Edinburgh's Porto & Fi opens new premises on the Mound
New café-bistro on the Mound makes the most of a great location
It’s a nice spot – for a former mortgage office of the Bank of Scotland. Just off the Royal Mile, with its views over the New Town and beyond, you can imagine over-stretched buyers being given a tantalising vision of Edinburgh below, Last Temptation style: ‘This kingdom can be yours … just sign here.’
These days, of course, you can’t get a mortgage for love nor money, so you’ll have to make do with comfort food at the new Porto & Fi on the Mound (they’ll do you a much better deal, to boot). Andrew and Fiona MacInnes, the brother and sister behind this and the original Porto & Fi in Newhaven, have done a great job on their new des res. A full glass frontage makes the most of the scenery – you’re eye-level with the tip of the Scott Monument – and they’ve exposed higgledy Old Town stonework to contrast with modern, Eames-look chairs, brown banquettes and claret-coloured drum lampshades. A tree-shaded terrace, set to open onto Lady Stair’s Close, should be perfect for brunch or an after-work prosecco in the summer.
While the Newhaven P&F is a daytime café with bistro cooking, this Edinburgh-centre branch is more all-day bistro, serving until 10pm most nights. Some unusual options ring the changes: cassoulet with rabbit confit, a Moorish-style carrot and butternut pastilla (pie), or a roll of pork belly stuffed with bacon and cabbage and cooked in cider, full of smoky, Germanic flavours.
Newhaven regulars will be glad to see the fish pie topped with leek mash and the pretty pail-full of haddock goujons are on offer here, too. Though another standard, the house burger – home-made with good, lean beef – is rather too tightly packed to be juicy, and the chips with it a bit tired. Oddly, the single fondant potato that comes with the pork belly suffers from the same. With so much great Scottish produce on the menu, especially light and lemony mussels marinière and excellent hot-smoked salmon from Welch’s fishmongers, they just need to bring those tatties up to scratch.