A couple of weeks ago, the team behind 'Edinburgh Bloggers' were invited to try out the new menu at The Mercat Bar, situated on West Maitland Street at Haymarket. Now being a massive lover of eating, I couldn't possibly turn down this offer. So myself and three other Edinburgh based bloggers popped along last Monday to see what was in store for us.
Once we were settled and refreshed it was time to fill up our bellies with food. Since we were testing out the new menu, they brought out four starters and four mains so we could all try a little bit of everything. I personally loved this idea as I can quite honestly be a right fussy one when it comes to food but this gave me the chance to break out of that and try something new.
First up we have the Arancini Balls, which is goats cheese, sweet potato and mushroom risotto balls. It was served up with a fresh tomato salsa and some lovely basil mayo. These delicious little balls were a big hit with us blogging ladies. I'm a big lover of goats cheese and sweet potato but this was the first time I had tried mushroom risotto. I can without a doubt say that I am now a fan.
|Mercat Scotch Egg|
Unless you are a veggie or vegan, I struggle to understand anyone who does not like a scotch egg. You just can't go wrong with sausage and egg, it is a perfect little snack. The Mercat Scotch Egg however is a little different from your usual. Swap your sausage meat for Venison and swap your normal egg for a quail egg. This was a big winner for me. Once again I had actually never had venison before. It's a meat I tend to avoid but I couldn't get over how tasty it was. Especially pair with that quill egg. The other ladies did not enjoy this like I did, which was great, as it meant I could have both of them!
|Prawn & Chorizo Bruscetta|
Now this is a starter that I didn't actually try myself. As much as I love chorizo and bruscetta, I just cannot stand prawns. I really wish I did as I don't actually mind the taste of them, it's just the texture I can't get over. I do have it on good authority thought, that this was a very tasty starter for the prawn lovers at our table!
|Pan Seared Scallops|
As you have noticed, this really was a night for trying new things out. I rather enjoy seafood but tend to shy away from shellfish. When the scallops right appeared on our table I was feeling pretty nervous about trying it, even more so when I realised that the other girls had never had one before either. So three of us decided to be brave and give them a go. I personally quite liked the taste but alas like my issue with prawns, the texture was just too overpowering for me. Alas, the scallops did not prove to be a winner for us.
|The Mercat Beef|
Let's be honest here, you just can't go wrong with a good beef burger. This particular one was served with smoked applewood cheddar and tomato salsa. I actually didn't try the burger out. Confession time, I hate onions. I actually have a strange phobia of the little things and obviously the burger came with onions on top. Now I know, I could have easily just taken them off but I'm ridiculous. Since the burger disappeared quite quickly and there were plenty takers for my share of it. I'm guessing it was very enjoyable!
The seafood linguine was never going to be a popular one at our table. We had came to realise that fish, particularly shell fish didn't go down well with us. I did, however, try out the linguine and though again the prawns and the scallops did nothing for me, I found myself really enjoying the smoked salmon. It also came with a dill and cream sauce which was pretty delicious.
Another fishy main was in store for us but luckily this one ended up as my favourite main. The Sea Bass was just wonderful and paired with a tartar sauce inspired sauce, it was a lovely little dish. The fish itself was cooked beautifully and in future, I may look out for some seabass instead of the usual cod or haddock.
Our last main was the Dusk breast which was served with potatoes, and asparagus wrapped up in pancetta. Duck isn't a meat that I am a massive fan of. I find it to be a little too fatty for my liking and I only ever enjoy it when it's crispy. Saying that the duck breast was full of flavour and very enjoyable. I did struggle with the fattiness of it but the wonderful taste won out in the end.
I've said it once and I will say it again, I bloody love a good dessert. Is it bad that it always ends up being my favourite part of a meal? The dessert we all got to try out which this delightful dark chocolate and orange mousse. There is really not much I can saying about this beautiful little dish, other than, you must visit the Mercat Bar and order it. It was rich and creamy with a wonderful little zest of Cointreau to give you the orange flavour. Generally, I believe that alcohol should be added more into desserts. It's always the perfect combination.
Overall, I really enjoyed our visit to The Mercat Bar. From the lovely decor, to the friendly, helpful staff to the just wonderful food. It makes a lovely change to go into a bar and having something different from your usual basic burger and chips. Though some of the dishes were not to my taste, you could see that a lot of work and care goes into every single one.
I personally, can't wait to go back. Mainly just to have that wonderful chocolate mousse again.
As someone who works down this part of a town, I know how quite it can be compared to places like Princes Street or the Grassmarket. So make sure you decide to venture outside of there and pop down to The Mercat Bar. You will not be disappointed.
You can follow The Mercat Bar on twitter at @themercatbar
Till the next time