Down an unassuming road near the buzzy central Shore lies Leith’s newest fine dining restaurant: Borough. Set up by former Head Chef of award-winning Norn, Darren Murray, Borough is an independently-owned foodie paradise. The menu is filled to the brim with modern European dishes which are designed to be flexible; there are no fixed starter, main and desserts here.
Inspired by the enclaves of individuality and creativity
Head Chef, Darren Murray, commented:
“Drawing inspiration from our own neighbourhood and others like it around the world Borough is inspired by the enclaves of individuality and creativity that bring people together over a shared experience.
“Borough’s menu foregoes the rigidity of a tasting-style format or even the constraints of ‘starters, mains, desserts’, instead offering a flexible selection of savoury and sweet selection plates that are ingredient and flavour-forward.
“The menu also showcases the best of the season which is testament to our partnerships with local suppliers.
“We’re thrilled that we’re now open and look forward to welcoming people through the door for a first taste of Borough.”
Darren is joined by Restaurant Manager, Richard Kyle, formerly of Fishers in the City.
Relaxed dining on a Saturday afternoon
It’s not often I head down to Leith these days. It’s one of those things I berate myself for, “I must go back soon…” as soon as I hear of a new bar, restaurant or cafe opening, or friends setting up home in the area. But, after experiencing the launch party at Borough earlier in the month, I was excited to head back down to see how the restaurant would feel when the champagne-fuelled buzz had passed and the restaurant had settled into itself a little.
As we walked in, we received a warm welcome by Restaurant Manager, Richard Kyle, who made us feel right at home. Sometimes fine dining restaurants can seem stuffy and unwelcoming, but Borough excels itself at providing a laid-back backdrop with no compromise on quality.
After inhaling the warm breads on offer (I judge all restaurants on whether they have warm bread and soft butter – and Borough passed with flying colours), we opted for appetisers of charcuterie and croquettes. The smoked haddock croquettes were wonderfully flavourful, and the charcuterie meats were heavenly; a strong start.
After tasting the courgette tart with nasturtium at the launch evening, I had to go with it again as my first course – as did my dining partner. I feel like courgettes are having a bit of a moment for me, and it was refreshing to see them used as a savoury tart.
Next up, I went for the egg, mushroom and kale dish. This was huge, so I didn’t manage to finish it all but the mushrooms, in particular, were incredibly tasty. I even spent the rest of the afternoon at Leith Farmers Market trying to spot similar mushrooms to take home – alas, a failed mission. My partner had the tagliatelle, mussels and gherkin which hit the spot with “a nice contrast of flavours.”
On to the best part: Borders pigeon with beetroot and black pudding. I had been eyeing this dish up since the week before, as it checks off my dream list of game, black pudding and my new-found love for beetroot. On first inspection, it was a colourful affair with sublime presentation, but it really proves itself when you pour on the gravy and get stuck in. The sharpness of the beetroot was a really welcome contrast against the pigeon, and the gravy was just pure heaven in a jug. As for my partner, he had the sirloin, baby gem lettuce and garlic – also suitably indulgent.
For a sweet taste to end our experience off, I had the strawberry, goat milk and sorrel dish, and my partner had the chocolate, mint and hazelnut. I’m not a huge fan of goat milk, but I did really like how it offset the sweetness of the strawberry sorbet. The wee shortbread biscuits which accompanied it were equally lovely. As for my partner’s chocolate, mint and hazelnut, that was a really unique affair. Expecting some form of cheesecake or dark chocolate ganache, he was confronted with this beautiful dish of chocolate fondant, hazelnuts and mint granité… I was pretty jealous, actually. I must come back to try that one out as it’s not something I’ve seen done before.
With a lengthy wine list filled with 20 wines by the glass, I went for a crisp white French Sancerre and my partner had a glass of rosé. Both delicious.
Overall, dining at Borough left us both feeling suitably stuffed and satisfied. The incredibly well-picked eclectic playlist was also a winner, with a mix of alternative songs giving a nice easy vibe to the meal. The mix of woodwork, grey tones and clay rustic crockery were also pretty pleasing on the eye.
Borough restaurant is offering 20% off food until Saturday 21st July – head along now for a taste of Leith’s newest gem.
50-54 Henderson St, Edinburgh, EH6 6DE
Best for: Anniversary dinners, relaxed weekend lunches and ‘just because’