Mathers has gone, and in its place is The Empress. A trendy new bar more befitting of the area. Broughton Street is full of good restaurants and bars and The Empress fits in perfectly.
We were reserved one of the table seats, perfect for people watching.
The Empress prides itself on its craft beer and cocktails, so that’s what we went for. My friend had the Schiehallion on draft, and I had an Indian Summer.
The menu is fun with lots of things you want to eat. While there are mains, it was the shary food that appealed most.
To start we ordered the Prawn and Avocado Salad, Haggis and Black Pudding Bon Bons, and Buttermilk Chicken
The buttermilk chicken wasn’t as I expected, it usually comes with lots of crispy batter and is quite indulgent. This one was a lighter affair, the chicken fillets were perfectly cooked, however they could have done with a wee bit more seasoning or a more flavoursome batter for me. The salad was fresh and there were plenty of prawns. It was large enough to double as a lunch if you’re in at that time of day. The bons bons were the stand out dish of the three. They were bigger than I expected and very tasty. The chilli jam on the side cut through the richness. Having not been a big fan of haggis in the past, this dish will go down as the one that converted me.
Onto our mains, again we chose to share. Flatbreads make up the main part of the menu with lots of different toppings. We chose a Goat’s Cheese, Beetroot and Caraway Flatbread, and a BBQ Brisket Beef. Both toppings were different enough to be interesting, we’d definitely order these again. The small ones are actually quite a decent size if you don’t have a large appetite – great value at around £6 each.
On the side we added House Slaw, Paprika Halloumi Fries, and Onion Rings.
The slaw was made with a light basil oil rather than mayo which was a nice change. The halloumi fries are like nothing I’ve had before, the sort of dish you go back for. The onion rings were also really good, second only to the ones at Byron at the moment.
Dessert was Sticky Toffee Pudding. It tasted homemade to me, and was better than what I would expect for a bar. A solid end to our evening – an evening which didn’t actually end until 10.30pm. We were surprised to find we had been there four and a half hours and I think that says a lot about how comfortable we felt and the level of service we received. Staff were friendly and attentive, but also happy to let us relax and enjoy ourselves.
Would I go back? Yes, definitely! I think The Empress with its proximity to the Playhouse and the cinema will do really well. The prices are very reasonable, and the quality of food very good. I encourage everyone to pop along and take a look for themselves.
Location: Broughton Street
Price: Dishes range from £4 – £12
Good for: Informal sharing food, cocktails and craft beers