Otro seems to be getting a bunch of blogger attention this past week so it seemed like a good place to start this week of dining out. The reviews seemed good, photos excellent, the menu varied and the location not quite in the centre of tourist activity - perfect for a Monday dining out.
The food at Otro does not in any way let you down, I was especially impressed with the smoked haddock chowder on what was a cold autumn night. As a main, I went for the aged beef burger and while it was wholesome, cooked perfectly and juicy, I was expecting maybe a little bit more. The choice of the burger was mainly from curiosity - what does a place a little more upmarket do to make a burger great? It ended up with a burger much the same as you’d get in a well-run gastropub, not a bad thing at all - I still enjoyed it immensely. Great chips too!
The little sad side salad though was a bit strange, undressed and almost just there because the chef was insecure about leaving space on the plate. I’ve never understood little sad side salads, especially when you’ve got two other great components on the plate.
But the leaves on the side of my plate were literally the only thing I have to complain about in regards to food, it was a really enjoyable meal.
The wine list was varied and well chosen to match the food on offer - though at £9.40 a glass I would maybe expect something a little bit more exciting and maybe even a different glass for a red than a white. The organic Pinot-Grigio Chardonnay blend worked especially well with the smoked haddock chowder, the acidity cutting through the heaviness of the soup.
The food is great, the interior is stunning and the location is fit for both Edinburgh locals and visitors alike. The table setting is immaculate, there’s someone to greet you at the door to take your jacket and the prices suggest you’re entering a local brasserie that is a little bit up-market.
This though is the reason why I’m confused by a place like Otro, it has all the makings of a fantastic dining experience but small things are holding it back from being truly remarkable.
My first wine was served in a wet glass with water around the rim. The second was spilt before serving and ended up staining the beautiful white table when placed down. Meals weren’t checked on nor was water topped up and that damn little sad side salad! I know this all sounds a bit harsh but it’s these small things that divide the good from the great.
Maybe I’m simplifying things a little bit too much but if you have all the foundations to be great why settle for simply being good?
Will I be back? Yeah, the food was great. But dining for me is an experience that is so much more than just food in mouth, it’s the entire package: atmosphere, service, environment, comfort, temperature, music, lighting and yes, food.