Edinburgh’s burgeoning St Andrew Square is something of a hotspot these days, spilling over with big foodie names who’ve made the journey north from London. In fact, take yourself on a wander around the square and you might think you’re in the Big Smoke with The Ivy, Dishoom, Hawksmoor and Franco Manca all present. Among these London cronies is The Refinery St Andrew Square.
Glamorous and glossy, The Refinery is an obvious choice for after-work drinks, pre-night out cocktails or a glitzy brunch with friends. It’s spacious inside, with two floors, and panoramic windows. For extra cosy points, there’s candles, blankets and furry rugs leading the way to our table which gave way to a view over the square outside.
The Refinery switches up its menus seasonally, so on our visit, we were able to try out the new autumn/winter menu packed with classic dishes and some fusion flavour creations. Armed with a glass of wine each - pinot grigio (£8.50) for me, Malbec (£9) for him - we were guided through the new menu by our very attentive waiter.
To start, I chose the Baja fish taco (£5.50); breaded cod in a corn tortilla, packed with pickled chilli and pink onion and harissa cream. My dining partner went for salt and Szechuan pepper squid (£7.25); an abundance of crispy battered squid pieces - though without the menu, we wouldn’t have known Szechuan pepper was making an appearance here.
Moving on to the main course, I opted for the hefty buttermilk chicken burger (£11.95); it’s the kind of bun that really doesn’t need a starter or dessert to accompany it - it’s a meal in itself... well-cooked, juicy and with just the right amount of spice. Sticky beef short ribs (£13.95) were a platter of gooey beef in a syrupy soy and chilli sauce. One of the more elegant dishes on the menu, the sauce was viscous while the beef fell apart on the fork.
We finished with a chocolate brownie (£5.95) and lemon tart (£5.95) paired with an espresso martini (£7.95) and the Island Day (£10.95). The cocktails were fabulous, well balanced and would have been more than satisfying as a replacement for the puddings which didn’t quite match up to the rest of the meal. The brownie was dense, overcooked and a bit crispy for my liking, whilst the lemon tart missed that electric zing; pleasant, but not exciting - I’d stick with the cocktails next time.
The DesignMyNight Digest
For a midweek meal or drinks with friends, The Refinery is a great option. It’s ambient, it’s just the right side of glamorous, service is good and it's great value for money. There’s crowd-pleasers on the menu, and some more unusual options too. As for the occasion? Think pre-dinner date cocktails, or group meals out rather than an intimate evening for two.