|The Skylark by night.|
Living on the east side of Edinburgh, it’s always a pleasure to visit the city’s “Riviera” that is Portobello. Though it may have lost some of its Victorian sea-side grandeur, “Porty” – as it is affectionately known – still boasts a great beach and promenade and some fine architecture. What’s more, its villagey feel seems to be continually enhanced by the ever-increasing number of establishments providing decent food and drink.
A relative newcomer amongst these is a smashing wee café-bistro called The Skylark, which is located on Portobello’s High Street (241/243). Open since July 2012, it occupies two former Victorian shop frontages which have been tastefully combined to form a very inviting bar/café/kitchen space. The premises are certainly striking, with the owners having chosen to strip back the décor to reveal bare brick and original architectural features. This goes very well with the mish-mash of shabby-chic tables and chairs with which the place is furnished. Plus, the bar and kitchen area is also open to the rest of the café – always a good sign/brave move if chefs are happy to prepare food in sight of punters. Personally, I love being able to glance at chefs busy preparing my order.
The Skylark is warm, welcoming and (child) friendly, and whilst it doesn’t have a hugely expansive menu it does serve a great and tasty range of sandwiches, salads, cakes and puddings, together with inviting daily specials, all delivered by attentive staff. Their croque-madam is one of the best I have sampled north of the Seine, and if you aren’t full after partaking of that do try one of their home-baked puddings – apple tart with gingerbread ice-cream is particularly enticing.
As mentioned, the daily specials provide good bistro fare, often with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients, and feature dishes such as spring onion tart with a mixed leaf salad, and “happy pork” meatballs on a bed of linguini. Cheese and charcuterie “snack” boards also make a great alternative for anyone wishing to share with their dining companions.
|Features, furniture, food…|
As well as providing very decent food, The Skylark also serves a fine array of drinks. This includes Stewart ales on draft, a rotation of very fine, craft-brewed guest beers, and some decent wines. Plus their artisan coffee is just what’s required after a bracing walk on the prom.
The Skylark is the sort of place in which you can happily lose yourself for an hour or two over the Sunday papers, or spend one of those “…where did the time go?” evenings with friends. Thoroughly worth a visit if you find yourself either sunning or shivering in Portobello, and also a great venue for a relaxed evening out, whether you’re an EDI east-ender, or from further afield.
Food – 8/10
Value – 7/10
Ambience – Expect a laid-back, café/bistro ambience.
All photos courtesy of The Skylark website.