As a teenager and a young adult I didn’t eat any fish or seafood at all. I’m not really sure what changed, but one day, I just woke and seemed to have developed a real taste for it.
If you’re a seafood lover yourself, the White Horse Oyster Bar is a must visit. It has the same cool vibe as the Chop House, which you’d expect as they are related. The owners have once again created something special which will no doubt become a favourite. They have a knack of just doing things well.
As we walked to our table, I had almost child like excitement when I noticed the lobster tank. What is it about a fish tank that seems to just grab your attention? Despite the lobsters not really moving, I found myself a bit mesmerised by the blue hue and bubbles.
A glass of fizz helped us get in the mood as we began working our way through the menu, which as I say, is more about sharing than a traditional starter – main – dessert.
We selected three starters, mostly because we couldn’t whittle it down to just two! Our first choice was Hand Dived Scallops, with apple, tarragon, and sherry caramel. It was a beautifully presented dish and the flavour couldn’t be faulted – sherry caramel tastes every bit as good as it sounds! However at £11.50 it felt a little expensive for the portion size, and a touch out of step with the rest of the pricing. The Salt & Pepper Prawn Tempura were large and encrusted in the lightest of batters. The garnishes elevated this dish to a must try – wasabi mayo, ponzu dressing, and pickled ginger made for the perfect balance of flavours – hot, sweet, and sharp all at once. Our third dish and the one we just couldn’t cut, and the reason we chose three – Monkfish Satay, I’d seen this dish on other Instagram feeds and was desperate to try it myself. The satay sauce was a great accompaniment to the fish skewers.
I have one complaint about the decor, and that’s that the standalone tables are too small if you want to share dishes, and given that the menu leans towards that type of dining, it’s a minor nuisance.
We decided to return to solo dining after the sharing starters and had a main each. Alex chose the Turbot and waxed lyrical about the shallot and black miso sauce. I think we can safely say it was good.
I had the Half Lobster with skinny fries and immediately regretted not having a whole one, not because it was small, but because it tasted so good and I was feeling particularly greedy! Once again, they had it spot on with the garnishes of pickled samphire, and a very rich (this is a good thing!) béarnaise.
This was all washed down by two cocktails that would stand up against any you might find at the top cocktail bars around Edinburgh. On the left the Morello Fizz which was one of the best cherry flavoured cocktails I’ve had, if it says cherry, I like to taste cherry! On the right the White Horse Colada.
Apologies for the photos, they are a bit dark and I don’t like to start using a flash and stuff when everyone else is trying to enjoy their dinner in peace. I have lightened up the desserts as best I could. We had the Apple Tart with Salted Caramel Ice Cream – this is a pretty classic combination nowadays and ticked the crowd pleaser box.
I opted to finish with a gluttonous flourish – Chocolate Delice with Ripple Ice Cream. I gave it my best shot but couldn’t quite finish it!
The White Horse Oyster Bar is a great addition to the Edinburgh food scene and a well behaved younger sister to Chop House. I can’t wait to go back and have the full lobster with more of that béarnaise!
White Horse Oyster Bar
Location: 266 Canongate, Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8AA
Price: Small Plates £7.50-£16.50, Mains £16.50-£29
Good for: Oysters, Lobster, Seafood