The Neighbourhood bar & restaurant
Mrs. Bite and I met for lunch at a new bar/restaurant, The Neighbourhood which is part of The Bruntsfield Hotel . We arrive at the same time bumping into each other in the carpark and descend a few steps to the bar. Signage is in the pipeline but meantime an arch of twinkling fairy lights signals the entrance.
Once inside, warm wood and dark colours give the welcome of a traditional pub while contemporary curios and botanical paintings recall the area’s heritage. Apparently, this is where a number of Edinburgh’s well-heeled medical professionals once lived in grand townhouses. There is a secret garden area but Scotland is between Storm Malik and Storm Corrie so we choose a comfy booth.
I ordered a Gin Martini and Mrs. Bite has a Margarita. The manager says the barman is on his way (it's 1pm on a Saturday after all), but staff put through two decent cocktails nevertheless. We are handed different menus: for kids - yes, this local is family friendly, for brunch - £26 per person for a free-flowing, eat all you can two hours, and for all-day. The latter offers pizzas, pasta, burgers, starters and mains plus desserts and an extensive cocktail selection.
Haggis Ravioli and Pizza with Broccoli and Kale captures Mrs Bite's attention whilst Sirloin Steak grabs me. Mrs B persuades me to share the ravioli. I consider myself an Italian cuisine purist and accepting her offer is a friendship statement. You may know that Mrs Bite is a foodie with decades of experience and her food instinct here is spot on. Apologies fellow Italians but the Haggis Raviolo is a show stopper - I can't believe I am saying that. The raviolo pasta isn't too thick, and the Campbell’s haggis filling mixes with a buttery whisky sauce and bed of sweet neeps. Chef has added a curly nest of crispy potatoes, to give texture to the plate.
A starter this good is difficult to follow but mains don't disappoint. The pizza is crispy, the dough light and the tomato sauce well balanced neither too acidic nor garlicky. Steamed greens only top the pizza - no mozzarella. This is a smart way to offer a lighter option for those who don't want to sacrifice taste.
My rare steak is juicy and the flavours rich and lingering. The beef is grass-fed. A bowl of very moreish skinny fries, onion rings and a whisky sauce accompany the meat. When it comes to ‘ Sides’, Chef offers healthy choices such as dressed watercress - to clean the meat fat from the palate – also garlic Portobello mushrooms and roasted tomatoes. Two positive considerations here: use of genuine ingredients, the meat is sourced from the local butcher John Gilmour and value-for-money i.e., £22 for 225g's steak and sides.
We can't end our meal without ordering a Sticky Toffee Pudding to share and the dessert is up to standard.
Although The Neighbourhood is not well known yet, I can see this place competing for the title of best Bruntsfield local with the Black Ivy. Give it a go and you won't be disappointed.