The Sheep Heid Inn is located in Duddingston village. We drove around the bottom of the Royal Mile, passed Holyrood Palace and along a road which is overlooked by the imposing Arthur’s Seat. It was a driech, misty night and there was a strange energy, it felt like going back in time and I had flashes of what it might have been like in the 17th century, and even before.
The traditional characterful inn was once a favourite amongst past monarchs and poets, and is one of Edinburgh’s oldest surviving watering holes – you can really feel the history.
Inside has been completely refurbished and we took a seat in the seats above. It immediately felt like the sort of place I wish was my local.
We enjoyed the canapés (duck liver parfait and goats cheese) with a G&T (in a proper glass). There was live music too, not sure if this is a regular occurrence or just a special thing for the launch event, I hope it’s regular as he was very good and it really lifted the atmosphere.
Before dinner I took a wander around the rest of the restaurant and out the back where there is an impressive beer garden and a bowling alley! Yes, really!
The restaurant area is spread over two floors, our table was upstairs. The actual venue itself is amazing, but I have to say while the service was ok, it didn’t quite fit the place – there appeared to be a wee bit of a lack of experience, perhaps such a busy event had just overawed them a bit?
Based on the surroundings and the menu etc, I was expecting ‘Gastropub’, and on some dishes it met that, and on others it fell a bit below that standard. The Scallops needed more cooking, not sure if the chef was rushed, but there wasn’t enough caramelisation, and while they were edible, the texture wasn’t as we like. The Lamb Kofta Salad was a strange dish that was crying out for something to bring it together. The wraps were cut and rolled so that it was difficult to make a kebab, if that’s what we were suppose to do, I’m not sure as it wasn’t clear. The best of the dishes, and the one I would absolutely order and enjoy again, was a Katsu Curry dish which doesn’t seem to be on the online menu. It was tasty though, fried chicken and a pleasant sauce for dipping. I’d have preferred it served on something other than a slate – I think as soon as you have to start using a knife, a slate becomes a problem.
The Slow Cooked Pork Belly with Scallop I ordered for main was ok, the pork was tasty but unfortunately, again, the scallop was too under done for me which was a shame. The potato dauphinoise was good but the other sides lacked a bit of seasoning and flavour. Erin’s Diablo Pizza was good, hand stretched as promised and plenty of toppings, it looked fresh and tasty, and she said it was one of the best pizzas she’s had from a pub. Alex had the Spit-Roasted Chicken, I’m not sure if it was spit roasted as it looked like it had been roasted in an oven, that said he said it was fine and it did have the lemon and garlic confit as described.
Note for vegans, they have a dedicated vegan menu that looked pretty extensive, well worth a look if you are following a plant based diet.
Desserts were however really good and very much hit the Gastropub level I was expecting. If you love a dessert you will appreciate the amount of choice on the dessert menu, I think I counted a dozen or so options which is practically unheard of in most restaurants.
The Pineapple Tarte Tatin with Mango and Coconut Ice Cream was as good as it sounds, the pastry was crispy and there was just enough sharpness still in the caramelised pineapple to ensure it wasn’t too sweet. The Apple & Blueberry Crumble was good too and the presentation was really modern . Erin had the Ice Cream & Home Baked Triple Chocolate Cookie which she said was ‘epic’, the cookie was still warm and gooey in the centre and it was all served in a cute little pan which she appreciated.
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