Few things can be as satisfying, or as fabulous, as a fish supper. The gentle crunch of the batter, the silky-soft flakes of cod that await below, and of course the humble chip with its tantalising contrast of crisp and fluffy textures.
With each bite your eyes close, a splash of sauce trickles seductively down the chin, and an involuntary moan soon follows. This – along with copious bottles of champagne – is exactly what we experienced at Berties Restaurant & Bar.
It’s the latest venture of the Crolla Family, who’ve been wowing Edinburgh’s foodies for around five decades. Happily, they never tire of serving up something new, and here they’re putting a contemporary spin on the British chippie.
From sea dogs, steak pie and jumbo sausage, to old school fish & chips you’ll find all of the classics cooked to perfection. You’ll also discover an atmosphere that’s fun yet sophisticated, and service which is faultless.
We arrived with friends and family in tow, looking to celebrate the birthday of … well … someone who adores tweed, is great fun at parties, a little on the inspirational side, and of course incredibly humble. [ Derek blushes, even though it’s him writing this sentence ]
Suffice to say, THIS was an occasion, and Berties: the perfect venue …
After working our way through the drinks menu at record speed, we soon moved on to underestimating just how generous the portions are.
The Chargrilled Halloumi with Salsa Dip, the wonderful Haggis Spring Rolls, and the Oak Smoked Salmon with fried capers are all top-notch. But let us tell you about the real star of the starters menu …
The Black Pudding Scotch Egg – mixed with pork sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs, then deep-fired and served with beetroot ketchup. OH … MY … GOD!
Even if you are not a fan of this unique delicacy, we’re convinced you’re about to be. The warm runny egg yolk, the rich meat, and the sweet contrast offered by the sauce combine to create the ultimate comfort food.
Though of course, this was only the beginning of our gluttony …
While we could happily eat ANY of the mains on offer, four weeks prior to our arrival I’d decided on the Battered Cod with twice-cooked chips and the wonderfully chunky tartare sauce. [ BTW you’ll also find amongst the accoutrements, Edinburgh-style chippie sauce ]
Epic in both its proportions and its taste, this fish supper delivers all of the joy – and more – you’d expect from such an iconic dish. The batter, the freshness of the fish, and the crisp-versus-fluffy ratio of the chips are all bang on!
Isaac meanwhile headed like a heat-seeking missile for the Fish Finger Sandwich. One of his many, many guilty pleasures, Berties’ take – also served with those fabulous chips – somehow manages to increase the pleasure exponentially.
Boasting homemade haddock fingers, panko breadcrumbs, rocket salad, and that gorgeous tartare sauce, each bite is absolute heaven.
Two courses in, many of our party had run out of room, but we were determined to make it to: DING DING – Round Three!
In choosing the perfect finale, the Cranachan and Apple Crumble were instant contenders. Though what really had us excited was the Deep fried chocolate bar with ice cream and raspberry sauce – your choice of either Mars, Snickers or Bounty. Wowsers!
Now for those of you who have ordered such a thing at an actual chippie, perhaps after about sixteen drinks too many, you’ll know this isn’t always a smart choice. BUT in the hands of Bertie’s, we suspect it’s nothing short of incredible.
Though before we could utter the words “deep f…” our waitress arrived with a surprise chocolate cake for fabulous / humble / tweed-wearing me. A rousing chorus of Happy Birthday ensued, while I pretended to find it difficult being the centre of attention.
Moments later, this birthday boy in no way objected when the fabulous waitress insisted on cutting him a ridiculously large slice of cake. Lovingly created by the Sicilian Pastry Shop on Albert Street, it was truly sublime.
But alas it was now impossible to eat another mouthful. So the deep fried mars bar would have to wait. Though not for long, because this is a restaurant these Social Bitches plan on returning to, and often.
Our verdict: Berties is happiness, deep fried.
Reviewed in April 2019
Berties Proper Fish & Chips
9 Victoria Street EH1 2HE
0131 322 1000