The Pantry is one of my favourite places for brunch in Edinburgh – if not my favourite. I’ve been to both the Stockbridge and Colinton venues, so when I heard the team were opening a 3rd restaurant, Finn and Bear, I was very excited. A group of 7 of us booked a table for Kirsten’s birthday in February, on a Friday evening, not long after the restaurant had opened. Our table was booked for 7.30pm, which we were allocated until 9pm. When we arrived our table wasn’t ready, so we took a seat in the bar area and ordered cocktails; the staff were lovely and gave Kirsten her cocktail on the house, as a birthday treat!
It was around 8pm before we were seated. Luckily we weren’t in a rush and we were informed that we could have the table all night, rather than just until 9pm, but I felt that having booked the table for 7.30pm, it was a long time to wait. However, the service was great and the staff very friendly. We also spent our time waiting deciding what to have, so we were ready to order right away. For starters we chose a selection to share: beetroot risotto, confit chicken and duck terrine, baked Epoisse, halloumi fries and nachos. There was a mix up with our nachos, but the issue was resolved and we ended up with an extra portion. All of the starters were delicious; the baked cheese was always going to be a strong performer for me, but the beetroot risotto was delicious and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
When it came to main courses, I was struggling to decide what to order – there are so many solid options! In the end, Kirsten and I chose to share the pork belly and the cuttlefish, which was like squid. The crispy pork belly was served with celeriac fondant, roasted banana shallot, pickled onions and a porky cider jus. The pork was a fantastic piece of meat, it completely melted in my mouth and the pickled onions complimented the sweetness. The stuffed pan fried cuttlefish was accompanied by camargue red rice, chorizo, braised green raisins, anya potatoes and mixed greens. The squid was tasty and well cooked, but it was the chorizo and veg mix that made this dish for me. I managed to steal a bit of Katie’s steak and it was gorgeous; it was cooked just to my liking and was beautifully flavoured.
I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience at Finn and Bear, even though there were a few teething problems with the long wait for a table, the mix up with starters and some of the drinks took a while to arrive. However, the staff were friendly and the food was great.
I returned a couple of weeks later for a family brunch and feasted on the smashed crab, which came with toasted corn, yellow pepper pico de gallo, crab and a poached egg. The brunch menu has a good mix of light breakfast options and heavier main meals, all of which looked delicious. The service this time was flawless and we only had to wait 5 minutes for a table. The smashed crab was divine and reminded me just how much I love The Pantry/Finn and Bear’s avocado and pico de gallo. I can certainly recommend Finn and Bear for food at any time of day.
On a Tuesday they do a quiz night and you can indulge in more yummy bar snacks, whilst testing your knowledge – our knowledge wasn’t great, we were second from last!
Atmosphere – 4.5
Food – 4.5
Price – 4
Service – 4
Total – 17/20