Restoration Cafe is part of a new development within the grounds of Dalkeith Country Park.
Along with the restaurant there’s Fort Douglas; a large outdoor adventure playground for children and The Restoration Yard which sells candles, beautiful throws, clothes, and cosmetics. Upstairs in the furniture loft, there’s ceramics, glassware, lighting & soft furnishings. It’s somewhere you want to set aside at least an hour to wander around. There’s also a food and coffee shop where of course we couldn’t resist picking up some marshmallows, hot chocolate, and fondue.
From the ‘Snacks’ section of the menu, which were kind of like pre-starters, we couldn’t resist the Smoked Ham Croquettes. Five deep fried cheese and ham morsels arrived, they were comfort food at its best. I immediately regretted only ordering one portion to share. In fact I could have had two portions of these to myself and gone home happy! The chilli jam on the side was the perfect accompaniment.
We both chose the Grilled Edinburgh Gin Prawns with Avocado and Heritage Tomato Salad. The prawns were nicely cooked with a good charred flavour. I couldn’t taste the gin, but then perhaps I’m immune now! I’d have liked a stronger dressing or a bit more of it to really bring the dish together.
I was considering the Venison Ragu with Tagliatelle as it was offered as a small portion, but our friendly waitress recommended the Braised Beef Cheeks with Creamy Mashed Potato & Seasonal Vegetables. I always think if the waiting staff make a strong recommendation you should listen, and so we did, and she was right, it was utterly delicious. Sticky beef in a rich jus on a bed of creamy mash with a fine dice of carrot and beetroot – the beetroot really finished off the dish and was a great addition.
Feeling really quite stuffed – I find beef cheeks always do that, we soldiered on to dessert. Having ordered the same up to this point, Alex and I parted ways. I ordered the Dark Chocolate Tart with Clotted Cream, Bramble Jam & Pistachio Crisp (pictured above), at just £4.50 this was great value for a well presented homemade dessert.
Alex predictably ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding, that man can’t see past sticky toffee pudding when it’s on the menu. This one, *whispers*, was even better than his Aunty’s.
The Restoration Cafe with it’s location deep in the country park is the perfect place to retreat and unwind for a few hours – we will definitely be back.
Location: Dalkeith Country Park
Price: Starters £4-£8.50, Mains £9.50 – £15, Desserts £4.50 – £5.50
Good for: Relaxed dining in a countryside setting