There used to be a restaurant on Rose Street that I frequented whenever there was an excuse- Seadogs. It was part of David Ramsden's 'The Dogs' chain, and I loved it. It offered reasonably priced food in an interesting environment, without any of the sycophantic crap that Edinburgh restaurants and their patrons have a tendency towards.
On our first visit, Mr F and I ordered a seafood platter and a portion of Kedgeree. We were told (by Mr. Ramsden) we didn't need to bother with the rice, because the platter would come with some form of carb - either Paella or Kedgeree. On the second visit, where we steered away from the platter, and ventured on to the menu, we asked for advice on what wine to order, and were recommended the house, or if we were feeling fancy, the one up from the house. On our third visit, we arrived a bit early, and were told that we couldn't order until our designated time - fine by us, we happily devoured the menu until we turned to the food.
I can see how these type of details would annoy others. Seadogs was not for the type of diner who likes to think that he knows best, or that he is getting special treatment. It was for the rest of us - people that like decent food at reasonable prices in an interesting setting - and so I, and several other people I've spoken to, were gutted when it closed down.
It is back.
Amore Dogs, which was the streetlevel bit of the dogs townhouse (The Dogs at the top, and UnderDogs at the bottom), has been converted. After consultations via twitter and facebook, it is now Seadogs once more, and I can think of a few people who are relieved and glad to see it return. It goes without saying then, that it was my choice of restaurant for my birthday dinner.
Mr Foodie and I went down after work on a Tuesday night. A slightly random night to indulge, but we had an excuse, so I wasn't too bothered about it being on the quiet side. I love the casual interior - clean, fresh and white, with quirky photos and trinkets that add personality without being too much.
We could have pretended to look at the menu - it is good. It's varied, with a decent vegetarian selection, and a great use of the cheaper sustainable fish that keep prices affordable. I've eaten a couple of the dishes upstairs at The Dogs, and enjoyed them.
We, however, were boring, and ordered the old faithful - the seafood platter. Piled high with the Kedgeree were salmon fillets, prawns in breadcrumbs, squid rings, whole prawns, mussels, and a sardine each. Amazing - the only criticism I have is that it would have been nice to have a little less breadcrumbs. In fact, it was so good that after it was taken away, the ladies at the table next to us admitted food envy.
And a side of chunky chips with an extra garlic mayo portion. We drank a carafe of house wine. Handily for two people, Seadogs sells wine in 500ml and 1000ml carafes as well as by the glass or bottle- perfect for sharing if you are out on a school night. Jugs of water come automatically, which I also appreciate, mostly because I hate the bottled water hard sell that some restaurants try.
For dessert - a lemon and lime parfait with shortbread. This was good - really good - a huge dollop of curd on the top, a creamy centre, and a crunchy base. Perfect after a large seafood dinner.
Welcome back, Seadogs. You have been missed.
Dinner for two, including wine and a pudding to share - £50.
104 Hanover Street