Leith – Edinburgh’s culinary quarter – has had a difficult time of it the past year or so. Michelin-starred stalwarts Kitchin and Wishart are still wowing diners, but The Shore has waved farewell to favourites Mitas, Chop Chop and Fatma over the past twelve months, with very little to replace them. Thankfully, Leith Chop House might just be the shot in the arm The Shore’s foodie scene needs.
Leith Chop House is the newest venture from the company behind Edinburgh bars and restaurants Sygn, The West Room and Monteiths. As the name suggests, the focus is on steak, with a ‘field-to-plate’ ethos. Meat is butchered in-house before hanging for up to 90 days in the restaurants dry-aging fridges. A range of prime cuts of meat are on offer, and for those that don’t fancy steak (i.e. me), other meaty and seafood options are also available.
Having passed just a few days prior to our meal and found the building to still be a construction site, the job done on the interior is extremely impressive. The semi-intimate, 40-cover restaurant has a striking interior, featuring copper, brass, herringbone tiles and leather banquette seating. There’s also a “Captain’s Table”, which can provide secluded dining for ten. We were warmly greeted on arrival and both our servers for the evening couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful, without being overly intrusive.
We decided to leave the cocktails to start with a kicked-off with a bottle of wine from the restaurant’s substantial selection. I’ll admit that the drinks menu – which uses spacing liberally – was slightly exhausting, but the Puro Organic Malbec from Mendoza which we finally went with was full-bodied and fruity, without being overly clawing. Our shared pots of mussels starter were some of the best I’d ever had – big, meaty, juicy and served in a deliciously simple garlic and white wine sauce.
Now for the main attraction. I’ll let my eating partner go first as he had the Wagyu Rump Heart, which came to us via Perth, rather than Japan. From the little I tasted of it, the meat was perfectly cooked; simply falling apart in the mouth. Encouragingly, our waiter also recommended it was cooked rare, rather than the requested blue, due to the composition of the meat.
As someone who isn’t a massive fan of steak, I opted for the seafood skewers of salmon, hake and prawns. These were just as meaty as anything from a field and were accompanied by a fresh salsa verde. Main don’t come with sides, so we shared three between us – cabbage & bacon, Kimchi ‘Slaw and skinny chips. Only the latter disappointed, with the razor thin chips getting lost amongst all the meat on offer.
The highlight of the meal for me, we shared a dessert of chocolate fudge cake with salted caramel ice cream and peanut brittle. Despite my sweet tooth, I often find desserts disappointing, but this was spot on. It was washed down with two superb cocktails from the experimental range – I’d highly recommend both the 15th State and J.B. Fashion concoctions.
And then, the only slight downer on the night – the size of the bill. It came to £135 for the two of us, which included a £10 tip for our fantastic service. Yes, one of us may have had a £35 steak, but we didn’t go crazy with our drinks (one bottle of wine and two cocktails) and £10.50 for our three paltry sides left a slightly sour taste in the mouth.
But you know what? It was worth it. Leith Chop House isn’t somewhere I’d nip into for a quick bite to eat just before payday. Instead, the high quality food, fantastic range of drinks and superb service make it an occasional indulgence and will hopefully position The Shore as a destination for food lovers once more.