Dine Craiglockhart, Edinburgh


Dine Craiglockhart

101B Colinton Road, Edinburgh EH14 1AL

0131 229 2929   www.craiglockhart.scot


Dine Craiglockhart

The Bill

 Set Menu

2 courses £21.50 | 3 courses £28.50

A la carte

Starters  £7.00 - £10.50 | Mains £16.00 - £27.50

Desserts £6.50 - £7.50

The Score

Cooking  7.5/10 | Service 4/5

Flavour  5/5 | Value 5/5

TOTAL 21.5/25

Well, they've done it again. The indefatigable Messrs Muir and Brennan have opened yet another Dine place. Well, once you've done one, adding another must be easy peasy? Ha! Creating a restaurant takes about 10 years off your life. You, the diner, turn up on the opening day and see an elegant space, similar to, but larger than, Dine Murrayfield. I suppose you might just, but only just, be forgiven for thinking that it happens by itself.

I saw the place when work was going on. The builders were uncovering all manner of horror stories, floor levels needing adjustment, lintels falling down. Toilets to be started from scratch. Ever moved house? Then you'll know the amount of hassle involved with computer lines and telecoms. There's kitchen equipment to source and commission. Oh, and the small matter of staff to recruit and train up to the Dine standard.

The week before my visit with Scotland's Finest Former Journalist (East), some local worthies had smashed a plate glass window and gone on a rampage. But you would never have known any of this from the cheerful and serene welcome we were given.

Unlike Dine Murrayfield and The Tollhouse, here they have a separate bar (with draft cocktails on offer). Food, however, remains the main event. Open from 0830 till midnight, they truly live up to the website description of a community led bar and kitchen.

Ever thought there are too many restaurants in a particular locality? Step one for a new venture is researching your area. Look round the Dine places in Murrayfield, Canonmills and Craiglockhart and tell me what you see by way of competition. Not much, is the answer. Not a coincidence. With Stuart Muir in charge of food and Paul Brennan in charge of everything else, assisted by a few long term stalwarts, this team must be one of the canniest operators in Scotland at present.

Organisations which grow can face various risks. Very often they aim at the mass market, set their sights low, then allow standards to slip. Well that's not been my experience elsewhere in the empire, Murrayfield and The Tollhouse scoring 20.5 and 23.5 respectively. How do they fare on Colinton Road?

If you don't know this part of town, you may be confused by the address. Despite it being Colinton Road, they're not in Colinton Village, but opposite Meggetland playing fields, just beyond Polwarth. There is onstreet parking, provided you can negotiate the card-only parking ticket machines. Select the desired time. It then tells you to press the Pay button. There isn't one - just present your card. Another triumph for Edinburgh's transport supremos.

We went a la carte, but there is a prix fixe menu available until 6. The menu is similar in style to Murrayfield, the only difference being that the option of having starters as main course portions isn't available. Having said that, the choice changes regularly and I've never seen two Dine menus which are the same. Similarly I've rarely encountered one where I wouldn't happily have munched my way through the lot, and today was no exception.

I don't know why we don't get more herring here in Scotland. Great to see a sweet cured starter. Accompaniments of beetroot and horseradish are classical and none the worse for that, with some orange thrown in for a little sharpness. A coronation chicken rillette? Who would have thought it? As well as the potted chicken there was some terrific pesto (rocket based, I read), and a lovely little companion of leaves and lightly pickled fennel shavings. Not for the first time I marvel at the amount of work involved in one single plate of food.

SFFJ was in haggis mood, with neeps and tatties, of course. No poncy little tower here, but a real trencherman's portion. Top quality haggis (Campbell's), mash of a quality I wish I could make and a terrific sauce. I'm not usually a fan of sauce with haggis, but this whisky example cut the mustard, as well as containing some.

The Italian language, when you get to know it, is full of delightful oddities. Take orzo, for example. It's pasta in the shape of rice, but the word itself means barley. Blindfold, you would have thought you were eating a risotto. Garlic and parmesan imparted flavour and creaminess. Texture was provided by toasted pine nuts and little crisps which I see were beetroot. I didn't notice the truffle oil, but it's not my favourite anyway.

There's a small selection of puds, including a chocolate pot and a bread and butter pudding with candied orange. Not physically possible for us, so we ended with two very good coffees.

I'd booked under the SFFJ's name to avoid special treatment but the lovely Denzia clocked me and plied us with olves and prosecco. Otherwise I don't think that made any difference to the service. We were looked after by laidback Conor. He's from Tipperary, and is studying for a Masters degree in philosophy - from Amsterdam University, while living in Edinburgh, as you do. Go to any Dine and you will never find the ordinary or the prosaic. I've eaten at all of the Dine tables many times. Not only have I never had a bad meal, I don't think I've ever had a poor plate of food.

Messrs M & B, you've done it again. Another triumph!

Tom Eats! is away next week. See you in a fortnight.


  1. Michael Greenlaw on 11th February 2024 at 9:03 pm

    Thanks Tom, sounds delicious.
    Would the restaurant premises have been The Kilted Pig before?
    When at school, we went once a week to Meggetland for ‘games’.

    • Tom Johnston on 13th February 2024 at 12:15 pm

      Yes, that’s the place.

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