Back in 1997, Cramond ferryman, Robert Graham, discovered a lump of sandstone in the mud of the River Almond, which turned out to be a Roman monument that was over 1,800 years old. Now residing at the National Museum of Scotland, this dark treasure is grim.
It features a triangular-toothed lioness tucking into the skull of a Caledonian man, who looks fairly uncomfortable. There are snakes along the base – apparently, to symbolise survival of the soul (some compensation for the rotten day he’s had).
When hunger strikes, it’s never pretty.
Up the road from where this artefact was discovered you’ll find Miller & Carter Cramond Brig – a steakhouse and, thus, the perfect destination to sate the hunger of an ancient feline. Apparently, the last incarnation of the Cramond Brig was a common haunt amongst locals, before it closed down suddenly at the end of last year. Shortly after this chain pounced and prefixed the name.
Their menu has a US influence, with starters such as bourbon-glazed belly bites (£5.95). This option consisted of two pale and wobbly slabs of meat, which were slathered in a vaguely five-spice-ish sauce, and scattered with a confetti of cabbage, carrot and spring onion. OK, but rather ordinary.
The duo of duck (£6.95) was listed on the menu as “slow cooked shredded duck and duck liver parfait”, but turned out to be just the latter, aka a solo of duck. This fridge cold paste was entombed in a clarified butter-topped ramekin, with two crunchy fingers of ciabatta and a dollop of fruity raisin-studded chutney on the side.
One of us had to have the steak, since that’s this place’s speciality.
I took the hit, with a fillet wellington (£19.95).
Choose a steak and you’re presented with the gratis “palate cleanser” of an iceberg lettuce wedge topped with croutons and a salad dressing of your choice. I’m not familiar with this custom. I think it might be a US affectation. Still, when in Rome. Oh, we’re not in Rome.
My beefy parcel depreciated in quality from the inside out, with a beautiful rose-coloured piece of meat, then a gluey mushroom sauce and an anaemic pastry case. Chips were good, but I’m not so sure about their “famous onion loaf”, which was a flavourless fried onion rosti-ish creation.
A soft fillet of Shetland island salmon (£12.95) was presented on top of a zingy mango, chilli and coriander salsa, but the greasiness of the accompanying gremolata-topped crispy potatoes cancelled out the fresher and worthier flavours.
Our maple glazed lamb rump (£18.50) was decent, if you could get to the meat under the sticky, dark and sugary balsamic sauce, which clung like oil on a seabird. As well as green beans and mash, this came with a vinegary selection of Mediterranean vegetables, for an odd sweet and sour effect. More diabetes-baiting sweetness came with a pud of lemon roulade (£5.50), with a texture like semi-dry PVA and an artificial tasting citrus tang. The Belgian chocolate ganache (£6.25) was much nicer – slick and gooey with a peanut butter crumb base and a heavy handed splurge of squirty cream.
Although prices here are way higher than they need to be (unless you go for the £10.50 for two courses set lunch menu) and the US twist isn’t really working, mention must be made of the service, which is pandering and jolly.
Anyway, even though it didn’t enjoy the experience that much, as least my hunger was slayed, just like that poor Caledonian man.
Lunch for three, excluding drinks,