Furnished with an eclectic mix of old and new, boasting walls adorned by the chef's own art collection, Charlie and Evelyn’s old table has found its perfect home.
Come here for a perfectly measured haute-cuisine experience.
My wife, Jennifer, and I were fortunate to receive a second invitation to this well received new home restaurant, and our only regret is having had to pass on last month’s sitting due to our extensive international travel commitments.
We arrived fashionably late, Jennifer looking gorgeous as usual and me even more so.
Bumping into two other guests, we all made our way up the stairs exchanging nervous chatter about what lay before us. Will our hosts sit with us, do we pour our own drinks, what if the food is poor and how do we bridge the awkwardness of paying friends for dinner?
We were all warmly greeted by our hostess for the night, Rachel, who radiated with a post holiday spender. Coats were checked, kisses swapped and ice broken as we made our way to the living room for a welcome drink on the house.
The gents opted for beers, which were served in continental style glasses adding a degree of sophistication to an otherwise middle of the road drink. Jen W opted for water whilst Jennifer was served a delicious looking, and tasting, gin and tonic.
Rachel explained how things would work, and then excused herself returning a few minutes later with the canapés, consisting of haggis bons bons followed by scallops served with a cauliflower puree.
The haggis bons bons were good, but by their very nature will never win any awards, whereas the scallops were exceptional. Delicate and tasty they were perfectly accompanied by the cauliflower. The serving, I feel, could only be bettered by the removal of the ‘extra’ bit of red coloured flesh from the scallop.
Our hosts, blessed with a magical ability for timing, allowed us a few moments to continue chatting and mingling before inviting us through to the table.
Casual sophistication, is the only way to describe the old table and its dressings for the night. Perfect.
But, where was Chef?
Was he alone or did he have a team of helpers?
Why won’t he great us?
Does he not like us anymore?
‘I just saw his hand’, shouted Olly from the head of the table.
Olly was getting ahead of himself...
A few minutes of chit chat was pleasantly interrupted by the arrival of the amuse bouche, which consisted of crumbed muscles. Exquisite, flavoursome, perfectly prepared and presented. I could have eaten ten of them.
Rachel left us to it.
The wine was flowing and the chat had now moved on to gossip of the highest order. Much laughter and hilarity continued, until Rachel danced in with the most perfectly prepared homemade bread starters.
Each plate had three generous portions with a variety of toppings. The crab meat based topping was a treat, as was the cherry tomato styled offering but for me the best was the purred pee and mascarpone.
There was much debate about which of the three was best, with almost everyone having a different opinion. James said he fancied the tomato offering, but I feel that’s because his favourite colour is bright red, as demonstrated by his awful jumper and tie.
Did Chef prepare this varied starter to please all pallets or, as I am starting to suspect, to create an educated foodie debate. We will never know.
‘Rachel! More wine please’, was Alistair’s most useful contribution to conversation all night.
Our unflappable host willingly obliged, whilst Olly somehow transformed himself into the well known and loved DJ Suntan, working the high spec 3 CD interchangeable with aplomb.
This, well nourished, party train was moving full steam ahead!
Rachel popped in to announce that the main course would consist of rib eye cooked medium rare, unless there were any objections?
Jennifer politely objected, and asked for hers to be cooked a touch longer.
Our hostess gracefully accepted this objection and retreated to the kitchen where I am almost certain I heard a muffled expletive, and a faint thumping of a fist.
Who cares - for us it was back to the wine!
After a few sing-alongs, the much anticipated main course was now being brought out, and it could‘t have been more worth the wait.
The tenderest piece of rib eye I have EVER eaten, served with homemade ravioli, a red wine jus and just a dollop of horse radish sauce that for some reason tasted of asparagus. Delicious.
When something is so good you can’t get enough of it, and my only criticism was that the steak offering could have been a wee bit bigger to appease this man mountain South African.
By this stage we were bypassing the wine decanter and usual airing of the wine, and were pouring freely from newly opened bottles.
DJ Suntan was politely admonished for turning the restaurant into ‘Subway Comely Bank’ and the music was turned down to concert level volume.
It takes a lot of guts to serve a plain and simple dessert at the end of such wonderful meal, but once again Chef got the balance just right with his homemade ice cream and espresso mix.
‘Hey, why don’t we pour the espresso over the ice cream’, suggested Jen W.
A knowing smile on the face of Chef, as he walks through to rapturous applause.
What a simple yet delightful finish and I mustn’t forget to mention the choice of either a shot of Speyside whisky, or Amarula which was daintily stuck onto the dessert serving plate with a drop of organic honey.
On Sunday morning, I was asked by a friend how the night went.
Perfect I replied, because at Charlie and Evelyn’s they know that having fun is just as important as eating well.
Review by Matt Hansen, SAIL. Thanks Matt. And, if you fancy visiting Edinburgh and our supper club, be sure to enquire here for accomodation.