White Horse Oyster Bar

White Horse Oyster Bar is tucked away on the Royal Mile with beautifully distressed walls on the outside you could easily walk past this hidden gem; inside transforms into an elegant and surprisingly spacious restaurant, echoing the groups Chop House restaurants interior.

The high tables and seats round the bar create a comfortable and casual setting while through the back boasts comfy leather booths and tables.

I had heard about White Horse Oyster Bar, the newest addition to the Compass Group, for a while now and we had come along to their paired wine and seafood tasting.

We were greeted by friendly staff and a glass of Le Altane extra dry from Italy which boasted peach and pair flavours, with large soft bubbles that marvellously fizzed on our tongues.

Tim from Matthew Clarke was clearly passionate about the wines he talked us through and made everyone feel relaxed.

To accompany the Le Altane was the exquisitely presented Carlingford oysters; nestled in a bed of crushed ice they glistened beautifully. The traditional Tabasco and lemon juice was provided along with their own finely diced mix of apple, tarragon and sherry caramel.

This was my first time trying oysters and i had heard mixed reviews in general to their taste, texture and even the method to eating them. The oysters smelled of that strong, nostaligic seaside freshness, it took me back to rock pooling when I was a child.

In the end i chose a squeeze of lemon and a small spoonful of the apple and tarragon mix and I decided to shot it, swallowing everything whole as recommended by fellow tasters.

The oyster itself was fresh, salty and had a refreshing mineral yet creamy taste as described by our lovely and very knowledgeable server, the sweetness of the apple complimented the saltiness of the oyter and sharpness of the lemon. If i had to decribe it in one word: heavenly.

After i snapped out my giddy haze on trying a new taste and loving it we moved onto the second wine; a gorgeously sharp and aromatic Vavasour Pinot Gris from New Zealand. This was by far my favourite of the evening, ginger notes gave a delicate nuttiness and my nose tingled when taking a good inhale, always a good sign in my book.

Paired with this delicious wine was Scotch Bonnet cured salmon with avocado and heritage tomato on bruchetta. The warmth of the spice was just right, the fattiness of the salmon absorbing some of the kick and the soft avocado, ripe tomatoes and perfectly crisp bruchetta gave multiple delectable textures to this divine dish.

And last but no means least wonderful wine of the evening was a light, crisp Caves Road Semillon Sauvignon Blanc from Australia which was refreshing to the palette.

And to compliment this refreshing wine, thick plump slices of sesame crusted tuna tataki with tart grapefruit and sweet nasturtiums. Every bite was slowly savoured and i particuarly liked the sharp flavours of the small juicy pieces of grapefruit against the fleshiness of the tuna and hard nutty crunch of the sesame seeds.

By the end of the tasting we were firmly on cloud nine; oyster virginities lost and delicious wine after wine accompanied with some of the freshest, lightest seafood flavour combinations i have ever had the pleasure of tasting.

The staff were smiling, ready to talk through their extensive wine list and menu and i could easily have sat in their beautiful window seat all evening working my way through all they had to offer.

Treat a loved one or treat yourself and feast on the best fresh seafood Edinburgh has to offer.

The Kitchin

It has been a goal of mine to eat in a Michelin star restaurant and to see what all the fuss is about. My partner bought me a voucher for the set lunch for two for my birthday last year so now was the time to explore the world of fine dining.

We were presented with a variety of crispy bread sticks of different flavours including seaweed and honey and sesame, all with a creamy salmon dip; as appetisers go they were divine and perfect to nibble while we studied the wine list. We chose Little Beauty, a Pinot Gris from Marlborough, that was vibrant and fresh with floral notes.


While we gazed at everything on the menu we were brought a thick crunchy loaf of soda bread that cracked beautifully when ripped open. Warm fluffy insides greedily soaked up the creamy golden salted butter that we generously slathered on and ate in minutes.


We began with a boudin of Inverurie ox tongue served with peas and bone marrow; the broth was rich and salty without being over powering and each vegetable and meat morsel burst with flavour. This was my first time trying ox tongue and The Kitchin did not disappoint; the bone marrow happily melted into the broth with every bite. This dish was comforting and exciting.


