Murrayfield Place, Edinburgh
We’re already familiar with the Dine in Saltire Court, conveniently situated above the Traverse Theatre, a three minute walk from our apartment – and okay, when I first receive the invitation to this combined wine-tasting and four course meal, I’m under the impression that’s where I’m actually going. No matter, the Murrayfield branch is just a twenty-five minute stroll away and proves to be as delightful as its sister restaurant. One of the friendly waiters informs me that a new branch has just opened in Cannon Mills, so I make a mental note to check that out in due course too.
Pretty soon, we’re sipping a delicious glass of Loimer Brut Rosé and our host for the evening, Mike from Liberty Wines, sings its praises and points out details like the fact that it has a delicate ‘puff pastry’ aroma. (Weirdly, it actually does!) Mike pops up at regular intervals during the evening, telling us more about the joys of Austrian wines, of which – until now – I know nothing. He’s keen to point out that all but one of tonight’s offerings are certified organic and biodynamic, the latter of which he helpfully describes as ‘organic on steroids’.
In comes the appetiser, a pretzel cheese fondue, which features a full size pretzel with rocket and port gel and a generous bowl of hot creamy, cheesy dip, which is absolutely delicious. Too big for a starter? Possibly, though I’m certainly not complaining!
Next up there’s the fish course, a Gulasch sea bream, which turns out to be my star meal of the evening, a mouthwatering stew featuring chunks of potato, carrot and bell peppers and, best of all, a fillet of bream with a delightful crispy skin. The paprika-laced broth causes a delightful catch at the back of the throat. A slice of sourdough is perfect for mopping up the last of it. This course is accompanied by a Südsteiermark Sauvignon Blanc, a subtle but zesty wine with gooseberry and pear notes.
Next up, the glasses arrive charged with Wieninger Pino Noir Select, heralding the fact that a meat course is coming. On paper, the Tafelspiz sounds unprepossessing: boiled beef in a broth of vegetables and spices. Can anybody make boiled beef appetising? It turns out they can. The meat is melt-in-the-mouth tender; there are a couple of perfectly cooked roast potatoes and an accompanying mixture of minced apples and horseradish, which I enjoy despite my initial reservations. What’s more, though I rarely enjoy red wine, the Wieninger’s robust tannin structure with flavours of red and black cherries makes an ideal accompaniment to the dish.
I’ve said it many times before: the pudding is often the crowning glory of many a good meal – but sadly, there’s no pudding here, just an Austrian cheese selection, which – though perfectly agreeable – seems like the one real misstep. Let’s be honest, we began with a cheese dish and Austria has no shortage of great puddings. A fruit strudel would surely be a better companion for the sweet Heidi Schröck Welschriesling that accompanies the final dish. I could also suggest that the courses are all a bit heavy on the carbs and might benefit from the presence of a few greens, but I can’t deny that I find all of this (even the cheese) utterly delicious and, at just £59 per head, exceptional value for money.
Another of these events is planned for the new year.
Are we going to be there? Hell, yes!