The first time I went to Stravaigin in Gibson Street was almost 7 years ago. I was there with Mr S and his family to celebrate his graduation & I remember thinking the menu was so adventurous. I had monkfish with risotto – I can barely remember things from last month but my brain carved out space for remembering that risotto. Recently we were in the West End and decided to pop in for dinner.
Stravaigin is an old Scottish word that means to roam or wander so it seems appropriate for the food that is inspired by different places around the world. They have traditional Scottish dishes such as haggis, neeps & tatties and then they have things from further afield like nasi goreng and frittata.
We had not booked and, as it was a Friday night, it was heaving. We were told it would be about half an hour for a table – the perfect amount of time to enjoy one of their French Martini’s at the bar. Stravaigin is split into three areas. There is the more formal restaurant downstairs, the relaxed upstairs restaurant
and the bar. I’ve heard that some of it is also dog friendly for those not wanting to leave the pooch at home.
We were sat on the mezzanine level in the relaxed upstairs part. This part of the place is very bistro-esque with a relaxed atmosphere and smallish, close knit tables. There were rumbling bellies so we ordered some bread and steamed west coast mussels, sweet chilli & coriander. We were glad we ordered the bread because the tasty mussel juices were begging to be mopped up.
Only then did we decide on our main feasts. Mr S opted for the seared featherblade and I was excited by the venison special. There seems to be a fashion for using tastier, non-traditional cuts of beef at the moment and Mr S almost always chooses this option. I’ve seen skirt steak and flank steak and I’ve heard of featherblade but this was my first time tasting it. These meats are always served red/pink because they go tough if they are cooked any longer. Mr S really enjoyed it & was also raving about the chunky chips and flatcap mushrooms that accompanied it. Good portion size too. After ordering dishes like this three times now it was rated as second best out of the three. He didn’t like the chimichurri sauce that accompanied it and I’d be inclined to agree. I don’t want an oily sauce to accompany steak and I’ve never been converted to chimichurri. For bread maybe but not steak. When it arrived we tasted the chimichurri then asked our waitress for some whisky sauce instead. Within five minutes we were back on track with a ‘want to lick the dish’ whisky sauce.
My venison haunch was served with carrot purée, rosemary sautéed baby potatoes and jerusalem artichokes and a neep relish. The dish looked good and I like a vegetable crisp on top of a dish for bite. All of the elements of the dish complemented each other well so credit to the chef who designed the dish. The venison haunch was tasty, if slightly more cooked than I would have liked (but I understand that everyone likes venison cooked to varying levels). My only real niggle was that there was a smattering of gravy/jus around the plate but nowhere near enough. The bites I took that had some were greatly improved by those that did not. I shared the whisky sauce (that actually went with the flavourings) but if that had not have been on the table I would not have enjoyed the dish as much.
To end the meal we shared some homemade churned mint chocolate ice-cream with an Anzac cookie. The ice-cream had an amazing flavour and obviously used quality ingredients. I wouldn’t usually have chosen mint chocolate but it was the ice-cream of the day so thought we’d order it & it was a good move. It was quite difficult to eat melting ice-cream on a slightly warm plate instead of a bowl but it just made us eat quicker! We’ll know to ask for a bowl next time.
On another note, I want to mention that they do wine flights for you to enjoy with your meal because I love this idea. I am a slow drinker so a few smaller measures means I can try more.
We had a terrific impromptu meal at Stravaigin and I look forward to roaming back sometime soon.