A couple of blocks away from the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens, The Dining Room at 28 Queen Street in Edinburgh offers diners immaculately crafted modern Scottish fare and a huge selection of single malt in a grand four storey Georgian building that imbues old world charm.
The Dining Room is a venue of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (“SMWS”). Founded in 1983, the SMWS is known for buying casks of whisky from distilleries and bottling the whisky for its members. Although the SMWS has a reputation for being a “members only” organisation, The Dining Room welcomes diners who are not members.
In June 2018 we visited The Dining Room on a very cold, windy and rainy “summer” day (fine Scottish weather, so I’m told).
At the restaurant, the moment-to-moment joys of washing down morsel after morsel of Scottish fare with fiery single malt merged into a blur of dining bliss. But if my memory serves me correctly, the night kicked off with a free nip of SMWS 13.55 “A spice box on the forest floor”, which I understand is a 9 year old single malt from The Dalmore aged in refill ex-bourbon casks. The taste and smell of the whisky really got my appetite going.
For entree we had Scottish scallops, which, together with haggis, is a gem of Scottish cuisine. The scallops were sweet, juicy, and cooked perfectly.
Next, for main course, we had venison. Venison is deer meat, which is a popular dish around Scotland. This particular venison, though, was the best I had whilst in Scotland – it was gamy, succulent, flavoursome and so tender it just melted in my mouth.
The venison was washed down with superb red wine from Chile, which we chose after an exhaustive look at the venue’s detailed wine list.
During the meal, I had a dram of SMWS 53.249 “Robust, brisk with a lovely sweetness”, which I understand is an 11 year old Coal Ila aged in refill ex-bourbon hogsheads. The whisky’s soft smoke and delicate sweetness complemented the venison, and, finally, the desert, nicely.
By this time of the meal, the whisky and wine had made the evening more about conversation than taking notes, but I can assure you the delicious dessert was not on the plate for very long.
The Dining Room’s ambiance, service and food were all top-notch, and I have absolutely no hesitation saying that it was the best restaurant we visited in Scotland (and we visited many).
Until next time…