Going to Scotland I was hoping to try some Scottish cuisine - arbroath smokies, neeps and tatties, cock-a-leekie...but not haggis! I didn't get the chance to try any of these, but we did have a very enjoyable experience at the Mussel and Steak Bar.
A few colleagues at work mentioned that this was the place to go for great food - certainly when you google the MSB there are consistent rave reviews.
The exterior has a nautical feel to it, while the interior is modern but nothing too fancy or contrived.
For entrees, I had the Queen scallops with gremolata. I was quite sure the menu said that the scallops would be wrapped in pancetta, but what was presented didn't have them. It was no matter, as I find that bacon/pancetta overpowers the delicate flavour of scallops. Instead, a very crispy parmesan cheese and parsley gremolata kept the fresh scallops juicy.
The Lawyer had the very morish duck liver pate with shallot jam. The pate was rich and had a wonderful mouth feel. The crunchy toast and the perfectly flavoured jam (sour without being too vinegary) and the peppery cress offset the rich pate. I had dish envy after I had a (generous) chomp of the pate!
Moving on to the mains, I ordered the grilled steak, which came with honeyed roast root vegs and (god help me) hand-cut, beef fat chips.
Wonderful flavour from the steak, and the beef fat chips, which were proper chunky, crispy chips tasted as good as it looks.
The Lawyer ordered the Surf and Turf. Presentation wise it could have been improved - it seemed odd to serve the dish in a deep bowl with the steak plopped on top of the seafood. The sauce was a delicate (yet deeply flavoured) white wine, garlic and shallot combo, which had flakes of white fish.
A very enjoyable meal. The staff were very friendly and you just couldn't fault the quality of the food. I'm quite happy that the MSB lived up to the great reviews that I read of it.
Mussel and Steak Bar
110 West Bow
Old Town EH1 2
Telephone: (0131) 225 5028