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The Rabbit Hole – Straight Down the Middle
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The Go-Between
18 Rosneath Street,
Marchmont,
EH9
0131 229 7953

Sweet Melinda's in Marchmont has had its burrow completely revamped by a new occupant.  Frantic strains of sawing have given way to a fresh arrangement, allowing cosier spaces within a simple, comfortable interior.  Padded window booths and a retreat at the rear, along with a bar at which to sip-while-you-wait, had drawn in other curious parties by the time we arrived.  Middle-of-the-road muzak was the audible garnish to this family affair - it would be nice to hear something more contemporary, whilst still digestible-instrumental.

Studying the wines (happily available in all glass sizes, and proving to be well-chosen good quality), we found menus printed on our paper tablemats.  I was assured the sizeable offering, including salads and snacks, will change seasonally, with specials offered at weekends.

We decided on seafood starters and meaty mains.  Hubby went for Cajun crabcakes with aioli (£6), my own choice being the more intriguing blue cheese & lobster beignets with spicy avocado cream.  At only £7, these three large boules looked appetising inside & out, full of choice pieces of lightly- cooked lobster & fine claw meat.  However perhaps some of the Cajun seasoning made it inside these, as well as Tabasco hiding in the innocent-looking pale green accompaniment, but just as I had registered the salty blue cheese flavour squaring up to the lobster, my tastebuds were whacked with chilli.  Delicious when you've ordered Chinese salt & chilli prawns, but perhaps a shame to do this to lobster, although its lovely gentle texture was still discernible.  The other half described his crabcakes as fantastic (hallelujah).  In a reversal of fortune, his tasted purely of rich fresh crab with less of the Cajun experience.

After this full-on flavour hit, just as well I'd ordered a strong mains - duck confit with roast garlic, lardons, merguez sausages, black pudding & beans (you'll have gathered by now I didn't manage dessert).  The duck skin was crispy and its meat still juicy.  Cleverly, the black pudding appeared finely sliced like salami, and I had high hopes for this making it feel less stodgy.  Not so cleverly, this treatment dried it out, denying me the expected unctuous interior.  The ribeye & chips opposite was well-cooked, tho the last chips were almost too crispy to fork up.

Steady good service underpinned a nice new local experience worth going back for seconds.




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