I like to think I’m fairy clued up when it comes to Edinburgh’s dining scene, but it’s always nice when you’re introduced to somewhere you’ve never been before, especially when it turns out to be amazing. No 11 Brunswick Street is the definition of a hidden gem – it’s tucked away in a townhouse on a leafy side street and it’s the sort of place you’d only discover if someone in the know gave you a heads up. But, I think, that’s part of what makes it so special. It feels very quiet and relaxed, the sort of place you could spend a whole evening without worrying about the usual concerns of city life. I was recently invited along to review the menu at No 11 Brunswick Street Brasserie, and here’s what I thought…
What we ate at No 11 Brunswick Street Brasserie
After we’d settled in at our table in the dining room, which was painted black for a very cosy, elegant and atmospheric feel, we perused the menu. Mains were decided straight away (steak for two, please), but the starters took a bit more contemplation. There were lots of options to choose from, but I finally settled on the chilli and coriander fishcake bites and Laura opted for the roasted red pepper pakoras. We were both really pleased with our choices – my fishcakes were nice and light, perfect for a summery starter, and the pakora was well spiced and not at all heavy or greasy. We also shared a selection of artisan bread along with our starters and the interesting black charcoal bread was the perfect partner to the smoked Maldon sea salt butter. Seriously though, I will be sprinkling Maldon salt on all my butter from now on, thank you very much.
On to the main courses and we both chose the fillet steak, which was cooked perfectly medium rare. The steak was tender, flavoursome and chargrilled exactly how I liked it, what more could you ask for? Steak is such a simple thing but it’s so easy to get it wrong, so a properly cooked steak is always a sign of a good restaurant, in my opinion. We also shared sides of delicious garlic buttered greens and crispy hand-cut chips which were the ideal accompaniments for the steak. I don’t usually like ordering the same thing as my dining partners (got to steal a taste of everything, you know), but the fillet steak was too good to pass up – as was the sticky toffee pudding. Both Laura and I opted for this for dessert and it was the perfect end to the meal. The indulgent date sponge was topped with warm caramel sauce and a scoop of smooth vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
The atmosphere at No 11 Brunswick Street Brasserie
No 11 Brunswick Street is a boutique hotel as well as a brasserie, so the restaurant has a nice mix of hotel guests and locals just in for dinner. It doesn’t feel like a hotel restaurant at all – there are no signs of breakfast buffets and the like! Instead, it feels very elegant and more like you’re in a fancy drawing room of an old Georgian townhouse rather than a modern hotel. You can expect impressive high ceilings with light pouring in from the huge windows, dark walls with an Enlightened Edinburgh theme, a glittering chandelier, candles adorning the fireplace and the faint sound of jazz music adding the finishing touch to this luxurious scene.
Worth a visit?
Before my visit I had a quick glance at the menu on the website, and I must admit I didn’t have terribly high expectations. It sounded nice but nothing special, but boy was I wrong! As soon as we stepped in the door and were welcomed by Susan, one of the owners of No 11 Brunswick Street, I could tell the evening was going to be great. The service was nice and relaxed and the food was excellent. The menu is relatively simple, with a focus on grills, seafood and steaks, which allows the fresh, seasonal Scottish produce to shine. They even have a special festival menu on at the moment where you can enjoy three courses for just £17.
No 11 Brunswick Street Brasserie is the sort of place to take someone if you’re looking to impress them at the same time as being able to enjoy a unpretentious, relaxing evening. I really enjoyed my visit and will definitely be adding it to my list of new favourite restaurants.