The Voyage of Buck
- Telephone 0131 225 5748
- Bar open Sun–Wed 10am–midnight; Thu–Sat 10am–1am.
- Food served Mon–Sun 10am–10pm (Breakfast Sat/Sun 10am–5pm).
- Average price £16 (lunch); £22.50 (evening meal)
- Website www.thevoyageofbuckedinburgh.co.uk
The Voyage of Buck arrived in Edinburgh's West End in autumn 2017, making its home on lovely wee William Street. This cocktail bar and restaurant has a menu inspired by the life of William 'Buck' Clarence, who lived in the property from 1900-1935. He was a philanthropist, polo player, and travel companion of Prince Albert Victor, and if you've never heard of him, it's because it's all completely made up. Still, the fictional, Phileas Fogg-style exploits of our hero provides a creative narrative with which to theme to the bar's offering, with each section of the cocktail menu inspired by destinations on Buck's voyaging. Try a C'est Beau La Vie (in the Paris section of the menu), or a Green Tea Fizz (found in the Taipei pages). An even better story (fairytailish, but true) tells of general manager Mike McGinty's recent trip to Mexico, where he saw off bartenders from around the world to win the inaugural International Patrón Perfectionist cocktail competition. To share a taste of his success, a non-competition version of the winning cocktail called Yellow Pepper Sour is served in the bar, combining Patron Silver, chamomile-infused sherry, grapefruit bitters, lemon, Buck’s yellow pepper syrup and smoked sea salt.
It’s easy to imagine the fictitious William ‘Buck’ Clarence appreciating what the team from Big Red Teapot (of Treacle, Hamilton’s and The Blackbird fame) have done with his old home. A lover of travel, he’d enjoy reliving his adventures through the extensive and entertaining cocktail list. Spreading itself across the cities of Buck’s expeditions, it’s a mini testament to many of the characters he met, like the delicious Anna May Wong. The food also reflects Buck’s appreciation of the finer things in life. Curious ingredients are combined in interesting dishes like guinea fowl, purple potato skordalia, hazelnuts and pomegranate jus. Charcoal ash may not sound like an appetising addition to sea bream and langoustine bisque, but it works. A varied band of locals follow in Buck’s footsteps through lively weekend nights into relaxed brunches, guided by the enthusiastic and efficient team, in surroundings that echo the early 1900s beautifully.
- High point: Beautifully flavoured dishes and drinks
- Low point: The cocktails button is too easy to press
- Notable dish: Hot smoked salmon, chicory, pink peppercorn and rhubarb.
- Provides: Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Funky and chilled, more lively at the weekend.
- Capacity: 45
- Largest group: 15
- Open since: 2016 October
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 21
- House wine: £16 per bottle