Ba’Bar is an unusual name for a restaurant, the first thing I thought of was the lovable elephant I watched on the TV as a child. However, I’m sure you’ll not be surprised to discover that’s not what this hotel restaurant is named after. A ‘Ba’ is the ball used in the famous ‘The Ba‘, a mass game of football played in Kirkwall in Orkney between the ‘uppies’ and ‘downies’ which is won when one team score a goal. The game can last for days, and the ‘Ba’ is given to the player whom has shown most commitment in a number of games. You can se the Ba in the image below on the top shelf of the bar.
Ba’Bar services guests at The Dunstane Houses, as well as walk in guests. As you can see the decor is modern and very inviting.
The modern feel is carried through to the menu which is split into smaller and bigger bites.
We started with one of my favourite dishes at the moment Haggis Bonbons. These ones were made from Campbells haggis and served with a Glenkinchie single malt whisky and arran mayonnaise. The whisky wasn’t too strong, but I definitely got the flavour of mustard.
Alongside these we also shared the Orkney Grimbister Farm Cheese Fritters. These weren’t the only dish showcasing produce from Orkney which is clearly a passion for the owner who comes from there.
We used the Bigger Bites section of the menu as mains and then added a couple of sides, and this worked really well. I like these new flexible style menus that allow you to dine in your own way.
Alex had the Pan-Seared Hand Dived Orkney Scallops which was served with a cauliflower mornay and Campbells black pudding. As you can see, it was beautifully presented, and tasted just as good.
I had the Honey-Glazed Clash Farm Pork Belly. Pork belly is one of my favourites but recently I’ve stopped ordering it as it’s something I can make really well myself and I’ve been disappointed. No disappointment here, this was as it should be – soft pork with fat rendered properly and crispy crackling. The honey offered a gentle sweetness but wasn’t over powering.
This was washed down with their Scottish take on a Pina Colada, the ‘Ecosse Colada’, a nice twist on the classic.
Desserts were safe, but very well executed. A freshly made Chocolate Brownie was served with raspberry sorbet, and a moreish Sticky Toffee Pudding came with vanilla ice cream.
Everything I ate at Ba’ Bar was really tasty and the prices were very reasonable. I found it a really comfortable and welcoming place to be and the service was excellent. I wouldn’t hesitate to visit again if I was in the area.
Location: 4 West Coates, Edinburgh
Price: Wee Bites £4-£8 Bigger Bites £6.50-£13.50
Good for: Great food in a very inviting environment