Home’s Bar morphs into Manhattan Loft…

Posted by in November's Magazine

So, the hairy one called me and said do you fancy visiting the new Leith Chop House to see what they’ve done to the old Home’s Bar? Oh, and write something about it?

Despite having given up all things stressful – the Civil Service coalface, listening to ukulele abuse, meeting Leither deadlines – he knew I would be unable to resist a neb at our old gang hut. So the ukulele abuser and I got the glad rags on and headed to the old stomping ground for a swatch.



I didn’t recognise the place: and not just from its Home’s Bar days – it is equally unrecognisable from its more recent and ill-fated Leith Lynx incarnation. And this time, in a good way. It’s all white tiles, exposed brick, marble, glass, leather and wood. Very nice.

When Sweetness and I arrived at 3pm on a warm sunny September Sunday, the place was buzzing. But we were quickly welcomed and shown to a seat at the bar to ponder a choice of cocktails, craft beer (to which I’ll return) or around 20 wines by the glass. Prices range from £4.10 for a glass of Australian Pinot Grigio to £400 for a bottle of Dom Perignon – but that is for the 2000 vintage, the Rosé, at that: so it’s got to be worth a try, another day.

Needless to say, She had one of the cocktails-of-the-moment – a Marmalade Martini, which was a concoction of Martin Miller’s Gin, thyme, grapefruit marmalade and lemon. It was pronounced delicious. At £6.50 I was assured it was also very reasonable. I countered with an assurance of my own, it’ll be the Mick Jagger-of-the-moment next time.

The bar is separated from the restaurant area by a glass-panelled wall, which works really well and gives the place a very contemporary and well-lit feel. It was mainly a younger crowd when we were there but I certainly didn’t feel out of place. As if…

Food on offer comes in the shape of a weekend brunch menu (incorporating a short lunch list), an evening menu, plus a Sunday Roast menu which has Roast Rump at £16.50 per person including the trimmings. There’s a sort-of specials board advising how many of each type of beef are available at a given time, by size and price – T-Bone, Bone-In Prime Rib, Porterhouse or Chateaubriand. Prices for these ranged from £45 for 600g of Bone-In Prime Rib to £61 for a whopping 900g of Porterhouse.

There are some things to bear in mind when considering these prices – the beef is sourced from three specially selected ‘artisan’ suppliers in Scotland (one of which does Highland Wagyu Rump Heart), all of it is dry-aged in-house for at least 35 days (some for 90 days), it’s all cooked on a specially made open-flame charcoal grill, and the sizes are such that they are made for sharing. *

Also, lunch prices are very keen for the quality on offer here. Their Butcher’s Lunch of Chop House Pie with a schooner of Butchershop Brewing Co Beer is just £9. They also do a nicely selected range of fish and other non-beef offerings starting around £7 – £8.

But we weren’t slumming it… Our starters of Lobster Bisque with croutons, spicy mayo and caviar (£7.50) and Roasted Squash with heritage carrots, spiced fritters and spiced hazelnut (£6.50) were both excellent. The latter surprisingly so because it’s not something that either of us would normally have but did so on the recommendation of Murray – the Operations Manager for the group who own the bar – and we were glad we did.
We shared a Chateaubriand (£55) for our main course, this was too much for 2 of us and could easily have satisfied 3 hungry diners. We did nonetheless manage to polish it off because it was one of the best slabs of meat I’ve ever eaten. Cooked to a succulent, medium-rare, pink-in-the-middle, nicely crusted exterior: it was melt-in-the-mouth fabulous. It feels like a distraction to mention accompaniments but the roast potatoes, bone marrow gravy, horseradish cream, root vegetables and Yorkshire puddings were also divine.
Especially the roast potatoes.

We battled on with puddings for the sole purpose of bringing you a complete review. The Sticky Toffee pudding, simply adorned with homemade pecan ice cream and toffee sauce was none the worse for that. And the Treacle Tart, crème fraîche sorbet and lemon was equally good. Two very good, strong flat whites rounded things off beautifully.

Right, craft beer. I know I’m not the only one who considers this term now overused. Indeed, Murray the OpsMan also expressed this view and seemed almost apologetic about it. But this may just have been an opportunity to introduce a true craft beer on their list. They have their own beer bottled by Drygate in Glasgow and made to a recipe devised by their bar manager – Chop House Pale Ale, and very good it was too. This house beer will change with the seasons. They also have 8 keg beers including Innis & Gunn, a couple from the excellent Williams Bros. and Schiehallion. (Against the prevailing trend they have Tennent’s too. Result. – Ed)

The folk involved in this venture are clearly very proud of what they’re attempting to bring to Leith, and so they should be. I strongly recommend that you loosen your belt a notch – or wear the elasticated trackies – and go.

Finally, Pat Fitzgerald (former owner of Home’s Bar – Ed), you are forgiven. Just.

*And in that regard, read Tony Naylor’s piece at www.theguardian.com (no paywall). It’s spot on in describing Heston Blumenthal’s new offering at the Fat Duck as remote and ridiculous.

Leith Chop House
102 Constitution Street Edinburgh
t 0131 629 1919
w leithchophouse.co.uk

2 responses to “Home’s Bar morphs into Manhattan Loft…”

  1. Big billy says:

    Should have read this review before I made a fleeting visit to the area this weekend. Passed the old place quickly with a second glance at the old "gang hut" and wondered what the old "gang" would have made of it.

  2. Should have read this review before I made a fleeting visit to the area this weekend. Passed the old place quickly with a second glance at the old "gang hut" and wondered what the old "gang" would have made of it.

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