You’ll like it a lot - written December 2008
THE LOT IS NOT ONE OF THOSE PLACES THAT IS NESTLED AWAY LIKE A HIDDEN GEM. IT’S BRILLIANTLY, AND PERHAPS INTIMIDATINGLY, POSITIONED NEXT TO THE CASTLE'S BEATIFIC BACKDROP ON THE GRASSMARKET. THIS ASSOCIATION ALWAYS ENCOURAGED MY IMAGINATION TO ASSUME THE RESTAURANT TO BE FILLED WITH TOO MUCH GRANDEUR FOR MEAGRE LITTLE ME, BUT WHAT I'VE DISCOVERED IS A WARM WEE BRASSERIE THAT IS, IF ANYTHING, WELCOMING.
The first thing I notice is its warmth. It’s mid December and the night air isn’t endearingly Christmas-y; it’s just cold. I recover from my walk and my scrooge-like train of thought while the sweet and attentive staff show me to a cosy corner table and explain the specials for the evening.
The menu plays no games here. It’s simple stuff to warm the soul and thaw the bones. As their chef explains to us, they’re hoping to bring back some favourites that many neglect but many locals still remember. (Look out for the kedgeree in the future!) My seafood chowder (£3.95) is very much the kind of thing I’d imagine anyone to be in the mood for this time of year. It’s creamy, hot and hearty, full of prawns, salmon, mussels, carrots, corns, peas and the obligatory potatoes. My friend’s goat’s cheese and mushrooms on ciabatta (£3.75) is reportedly (and visually) amazing, however a drizzle of balsamic may have cut through the richness a bit better.
Both of these come in small or large, we opted for the smalls. The day’s catch is mackerel (£7.95), which with its delicate saltiness pairs perfectly with a rustic ratatouille and baby potatoes. It’s delicious, but a lot of food for a girl with a starter of chowder! My friend compliments her lamb (£8.25) throughout, adding that the char-grilled flavour is nicely pronounced. Her bed of crushed potatoes is enriched with sliced olives, a combination we’ve not encountered but she does so with enthusiasm.
My cheesecake (£4) is appreciatively laced with rum and dotted with raisins, and I can see why it’s the pastry chef’s pride and joy. The chef also recommended the fruit fool (£3.75), a cool, light and refreshing way to end a hefty, filling meal. With ace service and location, and food with a good twist on simplicity, The Lot is a welcome end any kind of day you’re having.
The Lot is also a venue for events such as weddings and ceilidhs.
Also in December 08 Bite Magazine