If you’re familiar with Edinburgh, you’ll probably have noticed a whole lot of building work going on around St. Andrew Square. A rather ugly 1960’s brutalist monster was torn down, and in it’s place, a marble and brass-clad phoenix has risen in it’s place. Chock filled with new restaurants and bars, it now feels like the obvious place to start an evening out in the city, and I had been dying to try The Refinery who opened just before Christmas.
With views over St. Andrew Square Garden, The Refinery is something of a Pinterest dream come to life. A huge high-land cow mural greets you as you enter, and there is a packed bar to weave past, and up the spiral staircase is the dining room. All warm tones, copper and interior #goals, it’s the perfect place to spend the evening.
The restaurant is the brainchild of Drake & Morgan, so of course cocktails are a big deal here. Of course, there are the classics, but I couldn’t resist when I read ‘Goldfish in a Bag (£7.95).’ Gin, vodka, rosemary and a cute name? It was meant to be. Since I wasn’t driving, I got to have the ‘fun’ drink, but the runner up prize – a spicy Virgin Mary (£4.50) was equally delicious.
As we perused the menu, we munched on smoky almonds (£2.95) and fat Italian olives (£3.65).
Starters were a shared affair, and by chance, we both picked ‘kebab-ed’ options, which made sharing an absolute breeze. Prawn Lollipops (£6.75) were huge, juicy shrimp coated in a light, crispy layer of tempura batter. Accompanies by a sweet chilli dip, these were deliciously moreish.
I couldn’t resist ordering the Chicken Satay (£6.25) to start, and was pleasantly surprised by the generous portion. The chicken was well cooked – crispy on the outside but still moist in the middle. They came with a healthy portion of sweet and peanuty satay sauce and were absolutely wonderful!
Our table was by the window, and we had the most stunning views over St Andrew Square. The service in the restaurant was efficient and friendly without feeling too overbearing, and when we popped in post-work on a Thursday, the restaurant had a steady buzz all evening.
Choosing main courses was tough. Literally the entire menu sounds delicious, so we stuck to old favourites, and happily, they were just delicious! The Fillet Steak (£24.95) sounded too good to miss. Served with chips, watercress and a choice of sauce (an additional £2.95) (we went for Blue Cheese) the fillet was everything you hope for in a good cut of meat. Ordered Medium Rare, the steak was perfectly chargrilled on the outside and still tender in the centre. The accompanying chips were crisp and crunchy with fluffy centres, and the Blue Cheese sauce adds a wonderful richness to the dish.
I opted for the Wagyu Burger (£13.75) which came with blue cheese and relish. I’ve heard a lot about these burgers, and I have to say, it was fabulous. The burger was so rich and succulent, it was everything you crave when you’re in the mood for one. Since you order it on it’s own, I opted for a portion of Roman Fries (£4.50)
Scented with Truffle Oil and topped with rosemary and parmesan, the fires were fabulously hot, crisp and savoury. They paired well with the savoury notes of the burger, and honestly, I think I’ll be ordering all chips in the future with rosemary, truffle and cheese!
Even though we were absolutely stuffed from dinner, a quick look at dessert menu persuaded us into enjoying one more course. The Refinery even has dessert themed cocktails (it was a school night, so we couldn’t indulge) as well as drinks from Edinburgh based establishments, which we both thought was a lovely touch.
A slice of Pecan Tart (£5.95) came with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, and was a seriously satisfying pudding. Rich and sweet, this was such a delicious, and surprisingly unusual (for the UK) way to end a meal.
I couldn’t resist ending the meal off with the rather indulgent Creme Brûlée (£5.95). Topped with a satisfying ‘crack’ and three buttery morsels of shortbread, the pudding was everything you could wish for.
Rich, and full of vanilla goodness, the Creme Brûlée was absolute perfection, and the little flowers which decorated the pudding were just adorable! We savoured the last course for as long as possible, then it was time to head home.
Reluctantly we headed back to the car, but not before promising each other to return soon – perhaps sitting outside, where each chair comes equipped with a blanket to fight off the Edinburgh chill!
Thank you to The Refinery for having us!