May 16, 2013
Posted in Reviews
In a sea of multinationals and homogeneous chains it’s refreshing indeed to find an independent pub, especially one with warmth, character and quirks a plenty. Roseleaf in Leith ticks all these boxes – and more.
I’ve mentioned this lovely pub in passing and in posts about trips to Edinburgh but I thought it deserved a bit more attention.
Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time will be aware of my love of old china, and this is what initially attracted me to the pub. “They serve cocktails in old china teapots and teacups” I was told. I went the next night. And oh yes, they do. They sell ‘pot tails’ and have racks of mismatched china, I was in heaven.
Pot tails aside what I like most about the Roseleaf is the lack of pretence. I know that it sounds difficult to pull off; a non-gimmicky pub selling good draft and bottled beers to a diverse bunch of locals and visitors alongside itsy-bitsy cocktails in china cups, but it works. It really does.
The pub is run by Lyn and Jonny Kane. Lyn is a lover of china and second-hand finds. “We love things that tell a story, pre-loved treasure from yesteryear. I had been collecting -Jonny would say hoarding, bits and pieces for some time.” The couple decided to give running a pub a go, “so we could furnish it with all the knick-knacks and get our flat back to normal!” It seemed natural that Lyn’s huge collection of china would be used in the pub. ” I had always collected tea sets and love the various patterns on them. I was constantly telling my Nan that china was not just for Christmas & should be used all year round. I dare not tell her we put them through the dishwasher though.” I would love a rummage through “the great wall of china in the cellar that’s there should there be any casualties.”
Lyn’s sister Stella works in the kitchen alongside Danish head chef Kasper to create good, comforting food that is all produced, bread and all, in the pub’s kitchen. All other food is sourced as locally as possible. Expect risottos or triotto – three grain risotto, home-cooked macaroni cheese, Cullen Skink, good pies and local meat and fish. Veggies are well catered for. Desserts are good too, authentic churros, Meringatangapie – lemon meringue with dark chocolate and a raspberry and basil sauce and a very good cheese board with lots of memorable Scottish cheeses. Breakfasts are good and range from porridge to Eggs Benedict and, the one for me, the Roseleafer veggie breakfast with haggis or the one not for me the Big Yin with pork and haggis sausage and Stornoway black pudding. Roseleaf offers a very charming tea party menu too, with or without pot tails.
Speaking of cocktails, this is the pull for me. Rosewater o’ Leith is one of my favourites; rose lemonade, vodka and chilli, but Rosegarden; Hendrick’s, apple juice, rose liqueur and cucumber is good and the next time I visit the pub I will order a Bloody Rose – a Bloody Mary ‘the Roseleaf way, with a spicy mix and a Buckfast kiss’. Count me in.
The gin list is great here with the usual suspects; Hendrick’s, Bombay and Plymouth to the more unusual, Hoxton, Edinburgh Gin, Botanist and Jensen. The whisky list is similarly impressive.
“We opened the pub on Friday 13th July 2007 so we’re almost six years old, but it feels like yesterday as the pub is evolving all the time.” It is too, it changes a little bit every time I visit. Go and see for yourself.