Element wasn’t on my radar before I was invited for dinner, but it’s another unassuming restaurant on Rose Street which punches above its weight on flavour and quality of cooking.
The restaurant itself has a modern Scottish feel with tartan wing backs and stag horn light fittings. The clientele is a mix of ages and the vibe is a relaxed one – facilitated by the laid-back and friendly, but always attentive, staff.
My friend took a look at the menu while I ordered drinks. She looked up and announced she couldn’t pick between two starter dishes. Fortunately I’d already checked the menu and foresaw the predicament and decided we should have both and share – this went down very well. Tip No.1 for an enjoyable meal out – always try and find a compromise that pleases all parties!
The first of the starters was a beautifully presented Golden Beetroot & Goats Cheese dish which was served with savoury granola and pickled walnuts. The presentation and balance of flavours surprised me, it felt like a dish that should be gracing the table of a fine dining restaurant – to be able to enjoy this standard of food in a relaxed atmosphere was a great start to our evening.
Our second choice was North Atlantic Tempura King Prawn with Thai Mayo. This was an unfussy dish which was exactly as described. The prawns were large and fresh out of the fryer – we thought it was a good portion for the price (£6.25).
Heads up to our friendly waitress who was clearly passionate about food and drink, and who recommended I try a Broker’s Gin – a great recommendation and accurately described by her. A little bit of staff knowledge and passion goes along way, and the staff at Element aren’t frightened to offer their opinion, which is very welcome. Tip No.2 for an enjoyable meal out – involve the waiters and waitresses in your evening, they’re usually more than happy to share their knowledge and it makes for a great atmosphere. I used to be a fine dining waitress and loved it when guests would ask questions/my opinion, I felt I could really enhance their evening and of course it made my job really enjoyable.
Onto the mains then and my friend chose the special – Shepherd’s Pie. At £9.50 this seemed like excellent value. The pie had been made in the traditional manner using shredded lamb shoulder which added to the flavour and texture of the dish, and set it apart from one you might make at home as a midweek supper.
I decided to try the Guinea Fowl Supreme, not a dish I’d have expected on a menu at a restaurant like this. Again, it’s the sort of thing you expect at a fine dining restaurant. This was a rustic dish though that was packed full of flavour. The Morteau sausage, heritage potato, and celeriac puree made it feel really hearty.
The desserts kept up with the rest of the dishes in terms of taste and quality. Our first choice was a Cranachan Cheesecake, Drambuie & Raspberry sauce, Honey Bee Pollen, and based on the noises coming from her side of the table, it was good. Very good. In fact, I thought I was going to have suggest she got a room with said dessert at one point. Tip No.3 for an enjoyable meal out – always take ear defenders with you, some people REALLY enjoy their food (just joking!)
We also had the Chocolate Mousse, Cherry Coulis, Chocolate Soil and Churros. Good texture and flavours and a large portion, more than we managed to finish.
This was a meal that surprised and delighted right through to the end. My friend, after scraping the last of the cheesecake from the plate, announced that she would definitely return with her family.
Location: 110 – 114 Rose Street
Price: Starters £4.50 – £6.50. Mains £9.50 – £22, Desserts £4.75 – £7.50
Good for: Relaxed dining at reasonable prices. Good service and high quality food.