Review of the Year 2020: Part 2



This is the second part of the Tom Eats! review of 2020. The Top 12 scores feature below after a short, sombre musing.


Those We Have Lost – and Gained

There will be many lost. Especial favourites of Tom Eats!, The Wee Restaurant, Edinburgh and L’escargot blanc have both closed their doors forever. Both of these were places where L and I went on a regular basis. It is quite relaxing eating out when you know you don’t have to write about it later. Fortunately, their sister establishments in North Queensferry and Broughton Street remain. The well respected Otro at Edinburgh’s West End is gone too. Yet such is the resilience of the restaurant trade that life goes on. The takeaway market has boomed, a phenomenon which, I believe, will be with us for a long time to come. Even more remarkably, some brave souls are venturing forth. Another favourite, bia bistrot, was sold this year, and has just opened as Fin & Grape. A review will follow next year. Regular readers of Tom’s Food! will have been following the difficult birth of Dine Murrayfield which opened its doors on 11 December, and will have to close them again on the 26th. And across the road in Roseburn, the ill fated Murrayfield Bar is being revamped in some style. I am told that the people behind Hemingway’s in Leith are behind this. I assume the customers at the time of last orders are those for whom the bell tolls.

Good luck to all restaurateurs out there (and let’s not forget their suppliers and all whose livelihood depends on this vital sector of the economy).

*** Signifies Guest Reviewer***
Restaurant Score Comments
Craig Millar@16 West End, St Monans 24 The near perfect score says it all. Fabulous ingredients. Cookery which was imaginative but incredibly flavoursome. Wonderful service.

The Kitchin, Edinburgh 23.5 Tom Kitchin’s Michelin starred flagship in Leith. Elegant space, inventive food, sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere. Who could ask for more?

L’escargot bleu, Edinburgh 22 One of three great places tied for third place. Fred Berkmiller has been delighting Edinburgh diners for over two decades now with classical, authentic French provincial cuisine.

Craft, Birmingham *** 22 A real sign of the torrid times – the only entries from south of the border were courtesy of guest reviewers. Miranda Heggie gives a compelling reason to visit Birmingham.

Two Fat Ladies in The City 22 I don’t think any of Ryan James’ establishments has ever disappointed. (He also owns The Buttery in Argyle Street, and used to run the TFL in Dumbarton Road.)

Duck’s Inn, Aberlady 21 I have no idea why I don’t visit Malcolm Duck’s historic East Lothian hostelry more often. Always quirky; always a delight.

Soleto, Southampton *** 21 Another stonking review from Miranda Heggie.

The Peat Inn, Peat Inn, Fife 21 Geoffrey Smeddle’s delightful Michelin starred restaurant with rooms. The only village I know named after its inn. Only a car crash of a dessert prevented this being in the top 3.

Rollo Restaurant & Wine Bar 20.5 Elegant little place in Stockbridge, with a near identical sister in Broughton Street. After the review appeared, and astonishing number of people got in touch to say it was their favourite place in town.



The Black Bull Inn, Lowick *** 20 A very tempting review from Fiona Garwood of this attractive sounding place just south of Berwick. Have promised myself a visit when circumstances allow.

Supper Club at The Strawberry Barn, Dunbar 20 Another review from resident East Lothian expert David Dickson.

Haar, St Andrews 20

First venture for Dean Banks, finalist in Masterchef: The Professionals. The enterprising Mr Banks was one of the first to embrace home deliveries. His Haar At Home business delivers across the UK.





  1. Ruth Murray on 23rd December 2020 at 5:16 pm

    Thanks, Tom for another year of amusing and entertaining banter. Looking forward to you eating out next year, as I’m sure you are too!
    Have a lovely Christmas and best wishes for 2021.

    • Tom Johnston on 24th December 2020 at 12:50 pm

      Thank you, my lovely. What about some classic Borders recipes for Tom Cooks! 2020? Happy Christmas. Love to you and yours.

  2. Fiona Garwood on 24th December 2020 at 7:45 am

    Thanks for these. Great selection of places to go WHEN we’re allowed! In the meantime it’s Cook ready meals!

    • Tom Johnston on 24th December 2020 at 12:51 pm

      Cook Ready Meals? Get that cooker installed sharpish, and turn to Tom Cooks! for inspiration. Merry Christmas.

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