TimberYard is a relatively new Edinburgh restaurant that has had excellent reviews and I was keen to try it for a family celebration meal. The name reveals the history of the building – it was a timber yard for many years and the restaurant has maintained the industrial look in the space – which works pretty well. There have been reports that it can be cold but we visited on a pretty cold winter’s evening and had no problems in this respect at all.
Rather than the usual division into starters, mains, etc. the short menu in Timber Yard is split into Bites, Small, Large and Sweet and our waitress’s recommendation was that we should order one of each. The Bites are just that – one or at most two mouthfuls and, frankly, are really pretty poor value for money. They are the French ‘Amuse Bouche’ which many other restaurants include as part of the meal but which are not separately priced. I had a tiny piece of pickled bass, the smallest oyster I have ever seen and a smear of horseradish – tasty enough but not good value for £4.
My starter (Small) was hake with various vegetables which was absolutely delicious – and a reasonable portion size. Small’s are a bit fishy and we had one non-fish eater (we’ll work on him) who didn’t really fancy raw venison either so had to settle for what looked like a rather unimaginative vegetarian option. The other fish option was scallop, crab and Jerusalem artichoke, which I sampled and which was also superb.
The main course (Large) kept up this standard – I don’t usually order steak in restaurants as I can cook this reasonably well at home but Timberyard were offering an intriguing ‘beech-smoked’ sirloin which I had to try, rather than my usual preference for fish. I’m really glad I did – the steak was perfectly cooked with a very light smoke which added a hint of smokiness without being overwhelming. Cabbage and onion accompaniment went very well. Other family members had cod and pigeon – which were equally good.
Finally, the puds. I had unusual sea buckthorm posset with rhubard. Sea buckthorn is an tart orange berry, which I understand can be foraged around the East Lothian coast. It made for a delightfully sharp dessert, which was well complemented by the silky rhubarb. The chocolate sorbet was also pronounced to be excellent – no-one offered to share!
Attentive and friendly service – no complaints at all in this respect and no over-priced water – something that I hate. Rather, they serve free, filtered still and sparkling water. It gets very busy especially at week-end so you have to book. Best to phone as the online booking system is a bit inflexible as far as times are concerned. It showed no availability at the time we wanted but when we called, there was no problem in fitting us in 20 minutes later.
TimberYard is a great addition to the high-end but not stupidly expensive group of Edinburgh restaurants. We were £50 something pounds each – but my daughters have a taste for rather expensive cocktails and we had a couple of bottles of wine.
We will definitely go back – but will probably skip the over-priced Bites next time. No pics unfortunately – too dark in the main space. Next time we’ll go for lunch.