Steaks and seafood at Edinburgh's new Surf & Turf restaurant

Surf and turf is a classic combination that can’t be beaten when you’re after some indulgent dining. Edinburgh’s newest restaurant has taken the concept quite literally—Surf & Turf’s menu is a veritable bounty of the very best of Scotland’s land and sea harvest.

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Recently opened within the capital’s Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, the restaurant is the second Surf & Turf concept for the hotel chain, having been established at the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews by head chef Glenn Roach earlier this year. Due to its popularity, it’s also set to open at the Macdonald Marine Hotel in North Berwick in the coming months.

As is sometimes unfortunately the case with hotel restaurants, we found the atmosphere somewhat lacking when we first arrived. Perhaps this was our fault for choosing a quiet Sunday evening to dine, or it might have had something to do with the malfunctioning speakers which left us without music for the first half hour of our meal. The restaurant is spacious, and the chatter from the few diners around us failed to fill the room—but things soon livened up once the adjoining bar started filling up with hotel guests.

Not to be put off by the subdued start, we perused the menu with a perfectly chilled glass of Marlborough sauvignon blanc in hand. Surf & Turf certainly ticks the Instagrammable boxes—glossy menus with modern, abstract branding in shades of peach and navy, marble tables decked with fine glassware and beautifully presented plates of food.

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To start, I opted for the Surf & Turf charcuterie platter while my dining partner ordered the hand-picked Scottish scallops. As nice as the platter was, I was definitely suffering from food envy when the plump, juicy scallops on a bed of samphire arrived. Caramelised gently on the outside and soft and tender on the inside, these beauties were the star of the show. The smoked wild boar, Arbroath Smokie pate, smoked mussels and home pickled cucumber on the charcuterie platter were all tasty, but could have done with some bread or crackers to tie the whole thing together.

On to mains, and neither of us could resist the Surf & Turf signature dishes. The menu is set out to allow you to pick and mix your favourite elements—choose your cut and size of steak, type of seafood, sauces and sides—or settle for one of the restaurant’s recommended serves if you’re feeling indecisive. My 32-day aged Scottish sirloin, rubbed with BBQ salt, and served with langoustines, garlic mushroom and grilled tomato was as delicious as you would expect. The steak was cooked to medium-rare perfection, with a wonderfully charred flavour from the grill. On the other side of the table was a 32-day aged fillet with garlic mushroom, lobster tail and pont neuf potato, which went down equally as well, especially when drenched in the accompanying garlic butter.

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It’s clear that the award-winning Aberdeen Angus steaks and their seafood accompaniments are the restaurant’s strong point, but there’s also a small selection of other options to choose from if these don’t take your fancy—from veggie flatbreads to herb and samphire risotto.

After the surf and turf feast, a dessert really wasn’t necessary, but who could resist options like rich chocolate mousse with salted caramel ice cream and raspberry puree, and sticky toffee pudding with lashings of warm toffee sauce? Both were great ways to finish off the meal.

From start to finish, the food was delicious, and service was attentive too. Surf & Turf is on the pricier side, but with high quality ingredients and mouthwatering plates of food, it’s worth paying for if you’re celebrating a special occasion—or just fancy a particularly bouji dinner. Perhaps just make sure your booking is for a buzzing Saturday night…

Surf & Turf, Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, 81 Holyrood Road, EH8 8AU -

FoodFrida LeopoldFood