Review by Nigel Duncan
I’ve driven past The Sun Inn on numerous occasions down the years, never venturing in. In the last year it has undergone a transformation under new ownership. And word has quickly spread throughout the Lothians that the gastro pub was worth visiting. A boutique hotel has even been created upstairs with monsoon showers and king-sized beds.
But it was the food which was my main concern on this visit.
The property nestles in the shadow of a stunning, B-listed former railway viaduct built in 1847.
It used to take the former Waverley line from Edinburgh to the Borders. The viaduct (which, sadly, has some hideous, red-painted metal business units at its base – planners please take note) dominates the pub which has been given a “traditional” look with antlers, pheasants and even an old-fashioned phone adorning the walls. The oak floors and prints around the main dining area walls give it a homely feel and so do the staff who are pleasant and efficient. The menu is extensive and added to by a specials board.
Bistro bosses claim to support Scotland’s farmers and fishermen and the tempting food on offer gave testament to that.
We opted out of the bread board, olives and dip (£1.95) and went straight to the starters.
Grilled new season asparagus wrapped in Parma ham, with a soft boiled duck egg and herb salad (£5.95) was an attractive option so was the feta cheese wrapped in pancetta, chick pea and red onion salsa (£5.50).
However, Chris opted for a special, tomato and pesto soup (£4.95) and he hit on a real winner. Flavour flooded out however, surprisingly, there wasn’t any bread to accompany the dish.
My grilled Queenie scallops with garlic butter and Gruyere cheese (£6.25) sounded wonderful but was a letdown.
The scallops were inconsistent and the cheese stuck to the six shells they were served with.
What’s more, the salad which accompanied them was limp and the dressing lacked any real bite.
However, better was to come. Main courses included pig on a plate: crispy belly pork on creamed mash, pork loin with apple sauce and braised pig cheek on Finlay’s black pudding (£14.95). A cod chunk, Isle of Mull cheddar topping, sautéed potatoes plus pea and bacon sauce (£13.95) was my initial choice until Chris opted for a special, beer battered Pittenweem (a fishing village on the Fife coast), haddock (£10.95 large, £8.95 small) with proper chips.
They were brilliant and I pinched one or two or three and the peas were a welcome difference as mint and vinegar added to the taste.
I selected a shank of lamb (£12.95) with chappit tatties (mashed potatoes with greens). It fell off the bone and the vegetables, including chunks of carrots and turnip, were just right. The barley sauce was, sadly, overpowering, and one taste was enough for me.
We were offered the sweet menu (all £4.95) and were tempted by sticky toffee and ginger pudding with hot butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream.
The Eton Mess of crushed meringue, Belhaven Fruit Farm strawberries and Chantilly cream was also eye-catching so was the selection of ice cream which included Edinburgh No 3 beer (locally brewed, by the way), all home made at £1 a scoop.
We politely declined and said our goodbyes. The pub was still busy and there is no doubt that The Sun Inn is enjoying a renaissance thanks to some tlc.
The owners are, however, a tad cheeky in having their web site as thesuninnedinburgh – it’s 7.9 miles from Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main thoroughfare – but it is worth a visit