Climbing down to the door of Under the Stairs, we are welcomed with a hum of chatter and a rush of warm air. The soft lighting, exposed brick walls and art exhibition pictures create a fun and relaxing atmosphere.
Choosing a Romanian Pinot Noir (£18.50) from the short, eclectic wine menu, we opened the food menus. With a good range of smaller and larger dishes as well as sharing dishes, there is something for everyone.
We chose the pitta with dips (£4.85) and the garlic and ginger rare beef salad (£5.95) to share, followed by the sea bass (£12.95) and a beefburger topped with gorgonzola and caramelised onions (£8.75).
The pitta came with three dips – delicious sun-blushed tomato and feta, an interesting Thai pesto and a classically delicious tapenade. The beef salad was beautifully presented, topped with a balsamic, soy and sesame dressing. With an interesting mixture of flavours, it was definitely a winner.
The burger was thick and juicy and came with sweet potato wedges and a side salad. Although the meat was good, it lacked a touch of flavour. The sea bass came pan fried with pak choi and a reappearance by the Thai pesto. Bursting with flavour and moisture, the fish was cooked to perfection and beautifully teamed with the vegetables.
Having seen some impressive cocktails pass us by, we decided to end with a Pumpkin Pie (£6.95) and a Smokin’ (£6.95). The unusual Pumpkin Pie was sweet but not sickly so thanks to a good kick of Courvoisier and the Smokin’, with a shot of espresso and Jura Superstition whisky, packs quite a punch. A delicious end to a delicious meal.
Serving food throughout the day and with different artists exhibiting, Under the Stairs is well worth a visit.
• Under the Stairs, 3A Merchant Street, 0131-466 8550, www.underthestairs.org