There’s always plenty of blue language in my kitchen.
It’s directed at things. The tea towel that slithers off the rail, the inside-out washing-up gloves, unruly pan lids, non matching container lids, and our slow-to-heat-up oven.
These inanimate objects are used to obscenities being directed at them.
Even though his angry Hell’s Kitchen or Kitchen Nightmares chucking-toys-out-the-pram persona is generally aimed at other people, I wonder what Scottish chef Gordon Ramsay’s utensils have to put up with.
The cruet set must be traumatised and the potato peeler in therapy.
Anyway, though this Johnstone-born celebrity chef recently appeared on Strictly Come Dancing to support his daughter, Tilly, and is fully signed up to TikTok and its dances, Ramsay does seem like a figure from the Noughties, like Simon Cowell or Trinny and Susannah. I can’t say I was that thrilled when I saw that his Bread Street Kitchen chain was coming to Edinburgh.
It's been a couple of decades since his Michelin-starred Glasgow restaurant, Amaryllis, was at One Devonshire Gardens. Now his brand is diluted across many outposts, which include iterations of this bistro in London, Singapore, Dubai and Hong Kong. According to his website, he has 51 restaurants worldwide.
However, for his Edinburgh presence, he appointed a local, Dan Ashmore, as executive head chef. That’s a good sign, since he once looked after The Pompadour, and did some magnificent things. For Dan’s sake, I visited with an open mind.
The interior is low lit, with marble-ish tables, an industrial vibe, and loud music, including one song that had “doobiedoo” lyrics that went on so long that I wanted to shout “doobeedon’t”. There are shelves behind the bar that feature random objects including a vintage McVities biscuit tin, and Gogsy’s books, so you feel as if he’s actually here, except very small and high up.
I’ve seen plenty of people online grumbling about how expensive it is. Indeed, £13.50 for the prawn cocktail seemed steep, but we went for it anyway.
Sadly, this course was a downer, because you could practically see the bottom line. The glass was 75 per cent chopped iceberg lettuce, then they’d rationed about five prawns, each dotted with orange tobiko, and there were nibs of cucumber and grapefruit, and dots of avocado mousse. It was nothing to get het up about, unless you’re a fiend for lettuce.
The duck (£9) was better, with chewy strips of meat in a gingery, orange and soy dressing, as well as a shredded mooli salad, radish, spring onion and watercress, all sprinkled with sesame seeds.
There was nothing particularly inspiring on the main course list, and we couldn’t justify the beef Wellington at £48pp, so I went for the steamed sea bream (£19).
It was a decent piece of fish, along with creamy braised leeks, a few strands of occasionally woody samphire, roasted cherry tomatoes and brown shrimps. Pleasant enough, though I wondered if anyone in Hong Kong, Singapore or London was swooning over it, or if they were as nonplussed as me.
The grilled spatchcocked poussin (£22.50) was another decent course, thanks to a generous spread of chimichurri on top of the flattened chook.
All the main courses could do with a side, so we shared Koffman’s fries (£4.50), presumably invented by Michelin-starred French chef, Pierre Koffman. Anyway, these unseasoned nondescript potato sticks weren’t anything to write home about. So far, so underwhelming.
We shared the Monkey Shoulder cranachan cheesecake (£8), which was a deconstructed take on the genre consisting of a sweet white mascarpone-ish mousse that was topped by a sort of biscuit-y muesli, with one bit that nearly disintegrated my dining partner’s molar. It came with a large scoop of zingy raspberry sorbet, and the plate also featured a tyre tread-like smudge of chocolate.
I also had a super acidic Lady Regent cocktail (£10), which featured Hendrick’s, RinQuinQuin, peach aperitif, elderflower, lemon and mint, and my husband had a glass of Prosecco (£7)
It’s also worth mentioning the staff here, who are all great but over-attentive. You will be love bombed, then asked to post reviews on TripAdvisor.
This place is a global machine. You could be anywhere, and the food is fine but very forgettable.
In Edinburgh, there are a gazillion independents you could visit, and they’re all within a sweary throw of a utensil. Spend your money on them instead. Just @*!** do it, as Gordon might say.
Bread Street Kitchen & Bar
2 St Andrew Square
(0131 252 5200, www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com)
Places to try Nearby
Taisteal, 1 Forth Street, Edinburgh (0131 557 2209, www.taisteal.co.uk)
The menu is looking mighty fine at this restaurant, which moved here from Stockbridge last year. They do a king oyster Wellington option and it’s not £48, but part of their two courses for £28, three for £33 a la carte option.
L’Escargot Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar, 56 Broughton Street, Edinburgh (0131 557 1600, www.lescargotbleu.co.uk)
If you haven’t yet visited this French restaurant’s new basement wine bar, it’s time you got along to sample some of their wine with cheese, terrine, olives or other nibbles. The most popular table is the snug under the stairs.
The Register Club, Fourth Floor, 42 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh (0131 230 0571, www.theregisterclub.com)
Enter the lobby of The Edinburgh Grand and get the lift up to this fourth floor wood-panelled bar, where the cocktails and afternoon tea are excellent.