Edinburgh pub grub from a star
The Scran & Scallie l https://scranandscallie.com l 1 Comely Bank Rd, Stockbridge, Edinburgh EH4 1DT, UK l +44 (0)131 332 6281 l Visited August 2016
There’s something sacred about Sundays. I don’t mean through any necessary religious sense. Although if that’s your thing, then I’m fully supportive. Rather I mean that Sunday is a day for comfort reflecting on the previous week and planning for the week ahead. One thing I can agree with religious types on is, it’s best as a day of rest. Anytime I’m forced to venture away from a day of unwinding and re-sorting my life, it provides me with undue stress.
And what finer routine and Sunday stress relief after a long week than Sunday lunch? It might just be the most sacred of all rituals. A ritual that found the four of us on our Fringe weekend away, lazily strolling into Scran and Scallie. Assured that it was the perfect Sunday comfort food.
After searching around online, I had been informed that we wouldn’t even need a reservation, which was a relief. My weary senses being overloaded on walking in with signs of a good British pub. There’s exposed wood floors, comfy sofas and their own-brewed ales taps sitting proudly across the bar. But then panic. My eyes darted to every table seeing small reserved placards and two friends perched at a bar table with shrugging shoulders.
There was just one small problem. As it turns out you certainly can reserve a table at Scran and Scallie, and even more importantly, they’re incredibly popular. And, as we’ll come to (Slight spoiler alert), they have every right to be. The host was very accommodating, despite the popularity, and made sure that our bar table had everything we needed. They even let us order off the complete menu, ensuring that we weren’t disappointed.
The selection of local seafood starters is immense, covering all of the local scallops and lobster, but we forwent the offer of an extra course. After all, Sunday very much tends to be all about the main event. We did, however, nurse our slightly hazy heads with a basket of the freshly made bread and butter. Even now, in reminiscing, I’m not completely sure it wasn’t some of the tables’ favourite part of the whole experience. Crusty bread with a soft, still warm centre, coated generously in a smothering of fresh butter. Just the cure.
The understated menu touches on all of the usual pub fare highlights. But you’ve already come to sense that this is going to be slightly more than dinner at mum’s. There’s pies, roasts, sausages with mash and fish with chips. All listed out with touches of Scottish lexicon like ‘Sit ye doon yer welcome!’. The four of us hungrily obliged and ordered.
The Scran and Scallie want to make you feel looked after like any good Sunday host. Portions and sides are generous and immediately beg for you to dive in. The steak pie with a bone poking out of the centre of golden pastry, promising a sauce sticky with bone marrow; A slice of roast beef, a fitting tribute to a wonderfully cooked main ingredient; Fish pie adorned with perfectly piped potato; and the pork and ribs looking suitably splendid atop a vibrant slaw.
Fortunately, the initial telltale signs of promise also give way to substance. Steak pie with large chunks of slow-cooked beef and a gravy that coats your mouth as you eat. The fish pie is also pleasingly more than its equal. Haddock that had left its indelible smokiness on the whole sauce, joined by prawns and morsels of salmon. I’m reliably informed that the pork, although ably cooked, was a lighter dish than expected. A slight disappointed from a description that promised a meat feast. No such problems occurred with the roast, on the other hand. Every mouthful carefully guarded against watching eyes (and more appropriately, mouths).
Sides were also, for the most part, equally well thought through. Roasted chorizo potato’s delivering on the suitable promise of every one of those words. Spring peas being the perfect partner in crime for the Fish Pie. The table’s one word of caution would be the chargrilled vegetables. Slightly greasy from being over saturated in oil, they were instantly missable.
Surprisingly (and pleasingly) from a Gastro Pub owned by Michelin-starred, Tom Kitchin, the prices aren’t eye-watering. An average main costs around £14.50. Which although at the pricier end, is certainly comparable to less established places for Sunday grazing in London.
Too full for ‘puddin’ we instead opted for a round of coffees accompanied by the shortest and lightest of Scottish shortbread. Slinking into a comatose silence, relaxed at the end of the Fringe weekend and wondering about the meaning of life. After all, isn’t that what Sundays are for?