Sam was so excited to reveal that we had dinner reservations at The Witchery. He’s been to Edinburgh countless times before showing plays at The Fringe, and he’s always wanted to go, but never had the opportunity to in the past. The Witchery is over 40 years old and is an Edinburgh landmark.
It’s strange to eat in a location revelling in Edinburgh’s horrendous past of witch-hunting, but there we were. Side note: Scotland’s history with witchcraft is insane. Witch-hunts were rampant in the early modern period. Basically 1/10th of all witches executed in that time period were in Scotland.
Grim history aside: The atmosphere was incredible. It was tres romantic, in a very gothic way. The room was dripping in tapestries and antiques, even the wood paneling on the walls was historic. Everything was candlelit and the service was incredible.
We got started with Pickering Gin and Tonics and then delicious champagne. They do their G&Ts with slices of orange and it was a revelation. Easily the best gin and tonic that I’ve ever had. The champagne was heavenly as well. The Witchery was very generous with their bread basket as well and offered multiple refills as we drained it whilst waiting for our starters.
For our starter, I had the Iberico charcuterie and Sam had the roast hot-smoked salmon. My charcuterie had a pate element to it, and traditionally I don’t like pate. Maybe I’ve only been having bad pate, because this was great. Predictably, I went crazy for my chorizo. Sam thought his salmon was delicious. It was a fairly small portion but it was so rich and flavourful, that a bigger dish would have been wasteful.
For mains I had the wagyu beef patty and Sam had the Witchery fish pie. We also split a pot of the peas with cream and bacon. My wagyu beef was truly delicious (hello burned onion mayo!). The shoestring fries that went with it were slightly less impressive, but the grilled tomato and onion more than made up for the one side. I stayed well-clear of Sam’s fish pie but he said it was, in a word, “fabulous”. It was beautifully presented and richly flavoured; when you order something so simple, you can be surprised at how much passion is portrayed in a little dish.
For dessert we split the french apple tart with Calvados ice-cream. It was one of the highlights of the meal for me. We were warned when we ordered it, that they prepare each tart individually when ordered so it was the dessert that would take the most time to receive. It was a long wait – upwards of 30 minutes, but it was worth every second. Crisp, buttery, the juicy apple perfectly sliced for the right thickness to compliment the pastry. Perfection.
If you wanted a romantic evening out in Edinburgh, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.
The Witchery by the Castle is located at : Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NF
Have you ever been for dinner there?