Formerly known as The Hudson, Angels Share is the hotel that's bringing modern Scottish food and the freshest local ingredients to Edinburgh’s West End. It's not the only venue promising this, of course, but with a liberal dash of Scotland’s national drink throughout the menu, this impressive former post office has plenty to offer.
Located on the corner of Hope Street and Charlotte Square, Angels Share has a new look. The first thing I noticed on sliding into a booth was the lighting - the front of the bar was thick with two rows of bright sparkling chandeliers, their warm light amplified by the metallic-look ceiling above them. The back-bar, however, hosted a phalanx of par cans – the stage lights angled to put the high shelves of whisky in the spotlight.
Yes, whisky, because if the name was too subtle for you, this is a venue that lays on its fondness for the guid auld Scotch drink. They’ll serve it by the dram or flight, mix it with heather, leather or Irn Bru, teach you as much about it as you ask, and add it to just about any dish. Case in point: Shetland mussels (£7) were served in an almost apologetic drizzle of Cullen skink with a touch of single malt whisky. The mussels were plump and carried the flavour of the northern Atlantic to the heart of Edinburgh on a wild and windy night, and while there was a little peat reek on the first mouthful, it was soon carried away.
The smoked salmon (£9) was a delight, with celeriac and mustard seed bringing a welcome bite of spice which elevated the Scottish staple. For the main courses, we switched from the house prosecco (£6.30) to a glass each of a sherry-like spiced Nero d’Avola (£6.80) and a Chilean Merlot (£6.60), which was a combination of red and dark fruit.
The sweet, tannic Italian held its own alongside my main course of red wine-braised beef (£14). A hearty, crumbling wedge of Limousine cross Aberdeen Angus was paired with soft mash and sweet gravy. Across the table, monkfish tail (£18) sat proudly atop a soft and barely vegetal steak of cauliflower. The meaty white fish was the basis for a combination of salty pancetta and thin slices of pickled vegetables; a combination of textures that bordered on the confusing.
For dessert, the excitement of vegan-friendly chocolate and tofu ganache (£6) was well-merited. It resulted in a dense dry chocolate mousse that was more like a thick paste. The sorbet was an excellent counterpoint with accents of Kirsch cherries to cut through the rich ganache. The spiced apple pavlova (£6) featured a crisp meringue - slightly lacking in the chewiness of a carefully constructed version - and the cold firm fruit was light on the promised Earl Grey citrus. A side of muscovado ice cream was a mouthful of cold burnt brown sugar, in the nicest possible way.
The DesignMyNight Digest
Located in the heart of Edinburgh and with a big focus on whisky, it would seem that Angels Share is looking to attract the attention of the tourist. But this bar and restaurant makes the most of Scotland’s rich larder of ingredients to create interesting executions of familiar classics; perfect whether you’re a local or not.