My usual dining preference is to find good food at restaurants or eateries that offer welcoming, efficient service and reasonable prices. When my family were here for our wedding, my sister wanted to treat everyone to a lavish lunch. It’s not easy trying to get 11 people altogether for a meal, when 7 of them live in London, 2 in Edinburgh and another 2 in Derby.
The only other problem was most restaurants don’t open for lunch on a Sunday. Searching high and low, we knew we’d finally found the right choice.
Bringing you the charm of Edinburgh’s Old Town history, the entrance to The Witchery
can be found in one of the city’s many closes (alleyways leading to private propert) only identifiable by the gilded heraldic hanging sign amongst the historic buildings at the head of the Royal Mile where the Castle is. The Witchery by the Castle was established by James Thomson in 1979 in the near-derelict basement of an Old Town building, Boswell’s Court. Since then he has acquired and restored further parts of the building, plus an adjacent one, and they now are home to the Witchery, the Secret Garden and a collection of nine unique suites.
The interior of the various suites used for dining keeps to its beautiful heritage and is decorated with burgundy leather-covered benches, solid dark wood beams and brass candle holders. The waiting staff are attentive and always on hand to meet your every request or to serve another slice of their delicious selection of bread.
The menu itself is truly delectable for the taste buds. It’s really difficult to decide with the variety of meat and seafood on offer. For those who prefer budget-friendly dining, there is also the option to choose the Table d’Hote or Lunch and Theatre Supper menus.
The OH and I decided to share a starter and have our own main courses as we weren’t that hungry after all the excitement (and nerves) from the wedding.
Steak tartare made from seasoned raw Scotch Borders beef with remoulade and raw quail egg
My brother’s half lobster seafood platter with oysters, langoustines, clams, mussels, crab and hot-smoked salmon on ice served with Tabasco, fresh lemon and lime mayonnaise
The OH’s hot-smoked Loch Duart salmon with buttered Alexanders, oyster hollandaise and sweet potato chips
My main of Guy Grieve’s Isle of Mull seared scallops with Iberico bacon and garlic butter, Phantasie Farm salad and buttered mash
I used to shy away from beef tartare as I wasn’t too keen on eating beef raw, but I had it once and quite enjoyed it. I was a bit hesitant this time with the raw quail’s egg, but once it’s mixed in with the beef, it’s actually not that bad.
The trick with serving seafood is knowing how to cook it so that it doesn’t have a rubbery texture which most people don’t like. I don’t mind it so much as I enjoy the different texture, but the scallops tasted wonderfully soft and melted in the mouth. The seafood platter was a big course for sure and my brother struggled to finish it. The OH certainly enjoyed his salmon and we were all rubbing our bellies while the others were deciding on dessert.
The close which leads you to the entrance for The Witchery can be found next to The Scotch Whisky Experience on Castlehill (postcode EH1 2NF). The restaurant is open You can reserve your table using the online booking system for The Witchery or its sister restaurants, Tower Restaurant at the National Museum of Scotland or Prestonfield at Prestonfield House.
For any enquiries, e-mail the Reservations team or phone 0131 225 5613.