatmate) to ignore. The salami was salty, with just the right amount of fat and smokiness. It has earned its place on my future homemade charcuterie platters. The pickles I was less enthusiastic about. There was beetroot, apricot and gooseberry. Neither of us were big fans of the latter as it was too tangy for our liking.

For starters, we got the Isle of Mull cheddar hash brown with pickled apple, and the chicken liver pate with seasonal chutney and toasted brioche. The pate was gloriously rich and creamy while the brioche was soft and buttery. It was a really enjoyable starter but the proportion of pate to brioche was a little off as I had a lot of pate left over once I’d devoured the bread. The cheddar hash brown was more of a croquette. You can’t really go wrong with melt in the middle cheese but we weren’t blown away.

The main event came in the form of braised beef feather blade with mashed potato, baby gem lettuce and mushroom ketchup. The beef was perfectly tender and almost confit style. It was juicy, flavoursome and moreish. I don’t ever need to know how much butter was in the mash, all that matters is that it was delicious and perfectly seasoned. While I was sceptical about the mushroom ketchup at first, as soon as I tasted it, I was won over. A wonderful savoury sauce packed with umami flavours, it made me overlook my separate mini pot of gravy for most of the meal: a testament to how moist and well-seasoned everything was. Even the baby gem lettuce was nicely charred and added another texture to the meal.

My friend had selected the natural smoked haddock with olive oil crushed potato, poached hen’s egg and grain mustard. It was as if we were in a contest over who enjoyed their main more. As my friend broke the poached egg and the rich orange yolk trickled down the haddock, the stage was set. The smoked haddock was delicious. The sauce was creamy but with a gentle heat from the mustard while there was a nice lemony kick that lifted the whole dish. It was especially nice on a creamy smoked haddock dish, which can otherwise be quite heavy. There was plenty of sauce, which is a big plus in my friend’s opinion. A few bits of kale snuck in there too, which went really well with the sauce and the dish overall.

After a short break we were able to come to a decision on a dessert to share. The final act came in the form of the Blairgowrie strawberries “cheesecake”. As we both suspected we were presented with a deconstructed cheesecake but somehow this felt was more manageable after our hearty starters and mains. The cheesecake filling was rich and creamy while remaining light. The strawberries once again proved that homegrown is best, especially when it comes to Scotland, as they were delightfully sweet and juicy. The crumbly biscuit mixture added a wonderful crunchy sweet texture to the dish.

Overall, the food went above and beyond our expectations, particularly the main courses, which came close to receiving the plate-licking seal of approval. Flavours were balanced perfectly and while covid-19 has meant salt and pepper have disappeared off tables, we weren’t left wanting in the slightest. The staff were all extremely friendly and attentive, paying particular attention to ensure any dietary requirements or allergies we might have had were catered for.

I’d love to return to The Broughton to try more of their dishes and, going by what I’ve sampled so far, I’d be very keen to tuck into their special Sunday lunch (served from 12-5pm). With such great food and a welcoming atmosphere, The Broughton might just give you that Friday feeling every day of the week.

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