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Smoke Stack
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Smoke Stack
53-55 Broughton St,
Edinburgh,
EH1 3RJ
0131 556 6032

Still smokin'

There's something about the Smoke Stack that always makes me smile. The anticipation of good, comforting food gets my juices flowing and stomach growling. Go hungry is my motto, portions are a good size and with their new daily menu, I was hoping this was still going to be the case. 

With a choice of four starters, five mains and three puds, the list doesn't stint. It didn't take us long to choose: chicken liver pâté for him, prawn cocktail pour moi. 

The pâté, served in a twee Kilner jar, is more like a parfait, a satisfying creamy mousse rich in flavour, smooth as silk without a hint of bitterness or graininess. Two thick slices of warm toast allows the pâté to melt a little, adding to the texture and taste; with a tangled nest of salad leaves, this was a great start.

My prawn cocktail is just that - prawns on a bed of shredded crisp lettuce and a good dollop of Marie Rose sauce. Knock it if you must, but I love its retro simplicity.

We reverse on our mains, he goes for the chowder, with chicken and mushroom pie for me ... and chips; big, fat mini railway sleeper kind not the skinny things that don't have that fluffy middle.

he chowder is more like a fish stew with mussels, prawns,  smoked haddock, salmon and various veggies bobbing around a creamy sea like multi-coloured miniature icebergs. There is more than enough for two. Every element is cooked perfectly and there is much slurping of the creamy broth from the other side of the table. 

But is a pie a pie if the pastry has been cooked separately? For me, if it has a crispy, golden, flaky crust it's a pie! The chicken is meltingly soft and the mushrooms are plentiful while the sauce is herby, rich and perfumed from the fungi. 

When it comes to the Smoke Stack's banoffee pie, resistance is futile.  Buttery biscuit base, gooey caramel, banana slices and lashings of thick cream. The daily cheesecake happens to be Bailey's - a boozy, fluffy concoction. 

We are fit to burst but replete and happy. The Smoke Stack's daily menu is excellent value with two or three course for £10/£13 and is served Monday to Friday from noon until 9pm. (L, Harris) 

 


 

 

2017 - best of the brunch  

 

We've all had those weekends when a bowl of porridge or a slice of avocado toast just isn't going to cut it. It was just such a morning, bright and cold, when my other half and I arrived at Smoke Stack on Broughton Street. We were greeted by a friendly member of staff who took our coats and asked us to choose a table -menus and glasses of iced water quickly followed. The weekend brunch menu is served until 4pm, so perfect for a lazy day, though if you really can't be bothered to leave the house, you can also have most of the brunch options brought to your door by Deliveroo. What a time to be alive!

As well as the usual full breakfast and 'butty' options, including a full vegetarian breakfast and steak and eggs, the restaurant also serves a selection of waffles. The toppings range from bacon and maple syrup or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, to the vegetarian, Mexican-style huevos rancheros or fruit and ice cream.

As tempting as the waffles looked (through eyeing up the meals on other table) we opted for full breakfasts, wanting something filling to keep us going. I chose the veggie version as it included haggis and hash browns, which the carnivorous option did not. Cappuccinos were also ordered, along with healthy berry and beetroot smoothies.

On arrival, the food was sizzling hot and accompanied by huge wedges of toast with butter. Although not usually a black pudding fan, my companion said it was the best he had tasted, and the food on his plate vanished at a speed only limited by the temperature. The vegetarian breakfast was also delicious, and so substantial I was unable to finish it, despite my best efforts!

A good brunch is the perfect fuel for a wintery walk in the Botanic Gardens, a cultural trip to the Scottish Art Gallery, or before hitting the Christmas markets. After all, a full Scottish is much better value that a bratwurst and more satisfying!

As other restaurants in the area come and go, Smoke Stack, currently celebrating its 20th birthday, is a reliable constant, serving high quality, no-nonsense Scottish food to locals and visitors alike. I've enjoyed dinners and lunches here, and now Smoke Stack will be high on my list of brunch venues too.(D. Spencer) 

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