Restaurant review: Three Birds, Edinburgh

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The Three Birds in Bruntsfield is one of those little neighbourhood bistros where, had you discovered it as a tourist, you’d be giving yourself a well-earned pat on the back. Certainly the locals flock here – a Tuesday evening visit saw the place packed.

The sun still beaming, the staff had thrown open the doors and floor-to-ceiling windows, giving the feeling of casual dining at a friend’s. However, while the atmosphere might be relaxed, the food, thankfully, is far from laissez-faire.

My dining partner couldn’t keep her eyes off the specials board and chose the soy, garlic and ginger marinated squid ring with scallop (£7). A good starter size, it came breaded and served with pickled ginger salsa.

Being a venison fan, I couldn’t not sample the seared venison saddle. It sat astride a grilled field mushroom with goat’s cheese, caper, smoked paprika mousse and spring onion oil (£6.50). The smoked paprika mousse was a real winner, and a great accompaniment to the venison, while the spring onion oil gave it that extra edge.

Again enticed by the specials board, my dining partner plumped for the unusual offering of stir fried duck breast with an orange and coconut sauce (£14).

Well cooked, it was a successful dish, despite what could easily have been an iffy combination of flavours.

My warm green bean, new potato, beetroot, apple and feta salad with nettle and wild mint pesto with foraged leaves (£11) was a real summer’s day meal. Light but substantial, with the wild mint pesto a treat.

We sampled the chocolate and hazelnut tart with morello cherry jam and cocoa cream (£4.50) and would certainly have it again.

We toasted our meal with a bottle of well-recommended New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (£21). Happily, the wine list starts at just £3.50 a glass, and there’s something to tempt most palates.

• Three Birds, 3-5 Viewforth, Bruntsfield, 0131 229 3252