It’s been a while since we’ve done a restaurant review, and that’s not because we haven’t been eating out, more that general business and laziness has compromised our ability to keep our writing up with our eating! I’m going to put a stop to that and make a concerted effort to review my upcoming mouthfuls as there are some exciting ones on the cards. What’s more, it’s a fantastic way to keep a food diary. I love reading back on all the lovely meals I’ve enjoyed, even if no one else does!
So the object of my affections today is the lovely Timberyard in Edinburgh. Now I’ve been to Timberyard about four times, with a decent meal experienced every time, so heavens knows why I haven’t written a review yet. It’s a family run place on the cusp of the old and new town (although mainly in the old town near the Grassmarket). It takes up a rather unassuming slot on Lady Lawson Street but upon entering it opens up into the most unexpected, huge warehouse area. It has sympathetically maintained the character of the building’s industrial background but has brought in elements of the Scottish countryside with animal skins and skulls. The food has echoes of Scandinavia and the staff are achingly trendy. So trendy in fact that they have already got rid of their Hoxton beards – you can tell from the pale chins that have been left behind!
We were sat down right at the back, which was perfect for us to have a view of the entire dining room, and could just about peek into the wondrous kitchen. Nothing is normal at Timberyard so when inspecting the cocktail menu for an aperitif there were no familiar drinks and even a simple gin and tonic came with a bit of pine tree in it! I excitedly opted for a salty sea dog which I guess is a Timberyard take on a martini. It was my kind of drink – packed with lots of gin, vermouth and then salty elements provided by bladderwrack seaweed! It truly was out of this world – deep, musky and smoky, like a good whisky. Richard’s gin and tonic stumped us a bit. He opted for a beautiful Botanist, a dry gin made on the Isle of Islay (most famous for its peaty whisky). His ‘tonic’ came in a chemistry lesson style flask for him to add himself, which he duly did – all of it. He had a look of confusion when he took his first sip as it turned out the flask was filled with water instead of tonic. So essentially he had a nice big glass of gin, pine tree, and water! We wondered if this was the poncey way of drinking an Islay gin and no one had told us. But when the bill came it did say ‘tonic’ so we are still confused!
Menus took a while to arrive which panicked us somewhat that we were automatically doing the 8 course tasting menu, something our stomachs wouldn’t have been able to comply with as we’d had a late lunch. We perused whilst munching on some of their warm and freshly baked sourdough. Not the best bread I’ve had but the bits you get to spread on are top notch. A choice of whipped crowdie, which is a sour cream cheese, or smoked bone marrow which was served in a bit of bone! The smoked marrow was my favourite, topped with piles of ground black pepper, mmmmm is all I can say!
Richard and I are probably becoming far too similar these days as out of the whole meal, for all three courses, we picked the same things. How it works at Timberyard is that the menu is split into small bites, starters, mains and desserts. Small bites are essentially a large canapé. We opted to have three courses of savoury as the desserts didn’t really float our boat.
Our small bite was an umami packed duck heart, liver and mushroom concoction. The duck heart was served savagely speared by a piece of yet more pine tree! I chewed into it like an offally lollipop. It was soft but meaty. Hidden beneath this was a mousse-like liver pate dusted with a cep powder for the ultimate umami hit. I was glad there was still some sourdough left to mop all of this up with. For a small bite it was certainly a generous portion.
Winewise we went for the L’indigene from Languedoc, a 2011 Syrah/ Grenache. It was very light and powerfully fruity so we thought it would be sympathetic to our upcoming fish and meat courses. A few glasses in and we suddenly noticed the sulphurous qualities of the wine. Upon reading the bottle our worst fears were confirmed – BIODYNAMIIC!! Those of you who read any of our Copenhagen reviews will recall the fall out we had with biodynamic wine which can often be very challenging and taste a bit ‘off.’ Anyway, prejudices aside this was actually an enjoyable wine but I could only have managed the one bottle! Is this why biodynamic wine exists do you think? To prevent binge drinking?!
Our fish course looked deceptively simple. A soft and creamy fillet of sole with all sorts of goodies including prawns, cockles and artichoke. It was full of different textures, some raw, some cooked. A very comforting dish that also felt strangely decadent.
Our final course was the smoked beef, which did not disappoint. The beef came in a thick slab and was so rare it was practically raw and yet a perfect temperature and texture. I didn’t get the smokiness if I’m honest. It was also quite a soft dish – succulent beef, rich gravy, cauliflower puree, mushrooms. It could have done with a crunchy texture, such as a chip, but that would make me a heathen in the food heaven that is Timberyard!
So I was full enough not to want a dessert, although I may have got a cheeky little pot of salted caramel ice cream from the shop opposite for the walk home! What I liked about this visit to Timberyard was that the meal was completely different to what I had last time as the menu is constantly changing. I’ve been going for about two years now and am not yet bored, in fact I am constantly surprised by what they produce. I can’t wait for next time!