Working in Edinburgh, it can sometimes feel like all the good spots are in the city. But, I do rather like getting out and about at weekends, so when I heard about the new Restoration Yard at Dalkeith House, I was keen to get out to see if for myself.
The new Restoration Yard is pretty much the perfect day out. If you have children, there is a whole playground that looks like something out of Hogwarts, with slides and the most incredible tree house, and if you’re up for a bit of fresh air, there are trails where you can bike or dog walk.
When we went, we were after something a little more warming, so after having a good nose through the Restoration Yard shops, we headed to the Restoration Cafe. It’s an absolutely glorious spot which has the most mouth-watering menu you can imagine.
As we got to grips deciding what to go for, we enjoyed a glass of prosecco (£4.50) and soaked up all the quirky little details of the restaurant. Each table is like a treasure chest – with tiny little relics from Dalkeith House all tucked inside. Out table had a Lady Dalkeith theme, with retro lipstick cases and old telegrams inside.
To start with, we went for pretty classic options. The Smoked salmon ballontine, cucumber & caper relish, (£8) was a wonderfully fresh start to the meal. Flavoursome morsels of salmon with crisp cucumber set the tastebuds going.
I went for the more substantial option of the Chicken liver parfait, Restoration Yard chutney, sourdough toast (£6.50). Honestly, this could have been a lunch in itself, and it was absolutely delightful!
The mix of rich, savoury chicken liver parfait was expertly balanced with the spiced Restoration Chutney. Filled with Festive spice, the chutney was filled with slabs of fruit and fig, and the parfait was wonderfully rich and smooth.
To enjoy all the parfait and relish – homemade toast. Still warm, it was a seriously comforting start to the meal.
Then it was time for the mains, and I think we ordered the two heartiest choices on the menu. First up with the Braised beef cheeks with creamy mashed potato & seasonal vegetables (£13), which just tasted like winter on a plate. A huge hunk of slowly braise beef cheek rested on a mound of creamy mashed potatoes and winter vegetables. It was so good, I’ve actually gone out and bought a slow cooker to try and replicate the whole thing myself at home!
I had opted for Veal Ragu with Papperdelle, and it was an absolute triumph of a dish. Shot through with sweet nuggets of winter vegetables and chestnut mushrooms, it was absolute perfection.
The veal itself had been slow-cooked, and was wonderfully sweet and flavoursome. Combined with the pappardelle, which was al-dente perfection, it was precisely the kind of dinner you want to enjoy on a cold evening. We were seated beside the windows, and it was so lovely to get to sit and enjoy such wonderful food as dusk descended around us.
After sitting savouring every mouthful of dinner, we couldn’t resist a few mouthfuls of pudding! When we saw Sticky Toffee Pudding, our minds were made up! We shared a huge slab of moist sponge, bathed in Toffee Sauce and crowned with a rich swirl of Vanilla Ice Cream.
It’s the kind of dessert made to be enjoyed on a lazy Sunday evening, and once again, it was an absolute delight of a dish. The sponge was wonderfully moist and shot through with fruit, whilst the sauce was richly sweet. We couldn’t manage the whole thing, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying!
We finished things off with a couple of coffees which were piping hot and absolutely wonderful!
By this point, we were among the last stragglers at Restoration Yard, and it was time to head out of Dalkeith.
The Restoration Cafe has to be one of the area’s best kept secrets, even though it’s only 20 minutes outside of Edinburgh! To say I’m a fan is a bit of an understatement – I’ve been back twice already!