Stewart McRobert finds that this Causewayside eatery is foxing clever.
Across the world the fox has a reputation for being a canny beast. Folklore from Asia to the Americas depicts it as an animal that’s always ready with a trick or two.
With that in mind, I approached a recent visit to Edinburgh’s Urban Fox restaurant with a great sense of anticipation. “Go on – surprise me”, I thought. And, know what? They did just that.
The evening began with a warm welcome and the first revelation; there was an encouraging number of fellow diners already seated and enjoying their meal. Given that my visit took place on a cold Tuesday evening in January – a traditionally quiet time for Edinburgh’s restaurant trade – it was clear that the Urban Fox has a faithful following.
I chose the restaurant’s Scottish mussels to start. It proved a wise move. I was presented with a generous bowl of seafood in a smoothly satisfying, creamy stock. I readily polished off the mussels before mopping up the liquor with the accompanying ‘artisan bread’.
Across the table there were approving sounds as Mrs M enjoyed her first course – warm goat’s cheese salad with walnut rocket and balsamic vinegar. She assured me that it was a tasty and promising way to start any meal. Of course, I had to grab a mouthful to check. As usual, she was right.
Next up for me was twice cooked pork belly, black pudding mash and wilted leeks. Again, it was an expertly executed plate of food. The pork belly was cooked as it should be – crisp, well-done crackling on top, soft melt-in-the-mouth flesh underneath. Also worth highlighting is the apple cider jus which accompanied this dish, and proved to be a perfect partner.
Meanwhile, Mrs M opted for a speciality of the house – the Fox Burger. As well as the fries and coleslaw that come with every Urban Fox burger, this dish included smoked cheese, bacon, haggis and onion rings. It got the thumbs up from that side of the table. But, once again, I had to sample it for myself… just to make sure, obviously.
And so to our final dishes of the evening. In line with my patriotic start to the meal, I selected the Scots-themed atholl brose ice cream, which is infused with whisky, honey and oats. We’re not a country renowned for our ice cream making skill, but this sumptuous dish could change that. A Scottish delight.
After courageously tackling the ample portions she had already been served up, Mrs M protested to our waiter that she would only be able to manage a sliver of white chocolate cheesecake to finish. I’m guessing it was extremely moreish – when it did arrive, it didn’t last long on the plate.
As we got ready to leave and face the bracing January breeze I concluded that the evening had more than lived up to expectations. I’d had my eyes opened to some exciting new flavour combinations and discovered why this distinctive eating place has its own local fan club.
Crafty old Urban Fox.