Kyloe

Hawksmoor

25/11/18

West Register Street, Edinburgh

It’s a cold, grey, gloomy Sunday, the kind that makes a roast dinner seem very attractive. And it’s a while since we’ve had one. There are some excellent Sunday roasts to be had in Edinburgh (Kyloe is a reliable 5 star experience), but the well-regarded Hawksmoor  chain opened its doors here in July, and we’ve been meaning to give it a try. So we put on our hats and gloves and waterproofs, and head down to West Register Street to see what all the fuss is about.

Housed in an old bank, Hawksmoor is certainly an imposing venue, but it does feel somewhat austere: the architecture is impressive, but it’s like a blank canvas. There’s no colour, no warmth, no personality. It needs some artwork, or some clever lighting. As it stands, it feels curiously dark and unfinished.

The service is friendly and efficient. We both order the slow cooked rump of beef at £20 per head, which comes with all the usual trimmings (cabbage, carrots, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding) and some roasted onion and garlic too. There’s a rich, meaty gravy on the side, and we can see from nearby diners that the portions are generous. Still, we stick with our tradition of ordering a side of mac’n’cheese whenever we spy it on a menu, because – well, because that’s what we do.

We don’t eat meat very often, so we like it to be good quality. And this is: it’s a lovely piece of beef, served pink and oozing with flavour. The vegetables are buttery and the spuds the ideal combination of crispy and soft. The Yorkshire is a good’un, huge and light and pillowy. The mac’n’cheese is decent too: sticky and mustardy. We’re glad we’ve ordered it.

We also have a bottle of Domaine du Haut Bourg Sauvignon Blanc, a fresh-tasting French wine that serves us very well. But we eschew the starters (they look like they’ll fill us up too much before the main) and we’re too full to entertain the idea of pudding.

There’s nothing to complain about: this is a meat-focused restaurant that knows its chops, and the food is rather good. But it’s lacking something – some theatre or spirit – that makes it seem special. I know I’ve had a good dinner, but I don’t feel like I’ve had a treat.

Next time we feel the urge for a Sunday roast, I think we’ll head back to Kyloe, where it’s warm and lively – and they carve the meat for you at the table.

3.9 stars

Susan Singfield

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Kyloe

27/08/17

Rutland Street, Edinburgh

The Fringe is approaching its final days and we have family staying with us, seeing shows and generally hanging out. A Sunday roast seems like a capital idea and we’ve heard very good things indeed about Kyloe, where the gimmick is a whole joint serving groups of four or six, so we book a table and turn up, secure in the knowledge that there won’t be any indecision about ordering, because we’ve already done all that in advance. The interior is the right mixture of traditional and quirky – there are a lot of portraits of cows and I love the light fittings made out of barrels and the cowhide-lined booths. The staff are friendly and attentive and the atmosphere convivial.

We’re offered the chance to have a starter, but decide to save our appetites for the main course (wisely, as it turns out, as the portions here are positively gargantuan). Very soon, a sizzling joint is brought out from the kitchen and is carved in front of us as we sit there salivating. It’s apparent at a glance that it’s perfectly cooked, succulently rare inside, but not too bloody. It’s accompanied by four light, fluffy Yorkshire puddings, a huge bowl of roast potatoes, diced root vegetables, creamed spinach and two jugs, one containing a rich dark gravy and the other horseradish sauce. Oh yes, and there’s some nice peppery rocket on the side. There are few meals that cannot be enhanced by a liberal sprinkling of rocket.

There is absolutely nothing to fault here – the food is hot, impeccably prepared and absolutely delicious. I’d like to say that we restrain ourselves, but it’s hard when presented with such a feast. We fall upon it like ravenous wolves and, I’m sure, eat more than is strictly good for us, but who can resist such temptation? Not us, for sure.

Nor can we resist the equally scrumptious and generously proportioned pudding, a sharing slab of warm chocolate brownie, crispy on top and fabulously gooey within. This is accompanied by an intensely flavoured vanilla ice cream. Of course, we tell each other as it is placed in front of us, we’ll never be able to finish all of this. And, naturally, we do, every last crumb.

The Sunday dinner here costs £100 for four diners, which is costlier than some other places around Edinburgh, but you cannot argue with the quality of the food or the absolute delight you’ll experience in its consumption. I’ve eaten Sunday dinners all over the city but I can honestly say I haven’t had a better one than this.

5 stars

Philip Caveney