To follow we ordered  the pork and the lamb, with a menu this inviting making decisions was difficult. The crispy Clash Farm pork belly and fillet came poised on a vibrant bed of thick asparagus sauce nestled beside Eassie Farm asparagus wrapped in crispy bacon. The fillet was succulent and pink and the belly tender with a mouth watering thick and crispy fatty layer. The asparagus held their own, the right amount of crunch and freshness complimented the richness of the meat.


The slow cooked neck of Highland lamb served on a bed of saffron risotto with lambs tongue and broad beans exuded gorgeously bold colours and earthy flavours. The lamb was melt in your mouth decadence, the risotto had a subtle floral flavour and the experience of tasting the two delighted our taste buds.


The apple crumble souffle was cooked perfectly, risen and fluffy, and served with a creamy sweet vanilla ice cream. Once pierced, the incredible fruitness of the apples broke through; rich, tart and sweet all at once.

Apple Soufflee

I opted for a dessert from the A La Carte menu as i was craving chocolate; chocolate souffle with chocolate ice cream and dark chocolate sauce certainly satisfied my craving and then some. Another divinely indulgent and fluffy dessert; the ice cream is the best i have ever had hands down and the rich sauce cut through the lightness of the souffle in perfect harmony.

Chocolate Soufflee

The Kitchin’s use of colour in their dishes is fantastic and every plate indulges your senses; first you see the beautiful composition of colours and ingredients, then you smell the robust aromas. You can hear the cracking of crispy skin or the deflating of an impeccable souffle, you can feel the food as you slice, spoon and sip and finally you taste and every bite is as delicious as the last. I can’t fault anything from our meal; the staff were knowledgeable and attentive, the atmosphere relaxed and the food exquisite.

We left on cloud nine.




The Westroom: A night of tasting

The Westroom Cafe and Bar is tucked away on Melville Street with a few seats outside that are a prime location to soak up the last of the warm evening sun. My flatmate had two tickets to one of many food and drink events hosted by the Compass Group across their different venues including The Chop House as well as The Westroom; we turned up curious and peckish.

We began with the Riesling ‘Vidal’ from New Zealand; grapes are collected from three vineyards in the Awatere Valley producing a sharp aromatic wine that went down way too easily. As this was my first wine tasting i did the whole shabang; swirling the wine round the glass and burying my nose in to deeply inhale the citrus and floral notes of the deliciously sharp first candidate.


With each bottle we were also given a small dish from their menu that had been paired specifically to compliment the wine and, my own theory, to slow down the inevitable effects of multiple glasses of wine.

To accompany the Riesling we were presented with rich crunchy black pudding fritters with a thick glossy chilli jam. The two worked perfectly together.


Our second contender was a 2014 South Australian Sauvignon Blanc titled ‘Starvedog Lane’. After i finished admiring the label i conducted the swirling, inhaling process; the wine had hints of asparagus and the distinctive note of fresh cut grass which made it a refreshing and crisp second glass.


To follow we were served a miniature twist on the classic prawn cocktail; plump king prawns nestle in baby gem lettuce leaves with a healthy dollop of home made marie rose sauce. The collective silence while everyone ate concluded another good match.


The final wine to be poured was the 2014 Chardonnay Fiano ‘Da Luca’ made in Siciliy. Being my third wine in the tasting i had near ‘mastered’ the swirl and inhale and this was the kind of wine that made your nose tingle. A complex multitude of citrus, blackcurrant and thyme makes your nostrils sing and mouth water. A definite must to try.


Our final nibble was flaky golden pastry with chorizo and spinach topped with creamy goats cheese which echoed the wines rich body in flavour.


As first times go The Westroom greatly exceeded my expectations on wine tastings and the whole evening flew by in a flurry of delicious wines and delectable canapes in the relaxed and friendly cafe and bar. We left happy and already planning our next trip to try more.