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The Apiary
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The Apiary
33 Newington Road,
0131 668 4999
Every day for lunch and dinner - 12 noon-3pm and 5.30pm and 10pm

Sister to Three Birds restaurant in Bruntsfield this Newington-based sibling similarly plays on the idea of nature in its name; monikers which also accent a commitment to retro top to tail British dining alongside in-house smoking, pickling and preserving.

Laudable but how does the food taste?

Simone and me went along to try the lunch offer, two courses for £9.50. I started with soy, garlic & ginger marinated crispy baby octopus with sweet red onion & chilli dip (£4.50). The octopus was tender, the coating tasty and crispy and the dip obviously homemade and full of flavour. Its downfall was presentation. I wish it had been placed on a beautiful piece of blue earthenware to do the food justice. Simone chose the fish bites (£4) with ginger, garlic, coriander and aioli from the daily specials board and praised them highly for being "fresh, spicy and tasty".

Main course for me was cauliflower, lentil and coconut curry with tarka drizzled rice, lime wedges, coriander, chilli and flatbread (£8). The balance of flavours was superb, nothing overpowered, every ingredient harmonized. The veg was cooked just al dente, rice was fluffy, and it was exactly the right portion size for lunch. I would have perhaps added a few toasted flaked almonds. Simone chose a dish that had tempted me; braised ox cheek spiced with chilli, star anise and liquorice root with rice and pak choi. I could tell just by looking that it tasted good; rich dark meat, bright green cabbage and snow white rice looked every bit the perfect winter dish and Simone confirmed that the balance of flavours was again excellent and spot for the season.

We concluded that The Apiary has the food right. The produce is good and the dishes are well executed.  The presentation of the room itself and of the dishes needs some tlc though. Owners Jo and Kath have taken over the former Metropole and it's a large airy room where the acoustics ping around and little attention has been given to layout or décor.

I would go there any day of the week for the food but would expect a cosier, more welcoming environment that reflects the great food, especially at dinner time. ( S. Wilson)

Review of more Modern British restaurants here

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