Monday, 31 December 2012

Review - The Dogs, Hanover St, Edinburgh


The Dogs, Edinburgh

For the last few years, myself and Nicola have always taken a little city break in Edinburgh between Christmas & New Year, and this year was no different. So whilst the Capital was getting ready for its Hogmanay celebrations, we were making the trip along the M8 in readiness for two days of shopping, eating and drinking.
Visitors to Edinburgh are spoilt for choice when it comes to eating out. Outside of London, Edinburgh has the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants in the UK, while the usual suspect chain restaurants are well also well represented. However the thing that makes Edinburgh a great place to eat out is the huge number of independent bars, restaurants, delis and bistros that are all within walking distance of the main shopping areas.
The December issue of Olive Magazine had highlighted The Dogs on Hanover street as somewhere worth checking out, and as it was just round the corner from our hotel, we decided to head there for lunch.
After checking into our hotel, we took the short walk to The Dogs and began climbing the almost endless flight of stairs, passing photographs and statues of various dogs along the way, to be welcomed by a cheery member of staff asking if we had a reservation. I hadn't thought to book, and considering the fact that we had arrived about half pat twelve on one of the busiest days of the year, maybe I was being optimistic that we would get in, however we were quickly shown to a table and advised that there would be a short delay in our food order being taken. Over the next couple of minutes the restaurant quickly filled and I'm sure that had we arrived much later, we probably wouldn't have been so lucky.
The interior of The Dogs is simply furnished and decorated, while the menu is a simple A5 printed list of the traditional food available on the day. Whilst the surroundings give the impression of a 'no-frills' dining experience, when the food arrived at the table, our perceptions were immediately changed.

Devilled liver & bacon

My own lunch of Devilled Ox Liver, was one of the tastiest meals that I have ever eaten. Huge chunks of medium cooked liver, smoked bacon, sauteed onions & mushrooms, on a thick slice of toast, in a rich gravy that packed a spicy kick. My taste buds were dancing with every forkful!

Haggis, black pudding & bacon hash with fried duck egg

Nicola had ordered the Haggis, black pudding & bacon hash, which came with a fried duck egg on top. Again, this plate of food was an explosion of flavour. The black pudding was spicy, the haggis and crisp bacon added great texture and the rich duck egg pulled everything together.
We loved the fact that neither dishes need any seasoning, which is saying something these days. However the thing that we loved most the portion sizes served on the day menu. At lunchtime, I don't want a full plated meal, and on a cold winter day I don't want a sandwich, so in my opinion The Dogs have got it just right on how much to serve up at lunchtime.
Our lunch cost less than £20, including a glass of wine each, and tap water was served without asking. The service was efficient, especially as the restaurant was almost full. Rest assured that the next time we are in Edinburgh I will be sure to book a table as I would be disappointed not to go to The Dogs again.
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