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…
For more luxury travel ideas check our our hotel reviews here.
There’s nothing worse than heading away on a luxury city break and staying in a hotel miles from everything. When you book a holiday to travel and tour a new destination, you want to be close to the sights. Who wants to walk forever to reach the best shops, or trek for miles to see the best attractions? So when you find a luxury hotel in the very centre of a city, it’s always a great start.
The Rutland Hotel in Edinburgh is one such establishment, sitting on the north west corner of Princes Street Gardens. From here, everywhere is accessible within minutes; the delights of the gardens and their ancient cemetery, the shopping along Princes Street, the castle perched loftily on the dormant volcano, and infamous Rose Street, legendary for its pub crawls, are all just minutes away.
As hotels go, the Rutland is something to behold. From the outside it’s an interesting layout, with the restaurant and bar taking up the first two floors on the northern side. The entrance to the hotel is found on Rutland Street itself, and as I stepped inside I was taken aback. It certainly wasn’t quite what I’d expected. The lobby is elaborately decorated in bold, dark colours, with fabulous orchid displays and ornate throne-style chairs in rich upholstery. Upstairs, our room was every bit as fanciful, with a large carved bedstead dominating the centre of the room, and a chandelier taking up ceiling space. It is by far one of the ‘dressiest’ rooms I’ve stayed in. But its real feature isn’t what’s in the room, it’s what’s outside – this room is one of two in the Rutland known as the Castle rooms, and as well as the royalty theme running throughout, they also have simply outstanding views of Edinburgh Castle from their panoramic windows.
Most of the other rooms in the Rutland are less extrovert in design while still retaining a fresh, colourful appeal. But I imagine that these Castle Rooms would be first choice for hen parties and brides-to-be, as well as those travellers who just want a glimpse of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmark from their bedroom. And while the view is wonderful during the day, the dark nights bring views of the Castle lit up in all its glory.
The hotel is more than comfortable. The hallways and corridors follow the same dark décor, but it’s rich rather than overwhelming or subdued. Sporadic Beckham-style thrones adorn occasional nooks and crannies, and contemporary wallpaper adds a decadent touch. On the ground floor, your bedroom key card grants access to the bar as well as the Kyloe restaurant, one of the hottest eateries in the Capital, and with a young team running the establishment we were looked after on our stay with a pleasant youthful enthusiasm.
The Rutland Hotel is ideal for a luxury city break in Edinburgh. It’s got everything you’re looking for in an inner city property, as well as that all important location, location, location. The next time you’re planning a trip to Scotland’s capital, give serious consideration to booking your room here.
For other great ideas about luxury travel in Europe, check out our hotel reviews here.
Here at Candidtraveller we love our luxury travel destinations, so we’re lucky to have all the delights of fabulous Edinburgh not too far away. We think it’s one of the best travel and tour destinations in the Northern Hemisphere, although we don’t mind admitting to being a little biased! It’s also the location of one of our favourite hotels, the Roxburghe, a place we’d travel to just for their sweet potato chips!
Just north of famous Princes Street in Edinburgh, and overlooking the green precinct of historic Charlotte Square where the acclaimed Edinburgh International Book Festival takes place every November, the imposing facade of the Roxburghe Hotel stands tall along the southeast edge, rubbing its Georgian shoulders with noteworthy neighbours. On the north side, Bute House is official home to the First Minister of Scotland, and to the south, the birthplace of Alexander Graham Bell is another noteworthy home. So, with such esteemed surroundings, the red carpet gracing the entrance to the Roxburghe is far from out of place.
Inside, the hotel is an eclectic mix of old and new, contemporary and period, but every aspect works well. Walls are painted in warm hues of lilac, the floor is wood with the occasional tapestry-effect rug, and even the pillars have been given a modern look with mirrored facings that brighten the large rooms.
We ate in the Melrose Lounge overlooking Charlotte Square. With the Melrose Restaurant next door and the Consort Bar also serving meals, guests won’t struggle for choice. And the service is friendly too – unhurried, polite, and attentive without being overbearing.
The menu isn’t extensive for lunch, but I like that in a restaurant. Lunches are meant to be simple, uncomplicated meals. Taking a break from work or the strenuous rigours of shopping, shouldn’t be met with a complex menu and head scratching choice. So the Roxburghe has got this one absolutely right. There’s something for everyone here. The heat of a curry, the tradition of battered fish, the meatiness of steak and the comfort of cottage pie – whatever the weather or your personal taste this is a menu to make you happy.
We tried the curry and the Caesar salad, and chatted to Jimmy, probably one of Scotland’s cheeriest waiters while our food was cooked. The curry, with its free-range chicken, perfectly cooked fluffy rice and tangy lime chutney was hot and fragrant. Not the sort of heat that makes you think your head’s on fire, but the sort that demonstrates a chef has a good relationship with his spice rack. Madhur Jaffrey would have been very happy with this.
