Harden's survey result
“Stupidly expensive but bags of fun” – James Thomson opened his “warm, quirky, and brilliant” (if somewhat touristy) sixteenth-century merchant’s house very near Edinburgh Castle 40 years ago, and it’s undoubtedly “very atmospheric” both in its Gothic oak-panelled dining room or beautiful ‘Secret Garden’. The traditional Scottish cuisine is OK, but its main distinguishing culinary feature is “a heavyweight wine list backed up by a strong selection of malt whiskies and other digestifs”. Plan on over-indulging? Book one of its glam bedrooms.
“Located near the approach to Edinburgh Castle”, James Thomson’s longstanding fixture of the Edinburgh restaurant scene offers atmosphere in abundance, with its darkly gothic original dining room, or gorgeous ‘Secret Garden’, although it’s so well-known nowadays it “can be full of American and Japanese tourists”. The food has always played second fiddle here, both to its looks and to its 500-bin wine list and extensive range of malt whiskies, Armagnacs, digestifs and liqueurs.
“Unique, delicious, atmospheric, amazing!”; though the food choice at this gothic dining room near the castle is “limited” (and tends to play second fiddle to the “extensive” wines), reporters don’t much seem to mind – doubtless owing to the “dazzling” setting. The adjoining candle-lit Secret Garden, also simply “glows with romance”.
This dark, dramatic gothic dining room near the castle – the building also hosts a brighter chamber, The Secret Garden – certainly provides a superbly “atmospheric” and “romantic” destination. Its cuisine and heavyweight wine selection continue to elicit slightly up-and-down reviews, however, and even its most ardent fans can find it “overpriced”.
|Wine per bottle||£24.00|
Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NF
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||12 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑11:30 pm|