Nestled between the rooftops of Edinburgh’s Old Town at the top of the National Museum of Scotland lies one of the cities greatest restaurants – The Tower Restaurant. Part of restauranteur James Thomson’s collection, which also includes The Witchery and Prestonfield House The Tower has long been a destination restaurant in the city thanks to it’s exceptional food and drink experience and panoramic views across to the Castle. TLE went along recently to see if the Tower lives up to it’s famous reputation.
Background & Concept
There is a civilised air to The Tower, from the moment you arrive though the main entrance of the museum, shown to the elevator and whisked you up to the restaurant level you know you are in for something quite special. Staff greet you from the lift as if they were waiting just for you and glide you effortlessly along to your table.
Floor to ceiling window’s down the full length of the restaurant act like a theatre stage with the centerpiece being Edinburgh Castle lite up to entertain the eye as you enjoy your dinner. The space is uncluttered and contemporary, there is no fussiness with white table-cloths, simply wooden topped tables down the length of the glass windows and on the other side booth style tables for larger groups create the perfect cosy atmosphere complimented with soft down lighting to complete the calm environment.
Head chef Jose Dalto has taken the best of local Scottish ingredients to produce a winter menu that offers warm, rich and comforting dishes that are familiar and well balanced so there will be something for everyone. For starters there are two soups or go for for the trio of salmon which we ended choosing. Or why not opt for a classic like Dingwell Haggis, potato which has been given a twist with some spiced pineapple. From the grill choose from Ribeye or Sirloin Scotch beer or the Chateubriand offers the perfect sharing meal for two. For mains there are a good selection of meat and game dishes and a fantastic vegetarian option.
Wine and Drinks
I can guarantee you that you will be able to find the perfect matching wine from the extensive wine collection that has been curated by in-house sommelier Marco Ferreri. Originally from Sardinia, Marco has been working with the Tower for 12 years and knows their 250 bin list inside out. Our server on the night helped us navigate the menu and picked out wines to match our food perfectly.
It was a bit cold in winter to have a pre-dinner drink outside, but I will certainly be back in the summer as the attached roof terrace is one of the few opportunities in the city to drink outside with such a beautiful view of the city.
Food and Drink
What is a restaurant without food! We were famished so started with a wonderful mini loaf of fresh bread and butter presented on a slate, then moved onto our starters. I opted for the Goats Cheese Pannacotta, which was a hybrid dish, part savory, part dessert in texture, whist small was surprisingly filling and worked well with the sharpness of the beetroot chutney. My dining partner went for the trio of Scottish salmon’s – cured, mousse and smoked which was accompanied by radish and small gherkins.
For mains I opted for the delightfully creative vegetarian option, Truffled Potato Dumplings with wild mushrooms and finished with Parmesan and Brussel sprout leaves. A hearty rich flavour from the gravy and mushrooms worked in tandem with the gnocchi style dumplings. While my dining partner went for the classic which was sirloin with a side of chips and Bearnaise sauce.
After a moment to rest we got on with my favourite or courses the dessert course and there are some perfect sharing options on the menu. We had the Peanut Butter Parfair with popcorn, there was a satisfying moment as you start to take spoonfuls out the perfectly formed parfait ball. I was my predictable self and went for the cheese board – and lets face it who can resist I J Mellis cheese. I think no meal out with someone else is complete with out sharing a dessert (or two).
The Finances & Detail
The Tower offers a beautiful night out and without doubt still leads the way as one of the cities best restaurants, it was a special evening for me and my dining partner and the restaurant, food and exceptional service from the staff made it a wonderful evening. A great restaurant for couples if you can book a table next to the window you have a winning night ahead.
Address: Tower Restaurant, National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, EH1 1JF