Monday, 29 October 2012

Review: The Skylark, Portobello

Ah, Sunday. Day of rest. Day of extra time in bed. Day of tea. Day when I make myself drive somewhere because of that embarrassing time when the AA man wrote "flat battery, advised customer to get over nerves and drive more" on the callout paperwork. It's a good day, all things considered, and therefore it deserves to be started well.

I don't usually see the point in going out for brunch, largely because it involves getting dressed, but also because I object to spending disproportionate amounts of money being served badly cooked and overpriced food by people who are more hungover than me. Yesterday though, the combination of a booze free night out the evening before, an extra hour in bed, and payday changed that, and we decided to take a trip down to Portobello for brunch.

The Skylark is a new spot on the high street, having only opened in July. It's operated by the same folk as have the Word of Mouth cafe in Leith, and is charmingly named after a much loved pleasureboat from yesteryear. We were surprised at how quiet it was to begin with (it opens at 11, we were there about 11.30), but I was glad to see it steadily fill up towards lunch time. The crowd was mixed- young couples with little ones were welcome, and added to the relaxed atmosphere. I love the interior... clean, fresh and eclectic, without being over done.
We sat ourselves down after a barely-there welcome, and were fairly quickly presented with food menus and asked if we'd like a drink. We ordered an orange juice, a coffee, and a pot of tea- safe options, due to a lack of drinks menu. The juice was good, tangy, freshly squeezed. Food wise, we both opted for the Eggs Benedict with bacon (£5). Considering at the time we were one of only two tables in, I was surprised it took 20 minutes to arrive. The kitchen is at the back, and we could hear the chef teaching another person how to make a hollandaise - points for freshness. It would have been nice, though, to have had a warning that it would take a wee while as we were starting to raise eyebrows before it arrived.

When the food came, it was good. Very good. The free-range eggs were perfectly cooked (only 1 of our 4 had a touch of opaque white), the hollandaise rich and buttery, the bacon nice and crisp. We were happy.
We were also impressed at the enormity of the Croque Madame that the gent at the table next to us enjoyed. He gave it a thumbs up when he caught me ogling. I was particularly intrigued by the cakes on offer, displayed behind the kitchen separator. They looked good, as did the huge danish style pastries. This place does not skimp on portions.
The menu for The Skylark isn't big, but then neither is their kitchen. Beside, it's always better to do a few things well than a lot of things badly. We have already decided that we'll go back sans car to try their dinner options and to sample the interesting range of Edinburgh Gins and fruit wines on offer. If the brunch is anything to go by then the dinner will be worth a bus ride. My only hope for improvement is that next time, service may come with a smile.

Brunch(eggs benedict with bacon for two, a pot of tea, an orange juice & a black coffee): £14.70

The Skylark Portobello
241-243 Portobello High Street, Edinburgh.
0131 629 3037

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