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For those of us who often amble past the One Square restaurant on Lothian Road, there can be a tendency to think: “It’s too posh for me. I wouldn’t feel welcome.” Or, “I’d feel out of place.” Wrong. As mid-to-upmarket city centre restaurants go, it couldn’t be more accommodating.
From the second you walk through the door, there’s a sense of space and comfort, a real buzz about the place. But before we get to the grub, a word about the staff: informed, presentable, they bestow the attentiveness of a Wimbledon line-judge and the hospitable charm of a more refined, bygone age.
The wood colours and Greek-style columns balance well where decor is concerned, and again, the subtle background music instills a measure of calm. You might need to expand your vocabulary a bit when it comes to reading the menu, however it makes what’s on offer all the more intriguing.
Food-wise; seafood, game and grill are its (British) hallmark features. Cooked to inch-perfection, the menu could be expanded slightly, but what is dished up is a 50/50 split between presentation and mouth-exploding flavour.
Some starters, for example, arrive on what looks like a nifty piece of driftwood. A steak may appear on an inspired chopping board (the Stonehenge-esque Jenga chips look great and taste even better). And dessert – where various miniatures are spread across a large plate – guarantee you’ll never look at ice-cream the same way again.
It helps that dinner tables boast a fantastic, head-on view of the Usher Hall – save the occasional skateboarder flying past your window. However, a key highlight is One Square’s very own unique brand of gin. Filled with thyme, spices and orange zest, it arrives in a large glass – courtesy of the restaurant’s own gin concierge.
If you’re looking to treat yourself, or, if you’re looking to take someone out for a birthday event, you might want to consider all of the above. Square One might be intimidating to the casual onlooker, but it’s anything but. You might also want to pay attention to the set-price 2/3-course menu, too.
One Square, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh, 0131-221 642, www.onesquareedinburgh.co.uk