Having missed the first series in Taste of Scotland at Usquabae Bar we were delighted to be asked to visit and try out their second offering. Usquabae Bar is situated in the West End of Edinburgh, just under Ryan’s Bar. A Taste of Scotland is a 6 course offering, showcasing the best the Highlands and Islands have to offer and can be eaten with or without the whisky pairings.
The first course was a selection of ‘wee Scottish bites’ – beetroot meringue, horseradish cream kedgeree arancini and game and pear terrine. I was excited to see quite a few of my favourite things and also was intrigued as to how the beetroot meringue would taste. The best of the three was the pear and game terrine. It was full of flavour and the pear chutney worked really well with it. The arancini was lacking in flavour and the beetroot meringue just didn’t work for me at all.
The plates from our first course were cleared and within no time the second course was with us. This course was Atholl Estates Highland game sausage roll, piccalilli puree and pickled Autumnal vegetables.
This course was certainly more of what we expected. The sausage roll was packed full of flavour, the piccalilli puree added a sweetness to the dish which was rounded up with the tang of the pickled vegetables. Only thing I would have changed about this dish was a bigger portion. The third course took us off to Loch Duart. Loch Duart salmon cured in Highland Park whisky, seaweed emulsion and a cucumber relish. This dish was well presented but lacked in the punch expected when cured in Highland Park whisky, the texture was there unfortunately it was lacking in flavour. The seawweed emulsion and cucumber relish added some flavour to the dish.
Getting us back on track with flavour was the fourth offering, cock-a-leekie. This was their take on the traditional soup. A deconstructed dish with a corn feed chicken supreme, leek gratin, puffed wild rice, prune & bacon jus and baby leeks. This dish was delicious. The chicken was well cooked, the leek gratin was well seasoned and cooked well. The dish was nicely rounded off with the prune and bacon jus. It added a sweet, sticky flavour to the dish.
The strawberry and crowdie cheesecake was another deconstructed dish. The Crowdie Highland cream cheese mousse, was accompanied by an almond crumble, Blacketyside strawberries with a strawberry coulis and sorbet. The cream cheese mousse was smooth and rich and worked well with the tangy sweetness of the strawberries. The final course of the evening was a bramble fruit pastille served with tea/coffee. It rounded off the 6 dishes nicely.
Overall the 6 courses offer good value for money. You’ll be hard pushed to find the quality ingredients included in the menu for less than £26 elsewhere in town. The setting is also lovely, we had a little booth which was hidden away and also explains the quality of some of our pictures. Service is also good. Our server was happy to ask what we thought of each dish and also offered up what was his favourite dish and why. You can also add in the paired whiskies for an additional £24. This menu runs until the end of November and with 4 out of the 6 dishes really tasty it’s worth popping along to give it a try. We look forward to seeing what is on their third offering and where in Scotland it takes them.
Usquabae Bar | 2-4 Hope Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4HD | Tel: 0131 290 2284 |