The Magnum

The Magnum is the New Town pit stop for winter cheer, according to reviewer, Suzy Powell…

As the gloves and scarves come out, I find myself craving a different kind of food – stews, vegetable-filled soups and Parmesan-loaded risotto – bowls of warmth in other words.

My choice of restaurant is also very much dictated by the weather. No longer do I want light and airy restaurants – now I seek out small and cosy gems, located near bus and tram stops.

The Magnum in Edinburgh’s New Town is such a place with strings of fairy lights draped down the inside of the windows, sultry lighting, a cute bar for pre-dinner drinks and warmth oozing from all its corners and surfaces. It strikes me as the perfect place to escape the cold after a marathon shopping session on George Street, before hitting the Winter Wonderland, belly filled with hearty Scottish food.

In fact, the Magnum is a restaurant-cum-bar, the distinction between the two fairly free-flowing. It’s smart-casual, and priced as you would expect for that part of town. The menu changes regularly and there is a decent choice for vegetarian and gluten-free diets.

MAgnum2My dining partner ordered haggis spring roll, which might not win any awards, however it was quickly polished off and is a novel use of a Scottish favourite. My salmon gravlax on pumpernickel bread was good.

Mains were hake with incredibly chewy clams and succulent duck breast with the largest square of layered potato I’ve seen – too much for me to finish but good for those with big appetites. The accompanying artichoke was beautifully cooked and bursting with flavour. The hake was highly praised, but the clams were a chew too far.

Although it sounded a touch pretentious, the Assiete of Apple was actually very good with  tart tatin and apple ice cream. However, it looked like the ugly sister compared with the raspberry coulis-bejewelled Cranachan Cheesecake with its soft biscuit base and light whipped topping crowned with raspberry compote. Next time I visit, I won’t hesitate to order that instead.

MAgnum3I don’t usually mention drinks in reviews, but a word of warning: the coffee served here could blow your socks off! It will certainly give you a mega boost to help finish off shopping or jet propel you around the open air ice-rink in St Andrew Square.

The Magnum is well established – it has been on its corner site for over 30 years – and it’s the kind of place you really wished was your local – friendly, understated, with a reliable menu (you could take anyone here from an elderly uncle to a restaurant-ready child).

With its Edinburgh charm, it makes a good choice for out-of-town visitors too.

I’ll be adding the number into my i-Phone contacts and heading back soon, Christmas shopping in tow.

Prices: starters £4.95-£8.95; mains £12.50-£22.50; deserts £5.50-£7.95.

The Magnum, 1 Albany Street, Edinburgh, EH13PY. Tel.  0131 557 4366




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