The Caesar was also very good. A salad can often be a disappointing choice in a restaurant. Invariably on the menu to cater only for guests who either eat little or have an aversion to any sort of calorie intake, they can often be overlooked and disappointing dishes. But not so at the Roxburghe. The chicken was a whole roasted breast, moist and tender and with crispy skin – a far cry from the usual chopped pieces you find strewn over the top of some limp lettuce leaves. Large lengths of parmesan, slivers of anchovies and crispy croutons, with just the right amount of dressing. And they know their wines here too, with the Barossa region featuring as the main attraction. The crisp zing of a good citrus flavoured wine never seems to miss the mark.
The Roxburghe prides itself on its food, and so it should. A plaque outside the restaurant announces its commitment to local and sustainable food sources, and the manager Wilfreid Gendron says their dedication to seasonal fare runs throughout the Macdonald chain of hotels.
We were only there for the food, but a quick wander around the rest of the hotel after lunch told us all we needed to know about its popularity. The courtyard between the old and new parts of the Roxburghe was overflowing with contented wedding guests, although one or two had escaped the cacophony to relax in the sanctuary of the traditional Consort Bar. With rooms that blend the traditional with the new, a state of the art gym open to locals as well as guests, and friendly staff who greet you with a smile, it’s little wonder the Roxburghe has such a well-earned reputation.
We love this hotel for its proximity to everything that Edinburgh has to offer. It’s a fantastic choice if you’re visiting the city, and if you’re looking for a party venue at New Year, there’s an amazing view of Edinburgh Castle from one of the upper floors. This is definitely a luxury hotel in a fantastic city.
For other great ideas about luxury travel in Europe, check out our hotel reviews here.
Just outside St Andrews, a short drive south on the A915, is a jewel in the crown of independent eateries in Scotland. Behind the unassuming facade of the Inn at Lathones lies a restaurant that is, at best, deserving of its two AA Rosettes, but at the very least, worthy of much more. Focusing on fresh produce, and advocates of the ‘slow food movement’, the Inn showcases the very best of seasonal Scottish food with fresh locally-caught seafood high on the menu.
The Inn’s owner, Nick White, began his early career in hospitality as a chef, and although he’s turned his hand to other areas of wining and dining, his knowledge and understanding of food is clearly the driving force behind the success that his restaurant enjoys. That, and the skill and vision of his chef as well, he’s quick to inform us.
Dining at the Inn is an absolute pleasure. They’ve deliberately taken a step away from aiming for the dizzy heights of Michelin acclaim to focus instead on producing a delightful bistro-style menu. But that doesn’t mean that their food is presented with less flair. In fact, the stylish plates of well-cooked, gratifying food that arrive before diners in this relaxed dining room, have been plated with all the mastery and expertise you’d expect to find in restaurants at the top of the food chain. Pardon the pun. And that’s undoubtedly one of the reasons why they enjoy such popularity, not only with the locals who call this place home, but also with golfers from nearby St Andrews who clearly recognise the Inn as a veritable competitor to their usual 19th tee haunts.
And it’s not just the food that’s enjoyable here. There’s a clear understanding of how a good wine should taste as well, like the £35 bottle of Albarino we were encouraged to try. This 2009 Casal Caeivo white was refreshing and fruity, with a hint of blackcurrants, although maybe that’s just my palate. It worked every bit as well with red meats, and wasn’t lost by the robust flavour of the lamb.
When we visited, we found their summer menu to be frustratingly tempting. The pan roasted cod with a side of crispy anchovies was tantalising, as was the thought of cannelloni of local langoustine with parmesan crisp and a seafood bisque. We finally settled on seafood chowder, made with seafood caught locally at nearby Pittenweem, and a terrine of chicken and ham confit, dressed with housemade apple jelly to start. We followed that up with a heavenly braised shoulder of local spring lamb, served with a pan fried chump and perfectly cooked vegetables, a and local corn fed chicken breast main with artichokes.
Desert was equally as difficult to narrow down, but a soft and refreshing vanilla mousse and raspberry sorbet, along with a well chosen cheese board won. It’s the first time I’ve tasted pickled celery – I have to say, I may now be a celery convert.
It’s the care that goes into the food here, that makes dining at the Inn special. They take care of their produce from the very beginning, using meats that are tracked by the Scottish Beef Club from field to table. Everything is locally butchered just a few miles away from the Inn, giving a certain degree of comfort in knowing how fresh and well-sourced the food you’re eating is. And when the Inn finds something special, something to show off about, that’s exactly what they do. Catering for larger groups, particularly with the famous golf courses of St Andrews just up the road, is something this outstanding restaurant is perfectly used to doing, and it’s a chance for them to get creative. Take their seafood nights, for example. We narrowly missed one such occasion, and how we rued that fact. The thought of long slabs of wood, laden high with fresh lobsters, a variety of other saltwater crustacions, and an outsized champagne bucket filled to the brim with fresh mussels in a white wine and cream sauce, sounded like seafood heaven. No starters, no need for deserts, just seafood. And lots of it.
The menu we dined from is the Inn at Lathones’ summer menu for 2012, but they’re working on their winter menu already. Anticipate plenty of fresh local estate game, with pheasant and partridge likely to feature on it. And the seafood will undoubtedly be making an appearance again too.
Click here to visit the website for the Inn at Lathones: http://www.innatlathones.com/