There are plenty of reasons why we'd unreservedly recommend The Bruntsfield as a place to stay in Edinburgh. We talk about the hotel's great location, about the comfort of its accommodation and about the high quality of the service on our hotel review for the hotel here. But another really strong reason to stay here is the simply outstanding food on offer, which surpasses all reasonable expectations in terms of quality, quantity and value.
The main public rooms at The Bruntsfield are on the lower ground floor, reached by stairs or by lift. Here you find the Neighbourhood, which has three different elements. At the front of the hotel, and directly accessible from outside as well as from the rest of the building, is a bar area that combines considerable character with an excellent cocktail list that really shouldn't be overlooked. If you walk towards the rear of the hotel from the bar you come to the Kitchen, the attractive split level main restaurant. You can dine here or, if you prefer, opt to dine in the bar. It's worth saying for completeness that the Kitchen leads out onto the Garden, which offers an outdoor eating and drinking area: quite an unusual feature for a central Edinburgh hotel. On a warm's summer's evening this would be a lovely place to eat: but we visited in late March with flurries of snow in the air, so we opted for one of the rather nice booths in the bar.
When we visited there were four starters on offer. The two of us passed over the "haggis ravioli" and the "watermelon & feta salad" in favour of "goats' cheese bonbons" and "lightly curried Cullen skink". The goats' cheese bonbons were outstanding, and very generously portioned. Frankly, with the accompanying salad, we've seen light main courses that were smaller elsewhere. And then there was the Cullen skink. Let me slip into a personal assessment for a moment. I'm in my 60s and over the years have eaten a wide range of good food (and some not so good). But I genuinely believe that the Cullen skink on offer at The Bruntsfield on the night we stayed could be the most enjoyable thing I've ever eaten. It was simply wonderful.
The main course menu offered a choice of five pizzas, three pasta dishes, four mains and four burgers. One of us selected a "Scottish burger" comprising "John Gilmour's 170g burger, battered haggis, onion rings, whisky sauce, tomato, baby gem, pickles, burger sauce in a brioch bun"; plus a side of "triple cooked chips with Sriracha sauce". The other went for "sirloin steak" comprising "John Gilmour's 225g sirloin steak, slow roasted tomato, garlic, portobello mushrooms, onion rings, thin fries, watercress, peppercorn sauce". What emerged was the magnificent feast pictured at the top of this page. This was absolutely lovely; but in terms of quantity would have been challenging even if we'd not already eaten starters.
If one theme that was confirmed by the main course was a desire to make sure that no one leaves feeling hungry, another was how seriously the staff take dietary requests. We asked for the steak to be served without garlic. Not because of an allergy, but simply down to personal taste. Their response left us in no doubt that they really mean it when they say on their menu that they are happy to adapt dishes to suit and that they are keen to help work around allergies or dietary needs.
There were five options on the sweet menu and the two we chose were both superb. The "chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream" was lovely; while the "apple, ginger and pecan crumble" was simply outstanding. Both were, again, very generously portioned.
Breakfast at The Bruntsfield is served in the Kitchen (the hotel restaurant) and is excellent. The starter course is self served and you can select from fruit juices and fruit, nuts, cereals, cheeses, meats and "boiled eggs, gherkins, cherry tomatoes". Main course options are cooked to order and include porridge, smoked salmon, eggs in various forms and all the elements you'd expect from a full Scottish breakfast (plus some vegetarian choice you might not). Portions are generous and preparation and presentation are outstanding; as is the quality of the service. It's often said that breakfast is a hotel's most important meal because it's what departing guests will remember them by. We certainly left with fond memories of our breakfast at The Bruntsfield. You can read our hotel review for The Bruntsfield here.