Lunch at Shackleton’s Bar, Edinburgh
There’s nothing more I love than food. Especially when that food involves good company over lunch with your best pals. Over the weekend I was invited to join lovely fellow blogging ladies Lauren, Laura and Gillian for a complimentary three course lunch at Shackleton’s Bar & Brasserie here in Edinburgh. Albeit a little out of the way, Shackleton’s bar is based in Stockbridge. A bustling village like community, Stockbridge is one of my favourite places to explore on a weekend. From taking a stroll around the Sunday markets, to enjoying a coffee from many of the independent cafes. To bargain hunting in the charity shops, and finding a gem in one of the boutiques.
I didn’t really know what to expect upon walking to Shackleton’s bar, which took roughly 25 minutes to reach from where I live in the West End by Haymarket. But even as a local it took a bit of finding, so if you’re intending on visiting as a tourist I’d definitely suggest Google mapping it before you go. I must admit I had looked up the restaurant on their website before hand. Shackleton’s Bar and Brasserie is part of the Channings hotel, to which I imagine a lot of their business does indeed come from hotel guests.
Once we had found the location it wasn’t too well sign posted to know which was the hotel and which was the restaurant. For someone not staying in the hotel I can imagine this might put them off a bit in regards to taking the time to find it in the first place, to not know how to get inside once you’re there. Although we did realise there was a basement entrance after we left, the best way of finding it was to enter the hotel section of Channings and ask how to reach the restaurant through there.
As lovely as our waiter was, the restaurant itself sadly felt a little soul-less. It became very quickly apparent that this was also used as a type of breakfast room for the hotel guests, and overall just seemed a little clinical and white feeling inside, and much less ‘Brasserie’, when the rest of the hotel we passed through to get down to the restaurant had so much character, it seemed a shame to feel so out of place. Especially when searching the website beforehand it became apparent that the photographs of the restaurant were indeed taken upstairs in the hotel lounge area.
Putting appearances aside, we settled down to lunch. On offer was a great deal for four people, which included three courses and two bottles of wine, for a rather impressive £89. Something which roughly works out at around £22 each, including two large glasses of wine each between four also. For the price I really don’t think that was bad at all, especially in comparison with other Edinburgh prices, I’ve been places before now where I’ve paid up to £22 for just one main course.
Moving onto the food, it was a little bit of a mix. The food looked great, with lovely restaurant standard presentation. We found a couple of things on the menu misleading; all ordering the cherry tomato and mozzarella tart for starters. We were slightly confused when a smoked cheese and salad tomatoes arrived instead on a pastry slice. Albeit it was still nice, I did wonder if some of the menu needed double checking or explaining when ordering to avoid confusion. However I ordered the steak sandwich and it did very much feel like polar opposites to what the rest of the table were having. Served just with some crisps on the side, I felt it was lacking the presentation and style which the other dishes had. Even just swapping out the crisps for some fries and fresh salad would have made all the difference.
Similarly on the presentation side, for dessert I tried the chocolate tart with raspberry sorbet. The tart and sorbet was lovely, but thought that it could have been finished off nicer with a swirl of chocolate sauce around the sides, or even just a dusting of icing on the top. I appreciate how picky this might sound but we were invited to review, and I truly want to see the restaurant improve and do their best, as the food otherwise tasted lovely. With improvements made to the atmosphere and surroundings too I really think with such a great affordable menu, Shackleton’s could really be put on the map as a Stockbridge dining destination, not just for hotel guests.