We had an amazing time at an evening hosted by the White Horse Oyster Bar. On the site of The Royal Mile’s oldest Inn (open since 1742), it has been transformed into a chic, relaxed restaurant space specialising in seafood and shellfish. With the team behind The Chop House and Monteiths involved, we were looking forward to some quality food and interesting cocktails.
The decor makes for a welcoming place to dine with the marble-topped bar a perfect spot to enjoy a glass of champagne and one of their four different types of oysters. Elsewhere there are lots of warmly lit booths to enjoy a sociable evening sharing some of the finest ingredients the country has to offer. The main draw is the custom built tank where you can decide which lobster will be meeting their maker – at least you know they are fresh!
The White Horse are open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week with an exciting menu focussing on sharing platters, small plates and individual dishes. We were lucky enough to enjoy a selection from their menu starting off with their house champagne and raw oysters.
Bubbles and Oysters
The oysters hail from Lindisfarne, Carlingford, Loch Fyne and Loch Creran and are paired with shallots and hot sauce, red chimichurri and apple, tarragon and sherry caramel. I’m allergic to molluscs but Donnie overcame his oyster-phobia and was soon downing them like a pro. I focussed my attention on the Bouché Père et Fils Cuvée Réservée Brut champagne which was light and very drinkable.
Next came a selection of their small plates including heritage tomato salad with pickled samphire, hand-dived scallops with apple, tarragon and sherry caramel, Scotch Bonnet cured salmon, King crab legs with burnt lemon mayo, monkfish satay with toasted nuts and chargrilled octopus with ponzu dressing. It was a delicious tour around the small plates menu with some new (to us) flavour combinations – the citrusy ponzu octopus was a big hit with Donnie.
After such a feast, I was just about to get my coat when a full house seafood platter arrived including half lobster, pickled mussels, clams, king crab legs, oysters, scotch bonnet salmon, tuna tartare and dressed crab. It was a wow moment, and we marvelled at this spectacular bounty from the sea. It was a very sociable and enjoyable experience with crab legs cracked, oysters knocked back and lobster shells passed around the table. A selection of side dishes also arrived including chips and Hasselback potatoes.
Desserts and Cheeses
After this maritime feast, we were treated to a selection of their desserts including a rich chocolate delice with cassis soaked blackcurrant ripple ice cream – yum. We also enjoyed the burnt lemon brûlée, apple tart and some delicious sorbets including seabuckthorn, green apple and coconut.
A selection of I J Mellis cheeses arrived followed by a few gasps around the table – there were none from Scotland! We all know that Scottish cheeses are fantastic, and it was quite refreshing to be served something a bit different. I’m sure that the cheese board will evolve as Royal Mile visitors love a taste of Scotland on their plates.
Each week the White Horse provides a range of enticing offers, including an oyster happy hour from Monday to Thursday when oysters cost £1. Every Monday and Tuesday diners can bring their own wine for a £5 corkage fee, whilst on Wednesdays, a 500g lobster and fries are on the menu at the special price of £22. And on Sundays, White Horse celebrates the classic combination of surf and turf with a 225g rib-eye steak, half lobster and fries for £30.
Managing Director, Mark Fraser said that their aim was to challenge the notion that seafood restaurants had to feel formal and to create a relaxed space with lively atmosphere and an approachable menu. The White Horse is designed so that you can pop in and enjoy cocktails and shells at the bar or sit down for a lavish seafood feast. We think that they have fulfilled this brief perfectly and have created an absolute gem on the Royal Mile. We can’t wait to go back!
How to book a table and keep up to date with everything that’s happening at the White Horse.
White Horse Seafood & Oyster Bar
Thanks to the White Horse Oyster Bar for our invitation to come along and see and experience the new restaurant.