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January 30, 2015
The Riparian Rooms: where Scottish ingredients meet neat design.
The Riparian Rooms: where Scottish ingredients meet neat design.

The 5pm Dining blog was at the launch of The Riparian Rooms on Edinburgh’s East London Street yesterday.

It was quite a night. Drinks flowed. Fantastic canapés made the rounds and we all got to hear about the future plans for this good looking new restaurant and bar.

What’s in a name?

First up, the name refers to the place where a river meets its banks. Apparently, way back in the dim and distant past, Broughton Burn used to flow down what is now Broughton Street and would have gone past the current site of The Riparian Rooms.

According to this Evening News piece, Broughton comes from ‘broc tun’ meaning farm beside the brook.

The burn is long gone (where do burns go?) but the name tips its hat to the area’s past as well as referring to the split between the ground floor restaurant and its very handsome basement bar – the Burrow Below.

The Riparian Rooms will be open from 8am to 1am with an all day menu running until 5pm when the dinner menu kicks in.

Scottish ingredients

The owners are keen to use Scottish ingredients so products such as Mull cheddar; Loch Fyne oysters and Scotch beef are all prominent.

The menus range from simple bowls of porridge served with honey to Scottish shellfish platters, sharing boards and more complex main courses like the prime Scotch beef fillet served with a bone marrow fritter, curly kale and crushed Jerusalem artichoke and onion purée.

Prices are on a par with equivalent venues in the area. The £15, two course, pre-theatre looks very good value.

If you last saw the building when it was Locanda de Gusti then the subsequent changes will come as a surprise.

Stripped back looks

The ground floor has been opened up and swathes of the original stone walls have been exposed. It’s lighter and brighter than before and some of the walls are hung with specially commissioned fabrics which show the ‘broc tun’ or farm beside the burn.

The light fittings look like basket fish nets while recycled wood features re-emphasise the partially stripped back look. It’s the sort of space that would work for mid-morning coffee and cake as well as it would for a romantic dinner.

Cool bar

Downstairs has the potential to become very in vogue. With its striking central booths, snaking lighting and gilded vault, the Burrow Below is rather more swish than Broughton Street’s other, more trad bar spaces.

Of course, because of its hidden, underground location, it also has a clandestine feel that could make it very appealing.

Broughton Street is becoming quite the hot spot for happening bars and a good variety of interesting restaurants.

The Riparian Rooms is an attractive addition to the area. This blogger would love to see the venture thrive in what has long been a tricky site.