Restaurant review

Luckenbooths opens on High Street in Edinburgh, restaurant review – is the food as legendary as the location?

I am not particularly superstitious.

I don’t wear lucky pants at most restaurant reviews, and I don’t have a rabbit’s foot to ward off the curse of bad food and wobbly tables.

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I never bother to throw salt over my shoulder and only spit on the Heart of Midlothian when I’m drunk it’s not Covid time and there’s no one to catch me .

However, I am still on the hunt for a lucky brooch.

These heart-shaped charms were usually given to your lover, and Mary Queen of Scots is said to have given one to Lord Darnley.

They have also been used to help children ward off the evil eye of pesky women. I mean, witches.

In my case, I would like one to ensure decent food, sparkling service, and a tiny bill.

Asian duck bowl

Along with toys and other trinkets, they were sold on lockable stalls, lucky charms, located near the 15th-century Saint-Gilles cathedral to the early 19th century.

This new restaurant, which is part of the Chambers of the Old Town of the Horse, bears their name. It’s not, as my husband kept saying, in a French & Saunders do Jackie Collins style, called Lucky Boots. It is operated by The Bon Vivant Group, which also includes El Cartel, Lady Libertine, The Devil’s Advocate and other popular venues in the capital.

You enter through what also doubles as the hotel reception, which always gives me a Pavlovian ‘Finally we have arrived’ feeling, even though we are not residents.

The ground-floor restaurant seats 140 people, spread over two levels, with textured glass screens to divide the space. It is very neutral, chic and tasteful hotel, and there is a large covered terrace outside.

The plum disorder

They love brunch, but we tried the all day menu, which is served from 12pm to 10pm.

It included a pre-entree of hot pink feta and beetroot dip, as well as pieces of focaccia toast.

The battle is on when it comes to the bon-bon haggis starter.

This is a prerequisite at many restaurants on the Royal Mile, presumably so that tourists can tick a non-threatening serving of this foodstuff off their bucket list. Luckenbooths offers breaded versions of Campbell’s Haggis and Beef Shin (£ 8). They were supposed to be served with pickled radishes, but we got an un-pickled version of this vegetable which was a shame. However, at least the Rosemary Pepper Mayonnaise provided enough sweetness and pizzazz to lift the set of three sturdy terminals.

We also tried the Ham Shank, Confit Chicken and Herb Terrine (£ 8), which was a long bank of fresh and thick protein, capers, and parsley, all topped with a handful of chunks of white soufflé pork that looked like popcorn, wrapping foam or sugar soufflés. There was also a stain of beetroot puree. I was happy so far and felt quite lucky.

As well as a Grill section, the main courses also include bowls, so I went for the crispy duck number (£ 16). Strangely, it didn’t come in a bowl, but in a plate.

However, I am a tableware enthusiast, who appreciated the dish with mosaic patterns. Bowls should be reserved for pudding, appetizers, potpourri, and soup anyway.

It was a warm nest of munchies and interesting in texture. There was a crisp and pleasantly feathery duck stubble, along with bean sprouts, pak choi, scallion, roasted plums, watermelon cubes, pomegranate seeds and a little plum hoisin sauce.

The Duroc pork dish (£ 16) was a bigger, more formal blend, featuring a slice of pork belly, salted celeriac, apple juice and a striped tower of Stornoway black pudding and terrine from potatoes, a few candied pecans and crispy sage leaves.

We also enjoyed their cranachan version of a Tunnocks (£ 6) – a dark chocolate dome filled with marshmallow and a heart of raspberry jam and whiskey, accompanied by vanilla crème fraîche and a crumble d oats on the side. The plum mess (£ 6) was not the usual raffle. It was served in a deconstructed style – on a plate, with bits of rather powdery and soapy tasting meringue, which I found strangely addicting, along with drips of sour cream, and chunks of plum and grapefruit that were frosted with a subtle grapefruit sorbet.

This place is decent, especially considering their location and schedules mean that they have a lot of people to please – tourists, hotel guests, passers-by and locals.

I think most people will feel lucky enough to have eaten here.

How much? Dinner for two, excluding drinks, £ 60

This seafood restaurant and oyster bar is a stone’s throw from Luckenbooths. Their house specialties include seafood on crushed ice for two.

This place is almost 14 years old and after all these years it is still good. Its fall à la carte includes dishes such as haunch of salted venison, elderberry, broccoli, crispy potato and buttermilk.

Cannonball Restaurant & Bar, 356 Castlehill, Edinburgh (0131 225 1550, www.contini.com)

Seven-year-old Cannonball is the youngest in the Contini Empire, which also includes The Scottish Gallery and Restaurant. They win in the bon-bon haggis fight, with a version that includes pickled turnip and Glengoyne cream.

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