Element Bar, Rose Street, Edinburgh – Review

Adam Lowe

Element is a cosy, sophisticated bar and restaurant in Edinburgh town centre. You’ll find it on Rose Street, tucked among the boutiques off Princes Street.

Recently Element won Best Restaurant in the Edinburgh Forth Awards. The bar was bought by the Signature Pub group in 2006, but was recently refurbed in October – and the newness is showing. The venue is a stylish, charming place to eat and drink, offering a well selected menu of locally inspired dishes, craft beers and cool cocktails. It’s designed with chunky edges, bold lines and artistic flourishes (for example, the mural of The Royal Mile on the wall), which gives it a laidback charisma perfect for after-shopping lunch, evening drinks or a romantic supper.

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Something of a gastro-bar, Element fuses the style and elegance of a wine bar with the hearty Scottish grub of a high-end Edinburgh restaurant. The service is somewhere in between, with a relatively relaxed but helpful and well trained wait staff. You can opt to sit in the bar for a more informal evening out, or you can sit in the back for full service and a quieter ambience.

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The menu is great – with plenty of local recipes inspiring the menu. As an example, we highly recommend the cullen skink – which is smoked Finnan haddock, new potatoes, leeks and Mull cheddar crumble (£5.50 for a starter portion or £9.00 for a main). Seafood is a strength of the menu, and you can also order delicious seared Isle of Mull scallops with celeriac puree, caramelised apple, black pudding and sherry vinegar (£7.95); or Loch Leven cockles and clams with smoked bacon lardons, white wine, parsley and crusty bread (£6.75). Those who aren’t into fish should try the haggis ravioli with whisky cream sauce and crispy leeks (£5.75) or the terrine of roasted vegetables with gin and tonic jelly and sourdough crisp (£5.50).

Main courses, meanwhile, include Scotch ribeye steak, whole grilled Shetland Megrim sole, Perthshire lamb rump and a beetroot risotto. For those who like their lunch between two slices, there’s a hand-pressed burger on a toasted brioche bun with hand-cut chips and tomato relish (£10.00). This can be customised with a number of toppings, including haggis and blue cheese.

Should you want something lighter, the lunch menu has an Element club sandwich (£5.50), sausage and mash with caramelised onion gravy (£7.00) and even fish and chips (£8.50 for a lunch portion or £12.50 for a belt-busting dinner portion).

The desserts selection is petite and well formed, leaving you to choose from refreshing dishes such as the iced blood orange parfait with citrus syrup and biscotti (£5.50), a banoffee mousse with tuile biscuit (£5.00), a warm chocolate and peanut butter brownie with ice cream (£6.00) or a cheese board with quince jelly, grapes and Scottish oatcakes (£7.00). There’s also a selection of ice creams if that’s what you fancy.

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Element also now serves brunch, which means you can pick up American pancakes (£6.50), sauteed mushrooms on toast (£5.50) or even a full Scottish breakfast (£8.50). The brunch cocktail menu (because you just know you want to) includes a Bloody Mary, Pop Italiano Mary or a Smoky Snapper for £6.95. You can even pick up the intriguing Gentleman’s Pickle (Gentleman Jack whiskey and pickle brine) for a tart wake-up call at just £4.00.

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More information

Book online or call 0131 225 3297.

110-114 Rose Street Edinburgh EH2 3JF