Visiting an Edinburgh restaurant of the calibre of The Lookout by Gardener’s Cottage, you just know the gluten free choices are going to be brilliant. We climbed Calton Hill to enjoy a lunch, celebrating a family birthday, and as we had fully anticipated, we had a fantastic experience.
The first thing that hits you, with a name like the Lookout is of course, the view! The glass walls and tables almost perching on the edge of the hill, bring an immediate wow factor to your meal. Pictures of the restaurant made me assume it was much larger than it is, but it is surprisingly intimate and welcoming – with th e view bringing the ultimate treat.
We began with glasses of fizz to toast the Birthday Girl, which was a nice lively prosecco that set things off well. And with our lunch, my gluten-eating husband had a beer, while we others had a delicious bottle of my favourite Albarino. As we are talking wine, I will tell you that the wine list is not extensive but there is a good choice of countries and grapes, a few cocktails and a little bundle of fizz to choose from. Like the Gardener’s Cottage though, they only serve nice stuff, so you are in safe hands and the wine prices are not too outrageous for a heading-towards-the-top-end restaurant.
Options for GF were pretty much the whole menu! There was a set lunch option, which was all more or less GF and then four each of starters and main courses. As is often the way, I chose scallop as my starter, which came in a very beautiful green bowl with mussels, pureed parsnip (v delicious) and some soft, buttery leeks. It was a proper little bowl of tastiness.
For my main course I chose the spatchcock quail with more butteriness on the potatoes, some fabulous cauliflower puree and little dribbles of flavoursome sauce. Other choices included a vibrant vegetarian risotto (not GF), coley with a curry sauce and mussels, and beef with pureed Jerusalem artichokes and cabbage. I was spoilt for choice as it was all delicious! We had a bowl of crisp pink fir potatoes as a side order and having little tastes of some other meals, I can tell you it was all good (panic not, I didn’t try the risotto)
At this price point you know that GF is going to be well catered for and they will always tweak and change menus to fit dietary issues with a wonderful calmness. There is a kitchen set in the restaurant which is totally unobtrusive, but enjoyable to watch. When I went downstairs to enjoy the www.aesop.com handwash, I peeked into the other kitchen, which also looked like a good place to work!
We were loving the view so much and concluded that you have to go to the Lookout in daylight to really enjoy views which stretch from western mountains to North Berwick Law and beaches in the East – just a joy! We shared a couple of puddings and of the four available I could have had any, with only a tweak on one. So I picked a gloopy and rich chocolate cream with boozy prunes, which was gorgeous – though when I stopped to look at the view briefly, the other spoons dived in and my pudding was severely depleted.
So, good choices, not cheap, but also not eye-watering, (around £60 a head including fizz and wine) but worth every penny for a wonderful family celebration and, as I expected, brilliant service for the dietary challenged.
A fun aside: we found the restaurant uses the same cutlery as we have at home, which pleased my husband when he announced he was eating his soup with his usual “Shreddies spoon”.