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Lioness of Leith
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Lioness of Leith
21-25 Duke Street,
Edinburgh,
EH6 8HH
0131 629 0580

New life is stirring on the streets between The Shore and Leith Walk.

Award winning Aurora opened on Great Junction Street earlier this year. A short walk reveals Steel Coulson, Borough and Ostara and on Duke St the sign writer was spied working late on Nauticus owned by Iain Ferguson of Panda & Sons and Hoot the Redeemer. 

But there is always a brave first to lift its head above the parapet and it was the aptly named Lioness of Leith who faced up to Wetherspoons, the Central Bar and Tam ‘O’ Shanters  when they transformed a dark Victorian pub into a new style bar eatery on a corner of Duke Street. 

From the off it was full of Leith character. Would a trippy picture of Alan Ginsberg resonate so well in any other part of Edinburgh? Animal artefacts and a snazzy pinball complete the eclectic look. 

Almost five years down the line and the clientele is pleasantly diverse, workies rub shoulders with young parents and dog owners nurse drinks next to folk out to party. 

We visit for food and the Lioness has recently streamlined the menu to concentrate on simplicity and quality. So it consists of pub faves, mainly burgers done exceptionally well.  If you are vegetarian or vegan this includes 4 meat free versions, The Hippie, The Temple, Eros and Fromage, spins on mushrooms, beans, falafels and halloumi respectively. 

Mr Bite had the mighty ‘Phoenix’ – a 6oz patty with jalapeños, Monterey Jack cheese, hot sauce and onion rings. His eyes soared heavenward with first bite. Onion rings are again nicely crisped outside but retain ‘bite’ inside. Brioche buns with egg washed domes are sweet, Sriracha slaw simultaneously creamy and piquant. 
 
I chose the ‘Kimchi’ burger made with free-range, herb-fed chicken sourced ethically. The poultry consequently had texture and flavour and was aromatic and moist inside its crisp, golden crumbed coating. 

 Some fries dolloped with chilli were notable for finely ground meat with delicious depth of flavour. Beef is sourced locally from Findlay’s of Portobello. 

For pudding I chose the chocolate orange martini. Cocoa dusting means it tastes like an orange smartie albeit with a kick like a giraffe from Crystal Head Vodka, Cointreau and Artisan Espresso coffee. The cocktail list begs further investigation. Watch this space.

Suffice to say a great dinner was enjoyed and if I still lived in Leith the Lioness would be a home from home. (S. Wilson) 

 

 

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