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I’ve been wanting to visit the Roseleaf bar in Leith for a while now. After reading a few of the reviews on Urbanspoon, I had quite high expectations. The bar itself is just a few minutes walk from both my home and workplace, so it was well due a visit. I actually visited it on two occasions over the last few weeks.The first, with Louise on a Saturday evening for dinner and the second with work colleagues for a Friday lunch.This review will cover the Saturday evening dinner only.
Most of the bars and cafes around the Shore area of Leith are clustered on Commercial Street and Bernard Street. Roseleaf is located just off Commercial Street, at Sandport Place. It’s not a road I’d normally need to travel on, which is why I probably didn’t get around to visiting the bar til now. It’s not the biggest bar in the world but it is quite popular. I’d recommend booking ahead to make sure you get yourself a seat. We called up an hour before going and we managed to get the last table for two. On entering the bar, we were quickly shown to our table by the polite staff. I love the quirky look and feel of the bar on the inside. From the outside you wouldn’t expect to find old typewriters, various hats and local paintings decorating the bar.
We were seated in the small back room which contained one large table for groups, and 3 smaller tables which each seated two. The bar was nearly at capacity when we entered, but we were quickly seen to. There was a rowdy group of women on a hen party sitting at the large table. Thankfully, they were just finishing their last drinks when we arrived. It seems like the Roseleaf is quite popular with hen parties. Another group arrived shortly after we had. Groups are allowed to wear one of the hats that hang on the wall around the bar, another quirky and unique touch. Many of them were sharing cocktails (or rather Pot-tails) which are served in a teapot and teacups. Something which I can’t say I’ve seen featured in other bars.
One nice touch is the fact that the food menu is handed to you inside an old National Geographic magazine. I actually got distracted by a story in it while I was suppose to be deciding what to order. As far as the menu goes, it’s not the biggest menu Ive ever seen, which means you won’t have to spend ages deciding what to have. It does offer enough variety that you’d be able to find something different to try the next time you visit. We decided to jump straight into the main course and forget about having a starter. We both went for the delicious sounding Royale with Cheese. I added in some Stornoway black pudding and Louise added an egg to hers. We also decided to get a refreshing bottle of white wine. The food arrived quickly and was well presented. We were also given a much needed wet wipe to clean up any greasy fingers. The burger itself was lovely. It did require the use of a knife and fork. It was just moist enough that it wouldn’t crumble apart too easily. The blackpudding was well cooked, but not overcooked. As far as negative points, I thought it could maybe do with just a little bit more tomato relish. So, a good burger overall.
The chips were sublime! I had most of them ate before even diving into the burger. If you ever visit Roseleaf for a few drinks and you’re feeling a little peckish, I’d recommend getting a portion of chips; you’ll not regret it. After the main course, we both had a look at the dessert menu. Louise decided to try the aptly named ‘Jabberwocky Choccy Cheesecake’ and I settled for a cappuccino. The cheesecake was served with a mojito sorbet. I did taste this, and ended up eating most of it (…sorry Louise). As a fan of both mojitos and sorbets, my tastebuds were in heaven! I would have happily had the sorbet as a dessert by itself. My cappuccino came coated with a healthy helping of dark chocolate shavings. It was just at the right temperature, not quite hot enough to burn my tongue. I always hate it when I’m given a cappuccino and have to wait a good few minutes before being able to drink it. Roseleaf got it spot on.
By the time the dessert was gone, we only had a few sips of wine left. This was around 9.15pm and the seated areas of the bar were packed to capacity. The bar staff were running back and forth from the kitchen, busy serving 2 large groups which had come in around the same time. At this point we would have liked another drink but it took quite a bit of time and effort to get the attention of one of the bar staff. When we did finally attract someone’s attention, it was 20 minutes later, and we just asked for the bill instead. I did get the impression that the staff were concentrating their efforts on serving the larger groups, which is understandable when 15+ people needed to be served food around the same time. Overall, an enjoyable dinner but service quality seemed to suffer slightly when the bar was at capacity.
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Address: 23/24 Sandport Place, Leith, Edinburgh, EH6 6EW
Telephone: 0131 476 5268