I have only visited the Edinboro Castle once before. It was a long, long time ago, in the summer of 2007. The pub is the perfect place to spend time in the summer, with its extensive garden allowing you to drift through baleful Sunday afternoons. Not even a collection of Spanish exchange students belting out Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ with a vicious emphasis on the ‘ella, ella, ella, ella’ could spoil the mood. It really is a magnificent pub to spend a long time over a single drink. But I’d never tried their food before and lured by the promise of a new menu, myself and a companion ventured in.
I’m always intrigued by the unveiling of a new menu, particularly in an upmarket pub such as the Edinboro Castle. It’s a bit of a difficult compromise to make. This is because an establishment wants to make its fare a little special in order to differentiate it from what came before but it doesn’t want to make its food too unfamiliar from what people want to eat.
For starters, the establishment offers a selection of small plates with the option of three for fifteen pounds and five for £21.50. Being conservative, my companion and I went for three. We chose the braised brisket cubes with buffalo sauce, sweet chilli and lime-glazed squid, and the Quebecois speciality poutine, which the pub helpfully break down as chips, cheese curds and gravy.
All three were accomplished examples of what to expect from good quality gastropub fare, with credit given for the inclusion for the somewhat exotic poutine. It’s the ideal hangover food for the sophisticate, as you can spout off about the creation of this particular dish whilst covering up your ketone breath.
For mains, my companion went for the pan-fried sea bass, which came with potatoes dauphinoise, asparagus and lemon butter sauce. I went for the chicken and ham hock pie, mash, red wine jus and seasonal vegetables. In both cases, these were regular examples of what you might expect from a menu and I was keen to see how they came out. My companion found the sea bass a little pallid with the lemon butter doing little to add to the fish. On the other hand, I was very pleased with the pie as it was generously filled and the red wine jus was the perfect addition.
Only I was able to go for a dessert and I went for the sticky toffee pudding with vanilla bean ice cream. Again, another staple of a gastropub menu but again, it was exquisitely rendered. The new menu at the Edinboro Castle may not offer much in the way of innovation but it does what you want from a gastropub extremely well.
The Edinboro Castle
57 Mornington Terrace