One of the things I have been at pains to organise for the Boy's visit was a lovely meal. He's travelled all this way on a train so he definitely deserves it. Another star of the city that I had been told about was The Tower restaurant. On our way into Edinburgh, my colleague (who is an Edin alumna) pointed out a hotel called the Prestonfield, which is apparently renown for it's amazing food and astronomical prices. The owner, Jason Thomson, also runs The Tower which conveniently is about a three minute casual stroll from my attic flat in the old city. With the same fantastic food and price-tag, they also have a very reasonable pre-theatre supper for £13.95 per person for two courses. With the bill sorted in my financial brain, I must emphasize the beauty of its location a little more. Yes, it's close to where I'm living which is useful but more so, it's situated on top of the National Museum of Scotland, a strange and disjointed modern building. Now, I don't know if I'm completely sold on the architecture but being perched on top of such a building gives visitors lovely views of the city.
Without further ado, I booked a 6:30 table. I was a bit canny on this one - it was the latest table we could get to make the most of the reduced price menu but late enough so that we could watch the sun go down as we ate. You enter the museum and are greeted by a security guard to checks your reservation and takes you up to the restaurant. You're then greeted by name (a nice touch) and taken to your table. I knew immediately that this had been a good choice - the atmosphere was lovely with dimmed lights and soft music. The view was rather spectacular too. We started with some drinks and complimentary olives which were very good. Beer men out there will be happy to hear that they serve Budvar though they did so in a glass which made me feel really rather grown-up!! I had a Hendricks and tonic with a lovely slice of cucumber. Very nice indeed! We mulled over the menu, which was limited for the pre-theatre supper but looked very good. I had a glance at the wine list, which also looked very comprehensive indeed but decided against it to save my pennies. We were offered a selection of yummy breads first - a choice of white, tomato or walnut. I went for a lyonnaise salad to start, while he had the parsnip and cauliflower soup, which were both fantastic. The salad was surprisingly summery while the soup was a real winner; warming and sweet and delicious. The service was very prompt and no sooner had we finished our starter, our mains were placed in front of us. He had deep fried 'fish' - slightly ominously named but nether the less, delicious served with mushy peas and some pretty salad. I enjoyed a meatball and barley stew which again was surprisingly summery despite being warm and filling. We also went for a side order of chips which we took as a bit of a flop. Don't get me wrong, I like chunky chips but these were peeled quartered potatoes which didn't really ring my bell. We also didn't really need them as his main seemed to have the mushy peas supplimented with mash and my stew was quite carb-filled with the barley. Our waitress was lovely and a very sweet character who kept us comfortable. It was nice, also, that having asked for a glass of tap water, they continued to fill our glasses whenever they started to look empty from a large jug. Our plates were cleared and we were offered desert but we'd had a very elegant sufficiency already so I decided to try, surprise surprise, their hot chocolate (picture above). All in the name of research, of course. It was fab!!
We then went on to enjoy an evenings company with The Improverts at the Bedlam Theatre, care of a member of the team I have working for me here in the city. The players provide improvised comedy from suggestions from the audience. My favourite was probably "Should've Said" but they were all great fun. A real laugh and well worth the teensy entrance fee.