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Nobles Bar, Cafe & Restaurant
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Nobles café, bar and venue,
44a Constitution Street,
[View Map]
0131 629 7215
Fri, Sat & Sun 10am-1am, Tues, Wed, Thurs 10am-11pmThursday 10am–11pm

Voicemail from the editor, "We’d like you to have lunch at Nobles in Leith, do you know it?”

I did but I hadn't been for aeons and this Scottish Bar Cafe Restaurant had been on my radar for some time. It was time to visit. 

The stunning mahogany bar and gantry still remain from the halcyon days of pub culture along with beautiful stained glass windows and an amazing frieze running right round the room depicting Leith’s nautical history, but food is now at the heart of Nobles.

You can have tea and coffee served with fresh home-baked scones and cakes from 10am every morning and the plump fruit scones almost tempted me into "elevenses heaven”.

But the lunch menu (served daily from 12-4.30pm Monday to Friday) featuring home-made burgers, fish and chips, steak and eggs, wild rice and vegetable pilaf, veggie haggis and beetroot burger was why I was here.

To start, I plumped for the Cullen Skink (£7): soup of smoked haddock, potato and cream, with artisan bread and butter. The potatoes were cooked to perfection – soft but still with a bite, and the fish was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. My companion opted for the Stornoway Black Pudding & Chicken Terrine (£6.50): served with pear chutney, salad and oatcakes. The chicken was super tasty and still moist with the black pudding stealing the show – the pear chutney came a close second!

The main event for me was a tough call between the Veggie Haggis and Beetroot Burger and the Fish & Chips, which edged it, just. And what a good choice it was – two sizes were available with one massive crisp battered haddock fillet for £7.50 or two fillets for £14 – both served with a sublime pea and mint super smooth puree, house-made tartare which was deliciously heavy on the capers, and crunchy, chunky rosemary chips. My companion had the Moules Frites (£14); mussels served with fries. The cooking liquor was amazing and transported me back to the little quayside restaurants in La Rochelle.

Puddings, as you’d expect, are homemade and worth saving space for. As a nod to its pub heritage, Nobles offers some great beers and spirits, a fabulous cocktail menu and well thought out wine list.

It’s dog-friendly (till 6pm, but not in the restaurant area), child-friendly, has outdoor seating and very friendly owners and staff.

It made a friend of me. (D. Hughes)






The bar is owned by former art students, Niall Taylor and Fay Macauley, who have done a sterling job mixing Victorian features and port heritage with quirky contemporary design. So cornicing and fireplace sit comfortably alongside colourful octopus stencils and a 'Jammy Dodger-themed' chandelier.

The liquid refreshment comprises good Scottish ales and carefully chosen wines. I tried the suggested wine pairings on the food menu.

To start then I had braised squid with chive risotto, pickled fennel and a brown crab and saffron oil (6.95) complemented by a glass of Riesling. The squid was as good as octopus, soft flesh resting on a cushion of rich tasty risotto. I would have loved to have this as a main course and would travel for such an exemplary dish. Mr Bite had a pint of his beloved Lia Fail and duck and chervil terrine with a chilled carrot and cumin puree and Granny Smith and radish salad (£6.95) and was equally pleased.

Next up Mr Bite had deep, dark, richly flavoured soft Juniper braised beef cheeks with smoked potato puree, buttered kale, baby carrot and bone marrow jus (£17.95). I think the potatoes had been cooked in the smoker to achieve a clever result. I had pan-fried salmon on a pea and greens pilaf, with charred spring onions, skinny salty bright samphire with a roasted pepper and almond coulis (£15.95). Some very nice ideas here and a glass of Sauvignon rounded the whole thing off nicely.

Petit fours (£4.95) for dessert are a good idea especially if you have taken advantage of delicious homemade bread and high quality olive oil throughout. Mr Bite was presented with a wee wooden box containing a selection. Stand out was the juicy sour apple and raspberry jelly and soft luxurious perfumed Turkish Delight. I had homemade ice cream - three scoops, milk chocolate and Frangelico, green tea and jasmine and my favourite vanilla mixed with sleepy chamomile (£4.55).

Nobles is a flagship gastro pub with la carte food achieving what places like The Chip and Stravaigin in Glasgow have done well for years. (S. Wilson)


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