The White Horse Seafood & Oyster Bar, named after the maritime word to describe the crest of crashing waves, modernises & heroes seafood & oysters. Located in the oldest inn on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile they focus on sourcing local produce and providing diners with a chance to share & enjoy meals in their beautifully refurbished space.
Split into two halves, the entrance section features a stunning marble bar where you can enjoy some fresh oysters, or a small all-day menu alongside some cocktails & champagne. Once through the archway there are cosy booths opposite the custom built lobster tank, before further tables at the back of the restaurant. We sat at the bar whilst we waited for a table and enjoyed a lovely seasonal bellini before being seated in a very comfortable booth.
Committed to using the highest quality of fresh seafood, the provenance and sustainability of produce is key. Their artisan suppliers include Edinburgh based Welch fishmongers, Mara Seaweed and The Ethical Shellfish Company from Mull.
This excellent produce means the menu contains plenty of variety for seafood lovers, with a large selection of oysters, small tapas style dishes and larger mains. The core of the menu are smaller plates allowing you to try a bit of everything, as long as your fellow diners don’t mind sharing! This design means that groups of all sizes and diners can come away happy after sampling a range of chef Scott Ralston’s dishes or can opt to try one of their more classic main courses.
Luckily I was visiting Edinburgh with a fellow food lover and the idea of tapas style sharing plates immediately won us over. We proceeded to order 5 plates along with some shoestring fries to share. I would say that two to three per person is plenty. Plus you can always combine it with some platters or oysters if you wish!
Scotch eggs are something I love to try when I see them on a menu so the crab scotch egg with wasabi mayo was on my list immediately. It was light, with a nice runny centre & the wasabi added a kick to the dish. We also decided to try one of the tempura options choosing salt & pepper prawns. This was served with more wasabi mayo, pickled ginger and a delightful ponzu dressing.
The monkfish satay with toasted nuts was an unexpected delight for me as I don’t eat this fish very often (generally I’ve tried it in curries due to it’s more robust texture). The peanut satay had a lovely depth of flavour and worked excellently with monkfish. It definitely encouraged me to select this fish again in the future more.
The final two dishes were as pretty as a picture & tasted absolutely devine! Hand dived scallops paired with an apple, tarragon & sherry caramel were sweet, fresh and perfectly cooked. The unusual combination of flavours, away from the standard pea & bacon was delightful.
The Scotch bonnet cured salmon with avocado & heritage tomatoes was a dish the waitress recommended and the highlight of the evening. Beautifully presented, the chilli cure was subtle but present and the avocado & tomatoes served to take the edge of the spice kick. This is definitely the dish you MUST try when you visit The White Horse!
These plates were sufficient for our meal, but the oysters going past us to other tables did look delicious. Historically the food of the working classes, oysters feature heavily in their menu. Sourced from 4 different suppliers (Carlingford, Loch Fyne, Caledonian & Lindisfarne) the oysters are available in several different styles. They even run an Oyster ‘Happy Hour’ between 4-6pm Monday-Thursday where you can enjoy each oyster for £1!
We paired our meal with a carafe of Fritz Hasselbach Riesling. We found that a lot of restaurants in the city only offered wine by the glass (typically 175ml) or bottle. The ability to order most of their wine selection by the glass (175ml or 250ml), 500ml carafe or full bottle was a real benefit for those in a smaller group. The restaurant also has £5 Corkage Club on a Monday and Tuesday should you wish to bring your own!
The White Horse was a fabulous discovery on our trip to Edinburgh, especially as we had originally headed out for wine & cheese only to discover the intended bar was closed! The standard of seafood was beyond fault and I would highly recommend this restaurant to everyone!
Website: White Horse Oysters & Seafood
Date: April 2018