- Carine Seitz
- 19 March 2009
After the high-flying glamour of Oloroso and the sophistication of Roti, Tony Singh’s new Edinburgh venture is much more homely and down-to-earth. Carine Seitz found out what’s being served at Tony’s Table
Tony Singh likes to keep it local. From the front door of Tony’s Table (the site of the old Cosmo restaurant, more recently Circus Wine Bar & Grill) you can see the outdoor terrace of Oloroso, a place of heady views, sharp suits, clever cocktails and high-end fine dining. Just around the corner from this is the original Roti, his previous start-up, which he subsequently moved to Morrison Street.
Tony’s Table is the antithesis to Oloroso in every way. Pink pigs adorn the building’s frontage and it’s difficult to miss the huge artist-commissioned models of the winged mascot suspended from the ceiling inside. Complete with on-site bakery and planned sandwich shop, this operation is clearly a new departure. Singh describes the thinking behind the new bistro-style restaurant as a desire to strip away pretension. He wants to deliver ‘fine food without fuss, and create a space where families can dine together knowing what they’re eating is healthy and hearty’.
Singh continues to use the same trusted suppliers, the difference being that now he’ll buy a whole animal and send the more expensive cuts up the street. He’ll keep the rest for Tony’s Table and the slow-cooked, hearty and wholesome dishes inspired by the recent interest in nose-to-tail eating, with chilli pig pie and shin of beef among the dishes on offer.
This concept of using inexpensive but nourishing ingredients is evident elsewhere on the menu. A starter of roast cauliflower and pomegranate harissa is clever in its simplicity, not only for its crunch and spicy sweet flavour, but for its back-to-basics appeal.
Singh is also introducing his take on the American blue plate special – an inexpensive, one-choice menu which often coincides with the staff meal. Diners are even invited to eat with the restaurant staff during their meal times, in part to break down barriers and the perceived mystique surrounding restaurant kitchens. The food on offer is unpredictable but always wholesome – expect anything from duck ragu with mash to cheese on toast.
A large communal table – hence the establishment’s name – is a significant focus of the restaurant, where diners are encouraged to break bread with strangers. But is this really a concept which will work? Singh thinks so. ‘We want people to have a new experience. Eating out is about having fun, not having a hard time’. The table has already played host to a few spontaneous evenings where new friendships have been forged and it is this informal and flexible approach which is key to the concept of the restaurant.
Asked what the pigs stand for, Singh replies a little cryptically ‘we’re making bacon – it’s a bit of fun’. Is it an ominous sign to have flying pigs in your restaurant? Not if his previous successes are anything to go by.
58a North Castle Street, Edinburgh
0131 226 6743, www.tonystable.co.uk
Open Tue–Sat noon–2.30pm, 6.30-10.30pm. Closed Sun/Mon. Two-course evening meal £18