We arrived at lunch deeply hung-over. Walking, talking, even breathing seemed a challenge. But thanks to a menu so fabulous, so delicious, we were brought back from the brink of death. Which is why we think LeftField is one of Edinburgh’s best.
To give our debauchery a little context: Friday night had initially been a sophisticated affair. A teensy glass or two of champagne, a cheeky bottle of sauvignon between friends, and then it was off to the ballet.
Though perhaps inspired by the passion of the performance (or the muscular men in tights), we then went on to ask the most dangerous of questions: “Ummm … nightcap?”
Not that many hours later, we joined our fellow foodies Karen & Rob for lunch at LeftField. Forgiving of the fact we’re often late and hung-over, they didn’t even blink when we mentioned an ambulance might soon be required.
“Nonsense,” they laughed, and poured us each a glass of wine. A South African Chenin Blanc: wonderfully fruity, and only nineteen quid a bottle.
“No, no, we couldn’t possibly,” we murmured before taking a sip, then a gulp.
Soon Rob was refilling our glasses, and insisting the Ribeye is to die for. He’s so right by the way, but let’s start at the beginning.
Before we wax lyrical about our exquisite three-course lunch, it has to be said LeftField is one of the most understated restaurants we’ve ever been to.
Boasting unobstructed views of Bruntsfield Links, the décor is simple, with furnishings deliberately mismatched. The service is smooth but down to earth, and the menu only hints at the joy about to come your way.
Although tempted by the likes of Pumpkin seed hummus with feta, due to our incredibly hung-over state we instantly defaulted to the Chicken Liver pate with red onion marmalade & toasted focaccia.
But oh my goodness … despite it being a dish we’ve had many, many times before, this offering is incredible. Somehow we felt almost virginal, touched for the very first time, as we enjoyed its smooth, creamy, and oh so rich taste.
It was then we realised this laidback, understated restaurant obviously delights in hiding its light under a bushel.
Desperate to taste more, soon we were equally delighted by the Crispy fried squid with sriracha mayo, as well as a teensy nibble of Karen’s Vegetable pakora.
But amongst all of this great fare, we think the real star is Rob’s pick – the Loch Fyne Oysters with a somewhat life-changing Walnut salsa. Seriously inspired!
The Main Course
Now enjoying a second, perhaps third bottle of chenin blanc, it was time to make an important decision. Should we follow Rob’s advice and order the Ribeye? Or make more of an effort to fully sample the menu?
Needless to say our love of Rob, and of course red meat won out. After all, the man knows his food. He also has the super-power of being able to order wine without the use of actual words.
And of course, what’s not to like about Scottish Borders reared cattle, aged for a minimum of 28 days?
So, moments later both Isaac and myself were enjoying the fabulous Ribeye with chunky chips, watercress & truffle oil, and a rather wonderful brandy & peppercorn sauce.
FYI: There are of course other saucy options, but trust us, this one is the best.
With our steaks cooked to medium rare perfection, all traces of hang-over were finally gone. In its place, an undeniable thirst – cue yet another bottle of chenin blanc – and a desperate need for pudding.
Roughly three quarters of a second after being handed the menu, Isaac decided upon the Lemon tart. Which, by the way, is a story with one very happy, light, and creamy ending.
Meanwhile I was paralysed with indecision. Should I follow his lead, and have the lemon tart as well? Hard to resist at the best of times, but teamed with strawberries, elderflower & gin, well … come to daddy!
But … something about the Eastern Mess – with its meringue, cream pistachio, rose petals & orange curd – had me seriously intrigued.
I looked our lovely waitress in the eye, almost Jedi-like, and asked which dessert I should go for. Her reply was instant: the eastern mess.
Now while reimagining Eton’s iconic sweet is a challenge some chefs can’t rise to, this is heavenly. A much sweeter, and more delicate taste than usual, it’s the perfect finish to a perfect meal.
So … hangover or not, we think Leftfield is easily one of Edinburgh’s best restaurants. We couldn’t have asked for a better meal, and most definitely can’t wait to return.
In a pre-theatre nutshell:
Usher Hall / Edinburgh Filmhouse / Lyceum / Traverse – 10 minute walk
Dinner (Tues – Sat) / Lunch (Weekends)
Entrees £6 – 7 / Mains £13 – 26
Set Lunch £15 for three courses
12 Barclay terrace
0131 229 1394