The vibe is utterly relaxed. The staff are fabulous. And the food nothing short of exceptional. In fact, even a few mouthfuls into the first of many, many dishes, the Social Bitches decide THIS is a place they will definitely return to, and often.
On a cold and blustery Friday night, we’re dressed in a ridiculous number of layers, and making our way to dinner. Sadly, we’re also travelling in the opposite direction of what we estimate to be 100-mile-an-hour winds.
But no matter, our efforts are soon rewarded by the rather fabulous New Town Fox.
Less than a second after our arrival, the lovely Ethan is taking our coats, and showing us to the best table in the house. A window seat that allows us to observe the liveliness of Dundas Street, while imbibing a ridiculous amount of alcohol.
Speaking of which, Ethan suggests we start our meal with a cheeky cocktail. We suggest he might have psychic abilities. So, over an espresso martini that leans pleasingly towards sweet rather than bitter, we soak up the atmosphere and consider the menu.
Scottish fusion is the order of the day. We’re also told the chefs have trained in France, but are originally from Fife.
Isaac cannot help himself, instantly referencing the fact I’m a Fifer too. He wonders aloud if they’re wearing tracksuit pants, or are guilty of overdoing the spray tan.
“Racist!” I declare, and throw my martini in his general direction. Well, I would have, if I wasn’t enjoying it quite so much. So instead we move on to the starters.
Now it has to be said, everything looks incredibly tempting: baked goats cheese, crispy chicken tenders, crispy fried falafel, whitebait [ also quite crispy ], five spice pork cheeks, smoked salmon, wild mushroom arancini with chorizo ketchup, ooosh!!
Clearly, small plate dining is a path you could take here. We instead decide on three starters, two mains, and several bottles of an extremely pleasing Albariño. We know, such restraint.
Anyhoo, first to arrive: the Halloumi fries with sweet & spicy red pepper sauce. A simple dish that few truly master, but here at the Fox it’s utterly sublime. The perfect combination of crisp but not too crisp on the outside, and wonderfully soft below. The playful sauce, also a triumph.
Next come the Pulled ham & gruyere cheese croquettes. Again, the combination of textures and flavours has been perfectly judged. Bite into each croquette, and you’re met with a gooey, rich, sensuous experience. Meanwhile the whole grain mustard sauce makes the entire dish pop.
This is pretty much the point we start planning our return, probably with Edinburgh’s own Culture Vulture Kerry Teakle. But what really confirms this feeling is the gorgeous Pan fried gnocchi with wild mushroom & blue cheese sauce. Wow!
Even if you’re not really a blue cheese guy – which Isaac definitely is not – you will adore this dish. A little sharpness, as you’d expect, that’s soon surrounded by a wonderfully soft, mellow, and utterly creamy taste that is, quite frankly, sublime.
Isaac also finds the shape of the gnocchi very much to his liking. A soft ball that’s been lovingly squeezed, or perhaps more a petite fritter, it boasts just a hint of crispiness. Could we eat this wonderful dish all over again? Yes, yes we could, thanks for asking.
But instead, we shout “Ethan, darling, more Albariño!”
Its citrus flavours and subtle saltiness is soon joined by our main courses. In my case, the Lamb rump with parsley crusts, minted crushed potatoes, chantenay carrots & red wine jus, which is utterly devine.
The lamb is a heavenly shade of pink, the baby carrots are slightly caramelised and incredible, the mash is gorgeous, and overall there’s a sweetness to this dish that’s just delightful. And for the greedy amongst us, the portion size is bang on too.
Isaac, meanwhile, has fallen in love with his Sundried tomato & basil risotto with scorched goat’s cheese.
This stunning dish in many ways sums up what’s so good about the New Town Fox. Big bold, creamy flavours, with wonderful contrasts in texture. The Social Bitches say: Bravo!
Though of course, we’re not finished yet. Our gorgeous meal wouldn’t be complete without a third bottle of Albariño, perhaps a teensy glass of ten year old tawny port, and of course dessert.
The Apple & blueberry crumble looks tempting. The warmed Peanut butter & chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream definitely hits all of the right buttons. But the real star, as hinted at by lovely Ethan, is the Lemon Curd Cheesecake.
This velvety smooth beast, with a gorgeous and crumbly base, successfully pushes sweet as far as it can possibly go before becoming too much. Again we say bravo!
It’s also a great final act to a wonderful night. The food, the service, and the atmosphere have all been outstanding. So, as boldly stated at the beginning of our review, this is a place the Social Bitches will return to, and often. We suggest you do the same.
In a pre-theatre nutshell:
Rose Street Theatre 12 minute walk / Edinburgh Playhouse 13 minutes / Edinburgh Filmhouse 19 minutes
Breakfast / Lunch / dinner
Dinner – Small Plates £6-8 / Mains £12-20
2 Dundas Street
0131 557 0060