What: A new restaurant and wine bar that has taken over the former Abbey's café site on Montrose Terrace in Edinburgh. Split across two levels, the space features a first-floor dining room holding seven tables and serving a four-course set menu of ‘focused, ingredient-driven dishes’; while downstairs encompasses a 30-cover bar serving a selection of European-inspired small plates.
Who: Montrose is the latest venture from the Radford family, who also run the Michelin-starred Timberyard in the heart of Edinburgh. The family launched Timberyard on Lady Lawson Street in 2012, and all five members – parents Andrew and Lisa and children Ben, Jo and Abi – remain actively involved in the restaurant’s day-to-day operations. Montrose reflects a partnership between the Radfords and Timberyard head chef James Murray. Moray Lamb has been brought in to lead the kitchen alongside Murray, with Jo Radford working with manager Adam Bennett and drinks and bar Manager Murray McDougal to oversee the front of house.
The food: Lamb describes his ethos at Montrose as: “Source great, seasonal produce. Cook it well and season it perfectly.” The downstairs wine bar features a rotating selection of ‘unfussy’ small plates. They can include devilled eggs with trout roe (£7); panisse with salsa verde and anchovies (£12); chicken liver cream with fig mostarda and brioche (£11); and delicia pumpkin with stracciatella and persimmon (£15). The upstairs dining room serves a £75 set menu of regularly changing dishes including mushroom and caramelised cream tart; and hake with kale, Sichuan pepper and bergamot. Dedicated vegetarian and vegan menus are also available.
To drink: Overseen by Anna Sebelova, who leads the beverage programme Timberyard, the wine list at Montrose follows in the steps of its sister restaurant with a focus on small producers. Growing on the reputation of the extensive Timberyard cellar, Montrose offers a totally capsule-free and 100% organic wine list. A range of organic beer and spirits also features, as well as house-made soft drinks and cocktails.
The vibe: Like Timberyard, Montrose’s spatial and intimately lit interiors imbue the site with character, warmth and atmosphere. The upstairs dining room, with its tablecloths and emphasis on candlelight, is certainly more formal in appearance, while the downstairs is positioned as being more casual with both bar and table seating available.
And another thing: Bringing Montrose to fruition has taken the Radfords nearly half a decade, and they have plenty of plans for further concepts too; although when speaking to Restaurant last year, Andrew Radford admitted that the likelihood of them opening another site was somewhat slim. “I don’t know if it’s realistically on the cards,” he said. “As a family we always discuss the ambitions that each individual has. We talk about that often, and whether we would we want to something else after Montrose. It’s a possibility, perhaps. Maybe we could something smaller. But who knows.”
1 Montrose Terrace, Edinburgh, EH7 5DJ