It’s very often the case that you need to check out a restaurant menu or read a review to discover what type of cuisine you’re letting yourself in for. Not so at the Kyloe Restaurant and Grill, one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, where it’s fairly obvious that beef is on the menu. It may be the large ornamental cow standing out front, with dotted lines on its right flank depicting the source of the choicest cuts, or perhaps it’s the giant cow head protruding from the exterior wall one floor up. But should you miss any of these signs, then the interior design is likely to give you a bit of a hint. More ornamental bovines adorn the walls, the booths are upholstered with real cow hide and there’s enough wood to construct a stable
I stepped inside and instantly wished I was wearing cowboy boots and a Stetson. I don’t have any, but if I did this would surely be the place to pass unnoticed. It’s not a tacky restaurant, let me assure you of that. The décor is actually quite elegant, and there’s no straw covering the varnished floor. It’s just, unequivocally, a steak house.
The menu speaks for itself in a ‘who’s-who’ of steaks. Favourite cuts like sirloin and fillet rub shoulders (or rumps) with the lesser known bullet steak. The starters are mostly meat-friendly while the mains are an eye-watering display of red protein, and just when I thought that vegetarians would have long since given up and run for the hills, I spot monkfish, a risotto of beetroot and a chickpea curry, all of which I (as a confirmed carnivore) would have been happy to eat.
Dining at Kyloe is a relaxed experience. The quality of the food is outstanding, the presentation was immaculate and the service was friendly, knowledgeable and courteous. If you don’t know your steaks well, they provide an ‘at the table’ master class where their educated waiters talk diners through a selection of cuts, all nicely presented on a large wooden board.
I started my meal with the steak tartare. Let’s face it, if you’re going to get the best raw beef, you’re likely to get it in a great steak house, right? It was perfectly cut and had just the right amount of salt from the capers and gherkins. Having just devoured a perfectly rounded portion of entirely raw meat, I felt like a fraud ordering a medium-rare ribeye, but since that’s the recommended degree of cooking (I paid attention in my master class) I didn’t want to argue. Clearly the chef at the Kyloe knows his stuff because it was sublimely tender.
The wine list is another pleasure. A reluctant New World wine drinker, a recent trip to London opened my eyes to some of the better estates down under, and with Hidden Bay on the list here it was an easy choice to make. Dessert brought the tasting platter, a selection of smaller sweet things to taste and share – ideal if you can’t make up your mind.
Despite their high standards there’s no pomposity or arrogance here. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. There’s a constant hum of activity everywhere you look, couples chatting, large groups just out of work for the day, family get-togethers, girls nights out and so on. It’s clearly a popular choice. One of the benefits is the short walk back downstairs to the bar when your meal is done – you have a complete night’s entertainment under one roof. So next time you’re arranging a round up of friends and you’re looking for one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh, may I humbly suggest that you ‘cattle drive’ your way to the end of Princes Street where the fabulous Kyloe Restaurant and Grill is waiting…
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