The Sheraton Grand's One Square restaurant is a styled and stylish city dining experience
- Hannah Ewan
- 31 May 2012
One Square not only describes a location that takes up the full western side of Festival Square off Lothian Road, but it’s one of those neatly vague names that provides an umbrella for various interlinked functions: café, brasserie, terrace, bar and private dining room, while deliberately not mentioning the hotel and spa it resides within.
The party line is that inspiration for One Square has been drawn from the grand cafés of Europe, and this may well ring true in summer, when gin infusions and strawberries are served on the terrace against an Edinburgh Castle backdrop. In fact, it feels more styled and stylish than that: dark wood, bright chairs and generous space throughout draws comparisons with London fashion playgrounds such as Shoreditch House.
The food is where the venue’s newness shows most clearly. In tune with influential London venues and the more discerning TV food shows, a running theme of great British classics is core, with head chef Malcolm Webster achieving a robust and appealing menu with recourse to neither easy fillers, such as pasta and risotto nor Scottish cliché – a giant starter of Macsween haggis with fried duck eggs is about as far as you can get down that line.
For all the apparent robustness of dishes such as Tarbert crab cake or potted ham hough, some flavour depths are lacking – the former needs a citrus injection, for example, and good quail Scotch eggs would be even better with punchier sausage meat. Objections, though, are surface-deep, because basic principles including sourcing are solid, and the delicate balance between hotel dining room and city destination is thoughtfully managed. The ‘tour of Scottish blue’ plate is a notable success: cheese foam, Lanark Blue with truffled honey plus Blue Monday on toast impress for quality and sheer value-added care. This effort extends to the bar, where over 40 gins have had their botanicals matched with one of four tonics and a unique garnish (look out for grated tonka bean), surely winning them an unrivalled corner of Edinburgh’s drinks scene.
+ Five-star service with an eye for detail
- A side of three mushrooms for £3