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Purslane
Purslane
33A St Stephen's Street,
Stockbridge,
Edinburgh,
EH3 5AH,
Midlothian
0131 226 3500
Lunch: Tues-Sun noon-2pm, dinner: 6-11.30pm

St Stephen Street is a haven of little gems; from twee little boutiquey shops to 'blink and you'll miss it' restaurants. And Purslane is just one such hidden delight. This basement bistro is as cool as they come; with its understated monochrome decor, it feels like stepping into photograph. Chef/patron, Paul Gunning has had a chequered career working for the likes of Marco Pierre White, Balmoral's No 1 and La Garrigue and we are lucky that he has stepped out on his own along with his head chef Craig Smith.

 

Making short shrift of the menu, we dive straight in with salt and pepper squid for BOGG and pork belly for moi.

 

We are surprised at the swift arrival of our food, as the restaurant is almost full for a Thursday (always a good sign). His squid is sensitively seasoned; its sweetness leaching through a crisp batter corset. Apple shards add another dimension, working alongside the cauliflower puree it's a fine dish, although the pepper is lacking. My pork is the colour of burnished mahogany, the salty sweet balance a joy with a persuasive little kick from the chilli. The meat is yieldingly toothsome, but I would've liked a little more.

 

There is bags of flavour in the braised leg of lamb with a pillow of buttery seductiveness of the potato Anna with kale adding an iron-y edge, BOGG nods sagely. I am a tad disappointed with my bream, not with the fish, which is beautifully fresh, but the clam and mussel broth. The latter is distinctly missing; it needed a depth of flavour that the bivalves would have given it. Shame.

 

To finish I can't resist the baked Alaska - it's soft and blousy like a Granma's ample bosom. The ice cream just starting to melt under its warm dome. A simple pear and apple crumble held no surprises. The topping has a faint burnt caramel flavour, that isn't unpleasing. Can't fault the amount of lush crème Anglaise that comes with it.

 

In my opinion, portion sizes are smaller than expected, but the quality is excellent. The staff are savvy, friendly, giving Purslane a relaxed atmosphere where you want to linger over coffee. Wines are reasonably priced, (from £3.65 glass, £14.50 a bottle; dessert wines under £6 a glass) and three courses at £25.95 makes fine dining affordable.

 

Reviews of more Modern British restaurants here



 

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