Up until this summer, I, rather shamefully, hadn’t really explored too much of Leith. It’s a little further out from my usual haunts, but it’s undergoing a really exciting period of growth at the moment with a whole slew of independent shops, cafes and restaurants opening up.
A couple of weeks back, we headed down to the shore on a rather soggy Friday evening to try out the newly opened Hemingway’s – a cosy spot which has been transformed into an elegant sharing plates restaurant, with dishes inspired by a slew of European cuisines.
With a slick bar upfront, and cosy booths to the rear of the restaurant, you can pop in for a couple of killer cocktails, or head in for a full-on meal, depending on what you’re after. It’s perfect if you’ve got a bunch of friends as indecisive as mine, or if you’re in the mood for something a little different.
As you would expect from the name, there are wry literary quips scattered throughout the restaurant, but the bathrooms are a must visit.
I’m not one to usually go on about a restaurant’s facilities, but these are something else! Golden swans, sequins and swings are just the start of what’s tucked away in there, and it’s a fun spot which feels absolutely perfect for some instagramming opportunities!
After taking the requisite selfies in the bathroom, it was time to order. With a menu encompassing small plates, extras, planks and flatbreads, there was a whole lot to decide between, but on the advice of the staff (all incredibly friendly and equipped with some killer recommendations) we opted to share some plates from the land and sea options, with a side of fries for good measure.
Since the whole ethos of the restaurant is sharing plates, the dishes come out as they’re made, meaning that we started off with seafood dishes.
First up were the Seared Scallops served with carrot puree, chorizo and pickled carrot (£11). I’m a real fan of scallops, so when I saw them on the menu, I couldn’t resist! Served perfectly seared, with the middles still translucent, the trio were beautifully sweet and fresh, and positively melted in the mouth.
The Thai Style Crispy Prawns (£8.50) came highly recommended, and when they arrived, we completely understood the hype. Huge prawns in a light, crisp batter were served alongside peanuts and chilli oil, creating a dish reminiscent of satay, but even better. We could have easily snacked on these all evening, as they were absolutely divine, but then we would have missed out on the absolute treats to come!
After trying Halloumi fries for the first time this summer, neither of us could resist when we saw them on the menu (£8). Arriving at the table piping hot, with crisp exteriors and hot, gooey insides, these were dreamy, especially paired with the sticky pomegranate molasses and zesty lemon tahini. To say these disappeared pretty much instantly is an understatement, but who could resist?
The second wave of dishes to arrived included the Hemingway’s Bavette served with broccoli (£11) and our portion of fries (£3) which came with the most delicious pot of truffled pecorino sauce. I sometimes feel like Bavette is a bit of a neglected cut of beef here, but at Hemingway’s it was cooked to rare perfection. Drizzled in the most fabulous Black Garlic Butter, it was a hearty portion, and paired perfectly with out portion of fries!
We couldn’t resist enjoying a few cocktails whilst we enjoyed supper, so opted for an old school virgin Pina colada for the driver, whilst I sipped on a pumpkin martini. During our visit, Hemingway’s had a specials menu in collaboration with Boutiquey’s Gin and I’m so glad I enjoyed a seasonal cocktail. Sweet, spiced and very pumpkin-y, the martini was just the drink to get the weekend started!
Even though we were more than satisfied with supper, we couldn’t resist the suggestions to try some puddings. First up was the white chocolate and ginger cheesecake (£7). Equal parts fresh and decadent, the mix of ice cream, cheesecake and picked ginger was incredibly moreish.
I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try the sticky toffee pudding (£7) which came served with clotted cream ice cream and a raspberry compote. The berries’ tartness was perfect with the rich toffee sauce, and the sponge was a fabulous end to a fabulous meal.
Thank you so much to Hemmingway’s for having us!