The Lighthouse Bar & Restaurant on Fingal
If you are looking for a unique five-star experience, this is the place to go.
Fingal is a luxury boat/hotel that also houses The Lighthouse Bar & Restaurant and is permanently berthed at Alexandra Dock in Leith.
Originally commissioned by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1963, fast forward to 2014 and Fingal was acquired by its present owners The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust. The former lighthouse boat turned 'superyacht' opened to the public in January 2019 following a five million pound conversion.
Today it boasts a number one spot on Tripadvisor and its last century elegance recalls that of the Titanic. A red carpet takes you aboard to reception, and then a glass tubular elevator lifts you to the deck where the restaurant and bar are located at the bow of the boat. Staff wear discreet gold tridents on their lapels, surfaces are polished to perfection, glasses gleam and the ceiling shimmers and ripples like water.
Kate and I are seated and napkins are broken. I have a chat with the barman about the cocktail list noting it includes the classic Champagne Cocktail. The cocktail menu not only lists the ingredients in each drink but also details tasting notes, and glassware and has illustrations. I order the signature Lighthouse Martini which is described as: “bold, sinfully dry, wonderfully cold and crisp”.
It is pre-batched and served from a chilled lighthouse-shaped bottle; substance equals style - and pickled Amalfi lemon garnish shows attention to detail.
Freshly baked rye and sourdough rolls and Edinburgh Butter Company butter see us through the short transition from aperitifs to starters.
The menu is seasonal and I swither between Norfolk Asparagus and West Coast Langoustines. The waiter tells me the latter are sweet and fresh and we learn the staff had a tasting two days before - so they are well-informed and happy to advise. My giant prawns are served with diced mango which complements their innate sweetness. Hot Smoked Salmon, Steak, Rump of Lamb and Steak are all devoured with gusto. Kate’s salmon was smoked on board and served with buckwheat blinis, cucumber relish and herby cream cheese. The lamb coats my mouth with flavour and skinny merguez sausages add some gentle spice.
Desserts are Apple Tarte Tatin for Kate and, for me, Buttermilk Panna Cotta which is oozy inside. Wye Valley strawberries have been macerated and a rhubarb compote adds fruity sharpness. The dish is a sophisticated twist on strawberries and cream and it reminds me that summer is on its way.
Petit Fours with Peppermint Tea and a Latte complete our nautical dinner which Kate describes as: "an absolute delight”. One Tripadvisor reviewer also puts it well "I was spoiled rotten!"
Impeccable service, ambience, unique surroundings and food all tick the “five-star” box so dinner on Fingal is a treat, and we all deserve those, don’t we.