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Wedgwood the Restaurant, Edinburgh [Restaurant Review]

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Reviewed by The Wild Boar


Looking for good restaurants to sample on holidays is always a bit of a scary task for us. Having a bad meal in London isn’t so bad since you can always make up for it another day, but holiday time is quite limited so I like to make it every meal count if possible. It didn't help that Edinburgh has a fair number of good restaurants according to Urbanspoon and several review sites online. Of particular note are the Michelin starred Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchin restaurants but I was a bit scared off by the prices. After some searching, I settled upon Wedgewood, which had some good user reviews on Urbanspoon.


We were ushered into the basement upon arrival. Now normally I hate sitting in the basement but I scarcely noticed it on this occasion as the well lit room with its simple but elegant décor was quite nice to be in. Also, the Caol Ila whiskey helped occupy me while waiting for the food. We were warned service might be a little slow as they were busy with a large party on the ground floor but we were still a bit full from lunch and tea so we weren’t complaining.


The bread was warm, soft and went a treat with the oil infused with rosemary and thyme, a much nicer alternative to butter for me.


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Pan fried pigeon, haggis, neeps and tatties, rich red wine jus”. As is my habit, I tasted the sauce first before eating anything else on the plate and my initial impression found it to be quite salty (the PigPig likened the taste to Marmite). However, dabbing rather than slathering the wonderfully cooked pigeon with the jus was really good and it also added a nice extra flavour to the haggis (one of the better ones I’ve tried, although I’m by no means a connoisseur).


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Pan fried pigeon, haggis, neeps and tatties, rich red wine jus

Just a quick word on haggis here; it's a traditional Scottish product and is essentially a sausage filled with minced sheep's innards such as the heart, liver or lungs along with onion, oatmeal, suet and a liberal dosing of salt and pepper. It also traditionally uses a sheep's bladder as the sausage skin and is boiled for about three hours. I appreciate it may sound revolting to some of you, but I would urge you to at least give it a try if you have a chance, as it's really quite delicious and the smell of innards isn't particularly strong. Also, neeps = turnips/swedes (not this) but this and tatties = potatoes.


Surf, earth and turf soup; beef, scallops and beetroot, spring onion and shellfish oil”. Not only me but the other two dining companions found this quite salty, but the PigPig was happy with her choice and disagreed with the rest of us. The strongly beefy broth had an element of Bovril about it, which went quite well with the earthy sweetness from the beetroot. A simple but highly effective touch was to grill the scallops first, giving it an extra aroma. Oh and the scallops were very fresh, and very sweet.


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Surf, earth and turf soup; beef, scallops and beetroot, spring onion and shellfish oil

"Diver caught king scallops, crispy smoked ham, smoked garlic Caesar". Not entirely sure what a "smoked garlic Caesar" is to be honest, so I'm guessing it’s the sauce by the side. Anyway concentrating on the food, the scallops were just as good as the one from the PigPig's soup, but sliced thinner for this appetiser. All in all, very good; I generally think that good seafood should be kept simple, which they did here, with the smoked ham giving a nice saltiness to the sweetness of the scallops.


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Diver caught king scallops, crispy smoked ham, smoked garlic Caesar

Wedgewood provides a complimentary palate cleanser prior to the mains; a little shot glass containing raspberry coulis and lime sorbet at the bottom topped off with ginger beer and a fresh Scottish raspberry on top. We were advised to stir the bottom thoroughly to get the coulis mixed in. It was a nice change from the usual sorbets, but I think it could have been a little sharper.


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"Fillet of Scottish lamb rolled in cous cous, pistachio and black onion seed set on a gingered sweet potato puree with a cardamom cream sauce". I was quite bowled over when I first laid eyes on this, as it looked so appetizing and the pinkness of the meat looked picture perfect. The lamb itself was excellent, tender and juicy while the sauce was tasty, creamy but not too rich. The rolling-in-couscous bit is new for me, and was more 'alright' than 'wow' although the black onion seed (= black caraway seeds; apparently helps elephants with digestion, yay?) was a bit too hard and crunchy for my liking and it overpowered the pistachio into submission.


