Timberyard is a relative newcomer to foodie scene in Edinburgh. It heralded the return of the Radford family (somewhat legends in the Scotland restaurant business it would seem) with eldest son Ben heading up the kitchen having recently completed stints under Andrew Fairlie and at St John in London.
The space was originally…yep you guessed it…an old timberyard. It really is an amazing space with lots of natural light, rustic charm, flowing out into a lovely yard for outdoor dining in the summer. Quirky touches are found every where, our favourites being the giant wooden bird adorning one table and the lovely tartan blankets dotted around, perfect for those cold nights
The menu is ingredient-led, focusing on progressive food values. It is studded with ingredients that are local, organic, foraged, wild and from small producers. They are keen on traceability and sustainability. The menus are flexible and unusual, offering diners 3 size options: bite/small/large as well as sweet and you can choose whatever you want, mix and match or go for a more traditional 4 course meal. Water is filtered on premises and served still or sparkling, and free – a nice touch. Bread is baked fresh and was served with whipped butter along side little piles of lava sea salt and juniper pepper. Interesting and unusual. The food wouldn’t look out of place on some of the plates of the best restaurants in the world in my opinion, think Noma, L’enclume. From my description so far, you probably won’t be surprised to read that we adored our meal at Timberyard, so I’ll go on to tell you about the food itself.
There were two menus, the ‘daily’ which was available at anytime, and then the ‘set’ which was available for lunch and early dinner. The same bite/small/large/sweet was on both, with some cheaper dishes on the ‘set’. Luckily you could pick and choose between the two, so we had a great selection to choose from. We decided to go with a one of each size plate to make up a four course meal. The bites were about the size of a pre starter you find in a typical restaurant, small were starter size etc…
The bites we chose were:
- ham hock, jelly, mustard, shoots, bread, apple, pickles
- cured beef, smoked bone marrow, quails egg, shallot, celery, seeds
Both of these were fantastic. Lee loved he smoked bone marrow – think he wished it came in a ‘large’ option! All the elements were so delicate and precise, eating adding something to the plate. My ham hock was immense – the meat was so flavoursome. The accompanying parts to the dish were traditional in one way – apple, pickles but were done so differently it changed the whole concept.
For our small plates we had:
- pickled duck, hazelnut, pear, beetroot, scurvy grass, horseradish
- scallop, artichoke, shrimp, sea purslane, parsley root, samphire
The ingredient on Lee’s plate were unusual – pickled duck was a new one on him, and although it seemed cooked perfectly he wasn’t convinced that he like the texture. Again though, the other parts of the dish brought the whole thing together really well, and he particular loved the beetroot. A lot of thought had obviously gone into not only the cooking and presentation of the food, but also to the way it would feel and taste in your mouth, as texturally it was superb. I like to try things I’ve never heard of before, and parsley root was added to my list that day. It looks weird – a bit like an uneven small skinny parsnip but had a delicious crunch to it. Scallop was served complete with roe, a nod to not wasting any part of the ingredient. Another accomplished dish.
The food just kept getting better, and the large plates were no exception. We went for:
- red deer, cabbage, squash, beetroot, cauliflower, potato, salsify
- smoked pork loin, belly, onion, artichoke, crackling salt
For me, my pork loin was my standout dish of the meal. The smoky flavour was something very special, along with a small piece of possibly the best belly I’ve ever had. Pair that with a charred half onion, and crackling, but made into salt, then I’d died and gone to piggy heaven. Lee’s deer was mouth-wateringly tender. Often, I may comment that sometimes I feel a chef has put too much on a plate, and that it is chaotic and flavours get lost, but Lee’s main was perfect organised chaos. It had a lot going on but each and everything on that plate was delightful and had its own place and role in the dish.
I often feel slightly deflated and let down at the end of a meal, as rarely I find a desert that can compare to the savoury courses. Today was an exception as the desserts were every bit as good as the other courses. Lee went on to say that his rhubarb dessert was the best he had eaten in a long time, perhaps ever. And Lee doesn’t fling compliments around lightly. The sweets we chose were:
- chocolate, marshmallow, oats, milk, fig
- rhubarb, burnt cream, frozen yoghurt, biscuit
The marshmallows on my plate were toasted heaven, the chocolate mousse smooth as silk, the oat biscuit imperceivebly thin, milk ice cream refreshing and the fig puree sweet and delicious. I couldn’t have had a better end to my meal.
Our service was prompt, friendly and engaging, with our waiter knowledgable about the food and all his products, as they should be. To top this all off, our selection of four courses each, plus a beer and a cider only came to £40/head. In our book, for this quality, unbelievable.
I realised I’ve gushed a lot, but this meal went straight into our top 5 meals ever. Effortless, refined, exquisite, I could go on and on describing what a wonderful place we felt Timberyrad to be. But don’t listen to me. Book that trip to Scotland and go and check it out. Now.
Have you been to Timberyard? If you have I’d love to know what you thought!
10 Lady Lawson St
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own