Following many a rave review, we’ve wanted to dine at The Walnut for like, well, forever. But every time we make a reservation disaster strikes. From a family crisis to an unfortunate accident with a volleyball, we always end up cancelling. Finally two years on: we made it, loved it, can’t wait to return.
Blink (or mishandle a volleyball) and you’ll probably miss it. The Walnut on Leith Walk is smaller than our Georgian living room, has mismatched vintage furniture, and a menu that’s written on a blackboard.
BUT … this humble setting offers what has to be some the best food in the city. Seriously! Every bite is an absolute pleasure, the portions are generous, and incredibly, three fabulous courses will only set you back around £22.
We’re not even sure how these prices are possible??
Clearly the chef’s a god, and has access to a time machine. What’s more you can also BYOB your first bottle of vino, and then order the other four (or so) from the reasonably priced wine list.
After a few cheeky sips (well glasses) of sauvignon, we ooh’ed and we ahh’ed at just how creamy and full of flavour the Chicken liver parfait is. Respect.
It’s a dish you’ll find on many a menu, but the Walnut’s recipe is exceptionally good. The pickled cabbage and homemade oatcakes are also a very nice touch. More respect.
Our second wine bottle now drained, time for the main course.
Joining us this Sunday lunch, our close friends Karen and Rob. Two consummate foodies who can locate a great restaurant faster than a heat-seeking missile.
They’re also big, big fans of this understated venue. And with the arrival of our mains, it was easy to see why …
On their advice, I went for the Walnut’s signature dish: Short rib beef with roasted root vegetables, fondant potatoes, and yorkshire pudding.
Understandably, its praises have been sung far and wide across the city, but let me just say: oh my f**king god it’s lovely!
Isaac, meanwhile, was seduced by the Lamb shank hot pot with roasted carrots and salsa verde. Oh SO succulent, the meat just falls away from the bone. Even better, this is a dish that delivers both quality AND quantity.
Then after a short respite …
(Or in other words, more wine) it was time to peruse the dessert menu. Four options, all extremely enticing. So, in the spirit of through review, we decided to try them all:
The Bakewell Tart silenced Rob for almost an entire minute. At the end of which he let out a single breath of air, and uttered just one word: excellent.
Karen meanwhile was reasonably full from the previous two courses, and struggled to eat her Chocolate brownie with mango and caramel.
Fortunately, the rest of us were there to assist. Rich and wonderfully moist, this too was … single breath of air … excellent.
Being the world’s greatest advocate of Sticky Toffee pudding, Isaac’s dessert choice should come as no surprise. His thoughts: Fabulous, but more ice cream please.
Though despite some strong competition, first place in this Leith Walk bake off must go to the Apple custard meringue with salted caramel and caramelised walnuts.
To sum up its many strengths, it’s perhaps best to quote Miss Shirley Bassey: [ cue music ] “Where do I begin, to tell the story of how great a love can be?”
Suffice to say, it was sensational!
After two years of delay and volleyball incident, we’ve finally discovered what so many people have been raving about. Next time a crisis presents itself, we will simply shake our heads and say: sorry, but we’ve got a reservation at the Walnut.
Reviewed April 2017
9 Croall Place (Leith Walk)
0131 281 1236