Last week on a gloriously sunny Tuesday evening, David and I headed along to check out The Magnum Bar & Restaurant in Edinburgh’s New Town. Apparently this place used to be a regular haunt of David’s dad in his younger years, but we weren’t really sure what to expect.
The blurb on the website says: “At the Magnum we combine Scotland’s best local ingredients with traditional flavours. We serve classic Scottish dishes alongside fresh seasonal game and seafood.” Sounds promising.
We were seated in the back dining room. It was a quiet evening with just a few other tables taken although many more people were seated outside enjoying a glass of wine or two in the sunshine. The waiting staff were very friendly and helpful, giving us extra details about the menu and providing a swift service. There are two menus available in the evenings at The Magnum – the bar menu and the main dinner menu and we could mix and match from either.
For starters David had goats cheese mousse with a trio of beetroot, radish and pea shoot salad and a balsamic reduction. It was interesting to see beetroot done in different ways and David said that the tartness of the beetroot cut through and balanced out the creamy goats cheese.
This epic dish was my starter, not a main! I had pan fried pigeon breast with salad, pine nuts, sultanas and a quails egg. I’ve never had pigeon or quails egg so I was a little hesitant, but after the first tentative bite I was glad that I went for something new. This was a fantastic introduction for me to game bird. The meat was plump and rich and was complemented by the juicy sultanas. The texture was complemented by the crisp salad and bacon and the crunchy pine nuts. A really well thought out, fully realised dish.
David’s main was chicken breast with black pudding mousse, champ mash and a mange tout and thyme sauce. The chicken was tender and juicy with a flavourful sauce. David also really enjoyed the black pudding, saying it was his favourite part of the dish.
From the bar menu, I went for the tempura battered haddock with chips and aioli. The chips were double fried to lovely and crispy. The tempura batter made the dish a lot lighter than normal fish ‘n’ chips and the haddock was obviously fresh. I was really impressed with this dish, it is standard bar food, but done really well. I would definitely put The Magnum high on my list of go to places for fish ‘n’ chips.
Dessert was a tough choice as we were already so full but luckily The Magnum has a number of lighter options for those who just can’t resist a sweet. David had the Pimms jelly with poached strawberries and a basil and cucumber sorbet. Quite simply, this was a Pimms as a dessert. The sorbet was something else! Unusual but deliciously refreshing, it was perfect for a summer evening.
I went for the simple choice of a trio of ice cream – I had vanilla, strawberry and cream and rosemary and honey. I’m not usually a big fan of strawberry ice cream but this was a bit different as it retained the tanginess of fresh strawberries instead of having a bland artificial taste. The real star was the rosemary and honey scoop. Again, this demonstrates The Magnum’s flair for flavour combinations. The rosemary is subtle and complements the honey flavour. It’s a thinner consistency than the vanilla and strawberry, but I ate it all before it melted, so that’s OK!
Overall, we both really enjoyed our meal at The Magnum and I would really recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for good, Scottish grub. They describe themselves as classic and traditional, which they are (as is the setting) but there is a definite modern spin on the dishes. It sits in a mid-range price bracket with starters and desserts under £7 and mains £12 – £20. The price for the above three course meal for two with two drinks each (vodka & cokes for me, bottled beer for David) was £72.85. We’ll definitely be visiting again and have already been encouraging David’s dad to go and rediscover his old stomping ground.
*Disclaimer – we were invited along to The Magnum for a complimentary meal but were not asked to write a positive review. All opinions are my own and reflect how much I genuinely enjoyed my meal!