Finally, George Street might actually have something to offer. Long past are the days that I would choose to visit a George Street restaurant, however, the opening of The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen later this month have certainly cast light at the end of, which was, a very dark tunnel. A welcome invitation to a press preview last week was an opportunity to see the refurbished interior, by award-winning designers Goddard Littlefair, in all it’s glory and sample the Scottish menu.
Developed by London-based restaurateur, Des McDonald, The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen will launch on October 22nd. The space has been physically transformed, and, as I discovered last week, the menu speaks for itself. Showcasing the some of the best of Scotland’s bountiful produce, ingredients have been sourced locally and menus will reflect the seasonality of Scotland.
Unfortunately, Head Chef of the Printing Press Kitchen, Colin Fleming was unavailable on the night of the preview – due to the recent arrival of a new family addition (Congrats!), but Des McDonald’s Head Chef, Steven Wilson, certainly impressed and the menu exceeded all expectations.
Producers and suppliers have been handpicked and visited in situ by chefs, kitchen staff and the front of house team alike.
“Collaborating with The Printing Press team has taken me to some remarkable places including the Queensberry Estate at Drumlanrig Castle, which is home to the people behind Buccleuch Beef, just one of the highly reputable suppliers we are working with. Making use of the world-class quality of ingredients in Scotland is something we have rightfully championed.” – Des Macdonald
One of the menu’s signature dishes is the Spatchcock Borders grouse, served with red cabbage and brambles. On the night of the preview, the grouse was replaced with venison, cooked beautifully and complemented wonderfully by the pickled cabbage. Supplied by Campbell Brothers, the venison was prepared on the Josper grill, however, the pickled, five spice red cabbage was highlight of the dish. This featured paprika, cayenne, black pepper, sichuan pepper and star anise. The sweet and sour combination of the cabbage and bramble cut through the earthy taste of the venison and brought the dish alive. I have no doubt that it will work equally well, if not better, with the grouse.
A starter of ham hock and pumpkin soup (is it really October already?), was followed by a Loch Fyne Scallop (the size of a small fist, and cooked to perfection) and served alongside some inked barley which paid homage to the origin of the building. The look and feel of The Printing Press is simple, elegant and reminiscent of Number 25 George Street. Once home to acclaimed novelist, Susan Ferrier later, John Oliphant of Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier publishing house.
This was followed by Perthshire wood pigeon, once again cooked to absolute perfection and served alongside colourful heritage beetroot and seasonal hazelnut crowdie.
“We have worked lovingly on each and every dish to craft food that showcases some of the very best Scottish produce. The menu is shaped by the seasons and by our ambition to create a distinctive food offering in Scotland’s capital. Good food is at the very heart of what we’re doing and we want the plates we have created over the last few months to give our guests a great experience. We have an extremely talented team and access to stand-out ingredients – so cooking for our guests will be an absolute pleasure.” – Colin Fleming, Head Chef
For the fish course, Sea Bass was served alongside foraged sea herbs and mussels. Rich, sumptuous and indulgent and yet light and delicate, the plate not only looked beautiful, but was sized and seasoned to perfection.
The only downside to our meal was the crème brûlée. Unfortunately, the sugar was far too thick and I was unable to crack through the solid caramel, which the butterscotch which topped the brûlée was simply a bit too bitter for my liking. All in all, a fantastic meal and I certainly look forward to another visit – albeit with a different choice of dessert.
Most impressively for a venture of this size, the level of staff training was exceptional and certainly has encouraged the passionate group of bartenders, servers, chefs and front of house teams to have pride in the new George Street establishment.
The restaurant and bar will officially open to the public on the 22nd of October, but you are invited to sample the menu with a special preview offer of 50% off all food running 15th – 20th October (excluding 19th). Book the offer here…we certainly will be!
Find them: 21-25 George Street, Edinburgh