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Fillet of Scottish lamb rolled in cous cous, pistachio and black onion seed set on a gingered sweet potato puree with a cardamom cream sauce

"Wild scottish deer with venison haggis, ragout of wild mushrooms, beetroot, basil pesto". Firstly the venison meat itself was excellent, tasty, not overcooked and good enough to eat on its own. The beetroot gives the meat a nice sweetness and is a nice accompaniment. Quite simply the best haggis of the trip was this venison version with its heightened levels of flavour from the deer. An absolutely delicious dish. Oh and if anyone's getting a bit teary eyed from eating Bambi, the tour guide driver earlier in the day said that the red deer are propagating so well in Scotland due to the lack of natural predators that hunting expeditions get organised every now and then to cull them.


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Wild scottish deer with venison haggis, ragout of wild mushrooms, beetroot, basil pesto

"Diver caught King scallops wrapped in caul fat set on a bed of haggis with a grain mustard and pepper sauce". I didn't actually notice the caul fat (the fatty membrane which surrounds internal organs of some animals, such as cows, sheep, and pigs), but maybe because the scallops were so plump and succulent and juicy and... yum... The combination of scallops and haggis sounds odd but actually works quite well and I found the meatiness of the haggis complimented the scallop's sweetness. (Pigpig: the sauce was super creamy and tasty.)


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Diver caught King scallops wrapped in caul fat set on a bed of haggis with a grain mustard and pepper sauce

"Trio of Scottish fillets, pork, beef and lamb pan fried with lemongrass, coconut and ginger, with wok fried asian vegetables and crisp flour pancakes". Quite frankly the most disgusting main course I've sampled in an upmarket restaurant. My friend was devastated at it and was morosely picking his way through it while staring enviously at the rest of our choices; look at him sitting grumpily in the picture arms akimbo. Whilst the meat itself was cooked reasonably well, all three came with the exact same slop of vegetables in a semi-bastardized satay peanut sauce; a bit of East meets West gone terribly horribly wrong.


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Trio of Scottish fillets, pork, beef and lamb pan fried with lemongrass, coconut and ginger, with wok fried asian vegetables and crisp flour pancakes

"Very Sticky toffee pudding with caol ila butterscotch" (I copied and pasted the names, so the capitalisation is not by my choice). True to word, the pudding was extremely sticky and really rather brilliantly rich. Nothing particularly innovative but very well done.


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Very Sticky toffee pudding with caol ila butterscotch

"Peanut butter pudding with banana ice cream, caramel". I'm not a huge fan of peanut butter in general but the PigPig is, and she loved this pudding. The caramel layer at the bottom of the pudding added more sweetness to its entirety but I would have preferred some coarse peanut bits in the mixture as well (crunchy > smooth for me). I found the banana ice cream surprisingly good, especially since I had assumed it was vanilla at first due to it pure white appearance.


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Peanut butter pudding with banana ice cream, caramel

We had a 2001 bottle of tempranillo Rioja Reserva from Lealtanza, Rioja Alta. I thought it was quite smooth really with a nice full body, a very drinkable wine to my taste and for £34, quite decently priced.


Altogether, the three starters, four mains, two desserts, bottle of wine and glass of whiskey came up to about £40 each including service charge. Service throughout dinner was also very good with the waitresses being fairly friendly and happy to answer any questions. It was a little small downstairs though (ahem), and I would imagine it would get quite cramped if it was a full house.


Food – 7.5
Service – 7.0
Atmosphere – 6.0
Value – 5.0



Barring the monstrosity of the trio of meat, the other dishes were generally very good and well seasoned. Also pleasing was the touch of creativity for some of them so we weren't eating yet another rendition of a boring old thing and the plate presentation was also quite good.


Would I eat here again? My friend was musing out loud that he would definitely consider this place worthy of another visit the next time he visits Edinburgh and I would certainly echo that sentiment.


Wedgwood the Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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