I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much cause to wander the S-turn of Eyre Place – a rather uninspiring stretch of the New Town. But, on this cold October evening, I was glad I did, as lurking at the end of a short parade (is it still a parade if it’s just two restaurants?) I was welcomed by a warm glow from the windows of New Chapter.
Inside, you’re greeted by an imposing bar, before the room opens up to your left with dark pillars and blue-grey walls. The crowd appeared to be families of tourists - who must be commended with their level of research - but as Monday evening moved into night, these families were replaced by a handful of couples seeking out cosy corners amongst the bare brick and floral displays.
We started off with organic prosecco (£6.50); described as having an orchard fruit character – which was more than accurate as it tasted like the first press of a crisp dry cider. It was accompanied by sourdough bread with butter and a homemade oil – a delicious green slime of olive oil and herbs, with dill and basil standing out amongst the crowd.
I couldn’t resist the call of the venison ragu fritters (£9.50) with the interest-piquing addition of a sharp parmesan custard. My partner ordered the Orkney scallops with warm pork belly and black pudding terrine (£14) which arrived as cubes of soft, meaty seafood topped with a golden char underneath a pile of white girolle mushrooms.
By now we were ready for a look at the wine list, conveniently one of those divided by taste profile. We quickly settled on the Mendoza Malbec (£29.20, 500ml) with hints of spiced herbs and liquorice. For mains, my partner opted for two beautiful pink fingers of roasted duck breast (£19.50) - matched to daggers of salt-baked celeriac, beetroot and a handful of pickled blackberries. I was drawn to the large pink slab of Loch Etive trout with “potato risotto” (£18.50), which was accompanied with tempura oyster and a velouté that felt and tasted like fresh seafoam.
Dessert was for one – the mango and sea buckthorn pavlova (£7.50) provided chunks of mango and soft meringue, despite looking like a fried egg. Sadly, but perhaps predictably, those of a lactose-free disposition might find the offer of fresh fruit or sorbet a little uninspiring.
A neighbourhood restaurant that would be a credit to any postcode, New Chapter offers up fantastic Scottish ingredients in imaginative ways, with friendly unobtrusive service in a cosy setting. It's well worth making the short trip down the hill from Princes Street for.
Get your fancy foodie fix with a trip to New Chapter at 18 Eyre Place, Edinburgh, EH3 5EP from 12pm to 9pm Sunday to Thursday and 12pm to 10pm Friday to Saturday.