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September 21, 2012
Blackbird bar hopes to shake things up in Tollcross

The 5pm blog dodged the raindrops to attend the opening of the new Blackbird bar in Edinburgh’s Tollcross last night.

A new venture from the people behind Treacle on Broughton Street and Hamilton’s in Stockbridge, Blackbird has replaced the Auld Toll bar on Leven Street.

Funky furniture

As you might expect, it has a fresh new look with stripped walls, retro mirrors and some rather funky furniture and light fittings from the Squint design company in London.

The bar also features some lively artwork from recent Edinburgh College of Art graduate Katy Anderson.

The cocktail list is extensive and, of course, there’s no shortage of draught and bottled beers behind the bar.

Of more interest, at least for this blog, were the menus. The bad old days of a pie in a cage on the bar top are long gone but Blackbird’s menu raises the bar for ,er, bar food that little bit further.

Innovative menus

The fish cakes and burgers and beer battered fish ‘n’ chips are all there but they sit alongside some rather more innovative dishes.

I liked the sound of the grilled Scottish salmon in a chorizo and butter bean broth with fresh lemon and crispy seaweed. The lamb done three ways also appealed: minted cutlets; roasted lamb belly and Shepherd’s pie served with a pea shoot and edamame bean salad.

The dessert menu looks well judged for the coming seasons. Ginger and lemon steamed pudding with butterscotch sauce rubs up against dishes like the pear, blackberry and macadamia nut crumble.

Beer garden

Finally, the Blackbird has a rather neat trick up its sleeve in the form of quite a large beer garden. Obviously, it’s unlikely to see much action over the next few months but could be a winner come April or May next year.