Headed to the far reaches of Lister Square, the Social Bitches applaud their sense of adventure. There they discover top notch food, and the rather surprising news they’re still in EH3.
Just a hop, skip and perhaps a jump from the Meadows, Apothecary boasts a cool industrial vibe, good music, and fabulous cocktails. In other words, tick, tick and tick.
But in recent weeks they’ve gone a bold step further, and transformed the upstairs function space into a brand new brasserie.
We arrive, needless to say, famished and utterly dying of thirst. Floating through the rather lively bar only reinforces our desperate need for something alcoholic. So before even taking a seat, we enquire after the house champagne.
Perhaps just a bottle to start with, we laugh.
Mark, our suited host, looks slightly nervous, and suddenly so do we. He goes on to explain that this being early days and all, the brasserie’s running on a somewhat limited menu.
Long story short, there is NO CHAMPAGNE!
Cue dramatic needle scratch as the music and all conversation stop abruptly. Isaac appears horrified, pretty much because he ishorrified. All that can be heard is the sound of tumbleweeds.
Quickly and confidently, Mark assures us a fuller range is coming soon, but for now asks about our taste in non-effervescent wines. Suddenly the music continues, the buzz of patrons returns.
Then, without pause, Mark suggests there’s every chance we’ll find the pecorino amusing. We point out there’s much at stake, but yes … okay … we’ll give it a bash.
What seems like mere moments later, we’re half way through the bottle. With a decidedly floral taste, this cheeky but mellow wine is rather lovely. Disaster officially averted.
Moving on to the business of overeating, we wisely decide to share three starters.
Starting with the Duck liver pate with homemade focaccia, pea shoots & pear chutney, we are instantly delighted. This classic dish is bursting with a rich, almost gamey flavour, while the chutney is wonderfully sweet.
Next, things get a little crazy as we go vegetarian, opting for the Arancini balls with tomato and melted mozzarella. Thanks to a perfectly crisp exterior, and a tasty tomato sauce that complements rather smothers, we’re once again impressed.
Rounding off our greedy trio of starters, we’re also fans of the Smoked Scottish trout with toasted rustic bread, enoki pickled mushrooms & soft goat’s cheese. Thanks to plenty of contrasting and playful flavours, this is quite possibly the favourite.
After plunging confidently into a second bottle of pecorino, we’re ready for the main event.
Here all tastes seem to be catered for, from the hugely carnivorous through to the ever-popular vegan. We of course are firmly in the former camp, and ask about what’s fabulous on todays steak cuts menu.
Mark beams with enthusiasm, and talks us through the star attraction: a 45 day aged Ribeye from Scottish Butcher Simon Howie.
We’re drooling at the thought, and happily expectations are more than met. With a generous burst of garlic butter, this succulent, perfectly cooked steak is just heavenly.
So while “melts in the mouth” is of a course a horrific cliche, it’s also an incredibly accurate description of our experience. Add to that a touch of salad, and some rather sensational french fries, and you have two very happy social Bitches.
As the contents of bottle number two also manage to evaporate, we gleefully arrive at the dessert menu. But much like the wine selection, the choices are few. Now don’t get us wrong, the quality really isn’t a problem, we just [ as with most things ] want a lot more.
Fortunately, the coffee is excellent, and Isaac seems very happy with his 68 scoops of ice cream. The winning flavour being cranachan.
Meanwhile, we’re also loving the Sticky toffee pudding, thanks to a suitably rich sauce, and the beautifully crisp crust of the sponge itself.
All things considered, it’s been a great night. The wine, the food, and the service have been faultless. It’s also incredibly generous on the price front, with most mains being less than fifteen quid.
We say: Expand the menu, add a shedload of champagne, and Apothecary is destined to be a winner. Next stop: the lively bar below … did someone mention cocktails??
In a pre-theatre nutshell:
Festival Theatre 11 minute walk / Edinburgh Filmhouse & Usher Hall 14 minutes
Lunch / Dinner / Drinks
Starters £5 – £7 / Mains £12 – £19 / Ribeye £28
Apothecary Bar & Brasserie
8 Lister Square
0131 229 4634