When you combine a whisky tasting room, whisky shop, and Scottish-ingredient inspired restaurant in one space at the base of Edinburgh Castle, you end up with a really good thing. Our recent trip to Ireland included a few days in Edinburgh, where we worked up quite the hunger and thirst and found ourselves at some fantastic restaurants, like Amber Restaurant, where we dined our first evening.
Our afternoon started out with a fantastic pub lunch followed by lots of walking, so when we hit the whisky tasting bar at the Scotch Whisky Experience, we were excited to take a seat and enjoy a wee dram or two. Kenny at the tasting bar was hospitable and super knowledgeable about each and every whisky behind him, and we enjoyed spending time reading through the menu’s tasting notes. Whisky, like wine, can exhibit so many different characteristics based on how it’s made, and each one we tasted offered a little something special.
This Isle of Skye 8 year blend was only one of what turned out to be several tasting choices. I didn’t take too many notes, but I did decide that my favorite whisky of the day was the Jura Superstition. It was definitely the little bit of spice that I loved in this Jura; though we tried many more whiskys along the way, this one definitely stood out to me. I also loved the Ben Nevis 10 year, which had nice notes of cocoa and smoke, like a bit of chipotle chocolate on the palate. Lovely.
After spending a good bit of time with Kenny at the tasting bar, we headed across the room to the restaurant for our dinner reservation. Our table overlooked Edinburgh, which was just enchanting as the sun set. Rosy cheeked from the whisky and getting sleepy from our travels, we tucked into a deliciously memorable meal made with local ingredients.
We decided to share a few items and started with Scottish smoked salmon. While in Ireland and Scotland, I ate smoked or regular salmon at least once a day, but usually twice, and one day three times. Salmon in that part of the world is so beautiful. It’s actually what originally started to sway me from vegetarianism. When I studied abroad in Galway, I was a vegetarian, tried Irish salmon, and started eating fish again!
Continuing with the local seafood theme, we went for a big, steaming bowl of mussels with Isla whisky cream sauce and a prawn cocktail with Marie Rose sauce, another favorite when I am in Ireland or Scotland. Marie Rose sauce is similar to Russian dressing in flavor and color, and it makes for an incredible meal with some prawns, brown bread, and salad.
The stovie was so yummy and comforting, but since I don’t eat much lamb, I felt bad the next day when I saw all of the baby lambs bopping through the fields! I think they might be too cute for me to eat, as delicious as they are!
Eating out when traveling can be hit or miss, and we got lucky with Amber Restaurant. The food, ambiance, and service all contributed to the end of a great day in Edinburgh.